Happy Hour with Wheeling It

Most people who follow RV blogs read Wheeling It, where Nina and Paul share about their life on the road along with their fantastic boondocking site reviews.

We’ve met a couple times before, but this week we got to spend some quality time together, which led to this revealing Q&A:

Leigh: We were talking before you (Nina) came out, and Paul mentioned that he caught you looking at Airstreams online?

Nina: (laughs) Yes!

Leigh: What were you doing?!

Nina: Well, personally I’ve wanted to downsize for ages.

Paul: Since year one.

Nina: When we started, we didn’t know anything about boondocking, we didn’t know anything about state parks, national forests, we thought you get an RV, you stay in private parks.

Paul: Well partially because we got such a big rig we figured we’ll never get into these public places, so we didn’t even look at them.

Nina: So around the middle of the first year we discovered natural camping, you know, public campgrounds, and that’s when I started doing all the planning and now we aim to spend 95/99% of our time in public campgrounds. And the planning is tough in a big rig. It would be really really nice to be smaller.

Leigh: Are you really considering it?

Nina: Not yet.

Paul: I think it depends. I think we’re probably at least a couple years away.

Nina: We’re probably a couple years away. Ideally we may end up going part-time and then it would make total sense.

Paul: If we decided to go part-time, and we found a property in Oregon that we fell in love with, and it had a house on it, then we would definitely go smaller, and maybe real small. Like 20 or 22.

Nina: Right now, we know our rig, we know all the issues with it.

Paul: It’s paid for.

Nina: It’s paid for. I would love to be smaller for planning, but…

Paul: We’re not unhappy. It’s so comfortable.

Nina: (laughing) but a little bit smaller.

Leigh: Just so you can go more places.

Nina: Yeah.

Leigh: Where couldn’t you go that you want to go?

Nina: Here’s an example, this summer we’re going to go along the Olympic Peninsula in Washington and the whole Olympic Peninsula has tons of National Forest campgrounds. Lovely National Forest campgrounds, but all of them have a 30 foot limit.

Paul: We can’t fit in any of them.

Nina: And we just can’t get into any of them. Well, I found one where I booked a spot where maybe we’ll squeeze in.

Paul: We may or may not get in.

Nina: Yeah, but none of the others we can get into, so our only choice going along the Peninsula is private campgrounds. Whereas we’d really rather be staying in a National Forest campground.

Paul: Which is a double whammy too, it’s not just less privacy and less wild stuff, but on top of that it’s more expensive. So you get the double whammy, you’re not as happy and you’re paying more money.

Leigh: That’s a drag.


Leigh: What are your plans for 2014?

Nina: We have 3 volunteer jobs over 4 months. We’re going to volunteer at Cape Disappointment, we’re going to volunteer at Moran State Park in the San Juan Islands, and we’re going to volunteer at Cape Blanco. Then winter we’re not really sure yet.

Leigh: Are you considering Florida?

Nina & Paul: Yes. Possibly Florida.

Brian: We could tear up some tiki bars in Florida.

Leigh: Let’s end with your favorite cocktail.

Nina: For me it’s a margarita. I love margaritas, I’ve always loved tequila, I’m a margarita fan.

Paul: Rum and coke. Cuba Libre.

Nina’s Margarita:
1 oz tequila
1 oz cointreau
1 1/2 oz lime juice
splash of agave
shake with ice
salted rim

Paul’s Cuba Libre:
Coke Zero
Bacardi limon
(mix almost equal parts Coke and Bacardi)
1/2 oz splash of Malibu Rum
squeeze of lime
(float the malibu and lime on top)

2014 Cost of Camping:
1 night paid camping
77 nights free camping
78 days this year
Total spent on camping this year: $97
Daily average cost of camping: $1.24

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  • Reply Wheelingit March 20, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Super cute….and your awesome cocktail got the conversation flowing 🙂


    • Reply Brian March 20, 2014 at 8:59 am

      We were drinking “Outrigger” cocktails during the Q&A. It’s a good one – here’s the recipe.

      2oz Rum (We usually use Myers Original Dark)
      1oz Cointreau
      1/2oz lemon juice
      Shake with ice.
      Strain into a cocktail glass.

  • Reply Bob Martel March 20, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Bring them on over to the Silver Side!

