My last post here was in February when we came back from the Enchanted Rock trip. I was a bit shocked at how long it had been because it has been an extremely busy and fast moving month or so. See, we purchased our RV on February 24, 2017, and did a test run at Eisenhower State Park for Spring Break, but never returned to reality! I know, shocking!
We met with a man in Krum, Texas, who had a 1982 El Dorado Firenza for cheap and the bones were good and so was the engine. It was originally from Alaska and the man he purchased it from had done some basic work to it but eventually decided he just didn’t want to continue the work. We looked at it and thought this might be a great opportunity and bought it.
There were so many things we didn’t like about the RV and they were just cosmetic so we decided to do some major changes on the inside. We took out the bathroom for future plans later, the wall between the kitchen cabinet, the kitchen cabinet, the stove area, and the ugly 80’s couch looking thing. We decided it all had to come out to fit what we needed it to be so we took a sledge hammer and began knocking out walls, counters, stoves, and couches. Like I said, good bones, scary interior.
The floorplan was pretty much for a double bed-marine shower set up and we needed a space for two twin beds, kitchen area, and a sitting area. So we decided to take out everything except the closet area and bed space. This left a very big area to do what we wanted. We were actually able to get the two twin beds in and get it somewhat ready for basic living. This doesn’t mean we were able to get cabinets, counter, bathroom, or pantry in yet, but it is a work in progress. At this point in time, we are paying off some bills and getting money situated so we can take a full two weeks to finish the rig, but that is more towards October at this point. We are just living day to day.
During the demolition, we have found some pretty interesting things about this rig. It was paneled with some 1980’s wood looking paneling, the ceiling was covered with wine-colored velour that was tufted with giant velvet buttons, had a rather odd sepia colored wallpaper and orange-red carpet. It definitely brought back the 80’s and caused me to question my thoughts about taking it back to its original interior. The answer would be “no, not a chance.
Because we were set up to spend a one-week spring break tour with Eisenhower State Park in March, we decided to just take the full week to live as we would full time. This was where the “sudden” happened and we found ourselves in a whirlwind of change. I packed everything we thought we would need from food to clothing, seating to entertainment, and It was one big mess, but we were packed and we headed off on, what I thought would be a two-hour drive.
It took me almost five hours to get to Eisenhower State Park from our apartment in Bedford, Texas because the side mirrors were not working. I would get them into place only to have the wind from driving push them back to where all I could see myself. This was not going work for my safety or anyone else’s. I stopped to have Scott help me get the mirrors right and was off again. The driver side mirror acted correctly from that point, but the passenger mirror would not stay in place. This meant I was either having to stop every time it did this, meaning I was stopping every five to ten minutes. I ended up driving in the right lane at 55 mph extremely stressed because I could not see anything but my own reflection in the right side mirror. I know, stupid decision, but the girls and I made it safely to the parking lot of Eisenhower State Park. I stopped, got out, shut the door when the driver’s side mirror crashed to the ground. I was relieved to be there in one piece.
Once I was signed in at the office, I was given my spot and what a beautiful sight it was. I was given a pull through which meant no backing in with the two useless mirrors.
This was the second weekend in March and spring break was in full gear, come to find out it was the first of three weeks called Spring Break and I was only supposed to do one week. I contacted the Park Host Coordinator, Kate, and she was shocked to find I was scheduled for the full month of March! Wait, we weren’t supposed to be full time Park Hosts until June 1! Something was not right. Scott and I discussed what we were going to do and we decided we would give a 60-day notice to our apartment and move out. Obviously, the park needed us and we thought we were ready for the move.
We took the last week in March and packed up the apartment. Fortunately, I was able to go through all of my personal stuff over the previous six months and was down to what was going into the RV and two totes which sent into storage. Scott had been busy working and was not as fortunate so most of his things went into storage along with the items we both were not ready to let go of. It had been a rough time, but we were done and out of the apartment. We had lived in a 2,000 square foot house, moved to a 547 square foot apartment, then lived in only the 14′ x 12′ bedroom plus the bathroom and kitchen, now we though we were ready to move into a 25 foot RV. Our world was not only going to change, but it was going to change in a way we were not really prepared for. They say March comes in like a lion and exits as a lamb, this would not be so for us and we had no clue what was getting ready to happen.
Saturday, July 2, I “officially” fell off a mountain and broke my ankle. In all honesty though, I simply fell off the sidewalk in front of our apartment. It’s not as exciting, but I was lucky this did not happen while were bouncing around on top of the many Davis Mountains we were on in June. A week and day later I was told that I will not need surgery and was put in a permanent cast for four to five weeks. So we have decided to take a fairly long break (for us anyway) and not go to any new parks or camping in July and August. This means we have plenty of time to do some housekeeping on the blog, photos and other website stuff.
In the Emergency Room getting the left ankle, left knee and left elbow checked out.
For those who have not worked on a website, housekeeping is something that is needed on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we have been on the go-go-go since we started this site and we never created a routine for how we should prep the photos, write the posts, create the videos, and so on. Because of this, the site has never been 100% how we wanted it and we have a huge backlog of photos to be processed, which means I have a BUNCH of videos to make and upload. I had no clue what I was getting into when we decided to put this thing together, but I wouldn’t not have it. I enjoy seeing the things we have done, places we have been, and people we have met. I especially love meeting new people because we have made some really great friendships along the way.
