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About mds1

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  1. Rav, Where did you purchase your Bighorn? Hope the warranty repairs did not take two months? I appreciated your point that plans are just ideas. Suppose a big part of the RV lifestyle is developing the habit of just letting them come as they will and make adjustments.
  2. Awesome story Lou! Wonder why the company folded? I'm going to look that up. Suppose the values after the owner left did not continue on. - Update: Found this article on Mr. Perch and many others. Founder of what became the world's largest RV company. According to the article. They eventually sold the business to another it would appear.
  3. When we toured the factory at Augusta RV last year I found out they pay their workers by the hour. According to the company representative we visited with, Augusta sometimes has a hard time finding employees at an hourly rate because the piece workers earn more. After reading the Reuters article I'm now wondering what percentage of Augusta's employees are those that no longer want the stress on their bodies. And if those are the more experienced employees? The company representative we met with said she had worked for one of those companies (Forest River) who paid by the piece and she was glad to be away from it. On a side note, the representative said they have a check list as the unit is built so they know which employee installed what in the event of issues. They encourage employees to take the time to build it correctly. Not sure if that is working out for them or not. I understand New Horizons pays by the hour as well. The article mentions a move by LCI away from work paid by the piece: "Southern’s employer, LCI, is one of the industry players taking steps to try to make the work more appealing. Nick Fletcher, chief human resources officer, says when he arrived four years ago, turnover at the company was over 100 percent. It’s now less than 40 percent, and he expects it to continue falling. Fletcher has been on a campaign to end the piece rate system, which “doesn’t incentivize workers to be safe or produce high quality,” he says. More than 75 percent of the company’s workers are now on fixed hourly pay, averaging about $17.50, he says." LCI is Lippert is it not? I understand Lippert owns a lot of the patents in the RV industry. Now I'm wondering how many of their parts, to include frames, are now being built by hourly employees. Maybe an employee at an RV assembly plant can now more easily move to an hourly job with a parts vendor. That would create more competition for employees and maybe force employers into better working conditions. This all starts with the top management. One has to wonder where their hearts are at. It would be easy to assume they are just after profit. They sure switch out key management a lot it seems. Especially as relatively speaking, these RV companies are not old. An example are the Keystone founders who left to create Grand Design only to sell out to Winnebago a short time later. They can build a better product at a lower cost. They just have to think it's important. Dr. Deming showed the Japanese how to do it after World War II in the auto industry. That forced the US auto industry to change their ways. Quality is Job One - that's the logo Ford Motor came up with after Deming turned them around. Quality means striving for zero imperfections and eliminating waste, especially employees time rebuilding something that is faulty. The concept may go against the ways of some executives who seem to care less. That may hurt their long-term survivability. Really an interesting article despite the political points. Thank you to the original poster for letting us know about it.
  4. Congratulations Eric!!! I have always wondered if moving into a new 5th wheel is similar to moving into a new sticks and bricks where it takes 6 months before it feels like home? Although going full time, downsizing and moving around the country adds a few new dynamics. I trust what others say which is after the first year or so it all becomes more second nature.
  5. mickeleit, I cannot answer your question directly, but have been considering medical coverage over the past two years or so. Nationwide coverage is on it's way out for us who are not Medicare eligible. My own situation is my wife will be Medicare eligible within 9 months of us hitting the road. I'm not sure but am considering using a COBRA benefit for that 9 month period after I leave my job. I have been building up our health savings account as well, hoping to have a stash of cash there for future expenses. For myself, I'll be providing my own health insurance for several years. I'm considering several options right now. One is to start seeing a doctor in my current home state who does not except insurance. This Direct Medical Care plan is an example. As we plan to travel "home" at least twice a year I could see the doctor there for more routine services which are sharply discounted. The doctor also offers medical care online through video chatting. Maybe I could then enroll in a high deductible "catastrophic" plan for more extreme needs. We are looking at Texas as well for coverage, but from what I've been reading Florida is the most likely place to find a possible nationwide coverage plan. I do however worry about handling emergencies and what each plan might offer. Right now, with a lack of nationwide plan coverage options, there is risk here. Not so much for my wife but for me who will have no Medicare coverage. Personally, I'm not going to let that risk stop me from going full time in an RV. For me, it is not an answer to just say work until I'm 65. Fortunately I am healthy today. I suppose if that changes in the next two years before we leave full time, then I might reconsider. Some of the best reading regarding full timer health care can be found on the Wheelingit blog. This would be a good time to get with your state senator as they review the current healthcare bill. Some already are aware there is a very big cap in the plan for those wishing to retire early. I'm not meaning to get political here. We are considering Texas as a domical for many reasons which include it being close to our home state of Missouri where many of our family members live. I'll let you know if I find a plan with nationwide coverage - but doubt that will happen any time soon. I'm making a list of alternatives which include the above mentioned as well as discounted ways for medications, what Mexico offers for dental and vision, what other doctors are out there in Texas (or wherever) who don't except insurance but discount their rates. I'm also considering a plan B in the event of a medical emergency until I could return to my local health care coverage. Frankly, I do not care to donate a life savings to a doctor or a hospital. But would like to be stabilized before returning home. Regardless, it's going to be expensive and a risk in this life style. It's a big topic. Sorry I can't answer about Texas or South Dakota. It will most likely change anyway in the next year.
