RV Full Time: Coming Home to Atlanta in a Big-A** RV
Want to know one of the biggest challenges, heartbreaks, and regrets about living, working, and traveling across country in an RV full time?
Honest answer: Missing your people, places, and family events back home, in the regular house-, condo-, apartment-dwelling world.
If you come from a big city, you can’t just drive up and park your big RV on the street in the old neighborhood to visit.
It’s something we talked about before going full time. It’s something people ask about all the time:
- What do you do if/when you need to get somewhere for work or family events?
- How will you be there for births, graduations, weddings, funerals?
- What if there is an emergency and you need to get on a plane?
- Where do you safely leave a 40-foot RV when you need to be elsewhere?
This post is all about what you might do when you’re RVing full time and need to make other arrangements.
When you can’t take the RV with you…
RV Full Time Challenge: 10 Steps Home to the Big City in a Big RV
Thomas Wolfe (1900 – 1938) wrote an entire book about it: You Can’t Go Home Again
We all know this, right?
And yet, there we were:
- On I-285, the busy perimeter highway surrounding the City of Atlanta.
- In our 40-foot motorhome, with vehicle in tow.
- Total = 55 feet of everything we own, stuck in Atlanta traffic on a Sunday afternoon.
1) Home again, home again?
Our Atlanta homecoming, in Charlie-the-RV, is complicated by the question:
Is Atlanta… Home?
Russ and I were both raised on the West Coast of the United States, for the most part, as Navy brats. We met in high school in the Seattle, WA area, married in 1988, and both graduated from Western Washington University in 1990.
Washington State has always been “home” to us.
We set out on our first cross-country adventure (in a car, not an RV) after graduation in 1990, escaping the Pacific Northwest rain. Chasing the sun all the way to Florida, and then: Atlanta, GA.
After 25 years raising our family and building our careers in Atlanta, we moved back “home” to Seattle in March 2019… yes, exactly one year before the start of the global pandemic that changed *everything* and launched this RV full time adventure.
And yet, there we were, 2 ½ years later: Back in Atlanta, in our big-a** RV.
2) RV Full Time: Crossing Country
We’ve been living, working, and traveling full-time in the RV since May 2021.
We set out from Washington State in August, driving across the country in six weeks:
Spokane, WA… to White Sulphur Springs, MT… to Medora, ND… to Detroit Lakes, MN… to Eau Claire, WI… to Hillsdale, IL… to Saint Louis, MO… to Hornsby, TN… to Pass Christian, MS… to FLORIDA!
(P.S. We have to stay overnight in a state, in the RV, to scratch it off the travel map! [Affiliate link to Amazon])
We had six weeks to get to Florida to take care of some family business.
3) Wedding of the Decade
In September, on our way across country, I received an urgent message from my best friend in Atlanta:
“Come to Atlanta. If you can be here November 6th. I’d love for you to be here.”
Her son, our oldest son’s best friend from high school, was getting married!
Our families had become very close through the years our sons were in the high school JROTC program. And even closer after that.
This was a Big Event!
We definitely didn’t want to miss it.
–> Russ and I arranged to get to Atlanta in Charlie-the-RV.
–> We helped our son make arrangements to fly in for the week from Hawaii.
Now the question was: What do we do with the 40-foot RV while we’re enjoying a week with friends and wedding activities in very urban, non-RV-friendly Midtown Atlanta?
4) Happy Birthday To ME: RV Laundry
My near-Halloween birthday ended up falling just before the Big Wedding in November.
Our Atlanta homecoming trip came together in so many wonderful ways, as far as timing and circumstance.
Problem: In the year since we bought the RV, while traveling around Washington State and across country, we’ve been carrying a dead brick of a washing machine in our laundry closet. Useless. Except for storing toilet paper and bathroom supplies.
Something weird happened to the washer, in the time between our purchase inspection and delivery.
When Charlie arrived in Des Moines, IA, there was no power to the washer, although the dryer worked great (in either outlet).
It appears to have been something related to a battery or electrical surge, before or during transport to Iowa, which fried the sensitive, yet impossible-to-get-to, motherboard in the washing machine.
During the last year of global pandemic and supply chain challenges, it has been impossible to get the washing machine repaired, or even looked at, to diagnose the problem.
In order to get to that motherboard, you have to completely pull out the stacked washer (on the bottom) and the dryer (on the top) from a skinny little closet next to the toilet in the bathroom.
And then you won’t be able to find a repair person, the supplies, or replacement parts to fix it, anyway.
Long story short: For the last year, we’ve been trying to REPLACE the dead washer, and the dryer at the same time. Start fresh.
