Grooming a Dog while Living in an RV

One of the challenges we’ve faced while living in an RV – with a dog – is keeping up with Frodo’s massive grooming needs. He’s part poodle, which means, his hair grows by the minute. Which is of course, one of the reasons he’s named after a Hobbit… But anyway, I digress.

Frodo could really use a full haircut every 2 weeks, but we tend to stretch it out to once a month. When we lived in a house, we groomed him while we sat on the floor of our bathroom. It wasn’t comfortable for us, but it worked out well enough. While living in the RV, we groom him in the hallway and vacuum the hair as we go. By the time we are finished (almost 45 minutes later), we both have a lot of body aches and have trouble walking any other way than hunched over. It’s definitely a challenging experience.

Today, we had the pleasure of grooming Frodo while standing up! Meaning, Dave and I were able to stand the whole time! It was… leaps and bounds easier!

Here’s a quick “Before” glance as the grooming was just getting started.

Before

The trimming has already been underway here, but he’s still quite the furry beast.

Before Continued

Almost an hour later, our Puppy is reappearing!

During

What a difference an hour makes!

After

Seriously, what an amazing experience. I wish every RV Park would provide a dog grooming station! It’s a little thing that is actually an enormous thing. Not only does this RV Park have a grooming station, they put thought into how they arranged it. It’s outside, but shaded, off to the side, and gated. Because it’s off to the side, we were not able to see foot traffic of people walking round. It’s really it’s own secluded area, which is GREAT when trying to avoid distractions while grooming. There’s a table, electric outlet for clippers, and a wash basin. I see a real bath in Frodo’s near future!

Special thanks to J&H RV Park for being such an awesome place for dog owners! We really appreciate it!

Current location: Flagstaff, Arizona

Summer Heat Wave – Or Alien Invasion?

Our attempt to escape the summer heat has us currently hanging out in Flagstaff, Arizona. However, the weather lately has been wonky everywhere and this time Arizona isn’t being excluded. Flagstaff is about to hit record high temperatures in a few days.

It’s time to break out the big guns! Reflectix – you’re my hero!

Summer in an RV

Technically, this is something we should have done ages ago, because it helps in the Summer AND Winter – but it’s one of those things that we haven’t had time to do until now.

All the pieces of Reflectix are simply wedged into place so we can easily take them down when we head to get groceries.

Summer in an RV 2

Other RV’ers swear by Reflectix and we can already tell a difference in the inside temperature, just a few minutes after having our window coverings in place.  We’ve also lined a few shelf areas to protect items on the shelf from the incoming heat.

Reflectix is a super quick, easy, and cheap way to help add additional insulation to your RV when dealing with unusual high or low temperatures. We used almost an entire roll (48′ x 10′) for our needs and the cost was only $26. You really can’t beat that for the additional comfort it provides.

What – Don’t You Vacuum Your Dog?

When it comes to living in a Tiny House, it’s both super easy to keep it clean, and, it can take only a few minutes to get dirty. Thankfully, Frodo doesn’t mind his role the process. Whether it’s helping to keep our home clean – or get it dirty! He likes that part… but I digress…

Usually when we get back inside after being out, we simply wipe Frodo’s paws with a dry towel, leave our shoes at the door, and we’re good to go. Sometimes we have to use some water on Frodo’s paws if the dry towel isn’t enough. However, the last few days we’ve been at the Flagstaff KOA (in Arizona) which has made things extra challenging from the “traveling with a dog” perspective.

Frodo at the Flagstaff KOA

This park is just… dirty. Yes, it’s a park, but, it’s a very dirty park. It’s mostly dry sand – everywhere. And sand loves to hide in paws and fur.

Since we vacuum Frodo during his haircuts, he’s used to the vacuum and doesn’t mind. It just seemed natural to simply vacuum him off before going back inside. I can’t imagine what our neighbors were thinking…

Current Location: Flagstaff, Arizona – Elevation 6,910 feet.

Just One Reason Why I LOVE My RV

This is just one of the many reasons I love living in a RV. All of these photos were taken less than a mile from where we are currently sleeping.

This photo is from yesterday, taken from my cell phone (Kudos to Samsung! The Note 5 takes amazing photos)!

1 Arizona Landscape

Today, for the first time since we’ve been in Kingman – my real camera came out to play (all the photos below are from my camera).

The scenery we experience while we walk our dog is gorgeous.

2 Arizona Landscape

There was just something about this tree that caught my attention.

3 Arizona Tree

This photo below is similar to the one above from my phone, but this one was taken with my camera. I was comparing… Again, this is just a few steps away from our home on wheels…

4 Arizona Landscape

I wanted the Mesas in the background for this shot, but that didn’t quite happen. Oh well.

5 Sharon and Dave

Another try for a selfie with a cool background. Nope, didn’t work. That’s okay.

