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Tag Archives: live breathe move
Written by: Jeremy
After leaving our week at Dauphin Island, Alabama, Robin and I had a long talk and decided we are both a little travel weary. Although we have loved our time on the road, we have been maintaining a challenging schedule for our first ever RV trip. We have been on the road for a little over four months, or half of our planned trip. Including our current location of Biloxi, Mississippi, we have stayed in twenty different locations in eleven different states. Our longest stay to date has been a couple of two week long stents. Our typical stay has been one week.
Yes, we have kept it rolling and considering that this is exactly what we had planned and budgeted for, I am proud of our perseverance and generally positive attitude as we transition to a fun but challenging new lifestyle. When reading the blogs of other full-timers as we prepared for the trip, I was always the most interested and inspired by those that move a lot. Seeing different places, climates, and cultures was what it is all about for me. Although not every town culture and climate is exactly perfect, it is all part of the journey and exactly what we set out to experience.
I guess that is why we did not at all mind being a part of the 2014 winter ice apocalypse “Leon”. An inch of snow and ice descended on the beach and roads in a part of the country that does not typically get it and is not prepared for it. I have always thought that people in the South just don’t know how to drive in bad weather. I can tell you that this is only half of the problem. The other is that the snow is not really snow here. It is white ice. They also don’t have equipment to deliver salt to all of the road but that really isn’t the problem either. They don’t even have salt to spread, just sand.
We are experienced snow drivers and we have lived in the Midwest, Aspen and our current home sits at an elevation of 9,500 feet above sea level. An inch of snow in these places doesn’t exactly halt traffic or close stores. With that said I can assure you that I would not have even dreamed of driving my 4x4 truck on a street here in Biloxi during or immediately after this storm. It was a complete mess and we just hunkered down in the trailer with the animals for a couple of days.
The weather for the rest of our week in Biloxi was just fine. Great in fact. Because of that, I am actually happy that we got the opportunity to experience a 25 year historic storm. I realize that may not make complete sense to readers sitting in the Midwest this winter, but ice skating on a sandy beach on the Gulf of Mexico is not something many people can say they have done.
To be honest Biloxi was not even a planned stop. While trip planning in Alabama, we got a message from my brother asking if we were going to be anywhere near Biloxi this week. He had a business trip here and was staying at one of the many casinos hotels in the area. Turns out we were planning to drive through Biloxi on the exact weekend he was scheduled to arrive. So we simply decided to stay in Biloxi for the week instead of driving through. What a great coincidence and exactly the type of freedom and flexibility that makes my strong push to not over plan seem worthwhile. We got a chance to hang out with my older brother as well as a chance to have a much needed fun night and dinner out at the Beau Rivage Casino. The storm even ended up causing him to get stuck in town for a couple of extra nights. We did a little gambling and sightseeing and he got a chance to experience a bit of trailer life.
We picked the Cajun RV Park primarily because it had the best reviews in Biloxi and because it was close to the hotel/casino where my brother was staying. Although our pre-arrival expectations of Biloxi were not all that high, upon arrival, we were pleasantly surprised with the nice spacious site and the close beach access as well as access to golf courses and some shopping that we have not had for quite a while. In fact, we talked long and hard about just settling down here in Biloxi for an entire month. It seemed like as good a place as any and the monthly rate at the RV park was desirable. We were tired and we were also trying to slow down a little. If we could just get a quiet month to catch up on some work and sleep and not have to move four times we thought we might get recharged enough to be ready to meet some friends in the Big Easy for this big annual party we have heard a thing or two about.
Well, our excitement and plan to stay at this place for a month fizzled quickly. Within the first few hours lounging around our campground the first train went by. Robin and I both stood looking at each other in silence and disbelief as our entire trailer rattled while the train rumbled by, blowing its horn at full decibel within a stones throw of our great new site. An hour or so later brought another train. We had read some reviews that mentioned the train but most only noted it as a small annoyance and not a real problem. Well, it turns out, an obnoxious train that comes about every couple of hours including all night long is a huge problem for us. The train map indicates that it would have been tough to avoid regardless of which Biloxi RV park we picked. Unfortunately, it appears the train noise is just as much a part of the Biloxi, Mississippi experience as a shrimp po boy with sweet tea.View Larger Map
The cats have lots of large windows to look out and the same comfy queen sized bed that they basically live on in our normal house is still always there; including when we are driving. Sure navigating through the dog gauntlet can be a challenge for them, but overall, I think they like the feeling they get when they have to swat and dominate the big dogs every now and then.
We even have little cat leashes and a cat play pen so that they can all get some fresh air! You should see some of the looks we get when people stroll by our camping spots and see Omar sunning himself on the picnic table.
Yes, it can be tight quarters, and finding a good spot for the litter box and other issues had to be dealt with. With senior cats, we decided to make prescription medication and food arrangements up front and all of our vet records are on board and digitally available. Our pets are also registered in the Banfield nationwide veterinary network so if we need routine care we don't have to go through the whole process of transferring records to a new vet. So far, the cats have done well and they seem happy; or at least as happy as 13 year old indoor cats that live in an RV with big dogs get.I can see why dogs were good companions for the early pioneers. Surrounding yourself with energy forms that only look forward and never back can be a very good thing when living on the move. A dog ramp helps Hank get into the truck and it also provides a nice agility obstacle for Rufus to bound over when he enters the truck using his preferred full-speed, airborne launch method. Yes, I am sure a couple of lap dogs like the ones we see everywhere we go, would probably have made better full-timing companions, but then again, probably not for us. RV Lesson # 4: We are who we are and we can make this trip what we want. We can and will live, breathe, and move with our family instead of with excuses or regret. Besides, indoor space and a fresh, clean smelling house are way over-rated when you have an entire continent to explore. All you need is a comfy place to lay your head at the end of the night. Hank and Rufus agree!
What we could see and feel almost immediately was that this new journey would be far more than just a series of punch lines as we rush on through to our next destination. This is what our journey is about. In our previous life as typical Americans racing down the highway, trying to get in a short family visit in Missouri before our paid vacation time was used up, we had never really taken the time to stop in Kansas and see anything let alone actually meet a person. Our minds were already made up as we held our noses and plowed through. As we strolled through Milford State Park the error of our previous way of thinking and living became even clearer.How much else of our lives to-date have we missed because we were too busy speeding through with a predetermined and fixed viewpoint? For us, where we are right now, is where we are in life. The state of Kansas is a state of mind. It is very easy to view what people post on social media, the television news or even the messages of billboards and to see this as what life is all about. In reality these things aren't even real. Rv Lesson #2: Every once in a while, you have to pull off the highway, slow down, breathe and actually experience the present world in front of you instead of creating the experience in your own head. Kansas, just like life, can be whatever we want it to be! It can be a hell-hole of a state that's primary redeeming quality is the 75 mile per hour speed limit, or it can be the place where campground hosts like Mel, make you feel like you are at home visiting family and sunsets make you feel like your are on a world class vacation. It really doesn't matter that in reality, you are at a campground in the middle of Kansas on a Monday night in October for no particular reason. It is all up to us! I guess it is a good thing we figured this out now considering our next intended states are Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia. I personally, can not wait to see these places again for the first time!