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RV Blogs We Follow

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Well, it turns out that our blog is not the only one focused on the RV lifestyle. Thank heavens.

I have been blogging since 2004, which seems like such a long time ago now, and my personal blog gets a lot of traffic. The RV Castaways site, being new, is just starting to build. If you are visiting us for the first time, welcome!

We have been following a lot of blogs since we started our journey into retirement. There are, of course, many sites that we visit every once in a while and, no doubt, a vast number of them that we have never visited at all.

Here are a few of our favourites.

Gone With The Wynns

A very impressive website created by a very impressive couple. In one sense, they almost singlehandedly convinced us to make our dream of travelling extensively in an RV a reality. Jason and Nikki have left the RV community to explore somewhere else, something to do with water I think, and we do miss their RV stories however the spirit of adventure still continues. One of our favourite sites and we continue to follow them on their new adventures.

RV Love

Marc and Julie fulltime in their RV even though they are still working. And they have really upped their game with their newly designed website. I know how much work it takes to build a quality website and to produce quality videos. They put a lot of effort into creating great content and their videos have helped us with a lot of our questions about the RV lifestyle.

RV Geeks

Peter and John have a wide following due, in part, to their wonderful how-to videos. We have learned so much from this website. Everything from how to empty our black tanks to leveling our coach.

Wheeling It

It was this post, 10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Fulltime RVing, that introduced us to Nina and Paul. Nina posts regularly about their travels and she does an amazing job reviewing the campsites they visit as well as the process they follow to plan their travels here, here and here.

Outside Our Bubble

Well, what can I say? David and Brenda do march to the beat of a different drummer! Highly energetic and passionate, we have gained a lot of insight from them on both the technical and non-technical aspects of the RV lifestyle. And David had founded AVS Forum many years back, a site I used to visit all the time. A guy who is passionate about technology and audio? Of course I love his website.

iRV2.com

I go here every day. I spend most of my time on the Newmar Owner’s Forum. Such a great community of people here. Although, for now, I have been lurking. Still a bit shy to post.

Life In The Slow Lane

I’m not sure how I stumbled onto Mike’s blog but he seemed to be in a very similar place in life to me. He was nearing retirement, looking at purchasing a Newmar Dutch Star to go travel fulltime, and his approach to blogging was very helpful to us particularly with his journey to purchase his RV. We’ve traded a few emails and he does post from time to time on the iRV forums. He always has lots of great content to share.

The Good, The Bad and the RV

Mike and Karla have created a really great website. They also travel in a Newmar Dutch Star. Mike has taught me a lot about how to plan for and equip an RV. Check out some of his thoughts on How To’s and Gear and Gadgets.

 

Tanks

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Checking the panel and what do I see? Freshwater tank, 1/3. Gray tank, 2/3. Black tank, 2/3.

Time to top up the freshwater tank and empty the gray and black tanks. The gray tanks contain whatever material was drained down our sinks. The black tanks contain the waste from our toilets.

I guess that stuff has to go somewhere.

This will be our first time dumping our tanks. We will be heading over to our local KOA and we will give it a try.

There are lots of how-tos on the web. I found these two videos to be the most helpful in terms of getting a sense of the process.

Jason, of Gone With The Wynns, provides a clear, step-by-step video. He mentions that the first thing that you should do is put on your gloves although in the video he does handle the sewage hose before donning them on. Probably best to get those gloves on right at the start.

The RV Geeks provide a really thorough walkthrough on emptying the tanks. Their wet bay is very similar to ours so I found this video very relevant.

What are some of the key points to remember for a newbie?

  • Wear protective rubber gloves.
  • Dump the black tank before the gray tank. The gray tank can clean the residue from the sewage hose when you dump it after the black tank.
  • Wait until the black tank until it is at least two-thirds full before emptying the tank. And don’t leave the black-water tank valve open when hooked up at a site. Liquids will drain from the black tank which will leave solid waste behind. That will make life difficult later on as solid waste will accumulate in the black tank.
  • Use a high quality sewer hose.
  • Carry an extra garden hose for rinsing. Store the sewer hose and rinse hose away from the drinking water hose. In our coach, we have a separate compartment for the sewer hose.
  • Never use the fresh water hose for rinsing sewer hoses or the dump station area.

RV Electricity

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We have some learning ahead of us with the new coach. The electrical system is the one that will likely take the most effort on our part. We don’t know how to use electricity on a coach.

