Our homeowners claim is finally over and the house is fixed!! It’s been a long journey and we’re sure glad it is over. After the new roof was installed, True Builders came the next week and redid the inside. All the old damaged dry wall was ripped out and replaced. The insulation in the attic was replaced and they did quite a bit of repainting throughout the home as well. As soon as the work was finished we put the home back on the market! We hope it sells soon, because June is quickly approaching! We need to sell this before we can hit the road full-time. Enough talking, here are the redone pictures 🙂
Although our home owner’s claim has been a long process, it seems we are finally approaching the light at the end of the tunnel. As you all know, because of the insurance company’s lack of communication and delays, the home has continuously received unnecessary water damage over the past 3 months. All we wanted was to pay our deductible and repair the house, but instead we have spent months catching water in trash cans, dealing with mold, and being disappointed.
We immediately knew local roofers would be behind, and we needed to book one ASAP. We asked the insurance company if we could go ahead and hire someone, but they refused to give us approval. So instead, we were forced to pay roofers to temporarily patch the roof (3 different times) while the insurance company contemplated whether or not they were going to cover the damages. By the time they finally gave us an estimate (6 weeks after Irma) all the roofers were backed up for months. On top of that, they didn’t give us enough to even cover a new roof, let alone the water damage to the inside of the home.
After receiving the first estimate we realized we were going to need help fighting the insurance company. They were only estimating the total damage (inside and out) at $15k, and by then we had 3 quotes (for the roof alone) coming in at over $15k. We decided to hire a local company called True Builders to handle everything for us.
True Builders sent a private adjuster to do their own estimate (which was more than double what the insurance estimate was), and they had water mitigators out within the same day of being hired. They set up fans to dry out the ceiling and sprayed the mold to get it under control. Ultimately, they managed to negotiate with the insurance company to send another $13k towards repairs. As soon as the insurance company approved additional funds, within 2 weeks we had a new roof. Finally, no more leaks!! Now that the roof is complete, True Builders has informed us that they will be coming out this Monday to start on the inside. The projected completion date for all repairs is this upcoming Friday, January 12th. We can’t wait to get our home back to the way it was and hopefully get it sold!!
I can’t believe it has been 6 months since we produced our first YouTube video. Since then we have released 39 videos (2 are now private as they were the T-Shirt giveaway only). It is crazy how much we have grown. Lets start with our stats from when we hit 3 months:
- 849 subscribers
- 205,847 minutes of watch time (aka: 142.9 days)
- 44,953 total views
- 1,950 likes
- 231 comments
- 222 shares
Since then we have almost tripled every category!!!
- 2161 subscribers
- 751,989 minutes of watch time (aka: 1 year & 156 days)
- 154,144 total views
- 5,588 likes
- 640 comments
- 658 shares
That means in the last 3 months we have gained 2.5 times the subscribers! Our goal was to hopefully hit 5,ooo subscribers by the time we launch at the one year mark. But if we keep gaining at the 2.5 rate we might be over 10,000! How crazy would that be!?!?
We are more than grateful for everyone’s support & encouragement. As many of you know we were originally planning to launch Spring 2018, but due to the home owners claim from Hurricane Irma we decided to push it out to the summer. The great news is… WE ALREADY HAVE A WORKAMPING POSITION SET UP FOR NEXT SUMMER!!! As for now, our next upcoming adventure will be the National RV Show in Tampa, FL this January. We plan on boondocking while there, and if anyone plans on attending feel free to message us via “contact us” on the website.
Until then, safe travels.
To start things off let me apologize for our lack of blogs lately. We have been tremendously busy with juggling work, solar installs, and hurricane damage. With that being said, I want to take a few moments and update you all on how our hurricane journey has been coming along.
If you read the previous blog, you know that we had some damage to our roof (shingles ripped off) which caused water to seep into the home. The water ultimately caused damage to the drywall on the ceiling, but over all it wasn’t too bad.
