We had a pretty terrifying experience last night. A massive cold front blew across Kansas creating some really big storms. You know, the dangerous type of Midwestern storms that line up with I35. Laura grew up seeing what these cold front storms could create and we were a little worried being out in the middle of sort of nowhere. We are parked at Hillsdale lake still, with the camper pointed north/ish. The weather that day was a beautiful 87 degrees, beautiful, sunny and deceiving. It created the perfect recipe for a monster storm.
We returned home from errands at approximately 5pm. We were under a severe thunderstorm warning at that point, but nothing had arrived yet. At approximately 5:15 a tornado watch was issued until 1am. The cold fronts that were driving these storm bands brought massive temperature changes. It dropped 25 degrees with the first band and 20 degrees more overnight. So the temperature went from 87 down to 45 in a matter of hours.
As the first cell was bearing down on us John was outside frantically trying to set up the tripod and DSLR for some killer storm footage. The cell was moving so fast he only had enough time for one pan shot and he barely got inside before the rain hit.
The first band had warned Penny Size hail, and 60mph straight line winds. The penny sized hail thankfully didn’t happen, and we were not that concerned about it as penny sized rarely does any damage. The wind is what scared us the most, we got every bit of the forcasted 60mph. The slide toppers were snapping and the rig swayed A LOT. Thankfully, no one in the RV park tipped. We went to check after the first band passed and we didn’t have any damage. We were really grateful for that. We had consistent wind gusts of 25mph until the next band. Our slide toppers seem to snap and create the awful noise at about 30+ mph.
The second band had warned of quarter sized hail, and 50mph winds. Neither of which hit us directly, we were really fortunate that time. The wind gusts did kick back up to about 30mph, snapping the slide toppers yet again. The temperature dropped another 5-10 more degrees with this band.
The wind howled all night, and the slide toppers woke us up many times. We have been reading articles lately to see at what point we need to leave the RV, minus larger hail or a tornado. Some articles claimed that 80mph on the nose would be ok since that is what the RV is used to traveling at for some (not us, we top out at 60mph). Others indicated broadside winds in excess of 60mph. Broadside are typically more dangerous because they are pushing on the side of the RV. We debated pulling the slides in to protect the slide toppers, but with this storm we just did not have time. If you have enough time, from what we have read, we recommend bringing them.
This was something that came up so we decided to add it to our planned video for today. Originally the subject was about awkward questions or comments we receive from family or friends. Here are our best attempts to answer them, from our perspectives. Please keep in mind that when people ask these questions or make these comments, we are not offended. We do our best to explain the scenario. Sometimes people just don’t understand what it means to be an RV Nomad!
Awkward Comments or Questions That Full-time RVers Frequently Get:
1. There’s this neat hotel you can stay at when you get there. The parking lot is big enough for your RV. What most people think of when they hear that you are traveling in an RV is that you won’t be comfortable staying in it. So they want to give you an alternative. While this comes from a place of genuine concern, and this may not be true for all RVers, we are very comfortable in our RV. We chose this rig because of how home-like it feels. We have a full living room, full bedroom, full kitchen and bathroom. While it is fun to stay in a hotel, like most people, we enjoy sleeping in our own bed :).
2. You should go see so and so, whom you have never met: if we drive 1,000+ miles, it’s only XXX miles away. Typically we do a lot of research before picking the next stop, whether it is a Walmart or an RV Park. We plan travel days to end in certain places. When we are stopping for the night at a Walmart, it’s a really bad idea to detach the vehicle. Most business frown upon leaving a detached fifth wheel in their parking lot. If it is a case where we are making an overnight stop, it is not safe to leave the pets alone as they do not have access to air conditioning. Also, at the end of a long travel day, all we really want is a quiet night of sleep so we can get back on the road in the morning. While we appreciate the gesture, it can be difficult to meet up with people on these nights.
When we plan a longer stay at an RV Park and we drive a long ways to get there, we really like it when people come to see us. This is not because we are being lazy and don’t want to drive the extra miles, it is mostly because we don’t want to get road fatigue or burnout. Please understand that when we ask you to come see us we genuinely would like to see you, but we don’t want to drive an extra few hours. Also, when we do this, we likely have to bring our pets because they are on an 8 hour cycle of needing to go outside – and that’s a stretch. We do try to plan to stay near friends or family when we can, and still work.
3. Come Stay With Us–
While food and lodging is essential to human need, we actually travel with food and lodging. This is basically like asking a friend who lives nearby to come stay with you and offering to feed them long term, if you look at it from a housing perspective. While it is very kind, it’s also really awkward and mildly insulting. We love to socialize, and love to hang out for dinner or a movie, but we like to go back to our own bed, it is our home. There are times when we really do need a place to stay if the rig is being fixed, and we will definitely reach out if that happens. In the meantime, consider us as a normal friend or family member that just wants to hang out with you, and go back to their home at the end of the night :).
4. I know so and so is hiring, you should go talk to them since you’ll be in the area.
We have a challenging, fun, creative, full-time job currently. Thank you for the offer, but we legitimately love what we do. Working typical jobs did not work for us in the past, that is a big reason we began this adventure. Also, traditional jobs don’t usually let us travel as well, or they have training/probation periods that keep us in an area much longer than we would like. We do appreciate the offer, but we have finally started working towards something we truly enjoy that includes a lifestyle we are not ready to give up.
5. Come stay on my driveway–
This is incredibly generous and there are scenarios where this can work, especially if it is out in a more rural area. Suburban areas or neighborhoods can be terrifying to navigate at the end of a long travel day. It would also be like parking a semi in front of your house. Most driveways are narrow so we would end up blocking people, or the rig would be too big to actually fit in the space. Other concerns as far as navigating a neighborhood include low power lines, tree branches, tight corners and other things that can damage our house on wheels. While we were in Washington we stayed with John’s aunt for a few days. She had a perfect setup on the side of her property where they used to park logging trucks. This worked out well because it was not blocking anyone, the streets were wide enough, there were no over hanging trees or low power lines. It was a pretty perfect scenario to park the rig and not bother anyone in the neighborhood.
6. When are you going to stop RVing or traveling?
Hopefully never. For us: that’s like asking someone who bought a house a year ago, when they will move out. Or like asking someone when they finally found their dream job, when they will quit.
7. All RVs are crap: we didn’t buy the RV just to be living in an RV.
We bought it for the lifestyle and freedom. So fixing it comes with the territory. RVs are not an investment, which we do partially agree with. Financially it is not an investment. For the Lifestyle it’s a major investment. It’s a total game changer for people like John and I. We would rather live in a house we can park on a Florida beach that needs work more often and doesn’t hold value as well.
8. “You should buy x,y,z”
Living in an RV, we have come to like fewer things. The smaller/lighter/more functional the better, or it doesn’t make the downsizing cut. Barbecues, Smokers, household sized items, kitchen gadgets, large TV’s can literally be the arch enemy of RVing. The space is small and the weight we can carry is not much. We are very creative with the things we choose to keep in the rig. We really appreciate you wanting to get us something, but please don’t buy us stuff unless you know that we actually need it. Space and weight restrictions are extremely important.
A lot of these comments are made to us not realizing that we set up our lifestyle on the road to be independent. So we rarely require additional lodging or travel assistance. Just like many people do not with their own stationary homes. But like many people with their stationary homes, we would love to show you our home on wheels. If we are going to be nearby please let us know, maybe come over for a campfire. We love to cook dinner for others and have some good conversation. Lastly, please know that when we become shy about answering, it is usually because we know our lifestyle is different and most don’t understand it. However, we are happy to talk about it, and happy to be RV Nomads.