We recently completed our first Army PCS since moving full-time into our RV 6 months ago! PCS stands for Permanent Change of Station, but it’s never permanent. In fact, we were at our last duty station in Maryland for just 9 months before the Army decided to move my husband’s unit away from that post, resulting in his orders assigning us to Fort Stewart, Georgia. This was our 3rd PCS as a family and by far, this one was the easiest!! We are definitely loving our decision to simplify. Leaving MD wasn’t easy on the heart because of all the wonderful friends we had made there, but the move itself was quite painless.
Prepping to Move
Since we’d been living in our RV for almost 6 months, everything we needed for daily life was already in our RV, one of our trucks, or in our storage unit (off-season clothes, extra tools, books and things we aren’t yet ready to part with). About a week before the move, the Army movers loaded up all the boxes and belongings we had in storage into their big truck and drove them to GA for us. The Army gives us up to 90 days of free storage, so they held on to all our items until we arrived in GA and secured a storage unit in the area. Once we arrived in GA and got settled, we just called them to give them the address of our new storage unit, scheduled a day to meet them there, and sat back while they unloaded all of our belongings for us.
A few days before the big move, Hubby drove his truck down to GA and caught a flight back home so that we could all travel together in one vehicle on moving day. We were planning to take a couple weeks of vacation and do some sight seeing on our way to GA, and wanted to travel together in one vehicle.
Oh, and we did NOT do a DITY (Do it Yourself) move, or even a partial one. Some people say when they move with an RV, they unload it, get it weighed, reload it, and weigh it again. The Army will technically pay you for whatever they would have moved, if they had done it all. They won’t pay to move your RV, but they would have paid to move all the stuff inside it. Therefore, if you get the weight of your belongings inside the RV, they will pay you whatever it would have cost them to move those things. Honestly, with the little amount of weight we have inside our camper, it wasn’t worth the hassle to pull it all out and get the weight of it. We just let the Army move what we had in storage, while we moved the RV and the belongings inside and we called it a day. The Army already pays us a Per Diem to help with food, lodging and gas along the way so that was good enough for us.
Getting the Kitty Cat Ready
We also had to prepare our kitty, Angel, for the move, especially since we were going to be on the road for 2 whole weeks. A couple weeks prior to the move, we started taking her for practice rides in the truck. Just short little ones around the campground or down the street and back. We used to travel with her in a crate, but the crate stresses her out so much (it’s bad!), that we decided to try something new. We simply carried her out to the truck and gently placed her in the backseat with her favorite girl – our daughter. We had a harness and leash on her just in case she tried to make a run for it, but she never did. She’s not really the type to bolt anywhere (she is 11 years old, after all), and she has never acted like a “crazy cat” so we weren’t too concerned about her running all over the truck or getting in our way. She’s typically very mellow and laid back. Unless, you try to put her in a crate and then she makes sounds worse than nails on a chalkboard.
She did GREAT with the rides, so that’s how we handled the big trip – just lose in the backseat with no crate. We put her litter box in the back floorboard, just in case she needed it. We never traveled for more than 4-5 hours in a day so we didn’t feed/water her during travel time. When we put her inside the truck, I always placed her into her litter box because sometimes she pees when she’s nervous and I wanted to make sure it went where it should. After the 2nd day, I don’t even think she was doing that anymore. Most days, she just calmly walked around a little, looked out the windows and mostly curled up right next to her girl, or on top of the book she was trying to read. She’d meow at us every so often to tell us she really disliked moving, but then she’d calm down again. We also gave her regular dosages of Rescue Remedy for Pets (all natural) to help her anxiety. At the end of each travel day, we’d put her back inside her home (the RV) again and she’d curl up in a favorite spot and take a nap.
Moving Day & Beyond
When the big day arrived, all we did was hitch up the camper to the truck and pull out of the campground. Here we go! We spent a couple weeks on the road, exploring and having some amazing family time. It was so nice to spend each night in our own home, in our own beds without having to live out of suitcases or in and out of hotels. We didn’t have to worry about finding pet-friendly places to stay, because we took our home with us, which also caused way less stress on our sweet kitty since she got to go back to the same place each time rather than a new place every few days. We kept our fridge and freezer stocked with food, so we were able to cook real meals each day rather than eating out, which saved a ton of money. Eating out can be fun on occasion, but it’s so expensive and we much prefer our own home cooking most of the time. Except for that one diner in South Carolina – it was so good, we ate there TWICE! (More on that and our vacation here)
One of our favorite parts was bringing our own bathroom with us!! It was so handy because anytime we needed a potty break on the road, we could just exit and pull over to use our own bathroom. We didn’t have to find nice, clean gas stations or wait for a certain exit. Just pull over and go!
Every few days, we woke up in a new place, ready to explore and have some fun. We toured caverns, explored a big cat rescue, played in a river, and did some hiking. We played hard, and slept well – each day we woke up together as a family after a good night of rest in our own beds.
Definitely the Best PCS Ever!