We’re SO excited to announce that we’re officially on our way to the Northwest in the Dodge Mahal!! This has been a long, labor of love getting everything ready & we’ve already had quite the adventure in our first week on the road!
We were originally set to leave Texas the first week of May, but we encountered some unexpected plumbing issues that cost us a few extra weeks. With this being both of our first time to take on a project like this, a bulk of the time spent renovating was spent just learning as we went along. Let’s just say we feel pretty confident about RV plumbing now 😜
The Journey Begins!
Our journey officially began on May 30th. We weren’t totally done with all of the renovations, but it was getting unseasonably hot in May for Texas & we decided we’d finish up all of our smaller proects at our first stop in Ruidoso, NM. Ike’s mom just bought property there, so we wanted to take advantage of the cooler weather & access to electricity to get the rest of our reno complete.
We said our goodbyes to my family who we’d been staying with for the past 2 months while we worked on the Dodge Mahal & left during the night to avoid driving in 100+ degree weather. As soon as we left the driveway, I get a call from my sister saying “your tail lights aren’t working.” Perfect. We met our first obstacle before we even left the driveway.
First Obstacle - Nothing but the Tail Lights!
(Cue the Clint Black song ☝️)
We pulled into the nearest gas station, which thankfully, had plenty of room for our Dodge Mahal & our tow dolly. After a few hours of trial and error, we finally figured out that the brand new trailer tires we got for the tow dolly were bigger than the old ones & the tires were rubbing up against the trailer tail light wires causing a short. Not only that, but it had completely blown one of the tow dolly tail lights.
We bought a tail light at the gas station that was the complete wrong size and shape, and we used some copper jewelry wire I had on hand to rig it on. It looked wonky, but it worked. We were back on the road, or so we thought.
On the road again!
(Cue the Willie Nelson song ☝️)
Our plan was to break up the 8 hour drive to Ruidoso & stay the night in Snyder, TX where Ike is from. Since we spent a few extra hours at the gas station fixing our tail light situation, Ike was getting sleepy & we were still a couple hours from our destination. We stopped at a rest stop along the highway to catch some Z’s & thankfully so, because turns out our rigged tail light fell off somewhere along the way. Not sure how we didn’t get pulled over, but we didn’t want to chance it, so we snoozed there until the sun came up. We were still missing the light, but it was less obvious driving during the day.
We ended up spending 2 days in Snyder - we had to catch up on some work for our Amazon store, find an actual replacement for our tail light, & we got to spend some time with Ike’s good friend while we were there. We were ready to leave by the 2nd day since it was 107 degrees!!
Adiós, Texas! 👋
We left again during the night and Texas gave us a beautiful thunderstorm to watch on our way to New Mexico! We drove to Tatum, NM and stayed the night at a free RV park - I had no idea that they existed! I used an app called Campendium, and apparently free RV parks (with hookups) are all over the place.
Stranded in Roswell 👽
We left at sunrise (our new alarm clock) to make the rest of the drive to Ruidoso. We made what turned out to be a fateful stop for coffee in Roswell. Since we’re towing my car behind us, it usually limits where we can park, but we were there so early that we were able to park our rig on Main St right next to the coffee shop. We got our coffees to go, let the dogs out for a walk, and got back in the Dodge Mahal - except it wouldn’t start. At all.
We tried everything we knew to try & realized after a few hours of trying that we had no idea what was wrong, or how to fix it. I was honestly starting to second guess our decision to go on this trip in a 45 year old motorhome. I’m inside the Dodge Mahal googling like a mad woman, watching youtube videos on 413 engines, basically way out of my league & I hear Ike ask someone walking by if they knew anything about fixing cars. I look out the window to see who he asked & my first initial thought was noooooooo. Not this guy.
He looked like he was out of it & possibly on drugs. I later asked Ike what possessed him to ask that guy out of all the people passing by on Main St. and he said “he looked like he had been working on cars”. Ike’s assumption must have been correct, because he had the Dodge Mahal up & running in 2 minutes. He crawled underneath the RV & engaged the solenoid with a screwdriver. I couldn’t believe it.
I immediately felt bad about my previous judgement on the guy. We tried to pay him, but we only had $10 cash on us - we pretty much had to make him take the money. He said he didn’t want anything. Ike pressed him, saying he has to want something. After a while of silence, he said he just wanted to get out of Roswell. Long story short, we now have a new passenger, Larry, with us on the Dodge Mahal & we’re taking him all the way to Oregon where he has family.
We drove to the nearest Walmart parking lot to get off of the now busy & bustling Main St. Lucky for us, Larry used to be a mechanic & he went to work fixing all kinds of things that we didn’t even realize were wrong with the Dodge Mahal. I’m convinced that Larry is an angel - or an alien, considering where we picked him up.
After spending the last few days with him, he’s gone from barely saying a few words, to telling jokes & stories. Turns out he’s also a big history buff & we pretty much got our own personal guided tour of New Mexico on the way to Ruidoso. I would like to think I’ve already learned the whole “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” lesson a long time ago, but the universe re-taught me with Larry.
We made it!!
With Larry’s help, we made it to Ruidoso without any issues. I’m actually writing this post from a coffee shop in Ruidoso as Ike is hosting his podcast (@steemexperience) right behind me. It’s seriously so surreal that we’re finally living & working from the Dodge Mahal. We’ve spent alot of time talking about it, but we’re finally doing it. Is everything perfect? No. Far from, actually. But we’re loving the journey of learning as we go.
Our first day in Ruidoso was just what we needed to perk up our spirits. Our new neighbors for the week greeted us with a pot of coffee & fed us breakfast. They’re opening up a bar & pizzeria right across the street from where we’re staying, so we got a full behind the scenes tour. They ended up feeding us dinner that night too & let us get in their hot tub. Yup, they have a hot tub in their bar. I’m not sure when they plan on opening, but it sounds pretty epic. Beer, pizza, & hot tub.
(Just a couple of gifts from the neighbors. I was making a vegan chili for lunch & forgot to bring my chili powder - I came to borrow chili powder & I left with more beer 😂 )
(@richardcrill helping the neighbors with their new bar mascot - they're hoping she'll draw in more customers, ha!)
KEEP SCROLLING FOR MORE PICS 👇👇👇
(Sookie & Grayson enjoying the ride on the fold-out couch. Sookie normally hates riding in cars, but this couch is a game changer for her)
(Turbo is loving the abundance of sticks in Ruidoso!)
(Ike has become quite the carpenter during the reno - it helps that his brother is actually a carpenter! We really lucked out with our timing & we happened to be in Ruidoso the same week as his brother, which means access to more tools!)
(Our work space for the day! Ike is hosting his podcast (@steemexperience) while I make a Dodge Mahal update post. Thank goodness for coffee shops & wifi!)
We’ll be in Ruidoso for a few more days finishing up some smaller projects that we didn’t have time to get to in Texas. We’re still figuring out our route from here to the Northwest - we want to avoid any mountain passes if possible. If anyone has gone from NM to the Northwest in an RV, let us know!! I’m hoping to have an updated map out for our next post before we leave Ruidoso so we can meet up with any of you Steemians along the way!
Much love to you all & thanks from the bottom of our hearts for following along on our Steemit dream come true! 🙏
✍️ Update by Lindsey