Category Archives: FAQ

FAQ # 7

How do you manage to drive your house without it all becoming a mess? Don’t things fall over or slide around? 
Actually, when we drive down the road our house has a better than average chance of being quite tidy! While Gary is busy outside the rig bringing in the awnings and disconnecting the water, sewer, and electric lines, I’m busy battening down the inside. For a couple of days before we set out I’ve been slowly putting away stuff. Like the sewing machine (and accompanying accessories), clean laundry that hasn’t quite made it to the drawers, you know – that kind of stuff. It’s kind of like what you do when you’re expecting company. Tidy, tidy, tidy. The only difference is when I’m done tidying, then I start latching things.

GettingReadytoGo-1 GettingReadytoGo-2
Doors The Pantry
GettingReadytoGo-3 GettingReadytoGo-4
The spice rack. This one’s easy to miss, but boy, when those spice bottles start flying, you remember! All snugged in and ready to go!
GettingReadytoGo-5 GettingReadytoGo-6
This might look like just a built in microwave. But actually it’s home to our trusty toaster oven when we’re driving down the road. (Which is also home to a couple of items.  Nesting, friends, it’s all about nesting!)
GettingReadytoGo-8 GettingReadytoGo-9
Most of our drawers and cabinets have sturdy locking-type latches. Our desk, however is a “after-market” addition, and to keep those drawers from escaping, we’ve gone with some extra insurance. Our kitchen sink cabinet has a combination of a broken latch on a door and no latch on the silverware drawer, so that’s when those bungee cords come in handy! (Trust me, having the silverware drawer crash to the ground when you’re driving is no ones idea of fun!)
GettingReadytoGo-10 GettingReadytoGo-11
Once again the bungee cord does the trick on keeping the the coffee machine in place. Never travel without bungee cords. It’s a rule. And the rolling chairs either get tucked under the table or laid on its side.  They’ve come up to visit us in the front once to often.
GettingReadytoGo-12 GettingReadytoGo-13
Once the slide come in, the brace goes on, and the sofa starts accumulating anything that generally lives on a counter or on the floor that’s been displaced by the slide.

GettingReadytoGo-15
The computer and printer (and a variety of files on the desk) ride along just fine. Well, unless it’s really bumpy and then I just have to keep checking that nothing has bounced off the desk. Think I10 in Louisiana.

So that’s the basic Battening-Down-the-Hatches that happens when it’s time for us to hit the road. If our travels will be less than a day, then it’s a pretty easy procedure. Anything that isn’t put away (but maybe has a home if I took the time to put it there) can always live on the bed or the sofa for a couple hundred miles. If we’re likely to be on the road for several days, I need to be a bit more organized because we need to sleep in that bed and sit on that sofa. If we had to bug out in a hurry (like if a hurricane was headed our way), I think we could be on the road in less than an hour. And believe me, I have the better end of the packing-up job.

Sewer lines. Ewwww.

Since you asked

While I’m not sure it quite qualifies as an FAQ, several of you have asked about our ‘dashboard plant’.
dashboardplant
This little jade plant has come along with us for our entire journey, and is, in fact, a cutting from a plant I bought the first year we were married (1971). It had gotten quite huge in the 30+ years of our marriage before we left home (like with a 4″ diameter stem), so we left the big guy with friends, and just brought these little cuttings.
It seemed to like its place of honor on the dash board
dashboardplant082006
and grew quite nicely over the years.
Dashboard Plant
By 2010
Jade2010
it was taking over the windshield!
Somewhere along the way I did another trim job as you can see. Here it is enjoying life on my daughter’s porch while we worked on her kitchen.
Dashboard Plant Waco
We snagged a little aloe plant in the Keys and just stuck it in the pot in January of 2011.(Don’t be alarmed, the photo is from NC several months later. It’s the first one I could find with the aloe plant visible. 🙂 )
Drive to NC
and soon the two plants were vying for space.
Dashboardplant-2
Eventually neither the jade or the aloe were looking too happy to be sharing the space
Dashboardplant-3
so during our 2012 visit to Waco we separated the girls.
Dashboardplant-5
We left a fair bit of the plants behind in Waco, but they were very happy to have their own space and they began to thrive again.  It’s all about boundaries, right?
Dashboardplant-7
They were both too happy in their new pots that by the time we drove to the Rio Grande Valley in the fall of 2013, the jade took its last trip on the dash.
IMG_4382
All that time in the warm Texas sun made them too big to ride up front any longer.
Sniff.
Dashboardplant-8
But don’t despair. The plants are still with us, they just have a new spot that doesn’t obscure the driver’s view of the road.
New spot
And once we get settled in at our new parking place, they’re right back where they belong –
IMG_0950
Keeping watch over the road ahead!

