Yet ANOTHER thing NOT to do while camping…..

So the other night I was cleaning up and I smelled a funny smell. I thought I’d dropped a piece of meat and it was rotting or a mouse crawled up inside somewhere and died. I really didn’t think much about it and went on with my day.

I’d left to go do something and when I came back, the rotten smell was worse. I began to tear apart the camper looking for the offending smell. I opened the windows and lit some candles to try and cover it up.

Fast foward to next morning – I get up and am going about my morning routine and I smell the smell again. I was getting pissed that I couldn’t find it. I was putting the dishes away and I pulled up the towel on the stove (I’ve been just putting a couple of towels over the burners of the stove for a drying rack since I have no space for a real one) when I noticed that the burner was not turned off! I’d been smelling propane! For 16 fucking hours! While smoking and having candles lit! Thank God I had the sense to keep the windows opened. Feeling a bit lucky today.

100 Things NOT to take on Your Camping Trip

  1. A leather hole puncher.
  2. An ice bucket
  3. The change you have been saving for 23 years.
  4. Wrestling shoes.
  5. Antique guitars
  6. Blue mason jars.
  7. Shot glasses from the 1903 Worlds Fair.
  8. 25 rugs.
  9. 2 years worth of cleaning supplies.
  10. 3 years worth of charcoal
  11. 4 years worth of paper plates.
  12. 22 bottles of liquor.
  13. 4 wireless mice without the transmitters.
  14. 87 phone chargers.
  15. 3 comforters.
  16. Extra outlet covers.
  17. Ethernet end pieces.
  18. Unmatched socks.
  19. A non-working printer.
  20. 42 screwdrivers.
  21. 4 laptops
  22. 16 towels.
  23. 4 huge containers of laundry detergent.
  24. Halloween decorations.
  25. Christmas decorations.
  26. 150 wash rags.
  27. 3 brooms
  28. 3 sets of sheets.
  29. 250 dryer sheets.

If you count the multiple items, it’s way over 100. Living on the road and pseudo-hoarding don’t mix. The key to successfully living in your camper on the road is to learn how to embrace your minimalist self, and if that doesn’t exist – to find one at your local discount store and have it installed in your right lobe.

I can’t turn around without knocking something on the floor, It’s ridiculous. Every storage space in the camper is full, the truck bed and back seat are full and I still have to stack stuff outside. I thought this would be a good cure for my thrift store addiction, but it hasn’t.

I have gotten better at throwing stuff out. i no longer pretend I’m going to fix it later, install it on Wednesday or reorganize it on the weekend. If I can’t find a place for it or it isn’t working 1000% correctly at the moment, it gets chucked or put out on the picnic table with a FREE sign next to it.

Simplicity is pretty complex.

Breaking away from the Hideaway

So I finally broke away from the campground I’ve been staying at since November and moved on. I arrived in Statesville, GA yesterday at 7am just in time to get set up for work. I’m staying at the Mill Creek Equestrian Center outside of town and it’s amazing – 140 acres of horse pasture, lake, forest and housing for the owners and workers. They give riding lessons, board horses and have a horse camp for kids. My buddy is the assistant manager for the place and invited me to come stay for a couple of days. Some pictures below.

Frustration and Drama Arrive

I almost didn’t get here. I got so frustrated on Wednesday night trying to get everything ready to go I about started to cry. I got everything packed up and was getting ready to hook up the trailer to the truck. This is about 9pm, so it’s dark and I’m working against a time deadline – I don’t want to make a lot of noise past 10 so I’m trying to hurry. I couldn’t get the stupid sway control bars put on for the life of me. They just weren’t going in. So it was getting close to 10 so I decided stay and give it another shot in the morning. I think the issue was how the camper and truck where with regards to alignment but it was too hard to see and I was getting pissed. It wouldn’t have mattered, I couldn’t find the hitch pins anyway. Aargh. Sometime I just want to kick myself.

and more arrives….

So then I couldn’t get the truck to disconnect from the camper – the hitch latch was not moving up as it should. I cussed and yelled and finally just got in my truck and tried to go to sleep in the truck. After I while, I went back to the camper, moved the monitors to one side of the bed and made a little room for myself to sleep.

When I got up, I had a slightly better attitude but I still couldn’t get the sway bars connected. I decided to see what it was like to haul the camper without them and took off towards Stateboro. Well, my phone died and then the light on the camper stopped working so I stopped at a stop sign and remedied both of those issues.

