Our Skoolie's Maiden Voyage!
At the beginning of August the girls and I set out on the maiden voyage of Viggo, our skoolie. We were headed up to Iowa to visit family for our youngest nephew's second birthday! Of the 3 boys (Oaken and his brothers) little Jax is the youngest of all the grandbabies and it is crazy to see how fast they are all growing.
I have made this trip countless times....both as driver and as passenger but usually we are in our Traverse named Travel. It is a 6 hour drive in the car and usually by the time we hit the Ottumwa area (we travel north up 63) we are DYING. The girls hate the trip but love where we are going so travel day is definitely stressful for us.
As we were preparing, I asked in our Skoolie Group how long people drive before taking a break. Most agreed that 3-4 hours is a good distance so we started looking at RV parks near Kirksville MO.
We are very familiar with Kirksville. Oaken graduated from Truman State in 2006 and Dancing Rabbit is only a short hour away!
I was so excited to find Eagle Lodge RV Park, which is just south of Kirksville. It is a small park but is only $20 a night. There was a swing set, showers, toilets, laundry, soda machine....BIG spots for Viggo. I think we were probably the loudest ones there (respectfully of course). The female owner toured the bus and loved what we were doing...and I think is part hippie herself as she mentioned how she would go take the bus to the city and have artists paint the exterior! I was so nervous because not all RV parks allow skoolies but we were accepted right away with interest.
So we stayed a night on our way up. 3-3.5 hours and it was really the perfect amount of time. Not a single child was cranky or hungry or had to go pee immediately (we have a composting toilet on the bus). They ran off to the swing set and played until dark.
I did have a problem with the gas gauge that I am sharing here so if other people run into this problem, they can have some peace of mind.
I stopped for gas at the beginning of the trip. Having never filled up the diesel before, I asked the guy next to me for help. The gas pump didn't automatically shut off for us so he overfilled the gas tank slightly. This led to the gauge reading way past full for almost the entire 3.5 hours. COMPLETELY FREAKED ME OUT.
Knowing that dropping below 1/4 tank in a diesel is like playing chicken....I was worried. After Googling everything...it turns out we needed to let it "burp", meaning that we had to hit about 250 miles before the gauge would register correctly. We knew that we could get over 360 miles on our tank (and one way was only 317), so I just kept going. Well, sure enough, by the time I got to Pella, IA...it burped and started reading correctly. Whew.
Other than that...there wasn't a single issue with the bus. The solar stayed solid, the toilet box didn't collapse. Nothing fell or broke. It was awesome. I was singing and dancing to Queen, Journey, Michael Jackson...I have never felt that good while traveling.
We parked the bus on my in-laws land after arriving in Iowa. Next to the tree line in the shade. Solar still picked up and charged as we needed it too. We also picked up a lot of spiders but that is okay. I like spiders.
We left after 4-5 days and traveled back to Eagle Lodge RV Park. Again, BIG spot for the skoolie (they do have full hook ups but we don't use them). Hooked up the propane for our camp stove and cooked a good dinner...and then a good breakfast in the morning. It was heaven. Our first night we arrived (before Iowa) the swing set had a funky swing BUT by the time we got back, they had it fixed and ready for us.
We finished up the trip home....for about 13 hours total drive time.
I am hooked on skoolie life.
We are back at home now, finishing up some things in the bus...and we are all still sleeping on the bus and hanging out on the bus during the day. As I type this blog post, I am sitting on the pull out bench on the bus, staring out at my garden. Its warmer, and no air conditioning, but I still don't want to head in the house. The bus is the place for me.
I am already itchin' to get back on the road but I don't have anything planned until TinyFest Midwest in Colfax, IA on Sept 22-24 at the Jasper County Fairgrounds. I will be there and you can tour Viggo, listen to me ramble about local medicine, and then take a workshop with me on salve making! We will be stopping at Eagle Lodge again for our over night stay so if you want to convoy up with us, let me know!
Don't forget you can see us in our daily life on the skoolie on our Instagram page Raven & Oak. Hope to see you there!