It has been months since I have seen my parents and children. My trip to Louisiana was canceled back in March due to COVID-19 and I was at the point that I needed a break from all the bullshit and was ready to take a trip. Because we live in our RV full-time we are able to take our house with us, so on Thursday, May 14th we headed to Florida. We only drove to the other side of Montgomery as we usually only drive around 4-5 hours before we stop. We don’t like doing 8-9 hour drives. We thought the worse roads we had ever been on were in Louisiana, but going through Birmingham about beat us to death. It hasn’t been that long since we drove through there, but the first time in several years since we drove with the RV attached. It makes a big difference.
We stayed at the first park we stayed in back in 2015 when we began our RV journey the first time in full-time travel mode, Montgomery South RV Park. The park has expanded since 2015 as they have installed several more lots. It was nice to get a pull-through, which all their sites are and it was long enough that we didn’t have to unhook as we would be back on the road before 8:00 am Friday morning. We only drove about two exits before getting off on Exit 142 at Priester’s Pecans. I had ordered some pecans in the mail back in April, but my mom talked about wanting some, so I stopped to get her a 5 pound bag. It would have been cheaper to order online and have them shipped. Found out the sister runs the physical store while a brother runs the online shop and since they don’t get along too well, there is more competition to see who can make more money than they other.
Once we were back on interstate, it wasn’t long before we were pulling into my parents house, arriving around 11:00 am. We only have electric hook up there, but our holding tanks hold the waste and we dump once we’re back on interstate in Alabama. Unfortunately only one daughter was able to join us and she only had 1 kid with her, but we made the most of our time together. On Friday night, we grilled steaks and had everybody over in the RV. I had to do a makeshift table to sit at, but we made it work. One thing I forgot about traveling in the RV is how much it takes to set up and take down each time you move it. I will have to get used to that again if we make too many more trips as it took a lot more time than I remember it taking to complete those tasks.
On Saturday, us girls went for a much needed pedicure while the guys worked on our A/C’s that are not functioning the way they should be. They needed some freon added and 1 of them needs a new mother board. Still having trouble finding the replacement part, but not giving up. We also went to Kohl’s to do some shopping and I’m happy to report that the clothes I bought fit perfectly when I got home. Due to COVID they won’t allow people to try on clothes, so I was taking a chance with all the weightloss as to what size to get. I picked this one correctly. After some shopping we ended up at Joe Patti Seafood to get some shrimp, not only for dinner, but also for me to put in my freezer for the future. Nothing better than fresh ocean shrimp. I also got the hubby some oysters, which he got to enjoy when we got back home.
We were supposed to split our return trip into Sunday and Monday, but we decided we would do the entire drive back on Sunday. I didn’t do any of the driving, but was extremely exhausted by the time we got home around 6:00 pm. It took a few tries to get the RV back in its spot, but without either of us killing each other, we got it done.
Just about every time I am around my Florida child, she wants a photo shoot of either the family or the kids and this trip was no different. She only wanted pics of Madi done, which I was more than happy to do, as she is a gem to photograph and is changing and growing up so fast that I want to have the memories of her childhood as much as her Momma does, if not more.
My 3 favorite poses are below. I can’t believe she is almost 7 years old. She is not a little baby anymore, instead she’s becoming a little girl who is growing up way too fast. She’ll be in second grade next year.
Oscar, (pic from breeder)
Our life would not be the same without our two dachshunds (a.k.a wiener dogs)! When we first moved into our RV we didn’t have any pets, but once we took to the road we decided we wanted to add a fury companion, so we started with a puppy. I know your thinking a puppy, in an RV, are you crazy? Yes we were! We picked up our first, what was supposed to be a miniature dachshund, in March 2015 that we named Oscar. He was 8 weeks old and had the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. He was only 4 lbs and we thought we had hit the lottery. He is now 17 lbs and not so mini. He was the hardest puppy to potty train and never did learn to use pee pee pads indoors, so rainy days are crazy days, but that’s a story for another day.
Harley, the day we brought her home!
Oscar did not like to be left alone, which I attributed to him being a puppy, but my husband said it was because he was lonely and needed a playmate, so puppy number two came into the picture in July 2015 at 6 weeks of age. This time we got a girl and she became known as Harley and was the darkest chocolate-colored weenie I had ever seen. At 7 weeks she was only 2.10 pounds and also suppose to be a miniature; however, there is nothing miniature about her as she is a plumb 20 lbs. now.
