Category Archives: Camping Life

We finally made it to Bar Harbor!

We arrived in Bar Harbor, Maine, about two weeks ago.  I’ve been asked by several people why we chose Bar Harbor as our first ultimate destination.  Well, the truth is, Bar Harbor chose us.
bar harbor oceanside koa

Last August, I put our resumes on the KOA website.  Shortly afterwards, we had five different offers for work camping jobs in the United States!  Maine, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana and California.  After speaking with the manager at the Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA, we decided to take the leap and head north.

Neither of us had ever been to Maine, and what a great way to start a new life in a beautiful part of the world!

bar harbor oceanside koa

We arrived on April 18.  This particular park does not open until May 7 due to the extreme weather in this part of the country.  For the first few weeks of our new jobs, we were to help the other work campers on site to clean up the park and make it ready for the grand opening.

I have to admit that the work was tough.  This park shuts down in mid October.  There was heavy snow this year resulting in many fallen trees.  Reopening it involves thoroughly cleaning all cabins, cleaning up leaves and debris from campsites, learning the computer systems and how to take reservations, scrubbing bathrooms, picking up trash, and much, much more.

bar harbor maine popcorn

This is the land of no “R”s!  There is lobstah, beyah (beer), and but-tah popcorn!

And the weather?  Well, it is has been cold, windy and rainy, punctuated by moments of brilliant warm sunshine.  We were told that if you didn’t like the weather, all you needed to do is wait an hour and it would change.

Heavy winds and rain brought down even more trees after we arrived including this one in front of our RV!  Dave had noticed a split in the tree and when he went out to warn our coworkers, the tree fell.  That was definitely our excitement for that day!

But it hasn’t been all work…

bar harbor koa

We had a fun gathering with our boss and the rest of our co-workers.  We ate burgers on the grill, lots of great homemade food and even met Big Foot!  Looks like it is going to be a fun summer!

campfire camping

In the evening when it is nice, we gather up a bunch of wood and make a nice campfire.  We have met a whole lot of people here with so many things in common with us.  They are also full time RVers and most of them have been doing it a whole lot longer than us.

We are excited to share the sights and adventures of the Bar Harbor area with you over the next few months.

bar harbor oceanside koa

I have to admit that occasionally I get a little homesick.   I can’t shake the idea that I’m on vacation and any time now, I need to return home to Georgia.  We have been gone a month now.  I miss my family, my house and some of the routine that I had over the past 20 years.

bar harbor oceanside koa

But I do love getting up in the early morning and walking the dogs and enjoying the fresh crisp air that this beautiful part of the country has to offer.

And when I get back to the RV, Dave has a fresh cup of hot coffee waiting for me.

Yes, I think I can totally get used to this!

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A look inside our RV!

One of the questions we get asked the most is “What does it look like inside?” Well, I certainly could share some pristine photos of what it looked like before we moved in.  But what fun is that?  Here is an unedited, slightly messy tour of our inside!

We own a 2013 Itasca Meridian made by Winnebago.  It is 37 feet long and has three slides; one in the bedroom, one on the driver’s side living room, and a full slide on the passenger side.

statesville north carolina koa camping

For those guys out there that have the need to know, it has Cummins Diesel 6.7 ISB, 360 HP Engine on a Freightliner Custom Chassis.

For the girls: You are the dishwasher!  LOL!

So welcome aboard!  Be sure to wipe your feet. I’ve spent the last few days trying to get all that red Georgia mud out of my motorhome.  Now I’m in Virginia and I’m tracking black mud in.  I guess that is what I get for having a white interior!

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This is a look from the driver’s seat back.   I haven’t done a ton of decorating yet, as we haven’t been in it too long, but I have included some pops of color.  Not that I really have any wall space for pictures.  The cool thing about a motorhome is that nearly every square inch is storage.

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Faith is busy guarding her couch.  There is an envelope dog bed that I made them behind the driver’s seat, which Ralph tends to take over.

Faith and I share the little footstool that you see.  I’m too short to get in half my cabinets, and she is too old to get on the couch without help.  Both of us were getting tired of asking for assistance, so the stool came to be.

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This is the passenger side.  Both couches fold out into beds.  You will find that most everything in a motorhome has dual purposes.  The drivers seat and passenger seat actually will turn around and become recliners as part of the living room.  (When we aren’t driving, of course)!

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This is my little kitchen.  I have a gas stove, microwave/convection oven and a full size refrigerator.  Oh, and I have a husband who loves to cook outside on his charcoal grill.  It is the best of both worlds!

One thing I learned quickly was to pull my hair back when cooking.  I leaned over the stove to reach something in the microwave and singed my hair.  Dave wanted to know if I burnt dinner again.

Ha. Ha.

