Our Time in Texas

Leander KOA Campsite
Leander KOA Campsite

My neglect of this blog has been weighing on my soul like a kettle bell on my pinky toe for nearly two months. I realize my readers weren’t waiting with bated breath for an update, but for me, the experiences fade from my memory more quickly now. If I don’t get them down right away, I may lose them forever! With that, I will commit to blogging on regular intervals and do my best to recall what I can now and let the pictures say the rest!

IMG_20160314_132115629We choose to stay in Austin for two weeks mostly to buckle down and get our new business on its feet, but also because it had gotten tiresome moving so quickly from campsite to campsite. What we didn’t know that the famous South By Southwest festival was happening midway through our stay. We were lucky to find any availability at all when we did! Our campground was in Leander, about 20 miles north of downtown. While we weren’t in the midst of any action, we did have a pool and a hot tub… Always a bonus!

The heavens must have wanted assistance that we would stay focused on our work because they opened up and dumped buckets on us for a week straight. There were tornadoes and flash floods and unusual winds. The weather forecasters blamed El Nino. I think it was our fault somehow. We have an uncanny knack of arriving places presently witnessing historic weather patterns. Call it a curse. Even my friend Tim from high school who has been living in the Austin area for four years said he’d never seen rain like that in all his time there. (Hi Tim!)

Anyhow, it kept our noses to the grindstone anyhow, and let up long enough for us to enjoy the downtown charm and Barton Springs.

20160312_14223620160312_143557We saw why everyone seems to love this city. It is very young, vibrant, hip, fun, and active. Part of our endeavor on this odyssey is to scope out a (semi) permanent place to park this RV and our behinds if the location suits our needs well enough to be stationary. Matt tends to evaluate based on tangible features like walkability and access to mountains. Although I need everything to look “right” on paper too, I operate a little more on instinct regarding such major decisions. And as much as I dug Austin as a cool city, it’s not where I’d want to stay long term. Matt agrees. And acknowledges that it gets far too hot here for his liking in the summers.20160313_163526

When we took breaks from the computer, we brought Mina to the massive one acre dog run, brought Marcella to the pool, which she loved, and to an indoor bounce gym where she only wanted to ride the tiny carousel, and I also locked the car key in the truck (which I didn’t even think was possible with these keyless entry doodads!) and had to call a locksmith. Good times! We also had a little kitten show up out of nowhere and spend the night under our rig and I helped the groundskeeper catch her in the morning to take her to the local shelter. My instinct told me that someone dumped this sweetie, which always breaks my heart, but even Matt was enamored by her. “Awww, we should keep her!”  Yeah right! An aging, senile, deaf dog is hard enough on the road! But, once an animal advocate always one!

Our orphan kitty. SO much like Layla!
Our orphan kitty. SO much like Layla!

I don’t know if he was just placating me, but the groundskeeper told me the next day that someone came in right behind him and adopted her! We did some other fun stuff like brunch and a dinner out, and also made a day trip to McKinney Falls, where we got in a hike, waded in the shallow water, and Cella learned to skip rocks!

McKinney Falls

Cella skips rocks
Cella skips rocks

If you’re social enough, you get to meet some interesting people at these campgrounds. A woman from Louisiana who travels in her BBQ food truck and also became a government liasion for all of the American Indian Tribes; a music producer with a sound studio on

Custom Coffins anyone?
Custom Coffins anyone?

his rig who was there with his sons for the festival; and the funky couple around our age who have a custom coffin business on their trailer. They moved sites before we could ask for a tour! When our two week stay in Austin was up, we mentally geared up for the long pilgramage through the rest of Western Texas, which I insisted on breaking up the trip and staying over night after short driving stints. Cella is simply to active a toddler to be confined to a car seat for more than four hours a day. To me it borders on cruelty to try to push it! So, we stayed one night at a Kampground of America (KOA) in Abilene, TX, drove through some more very flat desert,and right before we crossed into New Mexico, I was blown away by some of the enormous rock formations and mountains that Texas can certainly boast. It made me realize how much I missed the majestic red rock of the Southwest!

Stay tuned for our trek Carlsbad, NM a short dip back through El Paso, Texas and our relaxing stay in Arizona!

New Orleans: Quick and Dirty

I’ll keep this brief.

We had a few lovely moments in Fountainebleau State Park, bordering the north side of Lake, on which the City of New Orleans borders. Leaving was much more memorable than arriving, but I’ll get to that later.

Our campsite was a lot farther away from downtown than we thought when we booked it, but the trip across the 24 mile bridge was definitely memorable!

We only made the trip one day since we had just Wednesday night to Saturday morning. I found out later our good friend Jenna from Philadelphia was in New Orleans the exact same day we were and we had no idea! Such a bummer!  We spent a casual afternoon walking the streets, having lunch, and working on our new business in a coffee shop. It was a bit rainy and I didn’t take many pictures unfortunately. But I did capture Cella enjoying the kitschy shops.

Continue reading

Rounding the Florida Corner

Again, this post is a week late since our wi-fi availability has been abysmal and our attention has been divided by a brand new business endeavour (more on that later).

To summarize, we didn’t spend enough time in Florida, but the time we did spend was simultaneously relaxing and somewhat productive.

We stayed in three very different state parks in Florida, not counting two overnight stays in RV friendly parking lots.

The first leg from Georgia to Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Jupiter was a way longer distance than we remembered planning for. Naturally.

About 6 -7 driving hours.

We decided to leave the night before to break it up, and crash at a Cracker Barrel lot near Daytona.

Breakfast at Cracker Barrel
Breakfast at Cracker Barrel

In case you didn’t know, Cracker Barrel and Wal-Mart are well known for supporting overnight RV parking. I’m pretty anti-Wal-Mart, so even parking in their lot puts me off. So I’ll always choose Cracker Barrel of it’s an option. Plus, you wake up to a pretty kick-ass breakfast.

When you overnight like this without electric or water hook ups, you basically can only sleep.

Our RV is equipped with a fresh water tank that would make a stop like this more comfortable, (so you can flush the toilet and wash your hands).

However, since water is super heavy (8.3 lbs a gallon to be exact) we can’t travel with a filled water tank since we’re already straddling the line of how much we’re able to tow safely.

So we are truly dry camping in these parking lots. You can “use” the toilet, but you can’t flush it. The best thing to do in that scenarios is to have a gallon of water handy…and you pour it into the toiletAnyway, we really enjoyed waking up at Cracker Barrel, otherwise. They have a surprisingly impressive gift shop that captivated Cella for a solid half hour.



Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Jupiter, FL

Our next park was a bit tighter quarters than Georgia’s generous set up, but had awesome mountain bike trails for Matt, and a trail to an overlook tower situated at the highest natural point in Florida, which I ran. In close proximity were several beaches. We didn’t have great weather for beach time, but we made the best of it!

Our site at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Windy day at Dubois Beach.

Michele's Run at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
Michele’s Run at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.


Matt had a great time mountain biking at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
Matt had a great time mountain biking at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.



Aunt Missy and Cella
That’s a fake pout right there.

20160220_105535(0)The stay at Jonathan Dickinson State Park was highlighted by a visit with Aunt Missy and her lovely girls. We all enjoyed some quality family bonding time. Marcella and I also went on a scavenger hunt hosted by the Park’s nature center. The trail was much longer than I expected, so we had to turn around. Cella walked the whole way and was getting tired, so she stopped to play in the sand.


20160223_150017Matt also invested in an inflatable kayak, which we boldly tested out for the first time as a family.

There are no pictures from the actual excursion because I was somewhat terrified by the strong lake current turning us round and round, while trying to hold Marcella still between my knees. Here is Cella bumping around the truck in her wetsuit waiting for daddy to inflate the kayak.

We’ll try again in somewhat more still waters, and maybe just leave Cella out of it for now!












Dubois State Park a few miles away afforded us some beach time on a quiet inlet, where Marcella splashed around in the water and mommy and daddy tried to fight off spoiled, brazen raccoons.

Begging Raccoon.
Begging Raccoon.


Salt Springs Park, Florida

We continued on towards Central Florida, with an afternoon detour to Universal Studios in Orlando.IMG_20160224_161317226

SO worth it. Marcella had a blast just running in and out of stores on the City Walk, enjoying her first taste of frozen yogurt, and waving to strangers. We let her run through the splash park and laughed our butts off at her reaction to getting doused unexpectedly. I slowed it down so you can appreciate her facial reaction as much as we did:



Our next park was much more remote than those previous. We were bummed it wasn’t just a little warmer to enjoy a stop in the gorgeous salt spring swimming area. Manatees live in this water! There are steps and a railing to lead swimmers into the lagoon-like spring. The water was surprisingly warm despite the chilly air. We still weren’t bold enough to go in.IMG_20160226_124649779

Salt Spring.
Salt Spring.












We did at least enjoy some magical trail runs through lush saw palmettos and towering pine trees. Not knowing where a trail ends or what’s around the next turn can make for a very spiritual experience.



After three days here we continued on towards the panhandle with an overnight in a Flying J parking lot.

I just about lost my mind that night as four tour buses, pulled into a spot by our rig and idled there for at least 20-30 minutes each. Starting at 9 pm and continuing through the night until 2 am.


Topsail Hill Beach State Park

Matt's birthday dinner on the water. Ok, we ate inside because it was windy, but it was still pretty!
Matt’s birthday dinner on the water. Ok, we ate inside because it was windy, but it was still pretty!
A small lake at Topsail Hill Beach Park.
A small lake at Topsail Hill Beach Park.

The next morning was Matt’s birthday. Not a glamorous start to the day, but we forged on towards Destin, Fl and arrived at our new campsite at Topsail Hill Beach State Park and enjoyed a sunset meal at a local waterfront bar.

There were several small lakes on the property, a pool that we never went in, and private access to three miles of gorgeous white sand beach flanked by giant, majestic dunes. My soul sings when I can run barefoot on the beach, especially one this special. We enjoyed a picnic at sunset one night, without a soul to be seen, making for one memorable evening for the Rogers clan.




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Our Newest Endeavor

I could’ve used another three days in this park to really enjoy all of its beauty. Much of our time was eaten up by a business transaction, however.

Over the course of the last few months, we have negotiated for and acquired an established website, which is partly how we plan to sustain our life on the road.

We are the proud new owners of infoyoushouldknow.net.


It is largely a DIY archive website, which, if you know us at all, is totally up our alley. This is an exciting and brand new endeavor, one that will challenge these old brains of ours as we figure out how to navigate the internet business frontier.

Wish us luck, or better yet, follow us on Facebook if you didn’t already received an invite and read our posts!

Our travels continue onward to a brief stop in the New Orleans area before a thankfully longer stint in Austin, TX.






Stop 2: Sweet Georgia

“Moving” days are always a bit more involved than we expect. Cleaning up the trailer, emptying the tanks, hitching back up, packing up, all in all, takes about two and a half hours. Matt takes care of all the outside stuff and I clean inside and prepare the RV to bring the slides back in while Marcella plays.


Then we hit the road for a maximum of five hours at a stretch with a break, (ideally only three hours though) timing it with Cella’s nap time so she’s asleep for at least an hour and a half stretch.

She was not cut out for car rides, this one. She doesn’t like being still and confined, so long car rides usually become stressful for us all while she screams and we try to distract her from her strappy prison.

We left Myrtle Beach around 10am and arrived at Skidaway Island State Park in Savannah by 2pm.

The drive into the park was jaw dropping. We were awestruck by the immense beauty of the giant Oak trees, dripping in Spanish moss, creating a canopy that envelopes you in its ancient wonder. They are simply stunning and other worldly organisms.

State Park RV accommodations tend to be a bit bare bones and lack luster compared to private campgrounds. Skidaway, however, is spacious, allowing each campsite beauty and privacy. It is also has “pull-through” sites, which is MUCH easier than the more standard “back-in” site.

Breathing in the mild, most air and wearing t-shirts for the first time allowed us to truly relax into a new life routine.

We took in the beauty around us in the trail systems, and finally started running and working out again. As well as walking and hiking every free moment we had.


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Enjoying the SightsSavannah

We toured downtown Savannah one afternoon, which has a ton of squares and a good vibe. We just expected more people out and about. Wish we had more time to explore!























What’s it REALLY like living in an RV?

In case you’re wondering, we really didn’t need much of an adjustment period getting used to living smaller on the RV. Our instincts were correct:

We love living like this…for the most part.

For example, everything you need is super close to where you are at this very moment. There were so many times in our last house when I’d realized I needed something, oh, five floors down, or so, and I’d simply say, “Forget it.”

I have one spray bottle with cleaning solution (a mix of alcohol, water and essential oils) instead of an entire section of home dedicated to household cleaning products. I keep it under the bathroom sink and can wipe down the bathroom AND the kitchen, a second later.

Cleaning in general is much easier and quicker, and I’m more likely to do it more often now.

Cooking is also easy. I have three gas burners, and one grate that lifts up for a quick wipe.

We even have a double sink, which is super convenient for me since I never towel dry anything, so I use the other side as a drain board.

Our bedroom is tight and cozy and we’ve hit our heads on the over head light more than once, but hey, at least we were used to a queen bed already. A bedroom is for sleeping, not running laps, anyway.

Except for Cella’s room…which is also an awesome little playroom. It’s fully decorated and she seems to enjoy it just as much as any room to which she’s ever been confined. She would just rather be outside. She’s a born hiker and camper!

The biggest challenge, as Matthew and I would both agree, is the bathroom. Good thing we’re not giants. It’s VERY tight in there. Like an airplane bathroom. Two people cannot fit unless one is standing in the shower. We have several organizers hanging on the door and the wall, and I hit my head on the one on the door constantly.

Ok, I probably hit my head on a lot of things constantly. I’m pretty clutzy.

The sink is small, so every time I wash my face I splash water all over the counter top and it drips to the floor.

The tub is a step up, which feels so strange when you get it in, for some reason. The shower head is small, and when hung in its little holster, points to the outside of the shower.

But the good points are enough to make up for these inconveniences.  We really do have enough storage space for everything we need. I quite like having a foot-flush toilet. I think they should be standard.

There is a skylight above the shower, which makes daytime showering lovely. There is also a little moon-roof/fan combo above the toilet which is really effective.

In addition, having a little tub is great for giving Cella her baths. Most days I just shower her off rather quickly, but every few days she gets a sit-in bath and it is just the perfect size for her.

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed these five days, and since my honey was none too pleased that I implied that I hated or week in the Carolinas, let me qualify my last blog by saying, I simply detest the cold and it was way colder than I expected. It still was a fun experience getting acclimated to our new life and sure beat the -5° temps in Philadelphia that week! Plus, Matthew had the longest stretch of time off, not counting Marcella’s birth, in his adult life. Even if he finds something to complain about on the rig, he’s eternally grateful for this life he’s created for himself.

Going forward, we’re excited to plan more campsites for longer periods to fully immerse into a new place. We have our next three stops already booked in Florida, but for only five days each since Florida is generally overtaken by snowbirds way in advance.

We’ll head down to Jupiter, just north of Palm Beach, then Salt Springs park in central Florida, and exit through the panhandle with a final stop by Pensacola. Matt was stationed there in the Marines and absolutely loved it.

Looking forward to beach time!





Stop #1: The Cold Carolinas, when everything went wrong

IMG_20160210_134206The Recap

Historic cold temperatures on the East Coast this week. Great time to leave the Northeast. Bad time to start camping, even so far south as South Carolina.

I hate to say it, but our week in the Carolina’s were more of a pit stop than an exploratory visit, and a far more challenging one than we could’ve anticipated due to the unprecedented cold. Really–It kinda sucked. But we learned some valuable lessons, the most important being:

We will never take this rig below freezing again.

But overall, we overcame both physical and emotional challenges and drove away knowing the worst was behind us.

On the Road At LastIMG_20160206_084438270_HDR

Packing up the trailer and departing from Delaware took a half day longer than we planned. We would arrive too late in the cold and wet North Carolina night to properly back in (a DIFFICULT task), heat up and set up the trailer for sleeping at a campsite.

The very best time we could’ve made to Raleigh, had we been driving a car with no stops, was 4 hours. Towing the trailer with a toddler and dog, stopping for food, gas, and weighing our tow set up (necessary before taking a loaded trailer out for the first time) would add two hours to the trip, making our ETA 10pm.

We’d have to crash at a highway hotel.

We arrived at a dog friendly trucker hotel that had room to park the trailer, and wearily settled in to the smokey, non-smoking, slightly seedy accommodations, and slept soundly somehow. Sleep deprivation will do that.

The four hour drive to the Charleston area early on Sunday felt decidedly swifter than the first leg.

Our first stop at Ghivan’s Ferry State Park would be more business than pleasure. The weather was far more sucky than could be reasonably expected in South Carolina making the outdoorsy stuff unsuitable. Plus, we had to arrange our new living space so that it could be livable. We fit in a few windy walks along the river trails…


…and  spent a warm afternoon in downtown Charleston taking in the sights.


A few days later we moved on to Huntington State Park just south of Myrtle Beach, where we got to spend some quality time with Matt’s dad, Joe and wife, Lynn.

After a long morning on the trailer we took Marcella to the wax museum so she could burn off some energy.

Hollywood Wax Museum




 The Things That Went Right

We accomplished our task of moving into and organizing the RV, quite efficiently and quickly, in fact.

Everything fit with space to spare, even before we filled another truckload of donations, which was done more for weight than space since the scales indicated we might be pushing it a bit.

We dumped some more books, clothes, bedding and towels, baskets, a heavy chain lock and the fold out futons in Cella’s bunk room.

