How Does One Go From Being Weekend Warriors with 2 Dogs, to Fulltime RVers with 9 Pets?
Our life started together in 2007, when we first started dating. While we had many things in common, something that was unique to Fred was that he grew up and loved camping. Being a couple, we of course shared our interests with one another: so I got dragged into the world of camping.
We started with some simple, small tents that we borrowed from family and friends. They had just enough room that we could squeeze in (and I mean squeeze) a queen size blow up mattress; and could still crawl into it and be cramped with 2 people and 2 dogs. We wanted to be sure that I enjoyed camping before spending a bunch of money on camping equipment.
We did this for two years; and I fell in love with it. So we purchased our first tent together; one that we could actually stand up and move around in. We spent quite a bit on gear for camping. We got a tent that was large enough for a queen sized mattress, 2 dog crates, and still had room to fully stand up and move around in, and have luggage in. The front of the tent had a screened in room, which we turned into our camping kitchen. We bought a fancy table/kitchen setup meant for camping, and even got a small fridge that we brought along. We had so much camping ‘stuff’, it was a little ridiculous.
From the get-go; we brought our pups. They were family, so it made sense that they should enjoy camping with us. Camping with dogs does add an aspect of difficulty, but it was worth it.
After the first few years in tents with the pups, we realized a camper would really make things easier for them. So we searched and found our first travel trailer: a little 21 foot Aerolite.
We started camping only a couple of times a year, one trip being a long 9 to 11 day trip in Manistee, Michigan every August. Our love of camping increased so much that we kept increasing the number of trips we did every year. We got to the point that we were camping at least once a month, even if it was close to home.
Fast forward to us finding Haas Lake RV Park near us. We camped there a few times because it was close to home and both of our jobs. One of our first trips there was supposed to be just a long weekend. We were enjoying ourselves so much, that we extended the weekend trip to a full week; then extended that to two weeks.
DISCLAIMER: :::The dogs came with us every camping trip, and when we started having ferrets, they came immediately as well. Yes, we had our cat, and parrots back then as well. We also had three older teens living with us (Fred's kids); who helped take care of the animals at the house. They weren't just abandoned :) :::
Haas Lake RV park was so convenient for us being near home and our jobs, that we ended up applying for a seasonal site there. We realized that we could still do all of our other camping trips throughout the year when we had time off of work, but could easily come here every other weekend so we could camp more often. Before getting a seasonal site (there was a wait list); we realized we could pay to stay monthly. We figured we could pay for a couple of months and still do the every other weekend thing.
At this point, we bought a bigger camper: a brand new Avenger 21rb travel trailer (which was 27 feet long). We took a week off work to move the camper to our monthly spot, and were planning on staying there just that week and would go back home. We would then go back every other weekend or so. Well, the week ended, and we didn’t want to leave… so we didn’t.
What was intended on being an every other weekend thing, turned into us just staying there. We would go home once or twice a week; to check on the birds and cat, and to mow the lawn. At this point we were already bringing the ferrets with us. They had a cage on the second booth of the dinette, then were moved to the floor under the table. Our first RV renovation was getting rid of the cramped little dinette booth, and putting in a table/desk with 2 chairs for us.
When we finally got approved for a seasonal site, we realized we would be there longer than just a couple of months, and really missed the other animals when we camped. So the second renovation of our travel trailer started.
We had to find a way to fit cages in for 2 Macaws and a Conure. Now, 21 feet of living space in a travel trailer (with no slides) isn’t the most roomy. So we had to be creative on how we went about things to make it work. Besides the bed in the bedroom (if you can even really call it a room); we had a tiny 2-person ‘couch’, and a table with 2 chairs. One was going to have to go.
Second renovation: we decided to keep the couch, and the table was removed. In it’s spot we got 2 of the largest parrots cages that would still fit the space. The ferrets, who were in a cage on the floor under the table now needed a new spot. For them we found a guinea pig cage that didn’t have a bottom, that we could attach to the top of the Macaw cages. It took up the entire space of one of the cages, and overlapped onto part of the second cage, which meant we had to zip tie the two parrot cages together to keep them together. In the remaining space on the second parrot cage, we built a cage for our Conure.
This setup worked, but it wasn’t really ideal. There was a row of cabinets along the wall the cages were on, so the cages couldn’t be pushed against the wall, so they stuck out in the aisle further than we really wanted. It was also extremely inconvenient to move the giant zip-tied monstrosity of a cage anytime we needed something out of the cabinets.
At this point, we started thinking of the possibility of full-time RV living. What did we really miss at the house? The animals: problem solved. Good television and our computers was all that was left. We didn’t miss the space, the yardwork that came with having a yard, or all the extra ‘stuff’. Surely we were surviving off of what we had in the tiny little travel trailer for months at a time, what could really be that important at the house?
Fixing the T.V. problem was easy. We first started with Dish satellite, and bought two boxes, one for each tv. We used that for awhile, before jumping on the Netflix bandwagon. We bought a couple of firesticks; and the rest is history. Lack of T.V.: SOLVED
We dealt with the inconvenient setup of the small couch for a few months, but the ‘couch’ was terribly uncomfortable. Even if it were comfortable, I don’t think we would have kept it. At our house, we rarely sat in the living room, but rather sat at our computer desks to watch tv. So the couch had to go. This would also fix our lack of computer space issue.
The spot the couch was in was a tight spot, so we had to build a small L-shaped desk in the corner. We could just barely fit our 2 computer chairs; but they did fit. Now we had our desktop computers. (We eventually got rid of the desktops and just use laptops now.)
After dealing with this cramped space at the desk, and the inconvenient placing of the cages, we did some more measuring and figured out a better renovation.
Third Renovation: We decided that everything would work out better if we switched where the cages were, and where our desk was. We did some crazy reconfiguring, including rebuilding the ‘box’ that surrounded the furnace and water pump, again. Because of these changes, we had to find another, different cage for one of the Macaws, but we were able to switch the Ferret’s cage to a single Ferret Nation. It was like finding the perfect puzzle pieces to fit the puzzle again. Both times, we wanted the largest cages that would fit; but that would still fit, of course. This took a lot of searching to get that perfect cage for our specific measurements. The one Macaw cage we had fit perfectly on top of the single ferret nation cage; and we found another cage that would fit on top of the box we rebuilt for the furnace. This left one gap on top of that cage to find a cage that would fit our Conure. (Picture do NOT show our Conure’s current cage. We were able to find one that filled that space.)
After getting the cages setup perfectly in their new spot, we were able to set up a really long desk/table in front of the main window, giving us tons of space, a beautiful view out the window, and access to all of those cabinets that we couldn’t get to before.
Here we are now, fulltime RV living in a 27 foot Avenger travel trailer with no slides. Us two humans, 1 cat, 2 dogs, 3 ferrets, and 3 parrots (1 Conure and 2 Macaws). Living Life to the Fullest with All of Our Pets. Documenting Our Life on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok!