Repairs, Hellish Heat, and the Oasis of Friendship

We had hoped our troubles would be over if we could just get the jacks fixed, but that turned into a months-long ordeal that left us in the New Mexican dessert in the hottest part of the year, unable to run the too-high voltage air conditioner in our trailer.

Finding a repair shop that would come to us to diagnose and fix the problem was difficult, but we found a place located not far from where we were which would come take a look and had decent prices. They came out and saw that yes in fact the motor was busted, and some of the gears were stripped. We would need an all new set. They said they would order the part and call when it came in. A few days later we got a call from them letting us know it may be awhile since the part was apparently special in some way and there were several orders of the same thing backing up the place. We said fine, we’d wait. 

Well, this “it’ll just be a couple weeks” wait, turned into two months. While we wouldn’t change staying with Mari and their mom, and getting to bask in their friendship and hospitality, their house was smack in the middle of the dessert, with no trees for shade in sight. We were in our little immovable tin can, roasting and still unable to shower. We couldn’t do anything about the water since we still weren’t able to move the trailer. 

It became our hot dusty little apartment for that couple months, with us ever looking forward to the part coming in and being able to fix what was wrong.

While we waited for the part, we got a bandaid to fix the sewage leaking problem, as we didn’t want that to be constantly leaking in our friend’s yard. That helped and we set about trying to find someone to fix that too, although with the temporary fix and a mobile dumping company coming to empty our tank every week or so, we weren’t doing too bad. 

If you thought more didn’t go wrong in that time we were waiting for that part, you’d be sadly mistaken. It seemed a never ending discovery of new things that needed fixed. We were able to use a hose to do some flushing while in Mari’s yard, which lead us to discover leaks in the water system, the grey water tank appeared to be leaking and the hot water heater seemed to have some leakage as well. 

So there we were, sitting hot and broken and stressed. Our only solace through all this was our wonderful friends and family. Getting to be so close physically with Mari and their mom lead us to be closer emotionally, and we had a lot of fun hanging out together through those months. Our other friends and family were also supportive and hanging out all the time, distracting us from the bad parts of life. 

Finally, the part came in. But this was not the end. Turns out the repair guys we went with were not trustworthy in any way. We decided not to go with them for the installation after having Jordan’s uncle offer to help install for us for way less than these guys wanted to charge us. When we said we just wanted to come get the part, they tried double charging us for the work they’d already done, claiming we had to pay that since we weren’t having them install the part. 

I then went over to the place to pick the part up, and they refused to give it to me even though I had already paid for it and it was mine. They said I had to pay them first, then I could have it. I told them I’d already paid for it and I wasn’t paying them again for work they’d already done, or any of their ridiculous made up “fees”. This turned into a stare down that in hindsight, as a small woman, could have turned very dangerous for me. I will say to anyone reading this if you are in this situation, CALL THE POLICE. If you’ve paid for a part they can’t legally keep it from you, it’s your property. I didn’t call the police and instead ended up paying them half of what they wanted and going home feeling dirty and used. Writing this now I feel frustration, shame and regret. I wish I had called the police and gotten my property without being scammed out of a couple hundred dollars, but live and learn I guess. 

Part in hand, Uncle came over and he and Jordan installed the new jacks. I add “and Jordan” but really this was Uncle installing and Jordan standing near him handing him parts. All he wanted for his work was to be able to take the old jacks (he’s an artist and works primarily with metal) and a six pack. We said we’d give him anything, and thanked him profusely. 

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Now we could move our home again, and could dump our tanks and work on flushing the water. We did all these things damn near immediately. We didn’t get any of the various leaks fixed then, partially wanting a break from the nonsense and partially because the repairs had hit us in the wallet hard. 

The water system also remained not fully usable. We kept flushing but couldn’t seem to get the antifreeze out, then once we seemed to have gotten it more would pop up out of somewhere. And the water stank, no doubt because the system needed cleaned. We did that and it seemed mostly ok, but still antifreeze or bad smelling water would pop up, and we had to continue using the water jugs. 

