Friday, March 24, 2017

Full-time RVing…Can I still Collect?

While reading comments and posts on RVing sites I’ve noticed that many refer to what they can’t have or do anymore/what they have to give up.  I wonder if they should reconsider the lifestyle?  As I’ve stated in previous Blogs we say that we can have and do anything we had in a traditional home just on a smaller scale.  Even collect “stuff” like souvenirs?  I say YES!  Remember the “smaller” scale!

I love baskets and had all sizes.  I still buy small ones which fit perfectly on the living room valance.  We were camp hosts at Rancheros de Santa Fe Campground and made some of these with the guidance of an Oklahoma Indian artist who stayed during Santa Fe Indian Market.DSCN9732

We have very little wall space so I buy small food-themed cards and frame them for my kitchen.  Blueberries from Maine, Tabasco from McIllhenny Company on Avery Island, Louisiana, Beignets and chicory coffee from CafĂ© DuMonde in New Orleans, chairs on Jordan Pond House in Acadia, Maine where they are known for their delicious popovers.  The little pewter basket is from Massachusetts.


A practical purchase in Alaska, which I use a lot, is this Ulu and small cutting board.  So handy!


GET added a Plexiglas shelf to this small niche making it a perfect place to display my small pots, basket and vases.   DSCN9722

We all like to have photos of our loved ones and in our bricks and mortar home we had large photos. In our RV home we have the same photos, just small.

The “Grands” Jorden, William, Stanley (waiting for Mary’s current photo)DSCN9739

Our Mom’s and our three kids, Kelle, Gary and Russ with spouses Joe, Vivian and Denise.


I’m going to try something new (for me anyway.) So far in our 22 years of full-timing I haven’t traveled with plants.  I found this little planter at a thrift store and have planted three small succulents.  Let’s see how they fare!DSCN9742

One of my true loves is reading (my Aunt Genevieve always said I grew up with my nose buried in a book!)  Nowadays I do most of my reading in my Kindle or Nook however, there is real joy in actually seeing books in a home, even a RV home. I have a small shelf which is my library. DSCN9747

(Of course, if you are a reader you know there has to be a hidden “stash” somewhere in the rig!)DSCN9753DSCN9756

People ask if we get tired of taking all of these things down everyday when we travel.  No, we don’t take them down!  I use what us Californians call “earthquake putty” everywhere so we are able to travel with everything quite intact.DSCN9740

So, you see, while it seems that I have a lot of things in my rig, by choosing “small” I am able to have a touch of everything I love!  It reiterates my theory that we full-timers don’t have to sacrifice what we care about in order to live the lifestyle!

Of course, a good plan sometimes goes awry…we like to visit college campuses and I have gotten quite carried away and collected A LOT of college sweatshirts which definitely DO NOT occupy a small space!DSCN9693

Oh well!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Full-time RVing…are you suited?

The other night we were talking to friends who are thinking about going full timing.  As expected, the conversation included questions about the type of RV they wanted and should they sell their house. We guided the conversation to an even more important subject:  before looking for an RV or putting that For Sale sign on your house consider whether you are really suited to life on the road.  There are lots of considerations but I think these three are pretty important.

  • Do you like each other, and I mean really like each other enough to exist together 24/7 in a very small space?  Traveling full time often involves spending most of your time and conversations with your partner.  GET and I  really do like each other and really like living together in a small space, however, once in awhile I have been known to suggest to him that he needs to get his lawn chair and take it to the beach for an attitude adjustment!  And he has been known to be needed somewhere for some unknown reason for a few minutes!  We also credit our success to having two TVs – one for sports and one for my home shows!
  • DSCN2489
  • Do you need to be living close to your children/grandchildren?  Full-timing is traveling and you often don’t see your loved ones for months at a time. Is hosting family Christmas and holidays in your home a priority?  We dearly love our three children and four grand's and spending time with them, however we don’t feel we need to be underfoot most of the time.  Christmas may be the one time I sort of wish we still lived in a traditional house BUT we have managed to have memorable family Christmas’.  Several years here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca we hosted Christmas in the Suites with all of our family and included other full timing friends. We used one of the hospitality suites which the kids thought was very cool indeed! And last Christmas was spent at our son’s new home-changing of the guard?

