Burlington to Ithaca!

Last we left you we were en route to Burlington, Vermont – and we’re stoked that we went. After being in super small, rural towns we were excited to be close to a more mid-sized small city.

We parked Benjamin Franklin (this is what we’ve named our 5th wheel by way) at North Beach Park – and so happy we did. It’s behind the high school (kind of random) but steps away from a beautiful sandy beach on the shoreline of Lake Champlain. The site definitely has more of a state park feel – the spots were a bit more packed in and due to its location there was a lot of local foot traffic due to its proximity to the beach and the recreational trail that runs along the waterfront.

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Benjamin Franklin at North Beach Park

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North Beach – a 45 second walk from our site!

Burlington was a lot like Boulder – I’d always heard that Burlington’s Church Street was a lot like Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall.

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Church Street – very much like Pearl Street in Boulder, CO!

They’re essentially fraternal twins – same vibe (college town, pedestrian mall, very outdoorsy culture), similar eating scene (plenty of fun bars and eateries with farm-to-table fare and craft beer up the yin yang), and shops (everything from chains like Urban Outfitters and lululemon to metaphysical book stores and Tibetan shops).

 

We were a 15-minute bike ride from downtown – and definitely took advantage by biking around whenever we could. Burlington is basically on a hill, though – there are some steep streets that make for a great leg workout.

Between the two of us we spent work days at places like Dobra Tea (finally, a place with Bi Luo Chun!), the Skinny Pancake (ALL the crepes and Heady Topper cans on deck), Scout & Co. (spacious, with waffles – we’re kicking ourselves for not getting the Wafflegato), and Uncommon Grounds Coffee & Tea (lovely coffee shop with foodstuffs – beware though, there are ZERO power outlets here – I mean I get it, don’t linger but some of us have janky laptops whose batteries don’t last as long as our lattes).

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Heady Topper at the Skinny Pancake. Heaven!

I spent my afternoons back at camp, working from the beach with a hotspot or inside the rig and was also pretty yoked to make a grocery run to Trader Joe’s – something that is definitely a luxury now that we’ve left the city.

I had also had enough of dealing with my long hair – so I decided to chop it off. I’m not sure why it was more annoying to deal with in an RV than anywhere else I’ve lived but nevertheless, I was over it.

Armed with Pinterest photos, I booked a last minute appointment at Sequoia Salon with Leah Liberty. I warned her that I’m the laziest human on the planet when it comes to my hair, but that I was maybe sort of interested in an inverted bob, as long as it was low maintenance. Armed with all the reassurances I needed, I gave her the green light to chop and I couldn’t be more happy with what she did. ✂️

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I should have taken a before photo. Trust me, this is 3,000% better.

We ate dinner at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill on Leah’s recommendation. Travis at the chicken! For those of you who don’t know, Travis has been a staunch vegetarian for more than five years now – unless he knows that the meat on a menu is sustainably and responsibly produced, he won’t eat it – so it’s always very exciting when we find places that fit that particular bill.

We wanted to stay in Burlington over the weekend – we were booked through Friday – to ride our bikes up the recreation path to Grand Isle over what looks like a bonkers bike path over the lake to a ferry in the middle. Sadly, the weekend was booked solid so we had no choice but to leave.

And so on to Ithaca we go!

 

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Megunticook, Common Ground Country Fair, and on to Vermont

This past week we stayed at Megunticook Campground in Rockport, Maine. Pros? Lots of trees, great facilities for laundry and (free) hot showers, a beautiful lookout spot on the hillside out to the sea. The cons? Sites were pretty close together, the entire campground itself was pretty close to Route 1, the main two-lane artery up the coast in this area, nearby trails and accessible beaches weren’t as abundant as I had hoped – going anywhere on foot meant walking on the side of the highway.

We did hike the beautiful Beech Hill Preserve trail – it was a foggy morning but we didn’t want to skip a chance for a nice hike. It was a bummer to miss the view from the top, but the stone lodge at the top was a neat-o reward in and of itself.

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Nearby Camden was a fun spot to spend a work day – various coffee shops like the Owl & Turtle Bookshop and the Bagel Cafe had wifi and snacks/coffee. When the Bagel Cafe closed at 2pm (also apparently you only get 1 free hour of WiFi there – I arrived at 1 so this was well timed), I went to the public library to finish out the work day and so glad I did – though almost terrifyingly silent (ahhhh), the brick building’s ship paintings, chandeliers, and lounge chairs gave it a decidedly WASPy, luxurious ambience.