We even managed to start a camp fire and enjoy one evening.

(video to post once I get a stable wi-fi signal!)

All of the above–good stuff! If only that we’re all I had to report.

Everything That Went Completely Wrong

We knew we would eventually encounter some problems and learn how steep the learning curve for RV living really was….We thought, over the course of a few months. Not all at once.

I’ll list our debacles in order of occurrence:

1. The hitch fell off of the truck randomly while we were driving in downtown Charleston. (Not exactly random, Matt didn’t put the pin back in so it was only a matter of time before it would fall out).

2. Mina’s leash came unhooked from a tree and she ran off as we were preparing to leave the first camp site.

3. The toilet clogged.

4. The stick used to unclog the toilet broke off in the pipe.

5. The RV’s battery overheated and burned out, filling the trailer with sulfur off-gas.

6. We lost power to the heat pump at 8pm in 37 degree weather due to #5. I.e., no heat.

7. The pipe for the camp’s fresh water source froze over night when temperatures dipped to 22°. I.e., no running water or functional toilet.

We were off to a memorable start, if not super fun.

We eventually resolved each mishap and learned valuable lessons:

1) We can’t really take credit for this one. A good Samaritan stopped us on the street mid-parallel park to tell us the hitch fell off around the corner. THANK YOU, SWEET ANGEL wherever you are!

Matt got out of the car and ran back to the last street while I drove around the block to meet him. The hitch was in the grass on the side of the road. Thank God the stars alligned in such a way that this was the outcome. At 50 lbs, that thing could have seriously hurt someone at worst and would’ve been expensive to replace at best.

Lesson: Always leave the hitch pin in.

4) Operation Find Mina concluded swiftly after I got in the truck, followed my gut and drove towards an open field just past the camp sites. There was Mina trotting along. Had I left one minute later she would’ve disappeared into the woods.

Lesson: Buy a proper lead.

2) Matthew used a stick to push down the clog after unsuccessfully trying to use the toilet brush.

Lesson: Use a LOT more water when flushing.

3) He then used kitchen tongs to extract said stick from pipe then promptly disposed of tongs because, really–who could use them again after that?

Lesson: Always look for something you’re willing to part with before sticking it in a toilet.

4) We took advice of RV road side technician to shut off power converter until battery stops smoking and can be disconnected.

Lesson: Keep battery disconnected until it’s needed to prevent overcharging.

5) Doing the above also cut power to the heat. After an hour of watching the inside temperature descend into the low 60’s, we were about resigned to get a hotel or call Matt’s dad to crash there. Then his lightbulb went off and he figured or how to divert the shore power into the 12 volt system on the rig by turning the converter back on. Glorious heat streamed from the vents and we breathed a sigh of relief.

Lesson: Don’t camp in freezing weather. Ever. Again.

Despite these hardships, we drove away content with the experience and empowered by our ability to solve our new set of problems.

It just goes to show you, too…No matter how small, things will inevitably go wrong or require fixing in your house.

That being said,we are happy to drive south and say good bye to South Carolina.



Onward to Georgia where warmer weather awaits and we can finally relax and enjoy the ride!

The Storm before the Calm

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I lay here quietly way past my bedtime trying to allow the breathing thing to happen.

We’ve been so busy getting ready to go, emptying the house, coordinating pick ups and drop offs, saying our goodbyes, we can’t even get those excited jitters before you go on a exciting vacation. And THIS isn’t even just an exciting vacation, it’s basically a permanent one. You’d think we’d be bouncing off the walls with anticipation.

The truth is, the last few months have been stressful on every possible level. The fabric of our marriage has surely been tested! I am hoping it can only get easier from here.

Meanwhile, so many people have expressed their excitement for us, with such delight and giddiness I almost feel guilty for being so caught up in the preparation. I am hoping that this time next week the reality will have sunk in and I will be writing with a bit more joie de vive.

For now, this house is empty but for the mattress on the floor, the pile of stuff that didn’t make the cut and is waiting by the door to be picked up, and the garage full of the only belongings that will come with us tomorrow.

Although cutting emotional ties to the objects of my life was definitely difficult up front, what has proven to be more difficult is deciding what is necessity, particularly with regard to a toddler. When you empty your home, you find you have acquired multiples of things, perhaps because you find one will work better in a certain instance than another.

