We were boondocking (free dry camping) in Buckeye, AZ when we moved into our new camper. We parked our toyhauler right next to our new (to us) 5th wehel. Kevin had to get right back to work since he had been gone for days and days looking at the rusty 5th wheel in Wisconsin and then driving up to Oklahoma and bringing the nicer 5th wheel down to Arizona. I was tasked with packing up and orchestrating moving the majority of all our junk over. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit in a 42 foot camper!
Our friends the Thomas’ (Erica and Johnnie) have 6 kids living with them from age 15 to 5 (translation: they can all move and lift things). It was just want we needed. It took us about 7 to 10 days to pack everything up and move it over. All our things had a carefully selected spot in our toyhauler and needed a carefully selected spot in the 5th wheel too. You can’t just throw it in; you’ll never find it when you need it.
Kevin and Johnnie moved our solar system over to the new camper including all 10 panels and 4 batteries. Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to the dishwasher and bathtub: two things we will really miss in our new home. Of course my good friends washer and dryer were coming. Our tiny electric golf cart was sold. The camper came with an empty bedroom so Kevin custom cut Ikea bunk beds to fit the girls room. Our days and nights were busy. There were only a handful of things that we decided to part with and everything else was loaded in.
All told we stayed with the Thomas’ for 6 weeks. That’s the longest we had ever stayed in one spot and the longest we’d ever traveled with another family. We had glow stick dance parties with them. We fought off the Africanized bees in Arizona with them. We shared our Thanksgiving meal with them. We watched them get pulled over by the cops. (lol) We went to the Phoenix zoo and to see Santa at the mall with them. We went to a drive through Christmas light display with them. Eloise and Eliza played with them every day, all day and really enjoyed their company.
In the middle of all of this both of our families traveled about 45 minutes away to Tonopah, AZ for the fulltime families boondocking rally. It just so happened that Erica and Johnnie were hosting the official event (i.e. volunteered to put the schedule together, do all the planning and prep, and then pull it off!–suckers). There were about 10 families who attended and we all had a great time.
The kids did compass readings, geocaching, a glow stick party, an outdoor movie night, celebrated a birthday, took a day hike, made dream catchers, we had potlucks, and enjoyed each others company around the campfire each night. Its so great to meet up with and connect with other fulltime families on the road. As a side trip after the rally 14 of us (4 adults and 10 kids) hiked up Saddle Mountain where a tarantula hawk nearly made me jump off a cliff! (I hate bees and this is one mother of a stinger!) The trail is so steep and crumbly that at one point Kevin had 2 kids strapped to him! haha!
Before October, we had first met the Thomas’ at another family rally in Tuscon a year ago. We enjoyed their humor and stories. It was there that they noted they were headed to Poland, Maine that summer so we knew we had to meet up with them there. When we were deciding what to do about our broken toyhauler we knew that Arizona was the best place to sell it and move due to the temperate weather. How lucky that they were in Buckeye (right outside of Phoenix) and were going to be there for several months! We asked if we could camp with them and they welcomed us in. They have been such a blessing to meet on the road and their friendship will not be forgotten. This is getting a little sappy for the daily sarcasm Erica and I shared but bottom line is that we had a fabulous time with them and parting was such sweet sorrow.