Solution: A week in Atlanta, out of the RV, renting an Airbnb in Atlanta with our son for the wedding. It was the perfect time to send Charlie-the-RV to the RV spa (service center) outside of Atlanta AND FINALLY GET THE BROKEN WASHING MACHINE REPLACED!!!
I was BEYOND excited!
5) RV Maintenance & Repair — a week at the RV Spa
The national service center outside of Atlanta has an excellent reputation. They could get it done.
We had reached out to them in August to start planning the service appointment and get everything in order, as we made our way across country.
We had a ‘laundry’ list of other small issues and concerns, all fairly routine RV service & maintenance.
Problem solved: “FREE” parking and secure storage for the entire week while we were in Atlanta, and Charlie enjoyed a visit to the RV spa!
(Yes, I realize thousands of dollars in new appliances, maintenance and repairs is not “FREE” but we were effectively killing two birds with one stone — totally worth it!)
6) Taking a break from full time RV life — Hello, AirBnb!
We found a great condo in our old neighborhood — Midtown Atlanta! — on AirBnb:
Two bedrooms with a full kitchen (ooh, aah!), lots of room, a beautiful view, and a huge bathtub!
(Maybe the one thing I miss the most, although I didn’t have a bathtub in our Seattle condo for the two years we were there. I really miss long soaks!)
AND a washer & dryer in the condo…
We checked in Monday, after leaving Charlie-the-RV up at the service center, about an hour outside of Atlanta.
A bathtub! Laundry! (I still couldn’t believe it 🤩)
7) Home Again, Home Again
Monday: Dinner and a fun night out with our friends, the parents of the Groom.
Our son arrived late Tuesday afternoon.
We enjoyed a nostalgia tour of the old neighborhood. We stopped for a coffee at Ponce City Market (best people-watching in Midtown Atlanta), and then a quick dinner at Willy’s Mexicana Grill on Piedmont Park.
And then the kid (26 years old) was off to meet his friends in Cabbagetown (a trendy, laid-back bar & entertainment area in South Atlanta).
A lot changes in eight years (he graduated & enlisted in the Navy 2013).
But not everything. He re-connected with Atlanta friends and had a fantastic time.
8) Unexpected Surprises
THE FINAL GAME OF THE WORLD SERIES!!!
Braves World Series WIN!!!
We had no idea this is what we were coming home to! Or that our life-long Braves fan would arrive just in time to see his team WIN the World Series for the first time since 1995 (the year he was born).
It was an all-night, city-wide celebration. The kid came in very, very late. Actually, very, very early. 😉
And then on Friday… a PARADE in Midtown to celebrate!
It was an amazing week.
9) Wedding activities and the Big Day
Through all of this, we got ready for the wedding.
The three of us went to see our favorite hair stylist in Atlanta: haircuts for the guys and a total style session for me.
Just what I needed: Three hours with Sam at 2Qute Hair Salon for professional highlights (color), cut & blow-out (style). For the first time in 2 1/2 years since we left Atlanta.
(I’d been trying to manage it myself, during the pandemic, with my dirty little secret – Blue (of course!) – from Amazon. This has not been easy, especially in the RV.)
There were several wedding-related events throughout the week, with the Rehearsal Dinner on Friday and the Big Day on Saturday. We enjoyed spending time with our friends and new friends (the bride’s family).
It was a smaller wedding (about 60 people) at a very cool event space outside of Atlanta.
10) And suddenly, it was time to go
Of course it went too quickly.
Our son flew home to Hawaii and his beautiful wife early Sunday–
Our daughter and her boyfriend drove 3 hours from South Carolina to spend the day with us in Atlanta at our very favorite places:
Psssttt! Perfect Afternoon Mini-Tour of Midtown Atlanta:
On Monday, we went to pick up Charlie from the week at the RV Spa, which turned out to be a DISASTER, yet to be resolved. Whole ‘nother story…
The very best part about the service center visit was a random encounter with our favorite RV YouTube superstar couple (our new “best friends” and mentors! 😁): Mark & Sue Chandler – Our Journey In Myles!
I did not get my new washing machine & dryer. Total fail on the RV service. (More to come re: happy resolution!)
However, our week in Atlanta was an EPIC WIN on the RV Full Time Challenge: Coming Home to Atlanta in a Big-A** RV.
Thank you for reading! 😘
This article was about our first RV full time challenge: What to do when you’re living in your RV and need to make other arrangements. When you can’t take the RV with you to the wedding, funeral, graduation or other important life event back home.
We hope you enjoyed the article and are inspired and reassured, if you are a new or soon-to-be-new RV traveler. Join us on our current & future RV adventures by subscribing at https://BooksAndTravelUSA.com.