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Monday, September 30, 2013

31 days of RV Living

Welcome to my new blog! The last several years I've blogged here. Since we have embarked on our new journey the old spot just didn't seem to fit anymore. So here we are! 


I am joining/committing/linking up to the annual 31 days(read all about that here) for the month of October. I am looking forward to writing about our day to day experiences as we jumped right into full time RVing. This is my third year to journey along with the Nester and the other 31 Dayers. Pull up a chair and let's roll down the road together!

Welcome to 31 days of RV Living

If you would have asked me a year ago if I would be living in an RV full time within the next year I would not have answered you yes probably not even maybe! Surrrrrre that was the plan, albeit a vague one for down the road when we retired, like for when we really retired, retired but within the year, yeah, no! After all, we were only retiring from the military not really retiring. So how did we get here? 

We just jumped right in feet first, bought our 31 feet of Bliss and the rest is history. Once we made the decision we just went for it. We really did! We didn't actually have a solid post military retirement plan job wise but we did have a few plans; such as to be in Omaha, NE to see our daughter graduate college in May and then be there again for her wedding in July. We knew we wanted to be able to experience both of these major events with no time constraints. We hadn't come to a decision on where our new home would be after 27 years of military living, had no clue really, so in our minds the best thing to do while we made this transition (and decision) was to go mobile! We now own a a home on wheels. So here we are living the dream in a 31 foot RV. Yeah, for no mortgage!!!

We have now been at this full-timing thing for nine, yes I said NINE, months and we haven't looked fact, we like it so much that we are thinking of keeping at it longer then those initial 18 months we committed to. Which ohbytheway was originally 12 months and was quickly tweaked to 18!  

It's been an adventure and the next 31 days will highlight part of our journey!

There have been a few oops moments (think bottle of syrup falling from the top shelf), lots of OJT and several laughs (heat on in the back with air going in front) and a few tears! But we have so enjoyed the freedom it has brought. We aren't always sure where we will go next, we take it one day at a time (though as a cost savings factor we do try to stay in one place for a month as that usually makes the slot space cheaper) and hope to end up in Florida at some point and with a job of some kind, well that's a maybe on the job! But Florida IS the goal at this point!

Day 1 - Meet Sunny
Day 2 - Wednesday Words
Day 3 - Fuel
Day 4 - Toads
Day 5 - YES day
Day 6 - Just in Case
Day 7 - Oh, what about the poo?
Day 8 - Shades of Gray (&Black)
Day 9 - Wednesday Words
Day 10 - Boondocking or Stealth Parking
Day 11 - Special Touches
Day 12 - Hang it Up!
Day 13 - Connecting to the WWW
Day 14 - Keepin' it Cool (or Warm) (or Dry)
Day 15 - Rolling Along...
Day 16 - Wednesday Words
Day 17 - Snail Mail
Day 18 - Setting Up
Day 19 - ET Phone Home
Day 20 - Catching some ZZZZZzzzzz's
Day 21 - Storage Solutions
Day 22 - Money Matters
Day 23 - Wednesday Words
Day 24 - Let's Dish
Day 25 - Lather Up
Day 26 - TV
Day 27 - Eats
Day 28 - Laundry
Day 29 - Doing life or what we like to call "Living the dream..."
Day 30 - Wednesday Words
Day 31 - Final Thoughts

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday Words - Watterson

“We're so busy watching out for what's just ahead of us that we don't take time to enjoy where we are.” -Bill Watterson

I think this is true of many. I know I went through a phase that seemed like it was all about the next assignment, making our next goal, doing "it" whatever it was, later, when we had more time, money, etc; then I guess I had a bit of a wake up call and feel like I am over this particular type of it and now trying to very much enjoy where I am today!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New friends and neighbors!

We enjoy people watching! I mean seriously who doesn't? As we travel around in our 31 foot of Bliss we scout out the area try to be friendly, observe our surroundings and usually end up naming our neighbors. Some we actually meet and find out their real names, such as Tom R. Jones from McAlester, OK while we were at the Army Ammunition Depot there.  We currently now have Richard and Gary. At Barksdale we had Don & Cheryl, Dennis & Eddie and Craig. However, it's those unnamed that we affectionately name that is the real treat!

Right now we have ice man, horse boy, marine dude, flag man and new baby people in our immediate area. We are friendly with them as they drive or walk by and same for us as we take walks around the park, but we have not made that transition into knowing their real names. Funny and odd at the same time! And as I mentioned it's a real people watching mecca! Not to mention that most Rvr's are quite friendly and helpful to each other, it's quite nice!

