Tag Archives: RV

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes for a travel PT…

11 Jun

Choosing your travel housing and getting it right the first time (especially when trying to figure it from a distance in an unfamiliar place) doesn’t always happen. For me, my originally planned location was a good starting point because of its proximity to family despite its significant distance from my workplace. But with the passing of time, getting to know your surroundings, and getting to know the (not so hospitable) people within your new community can lead you to the conclusion: “Get me the hell away from this place!” I’m still sticking to my recommendation to fellow healthcare travelers to strongly consider the RV-ing route for this exact reason. Lower cost rent, monthly/weekly/daily rate options, and the ability to take your “house” with you at the drop of a hat continue to be an advantage.

However, I am learning the challenges to RV’ing in the Tucson area, where you really have to be selective about the community you pick in the sand sea of senior citizens. At my last location, the (older) population was not of the hip variety (if they even had their real hips) and pretty intolerant of a 30-something professional in their lair. (Mind you, I was not in a community exclusive for 55+. There were hellians tearing around on trikes and 40-something trailer trash milling around—that’s right, I went there.) It doesn’t take long to pick up on the vibes of the “regulars” who reside at an RV park that are not interested in a transient person invading their space. I actually got confronted for “casing” one of the mobile homes while trying to take photos of the Super Moon with my telephoto lens. These experiences, culminated with a climactic over-dramatized incident involving my dogs, led me to speed up the process of moving on to sandier pastures. As a PT and an RVer, I’m grateful for the housing freedom to be able to scope out other options and pick up and go as I see fit. Currently, I’m settled in to an RV park that is in a much more desirable location, managed by welcoming and professional folks, and doesn’t appear to have an express ticket on the gossip train. All pluses in my book!

Watching the sun set behind the mountains from my RV site…

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The “learning to live with less” mantra only works so long in < 23 feet of space

2 Jun

A little housekeeping post to start the update on one of several living arrangement transitions… Over the past month, it has dawned on me that a 23 foot motor home didn’t, in fact, offer that equivalent in living space. I quickly learned how tight the quarters were when my phone-chat pacing habit became quite dizzying. That, along with the constant shuffle of personal items, furniture, and gigantic dog crate, started those cogwheels in my head to turn. As often happens on a journey of self-discovery, I found myself discounting my entire original rationale then crunching numbers and making a plan to somehow upgrade my RV living space in the fall when I returned to Austin for a hiatus.

Then, as if by divine intervention, the opportunity to purchase a practically new fifth wheel RV and trusty pick-up truck as a steal-of-a-deal fell in my lap. At the mercy of the classically unpredictable acute care PT schedule, I orchestrated the purchase and move from ol’ MH to the new fifth wheel in a series of evening and one-day-off stints. God bless the insane American dream that allows a 30-something to have in her possession 4 vehicles and a tow dolly at the same time. (It’s actually anxiety producing even just typing the scenario. Deep breaths.) Although the logistics of financing, purchasing, licensing, registering, and selling my former vehicles can easily be considered a nightmare, I will gladly trade my week between assignments to trek back to ATX for vehicle mayhem in exchange for the added space. Remind me of this when I’m 1.) still financially spread thin, 2.) freaking out while attempting to hitch the fifth wheel solo, and/or 3.) trying to parallel park the truck in an urban locale.

From cramped and cluttered  (packing/moving day!) …

… to rollin’ with the big dogs!

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Feels a little bit more like a “home” on wheels now!

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Snow lover meets Snowbirds

17 Apr

RV park living is a whole different culture.  Particularly here, where there are still a lot of “snowbirds”—seniors who migrate to the desert’s winter warmth, fleeing the arctic blast of the northern US or Canada.  Imagine the raised eyebrows and questioning stares as an unfamiliar “young girl” toting a six pack of beer walks into their St. Patty’s Day party.  Now, I love me some senior citizens; it’s part of why I love the areas of physical therapy practice in which I often work.  Seniors, however, are often more guarded with outsiders to their circle.  All this situation needed was a little ice breaker, right?  That came quickly while I watched a frosty white haired lady being whisked around the dance floor, shuffling precariously backward.  My PT switch clicked on and commented, “You know, so many backward steps are a hip fracture waiting to happen.  They’re going to fall down… aaannnyyy… minute…”  And BAM! Down they tumbled.  It was actually relatively graceful, but I hear a mild Irish buzz may have aided that.  As we hoisted somebody’s sweet grandma off the dance floor, everyone quickly knew who I was and what I did for a living.

Although not incredibly social with the part-timer who is at least 3 decades younger than most of them, RVers collectively are politely friendly folks.  I rarely drive by a person without a smile and a wave exchanged.  But now, as the desert slowly heats up, the snowbirds are migrating back to their northern homes.  I do look forward to the upcoming days of less inquisitive (slightly judgmental) eyes and less yappy miniature dogs.

Home sweet home away from home

14 Apr

A modest, no-frills RV Park houses my traveling abode.  It is equipped with a few amenities such as pool, laundry, shuffle board, decent shower room, lots and lots of… gravel.  And dust.  Beyond the borders of the chain link fence, are open agricultural spaces.  Cotton, I hear, in one green space.  Wheat sprouting in another.   They must be growing dirt on the third side.   The first sound and sight of a low flying plane sparked panic until I realized it was a crop duster.  At night, the soothing tones of a nearby train’s mellow whistle drifts through my windows on a regular basis.