With the ability to move though, we were feeling a lot better. Now we were thinking about new timelines. We had ended up stuck in Albuquerque much longer than we had originally hoped, unable to do more practice trips or even start our adventure because of the repairs. We decided to wait even longer since now fall was setting in and the Holidays would be right around the corner. 

We settled in, much more happy now that the weather was beginning to cool and we could move our home and take care of it again. 

Our First Trip

The sadness and shame of the broken truck window faded over the next few weeks as we planned our first ever actual trip in our trailer home. We knew we couldn’t simply rush out and begin our plans of full time traveling, as much as I wanted to. The best plan would be to continue fixing up the trailer, and getting in a couple practice trips. This way we would be able to test everything out and become more familiar with all aspects of this new lifestyle. 

So we set to planning. We didn’t want to, and couldn’t afford, staying in RV parks or KOA’s or other campsites of the like. Our goal was, is, and will most-likely be being as self-sufficient and sustainable as possible. This means making our home as self-sufficient as possible, which on a tiny trailer is actually pretty easy! The fifth wheel had its own battery and space on the roof for solar panels, its own fresh water tank that could provide showers, dish washing and all other water needs, and tanks to catch all our, ahem, dirty water. 

Have you ever thought about how much power it takes to charge your phone, or run the microwave? Yeah, I hadn’t either! But wanting to run the house fully on solar meant needing to think about these things so that we could understand how many panels we needed and could avoid overloading our battery. It turns out things like our phones, laptops, and LED lights actually took very little power. Things like the microwave and my coffee maker however, needed more power than the two solar panels we started with could provide. I can go without a microwave, but coffee? I’ll sooner make it like a cavewoman than go without! Which, spoiler alert, is what I did (until a dear friend gave me a mini French Press and I could at least be civilized about it). We started with two solar panels mostly because that’s what we could afford at the time. They weren’t as expensive as you’d think, but when you’re trying to overhaul your entire life you aren’t exactly rolling in money. 

Getting the trailer to be able to stand alone without needing to be plugged in was a huge step in the right direction. Meanwhile, dewinterizing the water system so that we could do things like shower or wash our hands or dishes was proving a frustrating task. Without being able to get back into Jordan’s mom’s yard if we left, we weren’t able to take the trailer anywhere to attempt to deal with the water system. We also couldn’t do it in the yard, since the tank was full of antifreeze. So we showered in her house and bought several six-gallon camping water jugs to deal with the rest of our water needs. We were really roughing it. 

With our electricity and water needs for the most part met, we just needed to think about where we would stay. Again, we didn’t plan on staying in RV parks or campsites, but instead wanted to do what is known in the RV world as “boondocking.” This is where you stay pretty much out in the middle of nowhere, not hooked up or plugged in. The “middle of nowhere” can be anywhere from literally just out in the wilderness to a Walmart parking lot. Jordan stumbled on some great websites that listed free campsites and gave descriptions and reviews for them. This was a goldmine for us! We began planning not only our upcoming first tester trip, but looking all across the Continental US to see if there were places to stay in every state! 

For our first trip we didn’t want to go too far in case anything went awry, and also wanted to go somewhere we would enjoy. So, of course, we went to Southern Colorado. Jordan found several free campsites in an area close to where we had camped when we eloped, and we knew that was where we would want to go! 

We had electricity, a bandaid on the water situation, and a place to camp. All we needed was to wait for Jordan’s mom to get home from a trip abroad, and we were ready to roll!

It took some work, but we were able to get the truck into the yard and under the hitch of the trailer, even in the horribly crooked position we had left it in. We also discovered during this that the trailer had shifted when we had taken it off the hitch after the window break incident, so it was really a pain to get the truck into the correct position without breaking anything else. But we did it! 

And finally, we were off on a real trip! Cue cute adventure music over panoramic shots of Athena pulling our little home through the desert. 

Here I am, piloting our house!

Here I am, piloting our house!

That drive was fairly uneventful, and we arrived in the area we had been looking at with daylight to spare. There were a few sites in the area, all along a little river and up a mountain. We checked out the first few on the road, and, never wanting to miss out on a better spot, decided to head up the road to see the next site on the camp. 

