Living in an RV, part 7 — my pros and cons

This will be our last week in our temporary RV housing between selling our house in Michigan and buying one in Wisconsin. I never thought I’d be spending my 70th birthday as “homeless”. We are extremely grateful to our friends who loaned us the use of their RV during this transition. Thank you! Thank you! All during a pandemic.

Jeff and the Turkeys in Turkeyville

Jeff and I had never spent even one night in an RV before moving into this. What I have learned after 9 weeks (with one more to go) of living in a 25 foot trailer in a trailer park:

We had thought that 25 feet was a sufficiently large RV. It is the minimum footage allowed at Turkeyville. We were surrounded by monsters.

I can certainly deal with living small. We have 4 spoons, 4 forks, and 4 knives. With no dishwasher, the few dishes we do have are washed after each meal. Our broom closet is the space behind the bedroom door which is left open all the time, hiding the broom, etc. My underwear and socks are in one shoebox; my 5 shirts are rolled up in another shoebox; laundry is every 4 days.

There is a difference in RV use people. Some are campers and enjoy their time in state parks around a campfire with friends and family. These are the weekenders that fill up every site at our RV park at Camp Turkeyville. Noisy, but happy noises.

Friends and S’mores

Some use their RV or mobile home as a summer cottage, renting a site for the season; some rarely even visiting their RV during the 9 weeks we’ve been there.

Others, like us, use an RV or mobile home as a transitory or even permanent place to live. Some are retired, some go to work every day, like Jeff.

Also, golf carts! My goodness, but RV people love their golf carts.

A lot of the time, people just ride around the campground area. Our first Saturday evening there, they had a golf cart parade, with people following in line, going around in circles on the gravel roads, yelling and clapping and waving and shouting “parade!”

One of the RV Groups which came on a Weekend

Also, Jeff and I are one of the 2% of RV people who do not own one or more dogs. And 99% of those RV owners are responsible and pick up after their dogs, keep them leashed, and take them for walks. We’re presently next to a 1%er.

RV parks are known for additional activities. Camp Turkeyville has a swimming pool, a catch and release fishing pond, a community building, horseshoe pit, tetherball, basketball court, gaga ball, and sand volleyball area with net. But during a pandemic, we only use the laundromat.

And stunt plane fly-overs

It also celebrates Halloween all month long. There’s a corn maze, hay rides, and many other activities. October is nuts. People decorate their RVs, mobile homes, and golf carts.

There is a trick-or-treat night with adults as well as children in costume. It is interesting to observe. But unfortunately, no one in the park wears a mask unless it’s part of their costume.

RV living: I would prefer to have space to stretch my arms above my head, or be able to look out a window without sitting down, and especially be on solid ground instead of in a vehicle that shakes with the wind, and vibrates water rings in cups with every step. I look forward to a garage, and van floor mats not covered with gravel. I also look forward to having heat which we don’t need to refill in tanks, whenever they empty, which could happen in the middle of the night. Especially, most especially, I look forward to having Internet available 24-7, and having a computer to use vs iPhone, typing by thumb.

But, what an experience this has been! I would have never dreamed of getting so many characters to use for future fictional characters, nor situations to use for plot lines. Now on to the closing of an era — to bundle up at nights in our sleeping bags over the blankets, bid farewells to dear friends without hugging, head to Wisconsin, unpack all the stuff in our new house, and start writing.

Fare thee well, turkeys of Turkeyville.

Living in an RV, part five

(Six weeks down; three weeks to go.)

We are very grateful to have shelter during our transition for moving from Michigan to Wisconsin. We are grateful for generous friends lending us their RV for this in-between-time. Thank you, dear friends. Also been some families who have provided meals for us while living in an RV. Thank you, too, dear friends.

