Returning To My Stick Home

 Returning To My Stick Home

San Diego Skyline

San Diego Skyline
San Diego Skyline

I arrived home, in San Diego on Friday night. I feel like I kind of limped home as my check engine light came on about 45 minutes from the house. Oh no!! I am finding it easy to write blogs at the Mercedes dealerships. Heh, Heh.

This morning I am sitting, once again, at the Mercedes service department. This time I am in San Diego. The people here are nice and I get free coffee and water so I am content. I am also waiting for the latest diagnosis. Sigh.

It is hard to believe that my first RV trip is over. I was gone 2 1/2 months. Me and my Roadtrek. I had a terrific trip, saw so many long time friends and met many new ones. I visited with over 20 friends and still missed some. I often take for granted the caring and love given to me by so many. I hope I do a better job remembering all those who include me in their lives. It certainly makes my heart feel full.

Rural Southern Wisconsin
Rural Southern Wisconsin

I was in big cities and small towns. I loved the rural areas the best. I did happen upon a terrific exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. It talked of the influence of the Impressionists on fashion. It was amazing. They had designer dresses and men's wear that were replicas of the clothing in the paintings. Just standing among all the paintings was a breath taking experience.

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

I visited four National Parks on this trip. I love our parks. It was fun to explore new ones, Great San Dunes National Monument and Preserve. I returned to many I have been to often. I love these unique open spaces. I am glad that our country has recognized the effort of preserving and protecting these unique national treasures.

I realize I am not done yet. My next adventure will be to travel up the west coast. I still have friends to visit and thank for their love and on-going support and friendship. There are also so many places to explore and see.

First, though I need to get my life in order here and then it will be time to venture forth again.

There are many things I have learned about being on the road. I would like to share them with you.Then you can add your own under comments:

  • Pack Less. I took way too much clothing with me. I did not practice my tour escorting principle on this trip and I should have. What is that principle? Pack about a week before the trip. Let it sit for a couple days then unpack and divided the load in half. Wait a few more days and do it again.
  • Take layers. I love the Ice Breaker and Ibex  light wool tops. You can wear them for a few days before they need to be laundered. They wash in cold water and dry quickly.
  • Plan my packing so I know where everything is in the RT.
  • If I use something return it to it's original spot right away.
  • Always use my check list for setting up and tearing down camp. I have mine laminated so I can check things off with a marker, then erase them for the next time.
  • If a light comes on the dashboard, don't be afraid to ask for assistance.
  • Keep the manuals handy. Read them frequently.
  • Duct tape and the non-residue tape is good if the locks break on the storage doors.
  • Keep a tool kit handy at all times. There are many uses for the varied tools. (wrench, flathead & phillips screwdriver, hammer, scissors, trowel, and others I can't remember right now.)
  • Chock blocks and leveling blocks are a must.
  • Don't overwhelm myself with food. It is fun to shop in different places and, oh my, the farmers markets this summer were delightful. I found a pint of fresh goat yogurt that I nursed along through most of the rest of the trip.
  • Don't wait until the gas tank is almost empty to refill. When I am driving rurally the gas stations sometimes were few and far between. Remember not all gas stations offer diesel.
  • Take a step stool sometimes it helps to reach places I can't always reach. I am short and sometimes vertically challenged.
  • View of the Gloss Mts
    View of the Gloss Mts

  • Take dryer sheets to clean the love bugs off when in the south. It works very well. Wet one and that is all it takes.
  • Wipe down the shower after I use it. That way it stays clean and looking new.
  • When I empty my black water I flush it right through with fresh water and empty again. So far no smells.
  • Set my alarm on my cell phone to remind myself to get out and stretch every 2 hours on the long drive days. It also made me find unique things to do or see. I hiked to the end of the bluffs in the Gloss Mountains west of Oklahoma City. It was

    Lizard in The Gloss Mts
    Lizard in The Gloss Mtsred rock country and I met up with the most beautiful lizard.

  • Only take DVD's that will play in the DVD player. No Blu-ray's with the player installed by Road Trek.
  • Sometimes it is fun to let your GPS pick your campground. Sometimes it is not.
  • If someone invites you to dinner, go.
  • Exercise every day. For me yoga and swimming or hiking was imperative.
  • Read a book.
  • Keep the camera handy at all times.
  • Clean my windows and vehicle frequently. I love it looking new. Don't forget the front end of the awning.  Bug City!!. I really appreciate the extra long handled window washer I found at a local store.
  • It is OK to join the parade. I drove at the end of a parade in rural southern Wisconsin. Instead of being impatient I took a deep breath and decided to have fun.

I know there is more that I can add to this list but, at the moment, this is all I can remember. This trip has been very healing for me. As many of you know my husband, Jim, died a year ago coming up in October. I have carried him close this whole trip. He would have loved it. We had often talked of getting a conversion van. This is just one step up. His photo and our wedding bands rode with me on this first journey. I thought of him often and I miss him still. I realize there is room for both sadness and grief and happiness and joy in the same moment. I am honored to have known him and thank him for the impetus to buy my cute RT and getting on the road and seeing the amazing in the simplest of  moments. Life is too short. I am planning to join the parade as often as I possibly can.

It is important to celebrate the mundane and the magical moment. I am planning to do that often and aim for all the time. I will add a link to my photos with my next post.

Jim & Janet, Machu Pichu 2012
Janet & RT Buffalo Bill State Park
Janet & RT
Buffalo Bill State Park



  • Oh, Janet! What an inspiration you are to us. Thanks for sharing the journey with us.

