Oh yeah, how’s the RV? [With photos!]

Not-so-glamorous photo of where it currently sits.

I bet a lot of you are wondering how RV living is going. Well…. we are still loving it!

I thought I’d share some ‘after’ photos (click here for side-by-side comparisons of before & after) and tidbits on RV life. Ready? It’s not perfect, and there’s still more work to do (like paint), but it’s ours. Home.

Here’s a quick view of our main living area. Isn’t it cozy!?? I love it!

View from the back / bunkhouse.
View from the back / bunkhouse.
View from the front door / bedroom.
View from the front door / bedroom.
Front door + ktichen + part of the bunkhouse.
Front door + ktichen + part of the bunkhouse.

Kitchen.

  • I don’t like clutter in the sinks, so I keep the dishes washed as much as I can — usually right after a meal is finished, sometimes while cooking a meal if a certain tool or bowl isn’t needed anymore. We don’t have a dishwasher but that’s not new for us — I can’t remember the last time I used one.
  • The sink faucet is a bit too low — I can barely fit bigger pots and the blender underneath to wash. It’s also leaking a bit. We’ll be upgrading to a new faucet soon with a higher ‘neck’ arch.
  • We are still figuring out the pantry. As of right now, the pantry is a storage area (next to the fridge) with just one shelf. It’s deep and narrow, so it’s kind of hard for me to reach in the back. We did purchase an additional short shelf for more storage space but I still find myself digging. I’m hoping as we use up our items and purchase only the things we use on a regular basis, the pantry won’t be as full. For example, right now we have jars of marshmallow, sprinkles, and chocolate chips — all used for a hot chocolate party we had awhile back but not really something we use on a regular basis.
  • I can bake! Sort of. I think. I attempted mini blueberry muffins from scratch and they turned out OK! I ate them in less than 24 hours. Oops?
  • The oven is smaller than normal sized ovens but it fits every pan I have and cooks just fine. The gas stove works perfectly too (it does cook things quicker than I’m used to).
  • Our little IKEA dining table is working out, too. Right now, it’s much easier to fit two people than four people around, but we can easily make adjustments if needed.

Oh, and I’m hoping that before winter comes, we will convert the area next to the door into a small mud room. All the farm dirt can get quite messy and it would be nice to have a place to hang up coats.

Living area.

  • When we both want to watch television (lately we’ve been re-watching the The Office), one of us will usually lay on the couch, and the other will sit on the floor with some pillows. We have turned the couch once to face the telelvision but that isn’t worth the hassle unless we want to get cozy during a movie or something.
  • Our ‘coffee table’ is a trunk that holds all our books and DVDs. It’s perfect.
  • Oh yeah, did you notice the size of the television? Kyle knocked out a shelf and raised the cabinets just so he could fit the television in the space. He also has Wii hooked up, as well as a VCR and BluRay player. Boys and their toys. ;D

Bedroom.

  • The bedroom might be my favorite room of the ‘house.’ I don’t know if this is because it’s the coziest area, the green walls, or because it’s the only area that’s a separate room, but I love it.
  • The low ceilings are something we had to get used to — can’t lift your arms up to pull on a shirt unless you’re sitting down! I think we’ve managed to stop bumping our heads on the ceiling, though.
  • Closet space? Minimal. We each have one little closet (see that mirrored door to the left of the bed? that’s a closet), and three small drawers to put our things in. I also have some shirts stacked in the cabinet above the bed, and we both have clothes in a duffel bag under the bed.
  • And, oh! Our IKEA nightstand fit perfectly in the space next to the bed. Whew.
  • The bed platform lifts up and reveals a storage area! So thankful for a bit of storage. Our storage area has a couple boxes of ‘childhood memories’, our holiday decorations, and some clothes.
  • Oh my goodness, our cat. He is adorable but such a headache when he’s hungry. Last year, we actually moved out of our studio apartment into a one-bedroom because we needed our bed to be in a separate area with the door closed. There is an accordian door for the bedroom, but it doesn’t keep the cat out. He crawls right under it and pokes me awake in the middle of the night. We tried to put a baby gate in front of the closed accordian door and he still figured it out. Finally, we gave up. He still wakes me up at odd hours of the night. When our finances are better, we’re investing in an automatic feeder — maybe if he learns the food comes from the machine (bwahaha), then he’ll stop bugging me. Sigh.

Bathroom.

