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 6: Bogs, Logs, and Fog — The Country Road to Town

In our transition between selling our Michigan house in July and living in the house we bought for after retirement in Wisconsin in November, we are living in a borrowed RV.

The 20-minute drive between the RV park and town is not unpleasant. It is your quintessential Michigan countryside.

There are hills, ponds and bogs.

There are soybean and corn fields, and nice, big red barns.

Much of the shoulderless road is tree-lined, allowing gorgeous travel through tree tunnels. I do look forward in the next couple of weeks when the trees will display their fall colors for us.

And, naturally, on a wooded country road, if a tree falls there are sometimes branches or logs one must swerve around near to or onto the road.

You must be careful to drive more slowly in the nighttime or in fog. As much as the narrow country road is stunningly interesting, you do not want to go off it. One of the ponds along the route has an algae-covered car tire sticking out of it — a warning to other careless drivers.

There is even a haunted house along the way, hidden among the trees, not far from the road. It is easy to miss, draped in tree branches. I will not show you a picture of it. The ghosts may come after me for exposing them.

I do look forward to Jeff’s retirement and living near our grandchildren. I will miss the Michigan countryside and the beautiful sunsets we see in this open space.

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

Living in an RV park, part four

As promised, this post is about the characters in an RV park.

When we first had the trailer moved into our site, it didn’t take long to get things organized, because there weren’t many spaces to store things.

Jeff used the laptop to do work in the RV, as long as it did not require Internet connection, because even though they said it was there, it rather escaped us. in the meantime I became a people watcher.

We expected people using RVs to come and go as they did during our tent camping. We discovered this is may be common on weekends, but there is so much more. Some people plant their RVs at a site in the park, where they can use it like a summer cabin all season long. In the past seven weeks I have seen some trailers at which I have not seen any human occupancy. One man parked at the site next to us, had a job teaching during the week for three weeks. He would go home to his family on weekends.

There are also several of us at this particular RV park who have sold our houses in town, and waiting to move into our next house. Then there are some people I have met who also sold their house, bought a humongous motorhome, and never plan on living in another house again. It takes all sorts. It takes all sorts.

Only a handful of people in this RV park wear masks. The children are mostly all free range children.our RV site backs up next to the playground. It is fun to listen to the children talk and play when they arrive on the weekends.

I started to learn the names of several people at the park. But before that happened, I gave them names like I would characters in my fiction books. They were “the pink ladies”. Two women who have a seasonal RV there, who always wear pink. Always. There is a “Radio Roger”, who barreled into the site across the road from us, and turned on his radio loud enough to be heard over the power tools he was using for his porch, etc. there is the family who had a site on the other side of the playground from us who had a trailer about our size of RV. They were two adults and six children under seven years old. The children always eat at the picnic table outside while the adults assumedly ate inside. “Panama Jack” I so dubbed because he wears a white Panama hat as he goes around every morning picking up the garbage. Ironically, his name is rather close to what I called him. There is the younger goth couple who occasionally will bring a third young woman to their RV. I have never seen any of these third women leave. There is the very “Jolly Molly” Who invited us to their trailer as we walked past to have drinks and food. She was quite happily plastered, and we were sure she was a big hugger.

Well. Even though I cannot write at the moment, there are more characters and intrigue coming, I am sure, all for future stories.

Living in an RV park, part three

Again, Jeff and I have been used to camping in a tent. In fact we preferred the tent over staying in hotels because our tent was often times cleaner, and smelled like a Carlsons and not other weird stuff.

Another thing about tent camping is that we would use it just to sleep in and eat at the picnic table and then travel, explore, and play. but living in this RV is our temporary shelter before Jeffrey tires at the end of October. In it we eat, sleep, and work, so it is nothing like the use of a tent while camping.

However, with Friday night’s frost, we did experience a new level of RV living. Chilling. We have camped in a tent when there has been frost on the ground, and even snow, but in the tent situation we were just pack it up, got into a warm car, and went to the next destination. Frost in an RV, especially one owned by someone else, means a bit of worry about freezing the lines. It’s also cold. Plus, all our winter clothes are packed up and stored somewhere in Kalamazoo until we move out of state. Chilling.

Jeff (thank you, Jeff) takes care of the gray and black water tanks every two days. I think this fact by itself has cured us of getting an RV. Because: yuck.

Living small is not too very hard. My dresser clothing contents are above my bed pillow.My socks and underwear are in one shoebox I can slide out. My short sleeved summer shirts are in another shoe box I can slide out. I have three turtleneck shirts and two sweatshirts in a shopping bag at the floor of my 10-hangar closet. I have no idea where I would store a winter coat.

I also quit buying two for the price of one foods, or larger food items, because they were a much better price than the small items. There simply is no space for excess pantry. No hoarding allowed.This is good training for something or other. I do see it as a new discipline. I don’t know for what, though.

Other RV Living posts I can write on deal with the abundance of characters in an RV park, and various events going on in an RV park. Until then…