Our RV Adventure
An adventure, it was! Let me preface this blog post by saying that Nick and I have an incredibly positive outlook and (apparently, based off our experience) an incredibly strong bond that cannot be broken even by the most stressful situations. If you read my previous blog post, you might think our RV trip went absolutely swimmingly and that nothing at all went wrong. That could not be further from the truth. We had an amazing time but boy did it get stressful at some points!
We wanted to do this RV trip as a preview of what RV life would be like. We are strongly considering ending our apartment lease, buying an RV and an F-250 truck, and living life on the road next year. What better way to test that out than to actually do it, even if for only a weekend? Nick had never even been in an RV. Like my mom said when she saw our RV, we go big or go home. We didn't just get your average 25 foot trailer, no. We rented a 43 foot long fifth wheel. Talk about going all out. In our defense, we really thought that's what we wanted. We loved the idea of having as much space as possible, essentially a whole home on wheels. Thank goodness we got a test run.
Day 0: The day before we started our adventure, we also had to fully prepare our apartment for termite tenting. That meant we had to pack up all of our food, ALL of it. Spices, cans, boxes of pasta, bags of frozen fruit, the whole shebang. I hate throwing away food so I decided it should all come with us or stay in my car(the dry stuff, of course). That took a while. We also hadn't packed yet either. I think we finally hit the hay around 2am.
Day 1: Rise and shine was at 6am. Four hours of sleep. No big deal, we thought. We'll be relaxing in the lazy river at Blue Springs by around 2pm. So far, so good.
The drive from our place to Wayne Akers Truck Rental was about an hour and a half. Cake. We arrived and were politely greeted by the excellent staff at Wayne Akers and they treated us very well. We moved all our stuff(including Pips) from my Jeep to the rental truck with a gooseneck hitch all set up on the bed of the truck and headed out to Largo, FL to pick up our RV. This was the long leg of the trip, a three and a half hour drive.
We picked up some Dunkin Donuts iced coffees and were pretty much on schedule. Our eta to the Springs was around 3pm, which was perfect because that was our check-in time. We put on a playlist of Classic Road Trip Songs on Spotify and hit the road. We were feeling pretty good, ngl. The truck was awesome and spacious, our playlist was setting a great mood, and we could almost feel the cool springs water already.
We arrived in Largo, FL to pick up our RV at 1pm. We began backing up to hitch the RV on when BAM. Nope, we didn't hit anything. Our host, Dustin informed us that we had the wrong hitch. Oh, dear. What now?
Frantically, we began calling every place nearby we could think of that might rent fifth wheel hitches. No avail. Our only option was to drive the three and a half hours back to the truck rental and swap the hitches. On the road again!
7 (or so) hours later, it was around 11pm and we finally had the RV hitched and were heading to Blue Springs State Park. When I tell you that at this point we were so tired and delirious, I mean we probably should not have even been driving this tired much less towing a 43 foot long fifth wheel RV. It took us even longer to get there than we expected because the RV's weight slowed us down and the road had a lot of construction. I'd say it was around 2am when we finally pulled in to the park. I wish it ended there.
We completely underestimated the difficulty of parking something this large and here we were doing it in the dark. Something you may not know about me, I am terrified of the dark. 22 years old, carrying a Smith & Wesson, afraid of the dark. I swear. So when we arrived, I begged Nick not to make me get out of the car and help him park. So he attempted to do it on his own for about 45 minutes. After briefly getting stuck in the sand, giving up and parking it head first, realizing that the hookups were on the other side so it MUST be parked in reverse, I finally got out of the truck and did my best to help him park it. Turns out, we're a pretty good tag team because I was able to help him get it parked in one try.
We hooked everything up, unpacked some stuff from the truck, took quick showers, and knocked tf out! "Long day" is an understatement. Needless to say, Nick was seriously thinking twice about our plans to live in an RV full-time. Good thing that everything got much better after that day.
Day 2: We woke up at 11am and unpacked the rest of the stuff from the truck. We ate PB&Js so as to not waste anymore time and we headed to the springs. Did I mention we had to checkout at 2pm and head to our next destination? Hey, we learned lots of lessons on this trip. We were definitely glad not to have missed out on the Blue Springs, though. It ended up being one of our favorite parts. The crystal clear water was a crisp 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It was so refreshing on the hot summer day. We floated down the lazy river on noodles and even spotted a juvenile manatee having lunch. We also got to see a mama manatee and her newborn calf! Oh, and the massage chairs were a hit with the kids. We stayed a few hours past checkout time undisturbed and headed out to River Ranch RV Resort.
The initial plan was to move again Sunday evening to another park but after all the adventures we had already experienced, we decided to cancel those plans and extend our time at River Ranch. Best decision made the whole trip.
Our family had been to River Ranch before and we had incredibly fond memories there. Nick and Sammy(my sister Sophia's boyfriend) had never been but had high expectations due to the hype we had given it. I think it definitely lived up to the hype. Our RV site, site 429, was right on the river. It was beautiful and central with a perfect patio set and umbrella and a deck with a swing(shoutout to Darlene for being our gracious host and accommodating us last minute). We got some assistance parking from a neighbor who works at an RV dealership(much appreciated) and were well on our way to finally relaxing. The boys cooked up dinner on the grill while Soph and I kicked up our feet and relaxed. I read my book, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes(book review coming soon), and took a deep sigh of relief.
Day 3: We took the rest of the weekend easy. Rented a golf cart, didn't plan much. Just went with the flow. The parents went skeet shooting but it was way too hot for that so we sat in the shade and watched. The kids did archery but it was way too hot for that so we sat in the shade and watched. It was a very lazy day.I was looking forward to the rodeo most. I remembered loving it as a little girl. Actually, I remembered having mixed feelings because the bull riding made me anxious. But this time around, I fully enjoyed it. From the display of patriotism to the junior bull riders, it was perfectly wholesome entertainment.
After the rodeo, we also made some s'mores around the campfire. A classic camping must.
Day 4: I don't think we did much of anything on Day 4. We did check out the petting zoo! But I think that's about it. Of course, we grilled and ate but other than that? Nothing. It was glorious.
Day 5: We woke up early, packed everything up, returned the RV just as we received it, and returned the truck and headed home. The return was much smoother than the receiving. We were definitely glad to be home. Our relationship was tested and we got a reality check with RV life. We're still looking forward to it but are certain we need a significantly shorter trailer.