I Should Be Packing

Instead, here I sit writing a blog post and wondering what I should start packing next.

Hubby received the official job offer from HR and accepted it last week, so it’s all official now and we know for a fact WE ARE MOVING!.  But what we don’t know is when.  We are guessing he will need to report to his new job sometime in the next 6 weeks, but an exact date would be helpful.  Obviously, his new boss wants him sooner rather than later, but his current boss would like to find someone to fill the position before he leaves.  So the two bosses will battle it out and come to an agreement on a start date.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll know for sure sometimes this week, but I’m only crossing my fingers and I’m not holding my breath.

So I look around the house and try to decide what to pack next.  Since we can’t buy a house there until our house sells here, we want to rid ourselves of the vast majority of our belongings.  No need to pay a monthly storage fee for a bunch of stuff we can’t use for the next several months or quite possibly the next year.  Moving everything in this 5 bedroom home would take a very large storage unit and maybe multiple units.  It just makes more sense to save that money and buy what we need when we need it.  Plus, we have accumulated a lot of stuff we just don’t need.

But even though I’m not packing right now I have been busy getting things done.

Since we can’t buy another house until this house sells, we will need somewhere to live.  Fortunately, we have a second home and her name is Georgette.  Georgette will become our home and why not.  She has everything we need and she is ours, so why not take advantage of what we have.

The problem, however, is that typically, RV parks only have a certain number of full-time spots available and those spots are full in the Dallas area.  This means getting our name on wait lists and hoping that something opens up by the time we need it.  None were able to give me any guarantee though, until today!!!!

I called yet another RV park today and they have a waitlist going, but what was different this time is that they could guarantee me a definite move-in date.  The location is good, the price is comparable to the other parks in the area, and they were able to guarantee a move-in date of December 28th.  Not quite as soon as we’ll probably need it, but we have a date and another guarantee.  If something opens up sooner, they’ll contact us and we can move in earlier.  That’s more than anyone else was able to do for us and this park is in a better location than the other parks.  So I feel good about this accomplishment today and I’m actually excited about living in Georgette for awhile and will likely be ready to move back into sticks and bricks after this house sells 🙂

If we know nothing else, we know that we’ll be starting the New Year in Texas and that I really need to get back to packing.

Georgette and the Great Southeast Adventure – Part 9 & 10

We were in for a looonnngggg drive after leaving the Greensboro Campground, but we didn’t know just how beautiful of a drive lay before us.

Our trip took us north thru North Carolina, into Virginia, West Virginia and on into Ohio.

The drive was absolutely spectacular.  One of the most scenic drives I’ve ever been on, but I have no pictures to share because I was driving.  For a matter-of-fact, once I got comfortable behind the wheel of Georgette, hubby planted himself in the passenger seat and hasn’t driven since.  Yes folks, I really do have control issues, but hubby also enjoys being the passenger more than the driver.

Next time we make that drive, I’m going to make every effort to stop and take pictures along the way.  The Great Smoky Mountains and the Appalachians are breathtaking and we were fortunate to have taken two different routes that allowed us to see both.  Although, I think the Smokies are part of the Appalachian mountain range.  Guess it’s time for us to do a little geography lesson on U.S. mountain ranges 🙂

We stopped in Dayton, OH for the night at the Dayton KOA.  We got there in time for hubby and the 3 oldest to go for a swim while I stayed back to get things ready for our evening.

Although I didn’t get out to explore the campground, I’m told by hubby and Lili, that it is an awesome campground and we need to go back to visit for more than just a night.  I don’t think it will happen this year, but it sounds like we’ll be putting it on our campground list for next year.  Unfortunately, because I didn’t get out to explore, I didn’t get pictures again.  Plus, two of our dogs were having tummy problems which meant I was making more that usual trips outside with them.

Sadly, on Day 10 we headed home and as we pulled into the driveway I felt a little rush of sadness.  I suppose the end of a good vacation always brings about tinges of sadness, but having spent 10 days with Georgette felt more like saying good-bye to a good friend.  Silly I know.  Especially since she sits in our driveway 🙂

Our Great Southeast Adventure had it’s fair share of challenges.  Since we don’t have perfect children . . . .  let me rephrase  . . .  since we have perfectly normal children, there was bickering, arguing and fighting from time-to-time.  Hubby and I weren’t always on our best behavior every moment either.  FS1, while appearing to have a good time on our trip, was also out-of-sorts which was stressful and yet somewhat expected.

However, despite those little stumbles along the way, we built lovely memories on our trip and in many ways we can thank Georgette.

