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Uh Oh .. Winter Is Almost Here

Things were finally beginning to settle and we had some time to breathe. It suddenly hit me that winter was approaching fast and we weren’t fully prepared. Although we now have an enclosed, heated underbelly I wanted more protection against the potentially brutal Pennsylvania winter. If money wasn’t an issue we could have hired a company that does RV skirting and had it done quickly. We needed something that could be done in just a few weekends and wasn’t going to cost thousands of dollars. Then there was the insulation for behind the skirting, those things you stuff in the roof vents, a heated hose and what else did I miss? I looked for that money tree in the back yard, but couldn’t find it. I could have sworn it was there. My parents referred to it often when I was growing up. We’re living on the property I grew up on so it had to be somewhere. It must have died over the years.

Nights after work and dinner we’re spent researching materials, fasteners and reputable companies to purchase from. We decided on vinyl and Velcro. We decided on vinyl and velcro. I placed my order with Marine Vinyl and also ordered industrial grade Velcro. It took 2 full weekends to finish, but the skirting was on. And then it was coming off. The Velcro stuck to the trailer well, but wouldn’t stick to the fabric back of the vinyl. After trying numerous adhesives, Gorilla Constructive Adhesive worked.

We could feel the difference right away. It was much warmer, the drafts were gone, but it wasn’t quite warm enough for cold nights. Try to find more money for foam board. Another full weekend of measuring, cutting and trying to get it under the skirting. It certainly wasn’t the ideal way of doing it, but we didn’t have a choice. We had to do things as we got money. We planned on tucking the skirting under the foam board. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. We need something inexpensive that’s readily available. Bricks are less than $0.50 each and can be purchased everywhere. Now we’re the proud owner of 2 dozen bricks. It doesn’t look as nice as I wanted it to. It doesn’t look bad and it works well. We’re all set for winter…. almost.

It seemed that Greg was constantly running out to fill the 30 lb propane tanks. How difficult can it be to get someone to deliver a larger tank? It’s not a house, can’t service because the RV can move, we can service but won’t be able to get to you for a month. I heard it all. Then I found a local company that was more than happy to have us as a customer. Now we’re (finally) all set for winter!

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Camping Is One Thing…

But full time is an entirely different ballgame. As well built as the Outback is, it’s still not made for full time living. As we’d soon learn, a plethera of issues can crop up and it’s never at a good time.  This has been a huge learning curve for us. I joined numerous Facebook groups to learn as much as I could. Everybody has been very helpful.

A few weeks after moving in, we started having toilet issues. One of the first things I learned was you can never use too much water when flushing and the disasters that could follow if you don’t use enough. I think Greg was tired of hearing me tell him to use lots and lots of water every time he headed to the bathroom. I didn’t care how many times the septic guy had to come out, I didn’t want toilet issues. We lived in the other camper for 2 months without any issues so I was sure the issues we were having weren’t caused by us. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was there when we bought it considering the other issues we found in the trailer. Regardless of who, it seems like we had the dreaded “poop pyramid” and getting rid of it was going to be a huge problem. For several weeks we couldn’t use the toilet at all. Thankfully Mom was next door and she had a fully functional bathroom. Poor Greg was racking his brains trying to figure out new ways to clear the clog. He just couldn’t get a break. Someone on one of my forums suggested RidEx.  Several months later it’s still not 100%, but it’s functional. We have it down to a science now. Several times a week it gets snaked to loosen the clog, some boiling water and more RidEx.

I never used the oven in the other trailer. The stove heated the entire trailer up so badly I didn’t dare use the oven and I was enjoying using this one. I’d used it enough to overcome most of the challenges of a tiny propane oven. We were having Shake n Bake chicken for dinner. I lit the oven and there was a huge fireball at the back. I quickly turned it off and made sure everything went out. Fortunately it happened right before our 30 day warranty on propane appliances expired. The dealer was going to send someone out to fix it, but it wouldn’t be for a month.

Are the problems every going to end? How am I going to cook dinner every night with just a stove and microwave? And then it hit me that I wasn’t going to have an oven until after Thanksgiving.

 

All The Comforts of Home

Closets! I can’t believe we have bedroom closets and drawers! I no longer have to stand on the bed to get my underwear out of a plastic bin that’s stored in the overhead cabinet. Of all the lovely upgrades in our new home, for some reason I was most thrilled with the bedroom closets and drawers.

