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Monday, February 15, 2021

If You Are Just Starting Out....

 I was thinking about some things I’m glad we did when we were starting out living the dream* in our motorhome.

There were three things I found especially useful:  

      • This blog, 
      • A spreadsheet, and 
      •  Pictures.  

    The first thing I tinkered with is this.  The blog.  I had never written a blog.  I didn’t know if I could figure it out.  But I fiddled with it before a couple of weeks and got the hang of it. It took me a while to come up with “The Roadrunner Chronicles” and I got stuck with my initial experiment, “warnerrvnews.blogspot.com”.  So I still have the same URL though it became the Roadrunner Chronicles after a few months giving it a go.  I wondered if I could do it - write something each day.  I tried doing that daily and had pretty good success a couple of years before it became work and I trailed off and did it more occasionally.

I’m so glad I challenged myself and noted our travels.  It because a daily quest to try to find something interesting to say, plus I wanted to become a better writer.  Early on, I wished I had taken Creative Writing in high school.  It would have been very useful.

Writing was fun before it became a chore and I think all bloggers come to the point where it gets burdensome.  I gave myself to back off my softly goal of daily writing and then it was every couple of days, then once a week and now not so much.  Since I am writing more, it interests me once again.  

    The other important piece of documenting our new life was keeping a spreadsheet the enabled us to track our spending.  I was very aware of the fact that we might need additional income to make the full-time RV life style affordable.  The last thing we wanted to do was to ravage our savings and be forced back into working again.  

Our spreadsheet helped us see where our money was going and how we could manage.  It also double as a diary/journal because I set it up so that I had columns set up for every day of the month.  I would highlight our campground stays by using different colors.  It made it easy to tell how long we stayed in different camping spots.

Now -- 12 years later our memory isn’t so good as to when we were where, and I can refer to my spreadsheets for every year to figure out wear we were.  It has really been invaluable.  

    The other best thing we did was taking a lot of pictures.  Lots.  Our minds could not keep up with all the wonderful places we saw and people we met and we are so glad we took pictures.  Starting out it was a bit of a hassle but now with the smart phones its great.  

One thing better would have been to organize the photos and tag them for quick reference.  The way my mind works that sounded like a lot of work.  Real work.  It would have been great but it was too much for me.  I can go back and look around and find what I need for the most part so I’m glad we did it.  

For a while I signed up with GeeksonTour.com (Chris and Jim Guld) who teach technology to RVers.  They are the best at what they do (unsolicited or compensated plug). If you have any questions and some time, they can help you learn what you need.

So if I were starting out again, I would really try to think about a way to remember all the experiences by using a blog, and a spreadsheet and taking lots of pictures.

I’d be interested in what some of our readers use in their travels to remember the highlight? 

Some of our readers might try something else.  Today a video log (vlog) aka a YouTube channel is all the rage for serious journalists.  But there are plenty of blogs out there still of RV travelers and their tales.  Some shoot video of their travels for their records.  Don’t believe we did that much.

Others rely on calendars and just keep their yearly calendar which showed where they went.  We did that too but I relied more on my spreadsheet.  I wonder what happened to all those calendars I had?

Instead of a blog we had friends who would keep an email list of the people they wanted to update and would send them periodic accounts of where they were and what they were doing.  

What has worked for you?

Whatever you decide, I think you too will be glad you took the time and effort to document your adventures!

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

* The RV dream.  There are many dreams.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

It’s Gone By Fast

     Two years! Yes, February 11 marks two years from the date we handed over the keys to the Roadrunner. We look back on the last few weeks leading up to that and are so thankful it happened.  It was  a very unlikely situation but worked out great.

Early Days on the Road

Last Days on the Road

    It didn’t take long to make our decision. We started talking about getting off the road and being near our grandsons in July and by February the next year we were RVless. The ultimate motivation was being grandparents near our grandsons. When we first talked about it, if you’d have told us that a couple who lived in Germany were going to fly into Jacksonville one day and write us a check the next day--I’d say that was bit far fetched. 

    You can call it a number of things, but that is what happened.  And a couple of months later after that buyer drove it to Alaska where he was relocating.  Thankfully he wrote and said everything worked well!  Win-win.

    So now we look back on that time two years ago and are very thankful for how it all has worked out.

    It surprised me a little as to how quickly we left the lifestyle behind.  The transition was almost as exciting as getting on the road.  We really looked forward to figuring it all out again.

    And we have 10,000 memories of our full-timing days to look back on and enjoy.  

Sunset at Hilton Head

Lunch at Pebble Beach

So, in a sense, we are still RVers at heart.  I still follow some blogs and YouTube channels and we keep up with a few of our favorites. We also have life-long friends still on the road that we keep up with.  It is like being in the military in that: once you do something you loved for so long it becomes a part of you.  At least that’s what is is for us. 

    Do we regret it? Do we regret getting off the road?  No.  It was the right time and we are building a legacy with these boys and family.  Neither Pam nor I had grandparents near us growing up but that is who we want to be for them.  It is a joy and a privilege to be around those two and daughter Kelly/son-in-law Jonathan.  We couldn’t be happier.  Really.