The camper didn’t sway too much without the bars, but i didn’t drive much over 50. I obviously made it to Statesboro in one piece.

But the silver lining appears….

Luckily my buddy know a lot about trailers and hitches and hookups so I am going to engage his assistance. Funny story – I was on my way home from one of my Augusta excursions and was driving through Statesboro when I got a message on Grindr. It was from my buddy from Des Moines. A few years ago he and his partner moved to Stateboro for a job, but I didn’t really know at the time exactly where he was going so I didn’t know he was here. It was great to reconnect and timely as I needed a place to park for a couple of days and some assistance with my trailer so it all worked out for the best.

I’m much more relaxed now and don’t have the desire to throw it all down and go back home. I was pretty frustrated.

Remodeling Lessons Learn(ing)ed

So I can’t be without at least 3 projects going on simultaneously without completely losing my mind. One of the three that I’ve been working on lately is remodeling the camper. It was very cramped and crowded in there and I didn’t really have enough space so I decided to remove the dinette and turn it into an office and then flipped the bed around and make a bench put in a credenza and give myself a little more space. I constantly trip over shit and I’m constantly swearing it everything and I thought that a little more space would be good for everybody involved (you know voices in my head). Below is a picture of what was before and what is now and how I created a bunch of space.

as you can see, I’ve created a little more space as you walk in the door and a lot more space with the dinette used to be. One thing I didn’t mention is that I converted the shower into a closet I just shower in the campground showers. I’ve also taken it upon myself to paint the entire place. I’ve chosen a nice light black almost a gray for all of the cabinets and a deep blue for accent walls and then a nice gray for the rest of the walls I’ve purchased a decal that is the night sky. I’m going to place around the bed as that wall curves up into the ceiling. I’ve placed rope light and sporadic fashion across the ceiling so I don’t really have the overhead bright lights that a camper provides and added a few other lighting additions to make it nice. I still have way too much stuff and I can’t seem to get everything put away at the same time so everything’s always just kind of messy and I start a project and everything gets put everywhere and it becomes a problem lol.

The challenges that I found when painting a camper especially when you’re living in it: If you want to take the cabinet doors off, you only have room to put one somewhere to dry so taking the cabinet door off, painting it on one side, allowing it to dry turning it over pinion the other side, allowing it to dry turning it back over repainting the first side turning it over repainting the second side takes about four days, it was making me crazy so I gave it up and just started painting with the doors on. There’s nowhere to put anything so in order to paint you have to move stuff around they’re just isn’t room so unless you have a lot a large outdoor space that you know it’s not gonna rain. It’s really difficult to do painting in a camper that you’re living in. The paint store is about 35 minutes away so I’ve had to go back there three times because I’ve run out of paint and I decided one of the colors I got it first I didn’t like so that’s been also a challenge if you don’t have the materials. it’s been a project though.

The other thing I learned about being in a camper is that you constantly have to recheck the seals on the outside because the rain will come in and the sealant that you put up there won’t last forever. In fact I sealed before I left and it already needs to be resealed again. I looked outside after a storm the other day and there’s plastic like Camper sealant all over the place and it’s almost depressing. I really hope that I’m not destroying the inside of the camper and it gets moldy. I’ve taken the suggestions of some online forums and purchased two dehumidifiers – one of them is doing a really good job in the bathroom and the one in the main room doesn’t seem to be collecting any water – so I don’t know what’s going on with that. I think it might be broken, but it’s important to keep the humidity in the camper or it will start to mold especially if you cook and shower in the camper.


I’m definitely liking my new strategy of staying in one place for a longer period of time rather than jumping around each week.

After Lake Meadows in Missouri, I spent two weeks in Canon, Georgia at a campground called In the Woods. It’s a private, membership based campground that sits deep in the woods in the mountains of North Eastern Georgia. The road to get the campground was narrow (single vehicle), dirt and covered by trees and bushes. A bit intimidating for me but I made it in and out.

The coyotes howled each night and boy they were loud and close. The campground was a mix of short term, medium term and long term campers and there was a definite sense of community there. Very helpful and friendly folks and nice surroundings.

I think I’ll be back.

After Canon, I headed south to Collins, GA – again pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I had previously reserved a spot at the Hideaway and of course arrived late. They kept the office. open for me and once again I set up in the dark. Getting pretty good at that.

