Sunday, May 23, 2010

Roadrunner Reflections - First Year Do Overs

First - let me say 'Thank You' and Welcome to our newest Follower:
Melanie Ditmars
Glad you're following and we appreciate you signing up!

Over the past year of the Roadrunner era, we have learned a lot.  And we keep learning.  I am not one to wring my hands and live in the past about what 'woulda, shoulda, coulda' happened.  We try to conduct our due diligence, think about it, talk about it and then 'pull the trigger' ~ do it!  As with most things in life sometimes it doesn't quite work out the way you thought it would...

Roadrunner Resets:  Do Overs....If I had it to do over I'd:

1. Get an Apple computer and shelve my Dell PC.  Apple is more convenient, less hassle.  I use the computer every day.  With my PC I had to worry about a lot of anit-virus stuff and the darn thing crashed at a couple of inconvenient times.  So far the MacBook has been great.

2. Get a laptop that is not so big.  My Dell PC has a 17" screen and takes up a lot of room.  A 14" screen is fine.  I thought I wanted a big, powerful laptop but the smaller computer works fine and is similar in size to the size I starred into at work for years.  I like the smaller one.  (Can you say iPad?)

3.  Keep my toolbelt.  Can't believe I got rid of that because I thought we wouldn't have enough room.  I threw away. Wow - that was one I wish I'd kept!  It takes a couple of years to break one in right but what are you going to do? Get another one and keep it!

4.  Keep our plastic folding saw horses.  We gave those away also, but we could have room for them and they would be handy to have.  With our NOMADS work, we have used a lot of Joe's tools and sawhorses.  He tows his truck behind his motor home and we aren't going to be doing that.  Those plastic saw horses would have come in handy more time than I can count.

5.  Spend a little more time and due diligence setting up our budget.  I totally missed the food cost with zero money set aside for eating out.  We are about $370 a month (on average) OVER on food.  Eating out is a big chunk of our expenditures.  We are about $400 OVER on RV Maintenance per month.  On a conservative note, we are about $500 UNDER on diesel fuel.  Totals:  $4300/month which about $1000 over budget.

6.  I would have signed up for the local county school system bus driver training course.  Our neighbor Debbie has worked there for years and she suggested (on the day we pulled the Roadrunner up in front of our house to load the last of our belongings into it) that idea.  It would have been nice to have thought about doing that about a year before we started full-timing.  Another option would have been to set aside about $700 and take an RV driving course.

7.  Once we bought the MacBook, I should have signed up for the training.  For $100 I could have gone in and taken a lot of classes and gotten some 1 on 1 help.  Instead I have to settle for the free ones.  You can't beat the Apple Store Genius Bar!

8.  Kept more appliances.  Yes!  We got rid of our electric skillet, big (12 cup) coffee pot, blender, and vacuum cleaner.  Now we have new ones and we have found places to put them all!  But who knew?  When you look at your 2200 sq ft sticks and bricks house and then walk through a 400 sq foot RV, you know most things are not going to fit.  As far as all that 'stuff' we got rid of--we not missing anything :)

That's all I can think of ~ I am sure there will be more.  We are excited about this lifestyle and this time of year.  It is summer in Michigan.  Yesterday Pam put away the ceramic heater and pulled out the fan!

And it was a beautiful day.  I polished 1/2 of the Roadrunner,
watched a neighbor and his grandson catch a fish in the lake,
mowed the lawn (which I love),
we had Rod over for flank steak on the grill
followed by time around the campfire as we watched more neighbors go by for an evening cruise on their pontoon boat.
It was a fun  81 degree day!

Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles!  And thanks too for all those wonderful comments!  Keep them coming!


  1. Thanks for the list of keepers, I am wondering how I am going to keep enought tools, and stuff to keep the maintenance costs down, since I have a long bed tow vehicle, I have already decided there will be room for a floor jck, and bottle jacks, and I will try to consolidate my rollaway tool box into a smaller box that can be weathertight and stored in a box in the truck under the rear seat when folded.I guess after that there will be a huge tool section at the garage sales. Won't be ablt to keep all the air tools and large compressor, I will get a 24volt impact wrench. See you have me thinking just from reading your post, thanks again Randy, Be safe out there, Sam & Donna...

  2. Thanks for the list of keepers or should have's. You are so right, we have found several things we should have kept instead of getting rid of. Now we have to repurchase things we already had. You really do not know how the dust will settle until you have been out there for a while and it is all a learning experience. You guys have done well and are doing well. You have a good perspective on your approach and follow-thru. Take care and continued safe travels. Hope we can meet up again on the road, we enjoyed our times together in Texas.
    Mike & Gerri

  3. Only 2 months out of our stix n brix and we've already noted several things that we wished we had kept, and are beginning to doubt a few of the things we did keep. I guess that's something that we all go through. Even though I had read numerous forums and blogs about similar subjects prior to the transition, it's just one of those things you have to figure out for yourself. I think the budget is another thing that you have to keep adjusting over time. I set one up in preparation for our transition and have already tweaked it numerous times. I don't think we'll have a good gauge until probably a year into it too. Please continue to share the great information; we continually learn from all of you who have paved the paths before us!

  4. Hi Guys: Love your ideas. I kept most of my appliances, including Kitchenaid Mixmaster, I have a 2 burner electric hotplate, instead of a skillet. I bought a combo Cuisinart Blender/Food Processor which I love. How can I make margaritas and pudding shots without them. As you know Art did keep most of his tools, including an air compressor. See ya latter. Love the lake pictures.
    Gerri and Art

  5. On number 4...thanks for the sawhorses. We haven't used them in the last year though so I'll bring them when I see you. Did you give any of that other stuff to us?

  6. Let's see, not sure ..was there a Ryobi battery skill saw/drill/light combo set or an iPad?

  7. Great post! Thanks for sharing. Right now we think we kept too much!! :) It is definitely a learning curve.


  8. We really like your list! Shows a lot of thinking and re-planning things to suit your needs. And your campsite is a very location!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard