Happy Monday video!

Alfred’s first time successfully swimming! We’ve tried to teach him before in lakes and swimming pools but he never let go, until now. Happy Monday – enjoy 🙂

Julie, Pomona State Park, KS

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Route to Dauphin Island!

https://roadtrippers.com/embedded/trips/5319858

To Dauphin Island! | My new trip on Roadtrippers.com!

We are gearing up for another beach trip with the Airstream! The midwest is nice, but there is something that lifts your spirit at seeing the ocean. streamer_a is taking an official week off from work. I know Alfred is ready for some rolling in the sand. Happy Labor Day weekend to everyone!

– Julie, Pomona State Park, Vassar KS

Into the Forest

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Summer and rving is busy. At first I thought it would just be a little annoying around holidays and weekends. But now fully into July, we have found most campgrounds and rv parks are packed. Which then I started feeling homeless, thinking I was going to have to live in the Wal-Mart parking lot all summer.

Towards the end of May we bought our 2000 watt generator. My first real boondock was just one overnight in the San Juan National Forest. We got there, took a walk, I cooked a normal dinner, watched a movie, went to bed. The exact same things I would have done if we had a full hookup site. The next morning, we took showers, had hot water, I even used a blowdryer thanks to my new generator. Everything worked out just fine and I started to really consider that boondocking just might not be so bad after all.

The next time we found ourselves to be “homeless” was the 4th of July weekend. We decided to go into a National Forest and just give it a try for a few days. We found ourselves in a lovely valley surrounded by mountains on both sides. From that spot onward I have fallen in love with boondocking.

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I was worried at first about boondocking for a number of reasons. Thinking that I would run out of power, not be able to shower, do dishes, use my computer, or even watch a movie. All of my doubts have been eliminated.

First off power, we don’t have solar panels, but we do have a generator. While boondocking we ran the generator about once a day, for approximately two hours to recharge our batteries. It also runs when I use watt heavy appliances, for example my hairdryer and blender (to make green smoothies!). Things that our inverter wattage can not handle. That power issue is not an issue at all now. Eventually we might add some solar panels and a higher watt inverter. But for now the generator is working and does everything we need.

Water was my biggest worry heading into the forest. The airstream holds 39 gallons of fresh water, how are we going to live for days off of 39 gallons? The average person uses 80-100 gallons of water per day! To my happy surprise we made that water last with flying colors. We did a few things to help make this possible. Highest water usage are two things, showers and washing dishes.

As far as showering goes, you have to do the navy shower. For a person with a lot of hair, this was a bit more challenging. But I wash my long hair and the water still doesn’t run out. I have read from other blogs some people use dry shampoo to save even more water. I have not had to go to that extreme yet.

Dish washing is the 2nd water problem. While boondocking we use paper plates, cups, and plastic silverware. Cutting down the amount to be washed by at least half or maybe more. The only items that then need to be washed are the pots and cooking utensils that can withstand heat. After I dish out the food from the pots, I take a paper towel and just wipe the pot clean. That way when I go to wash it up, it takes an even smaller amount of water to get it clean.

Hand washing and even toilet flushing takes precious water. We brought along a bunch of hand sanitizer and wet wipes to keep hand washing to a minimum. For flushing, spray it down with a water vinegar mix instead of flushing with water.

To add to our water supply we have 7 gallon water totes. Currently we have 3 of them. With our current setup we can go about 4 days on our fresh water tank. Add in our totes of water, we can easily boondock for a week now without much trouble. streamer_a has a water pump that makes filling the water tank from the totes very easy, it is quick too.

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The other item that plays a role in boondocking is propane. During the warm months it is not used very heavily, but you still couldn’t pull off a comfortable week in the forest without it. Our propane runs the refrigerator and is used for hot water. I only turn on the hot water when I am about to do something with it. You would not want to leave it on all day like you normally would with the electric heat.

Just having those few modifications has really opened up the world of boondocking. Currently traveling around Colorado and having all the National Forest at our disposal is very inspiring. We plan to stay here for awhile and continue to venture ‘Into the Forest’.

– Julie, Golden, CO

Canyon Falls

Colorado

We recently stayed at a very scenic spot in Colorado. It was in the Rio Grande National Forest at a remote campground called Big Meadow Reservoir. Here is a quick video of the waterfall that we hiked to find. It was about a 5 minute walk from our site.

