If there is one thing I have missed about being on the road, it's not having constant access to a grill. I used to LOVE grilling outdoors. There is something so relaxing about putting on some music, lighting up the grill, and having a couple beers with friends and enjoying the great outdoors. While Vanessa and I still utilize cooking outside whenever we can, especially in campsites with grills built in-ground, we haven't done much grilling in Austin since being here...
It all started on Memorial Day, when we wanted to step outside the culinary box and fulfill our holiday obligations of BBQing by grilling up some goods. The only problem was that where we are staying there isn't a grill. So, we hit up the local Whole Foods and found...
A disposable eco-grill that burns coshell coconut charcoal. Not only was this disposable grill less than $4, BUT it was also eco-friendly with less carbon emissions, so easy to light, and burned continuously for two+ hours. This little thing was darn glorious and we couldn't have been happier. But what made this disposable grill even cooler was the fact that we had the easiest way to keep this puppy burning and red hot. Another trick of the trade...
The HomeRight ElectroLight Fire Starter is hands-down one of the coolest travel gadgets we've ever used in the great outdoors. By just plugging this baby into our small RV Maude, we were able to produce 1300 degree F air to keep our charcoals red hot throughout the entire cooking process. This is how easy it was...
Let me just say, the Electro-Light Fire Starter was so darn cool, we decided to adventure further into culinary creation. Now, this isn't to negate the ACTUAL point of this fire starter which is obviously to light fires. Vanessa and I have had many a'difficulty lighting campfires and charcoal grills, continuously burning through paper, matches and the like, just trying to get a flame. (It's worth noting that neither of us were Girl Scouts for too long and if there was a fire starter badge, then we clearly didn't earn it). But, with the ElectroLight, there is no waste. There is no frustration. The fire starter burns and it lights things up quick. Just make sure you're extra careful with how hot it gets!
So, we decided to keep going with our ElectroLight and used it to char more eggplant as well as char a plate of campfire vegan nachos....
All in all, our tiny eco-friendly grill worked wonders and we can certain vouch it as a success. We roasted two whole eggplants to peel and make into a cold aubergine salad, plus a few SmartLink veggie dogs and a red onion. The ElectroLight is one of our new RV must-have items and we can't wait to make lighting fires a snap once we get back on the road.
Less than a year ago, we bit the bullet and added a scooter to our arsenal of mobile vehicles. We came across a small shop in the middle of Indiana that had an incredible deal on scooters, and even told us they would throw in a hitch with our purchase. It was a deal too good to pass up. Vanessa and I were thinking about scooter-life for a while, especially because navigating new streets and cities with Maude was a huge nuisance. I'm talking HUGE. We lost hubcaps in city potholes, knocked off a backlight because of a lamppost, and are pretty sure someone tried to get into our front cab in St. Louis while we were out, and thankfully Spike scared them off.
So, needless to say, we were in dire need of another vehicle to get us more mobile and less stressed about lugging around Maude. The good news was, we found Scooter. (That's his name, by the way).
Maude and Scooter. Scooter and Maude. A match made in RV life heaven. The only thing that stressed me (Marisa) out after acquiring Scooter, was the maintenance that came along with a scooter. I know that scooters, motorcycles, and any other small engine cycling machinery require work, and most-of-all, upkeep. I thought about how I would need to spend money on maintenance, parts, and just making sure Scooter was up to par. Surprisingly though, Scooter doesn't take much upkeep. When you have a good motorcycle parts store that you can trust, anything is possible. You can find any part you need, not to mention guidance along the way. Plus, YouTube rules. So there's that.
Thankfully, the only regular maintenance that Scooter needs involves air in the tires, oil every few hundred to a thousand miles, replacing or cleaning the air filter, a good wash behind the ears, and a new spark plug. That's regular stuff, the type of stuff that we learned to do every few months, just to keep Scooter sharp.
Then you have the bi-annual or annual scooter maintenance (depending on your use, of course) which involves battery tending or replacement, new tires, chain or belt replacement, and brake replacements. These are all things that you might want to have a professional take a look at if you aren't familiar. Also note it is important to get the absolute best motorcycle tires in the game if you're looking to improve mpg, keep wear-and-tear to a minimum, and have stability on the road.
We change the oil on Scooter ourselves, which ends up costing less than $6 each time. We also replace the spark plug (maybe $4 at most), and clean the air filter, too. This regular maintenance is fairly simple and also much cheaper than going to a professional. We were quoted almost $100 to change the oil in Scooter, which is highway robbery in my eyes. It cost us $6 and a cut open grapefruit juice container. And maybe a good hand washing.
Scooter is a blessing to our mobility and lifestyle. We can hop him on and off the RV as much as we'd like, plus to fill up it's only about $2.50 for 100-150 miles. Maintenance is easy, as long as you find yourself a reliable motorcycle parts store, which will give you peace of mind in the long run.
Until next time friends...
It wasn't too long ago that our cats received a special gift for Christmas. This gift was aimed to take away a lot of the lap snuggling, seat-rotating, in-your-face lovin' that the cats seemed to enjoy most when we were doing things like say, driving. We were looking for a way to give them a safe, cozy place to curl up and enjoy our longer stretches of road travel. Thus, introducing the coolest cat window perch ever, the K&H Manufacturing EZ Mount Window Bed Kitty Sill.