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This last Saturday we went to the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine. It’s billed as a celebration of rural living by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), the organization that produces the event. A local described it to me as “a huge hippie fair.” Our friend Gabriel Willow, who grew up in Maine, has always raved about it as well. It draws about 60,000 visitors over three days and consists of workshops, speakers, a farmer’s market, food stalls, arts & crafts vendors, livestock demonstrations, and more.

I certainly got a kick out of perusing the lineup of workshop options throughout the day: Direction Felling with a Chainsaw, Sustainable Beekeeping, Humanure: It’s a Resource!, Compost Parade (I lol’d at the downright political chants that compost paraders expelled: “What do we want? COMPOST. When do we want it? RIGHT NOW.”), Foraging and Working with Medicinal Mushrooms, Log Scooting Contest, Goats as Therapy Animals…

Not only did it make me realize how little I know about homesteading and agriculture, but also grateful to be able to experience even a small fraction of what it means to live more self sufficiently.

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Morning coffee by the sea.

We made the hour-long trek early (left at 7:30am) and parked at a nearby Park and Pedal lot and biked the remaining 1.5 miles to the gates. I’m not sure how, exactly, but we spend 6 hours at the fair! I went to a knot-tying class, meandered through every single tent watching demos (wool felting, wood lathe, basket weaving) and eyeballing all the craft vendors, and inspected allllll the food stalls. Organic lamb & beef gyro: check. Homemade apple pie: check. I watched kids sledding down a dusty hill using pieces of cardboard (genius), saw folk singing circles, Balkan dancing, albino Angora rabbits, Alpacas, a sheepdog herding demo, a Native American pow wow, and all the honey and tantalizing produce you can imagine.

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Bowline knot!

By 3 pm we were pretty well knackered – but there was one thing I had come for that was nowhere to be found at the fair, much to my dismay: Amish Donuts. We hit the nearby Amish market to grab some on the way home, and all was well in the world – even moreso after we got back home and I was able to take a much-needed nap.

Sunday was a beach day – we went north to Lincolnville to pop a squat on their tiny, but public, beach area – sandwiched between lobster shacks and the Islesboro Ferry, it wasn’t exactly expansive but was worthwhile for a close, low-key beach visit and lunch stop.

I have to admit it’s torture being this close to Acadia National Park and not going. I’m kicking myself but also happy to be heading on to Vermont – our week there will the last that we’ve planned out in advance.

If anyone has tips or resources for finding great RV sites as you go, let me know! I just downloaded Campendium and it seems to be exactly the type of resource I’ve been looking for

 

 

 

 

Maine = Magic. Bonus: Turtle Rescue.

GUYS. Maine is amazing.

Also we’ve realized something important: all things off season are the best. We are starting to think that we don’t want to actively travel or deal with RV parks during any holidays (which are best spent with family anyway). We had been toying with the idea of going to Key West over Christmas, but after seeing the prices and knowing that it’ll be crowded AF, we’re having second thoughts. Anyone ever done the Key West thing over the holidays? Is it bananas?

Anyhoo, we’re currently holed up at Beaver Dam Campground in Berwick, Maine, about 30 minutes from York. Our campsite is right on the lakefront (ahhh), between another (empty) couple of sites and a mini-sand beach with its own dock. Said dock has a couple Adirondack chairs on it for sitting in the sun. There are canoes, kayaks, an AquaCycle, and paddle boats to rent, as well as a little mini golf course, pool (closed for the season), sluice (for “mining” gems out of pre-packaged bags of sand for sale in the office/shop), and picnic tables everywhere. To be honest, I’m nervous to go anywhere else after this, it’s that great.

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Yas.

I think the only downside so far is the mysterious rash that developed under my arm on one side – everyone in my family reading this right now is laughing, because I am the queen of sensitive skin problems. I *always* get the rashes (heat rash, eczema, whatever), jellyfish stings, mosquito bites, fly bites, you name it. No idea what this one is. I did go in the lake so swimmer’s itch came to mind but I didn’t submerge this particular part of my body. Chiggers? Who knows, just pass the steroid cream that I keep on hand at all times and add it to my rash roster. 🙄

We’ve taken the canoe and AquaCycle out for a spin – during our canoe the other day we saw a beaver swimming around the narrow end of the lake – we’ve also seen herons, chipmunks, and squirrels.

