Are you so sick of travel pictures? Well, if you are…good news, this is the last one. I am going to answer some of your practical questions regarding living in our trailer for a month.
What kind of trailer do you have and what do you use to pull it? It is a 25 foot 1966 Avion. We drive an older Suburban and it pulls fine.
Does the trailer have heat and air? It has air, but we didn’t use it on this trip. Oklahoma is so much hotter, so we might use it more when we camp locally. It does not have heat, but we used a portable heater when needed. I don’t do well in cold weather, so we don’t plan on camping when it is really cold.
Does it have a working shower and toilet? No. It has a shower and toilet, but they aren’t connected to anything. We used the showers and restrooms where we camped. Not every place had showers, but every place had a version of a toilet. Remember, we are okay with rustic. This did mean we did not take showers daily (or even every other day at times), which would really bother some people. The weather was cold so we didn’t sweat much and a baby wipe can go a long way for cleaning 😉
How did you plan out your trip? We picked a handful of key locations to park the trailer (Tetons, Shoshone, Glacier, etc.) and used those as our base camp to explore local areas. We didn’t plan much other than that. Once we arrived we talked to locals and park rangers. Since we had about 5 days in each spot, we were able to really explore and take our time. We never felt rushed, which made a big difference in the overall feel of the trip. Due to finances, we didn’t do many things that cost money…lots of hiking and nature exploring instead.
When you drove how many rest stops did you take? Too many. At one point I thought about making every person under the age of 12 wear a pull-up. Instead we just made a million and two potty breaks. Since our kitchen was connected to our car, we tried making sandwiches and such in the trailer during long drives instead of getting fast food. We’d just pull up to a grocery store, park far from the store and eat lunch at the table in the trailer.
How many clothes did you pack? Did you do laundry? We don’t have tons of clothes because I do laundry everyday anyway…so we don’t need a lot. I packed everyone 2 pairs of pants, one long sleeve shirt, and one jacket. The boys took several pairs of shorts and t-shirts. The girls took several dresses. We packed light, but should have packed more cold weather items. I packed a bunch of tank tops and only wore them twice. Under the beds in the trailer are plastic bins where I stored our clothes. We did laundry whenever we could find a washer and dryer…which was a handful of times.
What did you eat? We only ate at restaurants a couple of times, which is more than we do at home. We shopped at local grocery stores and markets. I tried to stock up at each location so we weren’t trying to find something each day. I fixed most of our meals using a griddle or electric skillet in the trailer. We also used the campfire for several meals. Most campsites have picnic tables so we ate outside instead of in the trailer the majority of the time. The trailer has a full size refrigerator, so we were able to have cold goods. When we went from one place to the next I put all our cold items in insulated bags with frozen water bottles. We washed dishes at our campsite or at designated places at the various campgrounds. The kids did lots of dishes. My mother-in-law LOADED us up with snacks before we left, so I never had to think about buying those. We still have some left!
We did pack our ‘fancy’ coffee machine and I had my normal yogurt concoction for breakfast every morning. Keeping little routines like those helped it feel more like home.
How did everyone sleep and what did the sleeping arrangements look like? Sleep was great. The kids liked all being in one room each night. We were so active all day long and didn’t get in the trailer for bed until late each night, which meant everyone pretty much just crashed. We had a big bed up front for Chris and me. We created a large bed across the back for the kids – 4 slept on the top and one below (top part is pictured below).
What were your biggest expenses? Gas. I’m not even sure what we spent on gas. We mainly did free things and we bought a national park pass so it would be a one time fee since we will use it again this year. Our grocery bill was about the same and RV parks are much cheaper than hotels. Gas was our biggest expense.
How did the kids do? They did so great. They are all getting more mature and independent, so that helped big time. Our oldest daughter is the only one that verbally said she missed home, though I am sure the others might have too. Of course there was fighting and arguing, but no more than we deal with at home. The cold days where we were in the trailer were the hardest. The boys wanted to wrestle and it was just a tiny space for that. One day I had them create a Wrestling Rules & Consequences Contract that they all signed. Really though, it was a beautiful time for our family. I’m not one for pretending life is perfect, but to say that the trip was just dreadful and we couldn’t wait to get home would not be true. It will live on as one of our family’s fondest memories.
I’m not sure that I answered every question. It was hard finding them all throughout those older posts. If you have another one, ask it on this post and I’ll try to answer those when I get back from Africa!