Happy Nomadiversary To Us – Top 5 Lessons Learned!Β 

Holy cow, what just happened?  How did an entire year go by of living in our RV?  There were for sure times where days felt like weeks and seasons would never end, BUT! We have never put a time limit on our fulltime traveling but I can’t even imagine only doing this for a year, which is a typical goal a lot subscribe to.

If you’ve seen everything all in a year your moving super fast and man you must be exhausted! We took the Southern route from the Atlantic Ocean to Pacific Ocean and back and we still want to see so many things we missed along this route. The Grand Canyon for one, how did we miss that big hole in the ground? Well it was Winter and its snowy and cold that time of year so not ideal, at least not for us!So a year in and we have no future plans of stopping this life style. We’ve learned a few things and have tweaked a few of our travel norms as well. Plus we know that if we don’t adapt swiftly to change our lives will be pretty miserable. Everyday the road throws you a curve ball and if you don’t roll with the punches it will beat you down and your lucky if it spits you back out.

OK, so a few major things we figured out while traveling were

#1 – We bought a camp ground membership to Thousand Trails. 

In a nut shell the Thousand Trails membership lets you stay at one of their numerous locations for cheap or free for up to 3 weeks at a time depending on your level of membership you purchased. I won’t go into the tricky ins and outs of it cause it’s kinda like buying airline tickets. We started out with their basic Zone pass and 6 months later we now have one of their highest level Elite memberships (bought used). The way we are traveling, this upgrade just made sense financially and it was a less stressful way to travel as well, here’s why:

  • We gained access to more parks (81 nation wide).
  • We can stay for 3 weeks at each location.
  • We can move from park to park w/o having to stay out of the system.
  • We don’t have to pay any additional fee per day unless we need 50amp at some of them.
  • We can book out 120 days in advance.
  • Discounts at more reciprocal RV resorts.
  • It’s soooo affordable, it’s not a posh resort by any stretch. It’s like like Forrest Gump said about the box of chocolates, “you never know what your gonna get”.
  • We’ve met a lot of great families at these parks and run into each other again at others across the country, it’s fun!

#2 – The weather isn’t something you will ever figure out.

We set out to stay the Winter in Southern California cause, well, it’s Southern Cali, mild and sunny, RIGHT? Sooo wrong, at least in our experience. It was a record breaking year for rain this past Winter where we stayed and man it was not awesome. So much rain and wind and cold that seemed never ending!  I lived in San Diego a few decades back, I know what it’s supposed to be like, this was the opposite. Also the wind, who knew that the Southern CA/AZ/NM/TX region had a windy Winter season, yes everyone except us! We had an amazing week planned to visit several National Parks in New Mexico and had to make hard and fast decisions to divert while driving to get ahead of this front we were driving strait into. Where we were heading was reporting 30-50 mph sustained winds with 80 mph gusts, that’s Tropical Storm worthy.  So back tracking through New Mexico is on our to do list cause we really still want to go to White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns National Park!

National Parks pass is our #3, it’s a must have!  

It’s soooo amazing and a really cheap and amazing way to see the country. $80 for an annual family pass or cheaper if your a senior/military/disabled or like us next year we have a 4th grader in tow which earns us a free one for the year, thanks to the Every Kid In A Park program! It’s really easy to spend all the money sightseeing, but if you enjoy the outdoors, hiking & history then this pass is a no-brainer. We’ve come to realize these parks are huge and being able to go back multiple times is a huge perk.  Trying to cram it all in one day is exhausting.  Plus they have a really amazing Jr. Ranger program which gives our kids a chance to earn a badge or patch while learning about the park they are exploring.  Its homeschooling made easy and personally I’ve learned more about these places just from visiting than I ever did in a school book.  One of our favorite shows is Rock the Park on ABC as well as Netflix and Hulu.  If you don’t get a chance to visit all the parks this show will give you a great overview of whats there to explore.  #4 – Something we couldn’t predict, but it really was a possibility was that things would break and need fixing/replacing on our RV/Truck.

