Sunday, November 18, 2007

Our Thanksgiving Trip

We are enjoying the preparation for the holidays. This is one of my favorite times of the year because the mid - Nov time is almost the end of the year. That means a lot of time off and Thanksgiving and Christmas. I look forward to getting ready for the new year by planning and reflection. Usually this is the time of the year I think about finishing goals and setting new ones. Plus everyone seems to be in a holiday spirit and more congenial than usual.

A lot is going on with us and the kids so this year will be a little different for us. Our eldest returned from Korea for a few days. He is teaching ESL and traveling. Our youngest is in graduate school pursuing her passion - interior design. To have everyone together for a few days is a blessing. We will all be heading to Tennessee in a few days to see relatives for Thanksgiving. We are all looking forward to it.

Before we head out to Knoxville, we are going to be in Virginia Beach for a few days. While there we intend to test drive a Holiday Rambler and a Damon Tuscany. Both are 38' diesels. Right now I think the Holiday Rambler is the more likely one we will buy. So we are planning our trip to VA Beach to play some golf and take some time off and also to learn more about RVs.

Our data gathering continues. While in the area, we intend to visit Dodds RV and test drive both models. We will also be visiting some RV campgrounds in the area. We hope to talk to some people who are into RV ing full time. We have had a few conversations with RVers and they are always educational.

After VA Beach, we will head to Knoxville TN and see relatives. While there, we will also put together a couple of visits to local RV dealers to look at their inventories and see what else we can learn. Hopefully, the kids will be able to be with us so we can answer their questions and also see what they think of their folks 'hitting the road full time' in a few years.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Adding Pictures

So I want to learn how to make my blog better. The next step is to learn how to add pictures, links and other items.

So here goes.... Pam and I are at a Great Falls on the Potomac.

What do you think?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Active Pursuit: RVing Full Time

We got started on this process by talking about where we would go when our two kids were finished with high school. We have always liked camping and campgrounds. We have tent camped since the 1970's. We went to an RV show years ago. Even before that, in the early 1980's, we bought a Volkswagon campervan. It worked fine as we traveled in Europe and later throughout the southern states.

After we reached 50, we began thinking about 'where we wanted to end up'. The kids have both finished college--- and we still haven't answered the question of where we want to end up.. One thought was trying to anticipate where our kids would live and be near them. But could not get away from the fact that as soon as we moved, there was always a chance they would move out of the area. So that did not appeal to us.

We also thought was being near warm country where we could play golf. Other considerations included the beach, but we also like the mountains. We have spent time on the Gulf Coast (Texas and Florida)and in Myrtle Beach and Virginia Beach. We have thought seriously about Albuquerque, Orlando and other places. But can't decide where to relocate. As the years roll by, we are no closer to making a decision.

As we discuss and plan our future, we recently decided to go to an RV dealer again. We want to see if we could warm up to the idea of buying an RV and travelling. We went to a few in the region and spent some time at each place. That hooked us on the idea. Here are three locations we have recently visited: - off Rt 15 near Thurmont MD in Ashland VA off I-95

Wow! Actually spending some time with each dealer and checking out floorplans and all the other considerations--- it has been an eye-opener. We have gotten more and more comfortable with the idea. Now the adventure has began in earnest!

The idea of moving out of our 2100 sq ft home and into a 400 sq ft home on wheels is a big decision. We don't want to go through this whole transition and find out we made a big mistake. We want to ask ourselves all the questions we can think of and find out as much information as we can before we commit to this.

At this point we are seriously pursuing it. This idea enthralls us. It seems more and more right as we find out more information. It gives us an exciting goal to shoot for and give has many side benefits for a relatively young retirement age couple. We are both in our mid 50's. Maybe after we travel a bit we can see an area that appeals to us and find the location of where we want to settle down.

I will save that for another time.

Friday, November 9, 2007

RV Service Questions

What do we do if the RV breaks down somewhere? How do we get it fixed? What coach gives us the best option to handle repairs or service maintenance needs?

Currently that is one of the questions we are researching. We have narrowed our search to two different Diesel Class A motor homes. One seems like a very good value; the other seems a little ($50,000) higher priced.

More than likely it will be a question of 'when' and not 'if' we will need to get the RV into the shop. So the question we are asking now is, "Which of the two companies is set up the best to take care of us regardless of where we are in the country?

Damon (owned by Thor) seems like it has the best value. It seems like we get a lot more options included in the base price. We also like the floorplan a little better. If we run into a problem on the road we would call an 1-800 number and our AAA (or other RV insurance) and figure out where to get it fixed. The Damon is built on a Freight liner chassis with a Cummins or a Caterpillar engine. If we have a chassis issue, we will need to get it to a Freight liner shop. If their is an engine problem, we take it to a Cummins or Caterpillar repair place.

Another one we like is Holiday Rambler which is built by Monaco. Monaco will handle all our maintenance needs - everything. They maintain every aspect of the coach at Monaco Service facilities. They have service facilities in CA, IN and in FL. Seems like they may a better approach. Regardless of the issue, all we need to do is get the coach to a Monaco service center and they handle everything bumper to bumper.

So - these are some of the trade offs we need to decide on as we make our final decisions on the coach-- who is best suited to help us. We are finding pros and cons with each approach. But that is part of the fun in learning about all this.

blog vs web page

In my short amount of time learning about RV full timers on the web, I can see that blogging is the way to go for keeping a log

As we find more and more information on the web from experienced RV ers ---they seem to have web pages with info and photos.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

These are traditional websites which are a little more complicated than I want to figure out.

Since I am not a techie by nature, it makes more sense to learn about blogging that is does learning about how to create web pages and links.
This is encouraging and not quite so overwhelming. Look for more content on my blog as I learn how to add and link things.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Approach

Right now the thought of going full time as an RVer is an interesting idea. It is a 'hobby' meaning that we spend a lot of time talking about different facets of the life style. The more we learn about it the more we like the idea, so we keep pursuing it.

The approach is to look at it from a lot of different aspects. Right now we are involved in:
  • Data gathering: finding RVweb sites; determining what type (gas or diesel) RV we like; visiting RV dealerships and test driving Class A motorhomes; deciding on a floor plan; narrowing down the model and much more.
  • Dreaming: we are asking a lot of questions: what would we do; how would we sell or rent the house; how could we afford it; are we willing to commit to it; can we do some short term trips to see if we like it and what do we need to change in our current thinking and lifestyle.
  • Why? One big question we ask each other is why do we want to do this? That is the best one of all. I will save that for another post.