P.S. If I ever get my act together and do another re-potting (and find good homes for all of the left over plant!), you may once again catch glimpses of the dashboard plant, back where she belongs – photo-bombing my myriad windshield shots!
texasroad-9
As for the mystery of where the dashboard plant was in all of the Windshield Shots in yesterday’s post – it’s just a matter of zooming and cropping. She was there for almost all of them!

FAQ #5

Does living in an RV make you feel rootless? A little bit discombobulated?

According to an online dictionary –
discombobulate
OK, so have I ever felt discombobulated? Thrown into confusion? Who me? Confused? Probably my biggest area of confusion is what season we’re in. Think about it. We do our very best to always stay in a temperate zone. Not too hot (i.e being in New England in the summer instead of Texas) and not too cold (being in the Sun Belt in the winter instead of Minnesota). So there are moments when I really have to give some thought as to what “time of year” it actually is. And of course there is always the confusion that comes when trying to remember just when we were where? Or the familiar “I know we’ve been here before but …..” . (But really, is this from living in an RV or from being blonde and 62? It’s hard to know!)
Generally, though, I think we do a much better job of discombobulating than feeling discombobulated. Remember Doris from the Census Bureau? I think she might be still scratching her head. And then there was the girl at the billing center for Verizon. When she gave me the total due and said that sales tax would be added to the amount, I asked her who would get the sales tax. She didn’t really understand the question so I explained that we were in New Jersey, she was in Colorado, we were talking about a Montana phone number and we had a Florida billing address. Trust me, she was ‘thrown into confusion’! We’ve had internet purchases questioned because my phone number (PA) and billing address (FL) and shipping address (always changing) NEVER match up. And then there’s this –
VT Plate
We have my grandfather’s old Vermont license plate on the front of the RV as a “vanity tag”. (He was the 781st person to license a vehicle in VT :)). The conversation often goes like this –
– So, you’re from Vermont? That’s a long ways away. How come your truck has FL tags on it?
– Well, the VT tag is just a vanity plate and the RV has FL tags also.
– Oh, so what part of Florida? I have family in …..
– Well, we aren’t actually from FL either, we’re from Pennsylvania….
Yes, it’s confusing.
Generally when folks ask where we’re from, we say we raised our family outside of Philadelphia, but since we live full time in our RV, currently we’re from where ever we are parked.  (Unless of course, it’s someone in a uniform asking the question, and then it’s Lake City, Florida all the way! We don’t want those guys to feel discombobulated!)
But as to feeling rootless – well, that’s a different question all together. My physical roots are in Pennsylvania, and if I dig a bit deeper they are in Vermont and in this place –
image
our legacy from generations past.
But the truth to why I rarely feel rootless is not because I’m “from” somewhere, or have wonderful family memories from somewhere else. It is because I have learned that neither my house or RV or family or friends can really make me rooted. I can only find my security and “rootedness” in Christ. Simply put, as long as I find myself grounded in my faith and recognize who I am in Him and how He continues to rescue me from my sinful heart, then I will never be rootless!

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

Discombobulated?  Guess some of that just comes with the territory.  Rootless? By God’s grace – no!

FAQ #4

Waaaay back in February I began a series entitled “FAQ”. Those Frequently Asked Questions that folks tend to ask about our life on the road and the work we do. I’ve been quite remiss about following through with that series, but I recently received an email chock full of some great questions, so it seemed like a good time to get back on track.
Let’s go!
FAQ #4
Do you miss your house? I KNOW you don’t miss insuring, maintaining, and cleaning it, not to mention paying property taxes on it. But do you miss the whole notion of h-o-u-s-e and h-o-m-e. Not having a place of my own is a daunting thought. I love my husband of 36 years. But I also like curling up in one room with a book at night while he is watching the game in another room.

