How RV Repairs Turned Me into a Bag Lady

I am one person and I’m traveling with four bags, a camera bag and a purse. Yet I only have two pairs of shoes! I also bring my own pillow–and it’s king size (only the best).

I tote these back forth between hotels and my SUV even if my stay is only overnight. And it’s not because I have a hankering to tip bellhops.

Bags Carried to the Hotel for Every Stay

What on Earth Compels Me to do This?

My RV is still in the shop; we’re at the end of week five with two more to go. For context, I’ve been on the road 9.5 weeks. So half of my time has been without the trailer.

While the RV made me a turtle who carried my house around, now I’m like a squirrel carrying all my food for winter, except it’s not winter yet and I just carry everything all of the time.

So What Exactly Goes in these Four Bags?

  1. Clean clothes go in the rolling suitcase, along with the alternate pair of shoes, a frumpy sweater, and a rain jacket.
  2. Bathing suits, hiking clothes, socks, and “undergarments” go in the black duffle.
  3. My laptop, a scanner, envelopes, paper, stamps, scotch tape, cords for all of my devices (and an extension cord) go in a doubled-up and very large re-useable grocery bag. And no, I wasn’t in the Boy Scouts, but yes, I am always prepared.
  4. Another grocery bag holds toiletries. It’s not that I have so many, but when the laundry is clean, there’s no room in the luggage. Toiletries include a scrub brush to clean my water bottle, my own liquid hand soap because hotel bar soap is slimy, and a stain stick for the laundry.
  5. I did forget to mention the laundry bag/basket. Depending on the length of the stay, I’ll either bring in the whole basket or just another fabric grocery bag to then dump the dirty clothes into the basket waiting on the back seat of my car. I cover it with a towel so passersby don’t have to be subjected to all that, er, reality.

My car is giving WalMart a run for its money. I am well-stocked: my tent and its accoutrements in case they’re needed; extra toiletries to refill the travel sizes; sunscreen, bugspray, and bug bite medicine, too.

living in hotels

How am I handling the Lack of Trailer (AKA home)?

During the day, it’s travel as usual. As the excursions come to an afternoon close I wish I were going back to my own space to cook instead of to eat out again and it makes me momentarily cranky. The cranky can return at bedtime, depending upon the sheet threadcount at that particular hotel.

I do cry more than I like to admit: I’m displaced, disorganized, discombobulated. Plus there are realities of documenting, negotiating, defending–and that takes a lot of energy and planning.

people cry not becuase they're weak it's becuase they've been strong for too long

Would You Like a Reminder?

I gave a vague intro to this story a few weeks back, waiting for insurance to clear and dust to settle.

My trip began on June 5. On June 9 the RV was hit and the accident deemed not my fault. On June 13, while turning around in an office park, I hit an overhang at the building’s front entrance. Concerned that I might not fit, I was truly going 0mph. Indeed, the camper did not fit and the AC on the roof was knocked back, causing damage to the trusses.

Stop and re-read those dates. Yup – all within the first week. It was awesome.

Next, a comedy of errors ensued. Well, I wouldn’t actually call it a comedy. Decency prevents me from sharing business names or what they did and didn’t do – this is not a ranting blog. Simply know that I took my RV away from the first shop, 1. when there was still significant work to be done, and 2. went to a shop which had a queue that warranted an even longer wait, but also has an exponentially better reputation.

What are the Benefits of Staying in Hotels?

  • Usually they have water dispensers in the lobby flavored with fruit or cucumbers. That’s yummy.
  • I’m current on how to inspect for bedbugs, which is good because I was concerned that my skills were slacking.
  • I can watch every single ESPN subsidiary but finding the Food Network and HGTV are tough because evidently women don’t travel. I wasn’t aware–were you? So I’m catching up on my sports.
  • This is a reality, not a benefit: I manage to stress out housekeeping because I don’t want the room cleaned. No one makes my bed under regular circumstances, and I don’t want it here either. I’m trying to create as much normalcy for myself as possible. That scenario does not include having someone fold the toilet paper into a point.^

So there we have it. The journey continues despite accidents, in defiance of poor customer service, and even without my RV. But I can’t wait for the mother and child reunion in two weeks. I honestly don’t know whether I’m the mother or child in this situation. Doesn’t matter.

Stay tuned for poetry and love songs (ok, just a post) about how much I love my insurance. There is absolutely no irony or sarcasm in that statement. They have been supportive to such a degree that even my mother is relieved.

^Cindy and Casey, you are (of course) the exception.


Your turn: what wacky things do you over-pack?

6 Responses


Wow…that card about being strong too long was powerful. Thank you for sharing your frustrating situation with humor and perspective. Glad to know there’s a good insurance company honoring its promises. Definitely stay on top of the bed bug expertise. Looking forward to when you’re “on the road again.”

Thanks for the shout-out 🙂 We loved having you stay with us. We’ll be watching you on your journey.


Wow — love, love, love that statement. You ARE strong — just look at all those bags you tote.

I need a list when I pack (I should jsut laminate one as I re-write it from memory every time). I ALWAYS aggressively over-estimate how much reading I will get done. Which is funny as I KNOW I will fall asleep minutes into the drive, flight, train route. So my “wacky” packing elements are dusty books, magazines and trade journals. Much rather have a king-sized pillow to rest my heavy-eyelids.


1. Don’t you fold your TP at home into points???
2. Bit o’ trivia: Paul Simon got the name of his song, Mother and Child Reunion, from a chicken and egg dish he saw on a Chinese restaurant menu.

I didn’t know that about the song. Can’t wait to tell folks!
And yes, secretly I do fold my TP, I just don;t want people to know. It’s so gauche.

I would be taking drugs (medication) by now in your situation, so if you’re just crying, I’m impressed. Other than that, you are living one of my fantasies, so I’m bookmarking this post so I can return here for a reality check as needed.

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