Over the last two years we have learned a few things about living with these two magnificent animals and can’t imagine what our life would be like without them. Although they spend the majority of their day sleeping and being lazy, they still provide much-needed entertainment for us. They are more than just pets, they are our babies and life would not be the same without them.
They became fast friends!
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LEAVING DOGS IN THE RV
On days that we want to venture out to sightsee, go fishing or just need a break, we leave them in the RV. When they were still puppies, we left them in a crate, which they hated. They did not like being confined to a small space and living in an RV, which is a small space in itself, didn’t really provide much space for a gigantic crate. The solution for us was to use what we had bought to use for an outdoor playpen inside the house. It provided a bigger area for them to move around in. We added their pet bed, a blanket and some toys and they were now good to go. We also leave the television on with their favorite DIY channel playing, which helps to block outside noises. We also leave either the A/C or heat on, depending on the weather, to regulate the temperature. The way we look at it is if we were still in a sticks and bricks house we would leave our dogs at home so what is the difference? This is our home and they have never known anything else, so they do well.
Although most days we leave the dogs at the house when we venture out, there are some days that require us to be gone for more than a few short hours, so we find a local doggy daycare to leave them at. In addition, this gives them time to spend with other dogs, just like children need to interact with other kids, dogs need to interact with other dogs. In the event we ever have to leave them in a kennel overnight, I would rather them be use to the idea of that atmosphere than be put into a situation where they feel alone and scared in an unfamiliar setting. They both love being at daycare and are excited when we drop them off and just as excited when we pick them up.
EXERCISE AND OUTDOOR SAFETY
We take the dogs out many times a day and spend quality time exercising and playing with them. The most important thing to remember is that most, if not all, campgrounds require dogs to be on a leash at all times. I cannot express how important it is for everyone to keep their dogs on a leash. The last thing you want is to witness a dog fight because someone let their dog run free. I see it in every park we have ever stayed at and it drives me crazy. When your outside, set up a playpen area, if allowed, and let your dog get some fresh air. Do not tether your dog outside and go back into your RV. Tethered dogs can get loose and/or tangled up and most parks require you to be present if your dog is outside.
We have a truck and fifth wheel. We have never once thought to let our dogs ride in the fifth wheel on travel days for several reasons. One, it is too hot. Two, the roads are too bumpy and the poor babies would be thrown all over the place. The safest place is to have them in the vehicle with you. Ours ride in the back seat. I have two small puppy pads, one on each side, that provide a softer area to rest on plus a blanket and toys. Harley is the best traveler I have ever seen. She never makes a sound. Instead she sleeps most of the time and only gets up when we stop, which we do every couple of hours to give them both a chance to walk, stretch their little legs and relieve themselves. Oscar is the whiner of the bunch and hates to be in the backseat. He would rather ride up front with the passenger so he can see what’s going on, which we do allow for a few minutes every hour or so. Once he gets his special time, then he will lay right back down and sleep as well.
Enjoying the backseat on travel day!
It is very important to keep your dogs shots up to date. The only place that has asked for proof of rabies was at a park in New Hampshire, but I’m sure there are other places that will ask as we continue to travel to other states that we haven’t been to yet. You should keep your pets records with all your other important documents, so they are easy to locate when needed. When we are going to be in a place for more than a couple of days, I also look for the closest veterinarian office just in case we have an emergency. We learned this the hard way after Oscar was stung by a bee, had a swollen face and had to be treated. In our experience, in order to leave our dogs at doggy daycare or for an overnight stay, the kennel cough vaccine has been required. Some locations might not be prone to fleas, ticks or heartworms, but as a precaution we pre-treat our pets for all three. Either a google search or a call to a local veterinarian can provide information as to whether the area you are visiting should be of concern for these pests and if so precautions can be taken.
