Friday, January 25, 2019

Friends from the Beginning and Now

I started dabbling in the blog world back in 2007.  We went full-time in May 2009.  During that time I started writing about lots of things in order to learn how to do.  The aim was to have a running documentary of how:
  • We chose the RV life,
  • We transitioned to it, and also a 
  • Log of a few of people and places we were going to see in the new lifestyle.
But there are a lot of gaps even with a blog...  

We met Ron and Jan through mutual friends but not sure exactly when that was.  We started attending Barcroft Bible Church in 1995 and it may have been that year.  For some reason, our paths never crossed much and we moved on to a different church.  A few years later we also recall seeing them at Lake Fairfax in 2009.  

Turns out Ron and Jan also have a motorhome and moved to the Seattle area about the same time as we started full-timing.  After 5+ years there, they moved on to Arizona before ending up here in Florida.

Last week we were at the Tampa RV show paying for something at one of the vendor booths and Jan said, "Hi! didn't know you guys were coming to the RV show!"  We turned around and there they were.  It had been years since we had seen them. We spent 15 minutes chatting and catching up and were glad for our unplanned encounter.

We made a note to get together for dinner and last night it happened at Ford's Garage.  I didn't recognize the name but we realized there are a number of these restaurants all over Florida.  Pam said we had been to one of these restaurants before and I had no recollection.  
We all arrived by 5PM and then spent a couple of hours over dinner catching up and hearing about how they chose to live in Florida.  
They love it here and are actively involved in the community including serving regularly at a local food bank for the homeless.  We shared stories of RVing in cold weather, being in Arizona and heard also about their work with the creation and operation of Jill's House in McLean, VA over 10 years ago.

As we talked we remembered the time we saw each other in a large church.  We were sitting near each other but had never met until then.  We didn't plan the meeting but it happened.  We saw them again a few months later at the Lake Fairfax where we stayed with our new coach for a few weeks.  They were there before they hit the road to relocate in the Seattle area.

Then, fast forward 10 years to the Tampa RV show and another unplanned meeting!  They were there at the beginning of our full-timing days and now what appears to be the last couple of weeks of it.  How fun is that?  

It was great to spend time with them again and we'll be looking forward to the next time.  Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Changing Gears, Downsizing, and Questions?

We've thought about this day and it is finally upon us.  We wondered how we'd feel about it when the time finally came to switch things up.  The time is now here.

We're going to be selling the Roadrunner and downsizing.

Depending on how things work out we'll be moving to the next stage of our lives. Getting another but smaller RV is part of our plan at some point, but we have other things on the To-Do List before that happens.

To-Do List for the next few months:

  • Sell Roadrunner
  • Go to Virginia Beach for a few weeks
  • Look for/buy a house? 
  • Take a road trip out west?
  • Return to VB and find a place
  • Buy a used Class C
  • More RVing (part-time)
After we get to Virginia Beach, an option for us might be to take a road trip out west.  We're thinking of traveling in the CR-V from Virginia - Arizona and return. We may stay with friends and family along the way.  Then we could return to VB and see where things are.

Here's some questions we've heard so far with some quick answers:

Why are we doing this?  Why now?
We definitely have mixed emotions about this but wouldn't be doing it if we ultimately really didn't want to do this.  The main reason for doing this is to be near and involved in our grandkids lives as they get older.  Harrison will soon be 2 and a couple of weeks after that Brooks will be 4.  They like having us around and we like being with them,  so we feel like now is the time to make some changes.

We also like being near our kids.  We enjoy spending time with Kelly and Jon and working on projects.  Adam and Melissa are only a few hours away too, so that is another bonus.

How Did We Decide on this course of action?

Last summer we started talking out loud about the possibility of changing from full-time to part-time RVers.  We believe grandparents can have a positive impact on kids lives and want to be those grandparents.  We discussed lots of things but the bottom line is that we love RVing and yet love our grandsons more.  The best choice is for us to cut back on our time on the road and spend more time with them.

Are we road-weary?
No!  We love being on the road, but we are focused on a higher priority for the next few years.  We fully intend to continue with RV living as often as we can.  We think that will mean trips every few months for a few weeks.

