Monday, January 25, 2016

Tripping Across Texas

Texarkana, Texas, to Livingston, Texas

Saturday, November 20, we followed 59 south all the way to Livingston, TX, with a stop at Denny’s Restaurant just south of Carthage. Just for the record, even though backing up with a trailer is not my forte, I did accomplish backing up the trailer, all by myself, to fit in a space next to the big van and camper. It’s been years since we set foot inside a Denny’s Restaurant. There is no Denny’s where we lived in Arkansas. We used to love their Stir-Fry (now gone from the menu) as well as their Ultimate Omelette.

Where should we stay for the night?

John searched the web using our Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge phone and found a website showing a small, clean, park with amenities north of Livingston. The fees and pictures looked inviting. It looked nice enough we were considering staying for a week through Thanksgiving. We did not make a reservation because it was already afternoon and with it being along our route, we figured it would be easy to find. As we rolled in to Livingston, we saw no lighted signs or any indication of it. While gassing up the vehicles, John talked with a fellow customer who said he was going that way and would be happy to lead us to it.

John followed him, and I followed John. We thought when he pulled over, that meant we should turn, and John did just that, followed by me doing the same thing. It turned out to be an unpaved street, with no street lights. It was pitch black with only our headlamps to light the way. We communicated through our two-way radios. John’s voice came over the radio saying we had made a wrong turn and he was looking for a place to turn around. He pulled in to an unlighted driveway and backed out of it. I followed suit, except after turning into the unlighted driveway, I was not too sure about backing out onto the street. I rolled my window down to get a better view of the black night when I heard a voice asking if I could back up. The fellow leading us came to help us and he had a flashlight. I told him I could back up if he told me which way to turn the wheels. Thanks to him, his directions, and his flashlight, I got turned around and we headed back to the highway. As it turned out, we had only one more street to go.

We Made It!   Really?

This street was also dark. There was no light, and the near non-existent sign was also dark, as in not lit, not even a case of being turned off for the night. Oh my! This was not a good omen. To top it off, the falling rain had created mud puddles throughout the park. A couple of units in the park had lights, but no one came out. No camp host appeared to be on duty. Some units were totally dark and looked abandoned. I followed John through the park and with the assist of our walkie-talkies, he got the camper backed in. I parked the van and small trailer along the street in front of the space he backed into.

This was no where I wanted to be for a week, let alone a night! My wish came true when he plugged in to the electric, flipped the switch and there was no electric, and no water (except for that in the puddles). We left. As we drove past the building that appeared to be for registration, showers, etc, we had a better view of it and saw the broken windows and total disarray.

Lesson learned -- what you find on the internet is not always the way it appears. If you have never been there, check it out first! Thank goodness we did not make any reservations. As it turned out, John had tried to call for directions when we were getting gas, but no one ever returned his message.

At this point, we continued south to Rainbow’s End Escapees RV Park at Livingston. The office had already closed when we arrived, but for late arrivals, their information showed some easy-access sites. We opted to stay Saturday and Sunday in a pull-through site convenient to the office. Sunday night, the temperature dipped to 33 degrees, but we stayed warm and cozy. We had electric and used our built-in heater.

Sunday evening, we went to a short meet and greet session at the activity center, during which we had a dish of ice cream, and met Carmen and Domingo. Clipboards with sign-up sheets for ten people at a table were available. People attending the dinner signed up to bring a dish by putting their name, phone number, and the dish they were bringing. Since a Thanksgiving Dinner was in the works, we signed up and went to the office on Monday and extended our stay four more nights through Thanksgiving.

Wow…What a small world!

We had a surprise waiting for us when we moved to a pull-thru site in another section of the park closer to the activity center, clubhouse, and laundry room. Glen, the fellow leaving the site we were going to was a piano tuner, also headed west. When Glen learned we had a piano with us, he asked if my piano needed tuning. I asked him what tuning method he uses, and it is the one I like. We exchanged cards and information so we can contact him further down the road and arrange for him to tune my piano. I could not believe we already met a piano tuner in our travels. What are the chances of that!

Activities…

Rain was predicted across Texas for three days after Thanksgiving, and we were not crazy about driving in a hard rain, so we extended again. We ended up spending a total of nine nights in Livingston.  This gave us more than ample time to do laundry, and read the list posted outside the laundry building of activities scheduled for the week.

Wednesday evening, we enjoyed movie night at the clubhouse. The movie was “The longest Ride” with Alan Alda and Clint Eastwood’s son in it. For the first time since we left home, I also found time to play songs I knew by heart on the piano.