  

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucson or bust! The story of my road trip

30 Mar

Long time, no blog!  As much as I hoped to blog “live” as my road trip occurred, the stress and subsequent exhaustion proved incompatible with blogging.  Now that I’m a bit settled, let me get you up to speed.

After much anxiety, last minute disorganization, and quadruple checking if I was ready to go, I hit the road around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14th.  My first destination was Fort Stockton, Texas.  I quickly learned that driving up to 2 hours continuously feels like an eon to me.   It took me almost 8 hours to go 332 miles. This was partially due to my comfort level of driving precisely 46-52 mph and my GPS leading me into the middle of nowhere. This “scenic” route was quite hilly, with no option to turn around, no shoulder on the road, and no cell phone service.  Cross checking my Google map app proved unhelpful as well, as it mistakenly placed its blue dot on the path toward Odessa.   Despite not knowing where I was exactly, I knew that was not accurate.  An hour and visions of being on Nightline as “the sorry girl who followed her GPS into an oblivion and certain doom” later, I was back on course.  With relief, I reached the Fort Stockton RV Park just before sundown and the office closing.

 

Thursday brought a shorter drive for my planned side trip to Carlsbad Caverns. After cursing my GPS and banishing it from the dashboard, I embarked on a journey led by Google maps…. which took me again on a few secondary roads, this time riddled with cow-crossing-grate-thingamabobs (I’m so not country).  Not so fun when you come up on them without warning, when driving the MH Brigade.  Who knew getting to a big ass cavern deep underground meant driving up steep, winding roads to reach it?  Ahh, the adventure continues… (more on Carlsbad later, I have photos to upload!)…

 

 

 

 

 

Following an overnight in Carlsbad, I traveled next to Deming, New Mexico.   At this point, my time zone awareness became a blur as I left NM, reentered TX, then returned once again to NM.  When conquering the open road, west Texas can be a personal hell for many.  Most are saved, however, by tearing through at the posted 75+ mph.  Sadly, ol’ MH and I continued to putt-putt along at 55 mph max.  Nightmare.  I also had the hellish experience of driving straight through El Paso, where I successfully blocked 2.5 lanes at a traffic light for at least 5 minutes while I desperately tried not to miss getting into the left turn lane to get on I-10.  Thank you, El Paso, but I hope to never see you up close again.

My fourth and final day would take me from Deming to Tucson.  With the help of some adrenaline and my first cup of joe since I departed Austin, it was smooth sailing!  The road also flattened out a bit, which improved my speed.  My one stop was at a rest area in a place called Texas Canyon (fitting, right?).  What a relief to arrive at the RV park to the familiar faces of Mom and Joe to help me get settled in my site!  Stay tuned for the tour of my home-away-from-home.

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Motor homes and fifth wheels and bumper pulls, oh my!

6 Feb

I like to think of myself as independent, but becoming a homeowner solo taught me all the things that it’s nice to have a helpful and knowledgeable hand readily available.  Thank goodness for unlimited text and calling when I’m on my island of one (that’s right, even at 30, I’m not ashamed to call my parents for help).  And despite all my independence and learned comfort with being alone, the motor home is like homeownership on wheels!  The “how to’ s” of it sitting in the driveway are anxiety producing enough!  The great beyond and cell phone towers everywhere… prepare!   I’m going to use my “phone a friend” lifeline frequently, I’m sure.   For me, knowledge can be power and also paranoia-inducing.  This experience will hopefully teach me to not obsess so much about the “what if’s” and just deal with them if they arise.

To increase my knowledge base and, thus, my comfort level for living in an RV, I was given “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to RVing (2nd edition)” by my full-time RV-ing mom.  Idiot: check.  RV: check.  Perfect!  {Note: No book review here. This is just my own anecdote on my RV decision-making.}  She instructed me to skip reading the chapters on RV selection and purchase, knowing it would just perpetuate my over-analysis of a decision I had already made (the motor home had already been purchased by that time).  I, of course, ignored her advice and started to skim these chapters.  She, in turn, was absolutely correct; and I started down my road of “what if” ‘s and “Did I make the right choice?” ‘s. Quickly, I stepped away from the book.  I remembered my lengthy pros and cons debate with myself (under the guidance of my full-time RV’ing resource-people) and embraced my decision.

A motor home and tow dolly for my car was financially a better plan for me versus purchasing a bumper pull RV plus a vehicle to tow it.  Size-wise, it also felt more manageable.  Driving my 23.5 ft motor home doesn’t feel much different than driving a U-haul.  A downside is that adding the car-in-tow makes maneuverability more challenging—you can never ever back up— and the tow dolly itself is cumbersome for manually moving and storing (600 pounds, if memory serves).  A motorhome is also a convenient and secure choice for the single female traveler.  When on the road and in need of a rest or a bathroom break, I can climb from the cab to the “home” portion without having to exit the vehicle, if it seems unsafe to do so.  The motor home (versus hotels/motels) also makes on-the-road overnight stops with two large dogs a bit easier.

If you are considering an RV for yourself, finances, size, and practicality are certainly important points to consider.  My expert advice, however, ends there.  I highly recommend finding the RV’ing book of your choice to learn the ins and outs, the pros and cons, and all that jazz.  Other than that, we’ll figure it out as we go!