Thursday, September 10, 2009

Speaking of Vicissitudes....

After 11 years of living in a two-story house with three bedrooms, a living room , a screened-in porch, two bathrooms, a dining room, a small kitchen, a sunroom, a finished basement and a small basement kitchen, adjusting to life in a 29-foot motorhome does indeed take some adjustment.

There are several areas that I can identify as being the most challenging.

First, I can count on one hand (so far, that is!) the number of times that I have hit my head (hard!) on several key spots in our rig. There’s one spot just next to the bed where I struck my head so hard last night that I think I saw stars. Was that the Big Dipper?

Next is space to stretch out. The bed in the bedroom of the rig is indeed hinged and can be stood up and locked in the upright position, but it is still a challenge to find enough space to truly stretch out, do yoga, Pilates, or other exercise. While we can certainly stretch out on the full-sized bed in the bedroom or on the queen-sized bed over the cab, it’s not quite the same as having a carpeted living room or den in which one can roll around and generally cavort freely.

Then there’s water and sewage. In a perfect world, we would spend a fair amount of time hooked up to the water from someone’s garden hose or from a camground water hookup, allowing us unfettered water use at all times. At our current location, that is not possible, so I fill our fresh water tank (capacity 44 gallons) every few days and we keep an eye on our supply.

As for sewage, our “black water” tank holds 22 gallons, and our “grey water” (from sinks and shower) holds 33 gallons. When we’re out in the wilderness, we plan to use “nature’s toilet” as much as possible (there’s a shovel in the storage compartment beneath the rig), but here in civilization it’s somewhat more difficult, so if we can’t make use of our host’s bathroom next door, our own tanks take the heat, so to speak. So, we make the trip to the local sewage treatment plant and dump our black and gray water several times per week as needed (photos forthcoming, perhaps next time we go!).

The need to fill the water tank and empty our own sewage helps me to feel less disconnected from the source of my water and the eventual destination of our waste. Living in a house, one simply turns on the faucet or flushes the toilet, and unless there’s a problem, there’s nothing else to do or think about. Here in our rig, these issues are front and center.

Storage. Now there’s a subject near and dear to many full-timers. If one lives in a “Class A” RV (one of those huge buses), storage is not much of an issue. Class A’s have huge “basement” compartments, allowing one to carry most anything one might need, within reason (ie: frivolous things like party lights and tiki torches). For us, our frivolity comes in the form of a hidden space beneath the bed that houses Scrabble, Sequence, mancala, art supplies, an alto recorder, a small mbira, and, of course, Nurse Bob and his personal supplies.

In a “Class C” rig like ours, storage is at more of a premium, and every decision about space matters. A lot. Just last week, we had a large storage bin bolted to the rack on the back of the rig, and the welding company reinforced the hitch to make it stronger and able to carry the load of whatever we put inside it. They also needed to extend the hitch out six inches so that the top of the bin would clear the spare tires that are mounted on the back exterior wall of the vehicle. This bin, however small, relatively speaking, allows us to stow a tent, sleeping pads, chairs, tools, and any number of other useful but space-consuming items outside, padlocked and out of our way.

In terms of the kitchen, storage is also an issue, so since we ‘re not been on microwaves, we use the microwave as storage for towels, pot-holders, coffee filters and tea!

There is so much more I could say, but time is another thing that seems in short supply. Tune in soon for more updates and musings, and perhaps Mary will chime in soon with her own take on the new RV



  1. Sounds like a real adjustment. You'd better become the 'big dipper' if you don't want to keep smacking your head! Thanks for all the details about your toilet - just what I wanted to hear! Like any situation, there are 'good' and 'bad' aspects to it. I suspect you'll be spending more time outdoors! So, now yous can really say, 'Life is a trip.' Happy Hippy Trails from the King of moving around, Your Friend, Paul

  2. may the blessings of this new adventure unfold!


  3. not to worry, pablo, we will keep ya posted on our dumping adventures now and then, complete with a photo of the process to demystify it.