The park furnished the turkey, gravy, and refreshments for Thanksgiving Dinner. We each took a side dish to serve the ten people at our table. The side dishes at our table consisted of peas epicurean (in a cream sauce with bacon), fruit salad, rolls, squash, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, cranberry sauce, and an English summer berry pudding with whipped cream to put on top of it. Friday evening, everyone brought their leftovers, and we had a potluck. Talk about it being a small world, both nights, we had the pleasure of sitting next to Angela and Peter, a very nice couple with a pleasant accent from Great Britain touring the United States. Loved their British accent.




One day while doing laundry, we had the pleasure to meet and talk with Carol Kiwi Donovan.  She is an exceptional lady from New Zealand, who spends time in Alaska, is a world birder, travels all over America visiting National Parks, and much more.  It was interesting and exciting to hear about her life adventures. You can google her name to learn more about her.

After changing sites on Monday, we had errands to run. First, we got a big bag of chow for Angel and food to fix for Thanksgiving at the local Walmart Super Center.


Since we use a garden hose to drain our gray water, next we stopped at a local RV shop to get a special fitting to hook our garden hose to, which seals it into a larger 3 or 4 inch sewer opening.


Westward on 190

Most of the rain had passed by Monday, November 30, but we still had periods of light rain, mist, and overcast skies as we continued West.

I took this photo showing the overcast skies while following John as he pulled the camper. 
As we followed 190, the first day was a lot of up and down (north and south) driving, rather than straight west; we ran into road construction in Temple, TX. Our first night after leaving Livingston was at Harker Heights, just east of Killeen, Texas. We chose the Walmart Parking Lot for our overnight stop because we needed to stock up on many items. This was a nice (and HUGE) Super Walmart.

Two extra trips to purchase four one-gallon jugs of water, and replenish batteries for our flashlights were necessary. For future, however, we think making a list of things we need will keep us from having to make repeat trips back into the store. Just because we run out of something does not necessarily mean we have to get it immediately. Waiting to buy when we shop for the entire list makes more sense.  By the way, most people think that boondocking in a Walmart parking lot is free, but after adding up our receipts for that night, believe me, it was not free -- but it did save us time by not having to stop and shop the next day.

It was down to 41 that night so the Mr. Heater Big Buddy Heater kept us warm during the night. It warmed things up comfortably and the pilot flame kept it tolerable during the night. After doing our shopping, we opened a can of chili and heated it on the Coleman butane stove we had purchased at the Walmart Super Center in Ash Flat, Arkansas, broke some soda crackers in it, and had pineapple and mango fruit cups for dessert.

Westward Ho and on we go in the next post! If you want to follow our adventures and be notified of new posts, you can subscribe by email or one of three other methods. Your comments are welcome.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Last Six Weeks Before Final Departure

It was October 2nd when we arrived back home after our maiden voyage. The next six weeks were full of things to do! We never moved back into the house. After sorting through the last room in the house, a few more things were added to the trailer, and some last-minute items went to storage. By this time, realizing that we were taking more with us than we originally had room to take, we decided I would drive the Chrysler mini-van and pull a small trailer. We would sell that van and the small trailer later by March 1st.

There were a few things we still needed from Amazon for the trailer. While we still had a physical address, it was the best time to get them ordered. I will talk later in this post about the Mr. Heater Big Buddy Heater that we ordered.

Our first night out on our maiden voyage, we boondocked at Walmart in Marshall, Illinois. It was there that we discovered our microwave would not work with our inverter. For our microwave to work, we needed a Pure Sine-Wave 2,000 watt Inverter, so we ordered the Xantrex Pure Sine-Wave 2,000 watt Inverter.


One morning when we got up, there was a puddle of water on the floor in front of the cabinets. It seemed to be in front of the larger lower cupboard. I emptied that cupboard so we could get to the plumbing under the floor. John found one fitting that he had forgotten to tighten so that fixed the problem, or so we thought.

A puddle of water continued to show up, sometimes every day and sometimes every other day. This took forever, actually about a week, to rule out causes of the leak, but John traced it to a bad check valve. The original manufacturer did not list it on Amazon, and would not warranty it. According to the original equipment manufacturer, none of their suppliers listed it either. Possibly, a third party who did not have a clue it was faulty may have listed it. For this reason, we went to the local plumbing shop to get a replacement check valve because the time allowed to return it to Amazon was well beyond their thirty-day return policy. Once installed, we had no other problems with the leak.

