If you have missed up until this point, we have spent the last year putting all sorts of things in place in order to travel full time in our RV. I have been amazed at what we have figured out and accomplished in that time. I have never personally been so busy in my entire life. I am not complaining at all, I am actually very grateful and would not change any of it. But, it’s hard to really relate to others what the heck is going on in your life or what that mountain has really looked like. Ed has said it was like eating an elephant, and that’s the best description that probably could be made.
It has brought he and I closer. When you are working so hard to make a shared dream come true there is a reliance, a deeper appreciation, and shared victories and defeats. I also think there is a lot more communication and co-exploration of each other’s inner worlds because you are both experiencing such big changes and risks that not many of our close family and friends can really grasp.
We are on month 7 of purging in our house. We are down to mostly just needing to distribute items promised to family and friends. We are trying to sell my car. I can’t remember a time since I have been 16 that I didn’t have a job or a car, and for most of my life I think I would have seen that as a failure. And, since I was 20 I have mostly been a homeowner as well. Redefining what I think of as success hasn’t been hard though, I feel alignment with my path in my heart.
We installed our Solar Power System
As mentioned in some of my earlier posts we needed to make some decisions on how to lower our camping site costs. We have done a few memberships – Harvest Hosts, Escapees, Passport America to name a few. However, solar will allow us to do some boondocking and also many parks that have limited hookup options, which are typically cheaper.
We investigated having someone do this for us, but the labor cost was $5,000. Ed can pretty much do anything, he has a strong electrical background, has installed security systems in major resorts and malls. We decided instead to hire a consultant ($150) to help us design our system. Our son in-law is an engineer and got us some drawings together on his CAD system to actually lay out where the panels on top would go.
We have installed six 410 watt panels, and three 24 volt batteries, 170 amp hours each.
So far, we have been very impressed in our testing of the system. Ed ran one
of the air conditioners for 5 hours and the batteries were at 68 percent. It
took about an hour and a half to get it back to 100 percent.
The downside in all this is the weight. This system cost us 800 pounds. We
are at a 21,000 pound limit due to the axels on the RV. The truck can tow
35,000 pounds, but we still have to be mindful of what the RV can handle. We
are in the process of moving into the RV and getting the truck ready and in a
week or two we will go and weigh both and just make sure we are both safe and
We move Eddie the weekend of August 5, and we close on our house sale on
August 9. However, we are choosing to move in this week so we can start working
out any quirks before we actually get on the road. Personally, I am happy with
the interior space, I didn’t feel like I really had to sacrifice anything
important. It’s less than I was able to have in the house, but I don’t feel I
am going to be missing anything. It’s actually liberating to simplify and I get
more out of that than anything I owned.
We are finishing up some other maintenance. Ed changed out a few of our
shocks on the RV, and we have a leaking toilet that seems to be a known issue
that the manufacturer refuses to address. Maintenance is more intense than it
was in our regular home, but we knew that going in. I think Ed enjoys it
because he loves learning and tinkering. The last time we had taken it out we had
a problem with our hot water system. There was a little more pressure there
being on the road, but we did figure it out.
Other than that, we have been doing all the general life stuff knowing we
are going to be on the road. Getting in our doctor’s appointments, getting our
passports renewed, organizing our important documents and scanning the rest. We
are in the process of obtaining our new Texas address through Escapees. Our
electric bikes were finally delivered, we were sweating whether they would come
before we were out of our house (we ordered them about 5 months ago). My next
update will likely be from Cuyahoga National Park. It’s the first leg of our
trip on our way to the FROG (Forest River Owner’s Group) Rally.