Closing out 2021

Hopefully won’t do that again.

What a fascinating year. We started our Qubie adventures before we even dewinterized her by replacing the seat upholstery on the captains chairs. We got out to Jordan Lake in March, kickstarting a renewed enjoyment. Our summer plans for a GRAND TRIP to the National Parks for Julia’s last summer vacation before college got put on the backburner due to the fantastic opportunity she had to work full-time in a microbiology lab. We had and continue to have no regrets with that decision, as it was too good an opportunity to pass up and it really enriched her life and informed and reinforced much of her vision of the future.

Qubie the low rider with Liquid Springs

The week after Julia graduated high school Cat and I went on a whirlwind trip to Fayetteville Indiana to get our Liquid Springs CLASS suspension installed and visit Chicago while the install happened. We had a delightful trip and after many months and many trips we definitely feel the Liquid Springs decision was among the best we’ve made. Qubie is so much more comfortable to ride in and she now drives with such poise and stability.

At the Woodford distillery

Given how busy the summer was for everyone we found ourselves at the end of our summer before we knew it. We had a challenging, emotional weekend dropping off Julia at her college. Empty nesters! I don’t know that either of us were ready for that, but that’s life as a parent. We returned home for a few days then packed Qubie up with our kitties and aquatic turtle (don’t ask) and made our way to Kentucky to tour the Bourbon Trail for a damned-near three week empty nester extravaganza. Honestly, that trip was such a joy in every way. Sure, we missed Julia but we got to be primarily spouses again after being mostly parents for the preceding 18 years. It was a blast.

That trip also ended up inspiring a move we haven’t really discussed much but that pretty much set the tone for us and our plans for Julia’s college years. We’d been thinking that we would take more and longer trips, see more of the country, all of that “not-quite-full-timer” thing. Once we actually reached that time we started rethinking many things.

  • May sound like helicopter parenting but we didn’t really want to be across the country from Julia very much. We haven’t used our proximity often, but we’ve done a couple of visits, planned and impromptu. It’s nice that we can be there in just over 2 hours if we need to. Hopefully we won’t, but for us it’s a factor.
  • I’m working full-time and Cat is effectively doing so too. That makes travel during the week challenging so we’d likely lean to traveling between places on the weekend… which means my leisure time would now be primarily spent driving.
  • Given the work thing we need reliable high speed internet. Doing that in an RV is pricey, dicey, and often unreliable. It’s not an option to not have it, I can’t work. So what happens if I arrive at a place and I’ve got nothing? We’d have to relocate which is never fun.
  • RV travel has grown increasingly popular. Finding sites to stay at places is getting more and more challenging, often requiring booking well in advance. Combine that with the internet thing and it could get quite stressful.
  • Traveling is expensive. Gas is a considerable expense for moving between places and everywhere you stay you’re paying for aside from perhaps overnight stops on travel days at Harvest Hosts or the like. Qubie isn’t set up well for dry camping so we’d have to invest pretty heavily (in, say, solar and more batteries) to get her to a point where that would be viable.

So… what now? Our final stay on our empty nester trip was back to Deer Creek Motorcoach Resort, where we’d stayed a few times previously. We had another wonderful stay and this time we realized that a lot at DCMR was a move that just made a ton of sense for a “home away from home”.

  • We’re still within range of Julia.
  • We can easily go whenever we want.
  • We have our own high speed internet connection.
  • It’s our place, we can use it whenever we want.
  • In terms of cost we still have to get Qubie there and back obviously, but then we can stay as long as we want with full hookups. But a new benefit is that when we’re not using the lot we can rent it out to offset the costs. So our money isn’t just tossed down the rental hole.
Our lot at DCMR

It’s always a peaceful, lovely place even in rainy weather with the farm view. We can have friends (or Julia) visit and stay in the furnished cabin. We have the New River Trail trailhead 15 minutes away for wonderful running and biking trails. There’s a lot to do that we haven’t even explored yet. We even have friends who own a lot there too!

So yes, we bought a lot at Deer Creek.