    Do we think we’ll ever get back to it?  Maybe, but we have no timeline. We will see. One thing that occurred to me years ago was the notion that “planning is everything, plans are nothing”.  I think Eisenhower said that?  We love to plan but we quickly realized our post-fulltiming plans kept changing.  

    At one point we thought we’d get a small “Tiny House” type of situation and be on Kelly and Jon’s lot.  We are so glad we did not do that.  They need their space and we do too.  

    After a few weeks of searching, we found a great little house.  But the little house, was a lot bigger that the Roadrunner!  We have all kinds of space now! A real bonus is that we are only 12 minutes away from Kelly/Jon and the boys.  Its much better than being in their backyard.

    We thought we’d take half of what we got for the Roadrunner and renovate our house and take the other half and buy a Class C. 

We even looked at quite a few and picked out a make and model we liked.  We thought may by the time we were ready to by the Class-C would be down to our price point.  That hasn’t been the case either.  

    Instead we bought a second vehicle (F-150 truck) and are glad we did. Currently we travel in our truck and find hotels we like.  We understand the downside of that but at the same time, we feel safe and it is currently affordable.  Right now we have settled for backyard camping and we’ve given some thought to tent camping.

    Another item we’ve dealt with is Pam’s breast cancer.  What a blessing that it happened here and she had/has such excellent care.  She’s doing pretty great.  The side affects of the hormone therapy that she is on are a little unpredictable (some days she feels good and others she has low energy and some nausea).  All in all we’re very grateful for how it has turned out.  

    Meanwhile she walks around a nearby lake every day the weather is decent and she loves on her grandkids every chance she gets.  

    So this is what we are about these days.  We are living the dream still.  The post-full-timing dream. We have a great neighborhood, great neighbors and live close to Kelly and Jon.  We are busy creating a legacy for the grandkids and have a great little church we are blessed to be a part of.   

Hanging out at grandma and grandpa's
Another visit to the aquarium

    I have picked up writing again and aim to have less time between blog posts.  I am also hard at work on Vol 2 of the Roadrunner Chronicles.  I have almost completed the draft of “Full-timing:  Our first 7 Months on the Road.”  I started last year at this time, but got bogged down.  When I resurrected the manuscript a couple of months ago, I opted for a basic re-write.  More later on that, but look for it on Amazon by early summer.

That’s all for now and thanks for checking in on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Hope you are well and are in a good place in everyday.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

A Week in the Life of a Former RVer

I hesitate to hear myself say, “...as a former RVer” because in my heart I still consider myself an RVer. 12-13 years of thinking seriously about it and living it will do that to you 🙂.  Even if you don’t have an RV.  It’s fun to look at pictures and try to figure out where we were when...
Henry’s Lake in Idaho - 2 hours west of Yellowstone
The fact is though, we left the road 16 months ago.  Hard to believe!  So much has happened.  But then, we are living in a time where the speed of life has quickened.  We were warned this would happen as we got older.

I don’t mean the speed with which we rush through life, it just seems that time is flying by.

Pam and I are well and content with our post-RV lives.  Our days are full and we get to be around good neighbors and our daughter and son-in-law and get to hone our grandma and grandpa skills.  Its one of life’s greatest joys.

So this is what our weeks kind of look like.  Each is a little different but in these Corona Virus days we have a tempo and steadiness centered around our home.  We do a lot of projects.  I enjoy mowing our front yard and large back yard twice a week.  Its good exercise and I like being out in the sun.  I have a science project going in the front yard called rooting out the weeds and getting more grass to grow.  Its coming along.

We’ve planted lots of flowers.  I mean lots. Besides two flower beds in the front, we have a couple of small ones at each corner of our front yard.
We also were given some flowers we from friends that survived the transplant and we made another flower bed along the side of the house.

The deck has hanging baskets and flower pots of petunias, marigolds, and geraniums. We have some more flowers along the fence from Tennessee that may or may not make it.  Finally, we two other flower beds with day lillies and roses.
Then there is Pam’s garden.
There are probably twenty different plants in the ground.  We have harvested plenty of onions and radishes and the broccoli is looking pretty good as is the squash.  Peppers, egg plant, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, jalapeños, and sweet peas fill out the rest of our patch.  It will be fun to see how much makes it to harvest.
We spent a lot of time weeding, hoeing and watering the garden, but we enjoy it.

Then I have a few projects in the woodshed that keep popping up.  My latest is a little cabinet the boys wanted to be turned into an outdoor oven for them.

We see the boys every other day at least and that is why we are here -- for them.  Its about the best reason we can think of to leave the road and we are not sorry we are now doing this.  As much as we liked full-timing, this is a great post-RVing gig!

We keep track of doctors appointments and are fine.  It was about four years ago that I almost lost my left eye with a retina detachment but it has healed well and I have 20/25 vision in that eye and 20/20 in my right (with my glasses.)

We take the vehicles in for maintenance, get materials for projects, check out new home renovation projects that Kelly and Jon are working on.  It’s great fun to seen them turn a place around that needs updating and make it look really nice for re-sale.

