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Lessons Learned After Five Weeks on the Road

Wow – five weeks in the motor home traveling from North Carolina through South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, lingering in Louisiana and then back home to North Carolina. Although the great majority of our days were sunny, temperatures ranged from a high of 72 to a low of 10 or was it 7?

Fortunately my husband and I not only love each other but we like each other and for the most part enjoy the same things. Once in a while we will do something that one or the other is not interested in but that doesn’t cause any problems. For instance when we visited Delta Music Museum I thoroughly enjoyed it but after 15 minutes Jerry was done. Instead of complaining or urging me to hurry up he just found a seat, pulled out his phone and began to read on his kindle app. Lesson One – don’t even plan to spend several weeks traveling in a motor home, even one 40 feet long if you can’t get along with your spouse. I can’t imagine being cooped up with a fractious person.

Lesson Two – watch the weather! As I said for the most part we had good weather but as we were returning to North Carolina we ran into bitterly cold weather and we were not quite prepared for it.

Lesson Three – Do Not leave home without a full tank of propane. We had never heated with the furnace before at least not for very long. Our heat pump had always been adequate however heat pumps don’t work when the temperature drops below anywhere from 30 to 40 degrees depending on your heat pump. After setting up in Pinnacle I couldn’t get the heat pump to come on and after an initial full fledged panic we remembered that but realized that we had only a fourth of a tank of propane. We rationed our heat very conservatively, in fact probably too much so but since this was our first experience with this we didn’t want to run out. Mostly we used the fireplace and a space heater (it was safe) but the last night out in Pinnacle the temperature dropped to somewhere around 7. When the furnace finally came on it was 55 in the coach and folks that’s cold! Also, the campground had asked us to turn off the water each night which was a little aggravating but doable, however in doing that we were not able to keep a faucet dripping so three mornings we had no water when we got up. Luckily Jerry had fixed the coffee the night before!

Lesson Four – Again, watch the weather. After a little nagging Jerry finally brought us a weather radio even though we have weather apps on our phones and iPads. We had never used it until this trip when suddenly we were in a tornado watch. We turned it on until all was safe. Know what county you are in because the alerts go by counties or since we were in Louisiana, parishes.

Lesson Five – have a contingency plan as best as you can. We had talked about what we would do if we were traveling and something happened at home, for example if something happened to Mom. Thinking we were preparing for that unfortunate circumstance we bought a suitcase and decided to keep it under the bed. It’s empty thus adding little weight to the rig and it would enable us to fly home if necessary. Prior to that we only traveled with a laundry basket and I don’t think the airlines would approve that. That plan sounds really good in theory but it isn’t realistic. Jerry is a retired principal and while we were on this trip one of “his teachers” suddenly lost her husband. One of my lifetime friends lost her husband and I just couldn’t be there. Jerry and I discussed it and decided that if we had been close enough to return home in a day we would have just left the coach parked and driven the car home. As it was we were over 1000 miles away and it was impossible to return home for a day. Further discussion ensued later in the week as to where we draw the line and I guess it will just be a decision we make when the time comes. Our longest trip had been three weeks and within 600-700 miles from home and fortunately we had not faced this issue before. I asked Jerry if these bad events – and there were more, I just mentioned two – occurred with rapidity when we were home or were we just more aware since we were away. No answer to that question.

Lesson Six – research and research and research campgrounds before deciding. We stayed in some very nice campgrounds but a couple I wouldn’t stay at again. Our most expensive campground had no cable and weak Wi-Fi until there was no Wi-Fi and a call to the office indicated they had no idea what was going on and quite frankly they weren’t quite as concerned as I would have liked them to be. Several people had recommended that campground as it was right on the Mississippi and you could watch the barges go by. Since we live on a river and frequently see them go by that really shouldn’t have been a high priority for us and shouldn’t have entered into my decision. In all honesty though there wasn’t a lot to pick from in that area.

Lesson Seven – if you don’t have cable and are depending on your Dish don’t park under a tree! We did and Jerry ended up watching the Super Bowl on his iPad – fortunately we still had Internet at that point.

Lesson Eight – Always keep extra gallons of water. Since we don’t travel with our water tank filled we decided to keep a couple of gallon jugs of water in each bathroom. As I stated earlier the campground asked that we turn off the water at night. Since the temperature was so frigid and the wind was blowing at 20 mph we had to turn it off early to avoid a trip out later at night. That meant washing my face and brushing my teeth before bed was a bit more challenging.

Lesson Nine – Be flexible. We were scheduled to stay at one campground four days and we enjoyed the campground and the people so much we extended our stay for eight days! We deleted one whole leg of our journey but that was OK! I have heard that RVers write their plans in jello!

Lesson Ten – Eat out when you can get local delicacies but don’t break the bank. Eating in is good too! Without a doubt we ate our way through Louisiana taking advantage of all local cuisines.

Ok – One more –
Lesson Eleven – Enjoy and when it’s time to go home, go. For us part-time travelers right now there’s no place like home and family.

4 thoughts on “Lessons Learned After Five Weeks on the Road”

  1. Very good lessons learned! We’ve been part time RV’ing for almost 10 years. We usually don’t have reservations for every day of our trip so being flexible is very important to us. Also, no matter how much research you do you can’t always believe reviews of RV parks. Everyone has a different view of what makes a great park. I have found that talking to other RV’ers or readiing RVing blogs is a great way to find out about good campgrounds. We stay in many state parks and Corps of Engineers parks with just water and electric hookups and have gotten very good at conserving water. For us the WiFi is not such a big issue. We use my cell phone for a WiFi hotspot when we need to. My husband is very good at getting a DirecTV signal with our satellite dish! And yes, it is always good to come home!

    Safe travels and happy trails!

  2. Lessons 1,2,4 well all of it are lessons we also learned as we journey. We have been on the road for four years with no stick home to go home to. But we are enjoying our travels and so far we have not tried to kill each other yet 🙂

    1. I find that I really enjoy being with my husband when we travel and miss him when we’re home because we’re so busy going different ways. Another reason I hate to see a trip end!

  3. We’re learning more about COE parks and hope to be using them plus the state parks even more in our travels. It surely saves a lot of money. We also use Passport when we can plus the usual 10% discount clubs. Headed to Perry, Ga next month.

    Safe travels to you and perhaps we’ll meet up along the road somewhere.

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