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patjoleblanc

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Hello everyone!

We are getting ready to start our RV life in a 35 Ft Georgetown on April 17th.  It is with excitement and trepidation that we are plunging ahead.  I will be retiring on the 17th and we start our journey in the first RV park.  We are very familiar with this RV park.  I have tried to contemplate all expenses to ensure that we have a budget that will work but of course there are unknowns especially for someone just starting.  I will appreciate any feed back, knowledge or ideas that have worked for everyone when they started out.  Reservations,  traveling without reservations, problems encountered without reservations.  boon-docking,or best in budgeting, any information that you have that could make the transition easier.  We have 2 dogs who are a handful and one is afraid of everything.  I feel like I am leaping off of a cliff.  Any ideas or help will be greatly appreciated.  I don't even know the right questions to ask at this point.  I have tried to research as much as I can.  Thanks again.  Pat LeBlanc

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Welcome to the Escapee forums. We are here to help you so feel free to ask any and all questions that you may have. It is difficult to give any information of value since you really have not asked anything that we can respond to. Budgets are a very personal thing and many members of the forum have links in their signature lines which lead to information that they share and budget information is often part of it. My best suggestion at this point is to recommend reading of some books on RV living. You can find a good selection on Amazon.

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Welcome Pat . :)

Read , read and read some more . When you have a question , just ask . 

As for that cliff thing , enjoy the flight . It's a great way to live . ;)

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Welcome! Take a deep breath and relax. You will learn a lot from experience, so start learning. <grin>

I'm assuming (and we both know what that means) that you are at least somewhat familiar with your rig, meaning that you can drive it, park it in the campsite, and can operate things. If not, that's your first task.

Budgets ought to be filed as works of fiction. You have some idea of how much money is coming in, and fixed expenses such as insurance, loans, etc. Eating out is much more expensive than fixing your own meals. Luxury RV parks are more expensive than State parks.

The biggest bit of advice I can give you is to SLOW DOWN. Just because the speed limit is 75 mph doesn't mean that you can, or even should, drive that fast. Many people suggest that you limit driving to 2-300 miles per day and that you plan on staying 2-3 days. There will be times when you really need to move cross-country quickly, but most of the time you can slow down and take it easy.

We generally make reservations, but not always. Holidays fill up quickly, so you ought to be figuring out where you want to be for Memorial Day weekend and make reservations soon. During off-season times you may well be able to show up at a park and get in. Be aware that some parks close for the winter, or only have limited services available.

You WILL start out with far too much stuff. As you travel you will figure out that you don't need certain things. You can then get rid of them (give them to the kids, store them with the kids, sell them, give them away, throw them away). You will find that things you hadn't thought of are needed. That's what Wal-Mart and Lowe's are for.

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Welcome. You can learn a lot just by reading various threads on this forum. They don't have to be currently active for you to read them. So, pick one that sounds interesting to you and have at it. You might find some answers but you might also find some question we can then try to answer for you.

Linda

 

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There are a ton of YouTube video's of Full timers that have channels and share their experiences and thoughts on many of the questions you ask about. If you haven't watched them, I would suggest you do as there is a lot of great information out there already that will give you idea's and put your mind at ease.

kb0zke's suggestion about reservations is a good one. Holiday weekends, areas where there are major events planned (Concerts/Nascar races/Festivals/etc.) can cause campgrounds to be filled so it's a good idea to be thinking about those months in advance. That said, balancing having the freedom to stay as long as you like if you stop somewhere and want to extend your stay is part of the allure of FT RVing. 

One bit of info I have gathered from watching video (I'm not FTing yet, about 3-5 years I'll be following in your footsteps) is partially mentioned above. Limit your traveling to a few hundred miles a day when possible. One couple said they try to be parked by between 2pm-4pm every day so they have tie to setup during daylight, have a little relax time before it's dinner time and dark and they usually stay a minimum of 2-3 days each place, sometimes much longer. Finding your pace, i.e. how long you like to stay in each place, is one of the first challenges many new FT RVer's have. Move too fast and your fuel costs per month increase significantly and you may feel rushed and not have the relaxation you're looking for or used to in your camping experience. Move too slow and you may find your get bored in an area. Three Bears Syndrome.   Too Hot, Too Cold, Just Right.