Like the campground in northeastern Georgia, this one too has great community. It is run by a guy and his mother, and they have really made a nice spot. There are several areas with RV sites, tent sites, and big motorhomes, and they also have several cabins and a bunk house that can be rented. There is a pool, a hot tub, a community club that opens as a bar on the weekends (more on this later), laundry facilities and several showers.

There are residents here that started out as campers but didn’t want to leave so many people are here full time. They have a bunch of activities that they put on (just got back from a pot luck today) and damn Georgia likes to decorate for Christmas. There are more lights here than Vegas, I swear. It’s pretty set up. Liking it so much that I booked an extra month here which will have me here from October

Interesting fun fact: The county I’m staying in doesn’t have any bars. Well, except for one. And it’s in the campground that I’m staying at. Evidently the laws just don’t exist yet for serving alcohol here yet – It can be sold (but only in packaging stores) but it can’t be served. Unless it’s a private event/party/location, which this is but they can’t charge. So when the bar is open here, it’s free. Evidently the campground owner has been working with county officials for years to figure out how this could work and it’s in the works, but has been a long process. In the meantime, I’ll drink for free!

(as a side note, I can’t believe it took me so long to figure out this county had no bars!)

Northern Georgia

So I’ve spend the last two weeks at a campsite in Northeast Georgia. This one’s a bit more rustic than the others – it’s in the middle of the woods in the middle of the mountains right next to nowhere. It’s very relaxing. The campground has a pool, a club house, walking trails and some really nice people. Very peaceful. I’ll be back.

Tomorrow I leave for Southeast Georgia where I will set up camp until December 23rd, at least. It’a about a 3 1/2 hour drive so it will be an easy day. The weather is supposed to be really nice (like 70s) so I’m looking forward to a drive without the rain.

The weather here has been amazing – 60s and 70s the whole time. It rained a couple of days but it hasn’t been real cold.

I had a coffee incident a couple of days ago. I was reorganizing the kitchen and I dropped my coffee maker on the floor. Oh the drama without coffee! I quickly replaced it, got the same on that I broke, it’s this Keurig single cup model in red. I love this thing – so compact and efficient (unless you drop it).

My Propane supply is lasting pretty well – I replaced both cannisters when I got here and am still on the same one. I’ve used the heat some nights, and cooked with it but it seems to be lasting longer than before. Not sure why.

I used to worry that my refrigerator wasn’t getting cold enough but the opposite is true: It has been freezing everything. After doing some research I found out that there is a little slide next to the condensors in the back that is supposed to control the temperature. Moving it around doesn’t seem to be helping. I’m defrosting the freezer today in the hopes that it will help but I”m tired of eating frozen lettuce. Aargh.

Help along the way.

I can’t say enough good things about Airtable —->

This tool is halfway between a spreadsheet and a database and is the most user friendly software i think I have ever used. It allows non-technical users to create banks of data that is useful for them. It also allows techy type people to add interfaces, scripting and extensions that integrate with anything.

I built a database for this trip that includes everything I need – campgrounds, routes, camper inventory, appointments, gas expenses, the whole 9 yards and then does a nice job of summarizing things with not a lot of effort on the part of the user. Probably my #1 online favorite tool.

Another tool I’ve been using is ChatGPT by Open AI. It’s become invaluable by helping me arrange travel, come up with reasonable routes given my timeframe, making camping reservations and keeping me out of the cold weather (well, mostly). Check out a tidbit of a ongoing conversation I’m having with the tool. It’s helped me immensely.

Not only has it helped me with routing and reservations, it has generated all of the state images you see on the right side. These are original images that I created using ChatGPT and the Dall-e plugin. I keep the requests in the same chat window and everytime I request a state, a new image is created using the same style as the others.

Day 8: Catch-Up

Is it only day 8? It honestly seems like a month at this point. After yesterday dragged on for an eternity, my sense of time has been completely shattered. I’ll get you all caught up (since my last post disappeared mysteriously, I must have forgotten to click save).

Day 1: I left at 2am after getting the water link/sink fixed in the bathroom. I wasn’t too worried about leaving at night, I thought it might make the traffic situation a bit better. It did. I made it to nearly the border of Iowa/Missouri where I stopped at a rest stop off of I 35 and slept for the night.

