Don’t Give Up in Your First Year!

Yeah, we still get those nights where we stare at the ceiling with a zillion things going on in our head to wee hours of the morning…or is it the MSG in the Chinese food we had last night?  But here I (Lisa) am thinking, ‘what’s a girl ta do’?  Well, as LT John Dunbar in the movie ‘Dances with Wolves’ said in one of his lines, ‘I think I’ll write’.  If you remember, he was a ‘paper blogger’ in the movie; although his was not read by hundreds or thousands, his blog was in a small handmade leather-hide book with irregular pressed paper pages.  Nonetheless, he blogged to pass time and to record his thoughts for reference just like we do here.

Sooooooooo…I’m just going to write some random thoughts, just as LT Dunbar did, putting them down in our internet diary in hopes that perhaps I can maybe get some droopy eyelids at the same time, offer a bit of insight or advice to others who may seeking this wild adventure.

We’ve been doing this ‘RV thing’ for almost a year now and looking back, all we can say is ‘we’ve come a long way, baby!’  Several months prior to us actually throwing off the bow lines and putting our wheels on the highway to destinations unknown, our 30 year old son ran into another RV couple while on one of his ‘hard core’ camping trips in Colorado (he ‘camps’, not ‘glamps’ like us!).  Quite interested in what we were about to embark on, our son boldly went up to the couple ooooo-ing and awwww-ing their rig (they had one of those big. fancy, drive-able, movie star, bus-like RV’s…his words) and asked, “if there’s one thing or word of advice you could give to my parents who are about to be doing the same thing, what would it be?”  The man a little older than our age pondered that question for a short moment and came back with a Captain Obvious…“don’t give up in your first year”, he said, “that’s all…don’t give up because your first year is a learning process in EVERYTHING; marriage, smaller living conditions, new type of home engineering, diesel instead of gas powered tow vehicle, medical issues, finances, OH, the list goes on.”  

So, as our year since has passed, we can honestly say, that was the BEST advice he or anyone could have given us and its advice we pass onto others who are following suit like us.  It wasn’t advice of ‘which RV we should get’?.  It wasn’t advice of ‘what truck has the best towing capacity’?  It wasn’t advice on ‘oh, you should go here or go there’.  The man’s advice was poignant and true; straight to the heart.  

Captain Dan
Approximately three months after taking delivery of “Liberty”, Captain Dan was out doing his weekly maintenance and canvassing the engineering processes and came inside looking quite perplexed.  Now, if you know Dan, he’s always one who contemplates and carefully calculates E V E R Y T H I N G.  I say that with endearment.  He’s a ‘list guy’.  He’s a ‘planner’.  He’s meticulous.  They are traits he acquired during his tenure in his 30 year Coast Guard career.  And its certainly enviable personal characteristics to have when embarking on this type of action. 

I asked him what ailed him and he looked at me and said, ‘I wonder if we made a $$$ mistake.’  Now, he’s rarely been a man of doubt so this kind of threw me for a loop for a moment.  Sad, actually to see him like this.  He said, ‘this is all so new and SO MUCH to learn’.  I mean, this guy has been on every RV Tips, RV Tricks of the Trade online forums, bought RV maintenance books on Amazon, mastered YouTube videos (LOL for not being an ‘internet guy’!) that I swear I’ve never seen him seem so serious…or delirious?  I just looked at him with my reassuring smile, ‘Boo, remember what the RVer man told our son, “don’t give up in our first year”.  Okay then. Agreed!  Never spoke of that moment again.  Well, until now.  The reason I’m blogging about this particular moment is it was an integral part of our growing.  This was one of those ‘Come to Jesus moments’, it was either sink or swim. “DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP!”

So, days went by, months skated past and now, here we are, almost to our 1 year “nomadiversary” and what a difference a year makes!  BOTH of our confidence in this way of life not only boosted but surprised us.  Yes, you CAN teach a dog new tricks.  We’ve had early on, this agreement that he would take care of everything engineering and outside the coach and my job is trip planning, reservations, cooking, interior decorating, minding the finances, keeping the inside of Liberty clean and of course presenting him with new ideas someone else has shown on a forum or video (Oh boy!!). 

I’m going to go on a bragging binge now.  (Shhhhh, maybe Dan won’t read this!)  To say the least, I’m every bit of proud of him because he didn’t give up the ship…maybe that’s why HE’s the CAPTAIN!  His gears are always turning. 

Remember I mentioned Dan’s watched YouTube videos, read forum after forum, etc.?  Well, who better to get good ideas, advice and improvements than from others who have paved the way for us.  Here’s a list of improvements that Dan has put his hard-working hands and engineering know-how into.  Some may be or look simple but, again, RV engineering is quite different than an S&B (‘sticks and bricks’ house).
  • Changed the globes on the pendant lights. (took a little bit of alteration)
  • Installed stemware holders (a girl needs her wine glasses; even if they’re plastic)
  • Ordered, modified and installed a pullout pantry in the galley
  • Built and installed sewer hose housing underneath the steel frame
  • Installed JT StrongArms on leveling jacks (for added stability)
  • Individually replaced and changed out all 6 tires
  • Installed television in berthing (bedroom)
  • Installed rods inside laundry closet to keep my scarves, belts, small purses, etc.
  • Installed his Flag Pole Buddy
  • Hand-made a yard flag holder 
  • Built wood leveling blocks 
  • Researched and installed plugs to cover rivets on our deck patio railing
  • Built and installed sewer hose housing underneath the steel frame

Pantry Pullout

Updated Light Globes and Installed Stemware Holders
Sewer Hose Storage

Installed JT StrongArms
Made Leveling Blocks
These are just a fraction of updates and improvements he’s made.  In this RV living, its about improvising and in small scale.  We are always mindful of our weight and keeping within warranty guidelines. We are a good team. We do well with what we are blessed with.  We take extreme care of our ‘home on wheels’.  It may take a couple times to get it right; a stern look or pat on the back.  

So here we are, almost a year later.  Other’s who park or camp next to or near us will spot something on our coach/camper/rig/landyacht and say ‘hey, that’s cool!’ and of course it always sparks up conversation and handshakes…and then to a campfire and cocktails…and friendship…and most important, we become a part of RV FAMILY.  

So, last words of advice for this blog entry…….


Dan’s reward after his outside RV chores