  • Reply Bill D. March 20, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Loved your interview, Leigh! Nicely done and illustrated the philosophy that sometimes less is indeed more!

    • Reply Leigh March 20, 2014 at 11:50 am

      Thanks Bill! Even at 27 feet we still can’t get into some campgrounds, but we certainly aren’t limited like they are in “The Beast!”

  • Reply Adam March 20, 2014 at 11:26 am

    So far, and we are pretty new to this the 29 Airstream has been a good fit. Roomy enough but easy to tow and park. It’s also what we won by accident on eBay! As for FL glad to share our limited knowledge of the state parks and camping,,but I’m a native,,and glad to suggest..we are in Marathon, FL keys now and there are a couple other silver cottages on the oceanfront here..

    • Reply Leigh March 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Adam, are you camping at Curry Hammock State Park? We want to go to the Keys, but have found it to be impossible to get advance reservations in the state parks there.

      • Reply Boyink March 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm

        Keep trying. It only costs $10 to cancel a reservation in FL state parks (so we are told) so lots of folks book early figuring to cancel if the trip doesn’t work out or weather stinks.

        We scored 3 nights in John Pennenkamp next week and will be in a private park in Marathon before that.

        • Reply Sherry March 25, 2014 at 4:26 am

          $17.50 to cancel and $10 to change last year. In 3 years of trying, I have never gotten a spot in the state parks in the Keys. But, I won’t drive that far for less than a week and hate their commercial parks. I know, picky picky. 🙂

          • Leigh March 25, 2014 at 6:52 am

            Hi Sherry, I don’t blame you! We definitely prefer public parks.

        • Reply Leigh March 25, 2014 at 7:04 am

          Thanks Boyink. I definitely will – crossing fingers!

    • Reply TommieDee March 21, 2014 at 5:06 am

      Hey, we have a rally at Sunshine Key (Ohio Key) starting on April 2nd at $32 a day! Special rate for WBCCI members!

      • Reply Leigh March 21, 2014 at 7:39 am

        Ooh that sounds like fun! Too bad we’re in Nevada! What campground is your rally at? (curious for when we go next winter)

        • Reply TommieDee March 21, 2014 at 10:28 am

          This is the Florida State Rally, our club is part of the WBCCI. REGION 3. We have 126 Airstreams attending. The RV park is Sunshine RV and is located at mile marker 39. Fl. Hwy 1. Next year the State Rally will be held in Jacksonville, Fl.

  • Reply rob james March 20, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    We totally understand the down sizing. We did two years ago class A 42′ to class C 30′ and have loved ever minute of it. I think we could have gone smaller but Terri was skeptical of it so we stopped at 30′. Maybe next time we can go a little smaller.

  • Reply Adam March 20, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    The state parks are tough, even a year ahead. There are several spots they keep as walk up/space available. We are in a private park at Knights Key, north end of the seven mile bridge. The state parks in keys are 28-35 ish nite our spot here 37. Fast wifi, even can netflix . We launched the paddle board and kayak right off the site. Nice beach/tiki bar and pretty easy going. This was our first outing nt in a state park, and no grief.

    • Reply Leigh March 21, 2014 at 7:37 am

      That’s a great rate! I checked out their website, unfortunately we’re going to be there in season when the rates skyrocket! I will keep that place bookmarked as a backup though. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Reply John and Pam Wright March 21, 2014 at 5:15 am

    What a great conversation with Paul and Nina! They don’t seem to have any trouble getting The Beast into interesting spots. There braver than we are.

    Sounds like really good times are happening with you guys out there in the desert!!! Enjoy!

  • Reply Shiny New Friends, Shiny New Boondocking Spot – Lake Mead, NV | Wheeling It March 24, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    […] exchanging new cocktail recipes with our buddies (can you say Cosmopolitans and Outriggers?), doing drunken happy hour interviews (did they really catch us looking at Airstreams?) and even making it into town for yummies at I […]

  • Reply John March 24, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Been following you guys awhile now. Oregon guy. Enjoy your blog. I have been out here about 22 months now and still adjusting but it helps to have others who have gone before. Keep up the fun……just my style but it is a little different being alone. Still trying to adjust to that too….good thing I have my little pooch, Dexter.

    • Reply Leigh March 25, 2014 at 7:04 am

      Hi John, thanks for commenting and sharing your blog! I love your photos.

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