Monday, June 25, 2018

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Couch Surfing

Anne and Lin

6/6/2018

Meet Anne and Lin, two newlyweds from Houston, Texas, who recently decided to rent out their home and live in an RV. They drove all the way from deep Texas to Forest City to purchase their first RV from the largest Winnebago dealer in North America. The two women stopped in Des Moines both on their way up and on their way back.

Before we get into all the travel talk, I want to ask about your diet. Both meals we have had together, you two have provided your own pre-prepped meal. I am not offended, but do you two do this all the time?

Linn: We co-own a crossfit gym in Houston, so we need to stay in shape for that year-round. So even when we travel across the country, we can’t let our diets get away from us. In fact, we are hoping this new lifestyle helps us stay in better shape.

Anne: Yeah, the first thing you do when you travel is check out all the restaurants, and we still do that. Especially taco spots.

What has the transition been like going from a house to an RV?

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Anne: We have kind of done the minimalism thing by getting rid of the house. But now that we have this RV, I feel like we will need to get rid a few more things. Our storage unit is back in Houston, and we only have so much storage space in this thing. We wanted to be able to do our workouts everywhere and maybe expand our crossfit class into something we could do on the road — take everything we have learned from crossfit trainers around the country and offer guest classes in different cities.

Linn: The only weird part is that we went from one TV in our home to having built-in TVs in our bedroom, two in our living room, one in our kitchen and one outside. It’s not something we think is necessary, but that is part of this RV package.

Linn: We also have three dogs, which is going to be tricky living in such a small space. But, again, we are hoping this whole experience takes us outside.

How long did it take the two of you to figure this whole thing out?

Anne: We always thought about it. Especially since we are both in our late 50s and kind of having a second start at life. It took a long time to pick out an RV. We ended up going to Forest City since the Winnebago factory is a mile away from the dealership. There were less than 30 miles on it when we picked it up. You can’t tow or put an RV on a trailer, so we hopped in our Jeep and drove from Houston up to Forest City.

Linn: Sixteen and a half hours. It was a long way in our Jeep. In the future, we will just tow the Jeep behind the RV. The gas in the Jeep is actually more expensive than the diesel we put in our RV.

Anne: Like we mentioned earlier, our plan is to keep the crossfit gym that we have in Houston, but we also want to expand it and train people all over the country.

Linn: Maybe even beyond the United States into Mexico or Canada. We have planned this very carefully. We didn’t sell the house; we leased it. It was already paid off. So we make some money off of it. Plus the crossfit gym is still open in Houston. We hired some other trainers to work out of that location while we go on the road. So we still have the income from the gym as well.

Anne: We are very conscious of having a strict budget during this whole process. We didn’t just go out on a whim with it. We are not that young anymore, so we do things a little more slowly. It’s not that we can’t have any adventures anymore, it’s just we do them a little more securely.

Well, since you have come through Des Moines twice now in such a short period of time, have you found any spots you enjoy?

Anne: We had never been through here before, so this was all new, but we did find a little spot not too far from here (Kristian’s house) called El Patio. Like we mentioned earlier, we love tacos, and that was super-cozy.

Linn: Des Moines also has a nice bar scene. Even with our diet, we have found a way to include some light drinking because we love beer. We checked out The Lift and El Bait Shop. We will figure out a way to make it back this way. ♦

Kristian Day is a filmmaker, musician and writer based in Des Moines. He has couch-surfed across the west coast as well as through the Midwest. He also offers his home up to unknown travelers passing through Des Moines… for free. Follow him on Twitter at @kristianmday.

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