UPDATE: Thursday 24 May 2018.
And, just like that, our plans change again.
We were all set to continue our adventure and head on up to Oregon at the beginning of May when good old ineptitude set that idea on its head.
When we first arrived here in New Mexico (seriously, within a day of getting back) we went down to the DMV – or MVD or whatever they are calling themselves now – to register our vehicles in New Mexico.
We knew it would take extra time with Irma, as she is not “ours” so the title is with the finance company, so we did this to try and prevent any issues down the road. This was over 2 months ago.
My husband jetted off to his training in Oregon, positive that everything would be sorted out by the time he got back so we could head out to Arizona (he was volunteering at a big expo there) and then on up to Oregon where he had a good job lined up for the 4 months we would be there. We knew it would be more expensive living up there than living here in NM, obviously, but the expenses were worth the final outcome and we’d set everything in motion, ready to go.
Except, when we went down the MVD to check on the progress of the RV registration, we were thoroughly annoyed and disappointed to find that while the MVD had sent off the request for the title (and they had proof of it) a month later they’d not had a WORD from the finance company – not even confirmation that they’d received the request.
So my husband spent the next few days on the phone with various consultants at the finance company, trying to find out what had happened – apparently, they’d received the request but the person who had received it “didn’t know what to do with it” and it had been ignored for the three weeks my husband had been gone.
The MVD put another request in, beginning of April – and they said it would take “about a week”, and this time we called the finance company straight away and they acknowledged that they had received it. And then we waited, assured by the finance company AND the MVD that it would be ready in time for our trip to Arizona mid-April.
The Jeep was registered with fancy NM chili plates (and now she has Veteran plates because of my husband) and we were just waiting on the RV so we could head to Arizona and on up to Oregon.
We waited some more.
About 10 days before we were due to leave, we went back down to the MVD to check on things. Nothing had arrived from the finance company – the MVD staff were very helpful and even searched all the other letters of the alphabet in case it had been misfiled. Nada. They said, call the finance company.
We called the finance company, again, and again were told they didn’t know what we were talking about, until about the third phone call and someone found the MVD request and they said it was “being worked on.”
We knew by this time that it would not be in time to go to Arizona, but were hopeful it would be in time to go up to Oregon together, in time for my husband to start his new job.
We waited some more.
Beginning of May we went back to the MVD and they submitted ANOTHER request for the title, the finance company acknowledged it and said, “It could take 2 weeks or more.” That was cutting it close, but we could deal with that.
We went back on the 14th of May, ever hopeful, and MVD once again searched their files from A to Z but found nothing for us and nothing from the finance company. Baffled, we called the finance company again. They said that they had sent the title (actual paper title) on the 1st of May and that it “should have been there by the 11th of May” and that the problem lay with the MVD.
The MVD checked again, and asked which address it had been sent to (there are three offices for the MVD in our little town) and if there was a tracking number (you would think a vehicle title would at least deserve registered mail, right?) and the finance company said, “Nope, no tracking number.” The address they sent it to was the correct one.
We went back to the MVD pretty much every couple of days to check but nothing turned up.
So we COULD have requested it again, but the finance company then said that it could take “up to a month to process” for a request like that. We’d run out of time.
My husband and I did multiple calculations, weighed up the pros and cons, and came to the conclusion that I would just stay here, my husband would go up for the four months of work and return when it was all done (including an extra week after the work contract for his next NG drill duty) and we’d hopefully save some money and it would all be worthwhile.
If the title miraculously appears while my husband is gone, he will have to give me a temporary power of attorney (everything is in his name, as I am a foreigner, even though I have my green card) and I will have to drive the RV over there to get it checked out and, finally, get the new NM plate for it.
It definitely wasn’t what we had hoped or planned for, but that’s life, right?
It’s a new kind of adventure and one that we will be experiencing separately for now.
It’s like old times when he was active duty – always off on 3- or 4- or 6-month missions.
Plus, the added bonus that I really have to knuckle down and work while he is gone as I have to support myself while I am on my own. It’s a driving incentive – which I sometimes need if I’m honest.
So, the dogs and I will experience our first New Mexico summer (it’s already heading into the 40 degree Celsius range this weekend – over 100 degrees Fahrenheit) but our little cottage is quite cool, and we have a little air conditioner that seems to be managing just fine for now. I’m fine on my own – I’m not a terribly social person anyway – and I have the dogs to keep me company and lots of work to do and even some odd jobs in the yard and across at the main house too. I’ve got plenty to keep me occupied and I will use the time to get back into an exercise regime (yoga, running if possible) and a work schedule.
I will miss my husband terribly – he’s my best friend and one of the few people in this world who I can be myself with – and the dogs will miss him too. Gina will pine for the next few days until she understands he’s not coming back for a bit. But we’ll be okay.
