NMC077 Camper

Daphine Mbithuka


Episode 77#: Camper

Recorded: June 21, 2018

Location: Tucson, Arizona

Subject: Prepping the camper before going on a camper trip.

One of the similarities between living on a boat and living in a camper is that you have limited space. This means that you have to be vigilant about making sure everything is secured in a way that is easy to find, easy to manage, and doesn’t go flying when you’re underway.

After deciding to go on a camper trip, as Rosa Linda Román calls it, proper preparation had to be done on the camper before commencing on the journey. In this episode of New Mexi-Castaways, Rosa Linda shares her process of preparation as the kids swim, play, and hang out. One of the lessons we can learn from the podcast is the importance of making sure the floors of the camper are sparkling clean to help avoid making the beds dirty. If you are planning to go on a camper trip too, this episode will enlighten you more on how to prepare for it. Listen in and enjoy.

P.S. If you liked this episode check out our most recent episode:

NMC048 Audio Issues Atlantis to Palm Cay


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Episode Transcript:

Rosa Linda Román (00:28): Hello and welcome to New Mexi-Castaways. I'm Rosa Linda Román and I am speaking to you from inside a camper. It is my brother-in-law’s, Jay Feather camper, Jay Feather light. And it used to be our camper back in the day, but it has since become my brother-in-law's. But really, in a way, it's our family camper because he and I have started a new tradition to use this camper for all of our family adventures. And my brother-in-law, Ari, he lives in Arizona, which is where I am right now. He lives in Tucson, which is where my husband, and Ari, and their other brother David, grew up with their folks. I'm actually at their house in Tucson, which are dear friends, Cecil, Paul and their kids, Dominic and Camille. They also have another daughter, Gina, who doesn't live here. But their kids and Paul and Cecil live here. Rosa Linda Román (01:31): And it's wonderful because they have allowed us to bring the camper over and have the kids play, and swim, and hang out while I am able to prep it. We spent the night, the kids and I spent the night here in the camper last night. I had not put the stabilizer bars down, so it was a little rocking and rolling, but otherwise very pleasant. That loud noise you hear is the air conditioning. And I will say that's my least favorite thing about this camper is that the AC is all or nothing. You can't just put it on light AC and kind of have it cool off a little bit. It has to be full blast or not at all. So, last night it was funny because Ziva complained this morning and said I was freezing last night. And I was laughing because we are in Arizona where it is so hot. Rosa Linda Román (02:28): We're in the middle of summer. It is mid-June, toward the end of June. It's June 21st. It's actually the first day of summer, actually, technically the summer solstice. So, she was freezing last night. But that's just because we can't turn the AC down. And I did try to first have it where we just had the windows open. But that's way too hot. So, there's no middle ground. But the good news is we're going to be heading up to cooler climates. And that was a big part of why we're doing this trip. My brother-in-law has a wedding to go to in Oregon, which a little, ironically, we went to a wedding in Oregon in white Salmon, Oregon this time last year, I think it was. And we took this camper all the way up from Arizona up to Washington State. We had such a great time, loved it so much that we're doing a repeat performance up the coast and continuing our adventures. Rosa Linda Román (03:30): But what I'm doing right now is cleaning the camper because it is filthy and needed some serious attention. So, while the kids are pretty entertained, it looks like they stopped swimming and they went inside to cool off or get out of the sun or whatever. And so, while they're doing that, I am in here prepping, and putting away groceries, and trying to get things situated. And then, I'm going to scrub… I scrubbed everything except the floors because that's going to be last because they're a hot mess. The challenge with small space living, which by the way, when you live in an RV it's called fulltime family. Living in an RV is like living in as a full time RV person. And there's a whole movement of people that do that and live in campers, and travel the country, and travel in other countries. Rosa Linda Román (04:25): But I guess we're temporary full-time family in this camper. But it's a lot like living on a boat. And if you are new to my channel you're going to hear me talk about boats a lot because we just moved off of the Dawn Treader which was our floating home, a Lagoon 450 sailing catamaran which we lived on for almost two years. And we just sold her and moved off of the Dawn Treader. I guess it's been about a month now. So yeah, I'm going to mention that a lot. So, I hope you don't mind because that is still fresh in my mind. But one of the things about living on a boat, and it is the same about living in a camper, is that you have limited space and you have to be vigilant about making sure everything is put away and put in a way that is easy to find, and easy to manage, and doesn't go flying when you're underway. Rosa Linda Román (05:26): So, right now I'm putting things in the cabinets and I'm just generally trying to get a handle on what we have, what we need, and cleaning the heck out of the place. Because if you have dirty floors and people walk around with their feet on the floors which are dirty, then you end up with dirty beds and dirty everything else, which nobody wants. So, I am trying to do the upfront work to get everything put away and cleaned before we start. So, then we'll be vigilant, hopefully, about trying to make