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Old 03-04-2021, 11:44 PM   #1
CWtheMan
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Down the road full timer

There are many definitions for full time RV travelers. This was ours. We both retired young (early 60s). Linda retired from the Florida real estate industry and me from the USN & then DOD. We sold everything we had, house, automotive vehicles, bass boat household furnishing, and all sorts of personal things, even collectables. What we couldnít part with was placed in a secure, environmentally controlled storage unit. Our sons both lived in town and would maintain it for us. We established a mail forwarding address (UPS store). They would hold our mail until we asked for it to be forwarded. That meant we would have to stop once every 5-6 weeks for about 10 days or until our requested mail arrived at our location. The address allowed us to keep our Florida residence. Lindaís brother lived there and we used his address for voting.

The decision between a class A and 5th wheel was major. We finally decided that having to service a motor home periodically at a servicing dealership would not be as easy as just having a tow vehicle serviced.

Because of weight, we opted for a midrange fiver from Keystone, a 38í Everest with three slides and washer dryer. After completely loading and getting scaled weights we had about 700# in reserve. We would need that because one of our hobbies was to buy goods at yard sales and resell them on eBay. We did small things like 1st edition books, old postcards, Zippo lighters, pocket knives, military things and anything light that caught our eye. The monthly sales profit normally paid for our fuel consumption and servicing. When we got heavy things we sent them to our storage unit in FL. My personal best was an old Cattaraugus pocket knife I paid $5 for. It sold for #152.00. Lindaís best was a hard cover three book 1st edition trilogy. She got them at a yard sale for $6. They sold at eBay auction for $175.00.

We traveled the country for nearly 5 years. We stopped when our youngest son got terminal pancreatic cancer. We purchased a manufactured home in a 55+ retirement community here in the SC foothills (Taylors) and took care of our son. Our following part time years saw us going south for about three of the coldest months.

In this thread Iíll show pictorials of some of the more interesting things we did along the way and answer any questions I might have an answer for. Our Everest was very durable and efficient. Modifications were mostly for comfort, like replacing that awful mattress.

Our very first RV Park was Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, FL. We got our dish and learned how to point it. We also got Verizon for our cell phones and internet connections. After about two weeks we said goodbye to everyone and headed north for the summer.

NOTE: My forum name CWtheMan. When I joined this forum it was a name I was using when I played interactive internet cribbage and I just keep it. Iíve played all my life and my win percentage is between 55-57%. Thatís quite high and the longer I played on the net the more difficult it was for me to get games, so I quit. One of uncles win percentage is about the same as mine; we really butt heads when we play.

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Old 03-05-2021, 02:22 AM   #2
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You're a better man than me. No way I could live in a trailer. About 6 weeks of being on the road and I get itchy for home.
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Old 03-05-2021, 03:52 AM   #3
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Brent, we're just the opposite. Usually when we leave Florida we stop at 'home' long enough to settle with the lawn care people, visit with friends/grands and the worthless post office. In about four weeks we are both itching to head to Wisconsin for the summer. We can stay home when we get old.
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:57 AM   #4
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Brent, we're just the opposite. Usually when we leave Florida we stop at 'home' long enough to settle with the lawn care people, visit with friends/grands and the worthless post office. In about four weeks we are both itching to head to Wisconsin for the summer. We can stay home when we get old.


^^^^^IMO this! DW did not want to get out and go, do/see; sometimes still drags her feet. "There's no rush to get out and travel....we can do that in time". In time? IN TIME? In time for what??? As I told her when you're past 70 there ain't much "in time" left before I REALLY AM relegated to sitting in a chair "at home" watching TV or....in a box.

When I retired at 55 (I had a super job that I loved) I told DW one of the reasons was that I was not going to keep plowing until 65+, talking of all my "retirement plans", was there are far too many things I want(ed) to see and do (and eat ) in this country before that happens and nearly everyone I knew that just kept "waiting" to retire did so (or didn't make it) then promptly kicked the bucket before realizing any of their plans/dreams - I was not going to do that if it was in my power.

She got used to 2-3 weeks and had fun. Then we kept stretching until 3 mos. was OK. First time at 5 mos. in a TT was too much for both of us. We both felt claustrophobic and missed "home" - hence the 5th wheel. We spent 7 mos. in it last year and neither of us had a problem. On our 3rd month this year. Home? It can wait - and IS waiting. Spent a considerable amount fall before last making the master bath handicap accessible; large walk in shower with multiple located shower heads/controls, granite benches around, handicap handles and rails etc. It's there and ready.....when I am.

I think the real of objective of retiring and being "free" to do what you want is to do what makes you and yours the happiest. It very well may be staying at home and working a large garden; that was my initial thought because we both loved it - but it became a lot of work and we kept managing to break something or come down with some affliction that made tending the garden a tedious chore. Neither of us ever intended on using an RV as we do now...but here we are.