Last week went to church a couple times (one for Bible studying the fellowship hall and the other time for Sunday service). Our small church went to two services and we had about 25 people at the service we attended.  Nothing like it used to be, but it was great to see people in person again.

I read that long time RVing friends John and Carol have bought a house in Indiana and are looking forward to their next chapter after 10 years on the road.  They’ll continue tours with Fantasy RV Tours and keeping their RV.  I’m excited for them and know they will enjoy their spacious house!

We continue we some upgrades on our place and are having a gas fireplace and logs put in.  Pam has been doing some stitching/sewing craft ornaments for Christmas and I have been working my way through Chesapeake by James Michener, one of my favorite authors.  Now that we live in the area, it makes reading it more meaningful.

Pam usually goes on a daily walk at one of our nice parks in the area if she gets there early enough and its not too crowded.  We have ventured out for lunch and dinner a few times to support some local restuarants and enjoy that.

We took a trip to Tennessee a week ago and saw Pam’s sister Joan.  She was diagnosed with ALS a couple of months ago.  She’s now in a wheel chair but is doing pretty well and the disease noticeably is taking its toll.

While there we learned Joan and Mike had their 50th wedding anniversary so we had a little celebration in their back yard with their daughter and family, and Joan/Pam’s sister and husband who life in the Knoxville area.




Last Saturday we had the pleasure of attending our first ever graduation.  After a couple of long years, son Adam finished course work and was awarded a Master of Science degree in Computer Science.

That’s about it and some of the things we are involved with in our new life as the weeks go by.  We love hearing from you and a day doesn’t go by that we don’t think about our RV friends and the RV life.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Monday, May 11, 2020

Some Thoughts on Exiting the Full-time RV Life

Anyone who has gone full-time as an RVer can relate to the large amount of effort it took to make the dramatic transition. Downsizing, living in cramped quarters, and always being on the road can have a big impact mentally and emotionally.  Similarly, making the decision to reverse course and rejoin the more traditional community has some challenges too.

I’ve thought about this topic awhile.  In fact a day may not go by before my thoughts return to the RV life and I relive some of those great memories.
That said, I know some friends who are thinking about making the same decision and I wanted to share some thoughts from our experience.

We were on the road for almost 10 years and sold the Roadrunner 15 months ago.  This is from our perspective so it may or may not apply.  My hope is that it might useful in some way.

Here goes:
  1. Becoming full-timers takes longer than making the big change to get off the road.  It takes a lot to put yourself into a viable position to live on the road and go full-time.  For us it was a two year effort.  Others have done it more quickly.  It really depends on your circumstances and personal risk tolerance.
  2. Reversing that situation is easier but can be no less risky or scary.  But it doesn’t have to be. With a right amount of consideration and forethought, it can be done well with little pain.
  3. In our case, we found that once you say it out loud and discuss it, everything changes.  It becomes inevitable, sooner than later.  Up until that time, it was a “someday” thing but not an item that we concerned ourself with much.
  4. Transiting off the road my be more pleasant if you had a good full-time experience.  We found it easy to cherish those times.  Likewise, we were and are hopeful as the next chapter continues to unfold it can be equally as good.
  5. I find that our circumstances may be different and I have always thought it is OK to “feel sad’ about leaving the road.  Really -- we gave some of the best years of our life to a great experience, and it is normal to have feelings about changing things.
  6. I think it helps to sollidify thinking as to why we make the big change.  Once we determined the “why” -- it was easy to come back to that when I had misgivings or other thoughts.  Remember the “why" you are doing this despite the mixed emotions.  There may be times when the transition 
  7. It’s ok to have changing goals after you become part-timers or no-timers.  We thought we’d be getting a smaller RV.  Then we spent that portion of our budget on a truck and still have no RV.  And we are OK with that, though we loved every minute of life on the road.
  8. I know of friends who found it helped to write out pros and cons of a decision to leave the road.  It may clarify things for you.  
  9. Make the change with minimum financial impact if you can.  A series of costly financial moves at this stage of your life is not helpful.
  10. Don’t be surprised if others “don’t get it”.  Despite your enthusiasm for RVing, some folks just do not understand.  And they don’t understand why you ever did that in the first place.  But that’s OK.  
  11. Be flexible.  Be patient with your new circumstances. Once you are settled back into a more “traditional lifestyle” there may be those days when it is not going so great and you wish you were still RVing.  
  12. Make sure this is what you really want to do, so you don’t have regrets. Leaving the full-time lifestyle and going traditional is not irreversible, but I’m thinking from what we have seen it is improbable.
  13. We intended to have an RV parked nearby at a storage lot or in the backyard and have it ready to go for many short 4-6 week trips.  But that hasn’t happened yet.  For us at the moment it is not feasible.  But we are OK with that.
  14. Manage your expectations.  Just as RVing is not a panacea, going back to traditional living isn’t either.  It will have challenges and setbacks.  
  15. You can't move if you don’t like your neighbors like you could in your RV, unless you are renting.  Hopefully you will be able to get into a great neighborhood or situation suits you.
  16. Whatever cash you set aside for the transition will go fast.  Other priorities may pop up that you didn’t plan for.  Some are knowns but there are the many unknowns.  Be thrifty if you can so you have more options.
  17. Set up a way to remember your wonderful times.  Photos, a blog, emails, are all ways to remember the great (and not so great) times you had on that very unique time of your life.  Review them like an old scrapbook. 
  18. You may want to keep in touch with your some of your RV friends.  It is a wonderful way to remember and connect with that important part of your life.
  19. Key in on the things that you deal with as full-timers that are an undertone of stress.  If you leave the road, you are free from those pressures.  It could be little things that you didn’t realize but definitely create some element of burden for you:  Major RV breakdowns, places to get a camping spot during the busy season (or COVID-19 lately), doing your laundry at a laundromat every week, or being apart from family.
  20. Maybe you don’t have to get rid of your RV or you can downsize and still get out and camp from time to time.  That seems like the best of both worlds.  Become a half-timer, some-timer or when-ever-you-can RVer can be a great option if your situation allows it. 
Having said all this - life after RVing can be just as exciting, just as fun, just as rewarding.  Only different.  It doesn’t have to be the same to be good.  Or great.

