We just closed out the first month in our 5th wheel on our maiden trip and have already learned a few things about RV living.
— One air conditioner is nowhere near enough to cool a 38′ camper in the Florida Keys in July. You need THREE of them!
— The pot handles get extra hot when cooked on our camper stove. (I have the burn to prove it).
— The fan must always be on while cooking anything inside.
— Ants arrive quickly when food is left out.
— The air conditioners, hot water heater, washer, lights, refrigerator and deep freezer can not all be running at the same time without tripping the power.
— Make sure all tires are good on trucks and trailers, and don’t forget the lug wrench!
— Get Good Sam Roadside Assistance BEFORE your start your travels because it takes 48 hours to go into effect!
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To elaborate on some of these, during the first week of our RV living experience, we ended up buying 2 additional air conditioners for the trailer. Robbie found two at a discount back in Orlando so we drove back to get them. It was so hot that first week! Everyone was a tad irritable with it being so hot in the camper. Here is Robbie adding the new AC to our room.
Cooking in the trailer was a new experience. We have a stove and an oven, but the first week the oven didn’t quite work right, but Robbie fixed it after a little while. For some reason everything on the stove gets extra hot, so even normal handles that can be held usually, need an oven mit before picking them up. I learned the hard way and got a great burn on the palm of my hand. I documented the first meal in the camper- spaghetti! This was right before I burned my hand.
It was tough not having a working fridge the first week, but we figured it out. We thought the fridge just couldn’t keep up with everyone opening it, but it turned out to be a broken thermisistor. I actually figured that one out by looking in the manual. Thankfully we were able to order the part on Amazon and get it replaced fairly quickly once we realized what was wrong.
The whole first week of our RV living experience was very busy since we arrived just at the start of sport season for spiny lobster. Sport season is only two days long – the last Wednesday and Thursday in July, and we arrived the Tuesday before at almost 10pm. Official open lobster season started August 6th. Here was one day of our haul of lobsters:
On the second day of sport season, Robbie didn’t see a sandbar and beached the boat! I stayed home that trip with two of the kiddos and he called me to tell me they would be a while. They had to wait 7 HOURS for the tide to go back up and get the boat off! Luckily it happened right near a small island that is actually attached to the old 7 mile bridge. Since they could swim to the island and walk down the bridge, I was able to pick up the other kid (who was scared about being stranded as it was getting dark), and also bring them some food to take back on the boat. They finally were able to get off the sandbar and drive the boat back to the campsite at 1:30am. Here is a picture of the boat beached near the bridge:
Before we left the campground to come back home with the 5th wheel, Robbie noticed one of the tires was bald. We stopped on our way up the keys and replaced it before hitting the turnpike. Well, that was a good thing, but apparently it was not the only tire that needed to be replaced. We had one blowout a little over an hour from home. The worst part about it was that Robbie forgot the lug wrench (for the trailer, he had one for the truck but wouldn’t fit the trailer), and we had to wait almost three hours for roadside assistance to come help! We called AAA and roadside assistance and roadside assistance showed up first.
Once we got the spare tire on, we were back in business! (or so we thought). Only twenty minutes later the truck started smoking and Robbie pulled over. This is what we found when he opened the hood:
Turned out to be a broken serpentine belt. Praise the Lord we had two vehicles with us since I was hauling the boat and he was pulling the 5th wheel, and we hopped in our Sequoia and left the rig on the side of the road. Robbie went back the next morning with the new belt and got it up and running and came home. We had planned to get Good Sam for roadside assistance before we left the Keys, but it was something that slipped our minds until he night before we left. It takes 48 hours to go into effect so we weren’t able to use them. We have them now though!
While it has been a month of learning, it has also been quite relaxing. (says the girl that rarely relaxes). I would credit most of it to the fact that we have a lot right on the beach and the days and especially evenings are incredible, and also that we had very limited wifi in the beginning of the trip. Just look at this view we had from the back of our camper, just staring at it makes you more relaxed. I am a big believer that walking outside can help with loads of stress and anxiety, I think we all stay inside too much and it doesn’t help. If we get views like these at some places, I can definitely do this RV living thing.
Most of our businesses are online and require work on the internet, so it was good that we had a good break from that. Sometimes I need to be forced to relax because I try to ‘do it all’ all the time.