Completely off point but; talking to the neighbor here (just celebrated his 80th) about "stuff", plans, etc. I told him when I was young I envisioned life as this long, winding road heading into the horizon - no end in sight and full of possibilities. The road behind was short, bumpy and full of curves. Now, when I look back THAT road is long and winding; I no longer see those bumps and curves from early on. When I look forward as I did as a young man, I SEE the end of that road; I SEE that stop sign. Life is grand; when you open your eyes in the morning that is cause, in itself, for celebration. After that make the most of what you have - however that may be.
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Old 03-05-2021, 11:13 AM   #5
CWtheMan
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Wade, NC

.

After leaving our first parking place at Jacksonville, FL we went north on I-95. I had two younger brothers living in Fayetteville, NC. We found a nice KOA in Wade with large level, grassy sites and FHU. After we got set-up we had a long discussion about travel time and decided to never schedule another dayís travel beyond 300 miles. It was 425 miles to Wade.

One day my brothers came out for a game of golf. My middle brother drove his little fishing truck out to the park and parked it under my hitch. We loaded into my larger truck and went golfing. When we got back the girls had some funny stories to tell us about people stopping to see if the little truck was actually hooked to the trailer. Lots more talk at the fire ring that night.

After saying goodbyes to my brothers and their families, we departed on our ventures. No schedule, just point and go. Thereís something to see everywhere in our vast beautiful country.

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Old 03-07-2021, 01:07 AM   #6
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Peoria, IL

US-51 – IL

We loved traveling US highways. On this trip we went right up the middle of IL on US-51.

We had long time Navy friends (the Dooles) that traveled with us about 50% of the time. Betty’s family lives at Peoria. We had wintered together for awhile at St. Petersburg, FL. We left a little early and our friends went to IL and we went to Jacksonville, FL for a couple of weeks. We then worked our way to I-57 until we connected with US-51, then I-74 to Peoria. We spent a couple weeks there before heading up to I-80 for our trip west.

We found a really nice CG at Okaw Valley, IL where we rested for a couple of days and got our laundry washed. In Peoria our friends were staying at an old mobile home park that had some sites renovated to hold RV trailers. They had us a site beside them.

Pictures; 1. – US-51, IL countryside --- 2. Quick stop, Okaw Valley CG --- 3 Peoria mobile home/RV Park. Park

Full Timer notables: At that stop in Peoria we replaced the awful mattress that came with the trailer for something a lot more comfortable.

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Old 03-07-2021, 01:40 AM   #7
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RV Equipment

People spot things in pictures.

When we purchased our Everest, the selling dealer reminded us to always use approved white portable drinking water hoses. So, we always carried 2 twenty five footers. To that we added a 50' blue garden hose for black water tank flushing and washing the trailer & truck whenever allowed.

We used in-line water filters and carried at least one spare.

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Old 03-08-2021, 05:24 AM   #8
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Foxwoods Resort Casino, CT

After we left NC we were out on our own, so to speak.

Both of us like the glitter and entertainment the large casino resorts provide. We had once flown to NJ and stayed at the Trump Tower. The only place we felt safe there was in the casino and hotel areas. Even the boardwalk was questionable. We vowed to go to Foxwoods in CT when we hit the road RVing. Well, as advertised, itís a monster of a place. The casino floor stretches about a mile from end to end. Even after five days there we felt we hadnít seen all it had to offer. Over the years we have been back 4-5 times.


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On our first trip there we thought they would have RV parking. They did, dry camping in a parking lot with free transportation to the casino main entrance and back. We parked in the parking lot and started hunting for a near-by RV Park. We found one with unique names. It is the Odetha camping resort at Bozrah, CT. When we called and asked for a FHU site they said they had one. They didnít mention that it was a gray water site. In our researching before hitting the road we had not come across that form of dumping water. After we got to the site and leveled-up and disconnected I found that the park sewer connection had a cap glued on it with a standard garden hose connection. One of our new neighbors said we could go to the office/store and purchase a gray water connector. At the office they said we could dump all gray water but not black water. Well, after 5 days our black tank was about ĺ full. There was a nice dump station on the way out of the park with a fresh water hose for rinsing our black tank.

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The casino valet parking attendants really didnít like parking our big black dually. However, after I showed them my Ė service connected - disabled American veteran ID card they relented.
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Old 03-08-2021, 01:11 PM   #9
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Chambersburg, PA

When we started full timing there wasnít much help on the internet for finding RV parking. We had two manuals, one civilian and one military. The civilian one was quite large but only had about 60% of the nationwide parking places with phone numbers and addresses. Larry Farquar (a retired USAF MSGT) had already started his US military campgrounds location catalog that would soon be on the net.

We seldom made reservations in advance unless we wanted to stay in a specific place for a couple of weeks. We were just freewheeling it Ė as my mother would say Ė from place to place. It led us to some strange parking sites. This one was in Chambersburg, PA. We just drove in and asked for a site and got a large FHU grassy one. The RV Park was Twin Bridges. Itís one of those country/family CGs with friendly management and a nice camp store. I got some bait and caught a few smallish eatable catfish from the stream across the road. We stayed long enough to explore the town Ė a county seat Ė and some nice country food restaurants. It never did rain and we got underway. Our next stop was at a KOA at Jonestown, PA where we had a two week reservation.