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6:30 am in a canoe.

Yesterday we found a baby snapping turtle along the water next to our campsite that had been punctured on the back of its shell and blood was coming out of the wounds. My animal empath heart went pitter patter pretty hard – but I wasn’t sure what to do. Fortunately, because we’re in Maine and Maine is awesome, the Center for Wildlife was a mere 30 minutes away.

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Oweeee! This guy was about the size of the palm of my hand.

I called them 15 minutes before close but they told me to come anyway, they’d be able to take little buddy since there would be staff there. So Tiny Turtle went into a bowl with me and into the truck toward York. The Center for Wildlife is a non profit that gets no state funding and was a pretty incredible facility – after dropping off my patient, they gave me a reference number so that I could call in the following day to check up (which I did, they cleaned and packed the wounds and started a course of antibiotics).

They also took an address on the intake form for where I found it so it can be returned to the same location. After donating $20 and recollecting my now-stinky, turtleless bowl, I did a quick spin through their outdoor rehabilitation area. They mostly have birds of prey, as well as a too-comfortable-around-humans porcupine named Henry, and a neurologically damaged squirrel named Skeeter.

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This is Perry, a Peregrine Falcon.

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A Red-Tailed Hawk.

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A Barred Owl

Most of the animals here had sustained injuries from cars – broken wings, brain damage – Perry, the Peregrine Falcon, had taken his first flight as a baby into an electrical transformer. :/ In any case, it was pretty uplifting to see a facility rescuing and taking care of animals – releasing the ones they can and safeguarding the ones they can’t. Warm fuzzies.

One of the biggest lifestyle changes we’ve had since leaving NYC is eating out. In New York, eating out was part of the fun of exploring the city – and we’re both fortunate enough to have had enough leftover spending money after rent to be able to take advantage of that regularly. Calexico‘s burritos were a regular part of our eating lineup, and more often than not our social outings with one another or friends usually involved eating something somewhere.

Since leaving that has changed drastically! We have made lots of quick-bite stops at places like Dunkin’ Donuts while on the road, but we’ve started eating in a lot more – cooking meals in our mini RV kitchen, planning meals and grocery runs ahead of time. I wouldn’t say we’re completely used to it yet – meal planning gets exhausting pretty quickly, at least for me. All that is just to say that after a couple of months of not eating out that often, we treated ourselves to a nice dinner.

Last night we went Thistle Pig in South Berwick where I ate grass-fed steak that was to. Die. Fa. Kid. Their website says that all the beef comes from nearby farms, which was the reason I was willing to eat it (doing my best not to support any kind of factory farming). I was also ecstatic to see Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine cans on the beer menu, then immediately disappointed – they’d just sold out. BUT I was delighted by my second choice, Austin Street Brewery’s Patina Pale Ale – definitely recommend it. Clean, crisp, and a great balance between citrus and hop. Also: the crispy Brussels sprouts were also outstanding.

More adventures to come!

 

 

First Work Week: Check! Plus: Dumping Tanks and What I’m Reading

On Labor Day we left Pohick Bay Regional Park for an overnight in Hickory Run Campground in White Haven, PA – we are trying to break our driving days up into shorter bursts so we’re not driving all day. When we factor in packing up, gas and pit stops, and setting up at our destination, we really don’t want to be driving for more than 5 hours at a time.

It sucked to stay somewhere for just one night – we really only had time to get set up and feed ourselves – I managed a quick walk in the nearby trees – Travis did a gas and grocery run because he’s Husband of the Year. We didn’t have time to explore the State Park at all – and there was so much (from what we could tell) to explore – plus it didn’t rain that day! I see now why quick overnight stops are just easier in a Walmart parking lot.

Since we didn’t have time to do any exploring before it got dark, we did the next best thing and took advantage of the sewer connection on our site to practice dumping our tanks. We didn’t want our first dump to be in some conga line exiting a park with a bunch of people waiting behind us.