It can be another exciting time in your life.  And why not?  You made a big change to go full-time, and you can be happy and successful in the next chapter of your life. After you think about it and develop your plan,  Go for it! and God Bless You!

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Friday, April 3, 2020

Mostly Staying Home and Greetings to All - Apr 2020

Hi Everyone!
Just wanted to check in and I hope everyone is well.  We’re in our homes and determined to do our part and to aid anyone we can while we as a nation/globe fight off the virus.  Recently the governor invoked the “Stay At Home” rule which most are abiding by as far as I can tell.

Although we did have some curious visitors recently.
Our yard backs up to an inlet that rises with the tide of the Chesapeake Bay and these guys showed up to check things out.

Yesterday we went for provisions (I love that term vs. groceries and household items)at the local Sam’s Club during the senior hours.  

We continue to work on projects around the house and have been calling, GoTo Meetinging, Zooming, using FaceTime, and said hi to neighbors from a distance.

Much like you all I suppose.  Quite a few folks were wearing masks and everyone was maintaining their distance.  I was surprised to see sections of the store blocked off in a 'One Way' direction.

I also noticed after the Pharmacy area the traffic was routed through the back area where they had a big supply of toilet paper and paper towels.  I looked around and I’d say 90% of the carts in the store had one or two bundles of toilet paper.  I thought, “this is nuts!”

I it made me immediately wonder how many rolls we have at home.  My gut reaction is that people who were not concerned about TP supplies just went along with the emotion of the moment?  I decided I wasn’t going to get caught up in this buying spree.

One of the workers we passed insisted I may want a bundle (9 rolls) but I declined to her complete surprise.  Like everything, we all react to the same situation in many ways so I have to respect what people decide to do.  I really have no idea what they are dealing with so why question it?

However, I did go home and estimated we need about a roll a week between the two bathrooms and I checked -- we have plenty for quite a while.  Maybe for a few months.

The other observation we made was how the workers outside were wiping down the carts before they went inside.  Nice job!

This whole situation makes me think about World War II and have everyone pitched in and “did their part.”  I hear people clapping for medical workers as they go into and out of the hospitals at shift change and how sewers (Kelly) are home trying to create masks for doctors and nurses who may be running low.

My part at the moment ~ I can pray for family and friends and situations.  I know some of my readers will get that and some won’t but that’s OK.

After getting our groceries and such we could scanned them with the Sam’s Club app but by the time I figured it out we were close to the register and we checked out pretty quickly.

Our main work at the moment is yard work and putting in this year’s versos of Pam’s Garden.  For 2020 we are almost doubling it.
This is how it looked before I rented a sod cutter again from Home Depot along with the trailer and got the sod cut.  I cleaned up the machine and took it back, then spent the next couple of days getting up enough courage to pick it all up piece by piece, load it into my cart, then load it into the pickup and carry it over to Kelly and Jon’s house.

They have an area beyond their back fence, before the water that they are sodding in.  Last year’s batch of grass is doing well and so this year’s is going to be added to it.
I’m also deep raking the yard and putting down grass seed after getting rid of green ground cover (aka healthy weeds) so I’m getting my exercise.

We’re also figuring out some covering for the deck and building some flower boxes to hang.
The idea worked OK but the supports were 2 x 2’s that failed.  It got windy after a couple hours after this photo and the tension snapped one.  I may have to go with 4” x 4’s, but we will see.

That’s about it for now.  Hope you all are finding new things to do and are keeping your spirits up.  And seriously, if there is something that I can pray for you about, I would be glad to do so.  Either message me on FB or email or call or whatever.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Book Sales and Brook's debut on TV at the Legos Display

The book is doing well.  Thank you so much for the great response!  It has been fun!

