Overcoming Full-time RV Challenges 15 Years into the Lifestyle

Challenges, never problems,” is one of Jim’s favorite expressions. Lately, life has been an endless stream of full-time RV challenges. All are forcing us to follow that philosophy. Ironically, our 15th anniversary of nomadic living just rolled around too.

Happy 15th Nomadiversary to Us

full-time RVing challenges just beginning
Shameless promotion. June 2007. What a goober.

Good thing we have so many miles under our wheels. These challenges won’t kill us, they only make us stronger. Today we are counting our blessings and thankful for our ability to maintain the lifestyle we love so much, despite the drawbacks and issues that plagued us recently. What could be so bad you’re wondering? Oh where do I begin?

2022 RV Living Challenge #1: Ongoing RV Repairs

We love our 2010 Arctic Fox. Compared to today’s badly built, cheap RVs, Northwood makes one of the best full-time RV living fifth wheels on the market, if not the best. But at 12 years old, our rig needs extra TLC lately. When Jim’s not busy promoting our Income Anywhere book, he’s slammed with a constant stream of appliance and fixture repairs to our home on wheels.

One thing gets fixed, and another thing breaks. As an example, gear that makes it easier for us to boondock in the sticks needs overhauling. I’ll let him tell you more about it, since he bears the brunt of these “blue duties.” For now, these RV repairs have all been relatively minor issues, but still inconvenient and a hassle.

suburban propane RV water heater repair problems
Jim dealing with ongoing hot water heater challenges.

2022 RV Living Challenge #2: Oregon workamping

We had the perfect Oregon workamping gig. It was great in every way, except for one thing: almost no internet connectivity.

Each day we never knew if we could get online. One day we got a signal, the next morning, nothing. We tried hard to improve the situation. Jim installed a tall PVC pipe on the ladder for our wifi antenna. We bought a new iPad with a data plan to see if it would catch the nearby 5G signal.

None of the tech upgrades worked as well as we had hoped. For several days, we walked across the street to hop on the office wifi. On a couple of days we worked at the downtown library.

No internet was one of the most frustrating experiences we’ve ever endured.

full-time RVing challenges of no internet
Surrendering to no internet connectivity.

The beautiful tree canopy above us prevented a signal from reaching our RV DataSat dish. We woke up each day not knowing if we would work in our RV or scramble to get a signal somewhere else. It’s was no way to run a business.

Being committed to the Oregon workamping job location was a frustrating, stressful challenge. Which is too bad because the job was awesome and the site spectacular. But every waking hour put our mindfulness practice to the test. We bickered, and took our frustrations out on each other. It got to be too much. Something had to change. So we quit. This decision didn’t come easy to us. We. Are. Not. Quitters! But we had to opt out to save our sanity, and our income.

Thankfully, our boss got it. Tom tried everything to get a better signal to us, but the city of Portland wasn’t willing to quickly invest money and time on his little park by the river. Tom was so nice, he apologized to us for not knowing the signal was so awful. That was a huge relief. We were free to leave anytime, so we did.

But as Mark Manson says in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, life is just a constant series of exchanging one set of problems for another.

2022 Full-time RV Living Challenge #3: Finding Long Term RV Parking

Is Escapees RV club worth the money?
Yes, being a SKP is always worth the money

You know how popular the RV lifestyle is today, I don’t need to tell you that. Personally I’m thrilled more people are taking to this awesome way of living! After all, much of our income depends on people buying RVs and giving camping a try. I write for Good Sam, RV Life and RV trade publications that share the joys and how-tos of being an RV owner. Jim pitches our book on how to make a living anywhere.

But there’s a bi problem with so many people living, traveling, and working from their RVs.

All of the West Coast RV parks are booked solid right now.

The overcrowded parks situation is worse than ever. More people who can’t afford to live in traditional housing are calling RV parks home. And astronomical fuel prices are keeping full-timers like us from going too far into the sticks. Apparently everyone wants to hunker down.

When we resigned from the workamping job, I called every RV park between the southern Oregon border and the middle of Washington state along interstate 5. My goal was to find a 30-day spot. We need to stay close to Northern California so we can drive down a family wedding in a few weeks. But not a single park between the California and Washington borders had long-term spot for us.

I questioned everything about this lifestyle.

The thought of kicking the renters out of our Colorado duplex and giving up this lifestyle crossed my mind more than once. Why make life harder than it needs to be, I wondered. We are so blessed because we’re doing this by choice, not necessity like so many people.

Desperate for any spot, I called Timber Valley Escapees Co-Op in Sutherlin. We stayed here when we ran the Eugene Marathon. Like most Escapees co-op parks, this one does NOT take reservations. It’s a first-come, first-served situation. But if you get lucky, you can stay up to six months. The park is above-average, and in an excellent location. But the office manager warned us the park was busier than usual.

Since we were only 3 hours away, we rolled the dice. As a backup plan, I booked the longest stay I could find in Oregon.

Our back up RV spot was at a nearby KOA. The cost? $1200 for just 22 days!

Thank dog we didn’t have to pay it. We got lucky. The day we arrived at Timber Valley we scored the last open spot that day. The rent for 30 days? $410!

A huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders. I can sleep at night now. The park has great internet. We get full hookups. And we are close to services we need to run our business, like the post office. Oh yeah, we can leave our rig in a safe spot and drive to the wedding in a couple weeks. As renters, we are free to stay up to six months. Best of all, SKPs here are neighborly and welcoming.

The Situation is Always the Boss

We don’t know how long we will be at Timber Valley. Maybe we’ll sit out summer and avoid record-breaking RV camping crowds. Or, maybe we’ll take our chances and head out. Either way, we’ve never been more thankful to be part of the awesome Escapees organization. Now we’re parked in a beautiful place, grateful to have everything we need.

Just as we’ve done during the last 15 years of full-timing, we’ll keep rolling like ducks in the water. There is always a solution to any full-time RVing challenge. For us at this point in time, there’s no other way to live as far as we are concerned.

And as Dale once said,

Life presents itself a series of opportunities.

The human organism always moves itself
to a more satisfactory state of affairs
as defined by that particular organism in that moment
with very little reference to the past or the future
primarily to the Moment
the There and the Then.

Therefore, that means that
life becomes a series of opportunities
to manipulate the environment
for a more satisfactory state of affairs
as defined by that particular organism.

So live.

So live, so that when thy summons comes to join that innumerable caravan which stomps through time
go not like the quarry slave scourge to his dungeon in the dark of night,
but as the gentle person who sits on his couch, wraps his cloak about him
and takes his most deserved repose.

So live. Live.

3 thoughts on “Overcoming Full-time RV Challenges 15 Years into the Lifestyle”

  1. Oh no! So sorry we missed you when you were up here. Maybe we can make a plan to meet up in Eugene before you head out.

  2. Have you invested in redundant Internet options at this point? We’re currently running AT&T and Verizon sim cards in a Peplink Max Transit Duo. I’m strongly, strongly considering adding the new Starlink for RVers, though that will up my monthly bandwidth cost by another 30%. But, like you state in your article, having no Internet is one of the most frustrating things.

    We’re running multiple writing gigs, programming jobs, building a rally and running a radio station. If I’m down for a few hours, I’ll freak out!

    • 🙂 At any given time we have at least six options for getting online. We’ve written a few times about how redundancy is the only solution for reliable mobile internet everywhere. I’m still troubleshooting some issues with our MobilSat dish, but no satellite connection will help under heavy tree cover like we had at our last spot. And we’re still not sold on Starlink considering how their “mobile” users get deprioritized service.

      Thanks for the comment! Checking out your site now, looks awesome!


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