Temporary Tiny Living: Buttercup, I Love You

posted in: Adventure, RV Living, Tiny Living | 26

Our brand new (to us) 2011 Airstream, Buttercup, was still a shiny silver question mark in my mind. It was definitely love at first sight for me, but would I really be able to feel good and comfortable in her for more than a night on the driveway? She’s 25 feet of lovely, but it’s still just 25 feet! That’s tiny living! Would everything work? Do we (and when I say we, I mean Bryan) know how to hook her up? What about the toilet hoses and things? Do we even have full hookups at this campsite? Will the one air conditioner on top be enough? What if nothing works? What if we hate it? What if the site is super un-level? So many questions! They would surely be answered on our maiden voyage. So, here we go then.

We decided to set reservations at Lake Georgetown, Jim Hogg park, which is about 40 minutes from Austin. It’s lucky for us that we even got reservations there, it seems. We had tried several parks and checked state parks and LCRA parks all around Austin, to no avail. That’s the first lesson. State parks fill up in Texas months in advance. It’s best to schedule out ahead. Sigh. I love spontaneity.

Airstream Dream, Airstream, Camping, RV , Tiny Living, Tiny house
Hitching Up Buttercup

We loaded our mountain bikes, packed the truck and left the house in the late afternoon to go to our storage facility. We hooked up beautiful Buttercup and hit the road for the 30 minute drive to the park. My husband is Irish. He still has to think twice about which side of the road to drive on. I grew up on a Texas ranch and had plenty of practice with trailers. He prefers that I drive when there’s traffic, or backing up to do. Fair enough. He’s a better navigator than I anyway. I get distracted by things, to put it mildly; birds, trees, cars, pretty clouds, songs in my head, amusing thoughts just take me to another place and it’s just easier if he tells me where to go. His directions and cute accent pull me back to reality.


It usually goes like this, “Sarah, turn left at the light.” Pause…. Pause… “Did you hear me?”

“Yes,” I reply belatedly. “Your left or my left?” He knows what I mean. I think he has to do the mental look at his hand thing to decide which is right or left. “Left. A real left,” he answers after a slight pause. “Now, follow that lorry.”

“Did you just say lorry? You mean that Shiner Bock truck, right?” I ask.

“Yes, that too,” he retorts with that grin. (My heart flutters.)

We arrive at the gate and there’s a white haired little lady at the window. I’m creeping up slowly because damn, this is a big truck and that  little drive through lane is skinny. I don’t want to scratch sweet Buttercup. I gave her our name, then had to climb down out of the cab because I’m so far away from the window. She smiles. No doubt, she’s thinking “newbs!” She seemed tired and bored. Aside: Did you know that most parks have camp hosts who get to stay free in a really great site if they work a certain number of hours for the park? We had to punch a code in at the lift arm to get into the camping area. Dang, another careful squeeze through a gate. And suddenly, we were rolling down the park road watching kids on bikes, dads putting up tents, and people sitting around campfires. I was trying to decide if there were too many people, and nervously watching kids and dogs running wildly… everywhere. I mean like wild things! Unabashed, screaming, barking and doing what kids who’ve suddenly been unplugged from technology should be doing. It’s heart warming and nerve wracking all at once. We found our site and there were mostly tent campers around us. A few sites down there was a big Class A. I’m not gonna lie. I have a twinge of Class A envy, just a little. If I’m honest though, it’s just a wee twinge. This Airstream is gorgeous, there’s nothing much not to like. And then, the thoughts start rolling. Please let everything work. Oh, there’s no sewer hook up. Is the tank going to be stinky? Please let us like each other in really close quarters. What have we forgotten? I know we’ve forgotten something.

The Set up

I back her in like a boss. Just saying. And we get to work unhitching, blocking the wheels, removing the sway bars and carrying stuff inside. I was giddy! I opened the curtains and saw the couple with a tent beside us. I got so filled up with joy. I love tent sleeping, we’ve done it a lot. I do! But, at that moment, I turned around and looked at our clean queen sized bed, and the bathroom steps away, listened to the hum of that air conditioner and wanted to run around and hug every part of Buttercup… and Bryan. I was just so happy to have her. We got everything put away. Then, Bryan walked in the door to say he’d forgotten the bike helmets and locks. Uh…. damn. There you go. I knew it. “Well, that’s okay, I’m starving. Let’s drive to Georgetown, get a nice dinner and we’ll swing back to the house and pick them up.” We put my bike, Nelly, in the back seat of the truck and Bryan’s bike, old no name, in Buttercup. Locked her up and away we went. So much for cooking, and hanging outside and having a fire. So much for learning a guitar chord or two. I wasn’t even sad. We put the audio book back on and enjoyed the dinner and drive. We got back to the camper after dark, and Bryan announced, “we forgot the locks.” Really? Who does that? We had two things (both bike related) and we still got back with one. Wow. The bikes got

Writing, Airstream, Song writing, tiny living, RV,
The Happy Place: This Writer’s Airstream Dream

locked in the truck and all was well.

The night passed uneventfully, and I was happy for the fan on the A/C unit that we could just have run. It kept a steady white noise and I didn’t hear a thing, not even the kids running around early in the morning! Was it the best sleep ever? No. It wasn’t the worst though either. We did get a bit cold, because even though we were just running the fan, the temperature dropped and we had just a fairly thin comforter. Morning came. Bryan slept late and didn’t end up riding his bike until noonish. Instead of knocking around and making noise, I went back into Georgetown in search of a Target because I realized that we didn’t have any glass mugs, or glass dishes. There were plastic ones that came with Buttercup, but I hate plastic. Target was open and I bought a bunch of goodies. When I got back, Bryan took off on a mountain bike ride around the lake. He promised to check in frequently, and I couldn’t wait to sit at the table and write.

