When Life Changes Your RV Travel Plans (And Yes, We Have New Plans)
For the past few weeks we’ve been scrambling to change up our summer plans. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but it’s just what it is. We’ve had unexpected stuff come up and now we need to make the changes to accommodate it. This is life and as those of you who read the blog regularly know, life doesn’t stop for RVing. So planning for the unexpected (and how you deal with those changes) is just part of the package.
In our case what’s happened is that Paul has some health issues going on in his family, which are going to require some major life changes over the next few months. There are a lot of practical details to be worked out (which require him to be in Florida) and there’s a fair amount of uncertainty, as these things go. There’s also a bunch more to it of course, but out of respect for the person going through the life change, that’s as much detail as I’ll give on the blog.
What it means for our RV travels is that he has to fly home in May for 2-3 weeks, possibly more. Plus we need to stay relatively close to a major US airport and keep June open in case more things come up and he needs to fly home again. After that, who knows?
Scrapping Plans Is Part Of RV Life
When stuff like this happens I’m honestly deeply thankful that we have the flexibility of lifestyle to be ABLE to make these changes.
I’ve written many times before about the freedom of RV travel and how much we value that. But in my mind freedom is not just about gallivanting around the boonies in our birthday suits (although it can be!). It’s also about being able to use that freedom to tend to our lives and the lives of those we care for. The true value is that it provides for both scenarios.
So we plan and we plan, and if something comes up we simply scrap those plans entirely. It’s no different than what we’d do if we lived in a regular “stix and brix”. Being in an RV just (sometimes) makes those changes a tad more convoluted. In addition to whatever life change you’re dealing with you’ve got to figure out what to do with your rig, your pets, your partner etc. Most of the time you can’t just drop everything and leave them where they are.
RV Storage Is Always An Option (Just Not For Us)
In cases like this a lot of RVers choose to put their rig into storage, and for many this is an easy, fast solution. Some RV parks actually offer this option (it never hurts to ask), as do some membership parks (e.g. Escapees, Elks), but there are also LOTS of RV storage lots around the USA which cost anywhere from $30-$300/mo, depending on location, security, environmental controls etc. Worst case you can usually find a monthly spot at an RV park somewhere and simply leave the rig parked there. Then just drive your tow to the airport (and leave it in long-term parking there) or take an Uber and you’re good to go.
When going into storage it’s a good idea to empty your rig of foodstuff, clear out the fridge, turn off your propane and disconnect your batteries (unless you have solar or hookups). You’ll have to do more if you’re storing your rig somewhere it might freeze, but generally that will be enough, especially if the storage is shorter term. We’ve never done this simply because we refuse to board our pets, but we have many RV buddies who’ve stored their rigs while they’ve taken care of life issues.
Note/ For more tips on RV Storage see Technomadia’s excellent article HERE.
You’ll Have More Flexibility If Both Of You Can Handle The Rig
The other option when something like this comes up, especially if there’s two of you, is for one person to stay with the rig (and pets) while the other person flies off to handle whatever is going on. This is the option we typically choose (specifically because of our 12 paws) and it brings up another key item I’ve discussed several times on the blog before.
When we first got the RV, being the fiercely independent Scandinavian chick I am I wanted to make sure I could handle everything in the rig on my own. So, I learned to drive the rig within the very first few months and made sure I knew how to hookup, dump etc. There is nothing I can’t handle on the RV and that’s exactly the way I want it.
This has come in handy many times in our fulltime RV travels, most particularly when Paul had his back injury in 2012 (that prevented him from doing anything) and also the various times he’s had to fly home for family emergencies. He’s never had to worry about leaving me anywhere (even if I have to move the rig while he’s gone), and that just gives us one less thing to worry about, and a lot more flexibility and freedom to change plans when unexpected things come up.
Note/ I’m a huge supporter of gals getting behind the wheel so if you’re on the fence and need some inspiration, check out this awesome post from The Snowmads on lady drivers.
Having Other Option(s) To Move Your Rig Is Good Backup
If you’re traveling solo or you’re not willing/able to share the driving load (for whatever reason), I think it’s really important to have other options for moving your rig should you need it.
Friends may be able to help, of course, depending on where they are and there’s even places you can hire folks to drive your RV. But for medical emergencies, I recommend having some kind of travel assistance as part of your yearly RV coverage in case the main driver is no longer able to function. There are lots of programs that offer these kinds of services (such as FMCA FMCAssist, Good Sams TravelAssist etc.) and they not only provide emergency transport to your home state for your own medical needs, but will also help transport your RV, companion and pets, if you have them. These plans are inexpensive and really, really good backup.
Our Switch-Up And New Summer Plans
When this new life scenario came up, we discussed a bunch of options trying to decide our best course of action. We definitely weren’t willing to leave our rig and board our pets, so we had to think of other ways to handle it. Should we drive the rig all the way to Florida? Or should I stay west and just let Paul go home? Where would I be able to stay if Paul flies away? Do we cancel all our Canada reservations? How do we stay *most* flexible?
Like all things in life there are lots of possibilities and no “perfect” solution (well, unless you happen to be psychic)
What we decided to do, at least for now, is that I’ll stay west while Paul flies home, and since we love the PNW (and Portland is a great airport to fly to/from) we decided to stay close(ish) to there. So we’ve scrapped some of our CA travel and accelerated our travel plans to Oregon. I’ll stay in Portland for ~3 weeks in May, then I’ll be driving out to Cape Disappointment State Park (only ~2 hours from Portland) to start a 1-month solo volunteer job in June. The lighthouse is closed this year for renovations, but Steve (the volunteer coordinator) has an opening for me to work at the Lewis & Clark Museum, so I’ve decided to snap it up and go from there.
July is still a total unknown so we’ll just have to deal with that later. Most likely we’ll need to cancel our Canada plans (although we’re holding onto some of our reservations until we hit the cancellation window) and it’s also likely Paul will join me in Cape D for some (or even all?) of the time I’m there, but we’re leaving everything open until we know more. The most important thing is that my May/June plans are “fixed”, which means Paul is free to focus on what he needs to do without worrying about me or the pets.
So there you go. Another change of plans and another set of uncertainties, but we’re embracing it as we typically do and will just see how it goes. As the saying famously goes it’ll all work out in the end, and if it’s not yet worked out, it’s not yet the end. Hey, it’s life and this is exactly what our RV flexibility is for.
- My Blog -> The Darker Side Of FullTime RVing? 5 Thoughts To Ponder Before Making The Leap..
- My Blog -> Does It Ever Get Bad? Our Top 6 Road “Incidents” & How We Survived With Our Sanity In-Tact
- My Blog -> On The Road Again & Girls At the Wheel
- Technomadia -> Tips for Storing Your RV When You Need to Leave it Behind
- Snowmads -> Queen of the Road: RVing Ladies Share Their Best Driving Tips