Hello! This is Ann, and I’ll be taking over the controls for this week’s post! Don’t worry, Emi will be back next week:)
After we left Jacksonville, the days have slowly crept by. I feel as though we were living a much faster paced life in Florida, and now that we’ve left, things have slowed down. I think one of my favorite aspects of this lifestyle is the fact that we can change the pace that our life goes. If we feel like our week is flying by much too fast, we have the flexibility to slow things down; and if we, as a family, are trudging through the days, we can choose to go on another adventure, just to quicken our pace! Passing through Georgia, there wasn’t much to do, as we were only stopping there so Dad could work at a local office. We only travel with one vehicle, so while Dad worked, the rest of the family was confined to the rig. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, because we could all catch up on schoolwork. We all did get a little stir crazy, but all was forgiven when Dad took us to his favorite Atlanta BBQ joint!
Our first campsite we tried in Georgia was run-down, the people there really creeped us out, we couldn’t go outside, and we felt like our camper was a prison cell. We obviously didn’t feel safe there, so Dad made the executive decision that we shouldn’t stay there, and we moved the next morning. It was difficult, but we finally got a site at the nearby McKinney Campground at Allatoona Lake. It was SO much nicer than the last campground, and had a terrific view!
We loved being here, and while Dad was at work, we took awesome walks and even got to give Gander some off-leash time:)
Our next stop was Mountain Glen Campground in Pikeville, TN. This spot was great for the five days we were there, but our experience was terrible! First, we arrived at 5:30 pm and had to change sites because the first one was difficult to maneuver. Second, when we did move, we couldn’t level the camper. If you don’t know anything about modern campers; when the camper tries to level itself and decides that it can’t-for whatever reason-level out, you have to try over and over again until it does. Except it never did. Now, putting yourself in Mom and Dad’s place: you finally arrive at a campground after sitting in traffic longer than expected, only to have an extremely hard time getting your house level, your kids are restless and hungry (you can’t get in the rig to cook dinner), and it’s freezing cold. Trust me, it wasn’t fun, and I wasn’t even doing much; just trying to keep everyone entertained while we waited. They did finally get it somewhat level, and we enjoyed a break the rest of the night. That was only the beginning of the nightmare…
So, if you were to ask any one of the Retty’s, “Do you like winter camping?”, our answer would be no. Just to be blunt with you. We don’t, and we’ll tell you why:
- We are all beach bums and don’t like being in the cold for too long a time. Sure, snow is fun… for a couple days. Then we’re done:)
- While camping at Mountain Glen, our furnace stopped working. Only for one night, but with it being 10 degrees outside, I wasn’t happy. The whole family was dependent on our space heaters, and prayed they wouldn’t stop working. I’m glad they didn’t!
- After Dad got the furnace up and running, our plumbing froze! We couldn’t get hardly any water from the fresh water tanks, so bathroom breaks were unusually brief. Also, our stinky slinkies (black and grey water sewage) froze, so those had to be replaced.
- Did I mention that the campgrounds water hook-up lines froze?
There you have it folks. An unintentional boondocking trip in below freezing weather. Maybe if we’d had a different experience with winter camping, we wouldn’t hate it as much? Remember, we’re not blaming the site, but it definitely wasn’t climate controlled!!
One thing that did amaze me was how differently we all responded to the difficulties we faced. In the house, when something didn’t EXACTLY go as we planned, it sent our entire day off kilter. Now, after each trial we faced this past week, our family was able to get up, dust each other off, and continue to work it out together. These issues didn’t ruin our day, and our flexibility surprised me. It was encouraging to see Mom and Dad get aggravated at our situation, encourage each other through it, and rise above whatever tried to bring them down. Full-time RVing has been teaching us many things, and I’m super excited to discover other ways we’ll be able to grow as individuals and as a family.
One thing that has been a huge blessing is our new washer/dryer! Dad got this installed while in Atlanta, and I never realized how much I missed our laundry room back home! There are several times when venturing out to find a decent laundromat with Mom isn’t too appealing, so this thing is gold! Dad did have to drill a huge hole in the side of the rig; but, of course, Benji found a way to lighten Dad’s mood:) Every load Mom does, she delivers it with a big smile and says, “Your freshly laundered clothes, and I didn’t have to go anywhere!” If she’s excited about laundry, she’s definitely in love!
That’s it for now! Come see us next week as we continue our exploration of Tennessee!