  • After using various showers of friends and family while we were in Illinois, and walking over to Jordan’s to use her shower the first couple weeks we were here, we finally figured out how to use our own shower! Woo-hoo! For some strange reason, the hot water wasn’t coming in through the shower (although it was working in the rest of the RV). Then Kyle had the idea to turn on the ‘cold water’ knob and voila! Hot water! The previous owners must’ve switched the knobs. What a silly, simple thing. It’s been soooo nice showering in the RV — and it’s actually kind of better than our last apartment because the water is always hot! Yay!
  • The tiny bathroom has otherwise been working out fine for us. We may not both be able to be in there at the same time to brush our teeth, but it still works — and is fast to clean!
  • Oh, and dumping? We’re dumping the greywater into the drainage ditch every week or so and using Jordan’s bathroom as much as we can to avoid dumping the black water too often. A permanent solution will come when we’ve got the land more established.

Pets.

  • Cats — we had the litter box in the bathtub but that was actually kind of messy and one of our cats couldn’t figure out how to get to it…. so we moved it into the living area, in the corner by the dining table. Not really the best spot, but it’s all we can do for now.
  • Rabbit — Frosty’s cage currently sits on the bottom bunk bed. He does have an outdoor hutch, but he’s been inside more due to high temperatures and outdoor inexperience.
  • Bearded dragon — his home sits on the floor towards the back of the RV. I have tripped over it on on occasion, and we do have to move it every time we close the slide-out, but he seems happy and we’re OK with it.
  • Everything with the pets can be adjusted accordingly when guests are present.
  • All their food & stuff is stored on the floor of the back closet, or under the kitchen sink.

Laundry | Bunkhouse.

We don’t have laundry in the trailer [anymore — we sold our WonderWash and Spin Dryer to another couple living in a trailer]. We’ve been using Jordan’s machines or going to the laundromat for large loads (like comforters). Oh, and we have a collapsable laundry basket that hangs on the back closet’s door.

The bunkbeds are nice! The top bunk is ready for guests, and although Frosty occupies the bottom bunk, it can be easily made up for guests, too. We’ve also added a privacy curtain to block off the back area.

What about water, electric, and heat?

We have our RV hose (with a filter) hooked up to one of Jordan’s water spickets. We also have our electricity plugged into one of her ourside electric boxes, as well. (Thank you sooooo much, Jordan!) We just have to be mindful of our usage — and make sure we don’t run the AC and the microwave at the same time! Whoops. Our propane tanks supply is good for now, too.

So…. what about the land?

Ah, yes, this. The land has already been graded. We put up an electric fence around the area we need to work on (to keep the nosy horses away), in addition to a little side gate and the main gate off the road! Yay! Now all we need to do is buy a trench pipe for road drainage and bring in some gravel to lay down. We also need to get a large propane tank on the land. All those cost money, so we are taking our time. Once that’s done, we can move the trailer over! Hoping to do that before winter hits.

Oh yeah, we acquired four chickens!! Two beautiful black Austrolorpes re-named Lucy & Ethel, and two fluffy Ameraucana chickens named Tiger & Puff. Building a chicken coop is also next on our growing to-do list….

And there it is! All is good! Still lots of work left to do, but it’s coming together. Any questions??

Much love.

in the bluegrass.

We made it. We’re in Kentucky and loving it!

It took us two days to drive down to Kentucky with a truck, an RV with all our belongings, a car, myself, my husband, our friend Josiah, two cats, a bunny, and a bearded dragon. We left Chicagoland on a Sunday morning, stayed overnight at a campsite in Indiana, and arrived at a Walmart in Kentucky on Monday afternoon.

Walmart? Yep, to buy another new trailer tire. An hour after departing the Indiana campsite, I was following the RV (as was the plan) when I noticed a flat tire and pieces of rubber flying at me. I waved Kyle down and we discovered a blown-out tire — the one tire we hadn’t replaced recently. Thankfully, I caught it before it wore down to the rim. Kyle skillfully changed the tire and we hit the road again. Once the newly purchased tire was put on the RV, we headed to the farm.

Arriving at Jordan’s (our adopted aunt) house was a huge thrill! We were welcomed with friendly faces, open arms, and dozens of quacking ducks. After years of talking about doing this, we are here.

The RV is currently parked in Jordan’s driveway; we will be relocating to our spot (a hundred feet away) some time in the next week or so once we lay down some gravel. In the meantime, we’ve made multiple trips to stores in the area, done more RV work, rode around on the ATV, had breakfast at Waffle House, worked around the farm, played with ducks, hung out with horses, planted a tree, relaxed, explored nearby towns, met many nice people, BBQ’d, and enjoyed our time with Jordan and Hank. Last week was our vacation. This week, we’re job hunting and settling in.