Over the course of deciding to give it a go and actually seeing it to completion, my main thought was, “Writing this book is a hobby -- let's not get too complicated.  Let’s see if we can actually get across the finish line.”

Having said that -- my goals are changing a little bit and you can help!
Its never too late to post a 5 star review on Amazon about the Wonder of RV Living! 😳
If you are inclined to do so, that would be great!!

Meanwhile, we are climbing up the ranks on the Amazon Bestseller List:
I didn’t really know what to look at but this is a quick snapshot.  I am pretty sure we were at 432,000 in Books, so we are climbing up the list!
Also - if you are considering writing a book, I highly recommend it.  It has been fun!  It took a long time but I find the whole process intriguing.

It reminds me of an earlier hobby I had -- making custom to fit golf clubs.

Back in the 1990’s I caught the bug and started putting them together and was shipping sets of clubs to England, Hawaii, California, Tennessee, New Mexico, Texas and Colorado.  It was a learning process too, and I loved the mystery of it all.  I learned about suppliers and marketing and a whole host of other things.

This book-writing reminds me of that in many ways.  Apparently one has to have a marketing plan with a Book Launch to propel sales at the start.  Maybe we’ll do that for Vol 2 "Full-timing-Our First 7 Months on the Road.’  I’m looking for a Spring release on that one.  Stay tuned.
------------------

Now on to other fun stuff.  The boys have had a couple of up and down weeks.  Mostly up but with the winter season, there have been some colds and worse.  First the fun stuff.

The weather here in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area has been pretty mild.  It has had some 70+ degree days and now there is snow in the forecast.  Early last week the boys and Kelly, Pam and I went to the Botanical Gardens in Norfolk to see the Legos displays.
 The boys came well-prepared with their scooters to zip around the walkways.  After a few hundred yards, we came upon the 12 displays that were impressive.  Each display depicted gardening or animals and birds that one would find at he gardens.
 I really liked the fact that it also had information on how many Legos it took for the display and how many hours it took to build it.
 The boys accommodated the photographer from time to time.
 Near the end we saw the hummingbird and then went to another display.
While there, a videographer from a local TV station asked if they could film Brooks.  Just like that, he was added to the list of kids at the gardens who got to say a few words.

Brooks had a few words to start off the clip. There is a brief look at Pam and Kelly and Harry and Brooks walking.  Have to be quick to see it.

The last couple of weeks have flown by!  Hope you and yours are well and if you haven’t taken a look you can check out the book on Amazon here.

Thanks for joining us on this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!


Thursday, February 6, 2020

A Finish Is a Win!

Back in the day when I was a runner, I remember lining up for my first marathon and everyone was talking about how “A finish is a win.”  They were so right!  I took what I hoped was going to be a six-month project and turned it into an almost 3 year effort.

32 years later I finished another marathon of sorts ~ my first book is out!  We finished the “The Wonder of RV Living” and navigated the process to get it online at Amazon.com.  (If you forget the book title, just put “Randy Warner” in the search bar.)


During those almost three years I had a lot of help.  I read a lot of blogs and the notion of getting friends to proof-read the manuscript was something I decided to do.  Surprisingly quite a few people said they’d do it and I’d like to thank:

  • Allisanne
  • Bonar
  • Dave
  • Don
  • Gerri
  • Kris
  • Stephanie
  • Sue
  • Wes
The gist of Vol 1 is all the planning and preparation that went into taking the leap.  Why did we do it?  How did we do it? What about this and what about that?....questions, questions and then more questions. 

I purposely kept it under 200 pages and this only goes into the two years leading up to us deciding to go for it and then the first few months on the road.  

That’s all for now.  I hope to publish 2 more volumes this year - we will see about that. Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Roadrunner Reflections - Getting the Roadrunner Sold - Part 3 of 3

It was about a year ago that we were in final preparations to sell the Roadrunner.  We had numerous texts and emails with Mike and had things lined up to make the sale when he arrived in Jacksonville.
We were busy getting things ready for him.
We had spent December in the Keys and then traveled north to MacDill AFB/Tampa to finish final cleanup and enjoy a few more days of the RV life.  We attended the large Tampa RV show and had a good time in the area.

We saw some friends in the area and we worked on the coach.  The last couple of days I decided to replace the gasket on the toilet because the toilet bowl was not holding water.  That is a good indicator the gasket is failing.

It always is little hard to do because we have to cut the wires, disconnect the water, remove the toilet, turn it upside down then put the gasket in reverse sequence, turn it back over, reconnect the wires and hook everything back up.  Its a 20 minute job if everything goes well.  Ha!

It did not.

The water in the toilet was leaking out.  I got the gasket upside down.  Next, we disconnected everything, turned it over again, put the gasket in, tightened everything down and POP!
The ceramic toilet broke!  Yikes!

It was Friday and we were leaving Sunday for Jacksonville.  Now the pressure was really on!  We ended up replacing our ceramic electric toilet with a foot pedal model that worked great.  We didn’t know if it was going to work but it performed magnificently and we wished we’d have swapped it out
many years ago!

