Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Class A RV To A Vintage Camper. Why?

Class A RV- Bessie

The moment we realized how many issues we were dealing with. 

Vintage Camper - Filmore

"Some things in this life are worth fighting for"

It seems that several people have wondered why and how we live in something so small. Why on God’s green earth did you ever downsize to something less than half the size of what you had before?  Well, today is your lucky day because I’m going to explain exactly what happened a year ago and how we are making it work.

First off, I’ll say that the way we live is not for everyone and while it may not work for you, it works for us.  We were determined to continue our dream of living a life on the road. Today, we are here to say that we are still living it out.

OK, so we first purchased our original RV in April of 2014. It was a used 2002 Monaco LaPalma with only 20,000 miles and 34 feet long.  We thought the people we had purchased it from were “trustworthy” and long story short, it turned out to be a complete piece of crap.  Nothing bad happened until we went to take it for a trip down to the Outer Banks. Needless to say, we didn’t even make it out of the camp spot before it died on us. Chris was determined to continue on but while on I-64, we had to turn it around and limp it home not knowing what in the world was wrong with it. That was the first set of problems. After putting nearly $6500 into “fixing” it, it didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the many problems it contained. From transmission issues, to leaks all over the place, a dead slide, electric problems, toilet issues and the list goes on and on.

Somehow we made it to Florida for the winter, which is where half the mechanical work was done. The story of all that went on there could go on for days so I’m not going to go into all that happened. It’s enough to never make a person want to buy a used RV ever again. Plus, I don’t want to scare anyone out of that just because we had a very negative experience. Let’s just say that there came a point when we had to decide if we were going to stay put or move back to Virginia and no longer fulfill our dream of a life on the road.  By this point, we’d spent every extra penny we had.

We aren’t quitters though and we had a vision. We knew we could make this work, but we needed something else.  Money doesn’t grow on trees and by this point we had depleted what we had saved on trying to fix up Bessie.  What we bought had to be purchased in cash and it had to be inexpensive. So for most of the winter, I googled and hunted down older campers that could be pulled with a Kia Sorento. If you don’t know, our Kia cannot pull much, 3500 pounds, max. Well for a family of 5, we were looking at something TINY. Like minuscule compared to that castle we were in. Plus, we had a job lined up in Colorado for the summer. It was a now or never moment.

Finally, in April, we came across a 77’ Sunline 13 foot camper that happened to be located in Daytona Beach. Awesome! It was only an hour away and close to our neck of the woods. That morning, we got a tow hitch put on, traveled to check it out and bought in on the spot. Afterwards, we drove it straight over to a service center, had 4 new tires put on, brought it home, painted the entire inside, packed it up, said good bye to Bessie the Beast and left two weeks later.  Holy Cow, in the nick of time.

And that is how and why we acquired our mini home.

By the way, Bessie (Class A RV) is now gone, praise JESUS! We are completely full-timing in Filmore.

Now for the fun part, how do all 5 of us live in 13 feet of space and not kill one another. The answer is simple, love and patience… lots of patience. Honestly, it’s really not an issue. To be truthful, the hardest part is the bed that Chris and I sleep on.  In our house we had a king size bed and then went to a Queen size bed in Bessie and now we sleep on something smaller than a twin. Thankfully, I love that man to death. But it works. It works for us and we have our own space and we can continue to travel and see the United States. Plus, we are an outdoor family. Most of our time is spent grilling out, hanging outside, playing on the river and traveling around. Obviously, if we were an indoor family, there may not be all 5 of us left. lol. 13 feet would be kind of small for the family who doesn't like the outdoors. 

Of course, something a tad longer would be more ideal and maybe in the future that may happen but for now, we know what we have and we know our situation. In the winter, we’re working at a ski resort where we watch the rafting property and in the summer we’re camping with all the other raft guides while staying on property. Some of them sleep in their cars while the others are in tents. To them, we’re living the posh life. We have electric, heat and warm beds with a dry roof over our head.  We are happy and we’re content.  The kids are making great memories while having amazing experiences. They learn new things, try new sports, and we all bond closer as a family.

When we started this adventure almost two years ago, we had no idea what would be in store for us. There have been many downs but there have been just as many ups. The ups far outweigh the downs and so we find it worth the struggles and the stress to continue on this path.  Sacrifices are made but it’s because we want to live a life of adventure. The friends we’ve met, the memories made and the thrill of our life keep us going down the life of living on the road.  So, tiny home and all, we make it work.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Colorado has a piece of our hearts.

The last few weeks have been a mix of playing in the snow, skiing and learning to snowboard. The kids have all picked up skiing super quickly and have been going off box jumps, ramps and flying through trees. It's safe to say that they've fallen in love with the sport. Not too shabby for their first month of skiing. Chris and I on the other hand have taken to snowboarding. Chris still enjoys skiing and will continue to do it from time to time but for the most part, we'll be boarders. I've actually only ever skied twice before heading out here this winter so I don't feel a huge connection to skiing. It's still fun but I feel more comfortable being on a board. Next winter season, Kenna will also venture more into snowboarding but since she already has the skis, she'll stick with that for now. 

Besides hanging out on the slopes, we've been hanging out at home doing schoolwork and playing in the snow. It amazes me just how much we've acclimated to the weather here. When the temps hit 35, we think it's nice and when it hits 40, the kids feel the need to wear only T-shirts. Crazy to think that we came from Florida with temps in the high 80's, with nice tans and days spent riding waves at the beach. Being on the slopes has been our saving grace. We're all about adventure and feel super blessed to have the opportunity to teach the kids a new sport. I have the feeling this sport will be hanging around our family for many years. Our assumption for this comes when Myla cries at night because she wants to go skiing so badly the next day. We feel it's safe to say they truly enjoy it... blizzards, cold toes, wipe outs and all. 

**Oh and if you need a nice hotel by the slopes, The Monarch Mountain Lodge has become our second home. Chris gets an awesome discount since he works at the slopes so we try to stay there from time to time. Those hot unlimited showers are absolutely amazing and the kids have been loving the heated indoor pool. We can't complain, life is good.