RV Contingency Plans

I’m an avid follower of RV Life blogs, and vlogs on YouTube.  I’m dreaming of the day I can travel full time.  With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic though, I’m seeing a lot of RV’ers getting stranded with no place to go.  They are understandably upset about campgrounds being shut down, public lands being closed to camping, etc.  Mostly back in the eastern USA at this point.  They are now scrambling for places to stay.  I saw one RV’er complaining about people who have homes taking RV trips.  “Uh, you could always buy a home and have a place to go back to”, I reminded him.  He gave me a flip answer about why should he own two homes.  Well that’s all fine and good but don’t complain.  People with homes have every right to be out there as much as he does.

But why do I write all this?  Because so many people enter into the RV lifestyle with no backup plans, no safety nets.  Always have an out.  Always have a plan B.  Sure it cuts into the “freedom” of the RV lifestyle.  There are people out there that earn just enough on the road to pay their bills.  They don’t earn enough to save for a rainy day.  They don’t save for medical emergencies, maintenance emergencies, or living emergencies like we’re experiencing now.  The fact is, private RV parks are open and have MANY open spaces.  But this doesn’t fit into the “cheap RV living” narrative all these YouTubers are selling.

Please, Please, PLEASE!  If you’re going to live full-time on the road, make sure you are completely ready.  Make sure you have a slush fund to deal with emergencies.  The best and most realistic discussion I have seen on this comes from a YouTube channel called Chickery’s Travels.  They posted a video recently with a very honest and frank discussion about RV contingency planning.  I leave you with that.  Travel safe!

 

 

 

Yank’s RV Resort

Friday:

About a month and a half ago, I was thinking of booking us at another Thousand Trails campground.  I was looking at the one in Paicines, CA but after reading the reviews I decided to look elsewhere.  Doesn’t seem the TT’s in California get very high reviews.  I wasn’t very impressed with the first and only one we’ve stayed at so far.  After reading the reviews I started looking for campgrounds near Paicines.  The thought was that we would take a day trip to Monterey, CA.  Yeah, that was a month and a half ago, before the COVID 19 outbreak.

It was a two and a half hour drive from our home to Yank’s but thanks to the pandemic, traffic was very light.  We arrived around 1pm and check in was super easy.  They had our paperwork waiting for us at the front desk.  We were only one of two checking in that day.  They were really hoping the second party showed up.  They were grateful we showed up.   They guided us to our back-in site, one of only about 8 in the whole park, all others were pull-through.  The back-in sites had more room so I requested one.  They backed us in and camp was set up in less than 20 minutes.

We fixed lunch and took a nap. (Naps are mandatory when we’re RV’ing) 🙂  The weather was beautiful when we arrived.  We took a walk around the park to orient ourselves and stretch our legs.

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The park is fantastically clean, I’m just talking about the grounds.  Our site was bordered with rosemary hedges which smelled wonderful.  They have a pool, workout room, horseshoe pits, and a dog park with obstacles for the dogs (concrete pipes).   They had a nice little convenience store with all the basic “I forgot” items; frozen dinners, candy bars, sewer connections, power cords, RV decorations, etc.  After our walk we went back to the trailer and started on dinner and then watched a movie on the outstanding cable they had at the park.

Saturday:

The next day after sleeping in we decided our mission was to try to find some Kleenex since all the stores in our hometown had been cleaned out of ALL paper products.  We drove down to the Safeway in King City and found two four-packs of Kleenex left on the shelf. Being responsible citizens we only put one in the cart, and a roll of paper towels to be on the safe side.  We bought a few extra snacks as well and then went in search of gas.  Which we located after a brief search; right across the freeway.  As we drove through King City you’d never know that the governor of the State of California had put in a mandatory stay-at-home order.  Folks were in the restaurants, out on the streets, business as normal.  Kind of felt nice to see.

We drove back to the trailer with a full tank of gas and a full grocery bag. We watched more TV as there was not a lot else to do.  It had rained all night and most of the day.  Just before sunset the rain had stopped and we went out for a walk to breath the clean air.  We also took this opportunity to check out the little store in the resort office.  I hadn’t really looked at it when we checked in.  We chatted with the woman at the front desk who was bored out of her mind.  She told us that Yank’s RV Resort was built in anticipation of Yank’s Air Museum which was being built next door, along with some shops and restaurants.  Good to know.  I bought a magnet to commemorate our visit and then we headed back to the trailer.

More movies that night and then an early bed time.  Love the RV life!

Sunday:

We tried to sleep in on Sunday morning but a local crop duster had different ideas.  At 7am sharp he made his first turn over our RV park and spent the next several hours dusting the field around the RV resort.  Ah well….  We got up and set up the iPad so we could watch church online.  After church it was time to clean up.  We would just be ready to go right at the 11am checkout time.

Cristy started cleaning up the trailer, putting things away, etc.  I went out and started dumping the tanks.  If I do it right it usually takes me about 30 minutes with prep time and proper clean up.  I don’t normally put the hose out until I’m ready to dump so this counts as part of the prep time.  I got that dirty deed done and then pack up all the hoses, cable TV connection and stabilizer pads.  We hitched up and then headed home.