The most entertaining people watching in the RV world IMO is when new folks come in and get settled. Everyone has their methods and we are no exception but to observe it is usually several enjoyable minutes. Some are so bold as to come out and turn their chairs for the show, others stay inside but open their blinds all the way up for the best view and others are out and observing but not so obvious about it (that's the category I try to fall into if I'm outside, but sometimes it just works out that you are staring, otherwise I'm an inside open the windows kinda watcher!).

Truly there is lots to observe and learn and being friendly is just the right way to go!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday Words - A.A. Milne

“We'll be friends forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet. 'Even longer,' Pooh answered.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh 

I feel this way about so many friends and love it that no matter the miles we are apart or how long the time between visits it's okay because we are forever and longer friends...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cooking, RV Style

Many people ask if I cook in the RV and my answer is unequivocally, YES, I certainly do! I cook almost exactly like I did when we lived in the sticks and bricks. The exception is in warm weather I DO NOT use my oven AT ALL. Just too darn hot! However, I cook daily! We have an outdoor grill as well as a cook stove and those are my saving grace in hot weather so we don't heat up our 31 foot of Bliss! I will say we don't eat real fancy but we eat well.

 One of our favorites grilled polenta and veggies!

A typical summer meal looks like this; pasta dish (pesto is a fav), veggie fajita's, fried rice, veggie medley (such as boiled potatoes, green beans, corn on on the cob), chili dogs with fried potatoes or chips, pancakes (blueberry are a favorite!), bean burritos with chips and salsa or cheese dip, grilled polenta with or without meat, usually ham and a veggie (zucchini is my favorite), Chinese salad or cantaloupe with ham. Pretty typical food for us, we eat meatless a lot, we are not vegetarians we are just not big meat eaters. We do buy steaks especially when Albertson's has them on sale. I have chicken and burger in the freezer right now. Potatoes are very popular with MiRV, I prefer sweet ones and he is more of an Idaho boy!

 Grilled Veggie Fajitas

 Grilled Polenta again and zucchini

 Blueberry pancakes!

Cooler weather meals include crock pot meals. So easy to do. We love soups and stews! I will sometimes add a fresh baked bread item, but our waistlines seem to grown to quickly when I do this so I try to watch it! I love a good hearty veggie soup/stew, wild rice soup, chicken noodle soup, chili, taco soup, corn chowder, tomato soup and potato to name a few. They also make great lunches for the next day or two with a grill cheese! YUM!

If you are unfamiliar with polenta it is just a fancier name for corn meal mush. Until we lived in Italy I called it mush and we ate it fried. It is still my most preferred way to have it but since I am usually watching my waistline, grilled is a little better for that. When you fry it you slice it up thin, dredge it in a little flour combined with a bit of salt and pepper then pop it a pan that has a shallow layer of hot oil. Fry until golden brown on each side.

Should preparing polenta/mush peak your curiosity it usually comes in a roll, sometimes a brick. It is most often in the dairy section. However, at Trader Joe's it is available in shelf stable form which I love since fridge space is at a premium in the RV. If you cannot find it to buy where you live it is so very easy to make; boil salted water, pour in the corn meal stirring constanly, reduce heat, continue to cook and stir then transfer to a loaf pan to set up. Google it for better directions and exact measurements as it's been quite some time since I have made it but it is super easy! The recipe may still be on the corn meal container as it was at one time!

 Polenta from Trader Joe's

If you are curious about lunch, it can be leftovers or a sandwich of some sort, ham is popular, PBJ on occasion, tuna, chicken or egg salad are also possibilities; I also like a green salad. Sometimes we do fried egg sandwiches too, I like mine on toast with mustard, MiRV likes his with cheese and ham. It's totally random and just depends on what's in the fridge.

If you think I skipped breakfast, I didn't. I am just not a big breakfast eater and I cannot eat when I first wake up! Just give me coffee please, strong with cream! If I do east breakfast it's usually cereal cold or hot (I love oatmeal and rice), MiRV likes toast but will eat cereal once in a while. I also like toast with peanut butter and pickles on it, MiRV prefers cinnamon sugar or Nutella on his! He is also happy to grab a PopTart (brown sugar are his fav)! Yogurt is an option too!

I am sure you are thrilled to know so much more about our eating trends and believe me they are trends. We take spurts, for a while we were eating corn on the cob every evening since it was in season and soooooo good. Seasonal sales and availability do tend to influence my meal planning. I scour the local ads for the best sales and we eat accordingly! We also like to hit up the local farmer's markets for fresh produce. I did that even before we were in the RV it just made good financial sense to me so not much changed on that front!

