Our Story: How We Stumbled Into Cheap RV LivingIn 2009, we took a huge leap - quit our jobs, sold everything we owned, and went searching for a simpler life.
Category Archives: JIM’S VERY OWN CATEGORY – RV 101
As we sat in our little paradise in our motorhome in Mahomet, Illinois this summer (sarcasm alert), I knew that before we traveled in the fall we were going to need some work done. I knew this because of several glaringly obvious signs and signals, not because I’m a mechanical genius. We wanted to get our toilet replaced, because we knew there was a seal problem, and because we wanted a standard height unit instead of the highboy we have. We talked to Chad our repair guy and he recommended an inexpensive model. We also needed to have our transmission looked at, because we were leaking fluid onto the pad. A previous mechanic had told us that it was probably a gasket leak, but of course we couldn’t be sure until someone diagnosed it. And we needed the oil changed since it hadn’t been done since before we left … Continue reading
We are spending the summer in Illinois, much to our surprise. We’re not surprised that we’re here, or surprised at why we have to be here this year due to family obligations, but we are shocked by the weather. We both lived in the state most of our lives, and moved to Montana just a little over 11 years ago. But somehow in that relatively short period of time we managed to forget how literally awful, horrible, and terrible (just to be sure you get my drift here) summertime is in Illinois. I’m sure that a big part of it is the fact that we live in an RV, and part of that experience is feeling exposed (see the post about winter). But even when we spend a pleasant weekend in a real house with central air conditioning and thermostats, visiting relatives, we are startled at how bad it … Continue reading
We brake for…wait, no we don’t! Just another chapter in our ongoing attempt to learn from our mistakes – brake problems. Joey has been out on the road several times this winter, a couple of times to Chicago and back and a couple of trips to Decatur for propane (not to mention the 2000 mile trek from Montana to Illinois). I had never noticed any problem with the brakes on these trips – no noises, no pulling, no trouble stopping – nothing to indicate any kind of a malfunction. About a month ago we decided to take advantage of the early spring weather and get Joey to an RV service place in Decatur. We wanted to get his new bathroom vent installed and have them look at the toilet, which had a leak around the base (another story for another time). On the way to fill up with propane … Continue reading
There are 2 possible sources of energy in a camper or motorhome – propane and electricity. When we decided to winter in Illinois we had to think from a frugal RVer’s point of view about which way to go to keep warm and do other things that require energy. We could depend on our propane furnace, use electric heaters, or use a combination. Our motorhome is a relatively small space, and we had some previous experience with small electric heaters in our travel trailer. They seem to do a good job of keeping an area warm, but they do soak up the kilowatts if overused, and the bigger ones can pull too many amps for the system we have (30 amp service only). You also have to have at least 2 of them, one for the front and one for the back. There are many different styles and sizes available, … Continue reading
Now that winter here in the great Midwest seems to be over, it’s a good time to reminisce about some of the problems we had because of it. Even though it was a mild winter compared to the norm, we still had to endure intermittent below-freezing temperatures for about 3 months. One of the ways we had prepared for this was to make sure we had a heated water hose for cold-weather camping. If you don’t want to spring for a fancy hose with the heat built-in, you can go the cheap and frugal route. Basically, you get some “heat tape” (not really tape at all) which is a long strand of heated plastic-covered elements that plug in to a shore power outlet. This is wrapped onto your water hose with adhesive tape of some kind (yes, duct tape is OK), and then covered with tubes of pre-split foam insulation. … Continue reading
RV winter living is a “learn as you go” type of thing. Until we lived in a camper full time, and then a motor home, I never had the feeling of being exposed, being out here in the world, with weather and wind and temperatures always affecting our daily life. If you’ve always lived in a house or an apartment building you really can’t know what I’m talking about, because you’ve always been sheltered in a permanent structure. Maybe you’ve been camping, slept in a tent – that’s different. I don’t mean that we are open to the elements here – we do keep warm and dry, generally speaking. And you may have gotten close to it if you’ve ever lived in a mobile home, or a trailer house as some folks call them. But I’ve spent years in one of those too, and it wasn’t like being in an … Continue reading