sure everything stays clean and working together to make sure of that. So, we have to start out with it clean or it will never stay clean for sure. So yeah, that's what I'm working on here in the camper. Rosa Linda Román (06:22): I have lived in Arizona before. I was a reporter at Fox 10 News in Phoenix, Arizona. And I have done live reports like outside in the noon sun in Phoenix. But I forgot how hot it is. It's been a while. I think when you're working in a market, your body just gets used to whatever the temperature is and you know, it is what it is and yeah, you know, it's hot and you complain about the heat, but you don't remember how hot until you leave and come back and then you're like, “Whoa, that is some hotness.” I'm amazed how hot it's. So, I don't love the AC, the constant use of AC, and I in particular am opposed to like every time we go into a building from, you know, you go from outside to inside, you're like blasted with arctic freezing air. So, I don't love that. Rosa Linda Román (07:19): But sometimes a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. And right now in order to prep this camper, I've got to have the AC on or I would die, and then, we wouldn't be going anywhere. So, you'll hear me working as we talk. It's been interesting being back here and there's been a lot of changes, a lot of things stayed the same. Our friends who are renting the house have done many, many things to improve the property and part of the deal is they live in the house because a house needs to be lived in and they love it. And they’re such a big part of our history with my mother-in-law Camille, I mean, Cecil was one of my mother-in-law's best friends. And so, she lives here and it's a really wonderful way to honor mom and dad's memory. So, they maintain the house and it works out nicely for both families. Rosa Linda Román (08:13): But it's so strange to come back and each time something different, and this is just kind of more a commentary on how life changes and how I think part of what I fear as a, not just a full-time traveling family, but you know, taking our kids out of school, and homeschooling, and living on a boat, and going on all these adventures is you worry that your kids are missing out on, you know, regular school and traditional friendships, and you know, you just worry. You want to make sure you're doing the right thing for your family. That's what we all want. And I think that's pretty much what most humans want. If they're healthy, they want, you know, to make sure the decisions we make are positively impacting our children. Rosa Linda Román (09:08): But it's interesting because I realize more and more everywhere I go that no matter how much you try to think, “I don't want to mess up my kids, I don't want, you know, all these changes to be upsetting to them. You know, I want to protect them from heartbreak and all the things that come from growing up and having someone hurt you or whatever.” But that's part of life and I'm learning more, and more, and more every step of the way that even if we had stayed in one place and had never left New Mexico, things would've changed. Many of the things that we thought we knew when we left, whether it's friendships, or connections, or more specifically friends who, like they were married when we left and all of a sudden, you know, through Facebook you see that oh, they not only are no longer married, but they each have new people in their lives. Rosa Linda Román (10:09): And you know, there's pictures of the kids with this new set of parents, and the other new set of parents, and you know, just all of the changes that just inevitably come from life. And we've talked about it a lot. My kids, you know, in some ways, yeah, they miss the normalcy sometimes of their former lives. And I think more and more when we talk to friends back home or wherever, one of the stops along the way and we find out like that Ahava’s favorite gym for example, you know, there was a big change in management and the people that ran it aren't running it together anymore. And the gym is, you know, changed tremendously or in the past things have happened where like a coach that she loved left the team unexpectedly or you know, just stuff, life. And so, as I'm here in a familiar place that is really another home to us, it's been interesting because I'm not staying in the house which is the house that I basically spent the beginning of my relationship with my husband calling this my second home. Rosa Linda Román (11:25): You know, I would always come visit his parents. We'd stay here very, very frequently since we have been together almost 20 years. And you know, even if we had not been travelers, everything would be different now than it was then. And that realization that just, you know, things change along the way, and being here in this space, and, you know, being here without mom and dad, and seeing the differences in how the house is now and it's just interesting. I'm very introspective right now because this is one of my special favorite places. And it is really nice to see people who love the house staying in the house and taking care of the house. And they do it differently than I would, right? I mean, it's not a shrine to my in-laws because you know, they're not with us anymore. Rosa Linda Román (12:25): And so, seeing the changes is hard, but it's also uplifting because you know, somebody is taking care of it and, you know, that's really nice. And so, being here and being able to see that is helpful. This time around we had an interesting surprise to Phil and Paul, they built a trail around the property here in Tucson. If you know Tucson at all, it's up against the mountains, Catalina State or Catalina Mountains is where their house is. And they built a trail, a nature trail in honor of my in-laws. And it's really cool. And it goes around the property and it's neat because you can walk