• Jim Farrell

Texas Lessons Learned

Updated: May 13, 2019

We've been in Texas for 3 months now. ("3 months in one state? Isn't that a bit much?" you say. Well, it's a big state!) Anyway, we are getting ready to head out on Friday on a road trip which will take us through 15 states in 8 months for a total of 8000+ miles. By the time we get to Arizona for the winter, we will be seasoned rvers and no longer newbies at this lifestyle we call free2bwheelin. At least, that's what we are hoping! So before we leave the great state of Texas, I thought I would post some of the lessons we have learned thus far. So for what it's worth, here they are:

1. Don't rely on, trust in, or believe that your GPS will take you on the best route.

We found this out on our first trip from Dallas to Buda TX. Martha, our GPS, decided to take us off the interstate and right through downtown Austin in morning rush hour traffic. If you've never done this with a long bed diesel dually truck and a 39 foot fifth wheel, you haven't lived the life of adventure we call FUN! Jim seemed to take it in stride; I was having a panic attack. So lesson learned - we now put our route into the GPS and then check all of the roads based on our Motor Carrier's Road Atlas (thanks Jess and fam for the Christmas gift!) before we leave a location.

2. Do rely on, trust in, and believe that God has your back all the time!

We have found this to be the case from the very beginning of our rv adventure. When we reached Buda TX, Jim met with an RV Driving instructor, Trey Selman from RVSEF, who gave him 4 hours of driving instruction. As a part of that instruction, Trey did an inspection of the Beacon including the tires. The tire Trey chose to check the pressure on had a slice in it which appeared to be made with a box cutter. It was difficult to see and had not been picked up on at the dealership. But the tire was definitely compromised and needed to be replaced before we traveled any further. We were very thankful that the events of the day and the driving we had already done were held in the hands of our faithful loving God who always has our back, not to mention our front and sides too! We praise Him every day for keeping us!

Psalm 121 - "Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."

3. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a good thing.

Jim and I are both introverts by nature, so reaching out to other people and engaging them in conversation on an everyday basis pushes us a bit. But honestly, it has been great to meet so many new people and hear their stories of rv life. We have benefited from their experience in a myriad of ways already. Our first neighbors in Livingston, Jeff and Rosemary, had been living fulltime in their fifth wheel for quite awhile and Jeff had been a big rig truck driver for 40 years before he retired. They were our neighbors for a month, and their expertise and kindness were invaluable to us as rookies. During our month in Stonewall, we met so many great folks and made some lasting friendships. We are looking forward to our next stop, the VanLeigh Rally in Gulf Shores State Park AL. We will meet many other folks who own a VanLeigh fifth wheel, and hopefully learn a lot more about our Beacon. So we are finding that our comfort zone is expanding and that's a good thing!

4. Living in 420 square feet works just fine.

We have everything we need in our tiny home on wheels. It's comfortable and we are already thinking of it as "home." Plus, it takes me about 1-2 hours to clean the whole house, which is just wonderful! So if you are thinking of downsizing, go ahead and do it. You won't miss the stuff! As per lesson learned #3, life is not about stuff. It's about relationships.

5. You can teach an old dog new tricks!

For those of you who saw our very first Facebook post as we left PA, and commented on how sad our DaiseyMae looked in the back seat of the truck, we can tell you that she is becoming a campground dog and learning to love life in the Beacon. She has adjusted to traveling in the truck with some help from lavender oil, and really enjoys being outdoors in the campgrounds. She enjoys greeting people and barking at other dogs she considers marauders or possibly terrorists. Life couldn't get much better for our old dog. As long as we are all together, she is a happy lab!

6. You can also teach an old guy new tricks!

I have been impressed every day by my great husband. Driving/hauling through downtown Austin (AGHHHHH!); learning all of the systems of the Beacon and figuring out solutions when there is a problem; passing the written and driving tests for the Texas Class A non-commercial drivers license which he must have to pull our 18,000 lb. home; being able to not only pull through sites, but back into them and parallel park our Beacon (WHATT??!!); carving some beautiful wood pieces for gifts and for our new home; sharing his love for the Lord with folks we meet along the way; and continuing to put up with me after almost 43 years of marriage! Just some of the reasons I am blessed and so glad to be sharing this adventure with my hubby!

7. Make plans but don't hold onto them too tightly.

I am the trip planner and I have our route and stops at rv parks and campgrounds around the country booked through until next April with a 5 month stay for the winter in Arizona. However, I always have in mind Proverbs 16:9 - "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." I'm trusting the Lord to change our route or stops along the way if needed for the accomplishment of His plan for our day (as per lesson learned #2).

I know there will be many more lessons learned as we travel. Texas has been a wonderful starting point for our journey. Looking forward to the next part of our adventure as we are free2bwheelin! Blessings! Kathy

The Riverwalk in San Antonio

The poppy fields at Wildseed Farm in Fredericksburg

New friends - Skip and Pam Bennett

Our Beacon of Hope on a beautiful site at the Vineyards in Grapevine TX

A lovely sunset at Grapevine Lake

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