Last week we did a quick trip to Wisconsin to move our furniture and boxes into the house we bought. At first I was delighted to use toilets that had more than 2” of water in them, like in an RV. But after a while, using so much water to flush seemed almost obscene. The same with the shower. In the RV, the used shower water becomes gray water, and must be dumped every two days. Therefore, to make sure the RV tank does not fill and overflow, we turn off the water in the shower when not rinsing off ourselves.

It’s still difficult to get used to turning on lights from the switches on the ceiling, and looking into LDS lights as we do so.

We have always been nervous about the use of propane, and how long the tanks last. However, we need propane for heat, and October is a good month to have heat turned on.

Before moving into the RV, I was concerned about meal preparations. We do have a stove and oven with propane, but we prefer using electrical electricalmicrowave or crockpot. We had a toaster oven for a while, but decided to no longer use it, because when any other electrical item was on, like the AC, it would turn off our power to the RV.

Here in our “living room”, you can see the heat vent on the floor. All the heat vents are on the floor. The one in the bedroom is under Jeff’s end of the bed. He does not tuck in the sheets at his feet. Therefore, it blows up and warms his toes in the night. He worries most about the propane running out in the middle of a cold night, then having to go outside and change it to the second tank. but we still don’t know how much is in either tank.

Getting used to life in an RV has been quite the experience for Jeff and me, who’s never spent a night in one before this.

Adapting to the trailer has been interesting, and no Internet service has been horrible. But I find our neighbors in the park interesting to observe. The drive through Michigan countryside into town is beautiful. The sunsets and sunrises at the park are stunning. And as friends continue to remind me, all this (temporary) experience is great fodder for future stories.

A turkey vulture at Turkeyville

What I’ve Learned Writing a Series

War Unicorn was published last fall with Books We Love. I loved (and hated) my characters enough to keep thinking about them, wanting to send them on more adventures. Hence: a series began.

I have two of five planned books in the series written, awaiting final editing and approval and release dates. I find the remaining three books harder and more complicated to write because of the additional people and places, but I must persevere.

What I’ve learned in writing a series:

1)      Characters – Keep the main characters consistent throughout; obviously, there will be additional characters thrown in the mix with each book, but keep your protagonist and main antagonist forefront;

2)      Plot – Not only does each individual story have its own arch with a satisfying endings, the entire series need to have an over-arching plot thread which makes sense; maps of the world, outlines of plots, family and other relationships trees also help here;

3)      Space your release dates (and therefore, finish writing each story) to keep your readers interested and not too far apart in time so they don’t forget who is who and what they want;

4)      Writing a series is a major commitment; if you begin one, don’t give up; set clear goals (if your editor doesn’t do it for you), and push through to see them accomplished.

5)      Keep on writing, and good luck to you.

National Parks Birthday – 100 Years Old Today! (Yellowstone National Park)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, U.S. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE!

I took Stu Patterfoot to visit Yellowstone National Park. This was the first US National Park, signed by an Act by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. The park is mostly within the state of Wyoming, but also covers parts of Idaho and Montana.

It displays many geothermal features, like Hot Springs and Old Faithful Geyser, which Stu is sitting in front of. Besides the unique land features, there is also an abundance of wildlife.

This park, particularly is near and dear to me because long ago, between college semesters, I spent a summer in the park. I was a cabin maid at Mammoth Hot Springs.  This was my first time seeing mountains up close, and took me nearly two weeks before I no longer felt like I was walking inside a picture. The entire summer was one wild adventure. Back then, there were a few times at work when my maid-partner and I waited inside a cleaned cabin to allow a bear or bear family to wander on past us before we deemed it safe enough to dash to the next cabin to clean.

Although I haven’t added geothermal features to any of my stories (yet), nor bison or many of the hundreds of unique experiences or near-misses I experienced that summer working in Yellowstone, all my adventures are stored with many of them sneaking into my characters’ adventures. I strongly encourage you all to get out and experience nature, over and over again. The National Park Service has over 400 “units” to explore. (https://www.nps.gov/index.htm) This is our country.

I’ll now return you to your regularly scheduled author writing posts. Keep on writing.

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