Now in to our third week as temporary residents and volunteer workers at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Alayne and I are beginning to adjust to this new lifestyle. Unlike our recent three and half month cross country adventure, where we were seeing new sights and places almost everyday, we are now stationary for few months.
The grand adventure is now transitioning to a new lifestyle experiment. Prior to setting off on our cross country odyssey, we recognized that this trip could lead to a lifestyle transformation. Perhaps it was a result of our intentions, we have decided that becoming full-time RV dwellers seems to be the correct path, and with that, a radical change away from comfort and material, towards simple living and new experiences.
We could get used to this! – Miso and Kimchi
Life in campgrounds and RV parks has its own code. It is sometimes is almost an ideal community. They are places where friendly waves and nods are the norm, and the conversations with your neighbor are easy and can turn into more. If you are having trouble or need a ride, it usually is not hard to find if someone doesn’t offer first. In many parks it is not uncommon to see expensive fancy motor coaches, next to very modest travel trailers and for the most part everyone is cordial. Since close proximity is usually the case, as is sharing of facilities, model civility is practiced with the occasional less than desirable behavior. Commonly the park managers set the tone with cleanliness and regular maintenance.
General practices (in most campgrounds):
- Be respectful of neighbors
- Keep your campsite neat and leave it clean
- Be mindful and observe quiet hours
- Clean up after yourself when using shared facilities
- Make sure trash is properly disposed of, fire-pits are not trash receptacles
- Do not walk through your neighbors campsite
- Drive slowly, campground speeds are usually very slow
- All pets must be on leash except in designated areas, and always pick up after them
- Do not burn plastics and other objects that release noxious chemicals
- Extinguish fires completely when away from campsite
- Teach children proper campground etiquette
Take a tour of the Dutchess:
The adventure has begun and so has the education. We have learned the value of level campsites after sleeping in a slanted driveway, added more padding to our bunk after a couple of sore mornings, have come to appreciate state highways over the Interstates, and that RV travel is is more than 20% slower than by car. Already we have lost a gas cap and a wheel cover (recovered) , and drove to a campground that was full (call ahead). On our second day we drove narrow mountain winding roads and a potted steep dirt driveway, no RV has any business trying to navigate, on a mission to visit family. On our forth day we drove 300 miles in a high wind advisory, sometimes slowing to 40 miles per hour (partially in the neighboring lane).
Why are we doing this? This is the question that came about after my wife and I began to examine our life. For several years we had been tossing around the idea of finding a new area to relocate to. While neither of us were unhappy with our current situation, living in a historic neighborhood near the Baltimore Harbor, our life had become predictable. I was a real estate agent and Alayne an accountant; jobs that we had become weary of. Our life felt programmed and not one we had consciously chosen. We, like most people, enjoy traveling for the recreation and growth found in the process. Also like most people, we were confined to short time periods and money was often an issue.
Our search for the right RV took about two months and five states. First we started with nearby RV dealerships to get ourselves acquainted with space, floor plans, types and RV systems. In most cases the salespersons were extremely helpful and we learned a lot. This was a good first step. Initially we thought about a travel trailer so that we could unhook the trailer at a campsite and have the tow vehicle to explore the surrounding area. While we still may consider this in the future, for our initial adventure we decided that a smaller Class C seemed more appropriate for our travel needs, especially with pets. A new RV was out of the question on our very modest budget. Luckily RVs depreciate fairly rapidly. It is said that they depreciate 20-30% by just driving off the lot and about 10% every year there after. It is possible to find used RVs that have had light to moderate use. Though this may not be as good as it sounds, as we found some RVs have been left sitting for long periods in a state of slow rot. The use it or lose it analogy applies. Mechanical things do like to be run, at least on occasion.