Well, I mean we know how to turn things on and plug things in. We just don’t know how all of the various systems work together.

Our coach will have three separate electrical systems: 12-volt automotive DC, 12-volt DC coach and 120-volt AC coach. Power will be generated from multiple sources including the on-board generator, shore, batteries and eventually solar. We will have an inverter, an automatic transfer switch, an automatic generator start on low battery, a surge protector and an energy management system.

In short, if you will pardon the pun, we will have a complex electrical system to manage.

There are several resources that I found very helpful in terms of learning more about the electrical system of an RV.

The first one is from RVTechMag.com.

I’ve created this tutorial to help explain some of the basics of electricity as related to RVs. It’s certainly not going to turn every RVer into an electrical engineer or service tech but it may help many of us to better understand the basics of electricity and how it relates to RVs in general. I’ve organized and categorized topics so that they begin with raw basics and build from there. That way you can either start at the beginning or skip the stuff that you know and go right to your area of interest. You can use this as a study course if you wish or simply a reference source to refer to as needed.

The second is from RV-Dreams.com.

I was thinking about what I should cover in a “Basic RV Electrical” section. Then it dawned on me that I would want it to be really, really basic. I asked myself this question: What is the absolute minimum I need to know about my electrical system…

Gone With The Wynns offers a lot of great video tutorials on solar.

Solar power is our main source of electricity on the road and we’ve learned way more about it than we ever wanted to! From our current and past RV Solar Systems to simple explanations on what it is and how it all works, we try to keep things as simple as possible with these complex RV electrical systems. Click on any of the posts below for more information on solar, inverters, chargers and portable power.

And finally the RV Geeks offer a variety of video tutorials on electricity for RVs.

What Happens Next?

Waterfall

The time that we spent at the Hershey RV show last September was a milestone for Lorraine and myself. And not because of RV shopping. That part was fun and educational. That part was really an outcome from a much more significant decision, a time when we decided to dream about our future and to answer the question: what happens next?

I was quickly closing in on sixty years of age when we went down to Hershey. I was very uncertain about the future and, frankly, a bit concerned about the lack of vision for life after work.

How could it be that at this time of my life, I was so anxious about what happens next?

I thought the plan to get to retirement was pretty straightforward: get the kids off to a good start, save money, pay off the house. Only, there wasn’t a plan on what we would do during retirement. Aside from planning for it, we hadn’t really talked about how we would live during that time of our lives.

I had read Chris Crowley’s Book, Younger Next Year. This book was really life changing in many ways. Highly recommended.

In his book, Chris talks about the waterfall. The waterfall is the moment in time when our life ends. As we get older, it becomes louder. We can hear it. We know that it is coming. We think about it more and more. And it challenges us to think about one of life’s more important questions: what happens next with the time we have left?

Chris highlights four important attributes of living life well until we reach the waterfall: exercise, nutrition, connecting with others and kedges. A Kedge is his term for ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

All I was focused on was getting to the number.

Lorraine and I spent most of our time talking about the future in terms of the number. What number do we need to retire? What number do we need to live well in retirement? What number do we need to deal with the unexpected during retirement?

I had built highly complex spreadsheet models going out thirty years. I had introduced multiple scenarios. Retire early, retire late. Different rate of inflation numbers. Different rates of return from our investments.

I would go through the number with Lorraine. Is this the right number? What if I had made a mistake? What would happen then?

Lorraine kept telling me that the last thing she was worried about was the money.

I did not have the presence of mind to ask her what the first thing was that she worried about.

But I knew.

It was us.

It was about our ability to keep growing and developing as a couple. To take those wonderful moments that we have been able to enjoy together over the past thirty-five years of marriage: the long weekends, the one-week vacations, the evenings out here and there. To build anew our relationship.

Live life.

We started dreaming about what life could look like after retirement. And we knew what wanted: new adventures.

We started to think about traveling. And then about traveling in a motorhome. And to do so full-time.

I started researching on the web. I came across Gone With The Wynns. And RV Dreams. And many, many more.

Retirement will be an exciting change and a lifetime accomplishment. Lorraine and I will create the future us.

  • We will pursue a new chapter of life — the best time of our lives
  • We will follow our passions and our dreams
  • We will awaken our spirit
  • We will rediscover joy and serenity in life

So, although part of the journey on our blog will focus on our new RV, which has been a terrific and fun experience, what happens next is really a challenge to think about the future. Our future. The future us.