 

Here are a couple of my favorite FT RV Youtube Channels to get you started if you haven't seen them before. Plenty of video's on both sites.

 

You, Me & the RV

Enjoy the journey

I'm not lost, I'm RVing

Best of luck in finding your perfect Porridge!

 

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Welcome to the forum and full timing!

Really your expenses or budget is easy to predict.  All of your regular housing cost (mortgage, taxes, utilities, etc.) are gone and they are basically replaced by campground fees and fuel/gas.  Much of the other stuff stays about the same, like food, medical, clothing, etc.

Since we winter in a busy crowded area (SW Florida) we always make a reservation down here a year in advance.  During the winter we sketch out most of our travel plans and by March will have some reservations made.  By May we will have reservations made up to our next winter stay in Florida.  We tend to do advance reservations due to our length of 73'.  

As far as boondocking or dry camping.  We are doing more and more as we go.  Generally a few Walmarts and Cabellas when going from point A to B.  Our average campground fees were just barely over $30 per day last year and we are trying to get them down closer to $25 per day in 2019.  

Prior to getting on the road I would purchase a TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system).  This will let you monitor your RVs tire's psi and temp while going down the road.  Most systems will sound an alarm if there is a sudden drop in pressure alerting you.  For us it is the number 1 piece of safety equipment to have.  We have been using a system made by TST since 2011 and it has worked perfectly.

I would purchase a Commercial road atlas (Trucker's road atlas) and consult it for your travels.  It will not only show all the roads big rigs can safely use but will list all low bridges and overpasses in each state.  You can get a current one at any truck stop.  We always get the cheaper paper ones.

Good luck and safe travels!

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We had what we called our 2X2X2 rule. We tried to never travel more than 200 miles per day, leave early enough to arrive at our next area to stop by 2pm, and stay two days. Staying two days gives us a day to relax after the drive, some days with traffic and road construction, or frost heaves to and from Alaska can be tense not scary. Then the next day at a stop we are refreshed and can set out to see whatever sights there are to see, with tips from locals and online help. Arriving by 2 pm means we beat most of the other weekenders and snowbirds who drive until dark, and since we never made reservations, usually got a space for overnight. For holidays I would pull into the area I want to hide from the traffic for the week before and at least two days after. Then see which park will guarantee me a space. Some had us move every day or two, and that was fine.

Never make plans to be anywhere at a certain date. If you do you will find it is hard unless you are already in the town where you made it. Also you avoid the problem of friends taking time off from work when you don't show for valid reasons. Just pull into town, get settled in your two day spot, then call them and ask them to dinner that night, and see if they want to suggest things to see and or do something together the next day. All of your non-RV friends will feel sorry for you and want you to stay in a "real bed" in their home. Inviting them to yours at the park can let them see your bed and home is just fine.

You said you have two dogs, how big (weight) you did not say nor what breed/s. The one scared of everything, does it bite in fear other dogs or people? Are either of them a breed that people and insurance companies consider dangerous rightfully or wrongfully so. Some parks won't take large dogs and have a "must be under" so many pounds rule. Others will not allow Pit Bulls, Chows, and even Shar-Pei and other breeds in their parks. If they are non stop barkers when you guys leave the house you might have problems at some RV parks as well.

You will also need to learn to pick and choose where you fill up your freshwater tank as some has a lot of non toxic but lots of salts or sulphite eating bacteria that make the water heater stink.

Now ask when something occurs, enough knowledge on this forum to help poinyt you in the right direction if not the exact answers.

 

Safe Travels!

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Hello!