We soon discovered however that what we had read as a campsite not far up the road was turning out to be much further away, and that road also turned out to be running along the side of a cliff. We began to fret that we wouldn’t reach the next campsite, or that if we got there it wouldn’t be good and that the campsites we’d first looked at would be taken by the time we got back to them. 

The road moved up and up the mountain, and no campsites were emerging. Finally, frustrated and fearing losing out on a good space, we decided we ought to turn around. This was much easier to think than to try and do with what must be a 14 foot long truck and a 30 foot long trailer along a skinny mountain road with a cliff on one side. There were some “turn arounds,” though they looked like they were more for a place to pull to one side to let other cars pass.

At last, a little clearing popped up on the left, and we went for it. What ensued was a very terrifying turn around of our behemoths. We were trying hard as we could to not think about tumbling down that cliff. But we made it, and headed back down the mountain. 

Luckily, none of the campsites had been taken, and we chose one that seemed easy to get into and out of. We pulled it in and began set up, excited to be setting up on a real trip, and in such a beautiful place too! 

The first site we camped at. We moved about halfway through the week after taking the trailer into town to dump the tanks.

The first site we camped at. We moved about halfway through the week after taking the trailer into town to dump the tanks.

The campsite was gorgeous and only a few yards from the river. We could hear the water running, and could catch the voices of people playing in it a ways away. We basked in the beauty, and our dogs ran around happily. 

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This trip had two sides. The first was the beautiful side. We didn’t have service at the campsite, which was sort of sucky. But overall that allowed for some serious disconnection, which I think we both needed. Jordan took off the first half of the week from work, and we enjoyed the time together with our dogs, alone in the woods. We hiked, played in the river, which our lab mix thought was the greatest thing ever, and watched movies we’d pre-downloaded onto our computers. It was on this trip that I actually thought of and completely outlined the novel I’m currently working on. (I think I’m on to something with this no service in the woods thing…)

Our second campsite, post dumping.

Our second campsite, post dumping.

The other was the horrible side. We quickly discovered that our sewage tank leaked. We suspected the valve which held the tank closed was a bit loose, and as a result there was a foul drip coming out of our RV, that was there even after we dumped about halfway through the week at the nearby town. We tried pouring water and dumping dirt over where it leaked, but felt the guilt and shame of people whose sewage was leaking into the beautiful (public) outdoors. If this wasn’t enough, the day we were going to leave, the front jacks, the two little legs on the front of the trailer, which hold all the trailer’s weight and are how you lift it up onto the truck, broke. 

We couldn’t lift the damn thing onto the truck bed with the broken jacks, and found ourselves in a state of panic. We ran to the nearby town to try and get a jack strong enough to lift the trailer up onto the truck. If we could just get it on the truck, we could get home where we would have cell service and would be able to get the trailer fixed. 

Luckily we found a cheap jack that could hold the weight of the trailer and that wasn’t expensive. We rushed back to camp and began the grueling task of attempting to get the busted trailer up onto the hitch. 

At long last we got it up, but it was now dark outside. We cleaned up camp and went to bed, deciding to just take the extra day and sleep with the trailer on the hitch. 

The next day we began the journey home. We realized we didn’t have anywhere to stay that night, and so began looking at free campsites that might work. We quickly discovered there were some near home, but many were too far from Albuquerque to work for us. Being in the middle of nowhere was one thing when we were in Colorado, but when we needed to see friends and family and occasionally go in to work, it just didn’t work anymore. We decided to stay in an RV park not far from Jordan’s mom’s house in Zuzax for that night and maybe the next. Not ideal, but we could afford a couple nights as we figured out a (preferably free) living situation. Luckily the trailer stood on the jacks fine, but the motor was shot so we had to manually lift with the hand jack. 

We then explored other places to stay. The free campsites close enough to be manageable ended up being accessible with the truck, but with the rocks and hills and difficulty it took getting to them, we wouldn’t have been able to get the trailer in or out of them. So there was a no go. Jordan’s mom’s house was out, since we couldn’t risk another window break or breaking anything in her yard. The rest of our family didn’t have the kinds of yards that could have an RV parked in them. Options were becoming horrifyingly slim and expensive. 