I also learned a lot from our adventure.

– Thanks to hubby, I think I can now set everything up on my own at campsites.

– Getting from place to place in an RV just takes longer.  While we certainly saw many RV’s flying down the interstate, we kept Georgette at recommended speed limits for safety.   Allowing ourselves more time and enjoying the sites along the way will make future trips much more enjoyable.

– Traveling as a family of six with that much room is much more comfortable than sitting in a vehicle while driving across 8 states (9 if you count crossing into South Carolina several different times on this trip).

It’s really is nice being able to stop for the night without unloading luggage only to load it again the next morning.  I suppose one could argue that you still have to do some set up for the night, but an overnight stop set up is minimal and probably takes less time than hauling luggage back and forth.  Although the girls do enjoy riding on hotel luggage carts 🙂  They probably consider that the downside of RV travel.

– Being able to take our dogs with us has its own set of challenges, but is better than trying to find someone to watch them or boarding them while we’re gone.  Plus, they really like going.

– Having our own beds to sleep in each night is NICE!!!!

– I really should use a set up and tear down checklist.  I know I forgot to strap the refrigerator/freezer doors at least twice on this trip.  Oops!!!!

Of everything I learned, the most prevalent was coming away from this trip with a greater understanding of how much better our lives would be if we lived smaller.  Smaller house, less stuff = more time to enjoy life.  As such, I have once again begun throwing things away and clearing out the junk in our lives.

I must admit, it’s hard.  One cannot spend this many years accumulating things they want or ‘might need one day’ and easily begin tossing without the hold habits surfacing.  And they surface often, but I’m working on it.

So thank you Georgette!  You carried us across 9 states and helped to make this trip a wonderful adventure!!

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Georgette and the Great Southeast Adventure – Part 7 & 8

Our time at Camp Wilderness was done, we were packed and on the road again.  This time our stop was the Greensboro Campground in Greensboro, NC.

The campground was clean and simple, but sat right off the interstate.  While there was certainly traffic noise, it wasn’t as noticeable as I expected it would be.  The single biggest downside in my book was the size of the sites.  They were quite small and I was constantly telling the kids to get off the site next to ours.  You really couldn’t take many steps at all before you were in your neighbor’s site.

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Our friends lived a few minutes away and during the two days we were there, they came out both days to spend time with us.  It was WONDERFUL!!!!!

This stop was probably the most relaxing as we stuck around the campground visiting.  The kids did a little swimming, we played games, took dogs for walks, played games and ate very well.

The weather was nice and there was a family in a site across from ours with kids which helped keep my kids entertained and vice versa.

Another memorable stop on our Great Southeast Adventure!

 

Georgette and the Great Southeast Adventure – Part 6

It was our last day at Camp Wilderness 😦

We very much enjoyed the campground.  It was clean, well-kept and the staff was friendly and helpful.  The kids enjoyed running around, climbing, playing in the sand and simply being outdoors.

One of the reviews I had read was a complaint about being so close to the airport and the planes flying over the campground.  I really didn’t notice it much and we actually enjoyed watching the planes fly by.

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One of my favorite parts of the campground were the pine trees.  They were so fragrant and I found myself inhaling much deeper while walking thru the campground.

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Having enjoyed our visit so much, we talked about a return trip to the area to stay at Camp Wilderness.

After getting things cleaned up a packed away, it was time for some lunch and a siesta.  We had plans to return to Carowinds later in the afternoon.  Tickets were less expensive if going after 4 p.m. and it is cooler in the evenings as well.  So we all laid down for some rest so we could enjoy a late evening at the park.

At Carowinds, Lili was really looking forward to checking out the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit, but first wanted to take a ride on the Carolina Skytower.  The ride carries you up a 262 ft tower and slowly rotates for a view of the park and downtown Charlotte.  FS2 and I decided to stay back and wait while hubby took the other 3 kids on the ride.

As they came back down, I began feeling some sprinkles of rain.  By the time they came off the ride, the sprinkles were beginning to change over to showers, so we took off for Harmony Hall to get out of the rain.  It wasn’t far, but by the time we got there, the raindrops grew rapidly and the tiny drops that had started to fall became 10 x’s bigger.  We were quite wet and wondered if our plans to spend the evening at the park would be ruined by rain.

Since we hadn’t had any dinner and since we had a rain delay, we grabbed some snacks and drinks.  What we weren’t expecting was entertainment, but before long, one of the theme park bands took the stage and began performing.  The kids were mesmerized and thoroughly enjoying the entertainment.  It was a nice distraction from the rain, which had since stopped.  However, the kids were so enjoying the music, singing and dancing, that we had to convince them to leave.

