I anticipated to be duped by the RV at some point during our travels, but I didn’t expect it to be so soon. And I really mean “duped”. Like, the problems we were encountering had such simple solutions that I’m almost embarrassed to share them. But here I go, sharing them. Because maybe it’s a little funny, and maybe some other RVer out there is struggling just like us. So let’s get into it 🙂
No, not between Gina and I. We know our places in the relationship haha! Anyway, before we even moved into the RV fully, we had an issue with the power. None of the lights would turn on, none of the appliances would work, and none of the outlets had a current. At that point, we weren’t hooked up to an external power source, but we knew that we should at least be getting interior lights from the back up battery. Initially, we thought that maybe the battery had died. It seemed like a no-brainer, but we felt that was unlikely seeing as we had JUST bought the RV and had hardly used the battery. So, before we went and bought a new battery, we checked if there was an easier solution. We consulted the Owner’s Manual, but I must say, it wasn’t helpful at all in any of our situations. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT. Every solution had been us stumbling upon it ourselves or Google (Thank God for other RV Bloggers!) For more than one day (I refuse to say how many) we searched around the RV for a solution to our power problem. We thought maybe there was some super-secret button we had to push to get everything going. What we were discovering during our search were a lot of super-secret buttons, valves, and switches hidden all over the RV that we had no idea what they went to. Finally, Gina called me while I was at work one day and told me excitedly, yet slightly ashamed, that she had found the super-secret button…It was right in front of our faces, right by the front door, the whole time.
So yay! Interior Lights! Now, fast forward to when we were trying to get all cozy in our new home as squatters on my “second parents’” land. For the first time, we hooked the RV up to an external power source (their back garage). We were under the assumption that the RV would light up like Christmas. I fantasized about using the microwave and my hair blowing back from the air conditioning…And, naturally, Gina was excited to plug in her iPhone because they are battery suckers (go Android!). We plugged the RV in and…nothing. The air was still hot and stale, none of the outlets would work, and I wasn’t eating anything that needed to be heated up in the microwave anytime soon. Ugh! What now!? Again, DAYS went by while we tried to understand why we couldn’t get any power. We surfed the internet for solutions, but it was like typing your medical symptoms into WebMD…the RV went from a “cough” to full blown cancer! We finally took advantage of our Priority RV membership and called to speak with an associate to help us trouble shoot. Unfortunately, I was at work when Gina made this call, but I wish more than a lot of things that I could have been there to see her face when another obvious solution was found yet again. Gina was directed by the representative to re-check all of the connections. He told her it would also be wise to make sure the source outlet was operating properly. Gina went to the garage outlet, and he told her to try the reset button…Well, of course, NOW the RV lit up like Christmas. Yeah, that’s right. We spent DAYS stumped by this.
All right! Kick ass! We have power, we move in, we start living that legit RV Life…and we love it! The dogs love the immediate access to a large yard just outside of our front door, the cats love the large picture windshield of the RV, and things were going great…until we wanted to take a hot shower. I’ll save you the time (and ourselves some embarrassment) by skimming over how long it took us to get the heater working, but essentially, the light by the power buttons didn’t light up when the switch was flipped. So, naturally, we thought “no light, no work”. Well, we EVENTUALLY discovered that THE LIGHT SHOULDN’T ACTUALLY LIGHT UP. If the light were to turn on, that would mean there was actually a problem with the heater igniting. See, now that wasn’t fair. Lights typically come on when something is operating!
If you haven’t totally lost faith in our ability to survive RV Life yet, I’ve got one more for you. By the way, thanks for keeping the faith! So, we’ve got power, we’ve got air, and we’ve got hot water…well, almost. We were both so excited to be able to take a hot shower in our RV and not have to go to my mom’s house every time we were feeling a little grotesque. I turned on the water heater, I let it cycle for a good half an hour, and I hopped in the shower. The water was warm, and so was my heart…until about ten seconds later when it went back to freezing ass cold. Yep, you guessed it… several more days went by before we found EVEN MORE super-secret hidden switches. One little valve…just one… needed to be turned a mere 90 degrees in order to get the damn hot water to flow to the proper places. In my defense, “Where are the hot water heater valves located in my RV?” was a VERY popular question to ask Google.