6 Another Selfie

Home Sweet Home. And back to my point at the start of this post. No matter how lousy I am feeling, by living in a RV I get to see a little something different – even with just the simple task of walking our dog. Home is always close, and so is adventure, even a mild one if that’s all I’m up for (which sadly, thanks to Gastroparesis, is usually the case). But by living the way we do now, I’m never house-bound, even when I am!

I love our home. It’s the best one we’ve ever had!

7 Home Sweet Home

April Showers in Kingman, Arizona…

This is what we get for trying to avoid too much rain. This is the view from my window today.

April 10 Kingman Arizona

It’s not too bad actually, it’s just that it’s been raining for several days and we have about five more days to go before we get our Arizona sunshine back again.

As a quick catch-up for readers, we left Grover Beach, California early. Though it’s a pretty place in pictures and sounded like a good place to be, it isn’t. Cold, damp wind does not do this body any good. I got sick while we were there and felt awful pretty much the whole time we were there. As soon as we were a few hours away from the coast I began to feel better. Low humidity is awesome. I’ll take dry skin and hair over body aches any day of the week!

Though we’ve been in Kingman, Arizona for a bit, we have not checked out the area or done much but catch up on an overly long list of to-do items, and for me, rest and recuperate. I had a bit of a health crisis recently with my condition (Gastroparesis) and so I’m just focused on healing and resting. We will have time to explore later. In fact, I’m almost grateful for the rain, as it feels like my job is to just relax, read, and watch TV. The only real downside to rain is muddy paws (not mine, Frodo’s).

That’s pretty much it for our update! Time has a way of melting away when you’re not feeling well.

The Makings Of… A Little Free Library

Today was an amazing day. I accomplished a handful of things that made me extremely, joyously happy. For one thing, I now have a library card for the local library in Lake Havasu (as a full-time traveler, most counties will not provide such a gift, but as I’ve said before – Lake Havasu is a very special place). And, as I left the library, I left with an amazing book haul of purchased books – as much as I could carry in my arms. Yes, I did this. Yes, I still live in a van. But no, these books are not for me, they are for my library. Yes… my library.

This is how many books I can carry at once.

Little Van Library Book Haul

Shopping for our Little Free (Van) Library was so much more fun than shopping for myself! And since I purchased these in the “Friends of the Library” room, the money I spent goes directly toward supporting the local library. Besides, this amazing book haul cost me $6. Local Libraries are one of the best used bookstores ever that everyone forgets! 

Okay, let me back up a little bit now and give some background. What is a Little Free Library you ask?

A Little Free Library is a book trading zone, usually setup in front of someone’s house, or place of business. The person who establishes the Little Free Library buys or builds a location to house the books, and then will usually collect some books to kick things off, or donate from their personal collection. After that point, it should be fairly self-sustainable with people following the rules of the slogan, “Take a Book, Leave a Book”. You can take a book now, leave one later, pass along the book you picked up from one Little Free Library and return it to a different one (which Pays it Forward), or give to a friend to read. Basically, you share the joy of reading. It’s very simple really. 

I first heard of Little Free Libraries years ago and have wanted one ever since. I love sharing books with people, and I love talking books. Once we decided to travel, I figured there was no way we’d ever have one of these. I mean, who ever heard of a Little Free Library that moves? Well, you have. Now YOU have. Because we are making this happen.

A few months ago I mentioned to Dave that as crazy as it would be, I would still love to have a Little Free Library. I told him I knew it wouldn’t be possible, we most certainly do not have the room for it! But his response was priceless. His eyebrows shot up, and he told me the idea was brilliant. That’s pretty much all it takes for me to start brainstorming solutions. So that officially kicked things off.

The trick is, we live in a 22′ foot van. What would we use to store the library? They’re often pretty bulky (see examples here), and they need to be able to sustain being outside in the wind and rain. And for us, they need to be able to be transported on a regular basis.

At this point, we were committed to figuring out some way to do this, and some way to make it fit in a cargo box. So, we moved forward with obtaining a cargo box, which added 16 cubic feet of storage to our van. Wohoo! It was like adding on a basement! Do you know how LARGE 16 cubic feet of storage is when you live by way of spare inches? It’s ginormous! But I digress…

As much as I would love to have a super cute, adorable Little Free Library, like this one we saw in Columbia, Missouri – we knew we needed to be more creative.

Little Free Library

It’s taken me months to figure out a solution, but now that we have, we are just a few days away from having this fully setup!

Storage BoxOur Little Free Library will be housed in a Sterilite Storage Box, and available for use outside our van on a portable camping table that rolls up and fits in our cargo box.

This covers the weather issue, and the portability issue. Because the box is see through, books will be visible from the outside. Before you think I’ve abandoned the cuteness, don’t give up! I have absolutely not!

People will need to know that this is not just personal property, but something that is there for THEM to use and enjoy!