We called our insurance company the night of the hurricane (09/10/17) in order to get a jump on the claims process. Within 24 hours we received an email with our claim number and confirmation our claim was received, however, no one bothered to call to give any insight into what we should expect. The email did say not to make any permanent repairs and to keep all receipts for any temporary fixes. The roof was tarped in an effort to mitigate damages, but we were not sure what else to do. By that Saturday (09/16/17), I received a voicemail from a gentleman that informed me an inspector would be calling to schedule a time to see the house. No callback number or name was given in the message. I called the customer service number on Monday and Thursday for a follow-up because I had not heard anything further. Both times I was given a reference number and told someone would reach out to me. On Friday (9/22/17), I downloaded the insurance app and found an Adjuster’s name that was allegedly handling my claim. I sent an email requesting an update and the adjuster replied to the email telling me to call customer service. Keep in mind, I haven’t spoken to anyone handling my claim period. The only thing customer service was able to do was take a message. They could not provide me with anymore information. Reluctantly, I called them a 3rd time (as instructed via email) only to be told they are still waiting on the inspection.
On Saturday (09/23/17), the inspector calls to schedule an appointment with us for Tuesday (09/26/17). He came out, said we pretty much needed a new roof, a little drywall in one room, and some paint. He took several photos of the damage, but did not move the tarp because he did not want to rip all the roofing nails out and have to replace them. Thomas told him that if he went into the attic he would be able to see the holes in the roof and the tarp showing through. Unfortunately, he got busy and forgot to get those pictures. He was a very polite gentleman and came all the way from Oklahoma to help with the mass amount of claims.
On Saturday (09/30/17), a really hard rain came through and we quickly realized the tarp was not effective. Water began pouring through a light fixture in the kitchen, and several new spots began to show through the drywall. It wasn’t long before the mold set in.
The next day (10/01/17), our inspector calls to tell us the insurance company would not accept the photos he had taken because none of them showed the damage under the tarp. He requested we send photos if we had them or he would have to come back out and redo the inspection. Luckily for him, we run a YouTube channel 😉 We sent him drone footage of the damage we had and a video I had taken in the attic with all the water pouring through the tarp. Since we were at work I sent them via email late that night.
On Tuesday (10/03/17), I called to make sure the photos and video were received, because after I sent them I never got a response that they got them or if they needed more. I actually texted our inspector on Monday to make sure he got them due to the late email and never got a response. I wasn’t given a reference number that time when I called but like previously, nobody ever called me back. The customer service representative did tell me that once the inspection estimate was received it would take 4 to 6 weeks for it to be approved.
So at this point our house has been inspected (by a third party vendor), but we are still in the dark. We knew we had mold setting in and weren’t allowed to fix anything or they might deny any supplements. Our stress level was an 11 on scale of 1 to 5, and our patience was wearing thin.
On Wednesday (10/04/17), I checked my app to email the adjuster the photos I sent the inspector just to ensure they were received. I also informed him of the new damages and mold setting in. I basically just asked for permission to start the roof repairs in order to prevent further damage. Within minutes of hitting send, I got a call from the new adjuster handling our claim. This phone call (24 days in) was the very first time we actually got any guidance or feedback from the actual insurance company. Mind you he was a subcontractor as well. We were just happy to get some answers and a live person who actually knew anything. He was very empathetic and assured me the check would be sent out that week.
A week later (10/11/17), I called for an update and the adjuster said he got 60 files in and needed to backtrack to our claim. He assured me he would call me back by the end of the day with an answer on when he could get the check out.
A week rolled by (I never got that callback, by the way). So on Wednesday (10/18/17), I called and left a voicemail for the adjuster. He called me back later that evening and basically said he was not sure what the delay was but was going to get some supervisors involved.
That Thursday (10/19/2017), the adjuster left a voicemail with the amounts approved by the insurance company, and informed me that the check would be in the mail. We already had a roof estimate which was over the amount the insurance company approved. None of this included the new damage caused by the additional rains. Thomas called the next day asking the adjuster to call him instead of me because I would be at work and Thomas wanted to go over the amounts approved. The adjuster never called Thomas, and instead called me and left a voicemail. Thomas was not happy about that. By Saturday (10/21/2017), we had the estimate in the email breaking down everything the insurance company was approving. Ultimately, it said they were sending us a check for 7k (which our 2 roof estimates we had were between 11-15k for the roof alone). My little good news would be that the estimate does have bold print assuring that once we go under contract supplements will be issued and we might be able to get more money if necessary.
