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How To Become Full-Time RVers - The Year We Became Gypsies
I have never claimed to be sensible. My husband and I have changed our direction at the drop of a hat, on the spur of a moment, or on a wing and a prayer so to speak. This may be a consequence of experiencing more than our share of life’s unexpected tornadoes – although I doubt it. We do think things through - but only to a point. If we really want to get on a brand new bandwagon, the little negatives we come upon get glossed over and every little thing comes up smelling like roses. One prime example would be the year we became gypsies.
In The Beginning
Life was good. We were living in a lovely three bedroom, ranch-style home which sat on a large treed lot and was surrounded by flowers, shrubbery and spacious lawn. Because our home was in a natural setting we were regularly visited by birds, deer, squirrels, bear, and a few other assorted outdoor friends. Everyone thought we would enjoy a happy retirement in our little piece of paradise – and so did we.
The trouble began when a good friend bought a Class A motor home. Of course they wanted to show it off so we were treated to a tour through their little palace on wheels. It was an older model but we could see it had absolutely everything a person could want. At that time we knew nothing about motor homes. We didn’t know they came in different models, so our friends explained that “class A” meant that the driver’s seat is part and parcel of the home - just like a bus.
They took us for a spin and I must admit I was a little nervous. There we were, barreling down the highway in the company of a fridge, a stove, and a bathroom for goodness sake, and the whole thing seemed huge! We couldn’t imagine driving something that big. Or could we?
After taking their rig out on a few camping trips our friends came home bubbling over with excitement. They couldn’t say enough about the comfort and convenience of traveling in their motor home. They also had a little Jack Russell terrier and apparently she settled right in. After listening to their non-stop tales of camping in style we thought it would be smart to take a look at a used model.
“We’re just going to look,” we both vowed. “We’re not really sold on the idea at all.” And off we went to the dealership.
Have I mentioned that we are not all that sensible?
Accessorize - We Must Accessorize!
We left the dealership with a thirty-two foot 1995 Triple E Commander. It had one very small slide-out, a bathroom with separate shower, a comfy bedroom, two televisions, a fridge, stove, and quite a few cupboards. The décor was nice and it was well-kept for a ten year-old model. We were thrilled!
My husband found our coach fairly easy to drive. I quietly and calmly pointed out that we were not supposed to be driving in the break-down lane and that tree branches were better left on the trees! He quietly and calmly explained that it was very difficult to judge just where on the road the house should be. It only took a few days for my voice to come back to normal and the little pink pills calmed me down quite quickly! He couldn’t take pills – he was driving.
To enjoy fine camping, your basic North American camper must be well equipped with supplies. Coordinating sheets, blankets and towels should be purchased along with dishes, pots and pans, forks and knives, various cooking utensils and, of course, food. Also included are two or three small lamps for lighting as well as for ambiance, a duvet or bedspread with matching pillows, a nice painting or two, stylish clock, a pretty kitchen rug, matching kitchen towels - and don’t start me on bathroom accessories! Oh and we needed a new scratching post and litter box. The old ones didn’t match my colour scheme. Did I mention we’d be living in 256 square feet with three cats?
For some reason, friends do not often call me Sensible Carol.
All Rigged Out
The next order of business was the purchase of a tow bar. It seems that achieving a camping destination in a motor home is not enough. After arrival we must pay for our site, put the stabilizing jacks down, plug into electricity, extend our slide-out, extend the awning, lock everything up, and jump in the car for a little sight-seeing. For this all important ritual you need a car and the car has to be towed. This will automatically add several hundred dollars to the cost of camping and quite a few more feet to your wagon train!
Now that we were well equipped we had to decide on our first destination. We could choose a spot on the Washington coast, a pretty village in the Okanagan, or a visit to Vancouver Island. All of these destinations could easily be reached in a day and were fairly familiar to us. But winter was close and the weather forecast predicted rain and chilly temperatures.
Did I mention that we are not all that sensible?
The Plot Thickens....
We chose Arizona for our inaugural run - a mere 2,400 kilometers away! Our kids and grandkids waved goodbye and off we went on another fine adventure. We planned ahead and picked several places to stop on our way south. Along the way we met several very nice people who were also headed for a warmer climate. Some took their time and meandered for a few weeks. Others had that crazy-eyed
gotta-get-there look on their faces. Because we believe it really is the journey and not the destination that counts, we chose to meander.
Eventually, after getting lost only once, we found ourselves in a lovely RV park near Phoenix, Arizona. Here we met a couple who, astonishingly, were from our small hometown. These people had dozens of hilarious stories to tell about their travels around Canada and the United States. It turned out they lived full-time in their large trailer. They had sold their home, bought a larger rig, and headed off into the wild blue yonder. Hmmmm......
Did I mention that we are not labeled as sensible people?
Winter passed quickly. We learned where rattlesnakes hide and that Christmas can be equally wonderful in sand or in snow. We learned that litter-boxes could smell like the dickens but that a blend of essential oils and quick clean-out time solves the problem nicely. I also learned that most RVers spend a great deal of their day socializing outside their motor home and that living in a small space means less housework and more leisure time. I liked this way of life and so did my husband.
The time soon came to make the leisurely trek northward. Both my husband and I were mulling over the idea of becoming “full-timers” and wondered if we could enjoy living solely in a motor home. We decided to base our decision on how we felt when we were back in our home. I suppose most people would make this type of a decision based on sensible long-term monetary grounds. We knew we would want a bigger motor home if we made this life style change and we couldn’t afford to have both a house and a larger, more luxurious coach. We also knew, based on experience, that the scripts we write for our lives are not guaranteed. Careful plans and expectations can change in the blink of an eye. With all this in mind we headed for home.
Have You Ever Gone Camping in a Motorhome?
We arrived in the middle of a rainstorm. The grass needed mowing, the gutters needed cleaning and the fence was definitely leaning. As we walked through our front door I waited for that warm, cozy feeling that says “Ahhh.....Home!” I waited and then I waited some more. Nothing. No deep-seated need for sturdy walls or spacious bedrooms. No rekindled romance with the fireplace and the TV room and definitely no deep-seated desire to scrub infinite floors or walls of windows.
I looked at my husband and he looked at me. Instantly I knew what we would do – and damned if we cared if it was sensible or not!
To make a long story short, we sold our house and bought a beautiful forty foot Triple E Empress Elite with four slides. The dishwasher was rather small but I thought I could manage.
The life of a Gypsy is not for everyone; however we thoroughly enjoyed several hilarious, crazy, fun-filled years in our home on wheels.
But that’s another story.......