We bought new and a big perk was the warranty for this exact reason. However, once all your stuff is in your RV the thought of having to take it to a dealership for warranty work and either sleep over night in the RV dealership parking lot or get a hotel seems less than ideal. We picked a company that has built a great customer service reputation, Grand Design. Their stuff breaks just like all the other competitors, but the way they handle it is the big difference. Most parts/furnishings come from the same handful of distributors and quality control has a long way to go in this industry, sigh! To avoid the above mentioned scenarios we’ve had parts shipped to us, called ahead and had parts shipped to dealership and had Mobil techs sent out to fix the problem. I’ve heard of many horror stories of those spending weeks to months in a dealership to get warranty work done. RV dealerships are a major part of the RV industries problem as well regarding communication breakdown and lack of customer service. Choosing to repair things our self, sometimes even out of pocket was worth the money in exchange for our sanity. That’s why deciding to DIY as much as possible has made our lives way more easier to keep this journey going. So many things have broke and if you let it get you down you will miss whats right outside you door.

Take a look at our laundry list of repairs

Finally, #5 is taking time to enjoy the adventure.

It’s easy to swiftly move from one national treasure to the next and not even stop to smell the roses, just checking it off your sight seeing list. We have slowed down some and are trying to soak up as much of our surroundings as possible before we pack up and move on down the road. Everyone has their own path and feeling, sometimes feeling like your not living up to an expectation or feeling sorry or guilty for missing a must see spot.

Our journey is unfolding exactly the way it’s supposed to be. Do I get sad cause our rig is too big to fit into some really amazing camp sites, yes!  But I’m thankful for all the things that rig does for us and it’s the right size for our needs at this exact moment. We’ve met a lot of people who have been doing this a long time and are moving on to new adventures like fulltime living on a sailboat, downsizing to a smaller RV, buying a campground, buying land to build a house on and the list goes on and on. It’s so interesting to watch all these stories change and unfold. We have no timeline as mentioned before, we are having a blast on this adventure and cant wait to see what this next year brings!

Check out our RV inside and out

 

If you follow our Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Trailin1/ you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

 

Thanks for your support!

πŸ’•HELP SUPPORT our TRAILin adventure at no cost when shopping through our Amazon link! http://amzn.to/2IAHhh8

❀️INSTAGRAM – https://www.instagram.com/hippiehoopla_trailin/

πŸ’›YOUTUBE – www.youtube.com/c/TRAILinTODAY

πŸ’šFACEBOOK – https://m.facebook.com/Trailin1/

πŸ’™PINTEREST – http://www.pinterest.com/hippiehoopla/

πŸ’œWEBSITE –
*www.trailin.net
*www.hippiehoopla.com
*www.mydoterra.com/hippiehoopla/

 

 

Advertisements

Big Tex -part 1

I know I’ve been a little absent from the website the past few weeks but as always I usually post daily on our TRAILin Facebook page so please like us over there too!  Update, we have been in Texas for 4 weeks takin care of business.

Our first stop was our new home, Livingston, TX. When I say our new home I don’t mean we really live there, but our address does. When traveling like we do you will need a permanent address of sorts. We decided to switch from Georgia to Texas for several reasons.

  1. We need to pay taxes, I know sad but true
  2. We need a drivers licence, car registration and license plate
  3. We need insurance on our vehicles
  4. We need to declare a state to homeschool out of
  5. We need a state to affiliate our business with

We no longer own a home or have a job or actually reside in Georgia so switching it all over to Texas was our best all-in-one stop shop to do so.

“So why did we choose Texas?”

Florida, South Dakota and Texas are the 3 most Fulltime RV friendly states to be a resident of. Look at most RV license plates and usually it will be from one of these states. What makes them so RV friendly, mostly the taxes, then registration as well as homeschooling laws?

Livingston, Texas is our home turf now because a company called Escapees is located there. They are an RV club & mail service and for additional fees they will also give you an actual physical address of your own, not just a POBox, this is important. We need the physical address for our business, Hippie Hoopla. 

OK so on our way to Dallas where we were staying for a month we decided to stay in Livingston  for 3 days and get as much done as we could. First stop was visiting the actual offices of Escapees to fill out/sign paperwork and pay monies to get the official address, which you get right there and then. FYI escapees has a large RV park so don’t confuse their RV park office check-on bldg with the actual business offices which are a few blocks apart.