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Old 03-10-2021, 09:33 AM   #10
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Jonestown, PA

This was our first stop in our full time RVing adventure that would include side trips. Itís why we chose the KOA at Johnstown. Trips, which Iíll add later, were to Philadelphia, Reading, Hershey, Amish Ė Mennonite farmlands and anything else that might be interesting.

The Jonestown KOA is quite large and has large level sites with the complete FHU packages for spoiled travelers like us. Our reservation were for two weeks, allowing us plenty of time to make and enjoy side trips.

Our traveling companions would join us at Jonestown to travel with us to Nova Scotia. They were a couple of days behind us and didnít make their reservations in time to get parked close to us. But, we could see themÖLOL!

Our first adventure was to go to Intercourse and take a buggy ride around the Amish communities. There was a little country store (Kitchen Kettle) that had lunch service and seating which also had buggy service and tickets.


We had one very memorable occasion while there. Nearly 30 years before our stop there, Linda had befriended a Navy family while I was on deployment. Right after I returned from a long cruise Lindaís friendís husband got killed in a car accident. Lindaís friend returned home to Lititz, PA. One day we stopped there to have lunch at a restaurant. Our waitress overheard us talking about Lindaís friend and got a local phone book to look-up the name. She had never remarried and the name was in the phone book. Linda called and sure enough it was her friend. The next day she came out to our parking site and they spent the day gabbing.

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Iíll just drop these little footnotes in as Iím reminded of them. When we purchased our Everest we made two major changes with Original Equipment. Because of weight we got the 13.5K air conditioner replaced with 15K Carrier so we could avoid a second A/C. Then we added the single unit washer dryer. The location for a washer dryer in our Everest was on the main floor level just aft of the bedroom steps.

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Old 03-10-2021, 10:29 AM   #11
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Welcome aboard! Enjoy the full-time experience!
We full-timed for 10+ years & I wouldn't say that FHU sites are for "spoiled travelers". My DW said if we were going to "live" in a rv she required 3 things; 50 amp electric, water connection & sewer. She said "we bought a rv with all the conveniences of home, I want to use all of them!".
We boondocked in our younger days in everything from the bed of pickups, tents, popups so we already got that type of camping out of our system.
We found the activities & social interaction among the folks around us was fantastic, we've made several friends some of which are still in contact with.
If/when you travel south or west & spend any amount of time you'll be adding that second AC to go with the 15k or be very uncomfortable, any rv over about 25' absolutely requires 2 acs.
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Old 03-10-2021, 12:04 PM   #12
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Sourdough, your story is similar to what we are currently experiencing. Except we both are still employed, I'm 65, almost 66, but exclusively work from home since our companies shut the doors and said don't come back in the building until the Virus "thing" is over. So, we've been working form camper. Our journeys are getting longer and longer before returning home. We're heading out in April, and at this point, no plans to come back to the house. Our son and his little boy live with us, and actually, we've deeded the house over to him and will continue using the house as our home base. It's in the country, no zoning, so we can park the camper "at home" any time.

We just did 5 week in Alabama over January and February. Wife had some surgery done and we're getting a washer and dryer installed in the camper. Come the second week in April and we are on-the-road-again .... actually .... heading near Charlotte, NC.

"Have internet, will travel!" As long as our companies don't tell us to come back in the building .... See you all on the road!
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Old 03-14-2021, 10:21 AM   #13
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It sounds great but what if I’m not ready to sell everything in the beginning without trying out the full time thing.
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Old 03-14-2021, 10:38 AM   #14
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It sounds great but what if Iím not ready to sell everything in the beginning without trying out the full time thing.
Then don't sell everything and leave yourself "without a second option"...

Why not consider a 1 week trip, then return home, followed by a 1 month trip and return home, followed by a 3 month trip (you can always cut it short) and return home, followed by a 6 month trip and return home, followed by sitting down to weigh all your experiences and make a determination what to do at that point....

IMHO, anybody who "jumps to the head of the line" by making a snap decision, selling everything and using the money from the sale to buy a "first time RV home" (not part time vacation trailer) with no idea whether they can even live in such close quarters, well, they're a "special kind of people".... (Watch Steel Magnolias and you'll understand what "special" really means)

YMMV
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Old 03-16-2021, 01:20 AM   #15
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Philadelphia, PA

From our parking site at Jonestown, we took a day trip to Philly. The weather was a little overcast but cleared some as the day wore-on.

We stopped for breakfast on the way to the city. Once we got there we found parking near the historical district and went on a walking tour of the area. After having lunch we went and found a city buggy ride to do some rubbernecking. It was the first time for a stop and look view of the city for all four of us

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Old 03-23-2021, 02:52 PM   #16
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Jacksonville, FL

One of our pastimes at parking sites is fishing. We carry 5 salt water fishing rigs and 6 fresh water rigs. They hang nicely in our large basement. I got a little Walker Bay boat I can carry on top of the Dodge. Itís not very heavy and I can load and unload it by myself.

In these pictures we are parked at a site with direct access to the Cedar River. The water is brackish and nice sized Sheepshead can be taken around the bridge pylons with grass shrimp.

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