around and you can see, you know, a place where critters will go across the trail and you can go out for a morning walk and it's really special and it's really different, right? Because this was just kind of wild nature before. And that was part of the appeal. Rosa Linda Román (13:35): But it also is a wonderful tribute to my in-laws. So, it's an example, I guess, of how something can change, and be wonderful, and at the same time, you know, leave you feeling like, high, I don't know. I don't have any ill feelings about the choice to build the trail. It's just the acknowledgement and realization that change continues and people, you know, that you love, you know, pass on, and then, things change also because of that. And so, yeah, that's what's on my mind right now. That and the fact that it's hotter than the surface of the sun here in this area. But yeah, I'm making progress. I want to take a break, check the recording, and then, I'm going to start mopping the floor. But I'll be right. Rosa Linda Román (14:33): All right, I'm back and I am hot, hot, hot, hot. That's kind of the thing when you're in Tucson in the summer and trying to prep a camper. It's going to be hot, no brain surgery there. But anyway, just wanted to touch base again. I got the floor mopped. I've got all the surfaces cleaned in the camper. I have the pullout in, which is basically the extension. So, the way this little camper is, it's really very cool. It has a bunk bed in the front and the back is a king size bed, which normally when you're underway or when you're driving, it's in because it's called a pullout. And so, it is stored in the camper, but once you get to your location, then you extend it, and then, you have more living space. But it's nice for maneuvering around traffic. You don't have that massive, massive behemoth vehicle like driving one of the buses or, you know, big, big RVs. Rosa Linda Román (15:37): So, the slide out makes it feel spacious once you extend it, but much more manageable for me as the driver. So, I got the slide out in, which means the living space area is the dining room. So, there's a table with chairs and that converts into a bed. And then, there's like the living room. I mean, it's all part of the same thing, but basically, the living area has a couch. And so, when you're storing or getting ready to leave you, you put those things flat like in a bed position. And so, I flatten the tables, flatten the couch, and then, I pulled in the slide out. So, that's done. Rosa Linda Román (16:35): I'm prepping the truck to get it ready to go as well. And that's a huge ordeal because we're a full-time traveling family. I think the biggest challenge for me is remembering where things need to be when, and not carrying too much stuff if you can help it. So, that's a bigger challenge than I probably anticipated. And it always seems like when I'm getting ready to leave an area and I go, okay, I want to be on the road by noon, that was my goal today, well, it's like 3:30 and we're not on the road yet. We're only driving four hours today because we're driving to Flagstaff, Arizona. Which hopefully will be much cooler because it's a much higher altitude. But you know, it'll have shade trees and stuff like that. We're going to be staying at a KOA campground, which if you don't know what that is, I actually didn't know either until recently. Rosa Linda Román (17:30): And in the recent, like being last year when we took this trip, I think, started to realize that there's a company called KOA and they have campgrounds all over the country and they seem to be some the nicest, the ones that we prefer to be in, especially with a family. I feel pretty safe at most at. I think all the KOAs I've been to I've felt very safe. And they usually have full hookups, meaning water, and electricity, and sewer at many of them, or at least a place to dump the sewer if they don't have it right at that site that you're staying at. So, we are staying at a KOA in Flagstaff tonight. So, that's a relief because even though we are getting a late start, I know I picked a spot. The one that I picked was pull through, which means pull through, which means that you don't have to back up in order to park. Rosa Linda Román (18:30): Like, you don't have to back into the space because for me that is very stressful when you're trying to drive this camper plus the Ford F150 pickup truck that is hauling the camper and trying to back into a spot. That to me is the most stressful part of trying to drive around the country with this camper. In fact, yesterday when I was trying to move the camper into my brother-in-law's complex to start the preparation process, I was trying to turn around, but like, it's not an apartment complex, but it's laid out like one, so when you come in, there's the area where you pull in, and then, parking is to the right and there's a gate because you know, you need a code to get in. And so, there's a gate and you go through the gate, and then, there's this area where I'm able to park the camper. But it's very tight. Rosa Linda Román (19:25): And so, we needed to turn it around so that when the time came we could pull out when we were done. Well, easier said than done. That was quite a challenge to pull that off. And I finally did it, but it wasn't before, I want to say it took me about an hour to get it where we really wanted it. We were making progress, like kind of inching back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, but feeling very frustrated. And I finally stopped myself, paused, and said, okay, I don't need to be stressed out right now. Let me take a breath, step out of the vehicle, and then, regroup. And so, I did that and then, Ziva got out of the car. My brother-in-law had a phone call, he had to be on. So, Ziva and Christina who are both, well, Christina's 10, Ziva’s 11. Rosa Linda Román (20:17): They got out of the car and they helped direct