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Take sippy cups for instance. Marcella has a pretty flower one she likes but is too old for, plus it doesn’t fit in any cup holders. Then there’s a larger blue one with a similar squishy mouthpiece but no handles for when she develops greater dexterity. Then there’s two with a straw that folds down, small and large, convenient for packing and she uses straws better anyway. And I completely forgot what I left on the RV in this department (I should’ve made a list of such items. BAD organizing)….But there are at least two drinking vessels for the child. THEN my mom bought her another one with a straw that doesn’t fold but is closed off at the top so nothing spills out. I should only keep two. WHICH two?

This is just one category of clutter that I have to reduce to bare necessity, and the decision tree is harrowing.

Now imagine going through that elimination process with everything else:

Books, toys, jewelry, jackets, scarves, socks and underwear, shoes, cookware, utensils, towels, blankets, makeup, hair ties & clips, bags, lotions, soap, pens, bandaids, even the containers you’ll hold them all in, for God’s sake!

The list goes on. Then, we both have to agree on what makes it and what we let go.


Matt thinks we need nothing at all. Truly. Except for clothing (which he has a decidedly harder time paring down than I). We’ve had our fair share of disagreements in the course of the last few months. Ultimately, the trailer will have the final say about what will fit!

I’ve spent the better part of the last month coordinating with my Buy Nothing friends for trades and pick ups of my extraneous objects. I have to mention one more time how much I love this group and what it does. I’ve been thanked for my generosity because we probably gave away or donated $10k worth of stuff. No joke. But the truth is, it was easier to do this than try to sell everything. We sold big ticket items, and recuped a little over $2k.

Ultimately, the decluttering and downsizing process will be the most life changing aspect for me in this new endeavor. Face it: the travelling part is fun, and once I’ve learned to part ways with excess, living in a 320 sq ft space won’t be as challenging as you all are thinking.

Seriously, what is the American obsession with space? 

We never think our houses are big enough, that our children have enough play space, that yard is sized appropriately enough for a dog run, or even that the empty seat next to us on the bus should be occupied by anyone if there are open two seaters just steps away. Who am I kidding? People don’t even want to carpool without incentive in America let alone choose public transportation over their roomy SUVs.

For me, space isn’t an issue. I’m looking forward to a single story existence after a year of climbing thesteps of a split level just to leave a room. But, I’ll be the first to admit how much sentimental value I placed on gifts and relics of my past, or thought for sure I’d use that Cuisinart mixer for cookies this year or might want to wear those 7 year old heels again some day…I had to face my object attachment head on, and I had no cocnept at all of how much it had been holding back my personal development.

I think we live with so much more stuff than we actually need or use because we’ve allowed ourselves to identify too deeply with objects. Letting them go is painful because we actually feel like we’re sacrificing a small part of ourselves. Acknowledging this is the first step in living freely and unencumbered by clutter. You are NOT your possessions.

Anywho, the decluttering movement is growing and you best get on board now before the rest of your life gets swallowed up by shopping/buying/accumulating routine! Start with this:




The Grand Departure

Matthew will make an early morning run with a full truck to my brother John’s house in Delaware. Since we can’t drive the RV into the city, we thought the easiest way to stage and prep would be at his suburban house an hour South of Philly. And THIS is contingent upon the snow fall forecasted for tomorrow morning having zero impact. Ironically, we chose to leave a week early because the weather this week looked far more favorable than next. That was a week ago and we should’ve just stuck with plan A.

While he’s making that run, I will stay home trying to clean the house for the next person and entertain the child without any of her toys, books or tv.

Poor thing has been so sick of these four walls. Thank goodness she’s still got her rhythm on call.



If you had to whittle your life’s property down to a bare minimum, what do you think you’d have the hardest time with? Post in comments!


Maiden Voyage

I’ll keep this short.

We bought a Ram 1500. Tow capacity 11500lbs, but the tongue weight (where the trailer hitch to the back) is where we may have an issue.


We bought a Coachmen Apex travel trailer with a bunk house.


Marcella has her own room, and so do we, plus the trailer is light enough to tow with the Ram 1500 (this is where seasoned RV vets insist you should go big or go home, i.e. get the 3/4 ton pick up so there is no room for error.) The bigger trucks are that much more expensive, so we are straddling the line a bit. This is where our minimalism will be tested. They say the average full time RVer takes a half ton of stuff onto their rig. Each.

We can only afford 1,400 total between the 3 of us.

So our task of paring down our belongings isn’t just an endeavour, it’s a necessity if we are to be successful.

Since our plan is to leave in February we have only one shot to  “practice” while the weather is still amenable.