On to Jacksonville.  We spent a couple of days at the Jacksonville Navy RV campground and then parked the Roadrunner at Mayport Naval Station at Pelican Roost Campground.  Its one of the military’s best RV campgrounds (in my opinion.)

While there, we rented a small U-Haul Trailer, packed up almost everything remaining in the
Roadrunner, and then drove to Virginia Beach where we put all our stuff in temporary storage at our daughter and son-in-law’s place.

We returned in time to meet Mike at the airport hotel in Jacksonville.  Then we drove over to the campsite, did a walk-around and we answered all his questions.
He and I went for a short test drive and then got the paperwork together to finish the deal.

The bill-of-sale had to be signed and witnessed and he handed over a check. Then we packed up and left the camp ground with the Roadrunner and our CRV in tow.

Pam and I agreed to help Mike deliver the coach to an RV storage facility and thought it would be good to have him drive the Roadrunner while we were onboard.  We also answered more questions as he thought of them.
All three of us were going to Cordele, GA to the KOA where we had overnight reservations.

Mike got some time behind the wheel as we went up I-75 so it was a useful few hours.  We arrived at the KOA and then I showed Mike how we set up and get plugged into the electric and water and sewer.
We went out to eat together and then dropped Mike back off at the Roadrunner while Pam and I got a motel room in town.

The next morning, we drove back over to the campground, hooked up the CRV and then we drove to the Atlanta airport where Mike rented a car.  We later joined up at the National Indoor Storage facility in Lawrenceville, GA about 20 miles away.

Then we unhooked the CRV for the last time, shook hands and departed while Mike checked the Roadrunner into the storage facility for the next three months.

He was working as a civilian in Germany and would be back in May to pick up Roadrunner with his wife Joan.  They were then going to drive it to Alaska which was his next duty station.

Later we heard from them on their way to Alaska and they said the coach was driving ‘flawlessly’.  They did need to get some fuel filters changed out (which we discussed as a possibility after sitting in the storage facility for three months), but all in all it all went well.

It truly was a win-win.  We were thrilled to be getting the price we wanted and they were happy to get the Roadrunner.  Hopefully it will have another 10 years of happy camping left in it.

So, those are some of the high points in the story, “How We Sold the Roadrunner.”  It unbelievably happened almost a year ago.  It doesn’t seem possible.  I captured some of the sale here.

The last 12 months have flown by.

We remember our days on the road as Wonderful Times!  It was a magical time and we love reminiscing about it. Hopefully there will be more in store for us, but it will be different.  And that is OK.

Do we miss it?  Do we have regrets?

Sometimes I think about it and miss our time on the road but quickly remember it was perfect timing for us.  It was the right time to move on.  We are so glad to be here in Norfolk/Virginia Beach and have a wonderful “Post RV life.” We are very blessed to have our kids (son and daughter-in-law in DC, and our daughter and son-in-law and two grandsons 12 minutes away) near us.

Our house, neighborhood, church and new friends are a real blessing and we are so thankful!

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Checking Out the Tidewater RV Show

I’ve been looking forward to the Tidewater RV Show for some time.  A few months ago a friend said he envied the lifestyle we used to have in the Roadrunner and said he wanted to go with me next time it came to town.
It didn’t work out for him and me, and the Brooks and Harrison were coming over for a few minutes to check out Pam’s garden.  I thought about having them join me but Harry was getting over a cold, so I knew his stamina would not be able to withstand the rigors of traipsing around the RV show.  The option with grandma and her garden was better so they did that while I ventured down to the Virginia Beach Convention Center on my own.

It was a short but memorable time!  Amazing what can happen in a couple of hours.  Would you believe I bought an RV.....?

Naw -- didn’t think so.  I know better than that.  Actually I wasn’t really tempted, but one of the of the things I wanted to do was to see what was new and maybe find something that might fit our needs down the road.  I think we are currently looking at a trailer to pull behind our F-150.
They had some overflow RVs parked outside near where I was parked so I wander over there first.  I like the feature of this trailer that had a small door on each side of the bed.  I am an early riser, so I like the idea of getting up and closing off the bedroom so I don’t wake Pam.

I took a quick look at a couple of other ones but was anxious to see what was going on inside.

Next I went inside paid my $9.00 ($1 off for a military discount) and set out looking around.  I’ve done this more times than I can count and wandered up and down a few aisles looking at things.  Nothing in particular sparked any excitement.

I see more and more tiny RVs that are very small which have a basic double bed and that is about it.  I don’t quite get it.  Looks to me like an expensive hard shell / tent type of a deal.  But I guess they must be selling or they would not be making them.  There are all kinds of ways to do the RV thing.

RV shows are also great places to see the unusual and find some interesting items.  I signed up for a chance to win $100 and $500 at a few places knowing I can ‘Unsubscribe’ pretty quickly.  I passed a tent arrangement on the back bed of a Ford  F-150 and had a nice chat with the sales person there.  Plus I picked up a nice roll-up throw blanket I can put in my truck.

After about an hour or so I made my way along the back wall and talked with some more vendors.  One handed me some personal products and talked about reducing chemicals on the planet. Reminded me of Norwex products.  Our daughter Kelly and good friend Hillary sells those products.