But then something beautiful happened. Our friends proved yet again they are more like family to us. We actually got offers from multiple friends for us to park in their yard. The first was from the father of one of my oldest friends. He happily invited us to come checkout their yard and see if our trailer could fit. We went and looked, but the yard didn’t have quite enough flat space for us to fit. Too many trees, bushes and cactuses would have to be moved for us to fit, and we didn’t want to do that to their yard, no matter how much he assured it would be okay. We were all disappointed it didn’t work. 

The second offer came from a friend who we had just met through another close friend not all that long before. We were good friends but hadn’t grown close quite yet, and out of the blue they offered for us to park in their yard! I was complaining at a party when it happened, telling everyone the stresses of what had happened. Then this friend looked up at me, and said, “my mom and I have like half an acre that we don’t use, why don’t you come stay with us?”

I was floored, not able to thank them enough just for the offer. We discussed some, and they texted their mom who was fine with the whole thing. I went and checked the yard out the next day and it seemed perfect. Easy to get into, nice and flat with lots of space for us to park.

Jordan and I brought our poor trailer down to their house (it was quite literally on the opposite side of Albuquerque as the RV park we were at) and were able to slide into the yard no problem. 

Well, some problems. Remember the broken jacks? Well the ground on that side of Albuquerque is a soft sand that didn’t want to hold up the hand jack for us to remove the trailer from the truck. After some frustrating tries, we ended up sleeping in the truck and trying the next day to get it down. 

Finally we got it, and got the trailer stable and livable and the truck free. 

Now staying in their yard, we quickly grew much closer to both this friend and their mom, and we will be forever grateful to both of them. 

Getting Hitched

We ended up doing things in a bit of a strange order when we began purchasing our truck and trailer and everything that goes with those things. You would think that we would have gotten the hitch before the trailer, but in our excitement and inexperience we ended up with the trailer and truck, and no hitch. 

While some of this was just because of how things turned out, some was a bit of a conscious choice. We knew we wanted a fifth wheel trailer, which meant the hitch would be going in the middle of the truck bed instead of at the end and would provide much better stability for our long term travel plans. As we began researching trailers and hitches, we found that there are actually two types of fifth wheel hitches. One is the traditional “fifth wheel” hitch in which the trailer has a ball that slides into a plate on the truck bed and looks like this:

Image: B&W Companion Fifth Wheel Hitch, Copyright B&W

Image: B&W Companion Fifth Wheel Hitch, Copyright B&W

The other is called a “gooseneck” hitch and in this hitch the truck bed is set up with the ball and the trailer gets a “gooseneck” that settles on the ball in the bed. Those look like this:

This is not our truck, I was unfortunately unable to get a picture of our hitch for reasons that will be more apparent in future posts. This image from hitchcorner.com

This is not our truck, I was unfortunately unable to get a picture of our hitch for reasons that will be more apparent in future posts. This image from hitchcorner.com

We weren’t sure which would better suit us, although we leaned towards a regular fifth wheel hitch since we knew more about it. Then we stumbled on our trailer. The one we went into and fell in love with almost instantly. The one we ended up swiping out from underneath some other person. Yeah, that one. That trailer ended up making our decision for us, as it already was set up with a gooseneck! 

We had some discussion about removing the gooseneck attachment and still going with a fifth wheel hitch. But as we looked at it, that seemed silly. It turned out that gooseneck hitches were less expensive to install, and on top of that we wouldn’t need to get rid of the attachment already on the trailer that way. 

So we went with our little gooseneck as quick as we could get it after purchasing our trailer. We found a place that installed good quality hitches for a reasonable price, and the rest is history. 

Soon, we had the hitch, and were ready to attempt to move our trailer. By this point, we had been sitting in Jordan’s mom’s yard for a while, and her yard doesn’t have RV hookups. This meant our holding tank was working on getting full, and what better way to test our hand at moving our trailer than taking it for a dumping adventure.