Turns out it’s pretty straightforward, and the Valterra Dominator Sewer Hose we bought, thanks to a YouTuber rec (pretty sure it was LoLoHo but at this point I can’t remember), worked like a charm. Our rig came with a stinky slinky – we got a bunch of bonus equipment/stuff with the RV since we bought it from a guy on Craigslist. We actually already had sewer hoses too, but something about using someone else’s sewer hoses didn’t sit right with me. Plus we had no way to know if they might have any leaks. Better safe than 💩.

Our tanks weren’t actually full – so I took a “long” hot shower without turning the shower head on and off to add to the grey water tank (thanks to my stepdad Cory and mom for those family sailing trips – homegirl knows how to take a short ass boat-style shower to conserve water!). Our manual advised having the black tank 3/4 full, so we held the toilet open to add a bunch of water to it. Our kitchen has a separate galley tank, too so we added more water to that as well.

Then we just hooked the hose up to the trailer, screwed the hose to the sewer connection, and released the black tank first, then the grey water, then the galley. For good measure we added more water to the galley and then flushed it a second time.

Our black tank definitely has a screwy sensor – I guess it’s pretty common for TP to get stuck to them and show an artificially full tank – ours was reading 1/3 full right after we dumped it. Up to this point we’d been driving around with tissue digester chemicals and water meant to solve that very problem – and it did, until we emptied it. So really the challenge for us will be to know when that tank is good and truly full – but hey, at least it’s stuck at 1/3 and not Full, right?! Glass is 2/3 full, my friends.

Okay enough about our tank dumping. We launched in the morning and made it to Hidden Valley Campground in Lanesborough, MA in the Berkshires – we’re about 5 miles from Mount Greylock State Reservation and 8 miles from Pittsfield. It’s green and full of trees and all the holiday campers are gone.

This site has close to 96 campsites for tents and RVs. A handful of sites are occupied by people who stay the entire season; some look as if people are living there but we haven’t seen a soul in most of the sites. Might be because of the rain. In any case, I’ve loved walking around and seeing how other people have their set ups – some have really amazing outdoor lights, others have astroturf-covered patios. There’s a sweet rec hall with air hockey and fooseball tables, as well as laundry and shower/bathroom facilities. There’s a playground and a pool (too chilly for that, sadly), as well as a fishing pond.

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Speaking of rain, it held off until we were all set up and passed out – it started overnight and we woke up to ZERO leaks inside. Sweet relief, thy name is silicone sealant.We also solved the heretofore unmentioned problem of water pooling in the cover of our largest slide out: plastic play balls from Dollar General. Thanks, internet! Now here’s hoping we remember to remove them before we bring the slide out in…

WiFi here is non-existent outside of the park’s office, but the owner was nice enough to give us his Verizon JetPack while we were here since there aren’t too many campers here right now and he has WiFi in the office. Thank you, Gordon!

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The Fishing Pond.

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This was our first real work week in the rig – we’ve posted up at our dinette and basically do what we normally do, just inside our RV. We’ve been taking Monkey outside to explore, gone running down (and up) the tree-lined roads, hit up Old Forge Restaurant for dinner, built a fire, done laundry, gone for walks ’round the campground – you know, boring shit, but I’m absolutely loving it.

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Set Exploration Dial to MAX.

I have to admit, though, I’m having some HBO and Netflix withdrawal, but surely that’s 1) due to all the rain we’ve had so far and 2) for the better – I plan on reading a LOT more books this year. I just finished Sherman Alexie‘s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I love YA but don’t read a lot of it because I don’t know what’s good anymore (I used to devour Christopher Pike books like they were Cheddar Cheese Ruffles).

I forget how I heard about this one but it’s a fantastic read – the main character loves to draw – the book’s illustrations are by Ellen Forney. The book is semi-autobiographical and tells the story of 14-year old Arnold Spirit, who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation and bucks tradition by wanting to go to the “white” school 22 miles away. After reading this one I’m definitely planning on reading Alexie’s memoir. But first, I’m reading J.D. Vance’s memoir, Hillbilly Elegy. I guess I’m on a memoir kick!

Anyone have any good book recommendations?

 

 

 

The Best Night Ever, and THE TOILET IS FIXED

We went to the Paitak wedding at the Torpedo Factory on Saturday night and what a magical celebration it was! From the colorful ceremony backdrop to the art studios on display to having rosewater sprinkled in the air as we took our seats, the ceremony was a very beautiful combination of Hindu tradition and Scott and Tanya’s own personal twist.

