Wicked Wanderers

Chronicling the full time RV lifestyle of a young family

Category: 2016

Chapter 3: Movin’ on Out & Good-bye

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Eloise’s dollhouse shows how packing felt!

We started packing up our belongings and selling items locally and on line/ebay in March 2016. Our house was officially on the market in February. I had anticipated that I would have at least until summer to get all moved out so my packing pace was best described as ‘slow and steady’. Packing up a 3000+ square foot house to move into a 5th wheel was a daunting task even when you have helpers. Lucky for us (unlucky for me) our house was under contract starting in April and was sold by the end of May which significantly shortened my packing timetable and increased our packing anxiety! We decided to store a portion (read: tractor trailer sized amount) of our favorite belongings and items that were not selling at the price we wanted. I am not a pack rat (my husband may disagree) but we had a house FULL of items and I was not yet at the mental point that I could part with everything that we had worked so hard to ‘get.’ (What if we need those items in the future?) We did sell or give away a large amount of items and that was a good cleansing process in and of itself.

Empty house

Empty house

 

As we embark on this adventure we wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped us prepare along the way. A million thanks to those who helped us pack up our old home and set up our new home, who helped us make repairs and do installations, who were kind enough to store items for us, and of course those who babysat while we did all of those things. Of course we will miss Maine and will be back to visit next spring.

bye

Saying good-bye to Great Grammy!

 

Chapter 2: Mr. Fixit

We purchased our 2016 Dutchman Voltage 5th wheel in February from Camping World. We anticipated that some repairs would be necessary as we purchased it new and assumed there might be a few bugs to work out of it, however, we did not expect this many repairs. Kevin towed our rig from Augusta, Maine to the Camping World in NH for repairs 3 times from April to May! We will strongly consider buying used if there is ever a ‘next time.’ ☺

kevin-on-roof-with-ac

Kevin checking out what might be wrong with the AC unit

Noteworthy repairs to our brand new 5th wheel since we bought it: (in order of repair)

  • Refrigerator seal installed (it was missing the seal to keep the cold air in)—Repaired ourselves
  • Both bedroom slide walls replaced due to a leak from the windows being installed in the wrong spot
  • Replacement of some exterior caulking on a living room slide to fix a leak–Repaired ourselves
  • Livingroom ceiling roof trusses had to be reinforced due to a recall with a structural defect (This involved taking the ceiling in the living room down)
    • Livingroom A/C vents were collapsed after this repair, and required additional support to allow cold air to flow through– Repaired ourselves
  • Toyhauler/office A/C failed and replaced
  • Refrigerator Thermal safety controller failed and replaced–Repaired ourselves
  • Shower faucet replaced (leaky faucet causing leakage under the tub)–Repaired ourselves
  • Cable TV throughout the camper was re-wired due to poor terminations or mislabeling–Repaired ourselves
kevin-adding-batteries

Kevin upgrading the batteries

Upgrades we have added (more details on these to come):

  • Bathroom fan replaced and upgraded to have a rain cover
  • All locks replaced with unique keys (almost every camper in the industry ships with the same key)
  • Approximately 850Ah of 6volt AGM batteries added
  • 3000 Watt pure sign wave hybrid inverter
  • Pull out drawers added to all kitchen cabinets and pantry
  • Stackable Washer and dryer installed (externally vented)
  • Replaced the few incandescent bulbs with LEDs (most were already LED)

There are a few lingering non critical items that require repair but on the whole we are feeling like we can finally start to relax and enjoy our new home. (We have to admit that not mowing the lawn, going to the transfer station, and doing other yard maintenance does feel liberating however even a smaller house requires daily attention and care!)

 

 

Chapter 1: the Very Beginning

Our family, friends, and strangers have had many questions (once they got over the initial shock) and you might too. Here’s the first installment of our adventure.

Q: How did you decide one day to sell everything and move into a 5th wheel?

A: Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones, maybe it was the Maine January cabin fever, or maybe it was combination of these two these things. From my perspective one day Kevin and I were discussing our travels for my upcoming late summer maternity leave and he said “or we could just move into the camper.” We joked about it for a few days. Then we started watching YouTube videos of other people living the RV life style. Then we started researching RVs and campers. Before you know it we visited the Boston RV show and had made up our minds to give it a try. The stars were aligned and we knew if we didn’t take the opportunity now then we might miss our chance. Factors we considered: our daughter was not yet school age and we wanted to share our love of travel with her, we could make it work financially, I have always wanted to ‘stay home’ with the kids, we were getting tired of our daily routine/household chores and wanted to be outdoors more, and Kevin’s job was flexible.

Q: With so many campers and RVs out there how did you pick one?

A: We looked on line and in person at hundreds of different campers, 5th wheels, motor homes, all makes and models. We eventually decided on a 5th wheel so that we could have the freedom of unhooking and traveling more easily into town and a toy hauler so that we could customize the ‘toy’ area for Kevin’s office. With a young family we had a long list of criteria that were ‘must haves’: a tub for the new baby and Eloise, large dedicated office space for Kevin, a bunk or dedicated sleeping space for Eloise, space for washer/dryer hook up that was in the bedroom (not in Kevin’s office area), large pantry for feeding 4, dedicated living room for playing toys with ample floor space, and residential size gas/electric fridge for boon-docking. (Note: Boon-docking is camping off the grid without any hook-ups)

Q: Question from a 9 year old girl at our first campground: “What happened? Why do you live in a camper?”

A: Nothing happened. This is our personal choice for our family.

Q: Will you be gone forever?

A: Our travel plans will take us around the country but our heart is in Maine and as of right now, we plan to continue to summer in Maine each year.

Q: When are you leaving? Where are you going? What will your route be? How long will you be gone?

A: Stay tuned. Too many variables in that equation to answer with any real accuracy. What we do know is that the baby is due in August. We plan to stay in Maine until early October. We hope to make it to Florida and then over to the southwestern US by December/January. Our goal is to not be stressed and to take it one day at a time and enjoy the sites along the way. As for how long we do this: only time will tell!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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