– Julie, Durango, Colorado

A few of my favorite things

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Julie’s top 11 favorite items to have while Airstreaming!
(Not in any specific order)

1. Dyson hard floor vacuum
I use my Dyson hand mop every single day. Our dog Afred sheds a LOT. I joke about him having a new coat of fur every day. I’m not sure it is a joke. I have also found a lot of dirt generally comes in walking outside to inside. We did buy a nice rug for the entrance, but it doesn’t capture everything. The smaller space makes you really see the dirt inside and there isn’t very much room for it to go. In our previous house I would only vacuum once a week but all of Alfred’s fur would be spread out and not really noticable like it is in our small space. So this is a must have item to make life easier and cleaner.

2. Heated mattress pad
Ahh, the warm bed. I have never had a heated blanket before. The first night we had this heated mattress pad I thought I might have gone to heaven. It was so wonderful! Espically useful now in the winter months. During the night we can turn down the furnance to around 50 degrees and I’m still nice and sometimes too toasty. The Airstream bed is actually not very insulated. You can feel quite a chill from below it since it is almost directly linked to outside. If you lift it up and have the back door open, TA-DA! The outside is right there. This was the perfect fix to sleeping a lot better at night. It also serves as one more fluffy layer on the bed too which I enjoy.

3. Stackable pots and pans
The storage space for my kitchen stuff seems a bit limited. Most of our plates, cups, cooking pots and pans are all above the counter. But I have food up there as well. I find that with our new pots the removable handle really lets me stack them all. So instead of having 3 pots taking up my whole upper cabinet, it really just uses the space of one.

4. Mifi internet
This is a biggie! We have the Verizon mi-fi hot spot. It has worked at nearly every location we have gone to so far. I’m using it right now as I type this. We are big internet users. From doing our blog, to upoading photos. Online games even work perfectly on the mi-fi. We can be sitting on the top of a mountain in a state park, playing an online game with my brother in Florida. How cool is that! When we were first thinking about doing Airstreaming full time, my hesitation was partly not having any internet. The only down side to the mi-fi is that you pay for every 1GB overage. My beloved Apple TV has really become a thing of the past. I used to download tv shows and rent movies every day. But with the limited amout of data that can be downloaded I have had to change tactics. I have tried going to a local spot with “Free wi-fi!” but they never seem fast enough to download a full show. Unless I want to sit there for 6 hours to download a 30 minute show. The last time we went to a hotel I had my whole list of shows and did a massive download. Or when I have been to a family members home, I use theirs as well for the big downloads. But overall I have been really impressed with the speed and reliability of the mi-fi.

5. Walkie talkies
The fun walkie talkie! 10-4 over and out. These are used mainly when we are traveling from place to place. We use them a lot while driving, since we have two vehicles and have to be separate. Its nice to just press a button and say “lets stop at the next rest area”. Instead of using cell phones everytime. Also we use the walkie talkies when we are parking the Airstream. I will stand in the spot that we are backing into and give direction to which way it needs to go. Also they have been used when going out with Alfred late at night. I have walked around a park late at night when it is dark and have the walkie talkie handy to just say something to Anthony inside the Airstream, or vise versa. It’s just an extra security to always be in touch with one another at the push of a button.

6. Stay put hangers
These are so handy to have. At first you might think… umm hangers? really? But YES, really! After the Airstream has been on the road, every single time my closet of clothes would be all in a pile at the bottom. So annoying to go to your closet after a long day of driving and having everything in a heap and wrinkled. Then you have to take the time to rehang them all, etc. It sounds like a silly little thing, but these hangers have made my life better. My clothes always stay put now when we travel. We have the hangers in both side wardrobes and also our bigger closet, where we hang our coats.

7. Crocs
Crocs were really cool maybe 2 years ago? Well I think they need to have a comeback already. They are the perfect shoe for Airstreaming. You can just slip them on, take the dog outside quick. They can get wet, snowy, muddy, sandy. Just give them a rinse and PRESTO clean and ready to go. I have a pair of nice hiking shoes, but once they get wet, they stay wet. I find it very difficult to dry things inside the Airstream. Especially in the cold weather that we have been in lately. You can’t just leave your wet things outside to dry because they will just turn into an ice cube instead. You also don’t want a bunch of wet stuff inside the Airstream, because a damp stream is a big no no. All our shoe problems were solved with these little rubbery shoes.