  6. Kirk, a friend also suggested attending the Escapade rally in Sedalia Missouri. How does that work should we not own the RV by then? I assume we would have to also decide to become members of Escapees which is most likely in our future anyway. We just don't have a reason to take advantage of the benefits of membership in full until we start to travel more frequently.
  7. Thought I would get a Class of 2019 thread up and running. Come along and join. It will be interesting to compare each other’s preparations and share in your successes leading to 2019. Here is Karen’s and my story so far; We stated planning in September of 2014 and found the Escapees forum shortly thereafter. We figured moving full time to an RV would be the best way to see the country. We never planned to retire in our current home which we will likely sell in the spring of 2019. My separation date from my current employer is no later than November 2019 or as early as July of that year. Karen has already “retired.” We both enjoy the outdoors, having considerable time under our belts tent camping. Owned a popup camper then a 30’ travel trailer which we sold some time ago. After much consideration, we have decided on a fifth wheel towed by a dually truck. Or plan is to purchase the rig well before we leave full time and burn up weeks of vacation getting used to it. After traveling around for a while, we plan on workamping or volunteering. So far, we have not set a domicile state but the Escapees location in Livingston Texas sure looks promising. We currently live on the north side of Kansas City Missouri. Mark and Karen
  8. Congrads on getting the estate sale over with DunellenGuy. I'd think you will find beautiful spots while your touring the country that will make it all worth it. Only you can say if those new memories can replace what you are letting go of. What an adventure. We are looking forward to our time to leave.
  9. Thanks for the information pass-on missourijan. The area around Beaver Lake is beautiful. I copied the ranger's info and hope to make use of it someday. Nearby Eureka Springs is a fascinating place to visit and not that far from Branson Missouri which was a benefit when we visited the area.
  10. We have yet to purchase our full time 5th wheel. After about three years research my wife and I came to a few conclusions as to what trailer we will most likely end up with. We generally decided on a rear living room plan and have found none less that 35' where we really liked the floor plan in the weight class and price point we are considering. After following a dozen or so blogs where others travel fulltime in a 40' fifth wheel I'm not concerned about finding spots to stay as others seem to get around just fine. A friend suggested the 38' length was a good spot for him and I trust that opinion. All this considered we are looking at rear living rooms starting at 35' up to 40'. For us, the floor plan we end up liking the most between those length ranges will dictate the length we end up with. We have been able to eliminate a few trailers because they were over 40' and/or they did not have a decent cargo weight capacity. We have found a couple in the 35' to 37' range that look promising. Wish I had experience towing so I could provide more specific advise. This is just how we are approaching it. Lots of folks in this forum with experience and they are always helpful.
  11. Thanks for the link Bill. Was wondering the same thing myself.
  12. Big5er, I'm in the same boat. Staying a couple more years on the job makes financial since so I'm doing it. The extra retirement $$ is forever and we will be glad to have it later after the newness of retirement wears off.
  13. We have been looking at the Champion inverter generators. Our plans would be to boondock occasionally and will not have a residential fridge nor start off with any solar. A friend we met who travels part time had a Honda 2000 inverter but sold it and bought a Champion 775531i 3100 watt inverter generator for a lot less, and it will run one air conditioner. He heard one running at a campsite and said it’s no more loud than the Honda. I noticed Champion also has a new 3500 watt model that has a 30 amp outlet and remote control start button. Friend is mounting his in the truck as he has a sliding cover on the truck bed for times he is not towing. The 3100 watt Champion noise level is advertised at 58 dBA at 23 ft and runs for 8 hours at 25% load with a 1.6 gallon fuel tank. Cost is $795 at Amazon. It weighs 94 pounds (gross weight). That’s manageable. You can also buy a dual fuel generator that runs on gas/propane. Another option is the lighter, more expensive Honda 2000 watt units that you can link together for 4000 watts. I could see one advantage being if you don't want to run the ac, such as to charge the batteries, you could get by with just running one of the two. the Honda 2000 Inverter is slightly lighter weight than the Champion 2000. Yamaha is another popular selection. In 2016 the 3000 watt units weigh in at 136 pounds and above according to my research. We rented a class C motorhome last year that had a 4500 watt Onan on-board. It sure was nice just to push a button inside to start the generator and the fuel was provided out of the motorhomes fuel tank. Myself, I'm apprehensive about the amount of propane the built in units would use on a fifth wheel. But then again many have them. If we wanted to run both air conditioners and a lot more I would go with the Onan on-board. But for us, the 3100 or 3500 watt portable unit will be good enough.
  14. I'm interesting in following along with you guys. Right now we are thinking our date will be in late 2019 and would like to read about how it goes in your class. These forums seem to have the best posts regarding classes. I've been following the 2017 class for a while now.
  15. Honalee you guys are so close, it has to be a relief. We also imagine getting a rig up to a year ahead of time. How much did you end up paying for the 10x10 climate controlled storage unit if you don't mind me asking? We have not made a decision yet but found a none-climate controlled unit in Buckner for $475 a year. For now my wife and I are planning to just keep a couple boxes in our daughter's basement. It would be nice to have a little "insurance" in case we end up not liking it on the road as unlikely as that might be. So far we think the hardest thing to give up will be our artwork that took years to find and have framed. Sent you a private message begging to tour your Ambition. We live north of the river.