It's been a crazy couple of weeks since Memorial Day weekend when I had some time to write up a couple of blog posts. Basically every night Becky and I collapsed into bed exhausted for two weeks as we packed and purged, cleaned and organized. I am amazed at what Becky did and was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. She cleaned 3,600 Sq ft (335 Sq meters) and reduced our belongings to just what we need for a year or two and fit it all into the Motorhome. (Only 330 Sq Ft or 31 Sq meters).
I'm blessed to have such a skilled and organized wife!
Leaving Whites Bridge
So in the afternoon on Sunday May 31 we cut off our safety net (again) by checking out of our rental house in Belding Michigan. Our landlords rocked! And while we loved the house and wish we could have stayed longer we asked to be let go of our lease agreement a month early. We had a 9 month lease and only stayed there 8 months. A big reason for that is the cost. Once we were able to sleep all of us inside Gracie it became apparent that we could live in her while completing the remodel project.
So on May 31 we become homeless again? No not really, Home is now wherever we put the jacks down.
We spent the week up in Newaygo at Becky's brother's house (we used to own this house before we adopted the location independent lifestyle) to have free access their electricity and water while borrowing tools to finish the work on Gracie. Oh and there's time with the Grandparents and the Uncle that comes as part of the package :)
As we approached the weekend we started to plan for two trips to Grand Rapids (40 miles/65km one way) for church on Sunday. The kids program had an end of year celebration including "bouncy houses." It wasn't like we could say, "aww come-on kids that's 4 hours on the road and we hate road trips". No-one would believe those words coming from our mouths! We also had some errands to run and purchases to make which could only be done in Grand Rapids.
Then there's the timing. The service we typically attend is at 9:15 in the morning. With an hour commute plus baths and showers and breakfast we'd be pushing it to make it there on time.
Face it, we have 4 kids and it takes awhile for us to get all of us out the door.
So we came up with a brilliant idea! We're location independent right? Location shouldn't hold us back from living the way we want to. This was the goal of our lifestyle changes.
We decided to boondock in the parking lot of church. I mean, why not, right? It's not like people are using the parking lot overnight, and we only take up 4 spaces. (yeah I counted, if we park against the lines we take up 4 spaces, but we need an additional 1 or 2 to get out!!)
The only wrinkle in the plan? We had tore apart parts of Gracie to get those parts fixed and we had tools laying all over the place. So after a couple hours of clean up we shoved off.
And low and behold parking at church was somewhat uneventful. We had connected with one of the building and grounds guy who was locking up after the Saturday evening service and we knew we had permission.
Speaking of Leaping, DV:FX, Sunday night
The kids had a blast at DV:FX (our church's kids program is called Discovery Village, and they put on a monthly Family eXperience, thus DV:FX) Despite the rain and the wind, they we able to learn, have fun and eat food we normally do not allow.
Afterwards we boondocked at an RV dealership. We wanted to be there on Monday to order parts and get some thing solved. It was kinds fun to be surrounded by empty (and some we thought were empty but they indeed had people in them) Motorhomes, Tail Draggers, and Fifth wheels. It was also fun to see the parade of motorhomes that drove in for service in the morning. All five that we saw were newish and well over $200,000 so it was just kinda fun to watch.
Unfortunately the RV store was a bust and we need to find parts online. It seems that very few people upgrade or modify their motorhome parts. We're met with a lot of difficulty in finding replacement parts that are not the exact part. We want to change the door handle from this (old) style to a newer style. Good luck with that! The parts are sold as exact replacements, and if you try to install a different part nothing works or fits well.
This is also why certain parts we cannot order online. We've tried but have been sent the wrong part multiple times. Even the skylight wasn't the exact part I wanted, but we made it work.
Summer 2015 Plans
Our next phase of life is basically hanging out in Newaygo while we whittle down the 66 things we need to do on Gracie. These tasks range from small (get a kitchen trash can) to large and intense (like move plumbing and reconfigure how the fresh water tank is filled). -- Let's just say the folks at the RV parts store look at me crazy when I ask for parts/ideas/help on doing upgrades. Their reaction is "well, why would you want to do that?" And my only response is, We're 6 people living in this rolling house on wheels, we need to make it highly functional for how we work. It's crucial, especially when looking for a plumber, to ensure that the changes we make are not only innovative but also expertly executed to meet our unique needs.
So here we are, living in the Motorhome. Technically the "RV Adventure" has begun and we're now permanent residents of the Motorhome. But we're still in West Michigan and still living a normal life, attending the same church visiting the same doctors and living cheaper than before.
Electricity has not yet been a problem while we're boondocking. However, water has. And it's not the supply of freshwater, it's the fullness of the grey tank. The things that fill up the gray tank are laundry and baths/showers. So we're looking into adding a creative solution to increase our gray tank storage or help us to be more flexible with it. As far as we can tell right now if we didn't shower or do laundry we could be off the grid for a week or two. (and still be working and still have internet) Pretty sweet if I do say so myself.
How long can you and your crew go without being connected to the grid, or to a water/sewer supply? And is it wrong to not do laundry/baths for two weeks?