I have made some colorful attention-grabbing flyers for display next to the library box. I’m still working on the final touches, but I’ll go ahead and show you a sneak peek:

LFL Fliers

No, don’t bother trying the domain name, it doesn’t work yet silly! (Edited to add: The domain works now – yay!) I’m still working my way through my to-do list, but I am just too excited about this to not blog about it.

Anyway, the flyers. I’ll have a few of those printed next to the box of books so it’s clear, the books are meant to be touched, taken, and read.

This has been an amazing project to pull together, but now that we have the cargo box, the book-storage box, and an idea of what to do – I am very excited. It makes perfect sense to me to have a shareable bookshelf just outside my van door, ready for one and all to take, borrow, share – and talk books.

Our Little Van Library is almost here! Just a little more yet to do… stay tuned!

Lake Havasu City, Arizona is Nature’s Etch a Sketch…

Lake Havasu City in Arizona has to be one of the most beautiful places in this country. The appearance of the sky changes continuously all day long and is a bit like nature’s version of an Etch A Sketch.

The view of the clouds over the mountains in the distance, the color of the sky, the shape of the clouds – it just never stops. It’s drawn, and re-drawn, and re-drawn, over and over again. I stare at the sky often and just feel better when I do.

And sunrise? It’s breathtaking. And sunset? Even more-so.

Lake Havasu City Sunset 1

These photos are from tonight’s sunset.

Lake Havasu City Sunset 2

And yes, it’s like this every day.

Lake Havasu City Sunset 3

Every. Single. Day.

Lake Havasu City reminds me of the movie The Truman Show. The sky seems too beautiful to be real, as though we’re witnessing a staged production all day long.

Lake Havasu City Sunset 4

And of course, Lake Havasu has more than just sunsets, there are really cool cars. There are classic cars everywhere here, and though this car doesn’t fit that description, it caught my attention. It has character, oodles of it.

Lake Havasu City Cool Cars

Someday soon I hope to capture some of the amazing classic cars here, but until then, goodnight…

Lake Havasu City Sunset at Dusk

Basking in the Quiet at Craggy Wash in Arizona

Is the rest of Arizona as beautiful as Lake Havasu City? Throughout the day, I find myself staring at the sky, the mountains, and clouds.

Clouds and Mountains

Every few minutes the scenery changes and I wish I was better skilled at landscape photos, but, that’s Dave’s speciality. I usually take better photos of people or things. Like our van.

I took this photo shortly after we arrived at Craggy Wash, our home for the night.

Boondocking at Craggy Wash in Arizona

No, I do not miss having a house thank-you-very-much. I mean really, what is there to miss from a house?

In related news, over the past few days I learned I do not need Hot Water. Honestly, the fact that we don’t have hot water right now has been no big deal at all. I’m shocked that I feel that way, and I’m grateful for this little life-lesson. I thought hot water was a necessity. Apparently, it isn’t for us.

After dinner I sent Dave to grab some of his amazing sunset photos. He didn’t disappoint. Can you believe that sky? Thank you Arizona, you’re being an amazing and gracious host!

Craggy Wash Sunset Photo by Dave

 

Chilling Out in Lake Havasu City, Arizona

It looks like we’ll be staying in Lake Havasu City for a little while longer. Though our Hot Water Heater was working a tiny bit, it is now completely dead. Poof. It lives no more. As of yesterday it had a little life left in it and the manufacturer was going to send some parts our way. By last night, the Hot Water Heater was totally dead, so we went back to the local shop we’ve been working with, and more parts are on the way.

Since Thanksgiving is this week and Girard is shipping us parts via slow travel, we’ll be without hot water for quite a bit longer.

I have to give a quick shout out to the local shop we’ve been working with, Canyon Country RV, Truck & Auto Service Center. They have done everything possible to try to get us up and running, balancing calls between Pleasure Way (maker of our van), and Girard (maker of our hot water heater), and have spent a lot of time working on this issue. I overheard one of their calls today and they were requesting on our behalf that Girard overnight the parts because this is our home – of which I definitely appreciate the request! Girard declined though, but wow, huge thumbs up to Canyon Country RV! They are clearly acting as advocates on our behalf, not something I’m accustomed to at repair shops!

After spending a good part of the day at the repair shop again today, Dave and I headed over to Lake Havasu State Park for the night, and I have to say, it’s beautiful here!
Lake Havasu State Park

Though one of the reasons we chose this park was because of the high reviews of their showers (because… no hot water… remember?), we still chose to use our own bathroom this evening for a shower!

We have a Class B Van, with a wet bath. From what I’ve read, many folks (possibly even most) who have wet baths never use their shower, instead opting for campground facilities. We chose this van knowing the pros and cons of a wet bath and fully intended to use it as it is part of our home. I think by opting to take a full, 100% cold water shower, over using a shower just a hundred feet away that fully works – marks as completely and totally crazy. But you know what? That’s okay!