Category Archives: Working on the Road

Our first videocast is out!

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We’re so excited. Our first videocast is out!

We’ve been wanting to do a podcast and video since we started the RV lifestyle, but it’s been tricky to pull it all together – what with traveling so much, dealing with winter challenges, and figuring out what formats we wanted to use. We finally decided to just go for it. At 37 minutes, our first vid is a bit long, but we needed to catch everyone up on our first 7 1/2 months.

Going forward, they’ll mostly be short, quick hits, and we’ll show you all kinds of cool stuff – like how the rig is decorated, how we handle various RV chores, what our campground experiences are like, product reviews and more.

So, please take a few moments to watch us and share, share, share!  Thank you!

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Working at HDU

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Harley-Davidson, Harley-Davidson University, Instagram, iPhoneography, Milwaukee, photography, travel, Wisconsin

Mike has been a contract technical trainer at Harley-Davidson’s University for eight years, and he never tires of being on such hallowed ground. HDU is located at Harley’s corporate headquarters on Juneau Avenue. It’s the site where the first factory – a wooden shed – was built in 1903 in the backyard of the William C. Davidson family home. On a couple of occasions, when I’ve been traveling with Mike, he’s brought me there to see the classrooms where he teaches and meet the Harley staff he works with, many of whom he’s known for decades and are now good friends.

Harley-Davidson, Harley-Davidson University, Instagram, iPhoneography, Milwaukee, photography, travel, Wisconsin

I joined him there this past Friday. He had just finished up a four-day class the day before, and he was tidying things up. We brought our hotspot iPad, and Mike parked me in the third floor breakroom to do my work while he tied up loose ends.  With all the friends that stopped by, what should have taken just an hour or so ended up taking all day. It was a hoot! We ran into Becky in the Red Brick Cafe and saw the new Street bike all studded out for ice racing. Kathie, who handles admissions and scheduling for HDU, treated us to lunch at the cafe, and we chatted about social media and shared road stories. The Red Brick Cafe is awesome. Lots of great selections, including a salad bar and a pizza counter. The Margherita pizza I had was freshly made and only had 282 calories in the whole pie! Back in the breakroom on the third floor, longtime pal Anthony pulled up a chair, and he and Mike told stories of the bad old days. It might not have been the most productive day, but it sure was a good one!

Harley-Davidson, Harley-Davidson University, Instagram, iPhoneography, Milwaukee, photography, travel, Wisconsin

Celebrating Love

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 happy couple, husband, marital relations, marriage, guest post, marriage tips, positive relationships, travel, wife

Hi, Everyone! Today I’m guest posting over at God Life Happy Wife for the CELEBRATE LOVE series. Just in time for Valentine’s Day (which also happens to be Mike’s birthday!), I’m sharing my love story.  I talk about how giving it all up to move into an RV with Mike got me more than I’d ever dreamed.  It hasn’t always been easy, so I offer some tips on making our relationship work in such close quarters.

Seven months ago, I did something crazy. I gave up my high-paying job, my house and the community I’d lived in for 12 years to move into a 300-square-foot RV with my husband, two dogs and a cat. Permanently.

Mike has been traveling nearly every week for his business as a technical trainer since we began dating.  Before the motorhome, he was gone during the week, back on the weekends, while I worked at my day job, took care of the household, and did freelance writing and taught painting classes on the side.  The lifestyle got old, so we decided to buy an RV and travel as a family to Mike’s gigs.

It sounds romantic: two lovebirds and their fur babies traveling the country, working side-by-side during the day and walking hand-in-hand at night. Despite that rosy image, it wasn’t easy for me to make the leap. Part of me felt like I was giving it all up. Giving up everything I’d worked for, my friends, my beloved community.

Would it be worth it? Would Mike and I survive being together all the time when we’d hardly spent more than a week together for our entire relationship? And doing it all in a hallway on wheels??