Friends and family in the suites



    Christmas in the Suites a few years ago:  Us, our three kids and their spouses, Sheila, the four grand’s and Dulee (little white Bichon)

    • How about REALLY downsizing your “stuff”---your nice big workshop and tools, your wonderful sewing and craft room, even your clothes and shoes, YES your shoes? No question about it you will not have space for ALL of these in your RV BUT…one of our mottos is we have everything we ever had in a large home just not quite as much of it. (the shoes thing is a challenge for me!)  I still have my sewing machine and crafts area, we each have our own laptops and GET has all of the tools he needs/wants in the toolbox in the bed of our truck.

    My craft/sewing supplies area-two cabinets and two drawers –quite sufficient!  Would love to share GET’s tool box but the truck is in the shop!DSCN9678

    A few years after we started full timing I read an article which included a quiz to determine if you were suited to the lifestyle.  I only remember one of the questions.  Do you prefer to read magazines about:

          1. RV maintenance
          2. Hiking
          3. Fashion

    I answered #3, which they said indicated that I would not be suited!  Yes, I love fashion magazines and, after 22 years I would guess that I am quite suited to RV living!

  • Sunday, February 19, 2017

    Full time Rvers-Back to the Beginning…1992

    Last week I joined a new Facebook group, RV to Freedom-Learning to Live in an RVThe enthusiasm of this group of old, new and potential fulltime RVers bought back many memories of our twenty-two plus years on the road.  When several asked if I have a blog I went back through my posts and see just how much I’ve written about our beginnings….I found pretty much nothing!  I’ll fix that!  Of course, I didn’t have a Blog until 2003.  WHY?  Blogging did not exist in 1992!  (Lots of full-timing amenities didn’t exist in 1992; I’ll tell you about those in a coming post.)

    Although we officially started full-timing on November 2, 1994, our experience actually began in 1992.  Unbeknown to the other, each of us had been thinking about how fun it would be to buy another RV and travel the country for awhile.  We finally had a coming together moment: “You’ve been thinking of traveling again? So have I!” 

    The very next day we started researching what we would feel comfortable in for both living and traveling. We had sold our Itasca Class A two years earlier and previously owned Class C motorhomes so we were familiar with the features of the motorhome type of RV.

    3rd-1973 Enterprise4th-1977 or 78 Tioga

    5th-1984 Itasca

    Initially we had a pull-trailer in mind but a RV salesman suggested we consider a fifth wheel. The main point he made was that a fifth wheel has more stability while towing since it sits in the bed of the truck rather than on a ball hitch.  We have chosen to stick with fifth wheels--in fact we are now in #8 since we started full-timing.  

    As fate would have it, just a few weeks later, an acquaintance mentioned that she wanted to sell her older fifth wheel and wanted someone to take over the balance of payments.  It had a dated interior but we saw the potential and a week later it was parked in our driveway where we re-carpeted it.  Later that month we were moved in and parked in a nearby RV park. 

    As you may notice in the photo below we didn’t have a tow vehicle. (seeing the Corvette beside our 5th wheel someone in the RV park asked how we travel.  Very seriously Gary told them that we just remove the T-tops, drop the fifth wheel hitch in and away we go!)6th 1985 Komfort-before we had a truck

    We tore out the booth dining table and replaced it with a table and chairs, (we were ahead of the times-now it seems that booths are pretty rare) sent the jackknife sofa out to be re-upholstered, I made curtains, we bought new mini-blinds and added a recliner.  A 12” TV sat on the little countertop. I fashioned the side table from a basket topped with a piece of glass. (if this looks a bit dated, remember that this was 1992!)

    1985 Komfort remodel

    In the bedroom we replaced the bed, mini-blinds and linens, painted the walls ice blue and I sewed gathered valances and a Warm Window shade over the window at the head of the bed.1985 Komfort remodel

    Our goal was to embark on our new lifestyle debt-free (not sure if the term full-time RVers existed at the time, but we were not aware of it.  We just planned to travel) so we continued working for about a year, me as Administrative Manager for United Way and Gary in mortgage banking.

    We were ready to hit the road!  OH NO WE WEREN’T!  After completing all of the remodeling and financial planning we still didn’t have a truck.   We were having a hard time giving up our Corvette so decided to go on a road trip to Washington to visit Don and Lee.  While we were there Gary and Don found our first truck:

    1995-Komfort and brown duelly truck

    We were set to go on the road!  And so we did, November 2, 1994.

