After our flight disappointment, we managed to fly out the next day and take the trip out to the US. Via Miami, meaning we had to make the longest domestic flight available over the US without service (thanks Covid), BUT we did get there in the end! We arrived at midnight and our kind Airbnb hosts picked us up in a massive orange pick-up truck to be able to take our bikes… This feels like a great start, what are the odds of a bright orange truck waiting for you!?
So the plan was quite straight forward: We would get to Seattle, check into the Airbnb we booked, pick up the RV and spend a few days DIY’ing the RV to make it our home, and then FINALLY hit the road!
How it turned out…
Ok, to be fair, most of the boxes above we ticked, the only problem was the RV… After our friend Chris had dropped off the RV, driving it all the way from Miami to Seattle (yes, the longest domestic flight also means the longest drive possible, more on Chris later 😊), he had to put it in storage as we had to detour via Aruba. We found a great storage facility right between the airport and our Airbnb, and after flying in in the middle of the night, got a lift from our hosts to the storage to pick it up.
When we drove off, we felt the noise it made was VERY loud… but hey, what do we know, we have never owned an RV??!! But arriving at the Airbnb and taking a quick look under the RV showed the problem: The catalytic converter had been sawn straight off the bottom of our RV… Some research showed that this happens more often and is mostly known on this side of the country, and apparently the buildup of heavy metals is what is interesting for thieves. So an older RV (ours is 9 years old) is more interesting then a new one, which is why ours was targeted. The broken saws were still on the parking lot of the storage ☹.
So now what?
While we could still drive the RV for a few miles, there is no way we would be able to travel with it, so we had the joy of dealing with our RV insurance within the first 10 miles of us driving it. The final conclusion: We had to add 2 nights to our Airbnb (one night in the room, and one camped out in their driveway in our RV) to wait for the insurance to come back on the repairs, and then schedule them. The cost for ourselves is 500 dollars, thankfully the insurance is picking up the other 1000+ dollars which means we already took full advantage of our policy from the get-go.
In the meantime…
Of course we did not sit still while waiting on insurance and repairs. We booked ourselves into an Airbnb where we had asked beforehand if we could work on our RV in their driveway. The Sanchez family has been incredible throughout the whole time! Lending us their tools and space, we borrowed their car, they drove us to places, prepared a BBQ for us one evening and were really kind to let us use their own private kitchen during their stay. Their house was great for the kids as well, with a big backyard to steal raspberries from, the cat had 3 kittens and to top it off the chihuahua’s of the oldest daughter stayed there a few days as well.
DIY – The short version
While we had the kids entertained, we had some serious DIY’ing to do to make this brownish 9-year-old look fresh and homey again! In the months leading up to our trip, the RV was picked up by Chris from Miami, and then he did the necessary repairs on the roof, making it rock solid and rainproof for the next 10 years. In the meantime we ordered loads of stuff online and had them sent to Chris’ place to be put into the RV so we would have it when we arrived. Good thing the catalytic converter thieves did not try to open up the bottom storage bays of the RV, as they were filled with Amazon boxes!
With all that already available we set out to do a list of things:
- Paint the entire interior – Why is the ‘1-layer cover’ NEVER really 1 layer??
- Replace the two awnings with the fabrics we bought – Thank you YouTube!
- Replace the ugly backsplashes with stick & peel
- Do a long list of bits and bobs, one of them being unpacking all the boxes
- Raid IKEA for all the other necessities 😊
Read all the details in our upcoming blog – but know this was not a small feat. The result however is truly great, and now makes our RV feel like it is really a home we can live in for this trip of a lifetime.
Shout-out to Chris & Lindsay
So here is a special shout-out to our new American Best Friends Chris & Lindsay from Calledtowander.com. What started out as a simple question at the end of last year about highways we can and can not take in Alaska, turned out to be a very intense relationship as Chris kindly offered to help us find the perfect RV. As prices are better out on the east side of the States, we managed to find one there and Chris offered to drive it all the way over to Seattle. Words can not describe the gratitude we feel towards them, and to think that all they have done (believe us, it went far beyond the description so far) was done without EVER calling them over the phone and talking to them! We did call them via Whatsapp today as we get ready to roll for a final instruction on how some things work and stuff to watch out for. They have truly been lifesavers for us, and more importantly most of the pre-arrangements and planning we did with the help of their great website, so if you are considering to RV the US, have a look there!
First impression of the US?
It is clear that to us, what stands out to date is the outstanding hospitality and kindness that has been bestowed upon us by the Americans we have encountered so far. Everybody is helpful, interested in who we are and what we are doing (although I can imagine Covid has had something to do with that, we may be a bit of an oddball out here now) and we are slowly adding Instagram followers to our trip!
On next weeks update: Our first week out in the RV and pictures of the DIY endresult! Check out other updates via our blogs as well, including the one on our DIY.