Well that was a much longer break that I intended to take. My apologies.
After several wonderful weeks in Oregon and Washington (posts on those to come soon!) I booked it across the northern states at a ridiculous pace in order to be in Wisconsin for part of summer. I love the RV life, but it creates an isolation from my friends and family that is sometimes difficult to accept. Luckily, my house is on wheels, so when my sister reached out to me, I was able to adjust my plans and enjoy stationary life for a while.
This was not without its own complications. Since I’m always on the move and usually stay at free sites, I was not able to stay in the RV while in Wisconsin. Campgrounds and state parks are busy and expensive this time of year! A family member with land graciously allowed me to leave my rig on her land for a while, but with no hook ups, the heat and humidity were too much to handle. Thankfully, I was able to stay with my sister and her family (how nice are they?!) but Shirley was left empty for a while.
Then I made the decision to downsize to a smaller RV.
I had kept my eye on several dealerships in the area, and when I saw the 32’ KZ Durango at such a great price, I was able to jump on it! It was sad trading in the 40’ Cougar that had been my home for 10 months, but the benefits of less weight, length, and price were too good to turn down. With the RVs parked side by side, my sister and I moved all of my stuff from one to the other (seriously, she’s the best!) and picked through what I could donate or sell in order to live in a smaller space. The quest for minimalism continues!
The weeks flew by, working during the day and seeing friends and family in my spare time. After living so many places, I really appreciate being in a city that feels somewhat familiar and getting drinks with friends that I’ve known since we were 14. It’s normal to make new friends, and lose some along the way, but I love having a handful of close friends that grew with me over the years. Our friendships have matured, so instead of giggling about boys on the phone at night and trying to score fake IDs, we’re discussing our careers, their children, and politics- and we haven’t been ID’d in years.
“And it’s good, good to be back home. How I missed this time zone. Strangers are exciting, their mystery never ends. But there’s nothing like looking at your own history in the faces of your friends.” –Ani DiFranco, Good Bad Ugly
Since I don’t have any kids, being an auntie has always been an important role in my life. I have five nieces and a nephew, and they are growing up so quickly! Extra time with them this summer meant birthday celebrations, running 5K’s, newly pierced ears, snuggles and stories at bedtime, and backyard campfires! The joy and fun this time brought to my life already has me thinking about how I can spend another chunk of time with them next summer.
The week before I was set to leave on Trip 2, my cat Iris stopped eating. I knew it was a sign that something was wrong with her, so I called my good friend that’s an awesome vet for advice. Her help was appreciated and got her to eat again! Unfortunately it didn’t last and the next day she was even more lethargic. I took her to the vet where they did tests, rehydrated her, and gave her meds. The next day, Iris was still not back to her normal self, and tests indicated she likely had a foreign body blockage (she ate something she shouldn’t have and it was stuck in her guts).
I love my pets and always try to give them good care- annual check-ups, healthy food, clean water, exercise, and love. But I’m also a realist. I rescued all 4 of my pets from shelters, and have a limit to how much I can spend on each of them. In two days, Iris quickly surpassed that limit, and ultrasound + surgery was going to cost several thousand dollars. It’s never easy to lose a pet. It’s a terrible feeling to know that decision was based on finances. It would have been irresponsible of me, in my current financial situation, to go ahead with the surgery. So we snuggled and said our goodbyes. Many tears were shed, and my heart felt heaviest thinking of her littermate Sage, who would never understand why her sister didn’t come home that day.
The next day I had to pick up the new RV from the dealership. Parked on the street of my sister’s neighborhood, I finished packing up and organizing so I could get on the road. Being busy gave me less time to think about how much I missed Iris, but it wasn’t easy. The next morning came quickly, and after lengthy “see-you-laters” with my sister and her amazing family, I was driving off and starting Trip 2 of my RV adventure.
First stop: Washington Island, Wisconsin