Monday, June 29, 2015

Disney & Our First Move

As I mentioned, we made it to Disney with not a whole lot of fan fare. We got parked, settled, and started a little bit of unpacking. But, our primary goal for the week was to play at the Disney World parks. "Camping" at Fort Wilderness is more "hoteling" for us- we don't hang out at the camper a whole lot and are generally on the go, go, go.

I did learn that I think I'd like to plan for the cost of a golf cart rental next time; it is just more convenient than waiting for the buses within the campground (to then wait for a bus to your actual destination). We either walked to the marina and took boats or we drove the truck.

Here's a rundown for our week. For more photos than you can shake a stick at, checkout my Flickr Album.

Magic Kingdom for a classic Disney start

My wife even made us matching tye-dye Mickey shirts. She did a great job on them.

We watched a parade, had lunch at Be Our Guest, rode some rides, and watched the Main Street Electric Light parade. Here we are later in the day:
Us on Main Street

Animal Kingdom

We started our day at the Tusker House for breakfast with some characters in safari outfits, waited in a hellishly long FastPass+ line for the safari, checked out the adventure center + petted animals, I got lost trying to leave on my own, and ended the night at Downtown Disney (or Disney Springs as it is now called).
Outside of Tusker House after Breakfast

Breakfast at Trails End and then Hollywood Studios

Breakfast at Trails End is a staple for anyone camping at the fort and, thusly, deserved a spot in the subheading. We had breakfast and then made our way to Disney's Hollywood Studios where my son rode Tower of Terror and loved it.
40" Minimum and 40" Kid = FUN!

Another Magic Kingdom Day

We went back to Magic Kingdom where we met Mickey, rode some rides, started playing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, watched the Festival of Fantasy parade, got haircuts at the barber shop, watched Wishes Fireworks, and finally rode some more 40" Minimum rides. It was a big day!
On "Hi-Ho" as my son calls it

 Finished with Epcot

We finished our park days with a visit to Epcot. My daughter is a huge Duffy fan and has been disappointed the last few visits that we haven't been able to make it for visits with him. That was rectified! We had a late morning and then took forever getting to Epcot. After we got on the boat, Mandie realized that I forgot the stroller's rain cover- so I got off of the boat and headed back to the camper. While there, I moved the truck to help our new neighbors get into their spot. In the meantime, my wife was pushing my daughter in a wheelchair (she injured her ankle a while back while hiking) who was pushing my son in a stroller. She pushed this double-tow combo up the looooonnnngggg ramp to the monorail only to find out it was down between Magic Kingdom and the Ticket & Transportation Center (the TTC; which gets you to Epcot). Back down the ramp and to the ferry she went. Once at the TTC, she took a monorail to Epcot. They road Spaceship: Earth while I finally caught up. (Holy convoluted story! Sorry!)

Once we got to Epcot, things smoothed out. We took son onto Soarin' for his first time (again with those 40" minimum rides) and then got some lunch. From there, we made a bee-line to see Duffy, walked partway around the world, and started getting my daughter's Epcot World Showcase passport filled out. Dinner at the Rose & Crown Pub.
The Kids Visiting with Duffy

WAAAAAY More Pictures

As I mentioned above, if you want to see a figurative TON of pictures, I posted a bunch to a Flickr album.

Moving onto Thousand Trails Orlando

Outside of our overnight stops, this was our first official "weekly" move. It is a bit of a cheat at 13 miles or something like that and we're here for 2 weeks. But hey, we moved. And, even though it was a short move, we still parked in a Walmart parking lot for a super yummy, but oh so not healthy, lunch of Taco Bell.
Quick Stop for Lunch
But, of course, what should have been an easy move had its own challenges:
  1. Packing up the chaos just added more chaos. I can't wait until we're settled in and we have places for everything.
  2. When retracting my landing gear, one wouldn't go up. Ultimately, I figured out that one of my new Steadyfast stabilizer bars were frozen in place. The locking screws got bitched buggered up over the winter; I didn't lube them and then the factory return over salt covered roads has taken its toll. I don't blame the Steadyfast bars (actually quite love them still). But, I did have to remove the foot from the landing gear and put the bars into the truck bed. Took a while to figure out that's what it was, but we got it sorted enough to get going.
  3. Thousand Trails Orlando has jokes. All of the TT Parks are first come, first served- you drive around and pick your site. This isn't terrible, but this campground has limited 50-amp spots that are near the pool/rec. center. We finally found a site, got backed in, leveled-up, and I went to plug in electric to find a note inside of the box that said, "50 amp not working". Rather annoyed, I called the Welcome Center and they confirmed that this site was falsely labeled as 50amp because of issues with the transformer. Off we went to find a new site.
  4. I was attacked by a lizard. I grabbed a stool out of my front storage hatch and this miniature dragon jumped out at me. I won, though- his tail popped off.
Dinner was a very classic camp meal of Domino's pizza delivery.
Pizza Guy!


Here's our setup:
Very Few Neighbors

Campsite at Dark

Monday, June 22, 2015

My RV Desk and Workspace

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook or are part of a couple of RVing Facebook communities, you may have already saw the pictures of this. But, here's a more fully detailed play-by-play of the design & build process of my RV desk/workspace over on my other blog.

Learn To RV: Building a Desk - Working from my RV

Moving In: tackling boxes and bags

Wether it was the fact that we decided to start this adventure in March/April, or we are just busy, or we are procrastinators, or we just plain suck at time/project management- the move out of our house and into the camper was a wild and screaming slide into home plate. For better or worse, the camper was (is) filled with stacked boxes and bags. Nothing was in its place and there's just SO MUCH STUFF.

