RV Castaways In Quarantine

Day 8 of our wonderful 14 days of quarantine. Perhaps a few of you are wondering what it is really like for us to be spending this time in isolation.

How am I doing? Not too badly all things considered. Here’s Ricky!

I can hardly wait until day 14 although things look pretty bad for where we are over the next three months:

After being briefed on provincial modelling, Toronto public health officials say the city risks mass deaths unless dire measures are taken for the next 12 weeks.

Hmmm… “dire measures”… that doesn’t sound encouraging does it?

Some of you may be wanting a better sense of where we are. I cut this video earlier today and it shows where we are parked.

We are doing fine. We are safe and healthy. We are doing our part, along with hundreds of millions of other people, to flatten the curve.

But we are in it for months now and not weeks. I’m starting to worry about whether we will be able to go back to Florida in the fall.

Let’s hope it doesn’t become that bad.

Boondocking

We are boondocking right now. It is still winter here in southern Ontario. The temperatures are below freezing as I write this post. The water to our pedestal is not running. And we have no sewage where we are parked.

We do have 50 amp service, a mostly full tank of diesel, and we are warm and comfortable in our coach.

My plan was to install a SeeLevel tank guage while we were in Florida. That did not happen. The system that came with our Dutch Star is a joke. Even when the sensors work, which is not the case right now for two of our three tanks, they only provide a rough indication as to the levels in our tanks. Not an issue when we are connected to services but certainly an issue when we are boondocking. Even more so now.

We have managed to last five days so far. Our black tank is reading one third, our grey tank is now full and our fresh water tank is reading empty. I don’t trust any of the readings.

Visually, the fresh water tank is closer to one third than empty but that is probably to ensure that we don’t run dry. Unfortunately I do not have a line of sight to the other two tanks but I suspect that neither reading is all that accurate.

We last dealt with our tanks this past Friday. It took us roughly two hours to complete the process.

We had to drive to a building on the dealership lot with an active water line. Almost an hour to fill up the fresh water tank. We then had to move to another location to empty our black and grey tanks. We always rinse our black tank and that took a fair amount of water and a slightly different approach as the area where we dump our tanks does not have an active water line. We rinsed the black tank by flushing one of our water closets multiple times. We drained enough water out of our fresh water tank that we had to return to the active water line and top it up. Back to the site.

Today we will be spending several hours to get the coach ready for another 5-6 days of boondocking.

We need showers. We really need showers.

We need to do laundry as we are running out of clothes. And we have some dishes that we want to pass through the dishwasher. For the most part, we have been using paper plates and plastic cutlery to minimize water use.

Our dishwasher is pretty efficient. About 4 gallons to do a load. We have a high efficiency front-loading washer and it takes roughly 10 gallons or so per load. We have four loads to do today. And a 10 minute shower will use about 20 gallons per person.

Our fresh water tank holds 105 gallons, assuming that we do not trigger the overflow “feature”. A design flaw in the filling system can trigger a loss of 20-30 gallons after topping up the fresh water tank. You can read about it here and here. The overflow triggers whenever we fill the fresh water tank and, due to the bad design, it will continue to drain water until the fresh water tank levels out. We can lose almost one third of our fresh water this way. Not helpful Newmar!

I can modify the overflow system to prevent the loss. But not now. It is simply too cold to be working outside on the coach.

We will pull up the jacks and bring in the slides and move to the building with the active water line.

We will fill up the fresh water tank.

We will return to our site.

Between the showers, dishwasher and laundry, we will consume 80-90 gallons from our 105 gallon fresh water tank.

We will then pull up the jacks and bring in the slides again and go and refill the fresh water tank.

We will then head over to the dump area and dump out the tanks. We will rinse the black tank by flushing the water closet 20 times or roughly 30 gallons from the fresh water tank.

Back to the building with the active water line to top up the fresh water tank.

Back to our site.

The temperature will range from about 2 to 7 Celsius during the scope of our operation or 35 to 45 Fahrenheit. Cold.

Day 7 of mandatory quarantine.

The fun continues.

Florida RV Parks

Florida RV Parks are expanding. According to the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, over three thousand additional RV sites will come online over the next two years.

