So Long Asheville

Julie’s Note: I started this post Oct 29th. I drafted it and left it, and them got caught up with learning to live in a camper and then with blogging 101. So I’m backtracking and adding it to track our whereabouts since we left.

Although our stay in Asheville, NC was short we did have an eventful time here. Well, Monday wasn’t especially action packed. It’s starting to look as though the first day in a place is just getting settled and getting some real work done. As in, our jobs. Yes, we really are working!

But yesterday…. Yesterday we worked a few hours at the laundromat while doing a few loads. Then we drove out to a local running store to ask about a good running route. The guy at Foot Rx was very helpful! A beautiful trail run on the Blue Ridge Parkway!

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But the real fun came that afternoon when we went on the Asheville Brews Cruise. Our guide, JC, was exceptionally knowledgeable about beer and the beer making process! He took Our small group of four to three local breweries where we tasted several of their beers and got to see their beer making facilities. Our newlywed tour mates, Tim and Mary from Indiana, were a fantastic fun!

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After the tour few needed some sustenance and Asheville happens to have a great food scene in addition to beer. We headed to Curate, an authentic Spanish tapas bar. Delicious! I MUST stop when in Asheville!

We had way too little time in Asheville, but we will be back!

Growing Pains

Sometimes even I’m speechless…

We set off on time, October 22nd, headed to Clemson University via a stop over outside of Richmond. This was the real test. Although we had taken the camper out many times before, this is when the rubber hit the road, pun intended. Where we get to see how the camper really lives and not just weekends.

Our first stop was a friend’s house hours away in Virginia. Our first obvious mistake was not realizing we don’t make “Garmin GPS time”. Our 8 hour trip took ELEVEN! We were exhausted.

Did I mention navigation has turned into a nightmare? We purchased a new Garmin Nuvi 2555 lmt so we don’t have to rely on our phones and use our Wifi hotspot as much (or our data plan). Plus it’s much more useful in places when we don’t get a cell signal. However it arrived the day before we pulled out and I hadn’t had time to learn anything about it.

But the stop at my college girlfriend’s house, Margarita Girl and her hubby, was a great respite. It’s was a well-needed stop for us all – Indy gets to stretch his legs in the backyard with Lulu the bulldog and Sweetie the lab-who-was-rescued-from-living-a-life-on-a-chain. Sweetie was very excited to chase Indy around Lulu could barely keep up. Indy just wanted to check out the yard.

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But in true Margarita Girl fashion, even a late, simple Mexican dinner somehow turns into a fiesta! We arrived to the restaurant to a Mariachi band!!! And when I figure out how to insert the video I took of that Mariachi band I may just even share it with you! But close your eyes and envision a Mariachi band playing and dancing the Macarena behind my friend (who is pregnant with twins!!) in the picture below. And we got a table-side rendition of Margaritaville too!

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The next morning we set out to Mike’s brother’s house in West BY GOD Virginia. We needed to drop off items for him to store for us. Unfortunately I chose the wrong the route on the new Garmin because I CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE THE STINKIN’ THING YET!  What was supposed to be a 4 hour drive took us over 8…. through hairpin turns, up and down mountains on two lane roads.

Oops!

We had to stop in a small Virginia town to let the truck and camper brakes cool down for a bit. It seemed like a great opportunity to buy that grease gun and get to greasin’ those brakes! Except we went through three guns (in the auto parts parking lot) before we could find a gun that worked properly. Note – just break down buy the full-sized version, not the mini. Because apparently no one gave any extra engineering time to design the mini. So it has design flaws and just doesn’t work.

Oh, and when you stop later in the trip to check that your brakes are ok, DO NOT use your fingers to test how hot the brake discs are… (that was Mike’s mistake, not mine. For the record.)

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But like all the RVing adverts show, you can slow down a little and enjoy life, even if you’re trying to hurry up and get somewhere. We decided to lunch at Penny’s diner, a little chromed-out retro joint on the side of the interstate that serves your grandma’s iceberg lettuce salads and “pickle fries”.