We took a weekend day and tried to start early to have as much sunlight as possible. We hooked up to the hitch in the truck and eased our way out of the yard. We drove slow and steady, heading for a dump station at a gas station not too far away. We hadn’t known before then that lots of gas stations actually have RV dump stations you can use for free, and we were very relieved to have found that info! We wouldn’t have to pay to stay in a park or KOA after all!

The dumping went well, and we stopped at Jordan’s grandmother’s house to use her hose to attempt to flush the fresh water system in our trailer as well. When we bought it, it was still winterized and the previous owner did not de-winterize it for us. This meant that the fresh water system had RV safe antifreeze in it and would need to be flushed and cleaned. (Over the next few months this would become a huge issue for us, since we were new to the RV game and knew very little about de-winterizing.)

Driving, dumping, and flushing took longer than we had anticipated, which does make sense in hindsight. We really didn’t know what we were doing that first time! By now, the sun was looking dangerously like it was going to set on us before we were able to re-park in Jordan’s mom’s yard. 

This was where things got very sticky for us. Our inexperience really showed as we tried to get into the yard again, which involved having to turn around at the end of the road in order to back into the yard at the correct angle. This resulted in a neighbor yelling at us for encroaching on her driveway. By the time we got turned around, the sun was making its disappearance. The previous owner had backed it in for us the first time, and, in all his experience and the light of day, he’d made it look pretty easy. Now, with the two of us being very inexperienced and daylight fading fast, we realized the angle of her driveway was actually very tight and difficult to back the trailer into. Our frustrations were running high as Jordan moved the trailer back and forth, in and out, trying to get into the yard without damaging the gate posts or the trailer. 

By now it was full dark, and both of us were tired and frustrated. We just wanted our little home to be parked and ready for us to sleep in again. Jordan decided he would pull forward and crank the trucks wheels in an attempt to get the trailer at the correct angle in the yard. I stood at the back of the trailer, using my phone as a walkie talkie to communicate where to go and if he was close to hitting anything. He cranked the wheels, started reversing and…

CRACK!

The trailer stopped moving, I stood shocked and panicked. Jordan’s voice came through the phone. 

“The trailer broke the back window of the truck.”

Our first big mistake, made. 

“Fuck.” Was all I could really say to that. 

The trailer was in the yard but in the most crooked, in the way place possible. We unhooked it, parked the truck, and called it a day. 

With how hard it was to get back in, we knew we wouldn’t be able to park in her yard, at least until we’d gotten the experience and expertise necessary to traverse its difficult geometry. 

We went to bed, tired, sad, and frustrated. 

We ended up leaving the trailer there, crooked and sad, until we took it out on our first trip several weeks later. The window in the truck remained broken and sad (and lead to us getting broken into!) for many months to come. 

We Got the Truck, Time for the Trailer

After buying our truck, we moved right along to the process of trying to find a trailer for her to haul. This was where things got very complicated for us. We began running into the issues that come with being first time buyers of anything, and first time big loan takers. Our banks weren’t too keen on loaning us anything with us having credit that wasn’t spectacular, and had a few things that needed taking care of, and with us not having asked for a big loan before. 

We began getting a little nervous. We’d just spent quite a bit on Athena the F250, and were not ready to be juggling her payments and the apartment we still had. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of fuel that goes into a truck of that size. Plus, we were just ready to be getting moved into a trailer and starting the path of our dreams. 

After a couple of months of fixing credit issues, panicking and racing around wondering what the hell we’d do if we couldn’t get the money for the trailer, our luck kicked in yet again. At the same time we were doing all this, Jordan’s grandmother was sorting her finances and life after the loss of her husband early in the year. With the dust settled, she found she wanted to make some sort of investment. She turned her eye to the stocks, and had even begun asking her father, a long time stock investor, for pointers. 

On hearing our plight, Jordan’s grandmother realized she could both make an investment and help us as well. 

She ended up loaning us what we needed to get a relatively inexpensive used trailer and get some of the various things we’d need to get started in it as well. We were incredibly lucky to have family like her supporting us, and will forever be grateful for the help she gave us! Because of her, we were able to get a trailer that we really love, at just the right time.

With the money panic behind us, we were able to look at trailers with that much more of a discerning eye. What did we really want? 

