Thursday, September 12, 2013

Things to Think About Before Hitting the Road

By the time we began our travels in May, 2012, we thought we had the RV life style pretty well all figured out since we had lived in an RV for about two years before we actually hit the road. We stayed in the well appointed Theme World RV Park just five miles north of our Sticks 'n' Bricks abode we left for retirement in an RV. Even so, we discovered several issues we were unprepared for.
We enjoyed the pool at Theme World RV Resort
Medical Issues: In readying for the nomadic life, we had gathered concise health records and lists of medications, doctors instructions anad some medical equipment. I have some health issues, so got a battery operated blood pressure machine, cheap but accurate, and a nebulizer, also capable of running on battery. 

I use Wal-Mart Pharmacies and they will forward your refills to whatever area you're in as you rove around the country, and that worked fine until I needed narcotic pain meds. I have some severe spine problems and am having surgery this fall. Meanwhile, I use narcotic based pain meds and the doctor calls them in each time. A mere inconvenience until we reached California who requires the prescribing doctor to be CA licensed and to hand write the prescription! No calls, no FAX. I had to find a local doctor who could read and understand my complex scans and records and who was willing to take on a new and temporary patient. I lucked out, but it was getting dicey as I was down to 8 pills before I got a new prescription. 

Space Considerations: When we started the nomadic portion of our retirement, we lived in a 40 foot coach with a full basement... very roomy. Last December, we traded off the coach for a rig ten feet shorter with minimum storage underneath. What a challenge to get rid of so much stuff! We are still overcrowded and trimming down every unneeded item. Probably the most space is taken up with books and family photos and keepsakes. We were sorting some even today. I hope to scan all the photos and upload many to share with family. 
Moved out of the tan rig into the white Hurricane... lost 10 feet!

Homebody Leanings: We traveled pretty steadily at first. Boondocking as well as stopping in RV parks, Wal-Mart parking lots, repair shops and even an Air Force base. It was great to visit friends and relatives, but the constant travel was tiring on us and our pets. Cooking meals was harder and our constant breakdowns made us tired (and poor!). We longed for a place to settle for a while. So, we spent some time at our daughter's place in Cedar City, Utah, then ambled on down to Vegas where we became Lake Mead volunteers for six months, and finally, we came on up here to northern California for a summer as camp hosts basking in the shade of the magnificent madrones, a tall and quirky tree of this area. 
Settling in for the summer as Camp Hosts under the madrone trees.
Money Needs: Of course, constant travel costs money.. far more than we expected! It is more costly to eat, too. Fuel and propane are a major expense, and lodging is much higher by the night than by the month. Again, repairs were eating us up. So, workamping made sense. A season or two here and a season there, anywhere in the country, it seems. Just check out for all sorts of government listings. For some light work and a little time, you get to live free in wonderful vacation spots all over the country!

Faith Frustrations: We discovered that finding congregations of like believers was almost impossible. Fellowship with other believers is extremely important to us and will be a factor in all our future volunteer placements. 
Encircling the synagog with the Torah scroll. All participating.
Electronic Communications Woes: We have not found consistent phone service, which is not a big surprise since we tend to stay out in the boonies most of the time. We did switch to Verizon and have had better service from them. We also gave up on smart phones, being quite content with our dumb phones.

For now, we will do one more stint as volunteers, going back to Lake Mead for the fall. I will have my back surgery and we will later head back Florida way, traveling and visiting a while. Then, once more, we'll find a volunteer gig somewhere near a Messianic congregation... and visit friends and family along to way to it, then spend a delightful season making new friends in a new and interesting place.

It's a wonderful life living free and easy in an RV.