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We made our drop off in WV and drove as far towards SC as we could make it that evening, pulling into a Wal-Mart parking lot to sleep. This is where we realized the fridge wasn’t working quite right. And the batteries weren’t holding a charge. (both of the “new” ones.) So we got ready for bed using flashlights. Let’s say it was a challenge and leave it at that.

Trying to navigate seems impossible. I have a Garmin, an iPhone, an iPad, and an android phone all mapping AT THE SAME TIME and still can’t always get us where we want to go. (Yes, I have paper maps but we’re trying to learn the ins and out , i.e. weaknesses and strengths, of our technology.) All with a cat on my lap who has decided he LOVES the road life and refuses to get out of the front seat.

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Have I mentioned this whole time our 80+ pound dog refuses to sleep on his dog bed and demands to sleep in the camper bed with us?? On top of all these issues we aren’t getting much sleep due to a third “person” trying to snuggle in bed with us. It would be accurate to say we have short fuses at this point.

But we DO make it to Clemson! And we DO get to see my dad and his girlfriend! And we DO get to see Clemson beat Syracuse! (although that was the ugliest game I’s seen in a long time…)

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So dry camping is an issue at the moment. We had to constantly run the truck to keep any charge in the batteries because it appears our solar panel isn’t working either. So here is the recap of issues we have/ need to get resolved over the past 5 days:

– fridge not consistently working
– batteries not holding a charge
– need to figure out navigation technology
– find a better bike rack solution (and make sure the current rack doesn’t loosen and come off!)
– get the dog off the bed at night! (found a temp solution to that last night!! yippee!)

The biggest lesson? SLOW DOWN! Unfortunately these next few weeks we MUST be certain places at certain times and the urgency in our schedule is adding extra stress to our schedule.

I won’t lie. This trip hasn’t exactly gotten off on the right foot. But before leaving Clemson we stopped at the SC Botanical Gardens (located on Clemson’s campus) and I got a much needed recharge. If you’re in the area I highly recommend it!

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We are currently in Asheville, NC for a few days. As always, it’s beautiful! So long as we don’t kill each other today we’ll will have made it past our first milestone – 6 days without calling it quits on the trip (or each other)! haha! Yes, we may have had some friends betting on that. And the way the trip has started so far those people might not have been too far off. But we’re hanging in there!

Hopefully we’ll get some normalcy soon with more consistent electricity and WiFi and a more normal schedule. I plan on making more consistent blog posts too and not overwhelm you with these doozies!

Almost Packed and Ready to Hit the Road!

Time is ticking down to pulling out of the driveway! Everything we own has has been:

  • Packed in the camper
  • Packed in a 16′ x 8′ x 8′ POD
  • Sold
  • Donated
  • Trashed

We’re almost there! It’s amazing what you can decide to purge when you need to.

I have decided my biggest challenge living out of a camper will be not buying super sized products! I ALWAYS buy bulk/ largest-sized-for-best-pricing. I already made that mistake when I bought a case of Scott toilet paper for the camper. (You need single ply for the camper toilet.) I think we’ll be teepeeing some friend’s places before we leave – for laughs and to free up some space! So watch out! (but you know I can’t stay up past 10pm anyway so you’re probably not in too much danger.)

Speaking of super sized products… liquor. I normally buy the ginormous sized liquor bottles. because, you know, it’s the best deal! And it’s alcohol. It’s not going to spoil! To be honest we’ve been trying to empty these bottles to keep from bringing them with us. There is no space for huge bottles. I think I’m going to die a little inside when I start buying smaller sizes on purpose. Just so they fit, regardless of the product. Smaller ketchup, smaller liquor bottles, smaller mayo.