8. Micro fiber towels
Towels were also a big problem with dampness. We had great big fluffy towels to use after showers. They were wonderful and soft. But they would never seem to dry. You could leave the exhaust vent on in the bathroom all day long and they still wouldn’t dry out. Eventually after a couple of days they would start to get that musty smell, as if you had left a load of clothes in the washer too long. This was not good. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if I had my own washer and dryer in the trunk of my car but I do not. Going to the laundromat is already time consuming. I didn’t want to make special trips to one just to wash my towels every few days. The answer to this problem was micro fiber towels. They are thin and feel a bit strange to dry off with. They do however dry very quickly! They don’t take up a lot of space in the laundry loads either. They are a real win win for Airstreaming.

9. Folding bikes
We actually purchased the bikes before the Airstream. We saw a blog post from ‘Where is Kyle now’ and he had a folding bike. So we went ahead and ordered two of them for us. The only difference that I can really tell between the folding bike and a regular bike is that the wheels are smaller which makes your turning radius a little different. But these bikes are so cool! I can just fold it up, put it in my trunk and away I go. The folding/unfolding process takes only a minute or less. I have been using my bike nearly every warm day so far. I look forward to using it even more with the summer weather. I suppose we could have bought a hitch to put regular sized bikes on the back of the Airstream while traveling. But these bikes fit in the bed of the truck. Super easy for anyone to use.

10. Kindle
To be honest I had a Kindle before we started Airsteaming. But the Kindle is the perfect book for a small space. Sometimes I miss the feel and smell of a real book. Streamer_a got me the new paper white Kindle for Christmas and I am in love. I’ve always been a reader, ever since I was young. There is something about sitting outside your Airstream on a warm day reading that is just wonderful. The new Kindle has a backlight feature which is very nice. The Kindle can have hundreads of books on it which otherwise would fill up the space of the entire Airstream. So huge space saver and fun to use.

11. Small space heater
The space heater in our ‘stream has saved us hundreads in propane, I’m certain of it. We upgraded to a larger space heater then we started with. The one we have now doesn’t get hot to the touch which I thought would be safer with Alfred playing around by it on the floor. The heater really keeps the space in the Airstream warm. When it is really cold outside the furnance will still come on but half as often with having this little heater running too.

There are other things we have bought since starting this journey as well. I just wanted to do a quick update with my favorites that we have acquired since the start. Do any other full-timers have a must have item that we don’t know of? Reach out to us on Twitter.

– Julie, Colorado Springs, CO

High-Altitude Exercise

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I have recently been wondering why exercising here in Colorado is so much more difficult than it was in Alabama.

For example, when we were in Dauphin Island, I ran nearly a 10 mile run. Well actually it was only 8.98 miles (I keep track of all my activities in Runkeeper). But it was the farthest I had ever ran before. Awesome mile stone achievement for me. Running along the beach for the first time too! That was most likely the motivator that got me to do it.

Now we are up in Colorado Springs. The day after we arrived I tried going for a run and it nearly killed me. I ran 1.62 miles and was completely out of breath the majority of the run. I’ve always heard ‘there is less oxygen at high altitude’. So I just figured that was my problem, my body just wasn’t used to this elevation yet.

Fast forward a week. I just went for a run and did 3.10 miles. Now yes I did double my last mileage amount, but not very gracefully. So this has made me wonder what is going on?

After a quick google search I have found my answer from Active.com

“It’s not the lack of oxygen that makes your body work so hard at altitude. It really has to do with the barometric pressure. Even at 10,000 feet, there is still 29 percent oxygen in the air, and out of that 29 percent you only take in around 10 percent of the oxygen you breathe. The big challenge is your ability at altitude to extract the oxygen and get it into your bloodstream at altitude.”

If you read on in that article, it basically says my body needs to make more red blood cells. Which then has all sorts of other benefits than just being able to go for a jog out here.

I will just keep training and my body should adapt to being in the high altitude. Easier said than done! But it does sound like the benefits could be worth the work.

Julie, Colorado Springs, CO

 

Alfred the Pouncer!

Anthony recently came home with a new flashlight. I quickly found out that this light has a laser pointer feature, which then turned into Alfred chasing it around. I thought this was so hysterical that I had to video it and share!

– Julie, Alma, Arkansas