Other Than Being NOOBS, How Has RV Life Been?
Okay. Overall, how has RV Life actually been these first few weeks? Well, we’re now in our third week of living in the RV, and it’s fantastic. Everything is FINALLY operational, I now feel comfortable driving the RV alone, the dogs love getting to run around every day in a huge yard, and there is so much less to clean! I’d say deciding to move into the RV for about a month before our departure was a very smart choice. We’ve gained some knowledge to pass on to other new and clueless RVers like ourselves, and, most importantly, we allowed ourselves and our animals to get comfortable with our new shape- shifting home before it starts, you know, moving and scaring the hell out of them.
My final paragraph was going to be this sad sappy buzz kill about how one of our cats, Temple, escaped from the RV, and we hadn’t seen him for over a week. To our amazement, he finally returned home just the other night! I couldn’t be happier or more in awe. I thought for sure he had been gobbled up by the coyotes. Now that our little fur family is complete again, we cannot wait for our fast approaching departure date, tentatively planned for AUGUST 20TH! Check back often or subscribe to my blog to keep up to date with our adventures! I can’t wait to share our journey with you!
Oh, yeah, really quickly…a treat for those who made it through this entire post…Here’s some goofy videos of us emptying the shitter for the very first time. ENJOY! 😀
Good morning, good afternoon, good evening everyone! Wherever you are, whenever you got here, thank you for coming! Gina and I are very excited to share with you our plans for the next chapter in our lives. As some of you may have already known, Gina and I bought a Class A RV back in May of this year. If you don’t know what a Class A RV is, it’s pretty much a huge luxurious dinosaur bus. We have a 2008 Tiffin Allegro, and we practically stole it from Burlington RV because the price was so right. For the last month and a half, our good friend’s Paul and Laura had been letting us park it on their land (Thank you so much!). Recently, we moved our new home out to Burlington, WI (Thank you Chris and Mark!)… And yes, I did say “our new home”. We moved into the RV full time! Well, almost full time. We’ve been staying at my mom’s house for the past few days while we work out all the kinks on the RV. And by kinks, I mean figuring out how the hell to work the dang thing! We recently conquered the power situation (we kept missing the super secret button) and now we are working on the water situation (again, we are amateurs and are just trying to figure out the basics yet!) But let me tell you what. I never thought I’d be so excited to live in a trailer.
This post is more than just telling you we moved, though. We moved into an RV, and we are moving on. Three days ago, Gina put in her notice at her job, the Blood Centers of Wisconsin. Two days ago, I submitted my resignation to the Chief of Police at the police department I’ve worked at for the past 3 years. In fact, my three year anniversary will be on my last day of work, August 1st.
I can imagine what some of you may be thinking. Okay, cool. So you quit your jobs and are living in a trailer. Sounds like a real successful life change…not. Oh, but it is. About mid-August, Gina and I will be embarking on a travel journey throughout the United States with our dogs and cats! No, really. I’m serious. We plan to see all that the states have to offer (monuments, hiking trails, natural wonders, historical sites, HAUNTED LOCATIONS :)etc) while volunteering for different organizations and surviving on freelance writing, working in exchange for RV hook ups, and other odd jobs along the way. We will be back whenever the wind returns us.
So this is it. We’re doing it. We’re diving in head first, unsure what really comes next, and we’re hoping to land softly in a puddle of happiness and success. It’ll be a long road (literally and figuratively), it’ll test our patience, our characters, and our bank accounts, but we aren’t planning on giving up. We are both beyond excited for the new adventure, and we are as prepared as anyone could be in this situation (so not a whole lot lol). But I will leave you all with this one thought…Don’t keep waiting until you are ready. Don’t keep waiting for the money to come, don’t keep waiting for the stars to align, don’t keep waiting to pursue your dreams or you will never live up to your true potential. The secret to being ready is knowing you can never truly be ready. You just have to jump.