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Burning incense before the ceremony.

The vows straight up melted my heart – I heard lots of sniffles in the crowd – the feels were real – while the Maid of Honor speech (yasss, Chevyyyyyy) included, among other bright spots, a series of Haikus that all ended in “the best night, ever.”

Dinner (an Indian food buffet straight from your dreams) was delicious and dancing did not disappoint. The Best Night Ever was indeed just that.

Far less exciting but extremely relieving for us is that the toilet is fixed. We were going to just swing by Camping World today on our way out of town to buy a new part we needed as they were closed yesterday.

Long story short, the piece had been threaded – it was plastic and you attach a hose with metal set of threads to it, so one turn with too much torque and the thing is toast. BUT, we realized it was also longer than it needed to be so in a moment of MacGyver-style inspiration, we cut off the threaded end with a hacksaw. We added plumber’s tape to the remaining threads and were able to attach the hose successfully.

We turned the water on and BAM, no leaks! There is nothing quite like thinking you will have running water, discovering you’re wrong, then finally having it.

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The happy faces of people who now have running water and a functioning toilet.

We spent our day walking through the woods, fixing said toilet problem, sealing up our leaky window with silicone (I hope it works), going for a run, dipping our toes in the pool, making spaghetti and steamed veggies for dinner, then building a fire before turning in for the night.

Today we’re off to White Haven, PA for a one-night stop on our way to the Berkshires. Forecast says rain for the next 3 to 4 days…!

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So. Many. Mushrooms.

Happy 1st Anniversary & Wedding! Bonus: Broken Toilets & RV Leaks

It’s our first anniversary today! 😀

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And they said it wouldn’t last! Oh wait no…no, they didn’t say that.

We woke up in the middle of the night to super heavy rain that was loud enough to keep us from really falling back asleep – I guess we’re not quite used to that in-your-face nature soundtrack quite yet.

I think I also would have rested more easily had our RV literally not started falling apart due to earlier water damage – so a sudden downpour was a bit more nerve wracking. We woke up to discover that one of the windows is leaking. Le sigh. The real ass-chapper is there’s just nothing we can do about it until it stops raining…tomorrow morning. Until then it’s duct tape time. It’ll have to do.

We arrived at our campsite yesterday around 6:30, huzzah! We have a back-in site on a curve. And can I tell you what, my husband fucking NAILED that back-in. It was basically a 90-degree turn and he crushed it. I couldn’t be more proud – backing this bitch up is no easy feat. Apologies for my potty mouth – I swear when I get excited. Or frustrated. Okay, it’s pretty much all the time.

We were elated to finally plug into electricity and water and feel out the rest of our new home. Plugging into electricity? Success. Hooking up to water? Story time!

I went inside to watch for internal water disasters as the water flowed through the pipes. We immediately heard water plunging out onto the ground below us – turns out the low point drains were open, so we closed them. NBD.

We turned the water back on to check inside – the bathroom sink was hissing and spitting, but working – they had been left open, so I turned them off. I turned and opened the bathroom door to find water, everywhere all over the floor. “Turn it offfffff,” I hollered through the window. Water was spilling out below into the storage area from the bathroom floor above.

As it turns out, the hose connecting the water supply to the back of the toilet was just straight up broken, snapped off. You’d never know by just looking at it, though, because the thread broke away from the rest of the connector, yet the whole thing still sat there looking completely unaffected. In any case, this means having running water and a working toilet weren’t an option for the time being. Fortunately, our campsite is right next to a comfort station, so we have easy access to restrooms, sinks, and showers.

But motherFUCKER. I get that these things need maintenance but between our first-day SNAFU, the toilet being broken, and finding rain leaks it seems like the rain and water gods aren’t quite with us so far.

This morning we woke up pretty early, realized we left our Melitta pour over cones in West Virginia (damnit!) which meant no coffee for us. Son of a! We exchanged anniversary gifts and then set out to beat some errands into submission. First stop: Dunkin Donuts and Amazon Locker. Then, the bank for rolls of quarters (future laundry funds). Next: Walmart for more towels (ugh), new pour over cones (not found, UGH), water (oh the irony), and silicone sealant (we clearly have work to do…as soon as it stops raining). Then: Target – praying that these stupid plastic pour over cones are not hard to find…but alas, no dice.

