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Kirk W

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Posts posted by Kirk W


    Could you share some of your horror stories?

    I'm not quite sure just what it is that you are asking about, but this is just a change of direction in life so all of the good & bad things which happen in life will happen when on the road. Some are more difficult being in an RV and others are less so. For example, in Feb. 2001 we were about to head from southern CA back to TX when we got a call that our eldest son's wife had been hit by a car and air evacuated to Seattle from their home on the Olympic peninsula and was on the critical list. Being in an RV we just headed that way and were there three days later to help with his 4 children for the time needed. She did eventually recover. We have also had to deal with the death of my mother and several others close to us.


    The worst RV day was when the lake was rising toward our host site and our motorhome failed to start, so we had to have it towed about 50 miles to the nearest repair shop. Watching your home leave under tow is not a happy experience, but like most things in life, that too was solved and life did continue once it was repaired. A rat had moved in over our fuel tank and chewed the wiring to the fuel pump....


    In our nearly 12 years on the road we had many happy and unhappy experiences, just as we would have had we stayed in the stick house, but we saw places we could never have seen from our house, we had experiences that we would never have had in any other way and we made friends with an astounding collection of people from not only the USA, but also from Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia.


    There were times that being in an RV made life less difficult while other times it was more difficult, but life happens no matter where you are or how you have chosen to live. My only regret about our fulltime experience is the fact that health issues cause it to have to end and revert to a part time travel status. I really don't know of much that we would change if we could. While things didn't go exactly as we had expected, we really had no major problems that one could blame on poor choices or have avoided.

  2. Welcome back to the Escapee forums. If you have been reading the forums for the past two years you may have seen a few conversations on the subject of miles but generally most modern gas engines should be good for 150K to 200K, and more if they are well cared for and maintained. Most diesels can go about twice that, again assuming that they are well maintained.

  3. It is difficult to tell you exactly what you can run along with the converter for 12V-dc as that will depend upon how much it happens to be using at the moment. If batteries are full and you are not using the furnace or some other large 12V load, the typical draw is probably less than 5A. You can get an idea of what it may need by estimating the 12V current draw and divide that by 10. In other words, to supply 30A-dc power your converter will use just a little more than 3A-ac @ 120V.


    The largest 12V-dc load in most RVs is the furnace blower, but you might have a few other big ones. Your slide outs usually draw a lot but only when moving in or out. The refrigerator draws only a couple of amps as does the water heater and both require the 12V supply even if operating on 120V-ac because the temperature controls all operate on 12V-dc.


    Most RV air conditioners will draw somewhere between 8 to 13A, depending upon how large the unit is and how clean the coils are. Most RV microwaves are of about 800 watts which means about 7A. (Watts = amps x volts or amps = watts/volts) An electric heater will draw about 12.5A if on high and 6 - 7A when on low. Most hair dryers need about 10A or so. Your typical TV set today will need about 3 - 5A if on 120V.


    Any appliance that uses heaters like an electric fry pan or slow cooker can be expected to draw about 6 - 10A.


    You can usually look on a tag near the power cord and it will either give the amps needed or the watts which you just divide by 120V to determine amps. Add these up and you get the idea. But there is another factor that enters into the mix which you can't control and that is condition of the circuit breaker on the power pedestal as well as the condition of the power receptacle that you plug your RV into. That is because circuit breakers are designed to get weaker as they age, just to be sure that they won't go the other way so each time one trips is requires just a tiny amount to make it trip the next time so you may not have the full 30A it is rated at. The other factor is that a receptacle that is weathered or burned will consume power just to push through the resistance of the connection and that also is part of the load that your RV draws. And the other factor is that a circuit breaker is not intended to carry it maximum rating as a constant load, but usually will open after a long period if the load is at the max. For this reason, when you add up what you will be able to use, it is a good idea to use about 26A as your target load.

  4. First let me welcome you to the Escapee forums! We will do all that we can to help and support you as you join the RV community.


    On rental RVs, I would agree with those who have already suggested that you rent one before you buy it just to be sure that you understand what it is that you are getting and what you want. It is actually a good idea to do that before you buy, even if you are buying a new RV since you have no previous experience, just to be sure that you will enjoy this style of travel. We love it but not everyone does.


