Some full time RVers maintain a brick and mortar home, allowing them a place to which to return, store stuff, and generally regroup after long journeys. We do not: we simply could not justify the added expense of continuing a mortgage, property taxes, insurance, repairs, etc, and we did not want to deal with the hassle and risk of renting out our beach condo as absentee landlords. Besides, its not like you can park a motorhome in a Miami Beach condo lot.
So we rely on our storage unit, our My RV Mail forwarding service, and most importantly, our family and friends who provide us with occasional respite from the road. Usually we stay in their house while the rig is parked in the street or driveway, as we did for a few days each with Uncle Bob and Aunt Terri in central Florida, Bill & Momma Gloria in Venice, Cousin Robb & Colleen in Gainesville, and Mom & Tim in Wilmington, NC.
Occasionally it works better for all concerned if we sleep in the RV while visiting, as we did with Rich and Jenny in Portland, OR. The addition of Pad Kee Meow to our family has changed the calculus, and with respect for different people’s allergies or cat fondness, we are now likely to flip the ratio, spending more driveway camping actually in the rig rather than in our hosts’ homes.
Such was the case for our return to Xavier & Joy’s, who had already hosted us for quite some time in the fall, sans bus and cat, when we returned to Florida awaiting The Big Kahuna’s first transmission rebuild. This time, we stayed slept in the motorhome for 12 days of semi-drycamping, occasionally hooking up a power cord to the 110V or a water hose to our tank. This lengthy stay in an area with a high density of friends and family as well as near our storage unit allowed us to get a lot of necessary organizational things done while having several great days and nights with the various Tio’s and Tia’s and godparents and friends. Our first full day after arrival, our friend Johnnie and his girlfriend drove up to catch up with us, pick our brain regarding RVing since he is making plans to join the club, and to drop off a much appreciated bottle of scotch (appropriately, Johnnie Walker).
The highlight of the stay was our “Thanksgiving in January,” a feast in which I cooked my third brined and spatchcocked turkey within a three month period, and Rosemarie prepared a pernil (traditional Puerto Rican roasted pork shoulder picnic cut). All three of the uncles (each one a godfather to Rosemarie and her sisters) in the region were able to attend, so insert your own joke, in your best Brando voice, about gathering the heads of all the families. The nine person feast was reminiscent of the half dozen years or so that we hosted Thanksgiving before having to give it up last year in favor of our RV travels. After dinner we had our traditional five card draw, deuces wild, nickel-dime-quarter poker event.
As mentioned above, we also tried to be as productive as possible. We visited our storage unit to check the status, retrieve an item or two, and see about putting some more things inside. I also got Serenity properly registered, titled, and tagged with Kuhana’s old “Que Vida” plate. We also managed to get our tires properly inflated; in one clear design failure for this model, it is nearly impossible to inflate the rear tires using the standard gas station or mechanic shop compressor connection. I had to purchase a six inch flexible valve stem extension, and even then it required flexible arms and fingers grip strength of the young man at the Cypress Mobil station go get it affixed sufficient to take air pressure.
I also made repairs to our damaged toad umbilical cable: the wiring harness that connects the motorhome to our Geo Tracker and operates the brake, warning, and turn signal lights from the console on the motorhome. During a previous tow I had allowed to much slack in the cable and it dragged along the road, damaging almost all of the wires. I had previously jury rigged it, but this stop, after Xavier pointed out the tiny removable set screws, I was able to completely repair it, cutting off the one foot of damaged cable and rewiring the freshly cut six wires to the connection plug.
Since we are back in Florida, and we allow Pad Kee Meow outside on a leash or lead, we need to worry about fleas and ticks. I purchased some Frontline Plus for Cats off Amazon at about half the price offered in the local Pet Supermarket, but before administering, we gave the cat her first bath, at least since we have had her. This was not actually that bad of a process, a case where the idiosyncracies of an RV shower almost worked better than what you might normally have in a home. I put on long sleeve pants and a shirt, warmed up our shower water with our onboard propane heater, contained the cat in our small bathroom and then inside the glass walled shower, the door small enough for me to be able to block it pretty well, and used the low pressure detachable shower handle and flexible hose to give her a gentle washing, using Dawn dish washing liquid for the lather. She loved it, as is obvious from the pictures.
We did some supply restocking, a bit of geocaching, and caught up on a few TV shows from our growing list of series we are missing. You have probably heard the joke about house guests being like fish: great for a few days, but they starts to stink after a week. So having taken advantage for too long, we gathered up our stuff and finally continued south towards our long term winter stopping point, Sigsbee RV Campground, Naval Air Station Key West.