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Travel Life - A Woman's Point of View - From Jan Wilson

Jan Wilson's views on traveling in an RV

Personally, I think all that Jan talks about is related to any sort of traveling- whether camping for 7 months, biking for 7 months or traveling in an RV - everything has it's place, must be put back when done using, and put away clean. Enough from me, I'll let Jan share her thoughts with you.

If you are interested in following Jan and Rob on their 7 month trip to 50 National Parks in the U.S. , follow them on
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Jan's first instalment:

We’ve been on the road for over 80 days now in our little home on wheels.

When I say home, this is home for us. We don’t have a house or apartment waiting for us to return to. We sold most of our belongings when we moved to Denver, Co a couple of years ago and bought enough furniture to furnish a small apartment there. Now our son has all that in his apartment in Columbus, Ohio.

We are on an adventure, with plans to relocate to Orlando when we complete the tour. We are no strangers to change, having moved over 30 times in 35 years of marriage so we know that this is only a plan at this point. We will wait to see what unfolds for us. Any suggestions?

As I sit here in the Sprinter Interstate I realize that we are living in luxury when it comes to RV’s. Being only 22 feet long and 8 feet wide, everything on board is compact.

But we have all we need. The most important motto for us is “everything has a place and must be put in that place when we are finished using it”. After 35 years of marriage Rob has become a “neatnick”. But that is the rule of the road in Rving.

Up front we have four leather seats, the driver and passenger seats turn so that we can set up the table and have seating for four.

A galley kitchen has a sink, two gas burner stove, a micro/convection oven and 3.1 cu foot fridge. Bathroom includes shower (although we use the shower at RV parks when available).

The rear lounge area, converts to a queen size bed, very comfortable I must say and there is plenty of overhead storage for all the necessities for seven months on the road. (see photo)

I equipped our kitchen with dishware and cutlery for four and the minimum of pots/pans, and microwave dishes. How quickly you realize that all that “stuff” for the kitchen you left behind is not necessary.

Baggies are extremely important to the RVer, they really save storage space in the cabinets and the fridge.

As for clothes – well, there is no one to impress with a different outfit each day so we do fine with a very minimal wardrobe. Inside the back two doors (behind the lounge) there’s space to store our various jackets and fleece for the different climates we’ll be traveling in. I use a space bag to save room.

We each have two pairs of hiking boots (thank you, Merrell!!), a pair of sneakers and a pair of sandals (actually I have 3 pairs of sandals). We store them in the various cubbyholes under the seats.

I added over the door hooks on the bathroom door for towels and jackets.

Now I must admit that I was very concerned about the storage space before we moved in. But we are managing quite well thanks to the storage container on the back of the RV that Airstream added for us. (Thanks Sue Dooley, VP, Marketing, Airstream, for that lifesaving container!!). (see photo)

Inside that we store a small grill and propane bottles (although we could hook up to the propane on board the Interstate), a small “roll-up” table, two folding chairs, a large frying pan, a small tool box, our hoses and electrical cord for hooking up the water and power at the campsites and other odds and ends for outdoor use.

This box has become Rob’s little nook and he’s quite good at making sure everything goes in its place.

Stay tuned for the next installment of “what’s our daily life like!”

Jan's second instalment of living in an RV for 7 months:

What does a typical day play out like?

It took us a couple of weeks to really get into a routine of who did what.

We usually plan our next day’s itinerary the night before so we aren’t wasting time in the morning. We wake early to the sun rising and the sound of birds singing. Sometimes I set the alarm if we want to make sure we leave at a certain time. So it’s up and at ‘em.!

I make up the bed, converting it back to a sofa to give us more room while making breakfast. We grab our toiletry totes, our towels and clothes and head off for showers. I always take longer than Rob, of course. Some higher-end RV parks have private shower rooms and others have several shower stalls together.

Seldom do we have to wait for a shower since we are usually up so early. If we use the shower in the RV we use the navy shower method, no long showers on those days.

By time I get back from my shower, Rob has the coffee going (we use a little 4 cup Cuisanart coffeemaker we picked up at Walmart). Breakfast is usually fruit, cereal and toast or sometimes when we are not hurrying off to a park, Rob cooks up one of his BIG breakfasts on the outside grill and we eat outside at the picnic table.

Those mornings, we linger over a cup of java and enjoy the sounds of the birds and chatting with our neighbors as they get up for the day. Our Sprinter Interstate attracts lots of interest at RV campsites. There is always someone who saunters up to ask what this “thing” is. The men usually want to know about the engine and the women want to see inside. We get “ooooohs and ahhhhhs” from everyone. It’s so interesting to hear about the travels of fellow RVer’s and they are full of good advice on places we are heading to.

With breakfast finished, the dishes are done, Rob washes, I dry and everything is put back in its designated place.

We take a day about every 10 days or so as a workday. Rob has writing and photos to download and catch up on. I have laundry and believe it or not cleaning to do inside RV. The laundry facilities at most RV parks are clean and it doesn’t take me long to do a few loads since I can use a couple of machines at one time. A wash can vary from $1 to $2 and a dryer from $.25 for 20 minutes to $1.50 for an hour.

We have a rechargeable vacuum the makes quick work of the dirt on the floor and I give the floor a good washing. We sure bring a lot of dirt back with us from those hikes!

Groceries are usually done that day,too. As I said earlier, gourmet meals are not high on our priority so we are finding that we spend far less on groceries than we did before the trip.

No room for the gallon of ice cream in the freezer either. We treat ourselves once and a while with a cone at a specialty shop.

Rob sometimes has to empty the grey and black water holding tanks into the sewer system at the RV campsite. A very easy chore, done in a few minutes and the hoses stored back in the storage box.

Before we can pull out for the day, I take care of stowing away anything that may become a missile while we are driving. I close up windows, take down the drape that fits the front window and generally tidy up.

Meanwhile Rob unhooks the electric and water and stores everything away in the storage box. We climb into our comfy seats, start up the Sprinter Interstate and off we go for the day’s adventure, ready for more discovery in the National Parks.

Jan's 3rd and final instalment:

So we’ve been out at a park or been on the road for the day. What’s next?

Most nights we’re pulling in at dark because we try to make the most of every day. Rob hooks up the electric and water while I turn the front seats around and hang up the front window drape and close the blinds.

On the nights we make a point of getting in early, we grill out and we cook extra so that we have leftovers for those evenings we arrive at our campsite late. Perhaps a grilled chicken breast and a great salad, or hamburgers – our favorites, big and juicy!

I know it’s unusual for the typical RVer but we are on a different mission. Simple meals that are easy to put together at the end of a long day work best for us. We have no problem filling up our stomachs though after burning all those calories on a hike. (We’ve each lost over 10 lbs so far on this trip.)

We keep a few frozen meals in the little freezer for those days when the two of us are just too worn out to prepare a meal or we know we have a heavy evening of downloading photos and writing ahead of us.

Most nights we do enjoy a little time at the table outside. There is nothing better than winding down after dinner by a fire and talking about the day’s adventure.

We usually wrap up with working on photos, writing, and making sure all our batteries and equipment are fully charged for the following day. (We blew some great photos opps once because of a dead battery – never again!)

When the day is over and the dishes are done (they have to be done so we can use the same ones the next day) I set up the bed again (an easy process) and get our clothes ready for the next morning.

Last one in bed makes sure the lights are all turned off.

One thing for sure is we have no problem falling asleep. We’re too busy to be worried about anything else than the discoveries awaiting us the following day.

Sweet dreams!


Posted by johnwilson 17:17 Archived in USA Tagged tips_and_tricks

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