We scoured places like Craigslist and the Facebook Marketplace for used trailers, and found a surprising amount of good ones in our price range. We met up and toured a few, and they all had their pros and cons. We usually went in, took a look around, asked a few questions of the seller, and left. A couple seemed promising, but they all had things one or both of us didn’t really like. 

Then, one day, we found one on the Facebook Marketplace which looked pretty good, and was a great price. I messaged the seller and scheduled a time for us to meet and take a look at the trailer. The pictures listed looked good, but didn’t show everything. 

This is one of like….three pictures he’d posted.

This is one of like….three pictures he’d posted.

The viewing started pretty normal. Went through the tour, checked what we normally checked, asked a few questions. But then we found ourselves taking a look around a second time. And asking for a few moments alone to discuss what we thought. Instead of discussing what we would tell the seller (deal or no deal), we talked about where our belongings would go, what renovations we would want to make. We stood there imagining living in that trailer. Neither of us felt like leaving. 

When I realized that’s what we were doing, I turned to my husband Jordan and said, “I think this is the one.”

The only thing that was not so perfect about this was that the seller had shown it to another woman earlier in the week who intended to purchase it the next morning. If we really wanted this one, we would be swiping it out from under that other woman. This threw a bit of a wrench into it, and we had to take another moment to think. Inside the trailer, of course. 

It was the most perfect one we’d seen. It had everything we were looking for: a pull out bed for when friends/family came to stay with us on our journey, a solid door to our bedroom which was also set up just how I’d been wanting, and space for Jordans various electronics. It also had good storage space inside and outside. As shitty of a move as it perhaps was, we wanted to swipe it from that lady.

And so we did. 

We hadn’t expected the buying to go so quickly, and didn’t have the hitch installed in Athena yet. The guy said this was no problem, and agreed to haul the trailer to Jordan’s mom’s house in the mountains for us the next morning. Her yard is a bit strangely shaped, and with a little difficulty and lots of help from Jordan and I, the guy got our home into Jordan’s mom’s yard.

I immediately began what turned out to be the incredibly arduous task of deep cleaning the entire inside of the trailer. This took a lot longer than expected, and it wasn’t until a couple weeks later that we were able to start moving our very downsized possessions into it. 

I’d like to take another moment here to thank our families again. My grandmother agreed to store the boxes of keepsakes we wouldn’t be taking with us, and many of our family members took our large furniture as well. Thanks to them, we didn’t have to get a storage unit for the stuff that couldn’t come but couldn’t go, either. Without them, we’d have yet another monthly bill. Without our families, our dreams would not have come true! 

Hiding in the trees ft. Jordan’s mom’s dog!

Hiding in the trees ft. Jordan’s mom’s dog!

Stepping off the Beaten Path

I’ve always wanted to blaze my own trail in life and have always hoped to find myself somewhere no one had been before, ever since I was a kid getting bombarded with “follow your dreams, you can be whatever you want” messages. I think I really absorbed the idea that life can be whatever you want.

    Then I grew up and grew into my anxiety and found out life isn’t always actually what you make it, and for many people it never will be. But the little fire of wanting to make my own way continued burning, even through life trying to extinguish it. And that little flame has led me right off the beaten path.

    I’ve been incredibly lucky in my life, that’s for sure! I’ve had the ability to chase my wildest weirdest dreams, including writing this blog, writing a couple books, and now, my husband and I are trying to buy an RV to travel full time in!

    The two of us have had this dream for a little while now. I’m not sure where we got it originally, but once we had the thought, “Hey, we could just live in one of those and then drive all over the country!” It stuck. We found ourselves researching and Pinterest-ing and getting more and more excited about the idea that we could travel full time.

    Things held us back at first, mostly money and the fact that my husband’s job wasn’t portable, and he hadn’t been there long enough to comfortably quit. So we waited, letting that dream sit and stew on the back burner.