The booth belonged to Dana McKee with whom I talked for a few minutes.  Turns out she is
advocating for safer laws in DC to get safer personal care products on the market.  Her website is 

As we talked, I found out she is also a John Maxwell certified speaker. 
Interesting.

Another thing I found out was that she plays a key role in the RV show and is the contact person for vendors to get space at the show.  The more we talked, I decided I very well may have a table at next year’s show to promote one or two volumes of my upcoming book
I was telling Dana how much we like Dodd RV and have been to their stores many times over the years.  I think last year when we were talking of downsizing while we were in Williamsburg, we found their store in Yorktown and visited there looking at Class C’s.
I said we are fans of Dodd’s RV (who sponsored the RV show for the 39th consecutive year) and Dana suggested I talk with with Susie Dodd, who is the manager of the entire show.  I met her and learned more.

After that, I found some items for the boys and headed home.  I scored pretty well with the boys who tried on some sunglasses I picked up.
They fit perfectly!

It was fun to go to the RV show and I met some interesting people and got some good ideas for our next RV.  It was time well spent!

Thanks for joining u on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  In the next edition, we’ll finished up with Part 3 on how we sold the Roadrunner...

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Roadrunner Reflections - How We Sold it - Part 2 - The German Connection

This is the second of three parts describing Pam and I came to the decision to sell our motorhome - The Roadrunner:
Today we discuss how we agreed to sell it to Mike who was in Germany.
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From July and into the fall, we continued our travels.  We left Williamsburg, VA and headed to  the Northeast.  We had stops at West Point, NY (it's a great place to visit and they have a terrific museum and Visitor Center), then made our way over to the Hudson River Valley before continuing on to Bar Harbor, ME/Acadia National Park and the state capitols of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine.

After we left the Northeast, we continued planning for the sale of the Roadrunner and decided on another trip to Key West.  We were thinking we’d stay there for a few weeks before working our way up through Florida. Then, we were planning on putting it up for sale in the same town as the Tiffin Motorhome factory - Red Bay.  Red Bay is in the very northwest corner of Alabama.

We were targeting April to have it cleaned up and ready to go.
But things began happening sooner than we expected...

Initial contact with a buyer.
I looked back and it was December 31, 2018 when I got an email from our friends Dave and Pattie.  They had a Tiffin motorhome that was the same year, make, and model as ours and had just sold it.  Dave indicated a couple more folks had been interested in his and he asked if I wanted their contact information.

I said sure and and then I emailed both interested parties.

One (Mike) was definitely interested.   The other fellow was looking for a fire sale which didn't pan out.  Our back and forth emailing was happening over the course of the first few weeks in January when we were enjoying time in Key West.

Knowing this might be our last winter in the Roadrunner, we planned on being there in December and stayed a few weeks.  We concentrated on splitting our time between hanging out with friends, seeing favorite places again,  and cleaning the coach.  It was a relatively stress-free game plan.

Our time in Key West was another memorable one because we met up with three other couples and had special times with each of them.  That year was a little warmer than our three previous visits to Key West. That meant the weather really great, and we had time to play tourist, hang out and do the things we like to do there.  One of my favorites is a daily bike ride around the island which is 13.1 miles from our campground.  I remember we also saw the Hemingway House again, the Key West Lighthouse, the Harry S. Truman’s Little White House, and participated in the annual Key West Open House Tour, seeing some $$$ homes.  Not for us, but very interesting nonetheless.

And we systematically started cleaning the coach again. We took off all the screens and hosed them down and washed them.  I did some touch up painting on the front steps and the Blue Ox tow bar, plus washed and waxed it good. Then I washed and waxed the Roadrunner inch-by-inch.  I never minded the washing and waxing.  It was good exercise and the price was right.  It usually took 3-4 days to get it done and this time was no different.

I have very fond memories of that specific visit to Key West as we were fielding questions and sending pictures of the Roadrunner to Mike.

It is always interesting when these possibilities happen when you are trying to sell your “house."  You don’t want to get ahead of yourself and I'm more likely to fight the feeling and daily remind myself, “Selling this motorhome is a long shot. It may may take a long time to get the price we want and to find the right buyer.  Patience. Be patient.”

As I was saying, Mike and I immediately developed a good dialogue and were in contact 2-3 times a week with texts and then emails.  I think I sent about 75 photos so he could get a good idea of the layout and what we had going on inside, outside, and on top of the Roadrunner.

I found out that Mike had previously owned a Class C and had lived in Alaska.  Both those events were coming in to play again.  In our emails back and forth I could tell he knew what he was looking for.  He had questions about how the unit drove and was doing some research on sway bars to see if they were needed in the Roadrunner.  He also asked if we had washer/dryer set up.  We did not, opting instead to have the storage space.  But we had the plumbing in place and I sent him pictures of where it was located and how it was set up.

After about half a dozen emails going back and forth Pam and I could quickly tell Mike was a serious possibility.  We began discussing how to make this happen.  Mike had an interesting situation that unfolded over the following month.

