Griswalds Redux: Hitting the road!

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” ~Lao Tzu

Tiny houses / Tiny Places / RV Living and the need for tiny solutions

I am going to update this post frequently as I find new and intriguing solutions!

Preparing for the Big adventure

In the last few months as I see more and more of my friends getting ready for the next chapter in their lives, the issue is downsizing.

Our experience is that we went from 2300 SF plus a deck and garage, to 1200 SF as the interium move. We will eventually be at somewhere around 240 SF in a motorhome or trailer.

Since we made one transition and purged the extra, extra stuff our method was x pronged. Set up tables in the back carport for garage sale, and just started through (and i had helpers) on things that went straight to garage sale. Also as I did this, if some one wanted something that was helping me, I sent it straight home with them! We had 3 weekends of garage sales in a row.

as the move got closer, and we were packing boxes to go to new house, more and more things were discarded necessitating a throw away, recycle, and give away pile! (I was done with garage sales by then!

So now we are in the 1200 SF house looking at the possibility of a sale looming in the next few months. This will mean relocating at least 2500 miles, and then traveling in 240SF at most. No room for much at all! Plus anything we take with us, we’ll have to ship to our first stop, or carry with us.

So I am back to re-reading The Life changing Magic of Tidying Up  Marie Kondo.

I am looking through each category she suggests and pairing down to what will fight in 4 suitcases and I am limiting myself to shipping only 4 boxes. Why a limit? Well we get 2 + 2 suitcases free, and on the boxes I would ship more but gave myself a maximum.

I also made a list of what items we will need in our new quarters, and matching my “stuff” to my list and then asking is it worth it to carry or ship or can I buy it new or at a garage sale over there? (Remember we are going 2500 miles across the ocean!)

So back to decluttering as some of my friends are not moving until next year. I started my kitchen utensils. Went through the drawer, discarded the six different measuring scoops. Kept the one that I will take with me too. Packed up silver ware (6 of each ) and left the rest to use until we move.

So basically I started a “to take with me pile” first.

There is a secondary “recycling” group.

And third is haul off as trash pile.

One drawer, albiet good sized, took about an hr. And it was all one category!

1 down, about 20 more to go!

RV’ing & Camping in Hawaii

Most people think of Hawaii and they think white sand beaches, big splashy resorts and cheesy luau at the hRed Roadotels. Right?

Although this is mostly true (and there are some great not cheesy luau), there is another option! Camping! There are many who tent camp, and a few who RV camp. You may rent a RV at Island RV .  Yup they are the only commercial rental agency on the island now. You can check their Yelp reviews but there are not many. They only have a 23′ class B so if you are used to the big guys, they do not have them.

This all said, any kind of camping around the Big Island is awesome. The Hawaii County  beach parks are pretty easy to reserve on-line and the price makes for a nice budget vacation!  Nothing better than making coffee and going for a quick swim while it brews!  A family of four could camp for less than $24/night ($6 an under per person depending on age)

The other really good part, just like RV’ing on the mainland, you dont have to check in and out of hotels and hassel with any of that. In fact, at the beach parks there is no check in! Your name is on the rangers list, and just show ID when they came around the park!

If you are in the mood for an active volcano experience, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park offers a $15 – 7 day pass for the park and there is camping there too!

In HVNP, Kulanaokuaiki camping area is free and is available on a first-come basis. No reservations and No permits are necessary. Stays are limited to 7 days in a month and cannot exceed 30 days per year. Entrance fees to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park apply and may be paid at the entrance station.

The Big Island campgrounds have no electric or water hookups, and no wastewater disposal. The RV rental agency handles that or you may go to the Dept of Health in Hilo and they have a disposal site at a cost of $40 (last inquiry).

Temperatures at the ocean usually range from 80/85 daytime winter and summer to lows of 65/75 winter and summer nights. The east side of the Big Island will have more rain (it is a tropical rainforest but it is more lush and green) and the West side has beautiful beaches but more desert type climate.

So pick up some fresh Ahi, make a salad and enjoy a great dinner camping while watching a beautiful sunset!

Note: Hilo walmart does not allow over night parking of RV.

Looking back and moving on…

As we wait for our house to sell and doing a LOT of research on Fulltime’ing on the road in an RV, it is a little bittersweet.

Looking at my Hawaii friends postings, knowing that although for 28 years, I have looked forward to things here, I am beginning to “close up shop”.

Talked to my friend Carrie for a long time this AM. They made they move in Feb 2015. But their physical move started way back in Sept 2014 when the lava was projected to cover Hwy 130 close to Pahoa. They moved from a tiny house on Red Road to a house near Keaau knowing that it would be for only a short time as their goal was to be on the road for awhile.

Carey and Tony got rid of so many things in the first move to escape the lava flow. On the second and long distance move, they had to eliminate all but a few boxes. This is where we are now. In limbo waiting for house sale. But since we sold other house 4+ months ago, we have already gone through a ton of things and sold/recycled/given away. We are down to boxes of paperwork and sentimental items.

