58th Escapade Re-Cap

We celebrated a few milestones in May! Katelyn graduated from kindergarten and we attended her kindergarten celebration program on May 18th.

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Katelyn’s last day of kindergarten

Her last day of school was May 23rd and then she was on her way to Joplin to spend a few days with my mom, my aunts and Bryan’s dad. The following morning Bryan and I were on our way to our first outing with our RV, to the 58th Escapade– the Escapees RV club national rally in Sedalia, MO!

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Double rainbow our first evening of RVers’ Boot Camp

We attended RVers’ Boot Camp , an intensive 3-day course where we learned about all things RV-related including operation and maintenance of RV plumbing and electrical systems, propane safety, fire and life safety, RV batteries and solar power, safe driving techniques, RV loading and weight management, tire safety, staying connected on the road, full-time living and traveling in an RV, and more. We learned so much and met a lot of people! Saturday afternoon Katelyn joined us in Sedalia and we all spent the next week attending educational seminars, enjoying evening entertainment and socials, making new friends, and having a very busy and fun week at Escapade!

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Tuesday night dance party with Fulltime Families

It was great talking to people who have been where we are right now, trying to get rid of stuff and get out of the house. We got a lot of good advice and gained some confidence talking to so many people about their experiences. We met many Xscapers and Fulltime Families who have been full-time traveling for a year or less, along with several people who have been traveling for 7 or 8 years (or longer), and everything in between! We made some new friends and we’re looking forward to future meet-ups!

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‘X’ marks the way to the Thursday night Xscapers karaoke party (behind tornado shelter #4!)

A few key pieces of advice that resonated with me:

“Take all the time and all the room you need.” -Glyn Carson from RV driving school talking to the Boot Camp attendees during his safe driving session

“SLOW DOWN” – multiple people, referring to multiple situations, the general consensus was don’t be in such a big hurry! Mistakes get made and things get missed when we’re in a hurry.

“Just go!”- we won’t have it all figured out yet and that’s ok! We’ll learn along the way.

“I wish we had done it sooner”- we heard this from SO MANY people!

Also, everyone has at least one embarrassing story about the thing they ran into with the new RV, or the dumb mistake they made, or that incident with the black tank!

The last thing we did before heading home was SmartWeigh where we found out our weight per tire for the Excursion by itself, then for the Excursion and trailer hitched up together.

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SmartWeigh staff placing the scales to check our weight

The results are pretty much what we expected and we need to re-adjust our weight distributing hitch since we added some cargo to the trailer after the hitch was initially set up. We aren’t overweight (and the trailer actually weighs less than I expected it would) but we’re at the top of what the Excursion can reasonably handle, which we knew already. All things considered, we’re now thinking about getting a new (used) truck this summer. We have a lot to consider but we’re thinking now we’d rather sell the Excursion while it’s running fine and put that money toward a newer truck with better towing capacity. We have different needs now than when we bought the Excursion in 2010, back then we thought we needed something with room to haul kids and dogs and camping gear, and be able to tow a trailer with our off-road toys. Fast-forward 8 years and we have one child, 2 dogs, a Jeep and an RV! A truck would suit our needs better at this point. It’s a lot to consider on top of everything we need to be doing to get the house squared away, so I don’t know what we’ll decide to do for sure. It’s a little odd to be sitting here the first week of June, with a wide-open summer ahead of us and absolutely no concrete plans for travel or vacation- we have a lot of work to do now and hopefully within the next 3 months we’ll be headed out on our new adventure!