If you have been reading along (Thank you!!!), you know that we camped almost 200 days September 2020-January 2022. We have always loved to travel whether by car, airplane, ship, or trailer. We wanted to travel more. So in February 2022 we sold our house, quit our jobs, Kevin got a new job, and we started RVing Full-Time. In March 2022 Kevin decided he wanted a desk and we went from a 25 ft 2020 Shadow Cruiser travel trailer to a 36 ft 2022 Alliance Avenue 5th wheel.
Several of you have asked for more information about our new HOWE (the name we give our Home On WhEels). Today we are going to share with you some of the changes we made (not a lot), things we added, and what our favorite things are.
(Charla:) I love to cook, and eat 🙂 , and the stove/oven we have in this HOWE exceeds all my expectations. The brand is Greystone. In our first HOWE, the stove/oven was small and a different brand. The stove top worked fine but the oven would burn biscuits on the bottom and not be done on the top. Well, worry no more! The Greystone stove top has three large burners and I am able to put large pots/skillets on all of them at the same time. Now for the oven, oh my! Just look….
I think the oven might just be one of Kevin’s favorite things! HAHA It makes delicious cookies, biscuits and everything I have cooked. Everything cooks perfectly 100% of the time, so far. I do have to add some minutes on the cooking time but that doesn’t burn anything.
(Kevin:) I work in IT, and need room to spread out. We joked about me needing a new desk so we bought a new trailer! Well, there is more truth in that than I would like to admit. When we bought HOWE II we requested they take out the couch in the back. That left us with a blank canvas! After looking at a lot of posts and YouTube videos, I settled on IKEA drawers and table top. I measured the area where the desktop was to go, and thought it would fit. We ordered everything for pickup, so we did not have to fight the maze of IKEA! We brought it back to HOWE II and I put it together. The side compartments built into the trailer lift up for storage, and they cleared the table top by 1/4″! I would say that is pure talent and skill, but mostly it was just luck. I love the new desk. The view from the windows beats any corner office I have seen.
(Charla:) Best decision we made, since getting the new Alliance Avenue was having the dealership install a new Splendide brand washer and dryer. For me, it is nice to not have to find a washer and dryer at a campground. While the laundry rooms at the campgrounds we have recently be in are nice, you just never know about them. Yes, these are smaller than the typical house appliances, but for the two of us, I can get all our laundry done in just a few loads each week. The spin cycle can shake the 5th wheel a little bit but it isn’t worse than desert winds.
(Kevin:) Because of my job, I need reliable internet. Cellular data is great, and would meet my needs, but the coverage is spotty. I looked into different alternatives, and found Starlink. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a new company owned by Elon Musk and is working with SpaceX. They are putting up a grid of low orbit satellites to provide high speed internet no matter where you are located. Well, we purchased it! I was like a kid at Christmas!
(Kevin:) The setup is amazingly simple. You plug it into the provided wireless router, plug in the router, and use the app on your phone to finish setup. When we first received it, it was BLAZINGLY fast! Most times, over 150 Mbps. Recently, it has slowed down some, but still very serviceable for our needs. The more birds Elon puts in the air the faster and more reliable our connection will be.
(Charla:) I have a slight obsession with maps. A few years ago, I started highlighting a map to show the road trips we took. The map soon completely wilted with all the marks. 🙂 When we travel, you will often see me with Apple Maps on my iPhone and a paper map or two on my lap. Kevin surprised me with this map. But he has a firm restriction! We can only fill in each state that THIS new HOWE has been. HA! OH, and, we can’t count a state if HOWE just drove through the state. HOWE has to spend at least 1 night in that state before we can add a state sticker. 🙂
I want to write in Sharpie above this map, “This Home On Wheels Has Been To…”. HAHAHA (Kevin and I have been to most states in the US.) When we plan our Full-Time routes, we just pick where we want to go. But now, as I look at this map every single time we go in and out the door, well, makes me want to plan a little differently so we can stay 1 night in a state that is near. Oh dear! 🙂
(Kevin:) Our experience with a lot of campground water is that the water is HARD. It makes our already dry skin drier. It was starting to stain the toilet bowl. Time for a water softener! The brand name is On The Go. It ties into the input hose from the campground water supply, and feeds HOWE nice soft water. Typical home water softeners need to regenerate with salt pellets – 40 pound bags – this one regenerates with regular table salt! The size we bought takes two containers of salt. (cans? cylinders? paper tube with a metal spout on top) After installing it we noticed an immediate difference in how our skin felt, and the toilet bowl thanked me too.
(Charla:) Under our mattress is a sheet of plywood. The rough edges of the plywood would snag the sheets. I would also get splinters making the bed. I thought of this one night – put Gorilla Tape (similar to duck tape) over the edge. We used a wide tape, put half on the top and then folded the rest over the side and underneath. No more snag sheets and splinters!
(Kevin:). HOWE II has excellent tinted windows and MCD pulldown shades. The only exception is the door. Someone could step right up and look in our trailer! It also generated a lot of heat coming through the window. The answer was privacy window film. The first time I tried installing it, it fell down the first day! I then read the instructions – the second time was a success! It gave us privacy, as well as cutting down the heat coming through.
It was fun sharing these things with you. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have an idea that you think we might like to try? Let us know.