Now we are 48 days from the day of the hurricane and we have just received our insurance check. We have a few contractors coming out this week to let us know what the overall repairs will cost and we are hoping one of them can go to bat for us. This has been a very stressful situation for us both, but I am finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.
We lost some shingles off the roof and have some water damage on the inside of our house. We currently don’t have power, but we have water, propane for the generator, and most importantly, our lives.
(Our roof above)
Hurricane Irma was supposed to track west of us about 80 miles or so. Unfortunately she decided to go due north at the end. The Category 2 Hurricane slammed into our little town around midnight. We were hit with hours of high winds, some of which pushed over 100 mph. All of our family, friends, and neighbors are fine. But most have at least some damage.
Believe it or not the RV held up better than our house! The fence was knocked over into the RV and it has some dents, but it seems to be okay. Of course we don’t have power so we haven’t tested anything inside.
The solar panels that we Eternabonded down last weekend held up to over 100 mph winds. We haven’t tested them but they look okay from what we could tell.
Hurricane Irma is going to cost us some money and will probably delay our full time RV launch. We are just thankful to be alive and the rest is “just stuff”.
We are 3 months into our journey of running a YouTube channel. Unfortunately, we had to cut back to one video a week this month due to planned events like birthdays and lots of overtime being worked. Our little channel is still doing very well despite the number of videos being reduced. Since last month we have moved up to 849 subscribers as I type this now, however, we have doubled our views!
Let me give our channel’s lifetime stats over the last 3 months:
205,847 minutes of watch time (aka: 20.42 weeks or 142.9 days)
44,953 total views
As I type this blog out for you we are waiting for Hurricane Irma to come through. We began to put solar panels on the roof of our RV and had to stop mid-project due to the hurricane. The entire event is scary, not to mention it puts a delay on our plans. Nobody is buying houses with hurricanes coming. We stopped our solar install because we aren’t honestly sure how well the RV is going to handle the hurricane. When you are changing your entire life plans and something like this comes along, it is an eye opening and worrying adventure. We hope she weathers the storm and we aren’t delayed to much, but at this point we are just trying to make it to Monday.
Please keep all of Florida and especially the first responders out weathering the storms in your thoughts. I hope everyone out there stays safe.
Until next time,
Thomas & Stacy
Today marks exactly 8 weeks since we posted our first video to YouTube. In that time we have been amazed at the support and following that we have obtained. As of this post we have 661 subscribers to our YouTube channel, we have had 22,739 views of our videos, and 102,530 minutes of watch time. To put the watch time into perspective, a single person would have to watch us every minute of every day for 71 days straight to accomplish that 102,530 minutes of watch time. That’s pretty incredible.
Our most recent video has been our best to date. Thomas has been telling me that we need to do walk arounds of new RVS to help grow our channel, and boy was he right. The video of the 2018 Lance had 3800 views in 48 hours, and currently has 5500 views. It’s only been out since Sunday. It is a great accomplishment for still being a small channel!
We are hoping that with hard work and determination our numbers will continue to grow rapidly, and maybe by the time we set out on our journey we will have 10k dedicated followers behind us. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us!
Since this is my birthday weekend, Stacy bought me a super nice gift! We will have to penny pinch on the road so she wanted to get me something nice. I am so happy and grateful for the amazing gift. I always joke and tell her the best gift is something we can both use. She took my advice and got me a drone. Not only is it awesome, but we can take some amazing footage for the YouTube channel with it. I am super stoked and it is charging now so I can go play!
DJI Mavic Pro
So how was our first RV trip? Setting out with our 2014 Open Range TT was an exciting and nerve wrecking experience at the same time. The hitch and sway-bar system for the travel trailer got installed two days before the trip. The night before leaving we realized that we did not have a few essentials for the RV such as RV safe toilet paper, food, plates, cups, dish & hand soap, upon other items. Even when we thought we had bought everything we needed, there were still things missing. Our leveling blocks came in the morning of the day we were set to depart, we realized our batteries for the RV did not work as we were hooking up the TT to the truck, and we inadvertently left without our outside mat we were looking so forward to using. We still maintained our positive attitudes and stayed excited about our adventure.