    Several years ago I knew some folks who were buying from Cruise America that wanted to check out the RV first and they made some sort of arrangement with them to rent one just like what they were buying and to have part of that rental fee apply to the purchase of the used RV when they did buy it. That was some time back so I'm not sure if they can still do that, but it might be worth asking them about. If memory serves, our friends got about 30% of the rental fee applied to the purchase price.


    I can tell you that they were quite happy with their purchase and partly because it came with a warranty from Cruise America which the company supplied as long as repairs were done by CA. I think that the warranty was 1 year.

  5. I believe that you will find that the rules for getting your driver's license don't vary a great deal from one state to the next since the institution of federal laws on that subject since 9/11. The fact is that our state issued driver's licenses have become a "de facto" national ID with the movement to fairly uniform rules in obtaining one. Those same rules apply to those who get a state issued ID in place of a driver's license, such as a blind person who can't be issued a driver's license. It is very difficult to do business today anywhere in the USA if you do not have a photo ID that is acceptable and most places take that as a driving license. I once offered my passport since I had it in my possession, as an ID and the person asking had never see one before and doubted it acceptability. Rather than waste time, I just showed my TX driver's license and went on my way. ;)

  6. First of all, a hearty welcome to you from all of us here on the Escapee forums! We are here to help and we live to give advice so feel free to ask as many questions or offer comments in any forum or subject!


    You and I have a lot in common as we recently downsized from the 36' motorhome that we lived in for 11+ years to a travel trailer that is 19' long. Ours is an ultra-lite model that has a GVWR of only 3600# and we tow it with a Kia, Boreggo. We left there back in 1989, but we lived in Cheyenne, WY for 18 years and all three sons graduated HS there. We still have many friends there and love to visit.


    While WY does have many attractive things for use as a domicile when RVing fulltime, the main problem is that they do not accept a mail service as an address for registration or insuring vehicles or for a driver's license. There are only a few states that do accept such as a legal address and that is one of the main reasons that TX, FL, and SD are so popular, along with the fact that none of them have an income tax (as you don't in WY) and none require you to actually spend any length of time physically in the state or any proof that it is where you live beyond your mail forwarding service. If you have someone who will allow you to use their address as yours for the legal issues, you might be able to make it work. I suggest that you might find this article which I wrote for Escapees Magazine to be helpful to you as you consider your choices.


    You will find a great deal of support here for not being crazy to consider going on the road as there are many of us who have done just that and who now have an RV as their only home, or who did so for many years before returning to part time for various reasons. It is a wonderful way to live for those of us who fit the lifestyle! We downsized from a 1700 sq/ft house to a 36' motorhome and while it brought some hard choices, it was one of the best moves that we ever made!


    - Supplementing our income. Any workampers here? Writers? Crafters? Caretakers?

    There are many here who earn additional income as they travel and several who earn their entire income while traveling by RV. In addition, there are many who like ourselves, spend time as RV volunteers in locations where an RV site and utilities are supplied in return for volunteering for state parks, federal parks or wildlife refuges, one any number of other agencies to thus save a lot of money and so stretch the budget.


    I really think that you might do well to start by reading a book or two on the subject of fulltime RV living which can be found at your public library or there are many of them available for a very reasonable price on Amazon. In addition, if you look in the signature lines of those who post here, many of us have links to websites or blogs that we keep on the subject of RV living. I think that it would be worth your time to spend time checking those out to see what is out there. You will be amazed by the amount of useful information some of us have on our websites.


    We are very happy to have you with us and do take advantage of the vast collection of knowledge and experience that our members represent.

  7. If the service is just down the block as you say then I do not understand the desire/requirement for a third party to hand carry your paperwork down there to make sure all is taken care of..

    Since Escapees have only just introduced the SD address service, that would seem to not have been part of the decision to choose SD..... But if it was that seems just a little bit unusual as a reason to pick a state of domicile? I don't believe that anyone has suggested that those who are already domiciled in SD should change services, unless there is some reason that they wish to do so. Since I've not registered a vehicle in SD I can't comment on that but it has never crossed my mind to involve any additional party in our vehicle registration. I have never set foot in the Livingston registration office nor the one here in east TX were our registrations are now. I just renew online and my registration comes by mail. I think that I have been told you can do that in most other states as well.

  8. So my question to the full-timers out there, would a camp stove or butane/propane burner be of any use out there for boondocking? Wondering if in the summer heat would cooking outside be preferable to heating/smelling up the inside of the RV?