Since we dont know where we are going to start trip at yet, we dont know where to send the boxes! Going to get them all ready and address them on our way to Post Office probably!

What do you take? I am making only one box of sentimental items. Thats it. an condensing down all paperwork items. Making one small packet with must haves – Birth certs, that kind of thing.

But back to the looking back part, I realize I am separating from my life here already. Not doing as many dinners or parties. Not engaging with my life here as much. I find myself feeling like the kid going off to college. Getting mad at their parents trying to make the separation easier. So working on trying to be patient and enjoy what is here now but not really looking to make new friends here now. I also have to try to not think of all the things that in a day to day life here get me frustrated. I am finding that it is easier to push away the neighborhood gossips since I dont really have interest in staying up on what the drama in our neighborhood is. I used to it more so as the things the association did affected us. Now it is going to be some one else’s problem.

Other than doing what needs to be done for the house to sell, I am putting away the redecorating part of myself for awhile. (Although it is popping out in searching RV decorating! I feel I can tell the vintage of the older MH’s just by the color of the interior!! ha ha)

Okay thats it for now.

Volunteer / Camp Hosts

While rambling around the internet, and overwhelmed with searching for motor homes, I stumbled upon a site for Volunteers at Parks ( ). I have only gone through a few listings but also checked back on my new RV Bible  and found some more info / experiences and that lead me to

There seems to be a lot of opportunities for volunteering at a park. I am searching on the parks with full hook ups for RV’s. I do not know what to expect but it does seem like a viable opportunity.

There is certainly a lot of interesting choices and for one who has lived in Hawaii almost 30 years, it is like a big wide world out there! (Almost never see an RV or trailer on the road here!)





How to travel on wheels?

We have spent the last few weeks searching for our preferred method of traveling on wheels. I seriously thought it was just picking out one of those cute vintage trailers and la la la … decorating it and away we go. But no. My hubby informed me that he is not living in 15-16-17 sf for a year or more.

Robert aka BuilderBob wants something that might make Tim Taylor happy. 34 ft, slide outs, etc etc etc. He wants a motorhome – a big class A or is it class C – the longer the better.

So far our research has taken us from small vintage trailers to big diesel slideouts, through 5th wheels (like my parents – Peg & Andy – the original Griswalds), and onto travel trailers & toy haulers. Each has it merits and cons.

We finally decided with input from our friend Fran (also known as my SIL’s mom) that a 26-27-28 Motor home is probably what might work for us. Fran and Jack had a 27′ motor home and traveled all across the country.

Now we are into the “older vs newer” part of the research. New new is totally out of our budget. But old old is out of our ability to fix (having no shop, or tools when we arrive). So we are looking for the MH that some kindly old grandparents passed away and only put 25-40K miles on it and their kids selling it have all the records and manuals.

Our wish list includes a queen size bed with walk around space on either side, the largest bathroom we can find (definitely no shower / potty combo!!), and decent storage. My want is for it to not look like it came out of the 80’s with that pastel upholstery or blue (which I am finding is very common even on the brand new ones!). Robert suggests if we find one at a decent price, reupholstering wont be a big issue. Even flooring isn’t insurmountable.

His requests are self levelers, a good generator and really good AC. Good engine with not too miles on it!

I am finding that I keep going back to – this group has done all the research I am doing and also has a lot of hints, tips and cautionary tales for us newbies.


I get asked all the time about the Big Island – what to do where to stay – This is the book I refer people to almost daily – Hawaii: Big Island Revealed – Andrew Doughty.

Another good place to check for info on current events / festivals going happening on the Big Island is Kapoho Rentals on Facebook

Aloha Hawaii

July 28, 2015

As we begin to prepare to leave the Big Island of Hawaii, we are researching our trip! So excited to be starting this adventure and yet sad to be leaving 30 years behind.

So far, we have listed Lani Kuhonua (where heaven meets the earth) aka the Pond House for sale. Starting to go through items / closets, etc getting ready to discard so much! and yet what do we want to take with us?

This trip has been coming for almost 9 years. The time was never exactly right to leave. Parents, then houses, then Robert’s surgeries, storm, lava flow….. you get the picture!

We have been asked so many times – how could you leave? So here are the pros and cons  (in no particular order):

  • Orchids every where. The Orchid show in August too.
  • Ocean at our door step almost. (and this would go in the cons when there is a big storm)
  • Lau lau’s – in fact got chased through KTA party lot by the lau lau guy when he saw my car! 4 laulau’s for $10 – yum!!
  • Warm winters (but will not miss the too warm summers like this years!)
  • Gov official that treats me like a close friend! Gave me a hug and kiss today and hadnt seen her since the storm period. Wont miss neighbors who jockey for “position”.

There are many more things and will post as I think of them!

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