The drive to the springs took a tad longer than expected. After getting stuck in traffic for almost 40 minutes, we finally made it to the campsite where we began the frustrating task of backing in our trailer. We used our phones to call each other. I stood behind the rig making sure Thomas wasn’t going to hit anything, and giving the most confusing instructions ever. After three failed attempts to back in, we finally managed to succeed on the fourth try. Meanwhile our neighbors across the way had perched up in their camping chairs, with popcorn, eager to watch the show. They managed to see bickering, hands flailing, and a few sour faces as we struggled to complete our site set up.
After the backing we decided to get the RV plugged in so we could get the A/C and fridge running. Then we immediately worked on getting the TT level. Luckily those leveling blocks came in because they made that part a breeze. All we had to do was lay the blocks in front of each tire and pull the rig forward. Within minutes we were level from side to side. Then came the leveling from front to back. Now I’m not what was going wrong, and I’m not sure even now how to successfully level from front to back because when I laid the level down in the living room floor it showed that we were too low in the front. However, when I laid it down in the front bay of the RV it showed that we were too high. After raising the TT up and then back down and then up again we finally decided to place a coke can on the living room floor and if it didn’t roll one way or the other we figured we were good. At that point we extending our jacks and let out the slides. We then finished hooking up the water hose and black tank hose and decided to check the leveling one last time.
Of course…just as things were starting to look up, and we thought we were level…the slides being let out caused our TT to become un-level from side to side again. At this point I was not about to let the jacks back up, re-hook the TT to the truck, and do this all over again. No Thank You! The leveling wasn’t off by much so we simply decided to stick with how we had it.
After the struggle of setting up it was time to enjoy our weekend. Our stay was pretty enjoyable overall. There were deer and turtles everywhere we went. We also saw a few wild turkeys. There were walking trails we adventured on, and a lake we fished. The springs were freezing cold with a deep cave you could dive down into, and we managed to even have a fun time playing cards under the stars. Now Wekiwa Spring is not the best spring in Florida to visit by any means, but for a short weekend getaway it was perfect for us.
By the end of the weekend we realized how much work it is to have an RV. Breaking down our camp took longer than setting it up, but it was not anywhere near as frustrating. We didn’t realize how long it would take to drain our gray and black tanks, and even after 30 minutes of black tank draining we still showed 1/3 full. Of course we forgot to bring our black tank water hose to flush it with so that could be the piece that was missing from us being able to fully empty it. At this point we still don’t know what we were doing wrong when it comes to that. We did manage to get the gray tank to show empty, however. I would have to say the worst part about breaking down camp was the heat. We cleverly waited until almost noon to begin the site break down, and in Florida that just isn’t the best time to decide to work outside. It was already scolding hot out and extremely muggy. On top of that, I decided to do it all in bluejeans. Being hooked up and ready to go was an extremely happy time for me.
At the end of the day we survived and went back home exactly how we came in….happy….excited….and feeling accomplished having our new found knowledge.
Yesterday we had our first experience of the challenge that comes with installing a hitch with sway control bars. Thomas decided to purchase the Equal-i-zer hitch based off the recommendations from The More We Explore and Less Junk More Journey. Although this was a pricey purchase it is a necessity for safety that will last for years to come.
Why do we need a weight distribution hitch with sway control? Because it distributes the weight throughout the truck keeping the weight from being placed all on one axle, and reduces side to side sway of the trailer while going down the road. This hitch will improve steering, stopping, and increase control of the trailer. Not to mention it looks pretty bad *** on the back of our truck.
So as Thomas worked hard to figure out this hitch install, I strategically supervised while filming in the background….sipping a glass of wine. Of course as fate usually has it what I thought would be a one to two hour project turned into a four hour event. It rained on us three times causing us to have to pack up the camera gear and jump in the truck. When this happens in Florida it’s the worst because we all know that the rain lasted long enough to be a five minute inconvenience and increase the mugginess by 100 percent each time. Fortunately, we maintained our good spirits and were able to complete the install with only one slight moment of cold hard eye staring the could have potentially turned into a face-off 😉
At the end of the day we were extremely happy with our purchase and can’t wait to test it out this weekend!