Hitting the Road

On Labor Day 9/1/2014 Kate and I packed up what we needed, and hit the road to be fulltime RVers and digital nomads. It took 3 months for us to plan everything from renting out our home, to finding a trailer and tow vehicle, and figuring out that Kate would resign her job. This was a quick transition but we made it work and for 6 years we roamed the USA and some of Mexico.

The initial catalyst for hitting the road was due to our dog Zeke. I have talked about Zeke before and how great a dog he was. On a trip to Tucson we noticed that Zeke had started wetting his dog bed. Some quick Google-diagnosing mentioned different things, including cancer. We had lost Bonzai the year before and Ozric the year before so we immediately assumed the worst, but did our best not to say as much directly. It is interesting how people avoid talking about their sadness even while it is shown on their faces.

On the drive home to Phoenix I asked Kate: “If money wasn’t an issue what would you be doing right now?” It was partly to lighten the mood but also a serious question. Career wise Kate was doing fantastic and my website/marketing business was doing well. We had a nice home in central Phoenix and great friends. We were happy, but there was something missing in our lives. We had spent the prior few years trying to have children but it was not to be our fate. Kates immediate answer was: driving around the country in an RV.

In May of 2014 Zeke was diagnosed with cancer and with treatment was given 18 months to live. We were devastated. We started treatment and he responded well, which is not a good sign. 18 months became 12 and then we stopped asking for timelines.

In the middle of this Kate and I had been training for the St George Half Ironman triathalon which involves training 7 days a week. The race was just a few weeks away and we managed to make it happen and both of us finished. It was a great accomplishment but all we could think of was Zeke.

A month later Kate comes home after work and announces: “Labor Day” and I am like “yeah its in 3 months what about it?”. Her reply: “Thats the day we are hitting the road in an RV.” The flag had been planted now we needed to make it happen.

At the time we had a pop-up trailer for camping in. We would hitch up on the weekends and drive into the Arizona mountains. We had been camping in the pop-up for less than a year and had a good routine for making it work. We had been car campers before that, and enjoyed getting into the out doors and away from the city. However, we knew that there was no way we were going to be able to live in the po-up. We would need to find something bigger.

So in the middle of training for another half ironman which would happen in July, and dealing with a dog in cancer treatment: we added finding a trailer to live in to our to do list. We were also going to need to get rid of 70% of our stuff and find renters for the house.

We started looking at trailers with the thinking that a trailer would suit us better than a Mobile Home. The difference is that a trailer has a tow vehicle so there is only one motor to maintain. With a Mobile Home you have the motor that drives the home and then you are also going to want a second vehicle. The reason for this is that once you setup camp somewhere you have to put everything away before you can drive the home somewhere else. In a trailer this isn’t a big deal since you just un-hitch the tow vehicle and drive it to town for groceries. With a Mobile Home you have 2 motors to maintain and neither of us are mechanics.

At first we thought we might be able to use a hybrid type trailer. These are larger than a pop-up but still have sections that pop out and have canvas covering the area. They are smaller than normal trailers and we quickly realized they were too small for our needs. Eventually we found our 29 foot Jayco Jaybird G2 RLS29 (The RLS stands for Rear Living Space.).

Then we needed to upgrade our tow vehicle to something that could handle such a large trailer. We found a Toyota Sequioa that could handle the weight and we both liked that Zeke had space in the back to hang out in. I installed a trailer brake controller and we were ready to roll out!

Then we just needed to get a blog setup, cause thats what you do. Since Kate’s last name is Grass I came up with the totally innocent name of Rolling with Grass. 😎 I wanted to get a big sticker made up for the side of the trailer but Kate shut that down. Alas our blogging career did not take off, mostly due to a lack of blogging, but we had fun with it.

We pulled out of Phoenix a few days before Labor Day and headed up to Flagstaff to camp with friends for the weekend and bid them farewell. Over the next 6 years we would criss cross the US multiple times. We spent 3 different winters in Florida and a couple summers in New England. We took the rig down to Mexico on 2 different occasions and continued living in it until last fall on our land.

2 thoughts on “Hitting the Road”

  1. Ah, this makes me miss fulltiming. Do you think you’ll ever fulltime again? I think we will. It will probably be 15 to 20 years from now, but once the kids are grown I think we’ll be back on the road, though the house should be paid off by then so I’m sure we’ll keep it around as a home base.

    Reply
    • Yes and no, I don’t think we will live fulltime again but we will spend time travelling in an RV again. Probably once we are retired or semi-retired and don’t have to deal with working remotely on the road. It was always hard to work when we were in amazing locations. Also we are really enjoying having separate offices.

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