Part of the growth is due to the demand of retired snowbirds. That would be people like us, escaping the cold, dark days of winter in exchange for the sun and warmth of Florida.

But there is also another group looking for options. We see more of them online and in person.

Seeing them online is fairly easy. There is a group of people that decide to drop out of traditional jobs and use online media, primarily YouTube, as a means to fund an RV lifestyle. Their videos are basically stories about their daily lives, living the dream, courtesy of the financial support they get from YouTube viewers, Patreon subscribers and commissions from online sales through Amazon.

Too many to list really. They range from succcessful sites like RV Love and Keep Your Daydream to a seemingly unlimited list of RV YouTubers fighting tooth and nail for viewers to slam that subscribe button and bang that notification bell.

I admit that I would be very reluctant to hit the road with the expectation that other people would hand over their money in return for a weekly video about my private life.

But it can pay the bills.

Recent estimates for Gone With The Wynns — they originally started out as RV YouTubers and then switched over to sailing — show them earning close to $3,000 per video from Patreon alone or roughly $140,000 per year. Add in the cash from YouTube and merchandise and I suspect they are getting closer to $300,000 per year.

It is a full-time job for both of them. Building great content week after week takes a considerable amount of time and energy.

Aside from the online group, we are running into more people that have decided to work out of their coach. They want to enjoy some aspects of the retirement lifestyle — being south in the winter — while they continue working.

Instead of commuting into an office, they work out of their coach. I’m sure that approach to work must come with its own challenges and the option to work this way would only apply to a limited set of occupational roles.

Demand seems to be strong in Florida for better quality RV resorts and competition for customers is generally a good thing.  We are still booking almost a year ahead for our spot in Florida as demand is still outstripping supply particularly during the peak season.

Tampa RV SuperShow Arrival

We have arrived to the Tampa RV SuperShow.

We will soon cross the gates into the show. No particular plan. We have the next three days to take it all in. The show will attract roughly 70,000 attendees so it will start to get busy although I expect most of the crowds will be coming in on the weekend.

We, on the other hand, will be leaving first thing Saturday morning. I have band commitments this weekend and, in between attending the RV SuperShow, I will be practicing my guitar. No rest for the weary.

Here is a video of our arrival:

Quite the process. Coaches queue to enter. Coaches move to a staging area to unhook. Coaches move to a parking area. And there it is. All settled in for a few days.

We have a great spot. Wide open at the front nestled under a large tree. Cellular data is good so far allowing me to post and upload some content.

Lorraine and Tabby wandered around the Newmar campsite and, predictably, met many old friends and made many new friends. Several couples that we know from Canada are here and it was great to catch up with them.

Somewhere over 200 Newmar coaches in this area. I haven’t counted them myself but it is a pretty big gathering of fellow Newmar owners.

Power is provided by these big diesel generators strewn throughout the parking area. Only 30 amp service so we have to be mindful not to trip any breakers.

The parking is thoughtfully laid out. Although all the coaches are spaced relatively tight, it feels open.

This was one of the main parking lots last night. I suspect it might be a tad busier this morning.

Looking forward to walking through the show this morning and checking out all of the new coaches and RVs.

Fort Wilderness

Lorraine and I are enjoying a wonderful break at Fort Wilderness this week. We arrived at Walt Disney World on Sunday and we will be here until Saturday.

Walt Disney World is one of our favourite places to visit. So many great memories from when we used to bring our children here every year.

We came to Disney with another couple and we have been having a great time exploring the parks and enjoying the restaurants.

Not enough time to write a lengthy post but I will leave you with a classic Disney shot from yesterday. I managed to find an angle without the construction cranes in the background.

Crowds are much larger than I expected for this time of year. However, our friends have done such an amazing job planning our time that we have been able to navigate through the parks without too much difficulty.

Posting will be a bit light this week. Next week we will be out at the Tampa RV SuperShow. Turns out that there was a last-minute cancellation with the Newmar Kountry Club rally at the SuperShow and we were offered a spot. We will be there with our coach from Tuesday through Saturday.

Keeping ourselves busy in retirement.

Blessed to be with good friends in an awesome setting.