me to get the truck backed in more effectively so that I could then hook it up because I wanted to test the systems and make sure everything was working. And so, I needed to plug into power in order to do that. Well, in order to plug in, I had to back in. So, it was really challenging. To me that is the hardest part of doing this camper thing because, you know, it's not like camping, camping. I know many people out there are probably going poo poo that this is not camping. And I get that this is not, you know, tent camping, and with no luxuries. But that's not our kind of stuff. There's lots of people who love that. I like this kind of camping where I can take our stuff with us. Rosa Linda Román (21:10): And at the end of the day, even, you know, if I want to take a shower, have a shower because the camper has a shower, I like that. I like to have those comforts, and a toilet, and a microwave, and a little, little kitchenette. Not really a kitchenette, a kitchen because it's got an oven and a stove. So, it may not be your idea of camping and I get that, but for me it is wonderful and I really, really like this way of doing things. And so, I'm prepping the camper, but it has been a lot longer than I thought. And you know, part of me thinks, “Oh, I'm, you know, I'm running late, and I should be on the road, and I should this, and I should that.” And I try to remind myself of somewhere along the way I heard someone say, you need to stop shitting yourself, which sounds vulgar, but is hilarious when you think about it. Because you know, I'm the one that's determining what we're doing. I'm the one that's setting the pace. I love the fact that the kids got to swim and be here at my in-law's old house and just be joyful together. So, why am I going to be stressing us all out because I had a timetable? Rosa Linda Román (22:26): So, there is Ziva. She just opened the [indiscernible 00:22:27] door. Please close the door so the AC stays in and I'm going to pause this so I can find out what's going on. Okay. All right. So, I'm back. And that was Ziva and Christina, and then, shortly, followed by Samuel all wondering, “When are we going? What are we doing?” And I'm hungry, which is totally fair because I've been starving the children. But I said, we will be done soon. Let's get the last minute things packed up and hopefully, we'll be on the road at least heading to go get eegees in the next half hour. If you don't know what eegees is, then you've never been to Tucson because they're only in Tucson as far as I know. And it's fantastic. It's a sandwich shop that makes fresh, delicious sandwiches. And every time we're in Tucson, we stop to make sure we get an eegee’s because it is awesome. So, we're going to get eegee’s on our way out of town. That's the plan. So, I was trying to put it off as long as I could, but if I don't feed them soon the natives are going to start eating each other and that won't be good for anyone. Rosa Linda Román (23:42): But anyway, I do believe the end is in sight as far as getting some of the stuff packed up. Of course, then, I have to sit my brother-in-law and all his stuff in here too. I'm right now putting suitcases in spots so that they won't go flying when we actually start moving and getting our electronics off of the charging area, the shelf where I have them all charging because that would be when we would go drive. And it just makes, because it really is like when we're prepping to get underway in a boat. At the end of the prep process, I make sure that everything has been secured, put down in a way that doesn't, so it won't go flying when we finally start moving. And yeah, that's very similar. And also, the kids start whining, and are hungry, and tired and, and, and, and before I'm quite ready to go. Rosa Linda Román (24:45): But the good news is once we finally get on the road, they should conc out because they have been swimming and swimming and having a great time, and pretty soon their energy will be all gone because they've been going nonstop. So, I'm going to wrap this up. Hopefully, I will be able to check in along the way. I'm going to try really hard to make a point to have me time in the mornings. Normally, I have my quiet writing time during that time, and so, I'm going to really try to wake myself up early, especially, because my body's kind of still on Tucson, I mean on Austin time. So, I should be able to train myself now before we get too far into this time zone to wake up early. If I can wake up at five, then I could record an episode and do some work on my book, which is what I've been really wanting to focus on and work on, and not just blow it off because if I don't make it a priority and schedule it, everybody else's thing becomes more important and the kids wake up and they want my attention, Samuel, in particular, because he's a little morning boy who likes to wake up early. Rosa Linda Román (26:03): And so, yeah, I'm going to make that commitment to you. I'm saying it out loud so I can't go back on that. And I'm going to just say I am going to make a point to wake up early so that I can do some recordings on this trip and continue work, writing my story, our family’s live aboard story along the way. So, please, yeah, hopefully by the time you hear this I will be like, “Oh, that book has already been published.” And I have like 20 episodes of this podcast already in the can. At least that's what I'm going for. So, I hope wherever you are, your family is having wonderful adventures or friends who are like family wherever you are. So, thanks for listening. If you like this podcast, please subscribe and as the Manic Mommies, my all-time favorite podcast used to say and tell three friends about it. So, go ahead and tell your friends about my New Mexi-Castaways, also known as Rosa Linda's Ramblings. Take care. Thanks for listening. Bye.

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