Meet the newest member of our adventure team…Sir Podrick.
That’s right, y’all! We have added another camping style to our repertoire. Little Boy Blue is a 2017 Forest River R-Pod 179, or, more simply, a camper. But…why? Well, we decided to join the RV family after becoming insanely jealous of other people’s Instagram posts documenting their super fabulous camping lives and thought “Eh, what the hell! Let’s do THAT!”
In all seriousness, the decision came about after we sold the family lake house in Georgia. Kathryn practically grew up at the lake, and three generations of memories were made on Lake Lanier. It wasn’t an easy decision, but after taking some time to seriously evaluate it, we knew it was the right one. The family had scattered, spending less and less time there. Although we loved the idea of bringing our (non-existent but potentially future) children there to add a fourth generation to the lake house memory bank, it wasn’t feasible. Too many renovations needed to happen to keep it maintained, it wasn’t close enough for quick weekend trips, and our vacation style had changed – we prefer to take vacations to explore new places. So, we decided on the Big Blue Butt. That way, we go where we want to explore and tow our vacation home behind us.
The Adventure Pod is great! It has a queen size bed, dinette that folds down into another sleeping space, fridge, convection oven/microwave combo, 2-burner cooktop, sink, and a “wet bath” (we will get to that little feature later…). Everything you need. One of our favorite features, however, is the “R-Dome.”
Most campers come with a retractable awning, but we opted for this beast. It hooks to the side of the camper and is essentially a screened-in porch, almost doubling our living space. In the summer, it’s great to keep out mosquitos, and in the rain we can still sit outside and read. The “walls” roll up to become more of an awning if you just want shade/cover, or you can zip them down to fully enclose the space. When down, we can leave the pups off-leash allowing them to have the run of the camper and dome area, giving them a bit more freedom.
What we’ve quickly learned is that the RV community is massive, and there are so many different options when it comes to camping with a rig. The more glamorous campsites, “glampsites” if you will, come with full hookups (water, electricity, sewer, cable, and wifi) so you basically have a hotel room on wheels. On the other end of the spectrum is boondocking – zero hookups, and it’s normally a ‘create your own campsite’ situation. Most boondocking is done on BLM land, where you can park for up to 14 days in one location. At this point, you’re running off of battery, propane, a generator (if you have one and can stand the noise), and, in some cases, solar. The majority of BLM land is out west, so most east-coast camping is done in state parks or RV campgrounds. Of course, you can always boondock in a Wal-Mart or Cracker Barrel parking lot – which is what a lot of people do when on longer distance trips for a quick overnight stop. So far, our go-to has been somewhere in the middle: campsites with at least electricity and water hookups, and we try to stay at campgrounds that link up to trails or have trail systems that are a short drive away.
Eventually, we plan to take a longer trip out west to explore some national parks. Before we do that, however, we definitely need to make some modifications to the Pill Pod. We’d like to add solar and an additional battery, and on the interior we want to remove the dinette and switch it to a futon – this should give us a bit more floor space. As far as the “wet bath” goes…this is the least glamorous part of Poddington. Your toilet and shower are all-in-one, and it’s a pretty narrow space. Let’s just say it gets the job done, and it’s better than digging your own hole. There is a corner sink in the bath which will be ripped out as soon as possible, which should give us a bit more maneuverability. It just gets in the way, and it’s so much easier to use the kitchen sink for teeth brushing / face washing / etc.
The Harry Podder is perfect for Huckleberry and Sawyer – they absolutely love it! It’s so much easier than tent-camping with them, since we can leave them in the camper if we need to run to a store for resupply, and Huck is a little prince when it comes to rain so he can stay inside and dry in case of inclement weather. You may remember him tearing a hole in our tent during a thunderstorm? Yep. Huck loves Podzilla.
We love having so many options for our trips now – we can go fully off-the-grid backpacking, go to a campsite with our tent, or bring the RV for a bit more comfort during our adventures. I will be honest – at first, it felt like we were cheating a bit. I mean…isn’t the point of being in the woods to BE in the woods? In order to connect with nature don’t you need to be sleeping on the ground, cooking from a campfire, carrying everything you need on your back and peeing in a hole in the ground? I get it. I was so afraid of being labeled a pansy at first. But, it didn’t take long for us to become believers. Our camping “season” is longer now – when it drops below freezing we don’t have to worry about having the right equipment, and in the summer we don’t have to worry about the pups overheating. We take more trips simply because it requires less maneuvering with the dogs – they come with us now regardless, and we chose campsites close to trails we want to hike on but may not have been able to / allowed to tent camp on beforehand. A lot of parks allow dogs in campgrounds but not on the trails. Backpacking with two dogs requires a lot of planning and equipment – it’s a challenge and can be stressful at times. Sometimes, we just want to go into the woods and relax – and our camper lets us do that.
An unexpected side effect of the Podling? Having this little home on wheels has made us reevaluate how we live. We’ve only had it for a short time, but we have quickly adjusted to the space available to us. Sure, it’s small (around 160 square feet) but we have everything we need. You figure out what the essentials are, and go from there. With two people and two pups, you really don’t have a choice – everything has a purpose, or it doesn’t have a place. Our trips in the camper always end with us coming home and wanting to purge. Do we really need all of this stuff in our lives? Answer: NO. No we do not. With each trip, we come back wanting more and more to simplify.
Now, we just need to pick a name for the thing…