Read more >

Warrior RV Park (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

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 cable, campgrounds, full hook-ups, Oklahoma, photography, propane, pull-throughs, travel, Tulsa, Warrior RV Park, Wi-Fi

Mike was working at Myers-Duren Harley-Davidson, so our next stop after Waco was Tulsa. We chose Warrior RV Park because it was fairly close to the dealership, had good reviews, and was reasonably priced. $28 a day included a pull-through site with full hook-ups and a grassy strip with a picnic table.

 cable, campgrounds, full hook-ups, Oklahoma, photography, propane, pull-throughs, travel, Tulsa, Warrior RV Park, Wi-Fi

Warrior RV Park has 38 pull-throughs with 30- or 50-amp service and concrete pads that are 8 feet by 15 feet. There are also 17 back-in spots with 30-amp service.  There’s a dumpster on the back side for trash along with a larger grassy area for walking the dogs.  The highway runs next to the park, so it can be loud.  Our rig’s insulation kept the road noise to minimum when we were inside. A bathroom/laundry building is roughly in the center of the park.  The park has decent free Wi-Fi and a ridiculously large selection of free cable channels.  We especially appreciated the propane tank on property because we wanted to have plenty of propane as we headed out to Milwaukee.

 cable, campgrounds, full hook-ups, Oklahoma, photography, propane, pull-throughs, travel, Tulsa, Warrior RV Park, Wi-Fi

My memories of our stay in Tulsa will always be bittersweet. We had to say goodbye to our Charlie kitty while we were there.  He developed a saddle thrombus in the afternoon on January 14th that cut off the blood supply to his legs.  Mike was able to leave work early, bringing the Jeep with him, and we took Charlie to a vet Mike’s students had recommended.  The vet and his assistant were very kind, but there was nothing they could do to save our boy.  Since Charlie was 23 years old, we knew his time was going to come soon.  It still broke our hearts, though, to have to let him go.  He was with me for half my life, and he’s irreplaceable.

When I learned that the wife of the couple that owns the park rescues cats, I gave her Charlie’s leftover food and made sure to buy a chocolate bar that she sells for fundraising.  I rescued Charlie all those years ago, and it made me feel good to help someone else trying to do the same.

 cable, campgrounds, full hook-ups, Oklahoma, photography, propane, pull-throughs, travel, Tulsa, Warrior RV Park, Wi-Fi

Finding the humor

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SnoopyFindHumor

We’re back in Milwaukee, and it’s zero out. Yup. You read that right. It’s ZERO degrees here in Milwaukee… during the day. Which means it’s -15 or -20 at night. Not fun, especially in a motorhome. Especially in the midst of a second polar vortex that’s making winter here even more arctic-like than in years past. In this weather, frostbite is a risk and not just for us. At potty time, I carry the bark babies out, plop ’em down to do their business, and quickly cart them back into the rig.

It’s not like we didn’t know we’d be dealing with crappy weather when we decided to go mobile in a hallway on wheels. For at least one week a month, from October to March, Mike teaches at Harley-Davidson’s service school on Juneau Avenue. It’s been that way since he started his biz, and there are no indications that it’s going to change. Milwaukee at this time of year is just going to be cold and snowy. No way around it. We planned for it buy purchasing a higher-end rig with good insulation that was designed for heavy-duty full-timing.

All the knowledge and planning in the world doesn’t make it any easier to live through, though. The bottom line is that it sucks.

We’re getting better at managing it. After our last stay here in December, Mike learned how to insulate the water hoses. He also replaced a part on our pump that had frozen and broken. We added electric and propane space heaters to the rig to supplement our propane furnace. That way, we wouldn’t be running our propane tank down to nothing every couple of days, which would mean unhooking, bringing in the slide, and driving the RV across the park to refill because they don’t deliver.

But last night our furnace broke. (Not sure what happened. Mike has been researching it, and I know he’ll get it sorted out soon.) Then there was apparently a TINY section of uninsulated hose which froze, so we couldn’t use the park water. Shortly after we switched to the pump to use our fresh water tank reserves, that froze, too.  Once again, we have no water coming into the rig. Praise be for bottled water! Then this morning, while we were getting dressed for work, Mike noticed my Sorel boots were smoking. They were too close to the propane space heater and nearly caught on fire! (For those of you concerned about fire safety, all of our space heaters have tip-over protection, and we don’t leave the propane one on when we’re not in the rig.  We normally allow plenty of room around the propane heater, but we’ll be even more careful about that going forward.)

Thankfully, we’ve been warm and dry. We have plenty of food and bottled water. We have our furry family. Best of all, we have each other, and we balance the workload. I take the bark babies out, and Mike troubleshoots in the bays. Both of us suffer a little, but it’s a shared burden. After it’s all said and done, we cuddle up with each other. And we laugh about the fact that we both somehow thought this was a good idea!

It’s not easy to find the humor in these situations. Try to anyway.

Laughing about it means you’re pretty bad ass and should be wearing a cape and a tiara. Laughing about it means marveling at the fact that you’re sharing an extraordinary journey with an amazing partner. And that makes it all worth it.