Lets just say...this cat perch is a lifesaver. We mounted it to the passenger side window, which while a bit annoying due to the inability to roll down your window more than an inch or two, it was also the most feasible for the cats. As soon as one (OR ALL) came up to snuggle on the drive, we just plopped them into the perch and voila--instant snoozing. Our one cat Bruce (who was once called Ike before Vanessa let me rename all her cats) loves the perch. He will stretch out and fit himself inside, only to pop his head up when we start slowing down the RV or someone whips out a bag of catnip.
Our most skittish one named Keeks (formerly known as Malahaki) has to be put in manually and coaxed to stay inside. I don't think he likes heights very much...or RVs, or roads, or streets, or humans, or air, or life....
The final cat Waterpaw (Moak) is very fond of the perch. He's usually the one on the dash anyway, so any place that's warm with a window view and zero chance of being bounced around, he's game.
The perch itself suctions to the window and is super strong. Honestly, I doubted the durability at first because two out of the three cats are a bit full-figured, so I thought for sure it would come down crashing. Especially when you look at the bottom-right photo above, Bruce is stretched the heck out.
But nope! No matter who climbs in or out, it stays in place.
If you want to pick up a window cat perch of your own, click on the photo or link below. It fits perfectly on our RV dinette windows, too.
By the way, it should be noted that nobody paid us for this post nor did we receive anything for free. We just love the thing so damn much, it was worth writing about and sharing. If they could make a human perch as cool as this, then we would totally be down.
Attention all RV lovers! There is a new travel magazine that hit the streets this past month, and guess who has an article inside? THE ROAMANS!!!
(applause, fan fare, screaming, bras being thrown on stage)
The travel mag is called Rova Magazine, and it rules. We are not just saying that because we are in it and because the editor Gemma Peckham rules, but we really genuinely love this magazine. It not only provides unique, more modern knowledge and information about being nomads in today's culture, but it also showcases an incredible pictorial, too. Truly, there isn't another magazine like this out there. It doesn't even necessarily cater to only RV travelers, or full-time nomads. But instead, it highlights epic road trips and fosters a sense of wanderlust and creativity for all those who seek to find it.
The concept behind the magazine is as such :
Rova is a magazine about traveling the roads of North America: the insightful stories, the spectacular images, and the best of what this magnificent continent has to offer.
And in case you are wondering what the name stands for, then here ya go:
Not only is the magazine a great resource for those who are traveling full-time, part-time, or just in their imagination, but the online presence too, is strong. You can find interviews with travelers, nuggets of important information about life on the road, and updates on innovations for the nomadic lifestyle. Take a look at the website in entirety here: http://rovamag.com.
The article we contributed to the premiere issue involves making friends on the road and forging friendships without living too long in one place. (Hint: It is totally possible). This was such a great opportunity for us to share what we have learned by living on the road, and hopefully inspiring more people to seek out other options for living if they aren't satisfied with the societal "norm".
If you think this magazine is right up your alley, then you should absolutely subscribe. You can find more information about subscribing here: http://rovamag.com/subscription/.
Who knows, you may just find another article from your favorite small-RV-traveling-gals in there.
Hello, friends. It's been a while. Vanessa and I have been laying low in Austin, Texas for a few weeks, enjoying the temperamental weather. It's been nice to stand still in one of our favorite cities and pretend we're residents.
We are able to just chill for a bit because this past winter we did some pretty huge renovations to Maude, our small RV. As of right now, we don't have anything glaringly outstanding that needs fixing or upgrades or anything of the sort, so we can kinda just kick back and enjoy the fruits of our labor.
One of the bigger projects we aimed to tackle was to reupholster the RV cushions. As you've probably heard us complain in prior posts, we couldn't stand the RV upholestry that came with the RV. If you need me to jog your memory...here goes.
Pretty, huh? We've been trying to get rid of this upholstery for a while, but it just seemed like such a huge undertaking. Until finally we had the time a resources to do it.
We posted an ad on Craigslist looking for someone to help see these suckers. We had the four dinette cushions and a big banquette cushion for what was built in the slide. Five cushions total, meant about 10-11 yards of fabric. We chose a faux ostrich leather that we loved for both aesthetic and pet-friendly reasons. This fabric is dur-a-ble. Cats have been on it, dogs have been on it, no scratches or tears. It's easy to wipe up and clean, no more old fabric. This is what these cushions look like now:
Now, in all honesty, we wished the cushions to have come out a bit more sleek and smooth around the edges. It also doesn't help that our cushion inserts are ten years old and have been a bit warped over time. Sigh, that's another project for another day. Overall, we're pleased with how the cushions came out, because ultimately it has brightened up the space like you wouldn't believe. That's really what we wanted, after all: a more modern space that is bright and beautiful.
On a side note, you can see below our dinette seat we took off our storage door completely and instead screwed in a hinged gate door. We turned that storage area into a little dog cave for Penny, fit with water, a few toys, and a nice slipper bed. She is only in there at night when we are sleeping to avoid her stumbling around in the dark (she is an old lady, after all) and she just loves it. More on that to come, but in the meantime, here she is enjoying the views from the other side...
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