Life back in the Camper

Arriving back to Romin in the darks of Wednesday evening we settled in again to camper life. Despite our geographical location, the temperatures are still getting really cool overnight here – down to zero or below – a bit of a surprise for us. On Thursday morning we had to part with the rental car, so we took advantage of it and headed to the shops first thing to top up on supplies, and then I dropped it back to the rental car place and wandered back to the camp. Our goal at the moment has been to move Romin on – we need her sold to conclude our plans over here. We had looked at option of heading back to NZ a month earlier, but with Romin not sold, and the cost of making changes a bit crazy, we have effectively had to rule that out and stick with our 11 February 2020 departure from New York. We had a guy come and look at the camper today – fairly standard line – he was interested, but his girlfriend wants a fifth wheeler so some compromise would be required – a good start for us non the less. Friday was a quiet day around camp. With plans to head home, so begins the process of updating the CV and connecting with recruitment firms and applying for roles back in NZ. Bucking the local trend we again ventured out and about the streets / roads of Clinton for a walk – no footpaths to be found today.

Our weekend was a fairly quiet affair – we had a guy come to look at the camper on the Saturday – not for himself as he already had a good camper, but he had some friends that might be interested, so we hoped that could come to something. With the weather nice and fine (during the day) we headed out again for a walk around the wider neighbourhood – exploring new areas. The hours are all quite similar, with very little fencing separating sections, and sections being very generous in size. Sunday started off grey but the weather improved as the day went on. We had a guy call about having a look at the camper and it finally showed up around 5.15pm with it now dark to have a look around. It was his friend who had viewed the day previous and suggested it to him so that was good. He liked what he saw and said he wanted it – giving us a cheque to hold the sale for him – thank goodness for that. The issue for us was the fact that despite our very best efforts, and costs incurred, out title and registration paperwork had still not arrived back from the Californian DMV. Felton the buyer understood and it was agreed that we would update just as soon as it arrived to arrange to hand over – a good outcome all round. That evening, Miss Germany from the RV Park office invited us to go with her to her church Xmas function – harmless enough. Miss Germany is a member of the First Pentecostal Church in Byram which is one of the outlining suburbs of Jackson. The service wasn’t a service as such – it was primarily the church band and choir entertaining us all for an hour and a half, and the church pastor chipping in with a couple of powerful speeches – or preaches. It wasn’t a tradition collection of Xmas carols that we were expecting, but we were made to feel welcome and enjoyed the experience – gave us plenty to talk about when we got back home.

The following week was a fairly quiet affair in and around the camper. On Monday with the weather fine and warm, Carol and I set off on foot for the Walmart Supermarket to get some supplies. On the way back to the camp (the walk to the market and back takes around 2.5 hours) Miss Germany rang concerned for us. A tornado warning had been issued and she urged us to get back to the camp. The weather didn’t seem too bad to us – yes the wind had come up, and the skies were darkening, but still not too bad. By the time we got back to the camp and checked back in with Miss Germany she updated that the tornado had changed direction and the warning had been dropped. That said, the rain soon came down and it was settle all evening. Tuesday was a very cold and grey day around the camp – I think it only got up to 5-6 degrees. This was to be the trend for the next few days – the days got sunnier, but overnight temperatures dropped down to zero or below. To combat the cold, we resorted to cranking up the barbeque inside to take the chill off in the camper. On Wednesday we took off on foot again and headed over to the Old Town area – I needed to pick up a book to read so we explored the good second hand shop – and managed to select a book for our troubles. We also picked up a small heater to run in the camper as needed. That evening Miss Germany again asked us to join her at the church to hear her play – at the church’s mid-week service, Miss Germany plays the piano / organ for the band / choir. It was another interesting experience for us.

Thursday was another sunny but cool day but the forecast indicated that the temps were to start creeping up again slowly. To our surprise, we finally got our much-needed DMV mail – very much to the contrary of what the DMV had told us over the phone a couple of days earlier. To finally have the Title and Registration stickers for the camper / Romin after all this time was such a relief for us – and meant that Felton could come and collect the camper as suited. We fired off messages to our man to say the camper was ready to go and readied ourselves for that process. Unfortunately for us, on Friday morning our supposed buyer messaged to say thanks but no thanks – his situation had supposedly changed and he was no longer able to purchase the camper – very frustrating for us. So the remainder of the day and Saturday was a case of ‘back to the drawing board’ when it came to selling the camper. Exploring all past options / expressions of interest in Romin, we re-connected with a local woman Glenda from the Canton area north of Jackson who came with her partner and with a reduced price put forward said they would take it from us – holding cheque presented to seal the deal. With some relief, we agreed with Glenda that we stay in the camper over the Xmas period and that we would drop it to her the following Saturday.