We did end up buying a hotspot during the second week so it was time to get back to work! 😉 We got an AT&T hotspot and so far it’s an extra $20/month for unlimited data. Seems like a pretty good deal as long as it works most places we go. It was pretty fast down in the Keys.
One thing we did realize is that we can totally do this RV living thing in this space with our family of 5. It works out quite well and doesn’t feel too small at all. (At least not after a month). We even had family staying with us for two of the weeks and there was still enough room.
July 24th was supposed to be our move-in date to permanently live in the RV. We booked the month in the Keys as our goal date and worked hard to be moved into the camper. About three weeks from when we were supposed to be moved out, we got approached by a production company to possibly do a reality show for our Flea Market Flipping business.
A producer ended up flying down and shooting footage for a promotional video a week before we were scheduled to be moved out and put the house up for rent. We made the decision to keep our house at least for another month or so, until we figure out what is going on with this show. We don’t know if they will want us at our house or want us on the road. We can’t afford to be on the road and still keep all the expenses of a house. That was a big reason we wanted to move into the 5th wheel – to cut our expenses down a bit by renting out our house.
We ended up cutting our Keys trip short by a few days because they wanted to films some more scenes for the promotional video. We just finished this week, so now the producer has to go back and work his editing magic, and we wait to see if a network like us. It’s so crazy to think about!
It has been a little difficult to be in limbo right now, but we feel that God has His hand in all of it so we have to be patient. We really wanted to be out on the road by now, but sometimes God’s plans are bigger than our own. The television show may or may not work out, but either way, we feel there is a reason our trip is being postponed a couple weeks or even months.
Honestly, we still have a lot to do with our house to get it ready, but we were working long days to hit our goal date of July 24th. (Our third goal date by the way… First was June 1st, then July 1st. HA!) It felt a little weird to be leaving for a month, but not really leaving yet. Kind of a RV living taster I guess.
Another major point we learned is that our business(es) aren’t quite ready to be on the road for full-time RV living yet either. During the month away, we drove back to Orlando from the Keys THREE times for various reasons! Two of those times were to ship some items out that we had sold on eBay (and the first time we had to buy the two air conditioners for the RV), and while we were home we also took the opportunity to post a few things on Facebook Marketplace as well to sell. The third time we came home because we had to take care of our rental property. The air conditioner had stopped working properly, and in Florida in August that is not something that can be pushed off to get fixed. Sure, we could have called someone to go fix it for us, but Robbie couldn’t stand to pay someone several hundred dollars, when he knew he could service it for free. So an hour after we got the call, we were on the road headed back to fix the air conditioner. On our way back from fixing the air conditioner, check out what happened to our car! A huge rock or something fell and smashed it in while we were driving on the turnpike. It was insane! Our insurance replaced it a few days after it happened.
I mentioned in this post that our three main sources of income are flea market flipping, network marketing, and blogging. Our network marketing and blogging income is growing, but it’s not quite where it needs to be for us to jump into RV living on the road. Flea market flipping is our primary source of income and while it can be done on the road, we will be limited in what we can sell. Three storage units and two garages full of stuff will hardly fit into the toy hauler! We will have to be very picky about what we buy and be sure it’s only things that will be making us a high profit.
We have been curios about what the kids would think of RV living, and so far they absolutely love it! One of the times we came home, our oldest (4 yrs) wouldn’t stop crying about going back to the camper!
Already we have noticed they are wanting to play more and watch less TV. We have cable hooked up, so we let them watch some Disney Junior, but only when their kids shows are actually on. It’s not like Netflix where they can keep watching different shows any time. Half the time there are no good shows on so they just play! #momwin
(I know we have control at home when they watch and don’t watch TV, but some days it’s a struggle to turn it off when we are trying to run our businesses from home. It’s something we are definitely working on, and one reason we wanted the kids to have this camper and traveling experience.)
Look at them play at night. I just love this. Ok, maybe they are a little rough, but so much better than just watching TV! They had so much fun each night, we let them stay up later.
So now we are continuing to declutter and sell things while we wait and see what will happen with this show. Could be a few weeks or could be a few months before we have any answers. We would love any prayers our way as we live in this unknown period. We appreciate YOU!
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