Let’s connect wherever you are. Please subscribe to my blog (at the bottom of the page), like Traveling Proud on Facebook, and follow @TravelingProud on Twitter to keep updated with our adventures, good, bad, and hilarious! More than just a diary of our lives, it’ll be a guide full of reviews and recommendations of different travel destinations, as well as tips on #RVlife (because you know we will be making PLENTY of amateur mistakes). Thank you all for being here! Travel with us.
If you haven’t made it over to the “About Kez” page of the website, shame on you. How do you know if you even like me? 😉 For those of you who have been there, you know that I am a member of the South East Wisconsin Paranormal Investigation Team. And because that is a mouth full, we will use the acronym SEWPIT from now on. I have always held a fascination for the paranormal and the unknown. I used to talk out loud as a kid when I felt the creepy sensation of being watched, trying to “make nice” with the spirit I thought was present. I had some strange things happen to me as a kid, but it wasn’t until I met Gina that unexplained phenomena started happening regularly. Instead of fearing it, I’ve learned to embrace it and anticipate it. I get excited when I get that “someone else is here” feeling. At the point that I met Gina, she had been a member of SEWPIT for several years. It wasn’t long before I got involved as well!
So, long story short, we like haunted things. And we like traveling (Duh). So, this last fall, I did hours of research in order to put together a two week haunted road trip! The trip was based around Point Pleasant, WV as it was somewhere Gina had always wanted to go. Do you know what it is that’s so special about that town? Ever heard of the Mothman? I’m still surprised by how many people have no idea what I’m talking about…but I’ll get into that later. So, the idea was to drive from our home in southeastern Wisconsin to Point Pleasant, WV. I mapped out and created an entire itinerary illustrating stops from home to West Virginia that had claims of being haunted. We borrowed all of the investigation gear from SEWPIT and promised to update the team Facebook Page as we went along on our trip.
Edna Collings Bridge
Our first stop was Edna Collings Bridge in Greencastle, Indiana. The most common legend told is that a young girl used to swim in the river which passes under the bridge. At the end of the day, her parents would pick her up at the bridge by honking three times, signaling to the girl that it was time to go home. One day, however, the girl never came to the car. A subsequent search ensued, and it is said that the girl was found dead from drowning in the river. There are other variations and exaggerations to the story, but this seems to be the most basic (and most realistic) one.
Gina and I arrived to the bridge in the early afternoon. Though we didn’t have the full effect of investigating in the darkness, we believe that if a place is truly haunted, it’s always haunted (not just at night time). We pulled over and took out the EMF* detector, K2* meter, and a handheld voice recorder. Because we like to be thorough and legitimate, we made a sweep inside and around the bridge to get the base readings* of the environment. We conducted a short investigation (about an hour and a half) and came out with very little evidence to support the haunting. We did, however, get some unexplained K2 meter spikes which we could not just dismiss or debunk. You can view the experience below. Also, if you look very closely at the bridge in the beginning of the video, you might just be able to make out what appears to be a shadowy apparition or possibly even an alien caught on camera! 😉 I suggest taking a trip here if you enjoy urban legends and old covered bridges. Maybe you’ll have a better experience when it’s dark out.
