Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Life is Life - On the Road or Off

Lest anyone think that our new lifestyle is a complete bed of roses, I thought I would share some of our recent challenges. While there are definite advantages to living full-time in an RV, cons easily present themselves when one uses a 30 foot travel trailer as a residence for a family of four and an office for a computer programmer.

Working from an RV

Before getting to Maine and after leaving Richmond, we spent a week just outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania at small private campground called Clayton Park. We had a waterfront spot on Lake Henry and the weather was very fine. But the quality of an experience is greatly determined by expectations.

Campsite at Clayton Park
We picked this place because it had water/electric for the full six nights that we needed and was supposed to have good Verizon coverage. My husband works remotely and internet connectivity is a must. He purchased a prepaid Verizon Jetpack expressly for this purpose and according to the coverage map this area should have had ample service. Well, it didn't, and it took 3 days for the Verizon customer service reps to inform us that that particular service level is not available on prepaid plans. (Interestingly, when you make the on-line purchase, this isn't stated anywhere.) Verizon later tried to make up for it with a reimbursement, but it's hard to make up for a week of stress. Kelly spent a lot of time trying to get things done on essentially dial up speed connectivity and a few times had to go somewhere else where the signal was better to get critical tasks completed. This is always the last resort plan, but, when you expect to have good internet access at the campsite it is a major let down. Lesson learned, however.  Now we know the "actual" coverage area for prepaid Verizon and it shouldn't happen again - hopefully. Fortunately, the kids and I made the most of our stay there as we were able to visit two big attractions in Scranton. Dad's stress certainly impacted the whole family, though.

RV Maintenance

When we purchased our travel trailer, we didn't buy it thinking we would live in it full-time; weekends, week long and multi-week trips perhaps, but not full-time. So we purchased a used, ultra-light travel trailer of a size to accommodate our anticipated needs. We discovered some leaks on our first trip to Maine two years ago and thought we had resolved them. Alas, not. A window has been leaking ever since, though we didn't know it. Kelly spent the first few days here in Bar Harbor fixing things. He pulled out the window and resealed it and put it back in. In addition, we had noticed while in Richmond that the toilet was beginning to leak. To Kelly's credit, as soon as we arrived in Bar Harbor, he ordered a new valve. And wouldn't you know it, the day it arrived the valve completely failed spraying water everywhere. In case you don't know, water is an RV's worst enemy. That being said, in the last two days we have discovered yet another leak. Kelly found the culprit - water has been getting in through a marker light on the front.

In addition to that, Kelly has replaced both skylights and the crank on the TV antenna. There are also some spots on the roof that need to be re-caulked.

Mail

Another big headache has been paper mail. We supposedly completed all of the needed paperwork for our paper mail to be forwarded to a mail forwarding service that would scan the envelopes and email an image so that we can decide to chuck it or have it forwarded to wherever we are.  Well, we have been moved out of our house for nearly a month and have just now started getting our mail. There was all this weird back and forth with the post office and the mail forwarding service. Finally, everyone seems to have gotten everything they need.

Conclusion

So this is teaching us that no matter where you live - inner city, suburbia, the country, abroad or full-time in an RV there will always be stress and challenges.
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