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The kitchen includes everything I need with the exception of a dishwasher.  Well, since I am apparently the dishwasher, I take that back…

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Across from the kitchen is our eating area.  This photo shows the table with the leaf in.  Not huge, but adequate.  We were told the table would be large enough to seat four.  They neglected to mention that they would be four incredibly small people.

If I need to do any crafting, I can do it here or work outside on the picnic table on a nice day.  As you can see, I also use area as my office.

Behind the table are tons of cabinets.  I use them as a pantry and also as storage for my craft supplies.

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One thing that we insisted on when we were purchasing the RV was that we have a washer and dryer.  While they are small, they do a great job.  Dave is in charge of laundry, since I may or may not have colored an entire load of his white underwear and t-shirts pink.

Mistakes sometime come in the form of red undies.

Just saying.

Anyway, it worked out well for me.  I haven’t had to wash clothes since!

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This is our little bathroom.  There is a shower to the left.  I have to tell you that the toilet takes a little getting used to.  The trap in the toilet opens directly to the tank below.

The trick is to not have the vent fan going when you open the trap.   Believe me, you don’t want to have the fan on when you open the trap.

Take my word for it.

One of my biggest worries was that my bathroom would smell like a port-a-potty.  It actually does not.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Well, unless you accidentally do the vent/trap thing above…

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The bedroom has a queen sized bed.  The mirrors to the left are actually a nice sized closet.  And tons of tons of storage space!

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When we are on the road, this is what the inside looks like when the sliders are in.  Big difference!

To travel, I have to put everything away that might slide around.  And be extremely careful when I open the fridge once we are at a campground.  Things shift around and I may or may not have had to clean up a dozen eggs off that white tile.

Live and learn.

staunton virginia koa

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed your tour!  Be careful going down the steps on your way out.   And try to avoid that black Virginia mud.  It gets everywhere!

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Never say “FREE” on Facebook…

It has been a tough few weeks.  Part of becoming full timers of course involves getting rid of about 99% of your possessions.  It can be a very draining and emotional task.  You don’t really realize how attached you are to some things until you have to get rid of them.

There are all the things we have accumulated over the past 23 years of marriage.  All the things that we bought and used and loved.  What to do with photos and personal items?  What about all my artwork?  Dave’s tools?  His truck?  So many things!

never say free on Facebook estate sale

Our first step was to hire an Estate Sale company.  In came Kimy from Peachtree Estate Sales.  Kimy was upbeat and energetic and said she could sell about 90% of our property in a three day sale.

moving into our rv

So we went through the house with a fine toothed comb, pulling out everything that we wanted to take and loaded it on the RV.  Then we removed personal things such as photos and other momentos, which my sister was nice enough to store.

How much stuff could a person own?

Well you may be surprised.

We spent an entire two days hauling junk from under the house into the garage.  The garage became so full that you could hardly get around in it.

We then handed Kimy the keys to the house and closed our eyes and let go.  Over a period of three days, she and her crew successfully emptied our house of furniture and decor.

never say free on Facebook estate sale

Well, mostly.  When we returned, there was about 10% left.  Just as she said.   She had also warned that the house would look like a tornado went through it.  She wasn’t kidding.

never say free on Facebook estate sale

What to do with the rest?

So I had a bright idea.  I would advertise on Facebook.  I found a local flea market group and advertised that I had FREE stuff.

never say free on Facebook estate sale

The ad went something like this:  Recently we had an estate sale.  We have some things left over.  Home decor, ladders, Christmas decor, clothing, and a few pieces of furniture.  All items are free.  Will be at the house on Thursday from noon until 4:00 PM only.  First come first served.

And then it began.

Facebook person #1:  How much are the ladders?
Me: FREE
Facebook person #2: How much is the desk?
Me: FREE
Facebook person #3: I’m coming to get the ladders right now.
Me: NO! Will be there from noon until 4:00 pm only.
Facebook person #4: Call me at xxx-xxxx- I need those ladders!
Facebook person #5:  I’ll PM you.  I have no job.  I need that stuff!
Facebook person #6: I have first dibs on the ladders!
Facebook person #7: No you don’t, she said first come first serve!
Facebook person #8:  So who is going to stop the fights?
Me: I would assume I’m dealing with adults.  Any fighting and I’ll close the doors!
Facebook person #9: I’m coming just to film the fights!
Facebook person #10: I’ll be there at 11:30AM for the ladders.
Facebook person #11: I’ll be there at 11:00 AM to sell the ladders to Facebook person #10.

Things got very ugly on Facebook.  We were a bit worried at this point…

The next day, we arrived at the house about 10:00 to deal with the cleaning people.  Folks started showing up for the Facebook giveaway at 10:30.  By 11:00  the street was lined with cars.  Occasionally someone would venture up the driveway and try to start “shopping” and I’d have to go down there and move them back.