  • You are just the sweetest person I know thru the internet. You inspire and make me think and make me remember to be grateful for every moment.

  • Thank you for sharing your adventures with all of us. Anxious to hear about your next trip. And thank you for all the good advice but as you know , packing less is not easy. Especially clothing. Smiles!

  • What a wonderful post! I love your writing and enjoy your very personal voice. I wish you continued healing and great journeys.

  • I would like to know ,,Do you think you have had a lot of problems with the Mercedes Diesel when you were on your grand trip across this U.S states.I like your truthfullness about you trip. Keep up the Great work .
    R fethkenher

    • Roger, no I do not feel like I had a lot of problems with the diesel. I really like it. I think they make these vehicles so sensitive to change and the lights come on early to warn you. I feel like the times I have run into issues sometimes had to do with me not understanding or knowing, like needing to add DEF fluid. I just didn’t know and I am glad my RV told me to check it out. I feel very confident and strong in this vehicle.

      • You did not say what the last trip to the shop was for and the out come. Also, the nearest repair shop for me is the one in the Salt Lake Area and I was hoping you could email me what your impression of them was. And, thank you for sharing all of your experiences with us all. I look forward to all your articles.

  • Thanks for the list Janet…very helpful. Those dryer sheets are also good for wiping down the shower. I’ve even used them attached to my dogs collars to keep mosquitoes off them. Let us know how long it takes before you feel the need to leave the stick house again.

  • Janet,
    I always enjoy reading your posts, so down to earth and friendly. I am also new to rving, but I have a Leisure Travel Van, still a class B. Had that same DEF experience in the mountains! Exciting! Looking forward to more news and thoughts.

  • Good tips … thanks for sharing, Janet! I have one of those long-handled window washers somewhere ….. I’m going to have to dig that up and make it useful!

  • Enjoy your blog so much glad your home safely,look forward to your future trips.Bob in Md

    • Welcome back to San Diego Janet. Not sure, but I saw an Agile on my bike rides in North Park but then it was gone. Haven’t checked if it’s back. Maybe that’s you! I envy you your trips to the Natonal Oarks. We’ve visited a bunch and I love them. If you go up RT1 on your trip up the coast be sure to camp in Julia Pfeffer Burns state park in the Big Sur area. It’s beautiful.

  • I have enjoyed following your journey. I am leaving in a few days for my maiden voyage with my RT and 2 big fur boys. This will be my first solo trip and my thoughts will often turn to the trips my husband and I took together. You have inspired me to just get out there and do this. As with so many things in this new life, the first time is the hardest. Thanks again for sharing. Look forward to reading more from you.

  • Janet,
    did you find out why your light went on as you were returning to San Diego?

  • I, too, lost my husband recently and am researching the purchase of an RV just to get away. I am enjoying your blog and it is giving me the inspiration to keep researching. I have one fear, and that is that I am not physically strong (survivor). What do you think the physical requirements are?

    • Judy, I too am a survivor. Cancer sucks! I don’t know what your physical limitations are but…I have not found that anything is beyond my capacity to handle.The hardest thing I have found is raising the spare tire when it is down. I have found that I just don’t lower it that much. There is a spring in it which helps but the sucker is heavy. If I can work around it I will.
      If you will buy an RV you will need to contact me and we can meet up. It would be Fun.

  • Janet, After reading your post I feel I know you. I like your direct warm style. As a a total newbie I have to ask. Why do you need leveling blocks in your relatively short Roadtrek? Paul from Tucson.

    • Paul, My understanding is that my refrigerator needs to remain level. My driveway has an uphill to it so….I level it in the drive. Sometimes those sites in the campgrounds are not quite level and I use them there for the same reason and also because I really like sleeping flat. LOL.
      I am also pretty new to all this. Welcome aboard.

  • Janet, I’m very happy you enjoyed your time in my home state of Wisconsin!

    Soon enough it will be MY time to join the parade.

    • Party on.

  • Hi Janet!
    Thanks for sharing your story and travels with all of us. Gaitha and I live in Columbia, MO currently, but met and married in El Cajon – Rancho SD area til 2000. We have a serious case of RT Dreamin’ and are torn about the choice between the Adventurous or Agile would be good. Is the agile good for just two? We do like to meet up with folks and or travel with 1-2 others…is it large enough? Also wondered how you did with the “Windy passages” through or up north in WI. The the RS or agile look top heavy…True? Thanks!! SnG

    • I am sorry that this took so long to reply to your post. I have been busy working.
      The Agile is very good for 1-2 people. I don’t think it is good for more than that. It is small and yet seem spacious. The only way it could hold more than 2 is if the other people were tent camping or you were hauling something behind it.
      The Agile is top heavy but I found that with the weight added with the propane, water, gas, clothing, food, etc. there was very little issue with the wind. There was one afternoon when I was driving south to Little Rock where a huge gust of wind came across the freeway. I slowed down to a crawl, along with everyone else and it was fine. I have always sworn that if it got rough out there with the wind or any other weather I would stop and wait or get the heck out of dodge.
      These are good questions to ask. If I can help you with anything else please let me know.
      Loving my RT

  • I am a wanderer at heart, hubby is not. We have a Mercedes Diesel and every day I look at it with longing to hit the road. Will live my dream through you.

  • San diego Ca.

  • How nice in a nice motor home touring this beautiful country we call home

  • Returned to our stick house & my gypsy blood is at unrest.

  • Stunning scenery in this picture!!

  • Cheryl Foreman

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