Friday, September 13, 2013

On the move!

We left Shreveport and headed east with the plan of eventually dropping south. You know F.L.O.R.I.D.A. is the goal! 

So since we were going right by there anyway we decided to stop at the famed Duck Dynasty place. I have to be honest and tell you I have seen the show exactly TWO times. However, my family, my dad especially, sings this shows praises so it was in his honor and the Littles, along with Uncle Jim that we stopped. The two times I have seen it I was entertained. We took Exit 114 and less then a mile later we were turning down Kings Lane to the warehouse. Thankfully there was a nice new looking parking lot and it wasn't real crowded so we parked the RV and headed over. In a word small. We went into the gift shop and there really wasn't a lot even though they had just expanded into another room that was not air conditioned. The t-shirt selections were disappointing so we left with only one item for my dad (shhhhh don't tell him)!

We did not see any of the recognizable cast...however, as we were walking to the RV to leave whoever drives the big white truck did pull in and go to the private employee parking area. We were too far away at that point to rush back over and see who go out. It was a fun stop, we can say we did it, it's not a big place and I think they are trying to accommodate their huge following but yet not encourage things to get out of hand.  

 We were there!

 MiRV & Willie!

On down the road we went and soon found ourselves in em, eye, crooked letter, crooked letter, eye, crooked letter, crooked letter, eye, hump back, hump back, eye and decided to stop at Vicksburg and take in the battlefield. Quite an impressive visitor's center with a nice movie and little walk through museum that really educated us on this historic battlefield. We ate lunch here, nothing fancy just PBJs in the RV with chips and dips! 


We were "boondocking" tonight and had a rest stop in mind, however, one we arrived we (ready that ME) were having second thoughts. We went ahead and had dinner and enjoyed the shade and breeze of the area then decided to head on into Meridian for the night instead. We did still boondock, but we opted for the Sam's parking lot instead of the rest area. It was still quite warm out and too much road noise for my liking but for one night it was doable. Either location would have had both of these issues, road noise, heat so really we could have stayed put at the rest stop... Next time I hope for cooler weather and quieter surroundings!

Final destination was AL! We made it to Montgomery today and plan to hang out here for a few weeks. Laying low for the first week or so. Going to have some downtime and do some RV upkeep and just enjoy the area, the famcamp is on a lake area and MiRV hopes to get a little SUPping in. Funny how they allow that here and there are stumps in the water and everything! Then our plan is to reconnect with our Coosada friends and see what's up! Looking forward to it! After that it's still wide open but as I said earlier FLORIDA is the goal!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday Words - Chopra

It has been 12 years, I still have very vivid memories of that day...

“For me and my family personally, September 11 was a reminder that life is fleeting, impermanent, and uncertain. Therefore, we must make use of every moment and nurture it with affection, tenderness, beauty, creativity, and laughter.” -Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Monday, September 9, 2013

We've been converted!

The converter, which I am really still not totally sure how it works but I know it's very important, needed to be replaced. It's 11 years old, one of the breakers was getting weak and since we are full timers it's pretty important that this thing work properly.So once we diagnosed the issue and knew we were in for a replacement we set out to do it. Thankfully, the guy at the local RV place is good and gave us lots of insight and encouragement! A mere two hours later and we are back in business and all is well and we are converted!

ALL DONE and rehooking up the batteries!!! WOOHOO!!!!

I am so thankful that MiRV is willing and able to tackle some of these "homeowner" tasks. To get it in to have it done at the RV shop would not only have been costly we would have had to wait until the end of this month for an appointment!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

And the RV DIY continues...

Next project underway...actually it was started and more research was done then it has picked back up! We are removing the blue detailing stripe. It is faded and cracked so it is being removed. A nifty little gum eraser type wheel that fits on the drill is making ALL the difference in the world in the removal. Thanks ebay as we found it there MUCH cheaper then locally! And much progress has been made since it's arrival!

Almost done with side one...

  Side one is only 31 foot!

Stay tuned we have more to do and more plans forming!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wednesday Words

Monday, September 2, 2013

Water Day

We slept in a little, then headed to the water. It was a hot day but there was a nice OK breeze blowing. We were to Lake Thunderbird. MiRV SUPped and I read in the quietness and sunshine of the great outdoors it was a very good day.

Then we had dinner with friends, salmon croquettes, fried okra, mac and cheese with fresh home grown sliced tomatoes and rolls, oh my tummy was smilin' and the company was awesome too! Great day in OK!