I saved the most important thing about RVing with dogs for last….etiquette. More and more people are becoming less concerned about what they do affects others. However, when you stay in an RV park or campground we need to remember that we are not the only ones there and not everyone likes dogs. We need to show consideration for those people as well. All dog owners need to pick up after their dogs. I think we all should have stock in the poop bag industry to recap all the money we spend on those bags. The last thing anybody wants to do when having a nice leisurely stroll, especially at night, is to step in dog poop. Pleeeaaaassssseee pick up after your dog! In addition, do not cut through another campsite especially with your dog, and don’t let them pee on the neighbors flowers or anything else in their yard. Another thing that irritates your neighbors is a dog who constantly barks, especially when your gone. If you’re not sure if your dogs a barker or don’t want to believe it when your neighbor tells you your dog barked all day long, then set up a video camera and record your dog when your gone. We wondered how our dogs behaved while out, so we did just that when we were on our trip in New York. We bought a wireless camera that we could view from our phone, which allows us to watch the dogs, to see what they are doing all day. Not only do we see them, but we can hear them and we can talk to them as well. It provided peace of mind knowing that they were fine and slept more than anything.
RVing with dogs is possible and can be a great experience for all involved. Our life wouldn’t be complete without our furbabies and the enjoyment and companionship they provide is undeniable.
As of June 2016 we will be back on the road full-time. Although our time here in Tallahassee has been great, having my daughter and grandkids nearby, I’m too much of a rambler and my need to move is getting the best of me. Our first trip out will be for three weeks from Tallahassee to Louisiana and back to Pensacola to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday. Once we get through that, we’ll be headed up through Georgia, the Carolinas and more all the way to Niagara Falls and then over to the east coast and back down to Tallahassee. I’m excited for this trip as we will be seeing so many new things that neither of us have ever seen before. I will post pics and information along the way, so check back often for updates.
See you on the road…..
We have decided to hang up our traveling shoes so to speak and sit idle for a while. Although we have loved our travels over the past 7 months, it is best for us to set down stakes for a while. We will be moving to Tallahassee, Florida to be near my kids and grandkids. This move will also put me (Anna) back into the workforce, but something I’m beyond ready to do. Although I enjoyed traveling around in the RV and seeing areas of the country that I hadn’t seen before, to be honest, I’m just not sure this is what I want to do long-term, especially at this stage of my life. I feel like I’m missing out on my kids and grandkids lives more so than before we started this. Family has always meant something to me and being near them was always important. I lost that when I moved to Nashville back in 2009 and in the past few months it has become even more real to me just how much I do miss my children and how much I want to be nearer to them. Just how long we will be in Tallahassee is debatable. For right now the plan is to put down roots and see what happens as time goes on.
To all of you full-time travelers – I sometimes will envy you and sometimes not. I wish you safe travels and many memories to be made with your family and friends.
I will continue to post updates on our website as to how life is going as we will still be living in our RV as we have gotten accustomed to the small quarters and I love my little house, especially now that we’ve finished all the remodeling. So keep following us and I will definitely be following many of you as I have enjoyed seeing the beautiful sights of the world through your eyes.
Right before we hit the road in March we decided to add a pet to our life. At the time it sounded like a really good idea, but now I’m not so sure and need some help and advice. When we brought him home he was only 8 weeks old. He weighed just over 4 lbs, had blue eyes and was totally adorable.
Enjoying his ride home on the day we picked him up.
On the first night he ended up in our bed. Yes you read that right….in our bed. I know from past experience that is NOT a good idea, but the alternative was to hear him cry all night and my sweet husband was not having that, so Oscar got to sleep with us that night and just about every night since. He sleeps at the foot of the bed and for the first several weeks he got up at least once in the night, sometimes twice for a potty break. Lucky for me that has changed over the past couple weeks and he usually sleeps till at least 6:00 am.
As for sleeping, he does that a lot…. And he looks so cute doing it. I mean really who can resist this adorable face? The pic below was taken one day while we were loading up to pull out of a campsite and he was looking at me with such a sad look.
We thought we had bought a mini, but after his most recent visit to the vet, I don’t think he’s a mini. He has more than doubled his weight from when we brought him home weighing in at 10.8 lbs today. The following pic is the most recent I have. He looks so long spread out in my lap, which is his favorite thing to do, other than laying in daddy’s lap.
Other than a couple of times that we dropped him off at doggy daycare, he pretty much goes wherever we go. I’m beginning to think we will never begin to fully enjoy the RV lifestyle and actually be able to venture out to see the sites in the areas we visit, which brings me to my question for all of you readers. What do you do with your pets when you want to get out and explore? Is it better to have two pets, so they have a playmate? Are you RVing with puppies or adult dogs? If you started out with one as a puppy, when did it get easier?
Thanks in advance for your advice.