Listing the House For Sale

The house was far from empty. We were leaving all of our furniture, some tools, building supplies, kitchen items, a lot of miscellaneous household, and garage items. After exhausting our list of people who sometimes purchase left-over yard sale stuff and/or estate sale items, nobody seemed interested this late in the year. We continued to search and finally found someone who would come to the house in hopes they would give us a price to purchase all the contents. Our plan was to get the house empty and then list it with a realtor.

I am not sure how the story goes with the best laid plans of mice and men, but our plan fell through. But not all was in vain because the people who came to look at the contents recommended an auctioneer who had a good following. That same day we contacted the auctioneer. He came to the house. Everything seemed to fall into place. He would sell the real estate as well as everything else. The auction date was set for Friday, December 11, and we could now concentrate on things we had to do to get on the road again.

Saturday night, the 14th, before we left, we were coming home from Walmart and hit a deer in front of the old hospital building on our way home.  We were fortunate that we were going slow enough to almost stop, but he still crossed in front of us and did damage to the front driver side of the vehicle.  The deer ran away, but we had a cracked grill, parking lights, and one piece just above the bumper, not enough damage to keep us from leaving.  Our insurance company said we have a year to get it fixed, so we will schedule it when it is convenient to do so.

One of the last items to go into the trailer was my spinet piano. You read it right. One thing I asked John was if I could take my piano, the spinet-style my parents bought for me after I learned to play. It is approximately 57 inches long, 27 inches deep, and 37 inches high. To do this, we had to park the trailer horizontally in front of the garage door and jack up the side farthest away to make the trailer level, so the piano would not roll to the opposite side after it was loaded. Our driveway had a fifteen percent grade from the garage down to the street. The French provincial styling of the legs stuck out just enough that it would not go through the door until we removed the left front leg. Then we got it through the door and re-installed the leg.

Cherokee Village, Arkansas, to Texarkana, Texas

When we left the house, it was 11:15 AM on Thursday, November 19. Must have been about 1PM before we really got on the road as we had some errands to run. While grabbing a sandwich at Subway in Ash Flat, AR, we saw some of my co-workers from when I worked at Walmart and said good-by to them.

Our route took us south on 167 towards Batesville, Bald Knob, and southwest towards Beebe. Then we took 31 south to 165, and then west to England, AR, and then 15 to Pine Bluff, where we filled up with gas at the Romero Mart. Continuing southwest, we boondocked overnight in the Walmart parking lot in Fordyce. The temperature dipped to around 37 degrees that night, and we kept warm with our Mr. Heater Big Buddy Heater. For safety, we always opened the fantastic vent overhead when using any propane or butane fuel canisters inside the trailer. In addition, we also have a carbon monoxide detector. After the inside of our trailer was warm, we were able to run it with just the pilot light on to keep the inside very comfortable. It sure was nice to have the Mr. Heater Big Buddy Heater to rely on and keep us warm. We also purchased the carrying case for it.

     

The next day, our route took us to Camden, where we got on 24 and traveled through Poison Springs State Forest all the way to Prescott, Arkansas. The E-Z Mart gas station at Fouke was a welcome site as the gauge on the Chevy was telling us it would need a fill-up soon. John just told me we averaged better mileage pulling the camper than driving it on short trips around home without the camper. From there we got back on 67, which parallels Interstate 30 and took it all the way to Texarkana.

Much of the area we traveled through had a lot of water standing along the roadsides and in the fields. We concluded they must have had rain like we had two days prior to leaving. In spite of all of the water, our scenic route led us through a lot of beautiful countryside and many small towns.

Late Friday afternoon, while grabbing a sandwich at a Burger King, we checked the internet for a good place to stay that night. Much to our surprise there was an RV Park just down the street. That night we stayed at the Texarkana RV Park in Texarkana, Texas.

This park consisted of two sections with a small pond between the two...
where the ducks came down to the water.
One side of the pond had a large statue of a blue heron.
One section of the park had unpaved sites. We stayed in the other section that had paved streets. Our site was large enough to park both vehicles and the trailers in tow.  It was convenient to the nice, very clean, tiled private heated restroom/shower rooms.


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Next Post...

