Sunday, May 14, 2017

RVing…Where were we & When were we there?

So, I admit I don’t have a really good memory!  Then, take into account that we have been fulltime RVing for over 22 years and have been to all 50 states several times, how in the world do I keep track of our life and travels?  Journals and a timeline do the trick!

The idea to do journals of our travels wasn’t exactly original.   Of course, like many of my age, when I was a girl I had a little five-year diary.   And, over the years, I had done sporadic journals of our family vacation travels.  This is my first, from the 80’s, of family travels in our motorhomes. It was really just a small calendar notebook.


In 1990 while on a cross-country trip in our Corvette I kept a journal of our adventure in one of those cute bound Journal books.


One of my special inspirations was my Aunt Freda who kept journals during her entire married life!  She and Uncle John’s thirteen children used her journals as reference when there was a disagreement about when a family event had occurred.  She compiled entries from these into a priceless handmade typed book.


I use 5x8-1/2 loose leaf binders for my journals.  At times I have tried writing them on my laptop but like the personal feel of cursive writing with one of my fountain pens.


Each year I design a cover which is slipped into front of the binder.  Sometimes it takes several weeks after the turn of the year to come up with an idea which seems to fit the coming year. These are samples. Then I make a handmade bookmarker; this year its a tassel but other years I’ve used shells, buttons or beads.


After a few years on the road and a bunch of journals we found it hard to remember where we had been and/or when we had been there so I made a timeline.  Now, we can go to the timeline for specifics and then go to the appropriate journal to settle the “argument” about when we last visited the Corvette Museum! (Correct answer: 2004)

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I like the idea of documenting and keeping track of things so this serves me well.  Let’s see now, what was the name of that group we saw in Branson?  Give me a minute, I’ll check…

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

RVing. . .an office in a small space?

You don’t have to be running a business in your RV to need/want office space. GET and I don’t have a business but do have our own laptops and ”need” our individual space.  (Another example of full time RVing together successfully. ALSO, he is an only child and you know how they are at sharing!)  In each of our full timing RVs, there have been six, we have carved out personal office space. Here are a few of our arrangements.

In our Travel Supreme we removed the dining table and chairs, found a computer desk that fit the space perfectly and added a wicker stand for the printer.MVC-704S gary at computer

The HitchhikerII LS had a built-in desk. Pretty small but it did the job. (An aside, don’t buy a rear kitchen 5th wheel no matter what the salesperson says, YES, IT DOES BOUNCE!  AND YES, DISHES WILL GET BROKEN---AND THEY DID!)HPIM0188 Hitchhiker interiorHPIM0095

I loved the office space we made in our Escalade.  Before we made the office space I used the dining table pushed forward against the sofa.  The printer sat on the stand behind my chair where it worked out ok.  Then I came up with a better idea!DSCN0193

As in the Travel Supreme we removed the dining table. (We eat on our pop-up coffee table.)  We bought upper kitchen cabinets at Home Depot and fastened them against the slider wall for stability. Upper cabinets are more narrow than bottom, thus making them more suitable as RV cabinets.  Fortunately we were able to match the natural maple of our 5th wheel.  The cabinets provided a generous amount of storage.20140324_132432

Next step was the top and workspace area for my laptop. I used a piece of cardboard to design a pattern for a cantilever shelf.   I didn’t want to be bumping into a leg.  After several adjustments it was ready to go to the cabinetmaker.


Took my cardboard pattern along with the cabinet top dimensions to a cabinet shop where I chose a beautiful piece of light maple.  They cut the top from one piece of 4’X8’ and edged it to match. Bought the finished top home and it fit perfectly!


The cantilevered work top needed support and the entire top had to be installed permanently so GET got busy doing the finish work.DSCN0215

An there we have it—workspace and computer desk!  Absolutely loved it!DSCN0341

And then, what did we do?  We bought a new 5th wheel!  And left this wonderful desk! 

This is my desk in our Landmark 5th wheel on an ordinary day.  It is a built-in dining table so customizing it will be a bigger challenge. DSCN9758

The outdoor TV casing protrudes into the inside cabinet.  (We have never used this TV!)DSCN9763

I do have nice storage space although some of it is taken by the steel casing of the outdoor TV.DSCN9760DSCN9761

We replaced two huge dark brown leather recliners that came with the 5th wheel with a smaller leather Lazy Boy making space for the credenza which serves as office space.  I chose the printer almost totally based on space available in the credenza.DSCN9764

I’m still contemplating ideas on how to make this a more efficient workspace. Until that brilliant idea hits me I’ll be content with my present arrangement.