We made our way to Dinosaur’s Alive and while I really wasn’t expecting much, I found myself very pleasantly surprised.

Upon entering the exhibit, we all stopped to have our feet photos taken while standing in dinosaur tracks.

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And this picture of little feet just because they are so cute.

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Of course I neglected to get any photos of my feet in dinosaur tracks.

Ah, the life of the photographers.

Then we entered the exhibit to find life-sized dinosaurs spread out along the path.   They moved, made sounds and at each stop we were able to get information on the dinosaur being displayed.

What I expected to be a short 10 or 15 minute visit turned out to be about 30 – 40 minutes and we all enjoyed it more than I thought we would.

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I loved the roller coaster in the background of this exhibit.  I call it, “Bringing the past into the present”.

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We left the exhibit and headed off to enjoy more rides.

Lili, having ridden her first big roller coaster a couple of days earlier, was anxious to go on the big wooden roller coaster with me.  She decided afterwards that one time was enough.

However, she did decide to up her game and we got in line for this one.

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The Carolina Cyclone!

I hadn’t been on a roller coaster like this in many years and really wasn’t sure I was up for the challenge, but we got on and off we went.

Up, up, up

Around and down

Loop-da-loop

Another drop or two

A couple of corkscrews

Then back to the beginning again.

Lili wasn’t sure she liked it, but as she saw hubby, she ran to tell him about it.  The next thing I knew, they were getting in line for her second time around.

Apparently, the second time is better, because now she was sure she enjoyed it and I was so proud of her ability to overcome her apprehension.

One more stop for Funnel Cake and it was time to head back to see Georgette.  We were heading out the next morning and while we were sad to say good-bye to Carowinds and Camp Wilderness, we were excited about our next stop.

Georgette and the Great Southeast Adventure – Part 5

We woke up to another beautiful day and it was clear that we would be spending the majority of our day at the campground.  There was swimming to be done, but the bigger reason was LAUNDRY!  The amount of laundry six people can accumulate in 5 days is amazing.  All that laundry in approximately 300 square feet is crazy.  So I headed out in   search of the campground laundry facilities.  I walked thru the campground, over the parking lot, past the pool and found the laundry room.  Boy was I glad we still had the rental vehicle!   I had two full laundry bags that needed attention and they were heavy.  It would not have been fun dragging them to the laundry room.  It was also in that moment I decided I would invest in a collapsible wagon.

I’m quite sure there are more RV trips in our future that will require doing some laundry. Having something to haul those heavy bags in seems like a good investment and as I was doing laundry I began to think of other uses for this wagon – carrying small children, carrying pool towels and toys, loading and unloading the RV at home.  The ideas just kept coming.

But enough about my need/want/desire for a folding wagon.

After some time at the pool and with clean laundry put away, we decided to grab some dinner and pick up some needed grocery items.

We found a Mexican restaurant not too far from the campground –  La Poblanita.  It got some high ratings and having eaten there, I would agree that rating is well deserved.  Even being short staffed, they provided good service and the food was awesome!

I didn’t get many pictures of our day.  After all, no one wants to see our dirty laundry 🙂  However, I did take some pictures during dinner.

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I love this picture of Lili, although she was very uncomfortable smiling and had been uncomfortable for a few days.  She had two canker sores in her mouth which caused her lips to swell quite a bit.  This made eating and drinking quite difficult.  She had never had such bad canker sores before and I felt terrible for her.  Fortunately, they started getting better the next day.

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Naomi and hubby!  She is quite a cuddle bug and especially loves cuddling with her daddy.

Our day was done and while it wasn’t necessarily an exciting day, I found myself enjoying the RV more and more each day.  Yes, Georgette got a bit crowded with 6 people and 3 dogs, but she was comfortable and cozy.  She felt like home and I went to bed loving our traveling home.

Georgette and the Great Southeast Adventure – Part 1

I had a wonderful plan in place.

First, I would take a lot of pictures along the way.  Then, after the kids were in bed, I would post about each day’s adventure.

It really was a wonderful plan, but I took far fewer photos than I had hoped and none of the campgrounds had great Wi-Fi.

For now, Georgette now sits in the driveway, recovering from her Great Southeast Adventure.  I’ve spent the week getting laundry done and preparing for our weekend away.  This time a closer-to-home adventure, but I wanted to at least share Day 1 of Georgette’s Great Southeast Adventure with you.  After all, I’m sure you’ve all been checking in daily hoping to read the exciting story 🙂

Wait no more . . . . .

We were loading the last of our supplies shortly before 6 a.m. and by 6:15 the kids were buckled in their seats and the dogs were in their travel crates when hubby took his place behind the wheel.  He turned the key and Georgette’s engine began to purr.  She doesn’t have a quiet, gentle purr.  Instead, she purrs loudly letting us know she’s ready to travel.  Hubby raised the levelers while I did a final walk-around to make sure all basement compartments were closed and locked, then made my way to the end of the driveway.  My job was to make sure there were no vehicles coming and then direct hubby out into the street.

With Georgette safely backed out of the driveway, I took my place in the passenger seat and we headed toward the highway.   This is when we discovered a problem.

Georgette’s generator wouldn’t start.

Georgette has air-conditioning in the cab, but it’s not enough to cool the living quarters and that is where the kids and dogs were riding.  If they were going to stay cool on the trip, we needed generator power while on the road and we didn’t have that.  Had Georgette let us down so early in the trip?  Since we would be traveling thru 90+ degree temperature, this truly was a problem that needed to be solved.  We had to make a stop to fill the fridge and that would give hubby a chance to check the fuses.  This would be an easy fix and if it didn’t solve the problem, we weren’t sure what we would do.

While I quickly wheeled the cart thru the grocery store picking up fruits, veggies and lunch food for the road, hubby was checking fuses and trying to get the generator running.

I returned, opened Georgette’s door only to discover her generator still wasn’t working.  What would we do?

Obviously, the next step was pulling out the Owner’s Manual.  Within a few seconds I discovered the problem wasn’t Georgette or her generator.  It was inquisitive FS2 who had turned a switch to the Off position when we weren’t looking.  Once it was turned back on, the generator started right up and we made our way to the Interstate and headed east.

We drove for a few hours looking at field after field of corn and soybeans.  Farms, towns and small cities were scattered about, but overall, it was a view we saw every time we left our small town for any destination within the Central Illinois area.

Finally, we got to Indianapolis and Georgette took us in a southward direction to Kentucky.  Finally, a change of scenery.  The flatlands were replaced with hills, which got bigger and bigger the further south we travelled.  The corn and soybeans fields disappeared and were replaced with rocks and trees.  Suddenly, our trip was much more visually appealing and we enjoyed looking out over the beautiful landscape.

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Georgette had been used to driving over the flatlands of Illinois and we didn’t know how she would handle the hills.  She revved her engine and pulled her way up each hill then cruised down the other side.  Any concerns we had disappeared as she tacked each hill beautifully.

By dinnertime, we were pulling into our camp space at the Renfro Valley KOA.  The kids were excited to get out and burn off some energy in the pool.  I also realized just how nice it was to have Georgette.  It took us (primarily hubby) just a few minutes to level her, plug-in the power, get us hooked up to water and put out the slides.  Since our clothes were already in drawers and closets, there was no need to unload suitcases and cart them to a hotel room for the night.  We were soon dressed into our swimsuits and making our way to the pool for a splashing good time.

After the pool, we got something to eat and then took the kids to the playground for a little while before we all settled in for a good’s night sleep.  After all, we had another full day of travel ahead and we needed rest.

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First Night with Georgette

Last night we went camping at the Weeks Driveway Campground.

Because the anticipation was high, followed by a high level of excitement, sleep was minimal.  However, the primary goal was to take a trial run before heading off to a public campground.  Spending the night with Georgette allowed us to learn more about her and we learned a lot.

One thing I learned is that the learning curve to RV ownership is bigger than I thought.  The dealership was good at going thru everything with us, but I needed to just get in there and go through everything myself.

We also made some discoveries that will require a trip back the dealership to repair some warranty items.  For example, getting the gray water tank cap fixed.

We, or should I say hubby, learned the importance of making sure all the caps are on the tanks before use.  I think he would agree that it’s especially important on the black tank.  I had no idea what happened, but Naomi came in to tell me that daddy opened the door and “Whoosh” lots of water came pouring out.  Yuck!!!  (For those who may not know, the black tank is toilet waste.)

Lili quickly claimed the top bunk and Naomi the bottom.  They have curtains that help block out some of the sound and light in the RV.  FS1 has the pull down bunk above the cab, but no curtain.  I don’t really sew, but I need to come up with curtains or something that blocks out the noise and light for him as well.

We’ll likely need a few camping weekends to gain a real comfort with Georgette, but there is great potential for a lot of fun times ahead!!