We will leave Texarkana and head further south where we will spend Thanksgiving. If you want to follow our adventures and be notified of new posts, you can subscribe by email or one of three other methods. Your comments are welcome.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Six Wheels Down and Rollin'

Initially, we had hoped to be on the road by mid-August, but before we knew it, we were into the month of September. Everything seemed like it was taking much longer than anticipated, and time was slipping away from us. Before long, it would be getting into the colder months with below freezing temperatures, and we did not want to spend another winter with the possibility of ice and/or snow in Arkansas where there are many hills and curves common to the Ozarks. At this point, we knew we would head south to avoid freezing temperatures, but we had no idea how many bugs, if any, might need to be worked out. We still had a lot to do, so we decided to give ourselves a break and do a maiden voyage to work out any bugs.

Wanting to visit my sister before we left, we decided it would be a good idea to take our maiden voyage to see her, which meant we had to head north. Good thing we did! Having concluded that getting rid of the house and traveling full time would allow me more opportunity to spend more quality time with my sister than if we continued to tie ourselves down to the house all of the time, we finally left on Saturday, September 11.

Our first night out was in Marshall, Illinois. We had been offered a place to park for the night by a fellow blogger, but that region had so much rain, that his parking area was already saturated from all of the rain. We had no choice but to spend that first night in the Walmart parking lot.

Overall, about two years went in to designing the layout and converting the cargo trailer to make it livable for the two of us and our dog, Angel. Details, including photos, of the transformation of our toy hauler type of cargo trailer into our full-time RV for full-time living and traveling, can be found at incargonito.blogspot.com. John has documented the process with many details, photos, and also links to products if anyone is looking for items like we purchased.

What bugs had to be addressed in the Maiden Voyage?

The first problem we had involved the safety chains which were not high enough off the ground to keep from dragging on the pavement. It was necessary to find a facility who could install airbags on the van to solve this problem. When we made a trip into Michigan to pick up six windows that John later installed in the trailer while we were visiting my sister, we encountered the second problem. When we left the window place, the van was making a strange sound. We later found that the transmission had to be replaced. The third problem was a 33-year-old Port-a-Potty that sprung a leak when using the bellows to pump water into the bowl.

Fortunately, we were able to find a trailer place to install the air bags, a transmission place to install a new transmission, and order a new Thetford Curve Port-a-Potty to replace the old one with the leak. The Thetford Curve is designed to be higher off of the floor and makes it more user friendly. It is 17 inches high and ADA compatible.


Fun Stuff with my Sis

I always enjoy spending time with my Sis. One afternoon we took a pleasant, scenic drive along the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore along Lake Michigan. It is possible to see the Chicago skyline across the lake in the distance, but not in this photo.

Rounding the curve at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Another highlight was viewing one of the Quilt Gardens in our old stomping ground along the Heritage Trail. Several years ago, we drove part of the Heritage Trail and viewed some other Quilt Gardens along the trail. This year, we saw Oma’s Blumen Garten (German for grandmother’s flower garden) at Nappanee Center in Indiana.

Sign at the eighth garden on this nationally renown tour.
Each sign shows the design on the left with the color-coding in the squares to the right identifying the flowers used.
This quilt garden identified with the traditional Amish garden, complete with garden produce, water pump and bucket, and a bench at the lower left for resting and viewing. 
We viewed it from a raised wooden platform.
Garden produce and water running from the old pump.
Concrete pavers were patterned with rhubarb leaves.
We also enjoyed a nice sunny, Sunday afternoon getting together in the back yard with family and friends. It was great to see and visit with cousins on both sides of the family as well as many friends.

One day we went to Elkhart, Indiana.  We visited Ron, my former boss whom I worked with for nearly twenty years at Miles Laboratories; that’s been over thirty years ago.  It was fun to reminisce and catch up. We always remark how wonderful it is that we have kept in touch all of these years. He took us to a very nice Thai Restaurant for lunch.

That same day, we met Rose at the Cracker Barrel near the Indiana Toll Road entrance, and visited way past sundown.  We have many fond memories of camping activities with friends, Bev and Warren and Faye and Woody, and Rose and her husband, John, when they were park managers at Rogers Lake Resort in Dowagiac, Michigan.    

Heading back to Arkansas

On the drive back to Arkansas, we stayed out two nights. Traveling south on Indiana 41 was beautiful and sunny and the best part was we did not have the traffic on this four-lane divided highway that we would have had on I-65.

Wind farms North of Attica and East of I-65
The first night we stayed at Marshall, Illinois. The ground was now dry enough so we could park there without fear of getting stuck.

Having been raised on a farm, it was nice to see the road curve between two cornfields on our drive to our night destination.

It was warm enough that we enjoyed visiting around a campfire until the sun went down.
Sunset in Marshall, Illinois
Where we have lived, a sunset is not always that easy to capture, so this sunset was better than most I could get at home.