Day 2: I headed towards my first destination, Bolivar, MO just north of Springfield. I stopped in Sweet Springs because they had a spa and soaked in the hot tub for a few hours – my muscles were so tensed up from driving – I must say that it’s nerve-wracking pulling a trailer for the first time. The spa was super relaxing and afterwards felt ready to tackle the road.

Somehow I lost track of where I was going when the phone died. I kept going in the general direction but when the phone finally came back up, it had me zig zagging on very narrow country roads which pretty much nullified the good the spa did. This also made me late and I didn’t arrive at the campsite until 8pm. So not only will this be the first time I’ve setup the camper, it will have to get done in the dark.

I drove around the campground for a good 1/2 hour looking for my spot. Could not find it for the life of me and finally called Teresa, the campground manager for help. She directed me to my spot, which was in between two already landed campers in a row of very tightly packed sites.

I set up the camper as best I could and went to bed.

Day 3: I worked until 5 and then had to reset up the camper. It was crooked, to close to one neighbor and backwards (connections for water/electricity/sewer were on the wrong side. With Chris’ help over the phone, I got it all setup except for the sewer which didn’t look right. More on that later.

Went to Springfield that night to get away for a moment and have a drink. Found a cool little bar that was having Karoke. Bartender was super friendly and made a good Long Island Ice Tea.

Day 4: Worked and continued to clean up the camper which was a total wreck. I had hit some bumps on those country roads and everything in the camper had been thrown around and the little glass I had was broken. My makeshift shelving in the bathroom had fallen over and there were clothes covering every inch of the bathroom. This cleanup effort would last until the end of the week, just in time for me to have to pack up and leave again.

Went to a local hardware store in search of a sewer hose part that I seemed to be missing. Finally found it, but by the time I got back to the campsite, it was too dark to deal with it.

Day 5: Finally got the sewer hooked up, but not without a bit of drama. I had purchased this cool attachment that has a place to put a hose so that you can easily rinse out your black water tank (the poop and the pee) without having to bring a hose in and stick it down the toilet. It hooks on the the sewer outlet and the hose hooks on the other end. Pretty slick. Thought I was super smart for hooking it up right away instead of waiting until the end when the job would most surely be really shitty. So I hooked up the new hose with the coorect end to the rinser attachment and opened the dam gates. Here comes a flood of really not very attractive brown color water gushing out (the attachment tube is clear) and then it abruptly stops. Like nothing is flowing past the rinser attachment.

I search for a valve or something and nothing. I did note a little piece of plastic on either side of the attachment and came to the conclusion that it had a seal on it like you would find on peanut butter or salad dresssing. I mean, really? Are they afraid my poop might becoming tainted? Shessh. Now I have a problem. I shut the dam gate so there was no more flow but I still had this tube of shit full and ready to well, you get the picture. So again, Im stuck. I’m not unattching the tube without rubber gloves or a bucket. And I have neither. So its off again to the hardware store (the next day) to get the needed supplies.

Day 6: Ok, this time the sewer gets connected and it runs. i held the bucket underneath the tube (with the rubber gloves) and unattached it from the hose. Next I pulled off the plastic tamper-proof seal (god it made me feel good to know my shit tube was safe) and………

……. it all went in the bucket. No more drama to this story, thank goodness. And i finally got the sewer hooked up the day before I leave.

I spend the rest of the night buckling up the camper.

Day 7: Time to pack up and go. The neighbor sees me struggling to hook up the truck and comes over to help. Nice guy. He and his wife bought a camper for $5000 and moved in to it and then realized it was all rotted out. So he’s got tools and saws and wood all over his spot and is trying to make all of the necessary repairs. Meanwhile, they have two teenagers who were just removed from their dad’s home (they are the wife’s) and are now living with them in the camper. 4 adults, one small camper. I don’t feel so crowded all of a sudden.

So it’s raining, of course. It’s been raining for two days now. The only thing worse than packing up a camper in the rain is pulling a camper in the rain. It’s miserable. I feel like I’m hydroplaning all over the road and everytime a semi passes me (and everybody is passing me because now I’m that dude driving 50 in a 70mph zone.

I stop several times to catch my breath and throw up a little and it’s starting to get dark and I’m in a town called Poplar Bluff. I’m cold, wet, tired and grumpy and decide to splurge on a hotel with a hot tub. It was nice but the hot tub was lukewarm, half-full and there were like 4 jets. Whatevs.

Day 8: Most definitely the worst day so far. This day sucked so bad…….

