Travel PT: Moving Back to The Coast of North Carolina, Struggles of the Camper Life (December 2017)

*by Whitney*

Timeline: December 2017

Previous post on our travel assignment timeline: Western North Carolina (August-December 2017)

Choosing Our Next Jobs

As I mentioned in my last post on Western North Carolina (WNC), we were originally planning on heading to the west coast and were working on licensing in Arizona. But we received an unexpected phone call asking us to return to a place we loved in Eastern North Carolina (ENC) that was just too good to pass up. This was a really surprising and interesting situation. We had worked at the same clinics earlier in 2017, under different management. Then, we got a phone call from a management team we’d worked with before in a different location, who was going to be taking over those clinics! So we had worked with both the clinics (and some of the same coworkers) and the management/rehab group! It was an awesome opportunity for us, plus we loved being on the coast, so we had to accept!

Moving Struggles

As usual, we can never have an uneventful move in the camper. We had been putting off some repairs to the camper for a long time, and we were trying to time it just right so we could move out of the camper for a little while to have the repairs done. So we found a local guy who worked on campers and arranged to have the work done over a week long period at the end of our WNC contract. During that week, we stayed in a park model RV/trailer that they rented out at our campground in WNC. This was a neat experience staying at this trailer, because to us it was a “big” apartment compared to our RV. But, then things went south when we realized there were fleas in the trailer! We were more than ready to get out by the end of the week and had to contain all our clothes/bedding we had brought in trash bags!

When we finished our contracts that week, the plan was to pick the camper up on our way from WNC to ENC as we headed to our new assignment. Well, unfortunately when we arrived to pick it up, the guy hadn’t quite fixed it as he said he would. We needed some water-damaged wood repaired on the back wall, which he did. But the biggest repair was the slide-out mechanism that was messed up from way back in April 2017 when we moved from ENC to West Virginia. He thought that all that needed to be done was put it back “in alignment.” But, after some adjustments, when we tried to operate the slide in/out, it still would go right back off track. Unfortunately we did not have time to stick around and let him try some other things to fix the problem. So we agreed on a reduced price and planned to hook the camper up and head out (with it still broken).

CamperRepairs5
Fixed Wood/Back Panel and Metal Seal on the Back of the Camper

Then, another problem arose. As we were trying to maneuver the truck and fifth wheel out of his back yard/shop area (which was pretty tight, so we had gone in at an angle), our “landing gear” (the legs that drop down to hold up the RV) would not retract. The guy tried to figure out the problem, but in the end we realized we would just need to replace the landing gear. Now the big problem was that the truck was attached to the camper, but we wouldn’t be able to disconnect them because there was no leg to support the camper. Regardless, we figured we would have to push forward and start our drive to the coast with the two connected, and then figure out the disconnecting later.

Figuring Out a Plan

At this point, it was Saturday late afternoon. We had a 7 hour drive ahead of us. We started our new jobs Monday. We had a couple options: take the camper and truck in together to get it fixed, and have to find a place to stay and an extra car to drive for work on Monday. Or, leave the camper and truck connected, try to get it fixed on site at our campground, and just have to find another car to drive. We were extremely lucky to have good friends where we were headed in ENC who offered to let us borrow their car while we figured out a way to get the camper fixed, and leave the truck/camper connected for the time being. Then, we had a different friend who came over to help us unhook the camper from the truck, and prop it up on blocks to substitute for the landing gear, so that we could at least use our truck and return our friends’ car.

Later during this assignment, our same friends who loaned us the car were able to come over and help us fix the landing gear, after we watched some YouTube videos and ordered some parts online. Luckily, our rigged up situation on the blocks held for a while until we could fix it ourselves. This saved us a lot of time and money so that we didn’t have to pay a shop to repair it, or take it in and have to move out again.

We are so grateful to have made these friends when we were there before who were lifesavers and really helped us on many occasions. For us, having difficulty with our truck/RV has caused a lot of headache while moving from assignment to assignment. So far, it has never made us late to an assignment, but it has caused significant stress. Overall, we are happy with our choice to live in the RV, but it has not been an easy journey. There have been so many unexpected mishaps and repairs that we honestly were not prepared for when becoming RV owners. This is among the many reasons that we’re planning to sell our RV after our current assignment ends in July 2018.

Round Two in Eastern North Carolina

Next, stay tuned for more on our adventures in ENC from December 2017 to July 2018!

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