The crowd was getting ugly…in more ways than one…

At some point a large older woman showed up.  For the benefit of this story, I’m going to call her Bertha.  Bertha weighed about 500 pounds, with large bosoms that hung nearly to her knees.  She made her way up the driveway where I stopped her.  We still had about a half hour.

Bertha said, “So is everything free or are there some things for sale too?”

With that she patted her left boob, which jingled loudly while swinging back and forth.  “I brought some money just in case”.

Ummm….no.  Everything will be free.  Sigh…this was going to be interesting.

I placed Dave in the garage and then I signaled for everyone to go in.

Yes.  That.

Folks running, folks grabbing, folks tugging at things.  The majority of my leftover furniture was upstairs.  Believe it or not, Bertha managed to get there first.  And Bertha yelled,

“I saw it first, it’s all mine!”

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She ran from room to room, yelling at people, panting heavily and sweating profusely and looking like she was going to pass out at any moment.  At one point, she was ordering strangers to load furniture for her.  Her husband showed up and began hauling things out for her as she guarded each piece like a pit bull.

One step too close, and Bertha was gonna take you out…

never say free on Facebook estate sale

My house cleared out of everything within 45 minutes.  Flat.  Nothing left but dust.

As the last car drove off with the rest of our stuff, we sat down together and made one promise to each other.

Never again.

Oh, and never, ever utter the word “Free” on Facebook.

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The KOA Work Kamper Boot Camp in Branson, MO

Part of our plan when we became full timers in our RV was to spend at least the first couple seasons working at campgrounds.  We felt that this would give us a better transition from full time jobs to full retirement.  And at the same time give us a little security money-wise until we feel that we can do it on our own. work kamper loaKOA was our first choice.  We put our resumes out last August on the KOA site and were hired within just a few days.  We will be working in Bar Harbor, Maine this summer.  I will be working front desk, and Dave will be working in maintenance.

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KOA offered a Work Kamper “Boot Camp” in Branson, MO that would give us a taste of what to expect when we arrive in Maine in just a few weeks.

branson missouri travel camping

The Work Kamper program is simple enough.  You work for the campground as a couple, putting in between 25 and 40 hours a week depending on the season.  In exchange, you could be offered a campsite free of charge, utilities and other perks, along with an hourly salary.  (The benefits vary from campground to campground as most are individually owned).

We were excited to meet  KOA’s Chairman and CEO, Jim Rogers.  The show, Undercover Boss featured him a few years ago.

Boot camp was a lot of fun.  We met nearly 100 other couples who are doing the same thing we are.  Most did not have jobs lined up yet, and took advantage of the virtual job interviews offered at the end of the class.

branson missouri travel camping

The folks at the Branson KOA were wonderful and made us feel like part of the team.

branson missouri travel camping

And while we were in Missouri, we got a good taste of midwest weather.  We ate dinner the first night looking out the window as hail the size of marbles came down on our VW bug and motorhome. (No damage- unless you want to count the indigestion…) The second night, we had major thunderstorms all night.

faith dog camping

All night.  The dogs literally had their legs crossed by morning.

Really.  We made the decision pretty quickly that we didn’t want to spend too much time in tornado alley during spring and summer.

The third day was beautiful, sunny and cold.  Since classes were over, we decided to check out Branson.

barry williams greg brady

Stay tuned for part two where I don’t get to meet Barry Williams (AKA Greg from the Brady Bunch), but I do end up seeing some pretty famous folks that nearly made up for it!

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…and we are off!

We have moved into our RV full time!  But I have to tell you that it has been an incredibly stressful week.  We have been working non-stop trying to load the RV and get rid of anything personal in the house.

moving into our rv

I didn’t realize what pack rats we are until I started going through drawers.  I lost count of how many bags of trash we threw away, how many bags we had to have shredded, how much stuff was donated to the Kidney foundation, how much crap we gave away.  And we still have a house full of stuff!  Ugggghhh!!

Loading the RV turned out to be a non-issue.  We had a whole lot more room than we had thought.  Which was quite helpful as Dave originally told me that I had to keep the craft supplies down to 8 boxes – and I ended up filling up 12.

driving rv

People keep asking us if we are excited and I think we are just too tired at the moment for everything to fully register.  You take two out of shape individuals and have them do physical labor for a week and you end up with two exhausted, irritable, and over stressed crazy people who at some point would lose their heads if they weren’t attached.

jellystone campground bremen Georgia5

By the end of the week, we had parked on site at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Campground in Bremen, GA.  (The closest RV park to our house).  Our RV was a huge mess.  We were crawling over boxes to get anywhere because at some point, we just started throwing stuff onto the RV.

We woke up  the first morning and the only personal care items we could find were a tube of toothpaste and my tooth brush.

Nice.

