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.