So we picked up our new home in NJ, listened to the demo as if our lives depended on it and headed down the road to Cape May, completely unsure of how to do anything at all.

We spent two days at a lovely campground after an extremely stressful start, a great deal of yelling at each other, and only average difficulties considering our newness to the game. Thank goodness we’re both quick studies. We even made a campfire, barbecued a steak, and drank a few bottles of wine.


Our biggest issue is truly learning to be a cohesive team. Matt and I often think of things very differently, and as we are both headstrong, we tend to butt those heads in the face of adversity.

Despite our attitudinal issues, we survived, and really enjoyed getting to know our rig. Marcella has a blast too. Except for falling outside and splitting her lip, which was my fault.

Below is a clip of the inside of our tiny home in total disarray with all of our crap strewn about. The only room not captured is our bedroom.

We put our baby into storage, and will spend the next few months unlearning this conventional life. The real journey ahead is within. Can we really take our family away from what we have grown used to and totally reinvent ourselves and our lives?


Reworking the plan

Remember what I said last blog about staying small and towing with the Durango? Yeah…. ain’t gonna happen. We simply miscalculated the towing capacity numbers and have thus far shot giant holes in our feet.

We have to “return” a new car. Really, you can only trade it in and lose money because of how quickly a car devalues.

We feel like giant schmucks.

The problem is we can’t tow anything with an SUV that would be comfortable for a family of three potentially on the road for up to a year. So that means we’re going to be truck people.

We’re buying a pick up truck. A gas guzzling, gigantic ridiculous pick up truck.

Our other car is a Prius. So you can imagine the difficulty I’m having visualising myself behind the wheel of a Ram 2500. Alas, we have little choice.

The Nitty Gritty

For those of you starting to entertain the notion of an RV-living dream let me break it down for a sec.

Mobile homes, the kind where you drive in the front and the living space is in the back fall under three categories:

Classes A, B, and C.

Class A motorhomes are what most people think of when they hear “RV”. They can be BEASTS and are generally the priciest.


The interiors can also look a lot like a Princess Cruise liner.


Well, they all kinda do, actually.

Class B’s are basically big vans with a bathroom and a couple of beds in the back. Sometimes a cooking area.


Finally, a class C is the kind with a “lip” over the cab area. That’s a bed up there.


Not all recreational vehicles are equipped with an engine, however.

Your towable RV category includes Fifth Wheels, Toy Haulers, and Travel Trailers.

A Fifth Wheel also has a lip like the Class C, except that part would slide over the bed of a pickup truck.


A Toy Hauler is a trailer equipped to carry motorbikes and ATVs and the like. You know….”toys”. The living space is usually well equipped though. You just have to share it with your toys. Haulers are towed behind a truck secured to a rear hitch.


Last, but not least, is the Travel Trailer. Its usually lighter than a fifth wheel and more suitable for short term travel. It hitches to the back of a tow vehicle like the toy hauler.


All of these are often fitted with “slide outs” which increase the living space once you’re parked but conveniently slide in for travel.

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Now that you know all the kinds of RV’s out there, if you think a travel trailer or fifth wheel is how you want to roll, the very first thing you’ll have to do is familiarize yourself with the vehicle capacity lingo. The key is understanding that a vehicle’s tow capacity is limited by its gross combined vehicle weight  (GCVW). 

In other words, if a truck is rated to tow 8,000lbs, the weight of the truck is 6,000lbs, and the GCVW is 14,000lbs, you absolutely cannot tow an rv that has a dry weight (the unloaded vehicle weight) of 8,000 lbs. You have to account for fuel, water, stuff and…people, presumably, that you will have on your truck. Usually, there is a limitation to the hitch weight also. That’s even more complicated and confusing.

We really began to question our intelligence when trying to figure this stuff out.  Read more here to school yourself on this important info if you want to avoid making our stupid mistake.

So, consequently, Matthew has been toiling all week online searching for the perfect towing truck…an activity that has only temporarily replaced the relentless search for the perfect RV. (Spoiler: it is definitely going to be bigger than the aforementioned Keystone). Fingers crossed there exists the perfect orchestration of needs and weight ratings!

The Purge Continues

Saturday is our first time as vendors at a flea market!

And most likely our last.

True to my previous admission to becoming a minimalist, I have been feverishly ridding myself of all things unnecessary to life and sustenance. I have posts in every Facebook local buy/sell/trade group that will have me, but things are going a little more slowly than I anticipated. My local Buy Nothing group has not only been a fantastic way to rehome my belongings and score random travel-appropriate things I do need to organize the RV, but it also has I introduced me to some wonderful, like-minded people.