How do we feel about the change?
Mixed emotions, meaning we loved every minute of full-timing but we need to do this.  We need to be present and move on.  We look forward to the adventures ahead and learning how to "settle down" again.

How long have We Been on the Road?
We have been on the road since May 2009.  Looks like we will end this stint of full-timing just shy of 10 years.

What kind of a place will you get?
We are thinking a small 1100-1500 sq. ft. single family house, not a condo or townhouse.

Do You think you will full-time again?
Don't really know, but we wouldn't be surprised if we do when the boys get older.

Will you keep blogging/writing?
Absolutely!  I have lots of posts that I've started and are begging to be completed. I love writing and am learning a lot with the forthcoming book.

Where are you in the process of selling the Roadrunner?
We have had extensive exchanges with the buyer will get together in a few weeks.  I think they'll be pleased with what they're getting.  It looks like a win-win and we will do what we can to make that happen.  If that doesn't work for some reason, we'll go back to plan A, which is advertise and actively market it beginning in April.

What's next in the coming days? 
Cleaning, polishing, and emptying the Roadrunner, packing up things and preparing the Roadrunner for sale. Also I'm working on our forthcoming book: "The Wonder of RV Living," Roadrunner Chronicles, Vol 1 and continuing to write more blog posts.  We still have so much to tell of the places we've seen and where we've been.  And I have more ideas for the next manuscript.

It's been a real joy and quite a ride.  And we're looking forward to the days ahead.  Thanks for joining us on this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Time in Tampa - Jan 2019

We've been in Tampa for a few days and are getting used to the cooler weather.  It seems when we are  in Florida for the winter, we usually find warm/hot weather and then face reality when we make our way north.

We were in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park before continuing down through the Keys to Naval Air Station (NAS) Key West for three great weeks.  (More about that in future posts).  The weather was unseasonable warm and near the high 70's and low 80's for most of our time there.  I think we may have had 2-3 rainy/windy days but on balance it was terrific.

As we moved north to Bonita Springs for a few days, the weather got cooler and here in Tampa it is in the low-mid 60's.  Last night it got down to the high 30's.  But whose complaining?  Not us!  We are glad to be here and can put on another sweatshirt or jacket.

The MacDill AFB FamCamp is a large one with a lot of moving parts.  They take reservations but also have procedures for people like us who arrive and want to stay.  Similar to the process at NAS Key West campground, since they had no sites with full hookups, we stayed in dry camping.
Gladly it was only one night.

We were notified along with 4-5 other people that spots with full hookups had opened up and we moved over there and got set up.
We have a good site pointed north.  That means we get some shade for our front door and awning in the afternoon when the sun is pointing at us from the west.  Pam noticed during our final test check before we departed Bonita Springs that our tail light is out for the coach-car brake system.  She took off the taillight and tighten up some wiring connections.  We'll know if it worked when we leave here and hook up the car to tow behind the Roadrunner.

Since we are in the Tampa area for a few weeks we made sure we visited the Tampa RV show.  I think this may be the 4th time we have attended.  This time we wanted to check out Class C's and also look up friends who were manning the Habitat for Humanity booth next to Camping World.

To our surprise, friends from a long time ago contacted us and asked about our blog to pass on to a friend and mentioned they had been to the Tampa RV show earlier in the day!  Ugh.  Not surprisingly, we did not see them.  Tampa attracts about 70,000 people during the course of the show and yesterday I think half of them were there with us!

It was fun and since our tickets are good for two days, we will return later today.  We have some Freightliner Independent Front Wheel Suspension questions (asking for a friend...)

It always interesting at these huge shows and we saw a few RV setups that are new to us.  They are pricey.  I read a piece last week that said there are 500,000 new RVers each year.  That includes everything from a pop-up to a $1M Prevost but still it is a staggering number.  No wonder getting into campgrounds is getting a little tougher?

I don't remember what version of a Class B this was (Phoenix?) but it was interesting because it had a drop down bed.  And plenty of space for a pet underneath. 🙂

On a more serious note we looked at the Jayco Redhawk and thought it has some very good features.
We need to pick some brains of you folks that have downsized.  What do we need to look for?

That's it for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Hope to see you today at the Tampa RV show!  If not, drop us a line anyway.  Thanks for stopping by.