Meeting new people is a highlight to our adventures. We have made so many great friends.
So, if it is so much work, why do we do this website thing? I hear you asking it now; I honestly ask myself the same question when I sit down to write a post and cannot think of what to say! We started this blog for me to have a venue for talking about hand embroidery and travel. That is exactly how it began, but we decided to step away from that because it was just a “me” thing. Scott and I had discovered the Texas State Parks and fell in love with them. Of course then the whole Tiny House/RV living caught our attention and that was that. We decided at that point we wanted to live in an RV and travel the United States, documenting our journey so others could keep from making some of the mistakes we had, go to some of the places we had enjoyed,or have family keep tabs on us just seemed like a really great idea. While looking into this we have found many other people and families do websites and videos giving us an example of what does and doesn’t work. We have found some great inspiration from people like The More We Explore, Technomadia, Gone With the Wynns, Long, Long, Honeymoon, and so on….
Cordie, the slave driver dog, is telling me to get back to work on the posting.
A blog was pretty much all we had intended to do, then Scott found photography. How lucky for me to have an endless supply of photos for the blog! Eventually, we found those photos would come in handy to make videos of the places we had been. I cannot tell you how many times we have searched YouTube for videos about different state parks, cities and things to do. Even though we did not always find what we were looking for, we found ideas on what is out there and how we can share something different. Unfortunately, this is not always an easy thing to figure out, but we are getting there. Learning to do something new takes a lot of time, reading, and focus which all takes away from the housekeeping our website and photos. As we have been doing the traveling, photography, and videos, we are seeing what works and doesn’t work for us. I do know we are not very good at planning for videos; it never was something we thought about doing so we just took photos. Since Scott got his camera, he is starting to think more along that line with photos but we both think so differently. This is a good thing, most of the time, because he will take photos of the pretty things like flowers, birds and such, where I am taking photos of campsites, bathrooms, and other boring mundane stuff. It actually works out for us in the end, but if we would just start doing a bit more planning it would help us produce better content and quality. We want to make videos and blog posts we enjoy showing, but if they aren’t good would you really want to watch? Yeah, you are just trying to be nice now.
Scott doing what he loves to do. I am so glad he does because I would rather sit pretty for the camera.
Since starting on this website, I have learned so much especially on how to set up a website from scratch. I have found I appreciate those who know code better than I do, but I am determined to learn it if that is what it takes to make a quality site. Scott has learned that less is definitely better than more in almost all walks of life. He would take thousands of photos and never stop long enough to process them. This has not only caused a huge backlog of things to do, but it has left him feeling overwhelmed and frustrated when I ask for a specific photo. We, as a couple, have learned that getting outdoors and being active is awesome and makes us much happier. Because we have found this and really believe it is a good thing, we want to share it with everyone we meet so we use the website, Facebook, and YouTube to help us get our message out. This is a lifestyle and we are embracing it, even if it means we have to stop and do a little housekeeping on a regular basis.
I was online watching a few YouTube videos about downsizing when I came across Margaret Manning discussing her downsizing experience and how she what she took to her new home. One of the things that never occurred to me during our downsizing (both past and current) was taking a specific number of items instead of taking only the things that will fit. When I started thinking about it that way I didn’t feel quite as overwhelmed.
I am thinking about giving it a try by writing down what I would want to take for ourselves and for the household items. This way I can see if it might be something we would want to do or not. In order to do this, even as an experiment, I need some rules. I am rule crazy, if you hadn’t noticed by the “Texas State Park Adventure.”
1. If it comes in a tote and makes sense, it is considered one. (embroidery tote – one; sewing tote – one; Scott’s photography tote – one; Scott’s instruments – one each, guitar – 1, banjo – 1, tin whistles in tote – 1; ect….).
2. 50 items for the kitchen, 50 items for the house, 50 items for me, and 50 items for Scott. This may change depending on if we need fewer house items, more kitchen items. Who knows, this could give each of us more personal items.
3. There must be a thought of where these things will be stored and how they will be used. Can they be used in only one way or more than one way? Do we really need that item or is there a way to use something else?
Thinking about this already, I am beginning to question the number. Are clothes included in the household number? Personal number? Does there need to be another number added? There are so many possibilities with this. I do not feel overwhelmed or stressed out about it in anyway at the moment. That may change as I am playing with this thought, but right now I feel more confident and willing to let some things go. My mind is already spinning trying to think of ways to bring everything I want to take.
One of the things I am thinking about is all of my art. I have been collecting other people’s hand embroidery for some time. I would miss those but there just isn’t going to be enough wall space for it all. I also have artwork from my children when they were young and my grandchildren, but I do not want to let go of those things because they mean so much to me. Then I realized I have an digital picture frame. This has helped me decide to pass on my art to others. That frame and the data disks will be the first thing on my list.
Some of my embroidery and other’s work.
Going back to Margaret’s video, what would be the three items I would take with me if I were to run away with just those? I would take my hand embroidery tote, my Chihuahuas, and Scott. Yes, they are alive, but I get puppy cuddles from the girls and Scott would take his guitar so I would have music! Seriously, that is what I would take. What would take and why?
Our Chihuahua girls, Cordie and Snickers.
For more information on Margret Manning and her website, click on YouTube or Sixty&Me.