I spent some time today getting a few more things out of the Arctic Fox. I took 4 or 5 books and put them in the library here at The Ranch. And took a few odds and ends that I've decided I don't need, and put them on the swap table so that someone else can found a use for them.
I think it's kind of traditional for full timers to look around their RV full of stuff and realize that they haven't used a lot of these things that are filling up every drawer and every cabinet, and probably never will. most of these things were brought along for sentimental reasons and not because of a legitimate need for their usefulness. But the sentimentality slowly fades away over time as you realize that your dragging around pieces of a life that no longer exist and the memories of that life are in your mind and not in an object.
I think the biggest weight problem for me is my tools. Tools are heavy and and I carry a lot of them. I justify all of my heavy tools by knowing I am able to fix things and modify things which is a legitimate reason, because I have to fix a lot of the things that I modify.
If Something is not working right on the Arctic Fox, which seldom happens, except on the things that I have fixed, but when it does it never crosses my mind to take the Arctic Fox somewhere and have it repaired I only think about what can I do to fix it. But if I didn't have the right tools to fix it I would have to take the Arctic Fox to a shop to have it repaired and that's not only costly and time-consuming but often the repair isn't done properly. So therefore I can justify carrying around a lot of heavy tools.
I bought a big bag of candy the other day while I was at Walmart but no one came to my campsite trick-or-treating tonight, which is a good thing because I didn't have any candy left having eaten it all earlier. Halloween is never a big day in an RV Park. Christmas is big and so is the Fourth of July but no one really knows what to do for Halloween. Knocking on your neighbors door while wearing a mask is a good way to get shot. Eating handfuls of candy will probably send you into insulin shock. And stumbling around the RV park looking like a zombie won't even get you noticed. I guess the only thing that really scares us is an ambulance driving around the RV Park.
This poor guy has some serious delamination problems
If you want to camp with hookups at The Ranch its going to look something like this.
But if you want to boondock at The Ranch it looks like this.
I didn't do much today, I took a walk and snapped a few pictures but mostly I just rearranged some things inside the Arctic Fox.
Over time my pantry becomes a jumbled mess of canned food, bagged food, boxed food and other things that look like food but I'm not really sure. Now the main cause of this is that I'm using the pantry for more than food storage. I've got books in there, I've got storage containers of nuts and bolts in there, and other things that don't belong in a pantry, all of which takes up space that would allow me to arrange my food in a way that I could tell what I've got instead of everything piled together.
So today I put up some can holders in the pantry. These are the things you screw to the top of the shelf and the cans click into them and that gets them up off the shelf giving you more room. That helped a lot but it made me realize that I carry way too much food around. I have enough food in the camper to last for weeks and yet hardly a week goes by when I'm not in a Walmart.
I think I bought most of this stuff when I first started full-timeing and thought I was going to be boondocking in the wilderness for a month at a time, but so far that hasn't been the case. And even if it were I could still stop at a Walmart on the way to the wilderness and stock up. So there is no real reason to carry this much food around... other than the Zombie Apocalypse for which I will be well-prepared.
I hung my cans up today. The pantry still needs help but is not the hot mess it used to be.
Today is my 1st anniversary of going full-time. Even though it seems like yesterday I've actually been living in the Arctic Fox for one full year. It kind of snuck up on me because the days seem to be flying by so fast it's hard to imagine it's been a year.
I felt like I should do something to celebrate so I drove into Carlsbad and had dinner at a restaurant. And that's kind of a big deal because Carlsbad is about 25 miles away and I hadn't planned on going there until next week sometimes. But Carlsbad has a Walmart and a Lowe's so it's considered the big town in the area.
Seeing as how I've been doing this for a year now I figured it would be a good time to mention some of the things that I've learned in that year about full-time RV living so here goes.
1- I've learned that my biggest expenses are diesel fuel and food. I guess you could say food for me and food for the truck. Over the year these expenses very wildly. In the spring and fall I'm going somewhere, either North or South and my fuel bill increases dramatically. As for food I'm not a big eater but when I don't have much to do I tend to eat more, and when I'm Boondocking there's not much to do and my food bill goes up.
2- I've learned that Boondocking can be a big money saver.... If done properly. Now I know that sounds pretty obvious but it didn't occur to me when I started that Boondocking out in the middle of nowhere can make you want to drive 35 miles into town just to have something to do, and if you do that often enough you may spend enough on fuel and wear and tear on your truck that you could've stayed at an RV park near town.
3- I'm still learning that you have to slow down. Not only driving, but your whole life. Even though I have no place I have to go, and no time to be there, I still find myself hurrying. Anyone who's worked their whole life knows what I'm talking about. Hurrying has been baked into us since we were little kids, we've always had places we had to go and specific times to be there, and Believe me that is a very difficult feeling to get rid of.
4- I've learned, or should I say reinforced something I already knew, that buying an RV that puts quality before beauty will keep you much happier when you move into the RV full-time. When You go looking for an RV to buy you might not like the color of the sofa, or the kitchen may seem a little too small, and possibly you may want a bigger TV. But those problems will shrink into nothingness when your cheap tires are blowing out, your thin insulation won't keep the heat in for more than 15 minutes when the heater turns off, and when your camped near a highway the road noise keeps you awake all night because your single pane Windows let in every sound. Yes you can have strong and pretty but that can be very expensive unless you choose wisely.
5- I've learned that freedom really is what makes me happy. I learned long ago that money didn't do it, and more stuff didn't do it, but for me freedom does. Waking up in the morning and doing what I want when I want keeps me happy all day. Now you don't have to live in an RV to do that but I think to be able to go where you want when you want is a big part of feeling that freedom.
I've learned more than that of course but that's all that comes to mind right now. One of these days I'm going to add up all of the money I've spent over the last year for all the different categories I keep up with in my logbook like fuel, food, camping expenses, things like that. And then I will be able to give you all some actual numbers of what my lifestyle costs.