It wasn’t a big awesome adventure or anything but it really helped to clear our heads.  Especially with everything going on in the world.  There is just something about RV’ing that slows us down and let’s us breathe and think.  I love it every time I go out.  Time to start planning the next boring adventure. 🙂

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COVID-19 Pandemic

I thought I should write a blog post about this so that in the future, I can remember what we went through.  As of today, the statistics are:

Coronavirus Cases:

272,804
(world wide)

Deaths:

11,311

Recovered:

90,620
As of today the situation in California is that Governor Newsom has asked all residents of the state to self-quarantine.  All non-essential businesses are closed.  Restaurants serve takeout only.  Gatherings of 10 or more people are banned.  Churches have been ordered closed, however, they are streaming their services.
I am incredibly blessed to be working at hospital which is the quintessential essential business.  We will not be closing any time soon.   God has provide us with shelter, health (so far) and I am working, unlike a lot of my neighbors.  It’s a little eery not hearing traffic noise.  The slowdowns on the freeways are gone.
I have taken today off as it was scheduled far in advance.  I expect this to be the last day off I will get until this pandemic is over.  We booked the weekend at an RV resort about 3 hours away from where we live.  It’s beautiful and peaceful here.  We can use it.
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I’m incredibly grateful to God for all He has done for me.  We are praying for the world daily.  Remember to stay safe:
Wear gloves when possible
Wash your hands frequently
Clean all surfaces periodically
Clean your computer keyboard and mouse
Clean your cell phone
God’s grace and peace to you.

Don’t Panic!

Whether your hitchhiking across the universe or just trying to go to the grocery store, don’t panic!

Wash your hands.

Don’t cough at other people.

Keep some distance from strangers.

Stay home if you’re sick.

Good things to do at any time.  Not just now that the disease du jour is making it’s way across the world.

Fly Day

Well this will go down as one of the epic days in aviation.  My daughter asked a couple of weeks ago if we could go flying.  After the shock wore off I told her OF COURSE!!  I booked the aircraft on the spot.  That was two weeks ago.  Of course a storm had to move in this morning… BUT!  It’s a California storm which means high overcast, wind from the south, and MAYBE some rain here or there.  Perfect flying conditions.

We got to the airport at 8am.  I was wondering what condition the airplane would be in because it was rented for the two hours leading up to my booking.  However, when we got there the prior pilot was walking out as we were walking in and passed off the key to me while letting me know he had topped off the fuel tanks.  Thanks random student pilot!

It was a little chilly so my daughter Angela sat in the plane while I did my pre-flight inspection.  Everything checked out so I couldn’t think of any reason not to fly.   We started up the plane, taxied down to runway 10 (since the wind was out of the southeast) and did my pre-takeoff checklist.  We took to the runway and started the slow climb up to 2000 feet MSL (Mean Sea Level).

At first we headed into the Sierra foothills but it proved to be a little bumpy there due to the winds from the south blowing over the hills and causing mechanical turbulence.  Instead I decided to take us back out over the valley and give Angela some flight time.  The whole point of flying was that she wanted to try actually flying the airplane.  And fly she did.  It was a little daunting for her at first but after she got a feel for the controls, and how you really only need a light touch, she really settled into it.  We just flow around Escalon and Riverbank and then over our house and church in Modesto.

Angela-flight

The map above shows our general route of flight.  The yellow highlighted part is the portion Angela flew.

Or if you don’t read aeronautical charts, here’s a regular map with a simplified version of our route:

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I think she did great and I hope she wants to go again!  I would love to have her as a flying buddy.  We’ll pick a time when the weather is better and we can fly longer.  Maybe head over the San Francisco Bay or over to Half Moon Bay.  But we’ll go somewhere.

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Leap Day 2020

We get a bonus day this year.  Today, February 29th if you’re using the Gregorian calendar.  A day that only comes every 4 years.  Which if you don’t know is due to the orbit of the earth taking 364.25 days to orbit the earth so every 4 years we have to have a makeup day to make our calendar work right.  Anywho, it got me thinking about what my life situation was like on the last leap day.

For starters I had just come up with the notion of living full time in an RV.  To further that end I had just sold my airplane and took up flying powered-paragliders.  Cristy and I were looking at RV and had decided on the Solitude 384GK.  I had also changed the look of my blog to what you see today.  What I didn’t know yet was that in a few short months I was going to be told I was being laid off.  Again.

Then a whole lot of life happened and brought us to today.  It’s amazing how many things actually happened between last leap day and today.  Some are too depressing to go into.  Some are too private.  One thing that has stayed the same is our faith in a loving, gracious God.  I hinted at that faith in the “I was being laid off” link above.  We had so many questions but we knew God would take care of us.  And He did.

With all the life that happened between then and now it makes me wonder what’s going to happen in the next four years.  A few predictions:

  • Angela moves out.
  • Angela becomes engaged.
  • My boss gets a promotion.
  • I get a promotion.
  • Cristy has to deal with the loss of her mother.
  • We begin fixing up our home in preparation to sell it.
  • I have a new truck.

Those are just a few.  I wonder how wrong I’ll be?  It doesn’t matter if I’m right or wrong, we’ll still have God in charge of our destiny and that suits me just fine.

So how did we celebrate Leap day?  Just enjoyed the beautiful valley that we live by going out for a walk in the near by town of Ripon.  Now get out and enjoy the day the Lord has made!

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Cleaning Up

I whiled away the minutes this morning by cleaning various parts of my garage.  It was a very random selection process.

What’s in this box?

Whatever caught my fancy this morning is what I decided to clean up, throw out, or organize.  This all in preparation for full-time RV living.  I have a little over six years to go so there is no rush.  I just do little bits at a time when I have time.  Today’s mission was books.  We have tons of books left over from homeschooling our children.  We picked a few favorite books and set them aside.  I think this process is harder for the parents than for the children.  There were a few books that our daughter wanted to keep for the sake of that nebulous concept of “her children.”

The kids have long since stopped reading the books and playing with the toys, so why is it so hard to throw that stuff out?  It’s hard to let go of  what has taken up most of your life. It’s hard to let got of the memory of who your children were when they were young and looked up to you for everything.  But they grow up and you have to let them.  Which means you stop holding onto those things which still makes them small children in your eyes.  You have to let them become adults.  This is the goal anyway…

So now, off to the library to donate books!