The Rubber Meets the Road

Catching Up

Whew… a lot has happened in the past 6 months.  Let’s break it down:

 

January & February

We had known for a while that we wouldn’t stay in our house past 2020, but we decided to sell the house and move this year.  We knew we were going to leave, so why wait?

I’m not sure how, but we also discovered the concept of full-time RV living at this time.  It was one of those “wow, I wish we could do that…” feelings.

We looked for houses in our favorite areas of Pittsburgh.  We were heavily considering moving to the actual city.  We went to open houses and scoured Zillow daily.  But, to our surprise, nothing felt right.  Nothing seemed to feel like home.

 

March & April

We did some last minute, high-return home improvements (new electrical/lighting, redid the office, lots of painting, etc).  Major effort to sell or donate things that we didn’t really need.  We put the house on the market in April and it sold within a few days.  If you’re looking for a great realtor in Pittsburgh, let us know – we loved ours!

We put tons of thought, research and discussion into the full-time RV living idea.  We determined that it was probably now or never – Calla will be in school in a few years, and we certainly don’t want to buy and sell another house in that time.  We had lots of great reasons to do it and very few and very weak reasons not to.

 

May & Early June

No looking back – after looking for months, we bought our first motorhome!  We had it inspected prior to purchasing and found some underlying chassis issues (the brakes and transmission needed some attention).  We split the estimated cost of the repairs with the previous owner and planned on leaving the RV at the shop for repairs after purchasing.  As a sign of what was to come, the previous owner clipped a turnpike paystation/booth/turnstile while driving the RV home after the inspection and damaged the awning, mirror, and roof trim.  That’s not good – but he made an insurance claim and our RV shop took on that repair work as well.

On the brighter side, I broke the news to my boss at work, and he was very supportive.  He was cool with my plan to work remotely!

We closed on our house.  Hannah, Calla and I moved in with my mom while the motorhome is in the shop and Hannah’s work wrapped up.  The move was smooth (mainly due to the help from both of our families).  That is, until Hannah and I went back to our old home for some final cleaning before closing.  We thought the move would be the hardest part, but no, the hardest part was seeing our house empty and dejected.  The hardest part was removing from it the last remnants of us.  It was where so many life events happened for us, and the memories came flooding in.  It was overwhelming to say the least.  We knew we’d have those memories and feelings forever, but it still felt wrong to leave, even though we knew we had to.

We had planned on leaving in July, but we soon found out that Hannah’s work had to be extended by approximately 6 weeks… and also that the parts for the motorhome’s awning and mirror were back-ordered and would take WEEKS to arrive.  Funny how those “minor” details don’t come up before you leave it at the shop.  Unfortunately I must say that we had an extremely disappointing experience with the RV shop we chose.  We encountered ridiculous prices, extended wait times, very poor work, and awful communication.  We’ll probably cover that in more detail later.

Morale was low, but we moved forward.  The night is darkest just before dawn, right?  Right??

 

Late June, July, & Early August

We finally have the motorhome!  We stored it on my brother-in-law’s property, which is on the opposite side of the city as the RV shop.  Getting it there was the first time that I’ve ever driven anything larger than a pickup truck… and let me tell you – my knuckles were WHITE.  The normally hour-long drive took over double that.

Trudy’s summer 2017 home

Since our departure was already delayed, we decided to renovate the RV more than we had initially planned (we’ll cover that in more detail in another post).  When we weren’t at work or with Calla, we were at the motorhome (which Hannah had named Trudy by now).  I would spend one or both weekend days there, working late into the night, often spending the night there as well.  Let me stop here and graciously thank Hannah, my mom, and Hannah’s family for all of the time they spent with Calla while Hannah and/or I were working on the RV.  It really couldn’t have happened without everyone’s support.

Trudy during renovation

We also made it out on two shakedown trips during this time.  We stayed within an hour or two of our home base and stayed at PA state parks.  Doing so gave us a taste of what was to come and how to prepare.

 

Late August

Hannah wrapped up her full-time work in mid August.  August 21st was a special day for us – it was my birthday, the solar eclipse, and my last day in the office!

I took the rest of the week off.  We completed the final stages of the renovation, prepared our Escape for towing, packed our belongings, and prepared for liftoff.  Hannah planned our route.  Hannah, Calla and I were all sick and pretty miserable, but we pressed on.

On Thursday, August 24th, 2017, we hit the road.  We did it, we hit the road!

We made it to Elkins, WV and stayed at the Stuart Recreation Area campground in the Monongahela National Forest for a couple of nights.  It was absolutely gorgeous and will get its own post/coverage later.

One of our main goals of this whole endeavor was to spend more quality time together as a family in interesting places.  Preferably in nature when possible.  We’ve been working hard towards that goal for months, but this was the first true step in that direction.  And it felt great!

 

The Present & What’s Next

We managed to navigate over the West Virginian mountains (10% grade for miles at a time, anyone?) and made it to Charlottesville, VA on Saturday.  We weren’t thrilled with the private campground we were at or our site there, so we pushed it a bit (surprise, surprise) and made it to Virginia Beach on Sunday.  Hannah found an awesome state park (First Landing State Park) with availability.  That’s where we are now and where we’ll be until Friday.  We can see and hear the ocean from our spot!

Our site at First Landing State Park

Today I went back to work.  Well, I didn’t go anywhere, but I’m now back to working.  It went surprisingly well – I honestly couldn’t tell that I was on 4G the whole time.  We’ll cover our connectivity setup in another post.  I got to eat lunch with Hannah and Calla and spend breaks from work with them.  We went for a run in this beautiful park after work and took Calla to the beach for the 3rd time in 24 hours (she LOVES the beach!).  Life on the road is falling into place.

First remote work setup. Ignore all of the wires!

We’ll also be posting more now that we have more time.

 

A Big Thank You

A big thank you is in order for our families.  We could not have done this without them.

Throughout the summer, my mom provided many hours of free childcare for us while we worked full-time and also worked on the RV.  Hannah’s family did the same.  Both families helped us move.  We have tons of stuff stored at my mom’s house and my dad’s house.  My brother-in-law let us store the motorhome on his property.  Many meals were provided by both of our our parents and our siblings. My mom made custom curtains for every window in the RV.  My father and father-in-law were always willing to help and came up with some great ideas.  My father-in-law even wired up a 50A service connection for us on the side of the garage for us to use while working on the RV!  Amazing!

Thank you!

1 Comment

  1. Having the three of you here for the summer was wonderful. I witnessed daily changes in Calla that were amazing. When Hannah started working 2 days/ week and I started caring for Calla in January, I had no idea how important it was to keep her at my house overnight most weeks. She was very familiar with our house by the time all of you moved in on Memorial Day. And she and I developed a wonderful relationship that made Hannah’s transition to 4 days/ week go smoothly. Thanks for allowing me to watch her grow from a baby into a toddler. I can’t think of anything that could bring me more joy. My hope is that you come back often and eventually- when you tire of traveling- you will come back for an extended stay. I love and miss my three “kids”!

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