100 Step Cemetery
Our second stop was 100 Step Cemetery in Brazil, IN. It was perfectly dark when we pulled up to the cemetery. Haunted or not, cemeteries are historically creepy at night! When the cemetery was originally constructed, 100 stone steps were built into the side of the hill, hence the name. Over time, however, many of the steps had eroded or been completely swallowed up by the hill. The legend says that you must walk up the stairs and count each step aloud until you reach the top of the hill at the hundredth step. Then, you must turn back toward the bottom of the hill, and you are supposed to be met with the ghost of the original undertaker who supposedly shows you the manner in which you will die. Finally, you have to walk back down the steps, counting each as you go. If you don’t count 100 steps, then you will die in the manner you were shown. Kudos to the original story teller on this one! As we climbed the steps, we were only able to count to about 60 or so steps before we had to start guessing completely. I guess the curse was broken? lol Anyway, we brought out all of the gadgets as we had with Edna Collings Bridge. Unfortunately, we did not capture any EVP’s*, energy spikes, or video evidence. It appeared, however, that I potentially captured an orb, or ball of spirit light/energy, on my Canon Rebel T5 camera. The photo on the left is the original. The photo on the right is an enhanced version of the original so you can better see the potential orb. In fact, I just discovered through enhancing the photo that there are possibly TWO orbs. Can you see them? What do you think they are? Keep in mind, it was completely dark, and we made sure there weren’t any reflective surfaces in way of the camera. We were only there for a short time as Gina was super sketched out by being outside in the dark with the possibility of being eaten by a wild animal. I know, I know, I rolled my eyes too. But you can understand the full extent of her fear by checking out our close encounter in the hilarious blog I wrote about our camping experience in Tennessee.
The next day, we stopped for a few hours at Stepp Cemetery (Not to be confused with 100 Step Cemetery) in Martinsville, IN. The amount of history packed into this cemetery was incredible. The last person had been buried there over 10 years ago. Many people buried there were born in the 1700’s and many headstones were almost totally swallowed by the earth. A few servicemen were also buried in the cemetery which fought in the War of 1812. Overall, it appeared to be a true family cemetery as several names appeared over and over and over again throughout the cemetery. To get to the cemetery, we had to leave our vehicle behind and walk about a mile or so down a dirt road. As with every legend, there are several different variations. The most commonly told story is that a young family (mother, father, and child) lived in the town, and the husband was a miner. One tragic day, the husband died in a mining accident. Responding to the sudden death of her husband, the mother devoted all of her time and energy into raising and loving their daughter. When the daughter grew up to be a teenager, she was killed in a car accident leaving the mother totally devastated and alone. From that point forward, the mother/widowed wife spent most of her time in the cemetery visiting the graves of her lost family. She would sit on a stump near the graves of her daughter and husband and talk to them, grieve, and cry. It is told that when people would visit the cemetery, the woman would run away into the woods until they left. She quickly became known as the “crazy lady” of the town. When the woman eventually passed, she was buried near her daughter and husband. It is said that the woman still haunts the cemetery, crying out for her family. People claim to have seen her apparition sitting on the stump near the graves as well as hear her moaning and crying.
Gina and I were quite hopeful for this destination. There were two potential places where we believed the people of the legend were buried. One area of the cemetery had a stump which appeared to have been recently cut down. Three obvious flat headstones without writing surrounded the stump. The other area that caught our attention was a stump with melted wax on it as if someone had been burning a candle in an attempt to summon the spirits. Though much less obvious, there did appear to be three very old headstones surrounding the stump which were almost completely swallowed up by the earth. After a little over two hours of investigating, we left with nothing but a gentle fondness for the place and its history.
Our next destination was Gravity Hill in Mooresville, IN. We never entertained the idea that this spot was haunted. There were different stories told about the hill, and each one ended the same way: Spirits of (insert tragic accident here) will push your vehicle up over the hill to get you to safety. Reality is, however, that gravity hill is simply an optical illusion. If you park at the “bottom” of the hill and put your car in neutral, it appears as if you are rolling up hill. It was actually a very cool thing to experience, and the car really caught speed going backwards “uphill”!