I hope to report back with good news on the vehicle front and a successful flea market sale. Stay tuned!

The Search Begins

_20160202_095055The First Pass

The reality of our decision is not only sinking in but it is consuming our every thought, almost every minute. We have practically already lived out the trip ahead of us in our minds and are vascillating between mounting excitement and this phantom satisfaction of having already embarked. Bizarre, huh? We joked about how we don’t even have to go now because we’ve already mentally journeyed the country. Ha hahahaha….but, no. We’re still going.

A first glimpse of our potential living quarters was provided by Pete at Fretz RV in Souderton. We’d never even stepped onto an RV before, and quite the titillating experience it was! I wanted the first one we saw. “This is IT!” I saw the hesitation in my honey’s eyes, however. So after a few hours of exploration, we convened in our Durango V6, towing capacity 6,000lbs (purchased 2 months ago with the intent of hauling an RV).

He wants something more, something sturdier….something….not able to be towed by our brand new Durango. Of course! The bigger-is-better monster has gripped my husband with its evil intent. I may have to reel him in on this one…

After some back and forth from, going bigger and trading this baby SUV in for a pick-up to eliminating our initial wish list of double bunks (one for storage, one for a baby room) we think we have settled on a humble abode, below our towing capacity, in which we have floor and storage space, and if need be, the babe who will be a year and a half upon our departure, can sleep with us. She still does anyway for the most part, so no biggie. This way, we can bring a play yard and she can use that too instead of finding a creative way to seal off a bunk area for her to sleep in.

The Particulars

Learning the technical language, the towing specifications and the ins and outs of RV living has been exceptionally challenging. Figuring things out has been a complicated labyrinth of information practically written in a different language. I’m compiling an RVing for Dummies page so I might save you the months of confusion we spent figuring stuff out. Still, there are weekend conventions, websites, and endless resources to get in to the nitty gritty.

Buying an RV is not like buying a car. There are many factors to take into account that you don’t even know exist yet. Suffice it to say, there is a learning curve. Don’t get too confident too soon if you consider following sit here!

I’m going to skip ahead here for a moment.

We discovered upon our extensive and mounting research that in order to boondock with a travel trailer, as is our plan when possible, you need a heck of a lot more power than what is provided by the manufacturer. See, they figure, travel trailers are good matches for the occasional traveller or short term stints. Or, just people who will park in an RV park and juice up there. Class A, B and C motor homes are designed to go wherever, whenever, and are equipped to do so. They are not only much more expensive, but they are not an option for us since travelling with a baby that should be in a car seat is a major “no-no” since there is no safe way to secure a baby in a mobile home.

We are also conservationists. I reuse, reduce, recycle at every chance I’m able. I pay extra for green energy. I find the energy drains in my home and eliminate them. It’s sort of a hobby. In that spirit, solar energy on an RV is a favored option for powering up for dry camping. Except it seems adding the panels (and also buying a regular generator which is pretty necessary, as well) is not only expensive, but hard to do.

So, Matt found an appropriate model from 2014 that was already solar powered, and even had some towing and storage extras, as well as an insulated underbelly that will be useful when we depart in the winter months on the East Coast. Here she is: Keystone Outback.

In the meantime, I am mentally clearing out the clutter in our home. The sudden need to expunge and get rid of EVERYTHING is overwhelming me. It’s interesting because my desire to hang on to things “I might need one day” and my hubby’s minimalist nature has been a bone of contention through the history of our relocation. It’s funny how over time we start to meet in the middle of our differences without realizing it. All I can say is, every day I look at each room from the perspective of object-elimination. I cannot WAIT to rid myself of the weight of “things”. I realize now what a prison you are locked into by your possessions. It will be liberating to go without them all and experience life through moments and vistas, rather than desires and purchases.

We signed up for a local flea market next month to sell all of the antique items that we collected from…you guessed it…flea markets. We may be able to recoup about $1000 or more if we can sell it all.

Then there’s the business of all the other accumulated belongings that can’t come with us, but we’d like to save, such as pictures, family heirlooms, some books, baby items that may be necessary if a baby #2 comes along. They will be boxed and carted to my mom’s basement. Hopefully, with her blessing.

But I’m getting ahead of myself! We are 4-6 months from leaving and I’m trying to take things one step at a time. The good news is, we should be able to exit our 2 year lease at the one year mark without penalty. Phew! Once we get our hands on our new digs, I think we’ll be rolling out the door full steam ahead!