Since moving into our rolling home three months ago, we have driven across almost half the country, seen pretty much all of our immediate family, and made some beautiful, unexpected memories – as well as some we’d rather forget. This recap of our initial months of RV life gives an overview of where we’ve been and touches on the highlights, as well as the challenges we’ve faced so far on the road. (Don’t forget to watch our video at the end).
Top 5 Mistakes:
- Not turning off the fridge to pump diesel for the first month (ahh! This was bad and could have been dangerous).
- Brooke sending a ball of fire at her face trying to use the propane stove because she let the gas run too long.
- Not realizing the shower head turned while we drove, and Brooke soaked herself and the bathroom (see the clip in the video below).
- Buddy leaving the vent open all night when it dropped to the 40s in New Mexico and we couldn’t figure out why the heat wasn’t warming us up.
- Not planning for Memorial Day Weekend. We barely had any options and they were all pricey.
Most Memorable Places:
We have been trying to take lots of mental and written notes as we go, but even after three months, the places we’ve been have started to blur together. However, these are the ones that have stayed top of mind, even after so many miles! Check out our RV Camping Reviews page for more on the places we’ve stayed.
Best RV Park: Caballo Lake RV Park. Spacious sites, well-kept, beautiful views, inexpensive, and had a happy hour hosted by an awesome lady! We adored the owner CJ, and her beautiful park.
Worst RV Park: Landa RV & Campground. The location was great for water access. BUT, there were train tracks basically right above it. And the train came like every two hours.
Best Boondocking Site: Alone in the desert outside of San Antonio, New Mexico.
Most Unique Campsite: An unused rodeo ground we stayed at near Santa Fe. Buddy read about it online, found a number and the guy on the phone gave us a gate code. Super strange, but it was cheap!
Most Beautiful Campsite: Camp Washington Ranch. An amazing desert oasis close to Carlsbad Caverns, with mountain views and lots of wildlife.
On the Road
Worst Traffic: Going into the George C Wallace Tunnel in Mobile, AL. We were stuck for hours as we all merged down to one lane, but it was on Memorial Day Weekend. So, there’s that.
Worst Road: Driving to see Brasstown Falls on a basically one-lane, dirt road in South Carolina. We hit a ton of tree branches on our way and had to 10-point turn out of there.
Worst Drivers: San Antonio! During our family reunion, two of our family members got in accidents and we almost got T-boned!
Most Uncomfortable Place: Driving through the hood (no, I’m not being over-dramatic) in Louisiana. There was a really cheap campground in the middle of a bad neighborhood with sketchy people sitting on all the tables. We did not stay.
Best Drink: Port at Mesina Hof in Fredericksburg, TX. The bartender also made me a mix with their Almond Sparkling Wine and it was insanely good!
Best Food: Our meal at Ojo Caliente. Buddy had a great burger and Brooke had yummy fish tacos. We don’t eat out often, so this was a special treat.
Best Bike Ride: Biking around the San Marcos River area from Pecan Park RV Park. Great views of the blue water!
Best Sunrise: We’re still working on that morning person thing (hoping to catch some in Canada this summer).
Best Sunset: Lake Greenwood State Park in South Carolina. We were surprised we didn’t see many good ones in New Mexico, but this one was gorgeous.
Don’t forget to check out our our RV Camping Reviews page for more.
In our blog posts, we try to focus on some of our favorite stories from the road. Here we give more details about what was going on in our day-to-day life.
Month 1: What the hail is happening?
Our first month of full-time RVing was an emotional roller coaster. Unlike many other RVers, we didn’t have any big issues with our rig – just a few minor things to be expected with a new home. However, it felt like the rest of the world was crashing down on us.
After a magical first night in our home, we got some horrible news. Buddy’s sister (who we had lived with for a few months before getting our RV) lost her significant other in a tragic, unexpected way. We never really talked about it publicly, because we couldn’t fully grasp what happened – and still can’t. All we knew was we had to be there for his sister. So, our first two weeks were spent helping her in any way we could.
Although we were still able to make some nice memories together during this time, there was also a lot of crying and disbelief. It wasn’t how we imagined our new journey starting, but we were thankful we could offer support to someone we love dearly in such an impossibly difficult time. We 100% believe God put us there for a reason.
But, in addition to the unexplainable emotions this kind of loss brings up, we were trying to transition to life as full-timers and figure out what to do next. Plus, Buddy was still working full-time, so a lot of the tasks were falling on me. Some days I could barely function I felt so overwhelmed. Then there was the weather. Hail, tornado warnings and a flash-freaking-flood! It was like a test to see if we would snap – and, although Buddy is ever the calm one, I can’t say I passed that one.
When a small river started flowing through Pecan Park RV Park while we were there (a place that lost some rigs to a flash flood two years prior), I lost my damn mind. But afterwards, I felt much better. Sometimes you just have to ugly cry while screaming about how unfair life is to realize how ridiculous you’re being and get over it.
The rest of our week there was spent riding bikes, hanging out with our friend Jill from the RVE Summit, and watching the fireflies. I also started writing for WinnebagoLife – a big step toward our goal of finding enough remote work to pay the bills!