P.S.  We are excited. . . back on the road this month!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Full-time RVing…Can I still Collect?

While reading comments and posts on RVing sites I’ve noticed that many refer to what they can’t have or do anymore/what they have to give up.  I wonder if they should reconsider the lifestyle?  As I’ve stated in previous Blogs we say that we can have and do anything we had in a traditional home just on a smaller scale.  Even collect “stuff” like souvenirs?  I say YES!  Remember the “smaller” scale!

I love baskets and had all sizes.  I still buy small ones which fit perfectly on the living room valance.  We were camp hosts at Rancheros de Santa Fe Campground and made some of these with the guidance of an Oklahoma Indian artist who stayed during Santa Fe Indian Market.DSCN9732

We have very little wall space so I buy small food-themed cards and frame them for my kitchen.  Blueberries from Maine, Tabasco from McIllhenny Company on Avery Island, Louisiana, Beignets and chicory coffee from CafĂ© DuMonde in New Orleans, chairs on Jordan Pond House in Acadia, Maine where they are known for their delicious popovers.  The little pewter basket is from Massachusetts.


A practical purchase in Alaska, which I use a lot, is this Ulu and small cutting board.  So handy!


GET added a Plexiglas shelf to this small niche making it a perfect place to display my small pots, basket and vases.   DSCN9722

We all like to have photos of our loved ones and in our bricks and mortar home we had large photos. In our RV home we have the same photos, just small.

The “Grands” Jorden, William, Stanley (waiting for Mary’s current photo)DSCN9739

Our Mom’s and our three kids, Kelle, Gary and Russ with spouses Joe, Vivian and Denise.


I’m going to try something new (for me anyway.) So far in our 22 years of full-timing I haven’t traveled with plants.  I found this little planter at a thrift store and have planted three small succulents.  Let’s see how they fare!DSCN9742

One of my true loves is reading (my Aunt Genevieve always said I grew up with my nose buried in a book!)  Nowadays I do most of my reading in my Kindle or Nook however, there is real joy in actually seeing books in a home, even a RV home. I have a small shelf which is my library. DSCN9747

(Of course, if you are a reader you know there has to be a hidden “stash” somewhere in the rig!)DSCN9753DSCN9756

People ask if we get tired of taking all of these things down everyday when we travel.  No, we don’t take them down!  I use what us Californians call “earthquake putty” everywhere so we are able to travel with everything quite intact.DSCN9740

So, you see, while it seems that I have a lot of things in my rig, by choosing “small” I am able to have a touch of everything I love!  It reiterates my theory that we full-timers don’t have to sacrifice what we care about in order to live the lifestyle!

Of course, a good plan sometimes goes awry…we like to visit college campuses and I have gotten quite carried away and collected A LOT of college sweatshirts which definitely DO NOT occupy a small space!DSCN9693

Oh well!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Full-time RVing…are you suited?

The other night we were talking to friends who are thinking about going full timing.  As expected, the conversation included questions about the type of RV they wanted and should they sell their house. We guided the conversation to an even more important subject:  before looking for an RV or putting that For Sale sign on your house consider whether you are really suited to life on the road.  There are lots of considerations but I think these three are pretty important.

  • Do you like each other, and I mean really like each other enough to exist together 24/7 in a very small space?  Traveling full time often involves spending most of your time and conversations with your partner.  GET and I  really do like each other and really like living together in a small space, however, once in awhile I have been known to suggest to him that he needs to get his lawn chair and take it to the beach for an attitude adjustment!  And he has been known to be needed somewhere for some unknown reason for a few minutes!  We also credit our success to having two TVs – one for sports and one for my home shows!
  • DSCN2489
  • Do you need to be living close to your children/grandchildren?  Full-timing is traveling and you often don’t see your loved ones for months at a time. Is hosting family Christmas and holidays in your home a priority?  We dearly love our three children and four grand's and spending time with them, however we don’t feel we need to be underfoot most of the time.  Christmas may be the one time I sort of wish we still lived in a traditional house BUT we have managed to have memorable family Christmas’.  Several years here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca we hosted Christmas in the Suites with all of our family and included other full timing friends. We used one of the hospitality suites which the kids thought was very cool indeed! And last Christmas was spent at our son’s new home-changing of the guard?