And in the middle of everything, we actually went back to Chicago for a day to see some family and visit our friends’ sweet newborn son. It was wonderful seeing them. On our way out of Chicagoland, we saw a sign for the Dixie Highway and on a whim, decided to exit the tollway and hop on Dixie. It was a pleasant road that led us south through some small towns in Illinois. They were all so quaint and peaceful, a different side of Illinois than we’re used to seeing (endless construction, rude drivers, taxes, tollways, etc). And somehow, that made us appreciate Illinois a little bit better. We grabbed pizza in near-empty Hoopeston, IL before getting back on the usual highways through Indiana back to Kentucky.

It was so good to be back in Kentucky. The entire twenty-four hours we were in the ‘burbs, we felt like visitors in the past, even though we only left a week prior. Those feelings melted away once we hit the road. Quacking ducks outside our windows is home.

The foggy mist here is gorgeous. It’s slightly scary when you’re driving through it on rolling hills in the middle of the night (I kept expecting a ghost to pop out), but absolutely stunning in the early morning hours. Click here to see more photos I took of the horses in the early morning mist.

Oh, and something else I need to get used to: bats! At twilight, the deer walk out of the woods to graze in the pasture as the bats fly out of the trees, dipping and diving everywhere. They’re fun to watch. 🙂

So there it is. We’re here. We’re happy. Pieces still need to fall in place, but we don’t mind.

Our home is open to visitors! Come by anytime.

Much love.

NOTE: My computer died. I’ve been alternating between using the notes feature on my outdated iPad (works great but most apps won’t work because the iPad isn’t compatible with the recent iOS) and borrowing Jordan’s laptop to plug the notes into a blog post. I’ll get a new computer eventually…..

full-timing beginnings.

The last two weeks were more exhausting than we expected.

People keep asking us how RV life is. The truth is.. we haven’t been home much to enjoy it.

It’s weird: we’re already living in the RV, but we’re not yet away from our ‘old’ life. Kyle is still working, and we’re still kind of around (although we’re an hour away from Chicago), but we already said most of our goodbyes. It’s like we’re in two different worlds — the RV and then our life in Chicagoland. One more month until we leave Illinois. My head is already in Kentucky. I’m sad to leave people behind, but I’m ready to go. You can only say “goodbye” and “see you later” so many times. The next chapter is waiting…

If you’re interested, here’s a recap of our full-timing beginnings:

Sunday (June 1st- Moving Day!)

I didn’t wake up in a great mood on Sunday. My body ached, my head hurt, and my stomach was clenching with hunger pains. It took about two hours (including a momentary crying breakdown because I was upset about feeling this way) before the fog lifted and my mood elevated. Meanwhile, we were rushing, trying to clean up the last of our things and the mess from our goodbye party the night before. When noon rolled around, we were able to turn in our apartment keys. Our cars and the trailer were packed with our belongings and pets (no worries, the animals were in the car with me). We ran a couple errands ($90 to fill up the truck, ouch), picked up some lunch, and hitched up the trailer — which was sooo exciting! The hitch was only just installed a few days prior so we never actually hooked the trailer up yet and I was nervous that perhaps the truck wouldn’t be strong enough. But silly me, the truck was strong enough (although we’ve decided our next truck will be a diesel)! It was a very exciting moment when the trailer was pulled out of the parking lot! YAY! Our first stop was Kyle’s parents house, so we could fill the trailer tires with a little more air, and then it was onward to our first park — 45 miles west of Chicago. This place was home for two weeks.

When we arrived, we found a spot near a bathroom that was easy to pull in, unhitched, unpacked, cleaned, threw out all our melted cold food (we tried to save it!), went to the store to pick up some things, watched the rain, and crashed in bed around 10pm.

By the way, Kyle did a fantastic job towing the trailer. I’m proud of him. 🙂

Monday.

It was so fun waking up in the morning and walking outside to…. forest! The water wasn’t hooked up, so we were using the outhouses and water pumps for our cleaning needs. The weird thing about being in the RV at this point is that we’re both still working regular jobs. Leaving the park and heading back into the hustle and bustle of the Chicago ‘burbs was a bit disorienting, and, I admit, wasn’t a joy. In the evening, we figured out how to get the fridge and stove/oven to work. Yay! First cooked dinner in the RV: spaghetti. This was followed with a walk around the campground, scouting out a better location. After Sunday’s craziness, Monday night was just what we needed.