I finally graduated to full time in my 2016 Minnie Winnie from a car and tent, then a van, moved up to a car and trailer and now my class c. So far, so good. 

I'm finding that the most important thing is a budget.

Other than that, I just try to see things, go places and do stuff.

I like the challenges of living on the road. I just like my freedom both in spirit and in mind.

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2 hours ago, RV_ said:

We had what we called our 2X2X2 rule. We tried to never travel more than 200 miles per day, leave early enough to arrive at our next area to stop by 2pm, and stay two days. Staying two days gives us a day to relax after the drive, some days with traffic and road construction, or frost heaves to and from Alaska can be tense not scary. Then the next day at a stop we are refreshed and can set out to see whatever sights there are to see, with tips from locals and online help. Arriving by 2 pm means we beat most of the other weekenders and snowbirds who drive until dark, and since we never made reservations, usually got a space for overnight. For holidays I would pull into the area I want to hide from the traffic for the week before and at least two days after. Then see which park will guarantee me a space. Some had us move every day or two, and that was fine.

Never make plans to be anywhere at a certain date. If you do you will find it is hard unless you are already in the town where you made it. Also you avoid the problem of friends taking time off from work when you don't show for valid reasons. Just pull into town, get settled in your two day spot, then call them and ask them to dinner that night, and see if they want to suggest things to see and or do something together the next day. All of your non-RV friends will feel sorry for you and want you to stay in a "real bed" in their home. Inviting them to yours at the park can let them see your bed and home is just fine.

With all due respect, this approach to traveling may have worked for RV but I would hate for a new full-timer to think that this is the only approach or that it is used by the majority of RVers.  The first thing any new full-timer should understand is that there is absolutely no proper definition of full-time RVing.  Everyone should do what feels comfortable for them.

For example, with respect to RV's comment "Never make plans to be anywhere at a certain date", that's very difficult to abide by if you want to stay in popular tourist destination areas.  For example, we have reservations to stay at a Canadian national park this June and by now the park is totally sold out for that weekend.   Furthermore, we have reservations for a canoe excursion in order to ensure that we could get one before it, also, was sold out. Sure, we run the risk of losing our money if we aren't able to get there, but, for us, that's less of a problem than not having the reservations we want.

We would also take issue with how long a typical driving day should be; what was acceptable to RV wouldn't work at all for us.  But that's the whole point; don't listen to anyone who tells you that they have the prescription for being a full-timer RVer because it simply isn't true.  Your prescription needs to be your own, at least if you intend to enjoy the experience to the fullest.

Joel (AKA docj)

Edited by docj

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3 minutes ago, docj said:

But that's the whole point; don't listen to anyone who tells you that they have the prescription for being a full-timer RVer because it simply isn't true.  Your prescription needs to be your own, at least if you intend to enjoy the experience to the fullest.

The only limit to the number of different ways there are to live in an RV is your own imagination and ingenuity. 

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3 hours ago, RV_ said:

We had what we called our 2X2X2 rule. We tried to never travel more than 200 miles per day, leave early enough to arrive at our next area to stop by 2pm, and stay two days.

Our rule was to leave a park by its checkout time, stop at whatever attracts our attention during the day, be in the next overnight parking spot by suppertime, and stay however long feels right for that spot. At Walmart that was one night. At a CoE park it might be one week. How far we traveled depended on what stops we made during the day but we seldom drove more than 200 miles in one day. As you can see we were not hurry up and get on the road people nor were we hurry up and get to the next overnight spot people. The only time we made sure we had reservations was when we camped in Key West and it turned out we wouldn't have needed that since we were there just as their rates we dropping for the end of that season. For holiday weekends we mostly came in on Wednesday and stayed a week. But, I hear the need for reservations is a tad more needed now than it was back when we were fulltiming 2008-2011 as there is, apparently, more competition now. Although, I still didn't feel a need for reservations during my snowbird years from 2012-2015 but it's easier to find a spot for a van that it is an extended HDT pulling a long 5th wheel.

