We sold the house! We're now officially full-time RVers.
The video below is a round-up of a lot of recent vlogs we've created. I hope you enjoy it. The next video will be a destination style video of Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Downsizing, a quick review
When you're buying a house, you look for one with plenty of places to put stuff. But when you're trying to get rid of all of that stuff, having more nooks and crannies becomes a demoralizing experience. Like when you're washing dishes and people keep putting dishes on the dirty side. Our home had 2200 sq ft of living space, a 1600 sq ft unfinished basement, a walk-in attic of 600 sq ft, and a 10×12 shed in the back with lawn equipment. We moved all of our stuff into a 250 square-foot RV and a 300 square-foot storage unit.
We've been working toward this for the past several months. And we thought we were pretty far along. But as they say, “the proof is in the pudding”, and our pudding wasn't quite right … or whatever. We thought putting away all the small stuff (“piddly stuff”) would be the cherry on top. But we were wrong. It seemed like that took forever.
We planned to leave on Friday, August 24th, but it became clear on Thursday we weren't going to make it, so we decided to push it off a day and leave on Saturday…but we couldn't make that either. So we pushed it off another day…then another. We ended up leaving on Monday, the 27th at 5pm.
Loaded to the brim
Our trips to Florida and other parts in Virginia, we didn't have nearly as much as we have now. We'll probably shed things along the way, but on this trip we have everything we'll need to live our normal life, plus a generator, inflatable boat, all of our bikes, 2-3 weeks worth of clothes each, several small appliances for the kitchen, and a ton of devices.
With just these additions, we probably weigh 1000lbs more than normal, the inflatable boat and generator weigh over 200lbs. I haven't weighed, but I'd imagine we're in the neighborhood of 18k – 20k lbs total with our full rig.
That said, we were able to pull over the mountains of West Virginia with no issue. I did slow down quite a bit and didn't push the truck too hard. We were going about 50 up the mountains, and I wasn't in any hurry. I figure if truckers are going slow, I should go slow too. Also, we have an engine performance read-out on the truck that tells us temperatures of everything so I can keep from damaging the engine by pushing it too hard. That thing is handy. So far I've gotten about 13 mpg, but most of that has been flat.
Where have we been?
So far, we've traveled through West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. I'm writing this now from an undisclosed bunker in South Dakota. Just kidding, it's a campground.
The first day, we drove as far as we could and made a last-minute decision to stay at a campground instead of a Wal-Mart parking lot for our first night. We found a campground on our route called “Kountry Camping” and called the overnight check in number. A nice guy answered the phone and met us at the gate and let us in. That was in Ohio.
We spent a week or so in Michigan (which is incredibly beautiful by the way). We enjoyed the state immensely. Just wait til you see the videos!
We stayed a few days in Traverse City at an RV park that might be the prettiest one I've ever seen. Also, it was completely reasonably priced for such a nice place.
We visited downtown Traverse City, went to a brewery, and hiked Sleeping Bear Dunes. It was SO beautiful. Standing in what feels like the desert with water on either side is a strange and breathtaking experience. I can't wait to show it to you, so stay tuned!
Next we went to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Often called the U.P. We went to an island where there were no cars allowed and Horses and Bikes were the only mode of transportation. The next day was labor day, so we joined thousands of people and walked across the Mighty Mac. That's the 5-mile bridge that connects mainland Michigan (that looks like an hand) to the Upper Peninsula. It is an amazing piece of engineering.
After that…the pictured rocks in the U.P. which were incredible. We took a boat tour, which was a bit spendy, but I highly recommend it. Seeing the rocks from the water is way better than seeing it from land (I know because we went to one of the overlooks and it just wasn't the same).
I'm going to start adding photo albums of our various locations so you can see just how beautiful these places are. First up will be the Pictured Rocks. Here's a sneak preview:
Ok…this is probably enough of an update for now. I'll tell you all about South Dakota in next month's newsletter…by that time, Meg will have completed her race (hopefully) and we will have probably visited dinosaur museums, seen buffalo, and all kinds of stuff.
Real quick though – we went for a bike ride today and it occurred to me how available this kind of thing is to most of us, but we never actually take advantage of the opportunity. I challenge you to do that. If not today, this weekend. Take your family and do something simple…something spontaneous and adventuresome together.
For example, Go Geocaching, or Explore the parks. Kids under 15 generally don't require a fishing license. Go to a restaurant you've never been before and order whatever the waiter recommends. There's lots of stuff to do if you just take the time to do it.