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About Bill&Anneli

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    Full time on the road
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    Cycling, hiking and Class A diesel pushers

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  1. Yup, we have given up on the whole east coast trip for all of 2020, probably will head back out west in June, and hunker down for the rest of the year. We are still in Gulf Shores Alabama, have not moved since March 1. Hope to "re-plan" our east coast trip from the Florida Keys to Maine in 2021... I will keep the posts so I can refer to them when we resume travel planning. Thanks again for all the info, hope you're safe and healthy!
  2. Thank goodness for the internet - reading and participating in these lively discussions via the key board helps keep he boredom at bay and pass the time a little faster as we self-quarantine. As an update, we are staying put in Gulf Shores Alabama. Yesterday, we checked around with another 7-8 private camp grounds in this area, and all that we checked on were still open. All had LOTS of empty spots...We only found one that still honors the winter rates (the higher summer rates go into effect around here April 1 normally). The state park here was still open as of yesterday and as far as we know no plans on closing, lots of empty spots there too (its a huge park with about 500 camp sites). We asked a Ranger we met and she said she had not heard of any closure of the state park. Beaches, restaurants etc are all closed so its not your usual experience/vacation, but it is a safe place to stay will full hook-ups until this crisis settles down. I think there are lots of places like this around the country. So instead of spreading more dooms-day info - why don't we all support eachother by posting where places are still open for RV-ers who can't just "go home". Seems like a much better use of this forum than all the people posting about closures.... It seems obvious that before heading anywhere you call ahead to see if its still open... Stay safe and healthy, and please try not to spread negativity, there is plenty of anxiety right now and we all can use some reassuring words...
  3. So, I'm not seeing much discussion about the impact of closures and quarantines due to Corona virus.... We are reading about closures of Disney Parks, Museums in DC, and places like Busch Gardens, Monticello and Colonial Williamsburg, even some state parks closed for overnight camping, store closures and travel restrictions. Concern is that this is only the beginning, and as fulltimers we can't just "go home". We are trying to decide whether to cancel our summer travel plans (heading up the east coast with reservations currently thru 6/15)....do we go ahead and cancel and just hunker down here in Alabama ? We are ofcourse worried about campgrounds being full and not having anywhere to go, or going and being quaranteened. What if they implement inter-state travel restrictions ? We had a very limited experience with this in Georgia last year when Floridians were evacuating due to hurricane Dorian, all campgrounds were full, no gas at the pump, grocery store shelves empty, no water, TP etc available to purchase... we had to stay in various parking lots... but that was only for a few days, this can go on for months. We don't want to jump on the "panic" wagon, but at the same time we want to be proactive and prudent. What are all you fellow fulltimers doing with respect to changing plans etc?
  4. Great advice y'all ! Thank you !
  5. Hello, We will be going to the Florida Keys in April and was wondering if there are recommendations for nice camp grounds ? We don't really enjoy the places with mostly permanent residents. We prefer places that are occupied by fulltime travelers. We have a 37 ft class A and are towing a jeep, so can fit in most parks, except the parks with the tightest length restrictions. We prefer full hoookups, 50 amp and nice level spots. Also, looking for recommendations as to whether to stay in the keys or find a campground on the mainland ? Thanks much as always for your wisdom :-)
  6. I forgot to say that the dealer arranges financing and does all the paperwork. Our Dealer has locations in both NY and FL.
  7. Our experience now 4 months into living in our motorhome and having attended the RV boot camp is that there is a LOT to know and have inspected. We initially hired an "inspector" to purchase a used MH- he only did a very superficial check of the "house", no checking engine etc. He charged $271- I guess you get what you pay for. There were other inspections that charged over $1,500 - I suppose they do a better job.... We didn't end up purchasing our coach from that private party. We ended up purchasing from a reputable dealer- and oh boy are we grateful! After attending RV Bootcamp we went back and checked on all the stuff we learned - everything from dates of tires to electrical to water systems. We did find the various pre-purchase inspection checklists etc and used them, but in reality didn't really know what we were looking at or for... luckily for us, the dealer didn't cheat us on anything (they very easily could have). So our advice if you don't have a lot of experience with RV's, or have a friend who does, buy your first RV from a reputable dealer (whether new or used), its worth the extra $$$. Happy Travels !
