|at our house in South Dakota...|
Our lease was ending on the home we had been living in just west of Rapid City, South Dakota and the owner didn't want to renew it. He was happy for us to stay as long as we wanted, but only month to month while he put it on the market for sale. This would mean that we would have to be willing to show the home to any potential buyers, while at the same time hoping that they wouldn't buy it because it was our home. Didn't sound like a very good plan to us :(...
With Dan working in the North Dakota oilfields, we began our search for a home in the black hills area of South Dakota. This is where we had been living for the past year and we really liked it there. Not finding an-y-thing that would work for us, we broadened our search to include eastern Montana and western Minnesota. Still nothing...
One or two houses did pop up that we thought would work for us, but just as quickly, they were snapped up by someone else. It just felt like every single corner we turned, we ran into a dead end.
We had been praying about the whole situation and asking God to show us what to do. I 100% believe He did just that. We had struggled and struggled to find a house (for months) and it just did not happen. The day we made the decision to seriously pursue full time rv living, every thing clicked into place in just one little afternoon!
|when i was taking the pictures of the kids on the trampoline...|
We went into town, purchased the 5th wheel we had had our eye on for a while, and then Dan found and purchased a truck to go with it. Boom. Done. Finally :)!
|...i kept hearing a strange noise...|
The idea of living in an rv full time was actually mine. I had mentioned it to Dan a few times over the prior year and he was never really interested. Obviously he warmed up to the idea, but he never wanted to do it indefinitely. Only for a while...until we could figure out exactly where we should settle down more permanently (as in- a house somewhere). I was just happy he had agreed to give it a try :)!
|...it took a minute to figure out...|
I had already been donating and selling things because we knew we were moving somewhere. The thought of packing up and lugging around all of our stuff *again* was just more than I could stand. I did step it up, though, and we got rid of a lot. It felt so good to just let it all go...
|...that the noise was coming from the sky FULL of geese!|
Less than a month later, we were on the road. So exciting!
|...another picture from our house in South Dakota|
We didn't really have a plan as to where we wanted to go, we pretty much just decided as we went along (and finances allowed). As I've told you over the past months (has it REALLY been almost a year???), we have had the best time. For me, it has been a time to just "breathe". I didn't realize how mentally exhausted I was until I had the chance to just rest in that regard.
I do have one regret about the way we have traveled, and that is how fast we moved from place to place. Our situation is different from many that live this lifestyle in that my husband still works full time away from home. He would come home exhausted from a long hitch at work only to hit the ground running again. Not to say he didn't enjoy our travels, he absolutely did! It just got to be a bit much. For this reason we started looking at houses again.
Are you shocked? Get used to it, we do some crazy things :)...
We had been looking for a house within about eight hours of Dan's work so that he could drive and not have to fly (or be so far away from us). We expanded the search to twelve hours, still doable since he would only be making the drive once every three weeks. Guess what? We found several houses that all seemed to be perfect for us! Two in the panhandle of Idaho and one in the northwoods of Minnesota.
Dan had driven to work the last time so that he could go look at the houses in Idaho on his way back to us in California. He only did this because we were almost sure that one of the two would work for us. And one did! He looked at it the day the kids and I were at the aquarium and we both really liked it. As soon as Dan got home, we called them to let them know we wanted the house. Now, we had been praying about the decision and that God's will would be done. Guess what? We didn't get the house. I am not even kidding. The owner decided at the last minute that they wanted to sell it instead of rent it. Another dead end...
A bit discouraged but far from defeated, we made the decision to pack it up and head back to Rapid City for a while. We had reservations in Bodega Bay, California for the next week that we were able to cancel...with that done, we began the 1,500 mile drive back to Rapid.
|somewhere in Nevada...|
|more frost...pretty, huh?|
|weird sunset in Wyoming...only the bottom of the clouds was pink|
We drove all the way across California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and into South Dakota in two and a half days time. Whew! We were able to find a campground that was open year round (this all happened in February ---i'm way behind telling you about this, i know!) and the man running it was really nice. Always appreciated :)
It felt good to be "home" for a while. I called the kids dentist on the drive east and they just happened to have an opening big enough to fit all five kids in for their cleanings the day after we arrived. We added orthodontist appointments, haircut appointments, tax prep appointment, vehicle servicing appointments, and of course a trip to the library to the list :).
|library books <3|
With all those things taken care of, we made one more appointment. The last appointment was with a realtor we had been talking to in northern Minnesota. Still optimistic that we were going to find "our house", we arranged to meet and began the 1,500 mile (round trip) drive to Minnesota (via North Dakota). (at least we didn't pull the camper over there...we left it in Rapid and just took my car with plans to stay in a hotel while we were there).
Long story short on the house...it wasn't for us. All I'm going to say is that some people are very talented when it comes to taking pictures of real estate ;).
At this point, we were thoroughly confused as to what we were supposed to do. The thought of spending the coldest part of winter in a camper in South Dakota did not really appeal (although I have to say, we stayed nice and warm and it was snowing and single digit temps outside).
Rather unexpectedly, things fell into place for us financially so that we were able to hook back up to the 5th wheel and make yet another long trek across the country...1,700 miles this time...to land us in our "first home", the Florida panhandle. In two and a half days we drove all the way across South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, a little in Arkansas and Tennessee, down through Alabama to finally reach Florida.
If you're keeping track...that's thirteen states, 4,700 miles, in less than two weeks. Uh huh...
To top it off, Dan hooked his boat (it had been in storage) up to my car and had me pull it from South Dakota to Florida. All 1,700 miles... This was a biggee for me, I have never driven a vehicle towing anything in my life. Ever. But I did it :)! And I didn't even smack it into anything (hehehe)
We were able to get a decent price on a campsite for the next month in a quiet country campground close to our families (both his family and mine live in the area). We made it here just three days before Dan had to fly out for work (poor guy!).
Those three days were packed full with visiting family, friends, and looking at a potential house. A house in Florida? So far away from Dan's work? Yes and yes. We would never have considered living so far from his work, if it weren't for the chance to live close to our parents (grandparent time, yay!).
We looked at the house and really liked it, it seemed like it would be a good fit for our family. As we did each time before, we prayed about the situation and left it in God's hands. This time? We got the house!
Dan had to fly out for work with plans to drive a uhaul back down on his next days off and bring our things from storage in South Dakota. In the mean time, the kids and I would spend the next month in our camper getting caught up on school work and squeezing in as much grandparent time as possible.
---This all happened in February...we moved out of the camper and into a house in the middle of March. God certainly takes care of us...remember all of our issues with water leaks on our brand new 2012 Jayco Eagle 5th wheel? Well, we didn't fare quite as well as we thought damage wise :(. We pulled the camper to our house to get it emptied when we moved and it sat in our driveway closed up for several days. When we went in it the next time, there was a strong musty smell (mold!!!). After talking on the phone to Jayco's warranty department, we took the camper to a repair place and dropped it off. Ya'll, over FOUR MONTHS LATER IT IS STILL THERE! It's there right now. They are supposed to be replacing any wood, those fabric board things, anything at all that had water soaked into it (all in the basement where you can't see it unless you take panels down and crawl). I miss my tiny house on wheels terribly, but I am SO THANKFUL that we didn't continue to live in it with MOLD.
------Because I don't want to leave you on a negative note...this is the view from our back porch :)...
one more? ok ;)...
so pretty :)!