For me, the solitude, the feeling of safety and privacy was exactly what I needed. I could see the lake out of the big back windows and some trees, and I was cozy and warm.

Buttercup became my happy place. Bryan texted me his progress and I just wrote. I wrote a song! I fell deeply in love with our Buttercup. I am smitten. Time stood still and when Bryan came home hours and hours later, it felt like no time had passed.

We took another trip back to the house for blankets and few odds and ends. Spent another night with better sleep and decided she was a definite keeper. As if we had a choice. She was ours. We packed up, the next morning to go to our son’s soccer game. He’d been house and dog sitting.

Heading Home: The Art of the Dump

The line for the dump station was long, but it was amusing watching. One guy who had seemingly helped the folks in front of them, opened a valve and poo water spewed all over him. No good deed, goes unpunished as they say.

Dump Station Line, Poop Chute
Line for the Poop Chute… Dump Station

I jumped and squealed a bit. I might have giggled. Poor guy, you know we’re all watching! I had Bryan Googling how to empty our Airstream tanks, just to be sure. Coated in poo water, he’d be riding in the bed with Nelly. No, actually Nelly would have gotten to ride inside. He did a great job, and we drove Buttercup back to her storage place. I was sad as we drove away. She really is my happy place now. I’m looking forward to our next two scheduled trips.

Our temporary tiny living experiment was a HUGE success!







Our video from the first night:

Creative space, song writing, Airstream

Please share!

26 Responses

    • Sarah

      Thanks Debs!! Is this my Scottish Debs?

  1. Lauren

    Thanks for sharing! Pretty sure this is my boyfriend’s dream! I not quite sure if I’m completely sold on the idea of tiny living, but I am sure he will eventually convince me! Sounds like you had quite the adventure with buttercup!

    • Sarah

      Thanks Lauren… Tiny Living comes in all forms. If you boyfriend, or you need more convincing, there are some great RV Facebook groups. There’s one in particular if you’re still of working age called “Make Money and RV” for folks who are adventuring and living on the road! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. June

    How exciting! Thanks for sharing! I’ve been dreaming of RVing, so maybe you’ll inspire us to take the plunge!

    • Sarah

      June, let me know if you need any other encouragement! Like I said earlier, there are many good FB groups where you can get much advice. If you’re considering a nomadic lifestyle, you should check out the Make Money and RV site. It’s just a bunch of entrepreneurs who live and work from their RVs full time!! 🙂

  3. Brady

    “The poop chute” lol hopefully the line isn’t always that long!

    • Sarah

      LOL…. I think sometimes my humor is that of a 12 year old boy. I won’t grow up! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

  4. Tanyi Melvis Bechemnyo

    There’s something different about the way you write, it just makes scanning difficult and makes reading fun. Thank you, Sarah, I had such a nice time!

    • Sarah

      Thank you Tanyi! I enjoy telling a story… sometimes I’m over wordy. (not just in my writing either… some might venture that I never shut up…LOL) I appreciate you stopping by! Hope you’ll come back!

  5. Heidi B

    We had our first dump practice not too long ago, and only RVers will understand how excited I was that it all went smoothly. I trust you got the see-through hose connector (a/k/a the turd counter) so you could see when the water ran clear…?

    • Sarah

      Why yes! We do have that “turd counter”…. OMGEEEEE you made me laugh! Can’t wait to go out with y’all Heidi! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Lisa

    What an adventure!! I think an Airstream is perfect for you guys. Just think if you had to take a class A back and forth for helmets. Airstreams are so beautiful ~ glad you had fun.

    • Sarah

      Thank you Lisa!! Airstreams ARE beautiful, especially our Buttercup. If we had a Class A, we’d also be towing a car, so the motorhome could stay put… but, we can definitely get Buttercup in more places/parks than we could a huge monster Class A. We’re smitten for now!

  7. Maryann

    What a great weekend! We are from the San Antonio area. Love Texas camping! Your Buttercup sounds amazing!

    • Sarah

      Thank you Maryann!! Thanks for stopping by too. Our Buttercup came from San Antonio! 🙂

  8. Andrea Elkins

    Very smart to make your first outing close to home. I’ve read countless stories of folks driving across the state — or more — only to discover a malfunction or a critical item (like medication) left at home. Zoinks!

    • Sarah

      Oh yes, the first three are within an hour of home. August will be our far, far away trip! Thanks for stopping in Andrea! Appreciate it.

  9. Sheryl

    We have a Buttercup, too! But she is our food truck, gourmet grilled cheese sammies. Great story!

    • Sarah

      Oh my goodness!! Ha, you could name yours Butterball! 🙂 I love grilled cheese sooooo much. That’s a great use. We had a party with a wee bambi sized Airstream bar once. It was a big hit!!

      • Sheryl

        That is funny! Our business is ‘Oh My Goodness! Sammies & Pies’. We are located in Wasilla, AK. The truck is a 1965 Ford Merchandiser. My sister and I are selling out, retiring and going full-time. The RV will be The Jam-A-Lot Inn. Maybe we will see you on the road sometime.

        • Sarah

          Sheryl, Oh! My! Gosh!!! That’s hilarious. I love the Jam-A-Lot-Inn!!! Would love to see you on the road.

  10. Austin

    It’s always something isn’t it when it comes to being prepared. Lucky for us, our RV renovation was still going on when we started living full time in it and we knew we would need all new everything. Luckily you made it work with the bikes and had a good time 👍🏼

    • Sarah

      And we’re not even fulltiming … yet. We’re just newbs getting out and having some wee adventures! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Sarah

      Dawn, thanks for stopping in. Austin is a great town… someday, I’ll leave it and hit the road. For now, it’s home, and we’re lucky!