Ah yes, the house thing. When I would tell my friends about the 5 Year Plan (when the kids are out of college, he said,  let’s sell the house, buy an RV, take a year off and travel around the country) they wouldn’t say – wow, you’re going to take a year off and travel? They would say – you have to sell your HOUSE?????
house
With a big gulp I would shake my head and say, yep, that’s the plan. This is the house that we lived in for almost 25 years, having moved there when our youngest son was just 6 weeks old. I remember standing in the yard with my mom, looking at that diamond in the rough (and it was very rough, trust me!) and saying that this would be our final house. It would become The Homestead, and my grandbabies would come here to frolic in the big back yard.
Yet, when you ask me today if I miss my house, I would have to say – No.
Maybe.
Sometimes.
As we set off on our adventure (which began as a 1-2 year adventure and is now in its 10th year) I was surprised how easily we both adjusted to less space. Yes, at first we would bump into each other (sometimes intentionally, I confess), but we soon mastered the yin and yang of life in 300 sq. feet. Over the years we’ve settled into our own favorite spaces (mine – here at the computer or stretched out for a nap on the sofa, Gary’s – up in the front at his computer or back in the bedroom reading (and falling asleep!))and I can honestly say that I have rarely felt crowded. As the vacation feeling wore off and we added some little pieces of our “previous life,”

UntitledUntitled

we realized that we did indeed have a house and a h-o-m-e.  It was little, but it was definitely a place to call our own.
So when does the “Maybe and Sometimes” come in? Well, probably the hardest time (emotionally) for me NOT to have that big ol’ house in Pennsylvania is this time of year. The Holidays. Oh, how I would love for my kids and grands to go over the river and through the woods to come to My House. How fun would it be to say to the little ones that ‘this is the room where your Daddy slept” as I tucked them into bed. To pull that big turkey out of the oven and tell the dear DIL’s to go and sit down – I’ve got it covered! But then, as the scent of fresh balsam fades into my memory, I remember the cleaning and the laundry and the fact that probably Mommy and Daddy will be doing any tucking in (since it will be a strange bed and everything!). So the Norman Rockwell holiday begins to fade, and I become content once again with being the holiday guest instead of the holiday host. I still like to tell the DIL’s to go and sit down (bossy MIL that I am!), but I try to respect that these are my children’s homes and their traditions, and now is the time for us to be the (helpful, I hope) guests. “To everything there is a season….”

One more reason that I don’t miss the house –
Tomorrow morning I am going to get up bright and early and thoroughly clean the living room, dining room, kitchen, computer room, TV room, bathroom, and bedroom. And be done by 10AM.
And you gotta love that!

(If you’re interested in the previous FAQ’s, I’ve put them together in a category over on the right column. Just so you know!)

FAQ #3

Since you live in a house that you drive around the country, isn’t the price of gas KILLING YOU???
truckheader
Of course!
Isn’t it killing all of us????
Here’s the thing thing. Yes, we do drive our house around the country. But we do NOT drive it to the grocery store. Or to the bank. Or to pick-up a burrito at Chipolte.
Last year we traveled just about 6400 miles. (And some of you came along for all of them! Thanks! :)) It’s true that when we fill up, it really hurts. Let’s face it, anyone with a 100 gallon gas tank is in pain when he fills up!
Gary at Work
We spent a whopping $3172.11 on diesel fuel in 2012. Yowzer. So (last year, anyway) it cost us about fifty cents a mile to drive the house.  Now that might seem like a lot, but there are a couple of the big expenses we DON’T have.
Like property taxes. Or utility bills. Oh, we still have some of the same expenses that you have – food, clothing, phone/internet-, but all in all we feel that our house on wheels is a pretty economical way to live. We try to be smart about our travel choices (the days of crisscrossing the country are over for most RV owners), and will try to work SOWER projects on our way to different destinations.

As as for driving around our truck and the expense of that, we’re quite fortunate on that front also. Most of the time, when we’re on a SOWER project anyway, we are within walking distance of our jobs.  The majority of miles we put on the truck are pleasure miles.  Miles of choice, not necessity.  And that’s pretty sweet!

One more thing that’s related to the whole “price of fuel” discussion –

We NEVER have to buy gas for a lawnmower!
🙂