Hamilton County State Fish and Wildlife Area

The last night of our maiden voyage we camped at the Hamilton County State Fish and Wildlife Area campground in Illinois.  It was great to get out and stretch our legs as we walked around the area. The camp hosts were very friendly and the fee there was $20 for the night.
Hamilton County State Fish and Wildlife Area


Hurrah! We survived our maiden voyage and arrived back in Arkansas around October 2nd. From this point on, we never moved back into the house because living in the trailer made it easier to continue to pack and prepare for RV full-time living and traveling.  We still had a lot to do to finally get on the road as full-time travelers. For one thing, we still had one room to sort, and the house was not yet listed for sale.

More progress will be addressed in the next post. If you want to follow our adventures and be notified of new posts, you can subscribe by email or one of three other methods. Your comments are welcome.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Other Considerations, What-ifs, and More

Happy New Year everyone!  Now that 2016 is underway, we hope that yours is full of all good things!

What else did we consider in our list of pros and cons?

Being able to spend time with my sister is a big consideration, especially since we are now both retired.  I thought about this a lot and have come to the conclusion that having a home base or not will not determine  whether we can spend time together.  Also, it will not limit the amount of time.  Not having a house would mean I am more free to spend time with her because I will not have to be concerned about normal duties that are required in a stick built house.  Also, John planned for two beds in the trailer and during times when my sister comes to visit us, she and I would sleep in the trailer, and he would use the bed in the van, so we would all be fine.  At some times, we can stop and visit her, and at other times, we can plan to meet to catch up.  

Angel, our dog, is also a big consideration.  He is my baby and John’s buddy, and he loves to “go” and is happiest when he can be wherever we are.  He seems to understand the word go whether we say it or spell it.

My Special Angel

What about the “what-ifs”?

What if we tire of this life style?

Anything is possible, but hopefully, that will not happen for a long while.  If we get tired of this life style, we will need to look at options and decide what works best for us.  Some possibilities we have discussed are finding a place to rent or possibly staying in one location for a month at a time, and switching locations monthly according to where we want to be throughout the year.      

What if our health declines?  

If our health declines, we will have to make decisions on what is best at that time.  When signing up for Medicare and choosing our supplement insurance, we took care to ask many questions.  We did not want the places we travel to be limited by our coverage.  In our research, we found there were many plans, but some require being in a network that only covers a small territory, and that would limit our travels.


More decisions…

Yes, more decisions had to be made on what we would take with us, what to do with things we kept, and how to get rid of everything else, including the house.  Would we put anything in storage?  It made sense for us to put some things in storage, as that would allow us to keep things we were not ready to part with and/or things that we did not have room to take with us at this time.

The list of needs and wants started with me wanting to take my spinet piano.  My mom and dad had bought it for me 50 years ago when I learned to play, and I am not ready to part with it.  Putting it in storage was not an option, so John looked at ways we would be able to take it with us.  That was one of the reasons for utilizing our trailer with the toy-hauler type of drop-down rear door and side door.  As you can imagine, there were other things that we wanted to take and still other things that we felt we needed.  That list, as we came closer to the day to leave, changed so many times.  Honestly, I cannot begin to remember what that list started out with in the beginning, other than it was a place to start.  The important things were the items that made it to the end when we would finally leave.

Since John was custom designing the trailer, he began to make a list of the things we would take, including their size and weight.  This would help him to balance the weight as he did the trailer layout.  We could only haul so much weight, and it would have to be balanced.  Anything else would have to go into the van or a storage space.  It also helped to know the size of items going to storage, so we would have ample space and could manage the layout to make it easier to get to things as needed.

In the next post, we will have six wheels down and rollin’.  If you want to follow our adventures and be notified of new posts, you can subscribe by email or one of three other methods.  Your comments are welcome.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Adventure

This idea of traveling full-time while living full-time in an RV is exciting to us!  We heard the call of the open road, following America’s ribbon of highways, not necessarily the interstates, and exploring places to see, things to do, and charming spots hidden from view, and adding a few tourist stops in the mix .  We have always loved traveling.  This will definitely be a new adventure.  No longer will it be called a vacation, like we used to call it when we took off for a few days, a week, or two, or three to visit a destination and return home in time to go back to our jobs. Being retired, we can now take our time – no need to rush.

Preparation


Here is the part that gets a bit scary!  How do we, and can we, prepare for this life-changing adventure? Where do we start and what do we do next? So many things to think about, organize, and tend to if this is going to happen in our lifetime.  We opted to segment the process into multiple lists. Spreadsheets, which both of us like to use, were a very useful tool as we began to organize our thoughts, and more importantly, our life, on paper.

