Wicked Wanderers

Chronicling the full time RV lifestyle of a young family

Category: 2019

Chapter 47: 1,553 Miles but Who’s Counting?

Winter was just around the corner for Maine and we were ready to go. We left Maine on Oct 12 and were headed to Myrtle Beach for a fulltime family Halloween themed rally. We stopped in Pennsylvania for a few nights at Gettysburg Farm campground to take a break from travel. This campground was part of a working farm which was neat for the girls to see and pet the animals. Weather in Pennsylvania was becoming cooler too and we were ready to find greener pastures but first we happened to find the perfect used 2-door Jeep for us. (We will tow this behind our camper some times and sometimes I will drive it behind Kevin but having a second vehicle was the goal) We left Pennsylvania at night and I drove the Jeep with Eliza snoozing in the back and Kevin drove the big truck with Eloise napping in the top bunk in the sleeper cab. We drove all the way to Myrtle beach.

The rally was held at Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach and we had never really paid to stay at a massive resort-style campground before. It was interesting. While we enjoyed the amenities of a large pool, arcade, beach access, store, etc. and had fun playing with all the other families attending however neighbors were close and navigating the campground with our huge truck/camper was also a challenge. We had a fun time and the week went by fast. There was a Halloween costume contest and our family all dressed up as ‘truckers’ as the big truck was new to us. (No, we did not win but got plenty of laughs.) We left there with several new friends we knew we would meet up with again later down the road.

Our next stop was a pit-stop near Daytona Beach for a few nights on our journey down to the keys. We pulled in and it appeared it had just stopped raining. Sweet! We had no idea we had just missed a monsoon so when we pulled onto the lawn for our pull-through site we sunk in up to the hubcaps and had to call a giant tow truck. Bummer. A fun way to top off our travel day.

Our reservation at Sunshine Key RV Resort was from Nov 1 to Nov 30 and while we enjoyed our time there a month was a little much for us. (We typically only stay a couple weeks in any given area but got a super discount to stay here longer as it was directly hit by the last hurricane and they were still rebuilding.)

While on Sunshine Key we visited Key West several times (once to meet my parents who were stopping there on a cruise), swam in the pool daily, watched one day of the Superboat International Speed Boat Races, visited the turtle hospital, enjoyed the splash-pad and playground in Key West three times, went out to Sunset Grille a few times with friends, kayaked around the RV park, explored tide pools, and tried to relax and enjoy the slower pace of island life.

During our time in the Keys we celebrated Halloween and our little bumble-bee (Eloise) and fairy (Eliza) had a blast walking around the neighborhoods on Big Pine Key. They take Halloween seriously down there in the Keys and had full snacks/cookies/hotdogs?! for the kids and drinks (wine/cans of beer up to full kegs for adults haha). It was interesting to say the least! We packed up just before the really hot Keys weather came and we headed north up for a visit with the mouse!

Chapter 46: The New Truck

Kevin had been searching for the ‘perfect’ used big rig truck for months. He wasn’t liking how our GMC dually was pulling the 5th wheel and we had recently learned that our heavy trailer was borderline too heavy for our GMC. Since we knew we weren’t likely to majorly downsize any of our items in our trailer to save any significant amount of weight we knew the only solution was a different truck: a bigger truck.

The truck that checked off all the boxes for Kevin was, of course, about 3,000 miles from Maine down near Phoenix, AZ. The truck is a single axle Volvo VNL 670 Semi (HDT) truck with a D13 engine. It started life as a commercial truck, then about a year ago had been purchased by a cowboy for towing his rodeo trailer. The cowboy had retrofitted it to have a gooseneck flatbed and removed the factory hitch. Kevin and his dad (Kevin) flew out, had the truck professionally inspected and shared driving it back up to Maine over a long weekend, in true “trucker” style.

First Rest Stop!

The truck was parked at Kevin’s moms house in Lisbon where his step-dad Greg owns an auto shop. It was there that together for the next 4 weeks they transformed the truck into exactly what we needed. They built a large cargo box, transformed the hitch from goose neck to 5th wheel. The truck was washed, cab interior was thoroughly cleaned, a dinette table was added (that still turns into a bed), paint touched up, 6 new tires, new driver and passenger side seats. A lot of preventative maintenance work was also performed.

The Final Product

While Kevin was working 24/7 on the truck Emma and the girls cleaned the interior of the truck, visited family and friends and focused on getting ahead on school work. They did pumpkin carving with Grammie E and Grampy Kevin, visited a fair with Grammie Carol, and enjoyed fall in Maine. Before we left Maine we sold the old truck and enjoyed one last meal with family.

Chapter 45: Maine!

They were long days but we finally made it back up to Maine. One final road in Massachusetts  just before we got back onto I-95 was bumpy. Really bumpy. We had been on rough roads before but this was bad. Our newly upgraded trailer suspension had been giving us amazingly smooth rides so we shocked how bouncy both the truck and trailer felt all of a sudden.  We shrugged it off.  We kept going. Finally, we made it. We were happy and unpacking so of course it was time for something to go wrong. I was opening our final slide and it just wouldn’t go out. I summoned Kevin. He wasn’t happy.  After much deliberation it was decided that something had fallen and was preventing the slide from opening. It was the kids room. We could barely get the door to their room open (it opens about 8 inches with that slide in) so we couldn’t see what it was that was stopping it from opening. Kevin took the door and frame off and noticed it just wide enough to maybe get a kid in there. Eloise was volunteered. She was boosted up on top of the slide and with a cell phone and took a photo of what was in the way. She was able to push the junk that had fallen out of the way enough so we could get the slide open. Turns out that on a big bump one of our cabinet doors had opened spilling toys down. The half-open door got caught as the slide was opening and broke in two. Fun. At least it was open and we didn’t have to break a window to get in!

We settled in our moochdocking spot and were glad to be visiting with family in Maine. Kevin and his Dad started working on home improvement projects (including fixing all the broken pieces from the broken cabinet door).  Then he had several work commitments that required him to go into the office. Needless to say he was crazy busy and we didn’t see much of him. The girls and I focused on school homework and visiting family. Also somewhere along our trip North we had picked up a nasty respiratory virus which I had for over a month! (I’m sure working nights didn’t help my recovery tho)

We stayed in Maine from June to October. We moved around the state every 2 weeks visiting all of our family from both sides. Some highlights: the girls’ joint birthday party at a state park, my brother’s wedding in New York to Auntie Caitlin, music concert and activities at the KOA with Grammie Carol and Grampie Greg, playing with Memere and Bompah at Moms camp, mini golf with Uncle Bub and Auntie Caitlin, playing toys with Grampie Kevin and Grammie Verla, canoeing down the Saco river like Pirates, sleep over with Nanny Sherry and friends, visiting our  stationary friends Chase, Cayleigh, Connor, Grant, Lydia, Lucas, and our fulltime family friend Caellum. Our time always goes fast when we’re in Maine!

Birthday Time!

We were scheduled to leave Maine in September, before the cool weather hit. Just then Kevin found just what he was looking for: our new tow vehicle!

 

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