First Steps

It’s finally happening.

For the curious, our camper is a 2019 Winnebago View, model 24J. Its dimensions are 25’8″ x 11’1″ x 7’6″.  I’ll let you guess which dimension is which. For the really curious, here’s a specifications page

Our first stop was Mark’s mother’s house shortly after we picked up the camper from Flagg RV in West Boylston. Since then we’ve been slowly loading it up with gear that we’ll need on the road.

There’s a lot of plumbing related stuff like the fresh water hose, flushing hose, waste hose, hose ramp, water pressure limiter, and toilet additive.

Behold the Rhino-flex 20ft sewer hose with clear elbow!

For the electric supply we were advised to get an “EMS” – a fancy power quality regulator and circuit breaker.

Apparently you can’t trust campgrounds to have regulated water pressure or clean power.

We got “zero gravity” lawn chairs after trying them in the store and liking how nicely they recline and cradle you. Someday we may even get to sit down long enough to enjoy them.

But only one of the RV’s seven external storage compartments is big enough to hold them. Are we wasting that precious space?

Lori was adamant about getting an “instant screen house”. We think it will be a godsend to allow us bug-free outdoor time in the evenings. It’s 6′ long, so it’ll have to go in the “bunk” area above the cabin, the only place to store it “out of the way”.

Quick Set 9281 Escape Shelter Popup Tent

Yes, the preparation phase feels like one massive equipment and supplies buying spree. Diesel Exhaust Fluid? Check. Oil, coolant, distilled water? Check. But we still don’t have: a bike rack, a portable grill/stove, cookware, or all the standard kitchen gadgets like a can opener. Everything must survive road travel, so forget carrying glass or ceramic dishes. Plates need to be cushioned from each other or they’ll rattle on every bump. The list is seemingly endless. And that’s just for daily living. What about hiking?  We need the right shoes, water bottles, day packs. 

And how to record our adventures? Mark got a neat little gadget, the DJI Osmo Pocket.

That head unit is a gimbal image stabilizer, which he says should result in smooth pans and less “shaky cam” than with phone video. Another 10 or 20 hours practice and he’ll have learned most of the features. But then what about video editing? One more learning curve.

So while we’re excited to get going, this first phase is filled with lots of expense and effort and, frankly, stress and anxiety as we fumble our way through the planning. And we don’t even have a single stay booked yet!

We trust that once we hit the road, and get a few stays under our belts, we’ll finally be able to relax a little.  Mark’s office daydreams about this adventure were filled with dramatic ocean or canyon or mountain views, or blissfully relaxing camp side with a cold beer. He didn’t expect to spend hours looking for the best portable air compressor, or agonizing over whether to add another 100 watt solar panel, or swap out the standard 12 volt coach battery for two 6 volt batteries with more total capacity. Do we need PhDs in RV-ology to “get it right”?  Sometimes it feels that way.

But enough whining! We feel so fortunate to have this opportunity and can’t wait to get going. Next will be some “shakedown voyages” to start getting the hang of this whole #vanlife thing. Stay tuned!