Friday, November 8, 2013

Why Camp Driveway has been a good thing

We have been living full-time in the Alfa for almost three months now. Some of that time has been out on the road, and some of it has been here at Camp Driveway in the forest at the top of our property.

It is one thing to "dream" about living full time in an RV while still living in a large home, and quite another to actually live in the RV. Although I didn't plan on this "test" time, I'm glad we are going through it.  

When we came back from our last trip, there were only a couple of things that I brought up from the house that I had not transferred to the Alfa before we went.  One was a couple of slotted and serving spoons and a cooking pot lid that fit a particular pot that had not come with one.  Craig is still adding tools.  We know we will fit in a ladder, and bringing our bikes along is a question we have not yet addressed. The interior is pretty well organized, but the large basement bay still needs work.  I had several sturdy bins I had used to store furs and fabric, and we have been using them in the bays, but they are not quite the right size and feel like they waste some space.  I wanted to wait until Craig had brought up most of what he wants before I go out and get different bins.  This is the sort of job I really enjoy: packing things to fit a space!

I think we have come to the point where we need none of the stuff that is still in the house. We are in limbo on getting rid of more stuff right now.  Everything is either part of the staging or packed away in closets or the garage. When the house sells we will have the motivation to make a clean sweep.

I will say there are a couple of things I will miss. One is my Electrolux double oven, and the other is the rotisserie on the large Weber grill we have on the deck.  

 The Alfa has both a combination microwave-convection oven and an LP oven.  Craig uses the LP oven frequently to bake his frozen rolls and frozen French tarts that he eats for breakfasts.  It is hard to get up to temperature and is very small. I have nothing against convection cooking.  My Electrolux was a convection oven, but I just treated it like a regular oven with excellent results. 

I just haven't really explored the convection feature yet.  

I really like to make roast chickens on the Weber rotisserie because I almost always get three or four meals out of one large chicken.  I do not like the rotisserie chickens sold at groceries, Costco, or Walmart.  They are usually small, and because they have been brined have a higher salt content.  Tasty, easy, but not healthy. I'm sure once we are on the road I will learn how to do a whole roast chicken.

I am quite surprised that I don't mind hand-washing the dishes. They seem to get much cleaner than in a dishwasher, and washing up after dinner doesn't seem to take as long as it did to empty the dishwasher, rinse and load it, and then do the pots and pans.  I am cooking most of the same things that I did in the house.

Because we are being careful about filling up the tanks, I have been practicing low-water-use dish washing by wiping dishes off with paper towels, rather than rinsing them, and dumping the dish water down the hill outside instead of pouring it down the drain. 

We have also been taking showers and doing the wash at the house. We are not quite used to having only one potty, so some mornings I walk down the hill to the house for a bit of private time.  I've done this at campgrounds too; it is not a real problem.

We will be going down to town to dump the tanks every seven days. They don't get completely full, but we don't want to risk sloshing on the steep hills we need to go up and down to get out of our property. If we had access to a shower house, and if Craig would be willing to use it instead of the shower in the Alfa, I think we could do ten days at a power-only campground.  This is good to know, because many State and National park campgrounds do not have water or sewer hookups.

As the weather gets colder in the evening, I find I am cuddling in the bed and reading or watching Netflix more often. It's warm and comfortable. It's getting too chilly to sit outside. We have spent the last twenty or so years of winter evenings sitting in front of a cozy fireplace in our comfy chairs.  I will miss that a bit, but not my daily chore of cleaning up the hearth and floor.

All in all, I am so ready to leave this place and set out on our full time adventure.  

My emotions fluctuate between hope and despair about the house selling for a reasonable price in a reasonable time.  We have lowered the price, but there has still been very few showings.  But every time I go down there and walk thru I think: "What a wonderful house this is." 

We leave for a month in San Diego soon. It sure would be a great holiday gift if we got an offer while we were gone.  Then we could come home in January, clear it out and be on our way.  

It will happen, it's just a question of the right buyer coming to see it.

 (Note to robbers: there is nothing in the house worth taking.)


  1. All sounds good to me. I make my whole organic chickens in the crock pot....delish! I "wash" dishes like that when we are camping. A side can do this! My husband and I decided this summer to take one week of every month to our little 12 foot 1954 Bellwood (that we completely restored)...we had the best time!!!

  2. Interesting post. Gosh, you've come a long way. It's taken a lot of effort and ingenuity. And motivation.

    We hand-wash dishes at home even. It's just quicker (at least for just 2 people).