The final stop I’ll tell you about in this post (I know, don’t cry!) was Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio. The primary legend associated with this cemetery is at least partly based on traceable fact. It’s a very sad story, and one we are inclined to believe in. Back in the 1860s, a young boy named Johnny Morehouse was playing by the canal in Dayton when he accidentally fell into the water and drowned. His dog attempted to pull him out of the water and save his life, but he was too late. Where the legend part comes in, once again, there are several different variations of the story. Some say that after the boy was buried, his dog laid on his grave and refused to move or leave, eventually passing away from starvation and sadness. Another not-so-grim version states that the dog did indeed lay on the grave and refuse to move or leave, but passerby’s would feed the dog and leave toys behind for the boy. That version never expressed how the dog eventually passed away – more of a kid friendly version I suppose? Johnny Morehouse’s grave is marked by a unique statue of a young boy and a dog carved in the stone. The grave is marked as an actual “tour stop” as apparently the cemetery is very largely visited. People who visit the cemetery regularly leave little trinkets, toys, and coins on the boy’s grave. People claim to hear giggling of a young child and barking of a dog in the cemetery at night. Some people even claim to have seen the apparition of the boy and his dog. We set up a voice recorder and brought out the K2 and EMF meters at this location. We weren’t there long before it began to down pour, and we unfortunately did not capture any paranormal activity in that short time. We did take a drive through the cemetery, however, and it is probably the largest one I have ever seen. There were many incredible statues, grave markers, and mausoleums, and interestingly, it appeared that people regularly used the cemetery for exercising (jogging/running/walking etc).
Okay, yeah, so the few stops I planned for on our way to Point Pleasant weren’t exactly the greatest for paranormal claims, but we still enjoyed visiting each spot and learning about the history/legends behind them. That’s the thing with paranormal investigating, though. You don’t always capture mind-blowing evidence. Sometimes it’s purely the excitement of the chase! But don’t worry, this story is far from over! On our haunted road trip, we not only stayed in the haunted Lowe Hotel in Point Pleasant, WV (And yes, we have evidence to support that!), but we also captured some incredible EVP’s when we investigated the old WWII TNT Bunkers on the edge of town where the legendary Mothman was said to live. Oh man, and don’t forget about our 7-hour finale investigation at the infamous West Virginia State Penitentiary (AKA Moundsville Prison)! Gee, Kez, what’s so special about that prison? Well, it was the site of over a thousand deaths and was deemed one of the most violent prisons in the United States. It has been investigated by many famous television investigators including Ghost Hunters (SYFY) and Ghost Adventures (Travel Channel). So don’t go far! This was merely a warm up. Don’t miss what’s next! Subscribe by email to be notified when my next blog is published! Keep in touch through Twitter and Facebook! Thanks guys!
*EMF Detector – Electromagnetic Field detector measures energy. It is believed to detect the presence of spirits.
*K2 Meter – Similar to the EMF Detector. It measures energy and is believed to be able to detect spirit energy.
*Base Readings – Like the “Control Group” in an experiment. We measure & record the environment using tools in order to note changes in the environment during investigation (and to help debunk feelings of being watched, spikes on devices, etc).
*EVP – Electronic Voice Phenomena – Spirit voices recorded using electronic devices, most commonly a digital recorder.
Today, Roxi and I went to Petrified Springs Park. For those of you who don’t know Roxi yet, she’s my very best friend. She has the most beautiful brown eyes, long golden hair, and four legs. Yes, she’s my dog.
I had been feeling pretty anxious from the moment I woke up this morning. It’s kind of my new thing. But today, I had promised Roxi we would go on a hike. After hours of dragging my feet, I finally loaded her up in the car and took the short drive to the hiking trails. I decided to disconnect from the universe as I didn’t want a phone call or a “picture perfect moment” to ruin the serenity, and I sure did not need anything else amping up my anxiety. So, I left my phone in the Jeep, strapped Roxi up in her harness and leash, and we started our trek.
Roxi and I had walked these trails many times before. This was the first place she hiked as a pup! In the past, however, we had only gone so far. I think I used to have a terrible sense of direction, and I would end up getting us lost only half way into the woods. Today, however, I was up for an adventure. I figured the woods would have to end at some point, right? About 10 minutes into the hike, I was already beginning to feel a little lighter, calmer. It had recently rained pretty severely, so there were points in the trail that were very muddy or blocked by puddles. When we would approach these areas, I would hold tight to Roxi’s harness and steer her around them as best I could. The goal was to go home with a fairly clean dog. After walking through several unavoidable mud traps, however, I learned to give up and let go. At first, it was only her feet and legs that got dirty. I thought, that wasn’t so bad. It would be an easy clean when we got home. Soon, however, she somehow managed to get her stomach and chest also full of mud. If only she was a little taller…
After about 25 minutes of walking, we reached the end of the woods as I had hoped for. The option then was to walk the paved road back to our vehicle (which would have entailed a lot of noise and watching for cars), or, start back the way we came…through the mud I was trying so hard to avoid. At that time, I noticed how calm I felt. My anxiety had vanished. Despite the mud frustration, I was feeling good, and just the thought of immersing myself so quickly back into the noise of the road and vehicles stressed me out. So, we turned right back around. This time, I decided I would not let the mud bother me.