Finally, a trip to Camping World for a replacement toilet piece. And lunch. And gas. And more wine (we’re clearly going to need it).

Will keep you posted on how Project Toilet Repair goes. Tonight, we’re off to celebrate the marriage of Tanya Pai and Scott Greytak and I am So. Dang. Excited. You. Guys.

First Day: Wamp Wah, Stopped for Repairs

It’s true. Day one of our life on the road yesterday had us stopped hours later for repairs.

I was looking in the rear view mirror on the passenger side and noticed that the rounded edge seams on the front side of our trailer were sorta…coming apart. And any time you see the actual seams of your home coming apart, it’s probably a big deal.

My first assumption was that there was some kind of water damage – either old or new. We did have the entire roof of our RV re-sealed before leaving New York, so we weren’t too worried about some major leak but as we bounced down the highway, I couldn’t shake the feeling that 1) this needed urgent attention and 2) it would get worse if we did nothing about it. Our RV has been parked for the last month, and it’s super humid and damp where we’ve been.

So we chose to make a stop at a place called Trailer City in White Hall, WV – it was 30 minutes away from where we were once I noticed, right off the highway, and when I called they said to stop by and they would take a look. In getting there, Google Maps, in its questionable-at-times wisdom, got us to Trailer City by having us pass it, then turn around (note: this was completely unnecessary). Normally not a big deal but the turn was 1) about 30 degrees – we’re talking tight AF, and 2) at a crazy slope – ie, hardcore downhill. Upon seeing it I told Travis NOT to make the turn if he didn’t think we would fit, but he did, with one small backup.

However, when we got to Trailer City and stopped we discovered that the driver’s side front corner of the trailer was ALSO fucked up – and we had done it on the turn we had just taken. The corner of the RV caught the tailgate of our truck and scraped the shit out of it. This was because our pin box was too low, we now know, which means we didn’t have quite as much clearance as we should have between the truck and the trailer. That side now looked worse than the one we were going to have them look at. FACE PALM.

In any case, it was evident that there is definitely some kind of water damage. We could see wood crumbling. Ugh. They said without tearing off all the laminate and doing a deep dive, though, there’s just no way to know for certain. And one thing is true: that kind of exploration or restoration would be expen$$$$ive, and not everyone does that kind of rebuilding. When they got inside, they found your garden variety wood rot that had been happening for years, so not related to our roof reseal – check it out:

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Note the disintegration of the wood near the bottom!

Fortunately, though, despite it being a busy holiday weekend (perhaps the worst possible time to have to worry about last minute repairs!), the techs were straightforward about how long it would take, what they would do, and how much it would cost to fix it. Had we not screwed up the other side doing that stupid turn, we would have been stopped for a few hours but now we were in for an overnight stay. D’oh.

Have I mentioned that we’re on our way to a wedding? And that we already paid for our stay at Pohick Bay Regional Park in Virginia? Welp, thems the breaks I guess. We were just grateful to be able to get it fixed in a pretty short time frame, given that it would indeed get so much worse if it were to rain or even be damp overnight. The cost? Almost $800. D’oh. Another chunk of change we weren’t planning on dropping, but hey – it could be worse, right? This will become my new mantra. It must. The techs also ended up adding more wood to the interior paneling for reinforcement (thank god), then sealing the whole thing up properly.

Everyone at Trailer City was extremely friendly, compassionate, answered all our questions, set us off with some extra Eterna Bond tape, and told us we could call them any time with questions. We wish they could have been the ones to service our RV originally – thank you guys for all your help. Our RV probably would have disintegrated in the first month without you. Have I mentioned that it’s now pouring rain? 🙂 PSA: Greg’s RV of Fairless Hills, PA re-sealed our roof and used some weird, thin, non-Eterna Bond tape on the front edges that peeled up in the short weeks we weren’t even driving or living in our RV.

In any case, it’s day two, and we’re BACK ON THE ROAD. #PaitakParty, here we come!

First lessons of RV life? 1. Trust your gut. 2. Get used to a change of plans. 3. Don’t make tight turns on weird, steep inclines.

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Assorted, rotten detritus that fell out of our walls. 😀