    Do you have a crock pot? Excellent way to roast a chicken and much better than store-bought. Uses little energy and doesn't put out any heat.

    Just plop it in the slow-cooker and season as you like. We just use lemon pepper. Cook for about 6 hours.

  3. We use the crock pot for everything...chili, soup, roast, chicken.

  4. Your post sounds so very familiar to me. In due time, the right buyer will come along. One of the hardest things about selling a house is setting the right price. We stayed in our driveway a few weeks while ours was on the market too. It will happen.

  5. You guys have guts to stay in the rig. I sure wouldn't want to be driving down your entrance road, the way you've described it, every week to dump the tanks.

  6. I'm with everybody else on the crockpot for roasting the chicken. It'll be nice for you to be able to actually leave and get away from the house for awhile. Fingers crossed for a sale.

  7. Merikay says that her crockpot directions include "don't try to roast a chicken in here". Or words to that effect.

  8. Good update on driveway camping. I admire your fortitude in sticking with it as well as driving your access road once a week to empty tanks. I was a little timid driving that road in our car LOL!! Hope the house sells soon. Tell Craig Russ threw the empty Kleenex box in the trash...we had to switch to hankies near the end!!

  9. We use a Nesco roaster (6 qt) that can also act as a slow cooker, we also have a larger one that we kept since we have the room in our second truck.

    I feel your pain in waiting for the house to sell, ours took over a year with a few price reductions. It will happen when the right person comes along.

  10. It's good that you had the opportunity to see what is needed and what you might have forgotten in the house.

    I don't mind washing dishes by hand either and agree it doesn't take as long a unloading the dishwasher.

    Once we left Georgia and our house with the Realtor, we kind of forgot about it while enjoying our winter in Florida. We got an offer when winter was coming to an end and we came back for the final purge/closing. In hindsight, we would have been smarter to have gotten rid of more stuff before we headed south, but it all got done.

  11. You are certainly getting into the swing of things, but I imagine that having the stress of the house is making everything a bit less fun.

    I can't help you with the roasted chicken thing - I don't cook meat at all anymore - just a bit of salmon every now and again. We were able to remove the bbq from the trailer, and replace it with a small burner in case I want to cook outside.

    My fingers are crossed for the house sale.

  12. Hang in there. It seems that of the houses we have sold, the most sold in January. The holidays are over and people are thinking of spring moves.

  13. Howdy MK & Craig,
    Y'all are doing it the 'right way', MK... Luckily y'all have the place to tryout FULL-TIMING..
    Joyce's brother, CRAIG, has been trying for over a year to sell their house, in Plano,TX.. He's without a job(63), but his wife has a fairly 'good' one, nearby and they had just about decided to keep it... BOOM, a couple with a grown, autistic son, is about to PUT A CONTRACT on it and they're going to have to MOVE SOMEWHERE!!!
    Plano, is TOOO rich for their blood
    NOW, even rent, BUT THEY DO HAVE A 34' KEYSTONE MOUNTAINEER, to live in, but NO PLACE TO PARK IT, near Plano... We told'em, IF the house sells, HOOK THAT TRAILER UP AND TAKE OFF; TO H..L WITH THE JOB !!!
    They could even move out here on the ranch, for a while, until they decide where to go.. They have a son's family almost in Plano and their daughter's family in Magnolia
    TX, near Houston,(225 mls) so, they're spread-out for where to live permanently; the MOUNTAINEER is perfect for that.. There are COE parks BOTH PLACES, for 14 day stays... Of course Craig's wife doesn't do BOONDOCKIN', but they like the COE parks !!!
    Just wish we were younger...

  14. We bought the Big Boss Triple Cooker. It works really well for roasting a chicken. We have also cooked meatloaf, sausage, corndogs (I really like the trader joe turkey corndogs).

    The only thing I don't like so far, is that the glass bowl is really heavy. So it can be a pain to wash in a small sink. I usually do a dish tub when washing dishes anyway, (as I am just doing weekend camping anyway)

  15. I too use my crock pot a lot. I'm not sure how you found your realtor, but am surprised you're not having many showings. When we sold our house in 2010, the housing market was very poor. Our first realtor had very few showings. I called the Realtors Board in our area and asked who was the highest selling realtor in our area for the previous year. We hired him. There were many many showings and they got it sold. Might be worth looking into for your area. Sending you lots of good wishes!! It will happen.

  16. I love organization and finding a better way to store more and still easily get to it in the Rv.
    Good job!


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