“It’s funny how things change slowly, until the day we realize they’ve changed completely.” Nancy Gibbs
We spent a long time planning for retirement and now it is here. For months it seemed like this day would never come and now we are out on the road as nomads roaming the countryside.
Living full-time in an RV is not like the vacation style camping we have done for the last 17 years. Granted we are still surrounded by vacationers, cooking on the grill outside, and having campfires but now we have to pay bills, do laundry, make repairs, and all of the day to day at-home-type activities we would have done in our brick and mortar home.
As we adjust to this new lifestyle we are working to find the balance between work and play. Getting the shopping done on a rainy day, taking advantage of the cooler weather in the mornings to work on projects outside, and taking time to relax under the awning.
One of the major differences as full-timers is that we are not always on the go like tourists in a new location. We do want to take advantage of what is around us but it is a different perspective than that of one who wants to get the most out of the little time they have away from work. Now we make a thorough search of activities in the area, talk to the campground hosts about the best grocery stores for fresh veggies or where the nearest car wash is, as well as, where are the best restaurants. Then we want to balance how many excursions we take to fit our budget, to not over-exert, and to pick the best activities depending on the weather.
This past week we stayed at the Tomorrow Stars Campground in South Charleston, OH half way between Columbus and Dayton off Hwy 70. One of our goals on this trip is to try as many different ways to camp as possible. This campground is a membership park where 90% of the sites are seasonal 5 month rentals. There were members only parts to the park, like the recreation hall, though they still had plenty of room for short-timers like us and welcomed us warmly. It was a well maintained campground with a very large pool and the best maintained bathrooms I have ever seen in a campground!
When we were at the house we tended to go out to dinner once a week, mostly to a local favorite and occasionally to something a little fancy, and we would choose an activity on the weekend. This strategy is going to continue on the road and this week we chose to go to the Ohio Caverns in West Liberty, OH. Now we have been to almost every cave in the Northeast, as this is one of Jonathan’s favorite outings, and I have to say these were some of the most colorful caverns I have ever been in. Due to the large amount of iron oxide and manganese the walls of the cave were a beautiful cascade of reds, browns, and tans. After taking two tours, one on the historical entrance and one in the main cavern we ventured on north to Indian Lake. As a youth, Joanna spent her summers on this lake when her family lived just north of there in Kenton, OH. Though the lake doesn’t look much different, the surrounding area has changed quite a bit. The amusement park is gone and we could not find the old cabins the Yauger family stayed in every year that were owned by our good family friends, the Stolls. We did have a wonderful dinner at a local favorite suggested by the staff at the Caverns, Woody’s Diner.
We also are going to get out of the RV whenever the weather permits. Unfortunately, it rained quite a bit while we were there, at times it was raining 2 1/2″ an hour! Again, its all about making adjustments to how we plan what we do. We would do chores in the coach or watch a movie while it poured and then we would get out for a walk or bike ride.
We went up to Buck Creek State Park for one more walk before
the rains and heat drove us back indoors. Its a pretty park with a lake and lots of hiking trails.We are enriching our wood lore on our walks by taking pictures of plants we do not know and coming back and Googling them. This is a Asian Bush Honeysuckle!
Our bike ride this week was on the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail that was near our campground. It was a perfect short ride on a rail trail to get us back into riding shape.
After our first week on the road we are adjusting our routine to this new lifestyle. Enjoying meeting new people, exploring new areas and revisiting some old haunts.
Next up will be our first experiment boondocking at a winery!