  8. With our limited experience I would just chime in that if you want to stay away from RV parks and pefer boondocking - you should focus on the biggest tanks you can get and the most solar power you can fit on the rig - those things would matter more than class A or C, or things like floorplans etc. The key regarding floorplan for us was to be able to access bathroom, fridge etc with slides in - we can't always put our slides out where we park and wanted to make sure we could sleep and live comfortably with slides in. Also, things like insulation is a big deal because you have to run AC/heater more conservatively while "off the grid" than when you hook up to shore power. And a high quality "residential" bed was a must for us, sleeping on some of the RV beds/cusions we found in lower end rigs would be fine for trips, but not for fulltime for us. For those reasons we ended up with a higher end class A. And yes, it is very beautiful and feels way more extravagant and elegant than what we "need". But it has the quality furniture that can take the "abuse" of fulltime living, (I have a low tolerance for cheap flimsy plastic things that break....), the type of insulation and heating system we wanted for "all weather" camping and the type of engine, size tanks etc etc. that we felt would best fit our needs. Good luck !
  9. We called Miller insurance and they were very knowledgeable about full time RV needs. They were able to help us schedule those higher value items that are not fully covered by the general policy, like higher value jewelry, special items in storage, carbon bikes etc etc. You need to "schedule" certain items, dont assume your $4,000 bike is covered....
  10. Hello all! Just as an update, we arrived at Rainbow's end in Livingston November 1, wihtout major incidents. We have learned that driving on weekdays is better - we had a problem with some sort of coolant sensor and Freightliner is not open on Sundays. We found this out along I-5 in southern Oregon on a lovely 70 degree sunny October Sunday afternoon... Freightliner said dis-connect your town and go buy some coolant (becuase you should not add it while your engine is hot - so no driving the motorhome). We pulled into a rest stop, as Bill took off in the Jeep - I got a little stool out, sat outside the motorhome at the rest stop, enjoying the fall sun, and started reading the Freightliner manual. BOY - it has a LOT of good info in it!!! So advice to newbies: -it is good to read all those manuals - even though it is so overwhelming at first - try to read a little every here and then. Like when you have 2.5 hours to kill while your husband goes to fetch OAT on a Sunday afternoon... As I sat there I felt lucky that it was not puring down rain, or freezing, or 100 degrees and humid, and that I had googled that Oregon allows 14 hour stays at rest stops. Somewhere deep down I felt like I became an RVer that day - managing to enjoy myself while stranded at a rest stop..... My prior self would probably have been crying.... But I found myself smiling, knowing we would be ok. I was very touched by the many RVers who pulled into that rest stop and got out of their rigs and asked me if I was OK and needed any help. Thank you to all of you who do that !!!! Another thing we learned: when you have an un-expected stop (like sitting at Freightliner in Phoenix for several hours) - and they have everything ready for you at 4 pm. YOU DON'T HAVE TO leave.... be smart - wait til tomorrow - or at least til rush-hour is over. It is not fun, or safe, to drive your rig thru downtown any big city in rush hour - that stress we brougt on ourselves. We could have stayed at Fregithliner til the following morning...BUT we felt rushed to get to our destinatation.... DON'T RUSH yourselves.... AND - DRUMROLL!!!! - we graduated Bootcamp on Sunday - some of the info we had already learned (the hard way)- and we learned a lot of new stuff, and got a lot of good advice. Not sure that you need to run out and buy all those gadgets - RVers sure love all their gadgets ! And get your RV and vehicle weighed..... it's a safety issue. In hindsight, we did it the hard way - the day we picked up this beautiful, complicated coach was the first day we lived in it full time - with no prior RV experience. But we are catching up - so, last advice- to those of you still thinking about going full time: do it anyway that suits you - you will be ok - and even if you don' take all the good advice given to you (like rent before you buy, start simple and work your way up etc etc) - you will be ok, its just a matter of how resilient you are. And make sure you have a little buffer in your budget when starting out - there are a lot of up-front expenses that evens out over time and a lot of things to buy- the first couple of months are EXPENSIVE. I think we're in this for the long haul :-) Happy travels, see you out there !