As I left the hotel parking lot I hit the curb with the camper wheel and I’m sure threw stuff around. The rain continued and was pretty heavy at times. I traveled through Missouri and into Illinois and then into Kentucky. I didn’t get very far when I decided to stop at a gas station for a little break in Paducah, Kentucky I went in, and when I came back out I noticed the camper was leaning heavily to the left. The tire was blown! Aargh. I start making phone calls.

On my first call to AAA, the agent informed me that I didn’t have an RV membership. I pulled out my RV Membership form and called back. The second agent told me my membership had been cancelled. As I was on the phone with him, another call came in and it was a third agent informing me that she had it all worked out and was looking for a tow truck that could haul a single axle camper.

While I was waiting, I called around and found a tire at wal-mart about 6 miles away but I needed to get the wheel off and had no jack. So I drove to wal-mart, bought a jack and some jack stands and went back to the camper. Got the wheel off and rushed off to Wal-mart to get the tire put on and when I got there, they didn’t have a tire. Nor did they have a wheel with a tire that would fit my camper. Aargh.

I left and stopped at Tractor Supply and they had a wheel with a tire on it (I needed a spare anyway). Rushed back to the camper and with the help of a very nice man named Mike was able to get the new tire on the camper.

Kentucky gets 5 stars for friendliness. I was very impressed with the people there.

Back on the road and headed towards Nashville around 8pm. I got close to the campground but was worried about getting in too late and dealing with setup in the dark again so I stopped at a rest area and slept for the night.

Day 9: Got into the campground at 7 am and was setup by 7:55. Made it to work with 5 minutes to spare.

Non-eventful day. Went to dinner after work at a nice place after work since I hadn’t eaten a square meal in a couple of days. When I got back to the campground, I had a voicemail from the manager that we were going to be freezing over the next three nights and to disconnect my water supply at night so the faucet wouldn’t burst. I’m supposed to far enough south to avoid the freeze at this time! Aargh.

Day 0

I have a f****^%#%^*ing water leak. I cut my finger and was looking for a bandaid and noticed it was a bit damn under the sink. A little more research revealed a drip from the cold water feed. With a little help from Chris, we are repaired but am not a fan of last minute drama. And it was a mess to clean up. I finally got to bed at 4 am. Was having some doubts but Chris reminded me of the snow coming and that totally energized me to get the f out of dodge

I’m Getting Close to Liftoff

I took the week off of work to prepare for this strange adventure and to help my brother clean up some things on the farm. I spent the week cleaning, organizing, going to the dump, going to Goodwill and endlessly rearranging the camper. I know I’ve packed too many things, but when I think about what is now gone, I’m not being too hard on myself – I got rid of a lot. Like (30) 30 gallon garbage bags of clothes. Countless electronics, knic knacs, stuff that belonged to my parents, my grandparents and my great-grandparents.

Even though I got rid of a lot, there were certain things I felt I needed to purchase in order to make this a successful trip. Here’s a list of things that I believe will make this transition easier.

monitor mount

Monitor Mounts for the monitors I’ll be using for work. I found these to be very reasonably priced and very sturdy. They are an easy mount and the monitors fit flat against the mounted wall yet pull way out when I want to use them. They tilt, turn, twist and rotate just about any way that you could think to adjust a monitor and they stay put when you want them. Great buy.

Also in the technology mounting category, I bought a Microphone Mount and a Base so that could be easily adjusted and out of the way. It works quite well. And of course, we can’t forget the camera, so I bought a mount for that too.

camera mount

They say that travel trailers aren’t really meant for full time living and one should worry about excess condensation which can cause mold. Something I’d never considered but a micro dehumidifier should solve that problem. Seems to be working great in my driveway testing.

Something to help me get rid of flies in rainbow colors.

Ice maker

Because I love my ice maker so much, I had to have one in the camper. I’ve been testing it out for the past few weeks and it make nice thick cubes quickly. Not a lot of noise and easy to use. I get mesmerized by it – watching the water turn into ice is for some strange reason highly interesting to me. I know. I’m weird.

I ended up completely remodeling the dinette – taking the table and cutting it in half to make an L-shaped desk. I, of course needed a keyboard tray so this is the one that I got. Sturdy yet affordable. Very happy so far.

keyboard tray

I know, I know, pictures. I’ll take pictures very soon. I just want the rig to be in as finished of a state as possible before presenting to the world.