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, “”.  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 (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.