This is all a lesson in going with the flow and not trying to control too much because that just causes you stress. The only thing constant is change, as they say.
And that’s the update, people.
The Vees Big Adventure continues, just not the way we were expecting!
UPDATE: Sunday 15th April 2018.
We’ve been on the road since October 2017 and seen vast swathes of the country in our travels from Georgia to New Mexico and up to Oregon.
We took our time getting up to Oregon, and avoided the busy roads and – as best we could – the taller mountains.
We did encounter some snow, but my husband’s deft driving kept us safe and secure, and Ghost (our Jeep) remained hitched and happy behind Irma (the RV) at all times.
We learned many things about living in an RV, travelling with big dogs, and trying to work out how to boondock safely.
Our dogs have become seasoned travellers, with a few anxiety issues thrown in along the way. We’ve found solutions and we’ve worked around problems with the dogs, our RV, our Jeep and generally living in such close quarters 24/7.
We stayed in Oregon for a few months and waited with baited breath for some snow – it was about as snowy as Georgia. Mostly, it just rained and rained and rained and rained – also, like Georgia.
I got a hands-on factory job in Oregon and I learned quickly and became quite admired for my hard work and speedy acquisition of skills. Unfortunately, I had to say goodbye to the factory ladies and gents as we had to travel back down to New Mexico for my husband’s military training. It was both difficult to say goodbye, and also a little bit freeing to no longer be chained to a timetable that wasn’t of my making.
Off we went down another route back to New Mexico. We drove through Oregon, California (and wow, Northern Cali is beautiful!), Arizona and into New Mexico, staying at various RV parks along the way. It was actually pretty good to be back on the road again. This time I could actually contribute financially, thanks to the money I had earned at the factory and that felt great as well.
The day we arrived in Las Cruces we went straight to Calichi’s to get our beloved desserts, and the dogs their “poochie cones” – we were all addicts. That stuff is like crack, man. You just can’t NOT have it if you’re nearby.
The staff thought it was pretty funny, us pulling up in our RV with the Jeep in tow and leaping out and the first thing we asked for was 6 poochie cones for the dogs!
So, we’ve been here a couple of months now – some with my husband here, working on the Jeep, and for the last few weeks just me while my husband was in training in Arizona – and we’ve been having a good long think about Irma and the Big Adventure.
We’re definitely hanging on to Irma for now, as we are going back up to Oregon in a few weeks time, after passing through Arizona for a few more weeks, and we’ll stay in beautiful, mild Oregon for summer and early Autumn because New Mexico is a killer in the summer and we’re not quite prepared for that yet.
After that… when we come back down to NM? We’re still discussing and dreaming and debating and thinking on that.
I never got the YouTube channel going, as neither my husband nor I could figure out what kind of content two major introverts could comfortably make that would still be interesting to viewers.
We’re private people, in all honesty, and while we wanted to share our adventure, we also wanted to keep our lives to ourselves! A quandary, really.
I would love to get my photography out there, though, as I’ve had such amazing opportunities to take photos of the most beautiful places and I think that might go down well.
I’d like to adventure more here in NM as well, but it’s so bloody hot and there are thorns and snakes and scorpions everywhere and it’s a bit like Australia in that everything is trying to kill you… 🙂
I’m kidding 🙂 It’s not that bad – but it is hot and everywhere we go there are snake/scorpion warnings and we have now bought boots for our dogs because of all the thorns!
So, for now, The Vees Big Adventure is treading water, but we’ll be back on the road very soon so watch this space!
So, it’s a Friday in August 2017, and we just put down the deposit on our RV…
We’ve been researching and dreaming and discussing and deciding for months and months now.
We’ve looked at hundreds of RVs, in various places, and we eventually fell in love with a ’97 Itasca Suncruiser and a ’97 Winnebago Brave.
When everything was fixed and sorted out, the price between the two was only about $500 difference, but we had a long discussion about it – pros and cons of both were heavily investigated – and we decided to go with the beautiful old Winnebago Brave. She has no slide, and she’s shorter than the Itasca, but the pros of this are that there’s less to worry about in terms of things breaking, AND we get to park in places that the much longer Itasca couldn’t. So it’s an excellent compromise for space we lose without a slide and that extra length.
And now our Big Adventure begins!
We’re downsizing, sorting through our belongings, selling the things we can’t take with us (and the things we don’t want to store – for now) and simplifying our lives.
Our three big dogs – Gina, Azzie and Odin – are going to have the WHOLE COUNTRY as their backyard, after years of apartment and yard-less living. We’re going to see places and things that not many do, and we’re going to document it all!
Join us on our journey! Learn with us! See things through our eyes and the eyes of our explorer dogs!
This is The Vees Big Adventure!
We’re in the process of setting up our YouTube channel – link to come when it’s ready!