Tuesday.

That night, we moved the trailer to another spot — it was closer to a water source, close to bathrooms, large enough for the trailer and two vehicles, flatter/more stable, and a bit more private. It was very quick to pack up our stuff this time around, which was good so we could get used to picking up and going without feeling like we had to take all day to pack.

We were hoping to hook up the water but found a couple leaking spots in hoses. That had to wait, but it was nice to grill and watch the storm clouds roll in across the field.

Wednesday.

Wednesday was better. Severe thunderstorms were predicted; instead, we got a little bit of rain and sunshine the rest of the evening. I was able to leave work at 2pm and beat traffic….. went to my friend’s house to take a shower (it was marvelous — thank you, Jenny!) and relax, then back home to help Kyle figure out how to hook up the water. We encountered a leaky hose/pipe in the bathroom, so we couldn’t hook up the water yet. Sigh. 

 

Thursday.

Woke up to a gorgeous foggy morning!

And we finally got the water hooked up! Thanks to my father-in-law for helping us!!

That evening, we had our first guests — the girls from my ladies’ small group. Not only was it good to see them (as always), but it was cool to have friends sitting around my dining table, talking about life and God and everything in between. The place felt like home.

Friday – Sunday.

By Friday, I think we got the hang of everything and finally felt settled. The weekend was a whirlwind of weddings and birthday celebrations (I turned 28), and Eddie Izzard! It was a fantastic weekend that ended with four hours of sleep before work started on Monday.

Monday-Saturday (Week #2).

The second week was hectic with calm moments. The last day of school (work) arrived, as did dinners, parties, water leaking through the bedroom cabinets, credit card issues, a cold (who gets sick in June?? me, apparently), and so many car problems. My husband and I ended up selling our cars (my Alero and his Camaro) and purchasing a brand-new 2014 car (to be picked up in a few days). I am not thrilled with buying a new car and adding another debt, it was the best thing for us to do. Now we’re down to a truck and a new car with no issues and good gas mileage; it’s a burden that has been lifted from our shoulders. Our last night at the first campground, we were finally able to have a nice fire going and eat dinner outside. Oh, and the cats seem to have adjusted well to RV life! We did have issues with Zuka going to the bathroom on the doormat for a couple days, but we relocated the kitty litter and the issue has been fixed (for now).

Sunday (June 15th).

We left the campsite around 4pm and arrived at a new one around 5pm. It was a much smoother transition this time around! We found a pull-through spot, unhitched & unpacked quickly, and drove over to a roadside bar & grill a mile away for dinner. After the stress of everything, it was so good to sit with giant glasses of beer and yummy food. There was no where else we had to be. No bill that needed to be taken care of. No cars to fix. Just us.

The new campground is much quieter. Less people occupy the spaces (actually.. there’s only five RVs currently parked there) and the rural surroundings are peaceful. We also have a great sunset view for the next two weeks.

Monday.

The sun woke me up bright and early. I went for a quick bike ride through the preserve to find the lake. The bike ride was exhausting (I must be seriously out of shape), but finding the lake was marvelous. I spent the rest of the day alternating between watching episodes of Six Feet Under and reading a book outside in the sun with whatever drink I wanted in my mason jar. I also met a few of the other people living in the park, which was wonderful since I was starting to feel a little too lonely. After one day, I already like this park better than the last one we stayed in.

In the evening, we found out a couple more issues with things, so my husband and I are feeling a little bit overwhelmed at the moment with things beyond our control. The trailer is great, it just feels like nearly everything else is falling apart. I guess things can’t be perfect, eh? It will all be taken care of soon. Breathe…

Tuesday (today).

Nothing is planned for the next two weeks. I’m spending the day at my in-laws (huzzah for a long, warm shower and access to wifi!) before picking up my new car tonight. Then I hope to spend the next few weeks resting, being outdoors, exploring (there’s a neat house eight miles south of the park that I’m eager to check out), reading, and isolating myself from society a little bit. I hope my husband finds time to rest, too. He needs it even more than I do. Oh, how I am so thankful for this man.

Oh, and using coconut oil as ‘shaving cream’ is a lifesaver when you have a limited water supply!

There you have it, friends. The crazy start to our ‘new’ lives. Thank you for reading & cheering!

How have things been for you? 🙂