Once the funeral had passed and Buddy’s sister went back to work, we decided to take off to New Mexico before coming back for our nephew’s graduation in a month. The weather in Texas had calmed down a bit and things were looking up, but we had begun to see it as a negative place and needed a change.
Month 2: Cleansed by Sand
New Mexico was our escape. We needed to quiet our minds and the desert was the perfect place for that. For us, we looked at it like a vacation – it was our chance to just have some fun and relax.
Over the month, we saw some amazing places. A few highlights were Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Lincoln National Forest, Tent Rocks National Monument, MeowWolf in Santa Fe, and Bandelier. We even got to celebrate our wedding anniversary at the luxurious Ojo Caliente Resort & Spa.
And the people were fantastic, too! The residents at the SKP Ranch near Carlsbad Caverns were the nicest and most helpful we’ve met yet. They invited us to an awesome cookout, gave us lots of tips, and sent us on our way with a song.
Then there was CJ – the owner of Caballo Lake RV Park. She is strong, independent, funny and an amazing host. Each night she invites guests to a happy hour to chat with each other, and we loved getting to know her during the two nights we were there.
We also had some great chats with the owners at the couple of Harvest Hosts spots we stayed at. And we even ended up getting friendly with our shuttle driver in Santa Fe. Plus, we had an unexpected visit with our friend Drew – another RVE Summit friend.
The “Land of Enchantment” was a breath of fresh air for us. Although it had its own dangers to beware of – crazy wind and rattlesnakes – it provided much more joy than stress. We realized we loved to stay in off-the-beaten path places and vowed to do more boondocking and using our Harvest Hosts membership to do so. We also stopped planning weeks in advance – it was way more fun to be spontaneous!
Our time in New Mexico felt like how we dreamed RV life would be. Maybe it was because Buddy finally cut ties with his soul sucking job and sent off his laptop when we got there! Or maybe it was how each day led to a new adventure or a beautiful view. Either way, we cherished every moment and did a ton of hiking and exploring.
Month 3: The Opposite of Slow Travel
The day after our wedding anniversary, we started our journey back to San Antonio to meet the rest of Buddy’s family there for our nephew’s graduation. We were excited to get to celebrate a happy occasion this time, but were sad to leave the state we had come to adore.
And on our first day back in Texas we remembered why we wanted to escape. Not only was it hot and humid, Buddy also had two spiders try to jump on him, he almost stepped on a snake laying under our RV steps, then a bee swarm went by us. Oh, and a bird flew into our roof and died! I jokingly started calling Texas plagueland after day one.
However, it was nice getting to see Buddy’s family and celebrate our awesome nephew’s accomplishment. Plus, we made friends with another couple at our RV park and had a blast chatting with them in the hot tub one night. And, the next day we ran errands with them in their Ferrari – this life is random.
Once the diploma was handed over and lots of hugs were given, we woke up early the next day to hit the road again. We really want to travel slowly, but only when the weather is cool. Our only goal since leaving New Mexico is to escape the heat!
So, we booked it to Florida for a very short visit with family. In one day, we ran around like crazy and saw about 11 people, then ended our night with our first RV sleepover. Our 8-year-old nephew was psyched to crash in the loft and, although we were exhausted, we were excited to have some quality time with him. Unfortunately, it was too hot to stay for long, so we headed north after only two days.
Next up was a visit to see my mom in South Carolina. But first, we took advantage of the “cold spell” coming through the area. We spent a little over a week hiking and exploring around the Blue Ridge Parkway and it was glorious. We found our new favorite Harvest Host spot, did a ton of biking, took a side trip to re-create a photo we took almost a decade ago, and we even saw our very first bear in the wild!
Afterwards, we spent a nice couple of days visiting with my mom and getting to see the beautiful Greenville area. But, the heat was back with a vengeance and we wasted no time driving north once our visit was over. And, a little over a week later, we are in Maine!
3-Month Overview & What’s Next
This was not how we planned our first months to be. We were going to take it slow, never be in temperatures over 75 and spend lots of time figuring out how to work remotely and live the nomadic life (ideally while sipping cider next to a relaxing, bug-free river). Instead – aside from our mini-vacation in New Mexico – we have been driving an insane amount to escape the heat and staying up late stressing about trying to get on track.
However, we’d take that over having to go back to our desk jobs any day. I don’t want to share these challenges to discourage anyone from choosing this life. And I certainly don’t want to give anyone the impression that we don’t realize how amazingly blessed we are. We really do love this life! I just want to give a realistic view of what life on the road looks like for us. Although it seems like a dream, we still live in the real world too.
But, we are hoping to get back on track with our RV life goals this summer in Atlantic Canada – where the air is cool and the inspiration is overflowing. We are planning to do lots of hiking, kayaking, and even some whitewater rafting! And, of course we will be taking a stupid amount of pictures and sharing all our adventures, and inevitable mishaps along the way. (Follow along on Instagram for daily photos).
3-Month RV Life Video Recap & Tour
Speaking of mishaps, here’s a silly video compiling some memorable moments of our first three months of RVing (plus, a tour of our rig):