Now that you have your permanent address you need to get to work on switching all your vehicles over.  You’ll need to get them inspected, have insurance for them both in Texas and then get them registered in same county as your permanent address. Sounds easy enough, bwahahahah?  You also will need to get a drivers license but that’s last and I’ll talk about that down the road.

The inspection thing is kinda a joke, they just have it as a way to generate additional monies for their government, its $7. One thing on the list of things they look for was mud flaps or guards that are required on all dully trucks. We did not have these so we were scrambling the day before to find them. FYI we checked all the major auto part stores in town and it was a no go unless we ordered them. Finally found them at a small mom and pop truck accessories shop. We were going to get the truck and RV inspected at the same small auto repair shop in Livingston but their inspector dude woke up late and my hubs was there right when they opened and he was not so we went on down to the nearest car dealership. Truck passes no problem and he came back to our RV site to hook up and take it to the small mom and pop spot cause the guy finally woke up and was now at work. We arrive, guy asks if we have a fire extinguisher, never looks in the RV and in less then 5 minutes we are on our way, see I told you it was a joke!

Next day we headed to the government building where you pay all sorts of taxes to get our registration and license plates. It’s a small office and no one was waiting ahead of us but there’s a lot of paperwork and after taking forever to fill out it takes forever for them to type it all into the computer. So plan on staying there at least an hour even if it’s not busy. The picture above is what we needed to bring with us to submit for registration for them to have on file. You will also need to take a picture of the label on your rig with all its weight measurements. We had zero issues, paid them their money, got our license plates and were on our way! FYI this small government office does not have parking for a large RV in their small parking lot. I suggest doing what we did and just drive your truck or Toad to take care of business.

Just a reminder you will need to get your insurance for all vehicles switched to Texas before you can get registration/plates.  Coming from Georgia our RV insurance stayed relatively the same but our truck insurance about doubled, crazy! We shopped around a few weeks later and saved a few hundred more and paid for the year in a lump sum so that was an additional saving but it’s still high. Apparently the storms from the past year skyrocketed all the rates due to all the hail damage payouts:(

Yea we got all the things done in Livingston that needed to be done. We don’t have to actually ever go back there to our home turf, I think?  We can get our drivers license anywhere in Texas and we did. Same with inspection, can be done anywhere in Texas. Also for the following years we don’t need to be in the state when our annual registration fees are due. You can send in a letter that you promise to get the inspection within 48hrs the next time your in Texas, see still kinda a joke!

You may have noticed a picture above of our cargo carrier which holds our generator. Well because of how ridiculously bumpy I-10 is through Louisiana into Texas the frame at the hitch bent, a lot! It was not over weight but we think because of how far the hitch attachment extends out from the hitch itself it was enough of an engineering no no resulting in this incident. We were able to bend it back, but not close enough to its original state. We made it safely to our next destination without any drama and got us a new one!  Crossing fingers this one will be our last! The new one is better for us anyways cause its actually a wheelchair cargo holder which has a drop down ramp.  This makes it much easier to wheel it on and off.

To end this on a high note the site we stayed in at Lake Livingston was booked solid, partly cause it was the weekend before Halloween and also because a group of Heritage Girls from Houston had taken it over. They were great, our kids instantly had several dozen new buddies to play with. Most of them homeschooled like us and they even let our girls hang at a few of their scheduled talks. We met a few of their parents who were very nice. One of the dads was very interested in our journey and may even being reading this now, if so “hello!”  We meet a lot of people on our adventure who state how envious they are of our lifestyle. Just goes to show there are so many people stuck in a lifestyle they don’t want to be in. We were there, trapped in that suburban shuffle not 6 months ago. I love the choice we made and continue to make, I’m very excited to see how it all shakes out.

Tune in soon to hear all about part 2 and maybe part 3 of Big Tex!  Hey it’s a big state so it deserves to be a trilogy, right?

If you follow our Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/Trailin1/ you already kinda know all the awesomeness we have been having, please “like” us. Don’t forget to follow us on here as well to keep up with our families trail! Also, our families main source of income is Hippie Hoopla, any purchases on-line allow us to keep our adventure going. Please stop by our site and take a look!

Thanks for your support!

πŸ’•HELP SUPPORT our TRAILin adventure at no cost when shopping through our Amazon link! http://amzn.to/2IAHhh8