Life Doesn’t Always Go As Planned

by Merissa on July 19, 2013

in Fulltime RV Living

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If you remember my update from last week I mentioned about how we were moving from the spot that we've been living in to a new home with limited electric. Due to issues with poor management in the place we were workcamping we knew we were being caused undue stress and it was time. This wasn't a decision we made lightly but unfortunately no amount of planning would help us with what happened next.

So we moved out on Sunday to our land. We do have water here and limited electricity. For the first day I was thinking, "We can really do this!" I can get along quite well without most things and since it's summer we don't need many lights, and I mostly already cook with propane already. By the end of day one I thought this was just going to be great.

Bring on the dawn of day two. It got hot...really really hot in the rv. Over 90 outside. I had all my fans plugged in and it wasn't working. I tried turning on a single a/c and it didn't work with the small amount of power we had. So that night we decided to install a larger amperage service to go to our rv so I could at least run a single air conditioner.

Well I'm sure you know that even the best of plans with people that know what they are doing can go very wrong. We had the right equipment and the right people and did most of the right things...except one. And when the camper got plugged in to it's new home for the first time I heard popping noises and smoke starting pouring out of the tv in the living room and the bedroom. Yelling I got the hubby to get it unplugged but the damage was already done. One small honest mistake and our electronics were gone. I'll be honest, I was hot, tired, and so frustrated and after this happened I just had to sit down and have a good cry. In every way we've felt led to be on this journey that we are on and then this week comes along and nothing goes right. We plugged the rv back into our very limited source to at least have something again until we could get this fixed. After we quickly discovered the issue we got it fixed and were able to get a little more power flowing. (Enough to run the air on and off.)

storm

The next day I decided to get in gear and do whatever I could to make some extra income and replace all the things we lost. After a long hard day of working like a crazy girl I had made enough to replace just one of the electronics. We headed into town to the store to get it, when we came home the caper was completely dark. No lights, the fridge was not on, the water heater was not on, nothing. We were very confused and upset. After everything we did to fix this we lost it all again?

After more investigatory work and a trip to Walmart at midnight, we had it up and running again. It turned out that we also fried the converter (which makes everything run!) and it will need to be replaced. At the moment we are charging the batteries with a temporary converter and running off battery power. (Side note, I'm completely impressed with our batteries in the rv!)

So what's next? We have no idea. For once I'm very glad that we have nothing major happening to us today and it's overcast so it's cooler here and can be kept cool in the rv with fans alone.

We are considering going off grid now (or mostly off grid) instead of next year like we planned. We are basically mostly off grid now besides a few things that we enjoy running but can be replaced.

So that's our update...that's what's going on with our fulltime rv living journey. We knew going into it that it wasn't going to always be easy but I didn't imagine it being quite like this! Hopefully by our next update I will have some better news for you all, but at this time I'm trying to remember that there is beauty, even in the storms.

merissabio

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11:27 am

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Penny July 19, 2013 at 11:39 am

These setbacks will make your success that much sweeter.
I have to admit, even hearing about the problems that come up, I’m a little envious. I would love to take the jump to off grid living but I haven’t quite convinced the family yet.
Anyway, be proud of everything you have done so far and plan to do in the future. There is a real movement towards living off grid in a self sustainable way. I think of these people (including yourselves) as our new Explorers. And as you all share with us and each other, we all get to learn. Thank you!

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2 Merissa July 19, 2013 at 11:41 am

Yes I think it will be sweeter in the end too! Although I’m not sure there is ever an end…life will always be a journey πŸ™‚ But I think to the pioneers of the 1800’s that faced many more trials than we did on a similar journey and they made it through!

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3 RevAllyson July 19, 2013 at 11:46 am

I’m so sorry it was rough. πŸ™ We’ve had our own set-backs this year though nothing like what you’ve gone through. I can’t even imagine. But thank you for your honesty with all of us about your feelings and experiences. It helps! How’s your little one dealing with everything?

By the by, you might want to try a couple of types of swamp coolers, depending on your personal situation. You can make one of those ones out of a styro cooler, a bit of piping, and a fan, which gets filled all with ice and pumps out a bit of cool air until it melts. It’s not perfect, but for spot cooling it does work. The second one is to wet down a dish towel and then hang it over the top of your fan. As the air hits it, it has to work to push it out of the way, and the whole thing will drop your internal temperature by anywhere from 3 to 10 degrees. Just keep the towel wet and it keeps working (btw, not soaking wet… wring it well so it doesn’t drip).

Good luck!!

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4 Merissa July 19, 2013 at 11:49 am

Thanks for the tips! We are trying a few different things right now like reflective paper in the windows and different places to put the fans. I’ve seen some of the swamp cooler DIY’s so I may have to look into that further.

Our little one is doing great. He thinks it’s awesome that we spend most of the day in the little pool we set up outside. πŸ™‚

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5 Rachel July 19, 2013 at 11:51 am

Ive had those moments as we transition into our nomadic life when I was so frustrated with the problems I wondered if the leading was from us and God was trying to tell is differently. But then I watched our kids getting along, laughing, less stress from us fussing at them to clean up this or that and whatnot and decided that I would not allow Satan to steal our joy! We are hoping to add solar panels at some point to work toward going off grid too…one day! Of course right now we are just trying to get everything running right so we can move on down the road and see the country a bit! thanks for sharing the frustrations in a real way!