We both hoped that deodorant lasts more than one day, and I made a mental note to buy myself a new toothbrush next week.

The dogs lucked out though.  I couldn’t find the dog food, and they ended up having ham for dinner.

They were thrilled.

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Life is full of big decisions

Life is full of big decisions.  Especially when you have children. What school do I put them in?  Which doctor should I choose?  Should I put them in extra activities such as sports or music even if they really aren’t a fan? Do they really need that new video game? What is the best decision to make to protect them?

Every decision that I made during those formative years was a tough one, and while I don’t think I did a horrible job, there are some things that I really wouldn’t mind a “do over” on.

family traveling sitcom

Since my girls have grown up and moved out, the house has become a lot quieter.  Sometimes that is a good thing, as now my husband and I can relax in an un-drama-fied environment.

If you are familiar with raising girls, then I’m sure you are familiar with the drama.  Every day was a new episode of their own personal reality show.  While my life is a sitcom, theirs were more of a daytime soap opera with lots of angst, a bit of dramatic story line and many episodes of just plain old teenage turmoil.

My little sitcom pales in comparison to their daily theatrical melodrama.

And yes, they did grow up to be beautiful, happy individuals.  Do we miss them?  Absolutely!  The drama?  No way.

Now we are free to do what we want, when we want.  My schedule revolves around my schedule and nobody else’s.  If we wanted to run around the house naked, we could certainly do it!

ralph dog

…Well, actually, I don’t really want to frighten the dogs.  They are a bit high strung already.  But the point is, if we wanted to, we certainly could!

A few months ago, we announced that we were finally at the point that the full-time RV lifestyle was a certainty.  This plan was five years in the making.  So, it shouldn’t have been a surprise to the girls when we told them the house is now on the market and we are getting ready to go.  But I think both girls thought we were just having big dreams.

Drama ensued.

What would they do if they needed us for something?  Who could they depend on for help?  What if their car broke down?  What if they had a bad day and just needed someone to talk to?

Yep, maybe I protected them a bit too much.  Remember the do-over thing?

atlanta georgia traveling sitcom

Atlanta has been our home for most of the girl’s lives.  The oldest now lives in Oklahoma, but our youngest still lives in the Atlanta area.

While we love to be around family, we feel that we need to move on with our lives and separate ourselves from the corporate atmosphere, the daily commute, the crowds, and stress associated with living in and near a big city.

It is our dream to travel.

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We are looking forward to living in the moment.  We want to see the country first hand and enjoy traveling while we are still healthy enough to do so.  This crowd of geese is the closest I want to come to a traffic jam in the near future.

Fortunately with the ease of the internet and phone service, we can easily face-time them anytime they would like. Daily contact is now possible in this big world, made very simple with the internet.  I am grateful for that.

And there is the website thing. They can easily follow our journeys.  We would never be more than a phone call away.

traveling sitcom dave susan

Ultimately, the girls are at the point where they need to establish their own lifestyles.  And they are doing that.  But I think that with mom and dad roaming around the country, they are forced to start being more self sufficient.

And that is a good thing.  While the mom in me wants to always protect them just as I did when they were children, I know that they need to learn to take good care of themselves.

After all, it will probably not be long before both of them have children of their own to protect.

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The beginning…

In June of 2010, my husband and I made a major life decision.  With the kids grown and gone,we were ready to begin a new chapter in our lives.  But we really weren’t sure what that change would be.

Both of us had jobs in the city.  I was an Executive Assistant in a huge corporation, and my husband was a Fleet Manager in another large company.  Both of us were tired of the major commute (an hour and a half each way).  Both of us were tired of our jobs; tired of city life; tired of the crowds.  Let’s face it, we were just plain tired.

We needed to come up with a new plan.

rv life camping traveling sitcom

I had just created the website, Suzy’s Sitcom.  A new blogger, I really didn’t realize the potential of a website with creative content.  But I tackled a blog like I tackle most things; head on and running.

My father always said that I could accomplish anything that I set my mind to.  If I truly believed that something would be a success, then it would be.

It was also at that time that my husband and I happened to see a television show that ultimately pointed us in the direction that we wanted to go.  It was a documentary about a young couple who bought a RV, sold their house and everything they owned and set out on the road to travel.  You can find their website here: Gone with the Wynns.

Our five year plan was set in motion.  We would be doing the same.  We just needed to follow the plan.  After all, anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

rv life camping traveling sitcom

So here we are four and a half years later.  The Sitcom is a successful website, generating enough income for us to begin to make the big move.

We have already purchased the RV, the house is on the market, an estate sale is on the near horizon, and we are setting out for Bar Harbor, ME around the first week of April.

rv life camping traveling sitcom

We will be working for KOA for our first season as work campers until we feel strong enough financially to go it alone.

And we are so excited to start!

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