Sunday was a picture of heavy rain – which persisted for the next couple of days. We were pleasantly surprised on Sunday evening when up near the office for wi-fi that we saw a large fifth wheeler coming into the RV Park on the wrong side of the driveway. When the guy stopped to come over to the office, I jokingly said to him that he looked like he drove like someone from ‘down under’. And sure enough he was – he was from Tauranga and had driven that day with his family from Tampa Florida – staying in the camp tonight and then heading on for Fort Worth Texas for Xmas with family. He said he was an RV dealer back home – looked like he got over to the states annually to road trip in a big rig that they stored here. Was a bit of an uncanny conversation – nice one though. Our new week started off quietly – the camp office was only open on Monday before closing up for a couple of days over Xmas, so we spent some time catching up on emails as needed. Tuesday, with the weather clearing finally, it was about re-connecting with family back home as they were already celebrating Xmas Day. Was nice to talk to everyone – Carol and I are looking forward to being back in NZ for Xmas next year already. As if Romin is trying to hold onto us, the power outlets in the camper have now failed, and the camper doesn’t seem to be holding charge. Not too sure what is what but we assume, and hope, it is simply a fuse issue. Having to wait until businesses are open again on Thursday we are doing all that we can to conserve power in the camper for a couple of days. Good thing the weather is warmer for us.

Wednesday marked Xmas Day for us here in Clinton Mississippi. The sun was shining, so Carol and I headed out for a good walk to start the day off. There’s a nice area to the west of the RV Park – big subdivision with lake and trimming – lots of big houses – but no footpaths. We enjoyed a good hike and were even surprised that we ran into a few people also out walking – wonders never cease. Being Xmas we shouted ourselves lunch at the local restaurant – nothing fancy, Xmas buffet, turkey and trimmings. With full bellies we headed back to the camp – taking a walk around the camp on dusk to feel more comfortable. We know we are very fortunate to have ‘a Xmas abroad’, but as noted, we are equally looking forward to Xmas 2020 back home with family. On Thursday morning we headed off early to get the RV electrical issue sorted – hoping as the camper is sold, that the fix would not be expensive. There’s a Camping World RV dealer about 10 miles from Clinton, and Romin clicked up into gear pretty well for us. The electrical issue wasn’t anything as simple as a fuse – no that would be too much to ask for. The issue was the converter – needed to ‘transfer’ the flow of electricity coming into the camper from mains, or battery. Looks like the converter failed a few days ago and we had all but drained any life that was left in the storage battery – despite being connected to the mains (because the converter wasn’t working, the camper couldn’t work out where the power was coming from to convert it – I think that’s the layman’s version of what was wrong). Three hours later, and the better part of $600 lighter, we have the camper working again – but it hurts when we know we have sold the camper for a pittance and this latest expense, just erodes any money we are getting out the sale further – yep, a fair bit of frustration in my tone I’m sorry. We keep telling ourselves that all things happen for a reason – just have to work out what that reason was.

With life in the camper restored to pretty much normal again, we now need to turn our attention to packing up. We have made arrangements to drop the camper to Canton later on Saturday afternoon, before being dropped back into Jackson to get our late overnight bus to Atlanta. It’s not like we have purchased anything as such whilst away, and I did manage to send that parcel of pamphlets and bits and pieces back to NZ earlier, so all things being equal, packing should be a piece of cake. We spent part of Friday walking up to the local DMV office to confirm / clarify the paperwork needed to confirm the sale of Romin. Carol has since thought Romin might be better called Chompin – after all the money that has been spent on her – maintenance and repairs, running costs and fuel. The sun is shining today so we are making the most of that as the weather is supposed to pack up again and be wet over the weekend, but Saturday will be spent packing the last of our bits and pieces up and then we will be away. It’s been an unusual experience being parked up here in Clinton as we have off and on these past two months. As I think I have already said, if Romin AKA Chompin had been running to plan / as needed / as expected, we would have just kept on the road – exploring the nooks and crannies of this vast country, as opposed to being somewhat stranded as we have ended up. But that said, another chapter starts tomorrow when we part with the camper, and will be making our own way for the last part of our US trips – here’s to good times ahead.

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