Today we officially launched as full-time RVers, living in our 24′ Class C Thor Chateau, accompanied by our Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner as a chase vehicle.
We spent our last night at Tombigbee State Park near Tupelo where we had been camping out for the week while we closed on the sale of our house and took care of some last minute business. Our last evening in Tupelo included an intense thunderstorm that hit between 5:00 and 6:00 PM, and the huge claps of thunder definitely added to the anxiety level of the kitties, especially Molly. Fortunately, the storm cleared up after about 90 minutes, although we had a few more drizzles of rain overnight.
We got up a 6:00 AM this morning to start preparing for our road trip. We had plans to meet Mom and Dad at Cracker Barrel in Tupelo at 9:00 AM so we wanted to make sure we got everything done in time. As usual, Andy handled everything on the outside of the RV while I took care of securing everything on the inside. We pulled out of our campsite around 8:15 AM and pulled in to Cracker Barrel about 25 minutes later.
We had a very enjoyable breakfast with Mom and Dad. I told them I hoped they were ready to have breakfast with their hippie children! Andy and I both had pancakes and hashbrowns, with copious amounts of coffee, and Mom and Dad had the non-veggie breakfast (LOL). It was nice to be able to spend time with these very special people before hitting the road–they mean the world to me. We left them with some more tools, a wind chime, and a bowl–we’re still decluttering as we go. Mom took a photo of the two of us, and then we were on our way.
Our route for today took us from Tupelo, MS to West Monroe, LA. Since we were still so full from breakfast, we didn’t stop for lunch on the way, we just took a couple short breaks to stretch our legs and to fill up with gas once. It was about a five hour drive, plus time for stops. Maggie handled the drive pretty well, spending some time in Andy’s lap. Molly, on the other hand, got up into the “attic” in the overhead area and wedged herself between the Crock-pot and a storage bin and refused to come out. She rode up there the entire drive. We checked on her at each stop, and she seemed to be doing fine.
We arrived at our destination, Landry Vineyards in West Monroe, just before 5:00PM. One of the owners, Libby Landry, showed us where we could park our vehicles on a hill overlooking the vineyard with a gorgeous view and lots of shade.
Once we got the vehicles parked, the kitties came out of hiding and made themselves at home, especially since we were able to leave the doors and windows open with just the screens in place. We had just enough time to get back to the tasting room before they closed at 5:30 (they were gracious enough to keep the tasting room open for us even though they were busy setting up for a concert they’re hosting tomorrow night). Their tasting included every single vintage on their menu, at least 15, so we got a good variety.
This is a Harvest Hosts location, meaning they allow RVs to stay on their property for free if you’re a Harvest Hosts member. The annual fee is $49, but we got a 10% discount on our membership. The participants in the program include wineries, museums, breweries, local attractions, farms, etc., with almost 700 participants and growing. Although you don’t have to pay a nightly camping fee, it is customary to purchase something from the host to show appreciation for their hospitality, and we did purchase a couple of bottles from this host, as a commemoration of our launch day as full-timers.
We had a light dinner of hummus and raw veggies. Since there are no hook-ups at this location, we are boondocking which means we are running off our battery.
It’s less humid here and there’s a nice breeze blowing over the vineyards so we haven’t needed the air conditioner yet, but if we need it in order to sleep tonight we’ll crank up the generator to run the A/C. The generator burns about a half-gallon of gas per hour and we filled up right before we got here, so we’re in good shape. I’d like to avoid using the generator if possible since it is a little noisy, but we’ll see how it goes.
I wish we could hang around here for the concert tomorrow, it sounds like it’s going to be a blast! But we’ll probably break camp around 10:00 AM and head on toward Livingston, Texas where we’ll live for the month of September.
We’ve been so busy this past week trying to get the house ready for closing and then taking care of all those last minute business affairs. We’ve decided that when we get to Livingston, we’re going to spend the first week doing pretty much nothing but reading, hanging out at the pool, taking walks and just relaxing. After the first week we’ll get around to the business of getting our Texas domicile established, and also make arrangements to meet up with friends we haven’t seen in much too long.
But for the moment, we’re going to enjoy a beautiful evening in an idyllic location, where we’re able to see the stars and feel the breeze blowing over the grape vines.
Launch Day was a huge success, and we’re looking forward to seeing what this lifestyle has to offer as we make our way west.