Maple cabinets throughout; carpet in the living room, dining area and bedroom; a much larger kitchen; an almost real sized refrigerator; 3 slides and a fireplace. We couldn’t believe how beautiful and roomy it is. The putting away and organizing begins again. Once everything was done, we had so much space left we could have more of our things here. Off to storage for hangers, more clothes, kitchen/cooking things.

My “office” was in the back where the 2 recliners were. I had a nice sized area and everything was out of the way. The kitchen table from the house became my desk. I had room for the filing cabinet and printer. I bought an office chair. No more sitting on the uncomfortable dinette bench and having to switch to a bar stool/kitchen counter when my battery ran low.

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I was sure organizing and making it “home would be an ongoing project. It’s so much more like a real home and not a camper. We’ve very happy with how things worked out.

Disappointment

Although Greg retired as of July 1st, he still hadn’t had a chance to enjoy it. Trying to settle in, get the storage unit organized, helping my Mom, taking the dog for a daily walk. The plan was for him to be able to ride is horse every day and at that point we hadn’t seen the horses for almost 2 months.

It was early September. We’d been in the trailer for about a month.  Nights were getting cool enough to need a bit of heat. We noticed the heater ran and ran, but we were still chilly. I started to become concerned about wintering in this if we weren’t warm in the fall. We were beginning to think they sold us the wrong trailer. On top of this the plastic edging on the counter started to peel away. We saw the bedroom wall paneling pop and buckle. The siding on the outside was seperating. Our brand new trailer was falling apart after a month! After talking to several people that new RVs much better than we did, we knew the salesman sold us the wrong trailer.

I called the dealer and spoke to the sale manager. He agreed we were sold the wrong trailer. He told us to come up to see what we’d be interested in. The dealer took back the original trailer, gave us our money back and got us into a 5th wheel. It took awhile to put everything together, but we were the thrilled new owners of a 2012 Sydney by Outback 10th anniversary edition. They even delivered it at no extra cost since we don’t have a 5th wheel hitch.

Ugh … now we have to move all of our belongs, as well as 3 cats and a dog again. In record time we got the last few things out of the old trailer while the new one was being set up. Traumatized the critters by having them hand out in crates in the yard for awhile, but they’ll get over it.

The Adventure Begins

In a 2018 Primetime Avenger ATI. It was certainly a relief to not be homeless, but a bit unsettling since we had no idea what RVs are all about.  Now that we have it, where are we going to park it? When I told my Mom what we did she immediately told me to park it at her place. She has 3 acres and can’t handle the work anymore.

At the end of July we had a 2 hour “how to use your new RV” course and we were sent on our way with our new home. Our adventure started with who’s going to tow this thing. Both of use are used to towing horse trailers, but the largest we’ve had attached was 20′. This was 33′ and weighed quite a bit more. It scared me and I bailed out of that job. An hour or so later our new home was parked at our new location. We had less than 2 weeks to be out of the house.

Mission accomplished! The 6 of us moved. The pup thought it was a great adventure. She had 3 acres to play on and oh so much to track. The cats were in shock. They went from a house with an upstairs to hang out all day to something they weren’t sure about. It was going to be a big adjustment, but we were together and we had a home.

A roof over put heads, food in our bellies and it’s better than a cardboard box

July 8, 2017 my phone rang. It was our landlord. He wanted to give us advanced notice they were getting divorced and she was going to be moving into the house we’ve lived in for 7 years. We had 30 days to move, but he’d work with us if we couldn’t find a place that quickly.  Happy retirement to my husband (July 1st) and Happy Birthday to me (July 9th). Fast forward a few days .. I get a call from their attorney. The landlords want to make sure they do everything correctly so he’s involved. A letter will be mailed stating we have until Aug 10th to vacate. If we don’t eviction proceedings would start. We aren’t to speak to the landlords directly from this point forward. Wow – that’s what I call working with us!

Let the scrambling begin! Packing, sorting for a yard sale, looking for a place to live. Searched online, newspapers, drove around, asked friends. The only thing we found in 2 weeks were a few 1 bedrooms they wouldn’t rent to 2 people. Any place that was expected didn’t allow pets. We had to make a decision within a few days and we were out of options.

I have a tendency to think outside of the box. At times, way outside. My brilliant idea …. buy a travel trailer to live in. My husband thought I was insane and quite frankly I started to wonder about myself. I told him we’d have a roof over out heads, food in our bellies and it’s better than a cardboard box. We’d also have our 3 cats and Beagle pup with us. With no other options, we drove to the local RV dealer to see what we could do. We had absolutely no idea what we were gettin into, but it was going to be an adventure.