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6 Merissa July 19, 2013 at 11:53 am

yes, we just have to try and look at the positives in the negatives! We are considering solar and trying to figure out what all we will need to get it set up, I always thought it looked so complicated but now that we know more about the inner workers of our rv I think it might not be as bad as I thought it would be.

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7 tammielee July 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Have you checked with your insurance to see if anything is covered?

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8 Merissa July 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm

We did and discovered our deductible is way too high, lesson learned!

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9 Kelly July 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm

What do you do for work, that you can decide to buckle down on a given day and get paid by the end of the day? Must be nice to have that flexibility!

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10 Merissa July 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I do some consulting work and can always find extra clients if I need to πŸ™‚ http://www.littlehouseliving.com/consulting

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11 Briana July 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Is living at a campsite too expensive for you right now because you haven’t sold your home yet? Is that why you left the site and didn’t go to another one? Just curious as to what happened at the campsite. πŸ™‚

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12 Merissa July 19, 2013 at 5:47 pm

We left because I was workcamping and it didn’t work out, very bad experience. πŸ™ We’ve called all the campgrounds here and can’t find anything under $500+ per month (or anything for the next few weeks because of the Sturgis Rally) and I think $500 is way too much to pay for basic hookups. We also want to find something we can stay at all winter and hardly anything here is open and then they charge electric fees on top of regular fees!

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13 Paula July 19, 2013 at 9:27 pm

$500 a month for hookups?! Totally crazy. Our house payment wasn’t that much. Just an ordinary little house, not a McMansion, but geeze, you’d have been crazy to pay that for hookups.

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14 Merissa July 19, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I know right? Our house payment was only $650 a month so I can’t imagine paying that much for site rental…when it’s basically just utilities. I’m very glad we found another option πŸ™‚

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15 MamaBear August 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Merissa –
I only just discovered your blog so perhaps it’s too late, but we work as caretakers in a campground and are in need of camp hosts . If you want to email me I can get your more details. Our boss went ahead and booked the camp host sites to gain some revenue since the sites were sitting empty (LONG story), but I think he could work something out in a different utility site. The campsite is FREE in exchange for hours worked. We are open until October 13th.

Email me (Carrie) at 4theloveoffamily@gmail.com and I can fill you in. We have a beautiful 201 acre park in about 45 minutes from Minneapolis/St. Paul.

16 Mama July 19, 2013 at 7:46 pm

So sorry Merissa! I can relate to your disaster, I know it’s hard! Here’s a virtual hug from a fellow RV off-gridder! We’ve got temps in the 90’s and using one box fan right now, although with our solar and wind set up we can run it all day without affecting the batteries, thank goodness. It’s hard, but you can do it! Just tell yourself that it can be done, you just need a breather and you’ll figure out a way to do what you need to do. Glad to hear today was a little cooler for you.

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17 Merissa July 19, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Thanks πŸ™‚ I’m thinking fans don’t effect battery power too much? We are going to get a watt device so we can find out exactly what we are using but we used the washer, the air, lights, and fans for the last 2 days on nothing but battery power.

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18 Mama July 20, 2013 at 4:07 pm

It depends on the fan, ours is a small box fan that takes almost as much power as our TV and DVD player, but with the solar and wind, it doesn’t drain our batteries at all. Depending on what you are using to charge your batteries, and how easy it is to do so, it may be easier than trying to use an AC. We used our single AC a few times last year, but try to avoid it because of the power usage.

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19 Merissa July 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm

We just picked up a Kill A Watt today so I’m going to find out what everything takes that we have πŸ™‚

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20 Nanasknoll July 19, 2013 at 10:36 pm

You will encounter many adventures as my family called it living off grid.
We lived for almost 2 years in an older motor home off grid. We did have some solar but there were 2 families on it and it was not large enough for one. We made it through and we loved it and hated it sometimes. One thing I did learn was about self and how much I thought of myself. The Lord did a lot of revealing of my old sin nature through my circumstances and this allowed me to learn to live in the Spirit. It did not happen over night.
I did enjoy that we were self sufficient in some ways. We did move into a single wide that never got finished remodeled before we moved away 5 years later. But I was warm in the winter and learned to wear a wet thin blouse over my clothes in the heat with no air conditioners. Cooked everything from scratch and did not use a micro wave either. I did not miss it either at the time. I also did not miss the news on television and it was much more peaceful. So enjoy and do not get mad at yourself when you loose it. You will learn from all of it.

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21 Briana July 20, 2013 at 9:37 am

Wow. Sorry to hear of the misadventure. I’m glad to hear you are doing fine now. Do you have a generator in case of emergencies?

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22 Merissa July 20, 2013 at 10:45 am

We do but it’s too small for our rv, we need to invest in a larger one.

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23 Peggy Stenglein July 20, 2013 at 9:58 am

And you are right Merissa, there is beauty in the storms! This will pass, it seems as though you were already on top of what you had to do to get things fixed, it’s just a terribly bump in your day yesterday, but today will be better! : )

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24 Loren July 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Sorry to hear of about your hard week! I will certainly say a prayer for you and your family!

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25 Merissa August 15, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Thanks for sharing Carrie! I think we may be looking for something a bit farther south for the winter though, still trying to figure out plans!

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