As we started unpacking:

We woke up to Day 3 at our overnight stop at Pecan Park RV Resort. As I mentioned, it's a little expensive ($46) but it's about a minute off of I-95 and all of their lots are paved pull-thrus. In the summer, there are many sites to pick from. (In the winter, I called ahead and they reserved a site for me leaving a traffic come in it. Call ahead in the winter- they fill with snowbirds.) When we arrived, I stayed hitched up and only connected electric. In the morning, I ended up connecting water and sewer for my shower and to dump some extra weight (after our weighing the night before). We paid and registered at the office, paid our fee, and were on the road before 11.

Their WiFi password made me laugh; it's the exact same password that I use for my development/developer accounts.

This thing was pretty unique.

We made one quick stop for fuel. I like to make sure I'm not running low when I go to park because you never know how poorly I'll do it. While there, I saw this sign on the motorhome at the fuel pump beside me.

We made it!

But, holy tight gates. I swear next time- I'm straddling the cement barrier over 2 lanes. OR- coming in the back way to Fort Wilderness and skipping this entirely (but then- what would I do for a picture?!).

We arrived at Fort Wilderness around 2:30. Surprisingly, we pulled up and there was one other camper checking in. We got through pretty quick.

When given my site number, I checked it against the Fort Fiends App and found that it was labeled "Backin: Difficult". Mandie laughed at my worry and, in so many words, told me to "suck it up, buttercup".

Fortunately, no one was occupying the site across from us and it was an easy backin.

As the title of this post suggests, we spent most of the day unpacking. Mandie tackled the kitchen and I did some stuff in the basement. We both tackled clothes in the bedroom. It feels good to start unpacking- the not knowing where crap is and the multitude of boxes is overwhelming!

Plus, we started to see the doubles and triples that these last couple of weeks brought. Because we were rushed- a lot of discussions were essentially, "Do we need this for the camper? I don't know, throw it in a box." The more stuff we pitch, the closer we get to being within the camper's gross/maximum weight limit.

Random pictures- Logan looking boss in his wife beater and sunglasses.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Day 2, a travel day

It's very unlikely that I'll continue daily blogging; but for now it's fun to try and recap a day. As I mentioned, last night we parked in front of my cousin & her husband's house. We plugged into an outlet on the porch- I do have to admit, we popped the breaker a total of 3 times. Whoops!

God bless my family at being good at spontenaity- from texting my cousin at 10:30pm, we ended up having an 8:30am breakfast with her, her hubby, her 2 brothers, and my aunt and uncle. It was a perfect start to the idea of a fluid life that fulltiming is supposed to be (though, we still beat feet to make it to Jacksonville tonight).

Breakfast was wonderful- from the food to the company. I hitched up, adjusted my TrailAir Pinbox, and we tackled a u-turn on a large but still not large enough cul de sac. It went well- fortunately no viral Youtube fodder (especially as my cousin was recording!).

The rest of the day was a typical travel day- lunch at a rest stop and dinner at a Subway in a truck stop. Highlights were stopping at South Of The Border's truckstop- that's still one of the most disgusting stores... ever. And, we weighed the truck and camper at the dinner truckstop.

Some pictures from today..

First, breakfast with my family:

Next up, our accommodations for the night:

Next, my stupid doors like to take up collections of hair:

I found a leftover little footprint as Logan was climbing on things the day before:

I pumped up my TrailAir pin box with a bike pump. Nothing like lifting 2,600 lbs. with a hand pump:

We said our goodbyes and then we were off. Mandie napped first and drove later while I zonked out at the same time as the kids.

We stopped at South Of The Border for fuel (7-15 cents more expensive here than everywhere else). And, you haven't lived until you've seen the horror that is Pedro's Truck Stop.

And Mandie got us all a little candy treat. The boy enjoyed his M&Ms:

As I mentioned, we weighed the truck and camper at dinner. For those interested- here are the numbers:

And now, we are parked and setup at Pecan Park RV Resort in Jacksonville, FL. We got here about midnight-thirty. We have stayed here twice now. It's a great for a quick and easy overnight stop. A little spendy, but we know what to expect and they're paved, pull-thru, and fairly level lots. I just wish we weren't so crookedly parked!

Disney's Fort Wilderness tomorrow!

Friday, June 19, 2015

We have lift off.

My wife's Facebook status this evening at about 10pm...

"Well, we are finally on the road. It took us a bit longer than expected, but off we go. :-) So long Maryland, hello the rest of the country!"

Our goal was to stay at Kosmos Village RV Park in Glen Allen, VA but instead we are parked in front of my cousin's house on the street and are plugged into the porch. Big impromptu family breakfast in the morning and then we'll be off on our first full day as #fulltimers.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Movers were here and our stuff is gone.

Truck, house, and camper - my life
In the past week or two, it has been a flurry for the final rush. I can't say that we got to this point gently, easily, or any other nice word. It's more of a mad dash and a crash at home plate and we're not done yet!

I promise we're not hoarders when you read this list. We have:
  • Taken 2 truck loads to the dump- both heaping.
  • Taken 1 heaping truck load to the auction.
  • Sold a plethora of items on Facebook yard sale groups and Craigslist.
  • Given away a bunch.
  • Donated many bags of clothes.
Empty Truck
Yesterday was our big day- at 9:30am, the movers showed up and started carrying our house out piece by piece. My wife and I chuckled when we saw the size of their truck and thought "there was no way". While we were right- they got everything except 2 chairs, a small patio end table, and a pair of flower pots that we used as a water feature on our back deck. They were working until about 7-7:30pm and then we had to sign papers.

Boxes Loaded   Truck loaded (notice the things strapped to the back)