Friends and family in the suites



    Christmas in the Suites a few years ago:  Us, our three kids and their spouses, Sheila, the four grand’s and Dulee (little white Bichon)

    • How about REALLY downsizing your “stuff”---your nice big workshop and tools, your wonderful sewing and craft room, even your clothes and shoes, YES your shoes? No question about it you will not have space for ALL of these in your RV BUT…one of our mottos is we have everything we ever had in a large home just not quite as much of it. (the shoes thing is a challenge for me!)  I still have my sewing machine and crafts area, we each have our own laptops and GET has all of the tools he needs/wants in the toolbox in the bed of our truck.

    My craft/sewing supplies area-two cabinets and two drawers –quite sufficient!  Would love to share GET’s tool box but the truck is in the shop!DSCN9678

    A few years after we started full timing I read an article which included a quiz to determine if you were suited to the lifestyle.  I only remember one of the questions.  Do you prefer to read magazines about:

          1. RV maintenance
          2. Hiking
          3. Fashion

    I answered #3, which they said indicated that I would not be suited!  Yes, I love fashion magazines and, after 22 years I would guess that I am quite suited to RV living!

  • Sunday, February 19, 2017

    Full time Rvers-Back to the Beginning…1992

    Last week I joined a new Facebook group, RV to Freedom-Learning to Live in an RVThe enthusiasm of this group of old, new and potential fulltime RVers bought back many memories of our twenty-two plus years on the road.  When several asked if I have a blog I went back through my posts and see just how much I’ve written about our beginnings….I found pretty much nothing!  I’ll fix that!  Of course, I didn’t have a Blog until 2003.  WHY?  Blogging did not exist in 1992!  (Lots of full-timing amenities didn’t exist in 1992; I’ll tell you about those in a coming post.)

    Although we officially started full-timing on November 2, 1994, our experience actually began in 1992.  Unbeknown to the other, each of us had been thinking about how fun it would be to buy another RV and travel the country for awhile.  We finally had a coming together moment: “You’ve been thinking of traveling again? So have I!” 

    The very next day we started researching what we would feel comfortable in for both living and traveling. We had sold our Itasca Class A two years earlier and previously owned Class C motorhomes so we were familiar with the features of the motorhome type of RV.

    3rd-1973 Enterprise4th-1977 or 78 Tioga

    5th-1984 Itasca

    Initially we had a pull-trailer in mind but a RV salesman suggested we consider a fifth wheel. The main point he made was that a fifth wheel has more stability while towing since it sits in the bed of the truck rather than on a ball hitch.  We have chosen to stick with fifth wheels--in fact we are now in #8 since we started full-timing.  

    As fate would have it, just a few weeks later, an acquaintance mentioned that she wanted to sell her older fifth wheel and wanted someone to take over the balance of payments.  It had a dated interior but we saw the potential and a week later it was parked in our driveway where we re-carpeted it.  Later that month we were moved in and parked in a nearby RV park. 

    As you may notice in the photo below we didn’t have a tow vehicle. (seeing the Corvette beside our 5th wheel someone in the RV park asked how we travel.  Very seriously Gary told them that we just remove the T-tops, drop the fifth wheel hitch in and away we go!)6th 1985 Komfort-before we had a truck

    We tore out the booth dining table and replaced it with a table and chairs, (we were ahead of the times-now it seems that booths are pretty rare) sent the jackknife sofa out to be re-upholstered, I made curtains, we bought new mini-blinds and added a recliner.  A 12” TV sat on the little countertop. I fashioned the side table from a basket topped with a piece of glass. (if this looks a bit dated, remember that this was 1992!)

    1985 Komfort remodel

    In the bedroom we replaced the bed, mini-blinds and linens, painted the walls ice blue and I sewed gathered valances and a Warm Window shade over the window at the head of the bed.1985 Komfort remodel

    Our goal was to embark on our new lifestyle debt-free (not sure if the term full-time RVers existed at the time, but we were not aware of it.  We just planned to travel) so we continued working for about a year, me as Administrative Manager for United Way and Gary in mortgage banking.

    We were ready to hit the road!  OH NO WE WEREN’T!  After completing all of the remodeling and financial planning we still didn’t have a truck.   We were having a hard time giving up our Corvette so decided to go on a road trip to Washington to visit Don and Lee.  While we were there Gary and Don found our first truck:

    1995-Komfort and brown duelly truck

    We were set to go on the road!  And so we did, November 2, 1994.

    Every year on November 2 we have a “meeting” to take a vote on whether we should continue with the fulltime RVing lifestyle and every year (approximately 22 times) the “vote” has been yes.