It’s hard to believe it’s been over a week since I last posted – time is flying! I have many posts half written but I haven’t actually completed any or posted them because I don’t have time.
How can that possibly be? I’m retired, for pete’s sake!
First, let me just say that all is well – I’m happy, healthy and safe. I’m having a fabulous time researching my ancestors in this area, and I’ll write a separate post (s) about those experiences. Here’s a picture of the campground where I am this week:
The trip here was an easy three hour ride, and for the first time, I felt like I could relax enough to find a classic rock station and sing along. A really big improvement over the white knuckles of the first few times!
But – back to being busy. You would think that being retired, I could just spend all day every day doing exactly what I want to do. Not true, perhaps especially because I’m living in an RV. I still have to do the daily tasks that we all have to do, like cooking, cleaning, food shopping, laundry, and bill paying. But everything seems to take longer in an RV. I’m not complaining at all, but here are some observations.
When I’m cooking, it seems there’s never enough storage and counter space, so I’m always juggling washing dishes with food preparation. Sometimes it takes longer to find something, either because it’s buried underneath 50 other things, or because I can’t remember where I put it and I have to dig for it in several places. It all takes more time.
As for laundry, I have learned that Quarters are King. At my first campsite, it cost $6.50 to do one load, wash and dry – that’s a lot of quarters! So quarters are in demand, and they can be hard to come by. In one town, I stopped at a bank to buy a roll of quarters, and they said they only provide them to customers. Well, I’m a customer of two different banks, and neither had a branch within 100 miles. So I’ve had to start scheming about how I’m going to accumulate quarters. When I’m buying something with cash, I plan it so that my change can include several quarters to add to my stash. Accumulation of quarters is a THING. It takes time.
For a lot of reasons, I prefer to shower in the bath house at the campground. The shower in my rig will be absolutely fine if I need to use it, but the water volume and pressure is just not the same. But it takes longer to go to the bath house, and there are always unexpected glitches. When I first used the shower at the campground I’m in now, I walked all the way there and then had to come back for – you guessed it – QUARTERS!!
Food shopping has to be done more frequently because I have to buy in small quantities. And, I have to figure out where the grocery store is in each new place.
I have to say that cleaning is a dream. It takes me about 10 minutes. I have a little bit of linoleum floor, a little bit of carpet, and then there’s the teeny bathroom.
To get mail, I use a mail forwarding service in Florida. They throw away obvious junk mail, and then scan the envelopes so you can view them. You can choose to have them sent to you, held there, or shredded. It’s a fabulous service. I have to consider where I’m going to be so I can time the next mailing. So far, it’s worked well. The campgrounds don’t mind receiving my mail, and it’s always arrived in time before I have to move on. But it does take time to coordinate – longer than just checking the mail when it’s delivered to your home every day.
I spend time fiddling with the TV. I had a new digital antenna put on the roof, which means I can get “over-the-air” stations. But there’s a process to go through at each new campground, which involves pointing the antenna in the correct direction and then programming the TV to find the strong stations. It often takes several attempts.
One thing that takes a LOT of time is trip planning. Finding the right route, finding the right stops on the route, and finding the right campground in the right location – it can take half a day. With the RV, I need to be careful that my route doesn’t take me somewhere scary, like under a low bridge, or up a steep hill. I try to stay on the interstates as much as possible, and I use a GPS which is specifically designed for RV’s.
So I research on Google maps to get the big picture, then check the GPS to see if the route is good for the RV. Once the route is settled, I estimate when and where I’ll need to stop along the way. I don’t want to just pull off the highway and look for a gas station. Not all gas stations will work for an RV towing a car – there’s not enough turn around space, or perhaps not enough height. So I locate gas stations along the route, and look at them on Google Earth so I know exactly what my approach will be, as well as my exit.
Did you know that I can’t go in reverse in the rig while it’s towing the car? Eric has taught me to always know my escape route. That’s constantly on my mind when I’m driving, and that’s why I research all the stops in advance.
In addition to researching the route, I research campgrounds. If any of you are a researcher like me, then you know what’s involved with identifying the place, reading all of the online reviews, examining maps to determine proximity to your destination, and then contacting the campground to check on pricing and availability. It’s really a process! And if I’m moving to a new place each week, which I’ve been doing this fall, it takes a lot of time to nail down all the stops. On top of the planning, I’m spending one day a week packing up, driving, and setting up at the next place.
And I have to keep good records of RV expenses, miles driven, the cost of gas, etc.
Aside from the activities of daily life, RV-specific tasks, and travel planning, I’m working on genealogy, which involves online and onsite research, processing the information I find (for example, abstracting deeds), doing an online workshop with an advanced genealogy group which involves homework, and doing genealogy work for clients. I’m also working on a couple of tax returns which are due shortly, and getting caught up with my personal bookkeeping. And, of course, maintaining this blog!
I’m still learning how to do this new life and how to schedule my days. Amazingly, I feel like I’m trying to do too much. I need to find that happy middle ground where I’m doing enough to have fun with it, and not so much that I feel stressed. One thing I’ve certainly recognized is that I can easily spend the entire day on the computer, just like when I was working. This is something that needs to change.
It’s all part of the learning and adjustment process!