    In reading this thread I find myself wondering how it makes any difference how we do or do not use a camp stove while traveling by RV? I would bet that the vast majority of fulltimers do not carry one of them, but even if none of us do, that doesn't prevent you from using one. Because of limited space in the RV, we didn't carry one but I did cook outside quite often on charcoal or propane. I actually prefer to cook over a campfire but there are places that don't allow open fires if you stay in commercial RV parks & campgrounds and Pam's breathing issues also limited my use of one. I would say that if you decide that you want to use it, then take it along and make use of it for any of the suggested ways or even create new ones of your own.


    Not only that, but if you take it along and find you don't use it, you can be rid of it pretty easily. We always lived pretty much by the one year rule. If something went a full year without being used, it was left behind. The key is to decide what makes the best use of the space that you have for storage. If you will commit to using it, keep it!

  9. A very interesting article from the Military Times.....

    Panel will propose new military retirement system

    The story if accurate has some really interesting ideas as well as some sacred cows in serious danger. I highly suspect that most veteran's organizations will be up in arms, but budgets are a hot issue and no question that something is going to have to change. There is a lot in there but here are a few quotes just to spur interest in the story. It does sound as though change is coming but that current veterans and those on active duty will probably keep at least some of the present benefit system.


    The long-awaited report on military compensation set to drop Thursday will propose fundamental changes to military retirement and health care benefits, according to several people familiar with the report.


    Specifically, the proposal calls for automatically enrolling each service member in the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP, an investment account that accrues savings. Individual troops will be responsible for managing their accounts, and the money is typically not available for withdrawal without penalty until age 59.5.


    That's a big potential change from a system that now offers retirement benefits to about only 17 percent of the force — many of them officers — who serve 20 years.


    Top military officials increasingly make the argument that the current military compensation system is unsustainable, and personnel costs, if not reined in, will threaten the military's ability to pay for weapons modernization and high-tech research.


    The plan also calls for the Pentagon to create a new four-star medical command to oversee the Pentagon's sprawling health care system. Consolidation of the military system has been discussed for many years and would mark a significant break from the tradition of allowing each individual service to operate its own health care command.


  10. I sent a PM to share some thoughts, but will also offer a thought here, as one who was full-time and life has taken us back to part-time again. You will never be able to do anything at a younger time than today! Transitions get more difficult as we age so take advantage of opportunities as soon as they become available and don't look back. Life is short and what you do not do today you may never have another opportunity to do.


    Remember that you don't have to burn your bridges behind you.

  11. I have grappled with this subject as well. We bought a fixer upper house in Idaho last May. Ever since, we've been working on it non-stop.

    Welcome to the Escapee forums! It does sound as though its time to sell that house and get out on the road with an RV. Do you have previous RV experience? If not this is a good place to get help so join in with any forum and feel free to ask any & all questions as someone is bound to be able to help.

  12. talked to a couple that's doing it on 17k a year !! so it can be done it just depends on your life style.

    Just remember that we can claim pretty much any budget figures we wish, as long as others never see our actual expenses. We have lived pretty frugally, but we often see claims of budgets far below what we have experienced and by people doing all or even more than we do. We seem to get into competitive situations of "my budget is smaller than yours" at times. The other factor to always look at is, if they do manage on that small an amount, could we do that and still enjoy our lifestyle? Some years ago we spent some time with a fellow who was managing on less than half our budget and who would freely show you his records. There was no question that his plan was working and his budget accurate, but even though he enjoyed doing what he did, we would not. His fuel consumption for travel as less than 1/2 of ours so he traveled very little. When he did travel, he always chose the cheapest place to stay, with no consideration of how ugly or unpleasant it might be. He also spent far less on food than we.....


    These things can be done, but will you enjoy living that way?

  13. Itasca is a division of Winnebago and both have good reputations. But it is important to realize that with an RV now 12 model years old even the very best of RVs could have serious problems due to neglect or abuse. I highly recommend that you have it checked out by a good RV tech or inspector and I would also want it checked by a diesel mechanic. As to price, if you know the exact model you can easily verify what retail price is running with a visit to NADA website or for more information, visit a public library and ask to see the published version which has far more information. Remember that dealers do not adjust values for any of the optional equipment.

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