Fifteen minutes more of walking, and Roxi and I stumbled upon something that had me grinning ear to ear for the rest of the hike. Suddenly, we stumbled upon a family of 4 deer, no more than 100 feet away. I was amazed and excited. I crouched down and was petting Roxi. I pointed the deer out to her, and once she saw them, she began to growl. Fortunately, I was able to relax her, and she sat quietly and still with me as we watched the deer watch us. After about 3 minutes, one of the deer decided, “F*** this, I’m out!” and ran away, taking the rest of the clan with him. We encountered these deer two more times while finishing up our hike, stopping to have a moment each time.
About a half mile still from the Jeep, I stopped off at a small stream beside a large pond. Roxi had romped around in this stream many times before! That was back when she was a pup, however, and much easier to wash! I didn’t intend to let her in the water when we originally began our hike. But at this point, she was already muddy, and I could tell she was itching to get in the water. I kept her on the leash this whole time to avoid having a dirty dog to wash when we got home, but it seemed to be a moot point now. I let her off the leash, and she dove into the pond. She was so happy, swimming and running up and down the stream. Her happiness became my happiness, and she was even getting some of the mud off that she had accumulated. 😉
At one point, she jumped in the pond and swam about 50 feet out. There was something floating in the water, and I thought it was a branch attached to a sunken tree. She attempted to grab it and bring it back, but she was unable. I laughed thinking, “Silly girl, you won’t be able to get that.” She swam back to shore, sat there for a minute as if catching her breath, and then she jumped back in. She went right for the branch a second time. On her first pass, she wasn’t able to bite and drag it with her, but on her pass back toward shore, she got a good grip. To my surprise, she began dragging the branch with her. When she made it back to shore with the branch, she was so proud of herself! And I was proud of her.
So what were the three lessons I learned from Roxi in that one hour hike?
1. Get dirty
Literally. Get dirty. Get muddy and wet and don’t freak out! You can get clean later. Don’t tip toe around life and adventure. Don’t stress about what shoes you’re wearing or the jeans you wanted to wear to go out that night. A washing machine is an amazing invention. It’s much easier (and more fun!) to get dirty. It isn’t the end of the world. Embrace the mud!
2. Let yourself off the leash
Stop limiting yourself. Stop letting others limit you or hold you back. Don’t let your obligations tie you down and don’t let anyone rule your life but you. Stop acting like you don’t need or want that freedom. You’ve worked hard. Enjoy yourself. Explore. Take chances. Live.
3. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again
Roxi would not give up on that branch in the water that I was sure was connected to a sunken tree. I laughed because I believed she would never get it. But she did. She tried, and tried, and tried, and finally, she succeeded. She somehow found a way to stay afloat in the water and drag a large branch behind her. I was impressed by her strength and determination. And she was so proud of herself when she finally brought it ashore that it totally lit up my soul. So, keep trying. Failure is only a stepping stone to launch you into success. Don’t let it hold you back. No matter what anyone says or thinks, all that really matters is that you believe in yourself and you don’t give up.
Maybe these are all juvenile lessons. I’m sure you have been taught lessons similar to them before, but even as adults, we often need reminders of the little cliche pieces of advice we learned as children. Life can be discouraging, hard, and sometimes seem impossible. It is in those moments that you need to remember, to be reminded maybe, of lessons you were taught in your childhood. Thank you for my reminder, Roxi.