    Then, just a few months ago, we hit the place where we were ready. Money had stabilized, my husband Jordan had reached a place where he could switch jobs, and things started to get real exciting. Jordan applied to all sorts of positions, each with the intention of setting us a step closer to our dream life. Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to move out of my (our) hometown. It’s not the worst place in the world, but it sure as hell isn’t the best or the only. Jordan has been less passionate about wanting to move, but also has wanted to experience more than this sliver of the world. So some of his positions he applied to would simply have moved us to another state, while some were remote positions that would allow him to work from home. He got some bites, and the best was a remote position that would be working with one of his favorite programming languages (oh, he’s a computer scientist). He moved ahead with that position and prepared himself to put in his notice at his current job.

    This was where some more of that good luck kicked in. You see, it was a darn good thing Jordan had stayed at this job for as long as he did. By doing that, he built great rapport with his boss and coworkers and showed his good work ethic. This all meant that when he went to give his notice, his boss wanted to do everything he could to keep Jordan! His boss went straight to the Big Boss and requested to match everything the other company was offering Jordan, including the ability to work from home, which had not previously been an option. Big Boss said yes, and Jordan got to stick at the same job, but now with all the perks we were looking for!

    And so, we set ourselves out on the even more in-depth research process of actually being about to buy an RV.

    There was a lot to decide on, but the biggest thing was the question “What kind of RV?” Did you know there’s a ton of stuff that fits under the term RV? You’re probably imagining a big honking motor home with a flat bus front, and you’d be imagining a Class A. But did you know that travel trailers, those things you pull behind trucks, are also considered RVs? That a damn VW Bus would be an RV if you threw a mattress in it. So we set to deciding.

    We thought we would go for a motorhome at first. A motorhome is a type that has the “motor” and “home” bits all in one, so it drives itself. The only issue with these is that maintenance on the engine bits can be hard and expensive, since it’s different than a regular car or truck. Those Class A’s we imagined earlier are essentially buses. Who wants to deal with repairing a bus?? Not us. Class C motorhomes, which are built on a truck chassis and therefore are easier to maintain and repair, were on the top of our list for quite a while. But as we looked and thought and researched, we decided to go the trailer route.

    Buying a trailer would mean needing to buy a truck to haul it, and this combination we felt would give us the greatest freedom and utility. With a motorhome, if it needs to go into the shop, your whole damn house is going into the shop. With a trailer, if the truck needs to go in to the shop, you’re still left with your home. Plus, we would get all the other functionality of a truck. After our travel dreams are fulfilled and we’re ready to settle down, we will most likely be building ourselves a homestead, a little self-sufficient (or as close to it as we can get) home on several acres of land most likely with lots of animals. We may even build our own home. We’d probably need a truck for this either way, so may as well get the truck now and have it travel with us and build our home for us, too.

    And here’s where the Year of New Experiences came into action yet again.

    The two of us have each only owned one car. Our first cars were both older, very inexpensive cars bought off Craigslist and a family friend. We each owned them outright and had no loans or payments or nothin’ for them. At first we thought we might be able to find a suitable truck that way, but soon realized what we wanted to do with the truck was too intense to buy something too old or with too many miles. We plan to take this trip all over the country as well as to Canada and Mexico if we can, and no old ass truck with a bunch of miles will do that. Plus, we needed something big in order to haul a trailer. So, off to a dealership we went!

    Everything about the truck was new for us. Both of us have only ever driven small, fuel efficient cars. Neither of us even really like trucks, unlike many of our friends and family members. Neither of us had gone to a dealership before either. And neither of us had made as big a purchase as this.

    We weren’t able to get the one we really hoped for, but we qualified for way better than we expected! We ended up with a big ass Ford F250, and so far we love her!


We named her Athena!

We named her Athena!

We’d been wary about Ford at first, but on researching this particular truck found that it was one of their better models, and suddenly a bunch of Ford fans came out of the woodwork, which was reassuring.

    The whole process felt really big somehow. The fact that this was our first big purchase both in our individual lives and as a couple was always on our mind, and left us feeling a little like we were buying our first home together. Which, if you consider we will be buying a fifth wheel trailer and living in it, we sort of are.

    The process so far has been exciting and stressful and scary and mind-blowing. But I’m so glad I’m doing this. I’m so excited to be blazing my own trail with Jordan at my side.

    Now if only I could finish my damn novel.