What would it take to fulfill this life-long dream to travel, and were we up for it?


Realizing that not much of anything was going to happen (travel or not) with the amount of credit card debt we had, I took a part-time job as a People Greeter at our local Walmart eight miles away. During this time of paying down bills, we began to think more and more to the time when all of this would be behind us. After three-months-short-of-five-years, and applying everything I earned to the credit card debt, we could finally rejoice that the debt I had set out to tackle was finally behind us.  Our freedom was in front of us, and it was up to us to decide what we wanted to do with it.

Also during this five-year period, John started a blog at caravancamperrv.com where he has a free downloadable ebook on creating (not building) your own mini-van camper complete with all of the comforts of home.  He spent much time on the internet reading other people’s blogs to gain insight into the experiences of other people traveling full time in their units.  He began following blogs of people traveling in motorhomes, fifth wheels, campers, vans, trailers, toy haulers, and even cargo trailers.  He also watched a lot of videos on youtube that were made by these travelers.  Many of these travelers shared a lot of their experiences and information, including how much it cost them to enjoy this lifestyle.

The Wheels Were Now Turning, but not on the ground…


The wheels were now turning in his mind.  When I came home from my shift working the part-time job, whether it be noon, mid-afternoon, or as late as 11PM at night, he was rearing to share the good stuff with me.  The good stuff included important information he learned from the blogs he read, as well as showing me the latest revision(s) he had made on the custom trailer design he was working on to be able to convert our 6’ x 12’ toy-hauler type Haulmark trailer.  I have to admit there were times, if I worked to 11PM, got home at 11:30PM, and had to report for an 8AM shift the next day, when I was tired and not too receptive to anything except a bite to eat and a pillow to lay my head on!  After all, my job, except for some additional duties that I will not mention here, consisted of standing at the door, and smiling, while greeting everyone who entered the store.

Whatever happened to my idea to travel while having a home base to call home? 


The time was right to begin making lists.  Again we went to our spreadsheet and typed in everything we could think of and divided it into two lists – pros and cons. Our lists were geared to traveling full-time versus traveling and keeping a home base.  We already knew that traveling was in our blood. Things to consider were family, Angel our dog, finances – fixed and non-fixed, needs, and wants.

First of all, we looked at our finances and compared them to what our finances would be full-time RVing, with and without a house to come home to.  This process meant we also looked at other people’s travel blogs to see what  kinds of expenses they had while living on the road. We wanted as complete an estimate  as possible as to what expenses we might incur, realizing ours could be higher or lower depending on how minimalistic we chose to live.

What about the house?  Should we keep a home base?  Why?  In our case, keeping a home base meant we would continually have maintenance on a place we were not living in.  When we were away, it would be a target for rodents, crickets, and vandalism, none of which we wanted to return home to find.  This most recent house that we bought after seeing it on the internet, and even though we ask a lot of questions of the realtor before buying it, including requesting pictures from strategic points within the house, it still came short of meeting our expectations once we saw it. The pictures only showed what they wanted us to see. It required a lot more work than we were able to do, or even wanted to do, so in our case, getting rid of it sounded better every day.  We did not want to spend our retirement years feeding a money pit.  It was time to enjoy living!

Utilizing a spreadsheet, John began to make comparisons of traveling and returning to a home base versus full-time traveling while living full time in an RV (with no home base).  Some expenses would exist either way.  We have to eat wherever we are.  Other expenses while traveling would be a trade for those of maintaining a home.  Costs for gas for one vehicle versus two, heating/cooling, energy, water, and phone  would all change.  Our internet service would improve from unreliable to Verizon up to 4G with a hot spot, which has been a welcome change.  Then we took taxes and insurance into consideration, which made a significant difference.


But that’s not all...  


What about mail?  For this we decided to join the Escapees RV Club for $39.95 and sign up for their mail forwarding service for $99.95 annually plus postage fees.  They have several options to choose from.  America’s Mailbox is another and there might be others if you google mail forwarding.  The Escapees RV Club has a lot of RV parks and Co-ops throughout the country.

Not sure if I have touched on every little thing, but there were a lot of things we took into consideration as we opted to live full time in a RV and travel full time without a home base. Financially, doing it without a home base was looking like our best option, but we had other things yet to consider.

In the next post I will talk more about other things we considered, what-ifs, and some wants and needs.

Thank you for visiting and Happy 2016.

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