That does have a bit of an odd impact on Shallow Roots. I’d intended the vlog to be about our travels around the country. But that only works if we’re, you know, traveling around the country. But trips to DCMR or Jordan Lake just doesn’t provide a lot of opportunity for content. It doesn’t help that we’re just not vloggers. We don’t enjoy documenting our every waking moment, we’re too private. We never really think about it. I recorded some on the Bourbon Trail and began editing the vlog… but I just couldn’t generate the care. So I doubt we’ll do much of that.

Putting Qubie to bed for the winter

This weekend I put Qubie to bed. Got her oil changed in the engine and generator, got her winterized, got everything dumped, and away we go. She’s sitting at just over 21,000 miles and about 540 hours of generator time (plenty of exercise!). Cat and I both marvel at how well Qubie performed for us this year. We had one brief glitch sometime this year when one of the (Schwintek) slides went out of sync that was easily and rapidly corrected with the resync procedure. That’s it. It’s been a pretty consistent message from this blog: Qubie is just a solid workhorse. I know that could change tomorrow, and I know that systems age and start failing. But that’s life. I just really appreciate how easy it’s been with Qubie. We go get her from storage, pack her up, drive her to our destination, level, fling out the slides, enjoy our time, reverse everything and go to the next place. And she just does it.

Thanks for another great year Qubie! Rest up, next year will be fun.

S1E3: College Move-in and Empty Nesting

We knew the day was coming sometime, but did it have to come so fast? I still recall the drive home from the hospital with a brand new baby girl. We carefully lowered her in her car seat in the middle of the living room, sat on the couch, and just marveled at the enormity of everything. Now, it’s our privilege to help her prepare for her next stage in life in college. It’s the common refrain that it goes too fast… but it really does. So, join us for a bit of a different video again. You won’t learn anything whatsoever about RV suspension systems — which may be a good thing! — but you may learn something about how we feel about our daughter.

S1E2: Liquid Springs 4-Corner Install

Honestly, I’ve been waiting to make this video for 2 years. Before I even thought of vlogging I’ve considered this upgrade and imagined filming our experience. So, imagine my excitement that it’s finally here!

This is a long one, I’ll apologize for that up front. I assume many will be like “boy, this guy sure loves to hear himself talk,” which is pretty funny to me. I am not a huge talker typically but I had a whole lot to say this time 🤣.

Come join us on a 1,500 mile round trip to northern Indiana and beyond and by the end you might know a bit more about RV suspensions then you ever wished to. Come for the impressions, stay for the bloopers!

A lovely stay and a big week coming

Every year it’s been our tradition to stay a full week out at our favorite local lake, Jordan Lake, once school gets out. This year hit a little differently — Cat is no longer teaching and Julia is an 18-year-old high school graduate starting a full-time internship this week — but we had the absolute best weather we’ve ever had at the lake for this trip. Like astonishingly good.

Unfortunately we couldn’t enjoy much of it. Cat got her first doozy of a cold in 18 months that’s knocked her out of a lot of things. She’s sat outside for some of the time just because it’s so lovely, but she doesn’t have the energy to really enjoy it. That’s so sad to me because she really appreciates and enjoys those aspects usually.

The kitties exploring

In our continuing efforts to desensitize the kitties to RV life we brought them out to Qubie after we were set up again. They’re definitely improving, both of them eating and exploring a bit more. I won’t say they’re totally comfortable — Twinkle tends to growl and hightail it to her hiding place anytime she hears noise outside, and Skittle requires some “hide under blanket” time each day — but they are definitely nowhere near as nervous anymore. That is so much of a relief for our future plans.

A big week!

We leave shortly on a very adventurous week. We’re dropping Qubie off somewhere to have some long-awaited upgrades installed (yes, these will be very much covered in an upcoming video!) and spending the rest of the week in Chicago just the two of us. Hopefully Cat will have improved enough to enjoy it more than this week and hopefully I also can keep avoiding the cold… driving for that long sick doesn’t sound fun.

S1E1: “But you HATE camping!”

Our path to RVing was detailed in a very early post on this site, but before we got too far along in the vlogging path we thought it would be worth retelling the tale. It’s a bit roundabout, but (spoiler alert!) we’re very glad we did it.

Please forgive the pump-fake on the “RV smells” in the subtitle… I did record a super fun segment dealing with some stinky topics but it didn’t fit well into the narrative and we’ll have to come back to it. I know you can’t wait!