    Every year on November 2 we have a “meeting” to take a vote on whether we should continue with the fulltime RVing lifestyle and every year (approximately 22 times) the “vote” has been yes.

    Saturday, December 24, 2016

    Merry Christmas 2016

    Haven’t written for awhile so I’ll share this year’s Christmas newsletter.  Previously, I have utilized a two-sided 8-1/2’X11” format but decided to this year to make a half-fold card which turns out to be four smaller pages. 


    1994-pg 1This 1994-pg 2is my letter from 1994, our first year of full time RVing.
















    Front page.

    Can you guess why it is 54th edition? (No, I haven’t done a newsletter every year for 54 years!)



    Inside left side which is page 2:

    2016-inside left

    Inside right side which is page 3:

    2016-inside right

    Back page:2016-back (2)

    And, from both GET and I,  I will say it again:

    We wish you health, love, blessings and joy!

    Sunday, June 19, 2016

    Filling a (Red Cross) need:

    When we are not on the road seeing the country in our 5th wheel we are parked at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California where Gary is Track Rental Supervisor and I do Sound Control decibel testing and race marshaling.



    Course Marshals generally use these seven safety flags at auto and motorcycle racing events:


    We recently ordered all new flags from Dynamic Dezigns.


    A white flag is displayed by the Course Marshal when an emergency vehicle, i.e. ambulance, enters the race track although at times a Red Cross flag is requested.

    We were in need one more of these white flags with a red cross so I made one!

    First, I found a spare white flag


    Then, using a newspaper (in case you are wondering, it is the Monterey Herald) I cut out a cross pattern…


    which I used to trace and cut out two from red ripstop from my fabric stash. (actually my Mom’s stash)


    I used permanent fabric bond to adhere red cross to one side and then, on the reverse side, carefully aligned the second red cross to the  first and applied fabric bond to it. (I forgot to take a photo of this process!)DSCN9205

    An hour or so of drying time and I had a quite serviceable flag.


    A fun and useful project and I didn’t even need my sewing machine!

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

    Life in a small space & missing buttons. . .

    ”dig” out my sewing machine or choose manual labor with a needle & thread?

    I absolutely love our full-time RVing lifestyle and living in a 429 square feet space. There very few aspects of living in a house that I miss but I do dearly miss my sewing room!  My precious 1969 Elna sewing machine was always ready and waiting for me to do large and small projects, like replacing buttons.elna sewing machine

    Replacing a button with the sewing machine is so quick and easy EXCEPT when it comes to digging into the back of my closet to retrieve the Elna and then making room for it somewhere in our rig, most likely in the way.

    See the Elna in its Navy carrier surrounded by my clothes and buried under other bags in the back of my closet?  TOO much trouble to bother with for a few buttons!DSCN8431

    So I’ll do it by hand!  Do you know how to replace a button using a needle and thread?  I do!

    Of course the original buttons got lost so out came my zippered button bag and I dumped them out to pick out the correct size and color.DSCN8435

    Buttons all selected so I’m ready to go.

    Thread needle and knot at the end. Bring thread and needle up through the back of the garment and back down through a hole to the back, then back up through a third hole and back down keeping the thread loose.  Slide a straight pin through the two threads and continue to sew the button. The straight pin is serving to add space between the button and the garment, making it easier to fasten.


    End the procedure by bringing the needle up through the fabric behind the button.  Then wrap the thread 3 or 4 times around the back of the button to fashion a shank.20151012_134641

    Finish up with the needle and thread on the back side of the garment.20151012_134756

    Knot the thread and clip it off with scissors.


    And there it is…a neatly sewn button replacement on my favorite shorts!20151012_135029

    And I did it two more times: my silk Chico’s pants and GET’s favorite cargo shorts:




    After replacing three buttons by hand I thought about how much time this had taken and then about how long it would have taken to simply set up my sewing machine and quickly use a zigzag stitch to replace the three buttons. 

    Ummm…the machine route may have been faster in the long run!  But, digging into my closet and then getting the Elna wedged back into the corner afterward…maybe it really is too much hassle?

    Life in a small space=compromise.