  11. You guys are awesome, love reading all the comments. As for us, we made it in one piece (both of us, the Ventana and and the Jeep) all the way "home" to Oregon. It was a long and crazy drive from Tampa Florida. We hit all kinds of weather, learned that we are a huge target for 40 mph wind gusts, and thanks to Bill's very expert driving skills we were fine- althoug we did see a couple of 5th wheels as well as a class A lying on the side on the interstate, knowing that could have been us was scary. We also learned that when there are no Semi-trucks on the road - GET OFF THE ROAD!! and hunker down somewhere safe - in our case that was lightning and incredible wind with rain like we have never seen (and we are from Oregon). The entire motorhome was rocking when parked in the storm. And all of you are right, now a month into this adventure the stresslevel is down, learning curve is still steep, but does not feel as overwhelming and we are having more fun. We are currently parked at the Newmar dealer/service center in our home town to take care of some warranty items - thankfully nothing really big. Oh, also we had to come over the pass in un-expected snow (yes it very rarey snows here in September so we thought we would be fine) so Bill took someone's advice and turned off the engine break, and used the breaks for all 5,000 ft of decent off the mountain. BAD idea- the breaks were smoking and very Stinky, I could still smell the break stink in the bedroom when we went to sleep that night even after washing sheets, opening all the windows etc etc. So, yes, we are still learning :-) And we are learning that most mistakes you can learn from, and they are not fatal. And we have found the Newmar Ventana face book group who has been incredibly helpful as many of our questions/issues also apply to them and most have the same or similar equipment/appliances etc. Thanks again for being so encouraging, we are really looking forward to RV boot camp in Livingston, and now we have some stories of our own to share and a MILLION new questions - LOL. Best !😀 Bill&Anneli
  12. Thanks to all - this is a very kind and reassuring community - I did add the signature line - hope it worked. Today we are celebrating surviving week one - nodbody died and the coach is still in one piece so we call that success. And - I will the advice for the newbies from these newbies: Even though you do all the things they advise, start scouring the various forums, watch u tube videos, learn and read all you can for for months and months before that first class A - there is probably no way around being overwheled by your first one so just hang in there. Thanks again and we will continue to read these forums. They are very helpful even if they can not completetly prepare you for what it feels like to wake up on a space ship.
  13. Like I said, IRS does not care about your state income tax...... the states do, but not the IRS...
  14. Thank you for the reasuring words... so to answer your question about Boot camp... yes we signed up 6 months in advance - all set to go in August in our own back-yard in Coos Bay, Oregon where we know the roads, know the places to go... we thought we were on top of it. Make plans and God laughs.... We left Oregon August 2nd in our Jeep that we planned to tow behind that Dutch Star we had arranged to buy down in California about 800 miles away. Packed for a short trip, just down to pick up, then back home to Oregon and straight to boot camp.... We were about 400 miles into the trip to pick up the motorhome in Callifornia when the private seller went squirly and the deal fell thru (yes, we had inspections done in advance, had agreed upon a price etc etc). So now what ??? We hunkered down in a hotel in California and scoured the internet for the type of coach we wanted for a few days... talked with Newmar dealers in Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Florida - all over. Because we knew exactly what we wanted... nobody had the right fit for us. We put the right word out - if anything comes in on trade call us... We spent a week on the sunny beaches of California near LAX - ready to fly out at a moments notice for the right coach.... One day this nice lady from Florida calls and says one of her clients has ordered a larger coach and is brining in the model we were looking for.... but it would be a couple of weeks before his new coach arrives, so they can't actually sell it to us for 2-3 weeks.... We said sounds great, put our name on it at paid a deposit. We waited for a few more days in Los Angeles trying to decide how to spend the next 3 weeks... after a few more days we decided we don't like LA and decided to start driving east... we could always fly from Phoenix. Got there and it was 116 degrees so we kept driving.. decided we can fly from Dallas... too busy and besides there was this Margaritaville in Shereveport Lousiana that looked fun, so we kept driving.... Someone in Louisiana said we absolutely had to go to Orange Beach in Alabama - whitest sand beaches in the country she said... so we kept driving... Two weeks later we roll into Tampa Florida, and our coach is ready next day for pick up , and it came with the blue ox for the Jeep - how perfect :-) ..... Well.... the Jeep has a custom front bumper and a special order knuckle part is needed to connect the jeep.... Everyone so nice, we can just stay here for a week or so and learn the coach, get the jeep hooked up - right ? Then there was this thing called Hurrican Dorian..... so after two days in Tampa we decide to get out of dodge of the Hurricane. Jeep is not hooked up so one drives the jeep the other the coach.... we drive north... guess what - all the people in florida are evacuating - and all campgrounds in this part of Georgia are full !! so first night we slept with slies in parked at a Pilot Truck stop.... next night 200 miiles further north the Camping World Manager was kind enogh to let us stay in their parking lot and hook up to their 50 amp... people have been soooo kind to us. So here we are, our 4th night finally in a camp ground ... with full hookups.... and yes we missed Boocamp on 8/22 back in Oregon. Now we are signed up for the next one in Livingston Texas in November - hope to see you all there :-)
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