An out of country phone number.
As we corresponded, I noticed a different area code and country code from his text messages.  Bells went off and I became a little cautious so I asked him why the out of country number.  (One can't be too careful about such things and it pays off to ask questions early.)  He explained that he retired from the military and was working as a civilian overseas in Germany. We were relieved it all made sense and we continued to engage with Mike.

Since he was in Germany, he would have to fly to Florida and complete the transaction of buying the coach there,  if everything panned out.  He worked out a plan to store it until May and then he and his wife Joan were going to drive it to Alaska where they would be living.  Finding a place to store it proved to be a bit nerve wracking for a few days.  At first he was was thinking of buying it in Florida and then driving it to Georgia and leave it parked for a for a few months where his family could keep it for him.

We looked at the weather and knew that it could get pretty cold in Georgia in the early spring and even dip into freezing temperatures.  Also, we wondered if he was going to keep in plugged in or if he was going to winterize it and leave it parked.

Leaving the Roadrunner for a long period of time (months) and storing it, were two items Pam and I didn't know anything about.  The more we all talked, Mike decided to find an RV storage facility where it could be stored and plugged in to 50 amp power.

By the middle of January, we had left Key West and had made or way up to MacDill AFB FamCamp in Tampa. We were doing what we normally do at that time of year there and went to the Tampa RV show.  I remember we were there and got a text from Mike who basically said, "Yikes! I've looked for an indoor storage place for the past couple of days and 15 places along I-95 are full!"  Whoops.

My first thought was -- maybe this deal would not work out after all?  (Getting a little ahead of myself!) We both made a few phone calls and learned he still had options.  He could store it on a lot near Jacksonville near the base but it would basically be in the open with other boats and RVs.  It was still out in the open, but the weather was not likely to get down into freezing temperatures.  He could also winterize it (drain the tanks and water lines etc) if he wanted to go that route.

As we were looking into other options, he called back and said he had found a storage facility place east of Atlanta.  It turned out to be a good one.  It was a large indoor facility, and the folks there would regularly start the engine (once a week?  a month? -- can't remember) and it could be plugged in 100% of the time.

Another obstacle overcome.

This sale possibility was moving along swimmingly, but we hadn’t really gotten down to the actual specifics.

Time to talk turkey.
We'd only been talking a few weeks and we were getting into specifics.  I thought that this is great --- but things could still go sideways, we need to talk about the money.  We were asking $105K. ($100K was our bottom line - so to speak.)  We knew we had a couple of things going against us, namely the fact the Roadrunner was 10 years old and it had 133,000 miles on it.  133,000 miles isn't that much on a car or truck, but for a motorhome, I'd said it was a lot.

Good friends Bruce and Melody offered to let us put the Roadrunner on their lot in Red Bay and we talked to an RV broker friend of theirs. He said he didn't mess with any motorhomes over 5 years old or ones that had over 50,000 miles.  Hmmm.

Nice to know -- but we were outside of both those parameters by a long shot.  He noted Blue Book said our unit was worth about $85,000 - $88,000 and that the only thing dealers/brokers look at is age and miles on RVs. Whoa.

But what about all the upgrades, and modifications, and maintenance and upkeep?? "Only age and miles".   He said everyone says there's has been well taken care of, runs great, yada yada yada.
A couple of things were in our favor and I think justified our asking price.  We had in fact taken care of the Roadrunner and had a residential refrigerator, new MCD and RollEZE shades vs curtains, $700
x 6 RV tires 1 year old, and all our maintenance records.  Our friend with the same make and model as ours had sold his for more than what we were asking.  So we decided to stick to our price and see what happens.  His had significantly less miles than ours, but we felt it still was worth about the same price.

Gladly, when I we had the "purchase price conversation" we ended up at $100,000 and he said he was OK with that!  He asked if we could install a washer/dryer.  I said we couldn't do that, but we could help him with transportation and delivery of the motorhome to his storage place near Atlanta after the purchase.

Older motorhomes come in various states of operational maintenance and my guess is that Mike had seen a lot of different older vehicles and he had a pretty good idea of what he was looking for.  We were asking more than Blue Book value which was about $85K.  But Blue Book value is a guide and not the only metric to use.

We thought we had put a lot of money into the Roadrunner over the years so it remained in a high operational state.  We didn't shy away from spending a few more dollars to keep the maintenance up and we thought it was a good idea to update the rig with lots of operational and living enhancements.  So we felt we could make the case it was worth at least $100K.

The two biggest things that were going against that were the age (10 years old) and the high mileage (133,000).  133,000 doesn't seem like a lot of miles on a car, but for an RV it is getting up there.  I spoke with a broker that did not deal in units that were over 5 years old and had over 50,000 miles.  But we stayed with it and Mike agreed to the price.

As we progressed in our discussions we were more excited about the possibility.  But we knew it was  still that -- only a possibility until we signed the paperwork and transferred the money.

We will talk more about that next time in Part 3 - How it all came together.

Thanks for joining us together on the Roadrunner Chronicles!