Did I mention how small our fridge and freezer are? At least we’ll be eating pretty fresh! I can’t wait to flex my cooking brain again! Although I’ve already unloaded all my vegan-friendly products on my good vegan friend. You just can’t take everything with you! Although pretzels for dinner…. I probably could have made a better choice.

Countdown has started! Pulling out on the 22nd! Headed to the Clemson v. Syracuse football game in Clemson, SC! Did I mention I’m a Clemson grad?? GO TIGERS!

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POD comes tomorrow!!

Our POD gets delivered tomorrow, a week earlier than I had originally scheduled. We decided to get a jump on things. Hopefully we’ll get the majority of everything packed up this weekend so we can really see what’s left. Then I’ll get started to see what I can fit into the camper. That will be the ultimate test!

A little secret – I’m more concerned about getting the majority of my kitchen stuff in there than I am about my clothes! Obviously the professional Kitchen Aid stand mixer must go into storage… 😦 but do I have room for the blender and the food processor? No? Food processor it is!

I’ll let you know how we make out later. Stay tuned!

 

 

That twitter thang

By the way, you can also follow our shennanigans on twitter  @workplayadv

We like to tweet and retweet on our adventures (of course), RVing  (of course), travel (of course), but also running, beer, fun places and other random things we think are neat!

Getting ready to hit the road

Welcome to our blog! We are so happy you decided to join our “little” adventure. Maybe you’ve read our About page, but I’m going to tell you a  little more about us anyway and why we decided to start full time RVing and what we’re doing to get ready to hit the road.

I’m Julie and the main author of this blog. Michael is my boyfriend and traveling companion. We live in Central NY (but not for long!!) and decided we had had our last long, dreary, snow-to-your-eyeballs winter here. We bought our camper in August and have been working on fitting it to our specific needs since then. Our specific needs being:

  • Living out of it versus just weekend jaunts
  • Working out of it (luckily we just need Wifi, computers and a printer. No complicated, space-taking machinery)
  • Accommodating living with a cat and an 80 pound, leggy dog

I’m not going to post before and after pictures yet because, well, there are no official “after” pictures now. We didn’t do a huge tear out and overhaul. Luckily our rig was in excellent shape! We just did some personal modifications to suit us. But I still want to show them off eventually.

However there are plenty of things we still have to do to get ready to pack up in leave in two and a half weeks! Of course there are packing things into storage and selling/ giving things away. But there are other things like trying to use up as much food as we can in the pantry. Have you ever tried that? It’s harder than you think.

Look in your pantry at all the random cans and boxes of stuff that you haven’t used in forever. Maybe you bought two cans of something for a unique recipe but ended up using only one. How do you use the other can now without buying any additional ingredients or as few extra ingredients as possible?

Let’s see. In the past two weeks we’ve had:

  • Goya yellow rice mixed with a can of black beans and a can of seasoned diced tomatoes. A few times. (It’s actually pretty good!)
  • Chocolate chip cookies (lots of flour to get rid of, or at least reduce quantity…)
  • Two loaves of honey wheat bread, complete with cracked wheat for texture and SC honey from a family friends’ hives.
  • Oatmeal cookies* (we’ve had that box of regular oats, not quick cook – an accidental buy – for longer than I’d like to admit)
  • Instant roasted garlic potatoes. With nothing else. Just potatoes. I was really hungry and had nothing else available that quickly at 9pm. It was reminiscent of college… I was satisfied.
  • Steel cut oats. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE steel cut oats. But I haven’t made them in quite a while. Which is why I had them sitting around to get rid of in the first place.

*Note: I went through my Betty Crocker cookbook to find this oatmeal cookie recipe. No raisins! Yippee! And it has cinnamon and cloves and yells FALL!!! They are delicious!

I am headed back to the kitchen to see what else we have to whip up or give away within the next 17 days or so. In the meantime I am also researching how to make my WordPress blog more fun and interesting looking. I’m new to this format and I haven’t blogged in years. So please bear with me as I bone up on the ins and outs of WordPress.

Cheers!

Julie