My membership park across the river from Parker, AZ, did require reservations so I would pull into the Walmart in Parker to stock up on groceries then call my park from there and make a reservation for two weeks starting that night. :)

Linda Sand

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We adopted the 2x2 x2 rule because we had a motion sickness cat who couldn’t be fed in the morning of travel but could survive without whining until about 2 pm.  Plus that means we get a better spot and aren’t the afternoon entertainment trying to get into the remaining sites.  Since Dave doesn’t do mornings well, 10 am is our normal leaving time.  When we are moving towards a specific point we may do 3-4 days in a row (like driving through West Texas) but then do some down days.

 When we started in ‘06  we did 11K in six months and were exhausted.  Never again.  It takes us 2 months to go from Phoenix to Seattle.    Since we spend the summer in the Seattle area, it is ESSENTIAL to have reservations, especially since we use membership parks as often as possible.   We didn’t do that when we started, but now find it necessary for a lot of areas.  More and more RVers out there and no increase in the number of parks.

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We, too, loved the 2x2x2 rule when we were on the road. Of course it's not a set, never break rule but thinking about it defined our goals in fulltiming... to take your time and realize the goal is the travel and not just the destination. We only reserved sites when we knew we were going to busy places that fill up months ahead of time.

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Everyone is not the same.  Don't try to paint all fulltimers with the same brush.  Do what works for you.

The 2-2-2 rule works for some, not for others.  For example, I traveled extensively throughout the USA before I retired.  I found places I wanted to spend my retirement.  Now, I go to those places, one at a time.  My goal is to get to that next destination when the time comes.  I don't do much sightseeing along the way.  I just enjoy the scenery along the way.

I have one rule also, no rules.  I love to drive and can do so tirelessly for 10 or 12 hours per day.  It actually relaxes me.  When moving from my Winter spot to my Spring spot, I often go 500 miles or more per day.  From my Summer spot to my Fall area is two 650 mile days.  I never get in a hurry and drive under 60 mph.  I'm usually refreshed when I get there, with no negative consequences of a long driving day.

I'm not suggesting anyone do like I do.  It works for me.  Each must work out their own routine and methods.

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patjoleblanc, as you can see everyone has a little different twist on how to full time.  We would never aimlessly start checking one CG after another starting at 2pm to see who has room for us.  For one thing who knows how much each CG is going to charge, plus there are many areas of the country where if the first CG is full you may drive another 100 miles to check the next one.  

As far as staying in each CG two days we would never follow that as a strict rule or guide.  We generally seek out cheaper better deals in advance.  There are CGs that may charge $30 to $40 per day with utilities included, however their monthly rate could be $300 and you pay electric.  

Example:  There were numerous attractions we wanted to visit and explore between  New Orleans and Pensacola FL.  We figured it would take us a month in the fall to get it all done.  Now we could have moved every couple of days to cover that 200 miles and ended up in numerous CGs.  Doing it that way would have probably cost us between $900 and $1,100 just in CG fees for the month.  What we ended up doing with just a little research and pre-planning was finding a CG in the middle (Robertsdale AL) with a $300 a month rate.  We spent $100 to $120 extra in gasoline that month for our toad to visit the different attractions but overall we saved some miles on the coach and kept an extra $500 to $600 that month in our bank account.  

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Some feel better with reservations and that's just fine.   We were very comfortable winging it and honestly, never had a problem doing so.  We full-timed 16 years and if we would have had to make reservations for 5,840 nights we wouldn't have full-timed.

However, we didn't stay in RV 'resorts' and very few RV parks. We used public campgrounds, dry camped or boondocked on public lands… only a handful of times of parking at WalMarts, etc.  On the big 3-day weekends we chose to stay away from any kind of water... lakes, rivers, pools.  We let the weekenders have their fun and when they left we moved in.  If you travel secondary roads there are many out-of-the-way campgrounds.  We didn't need park activities. We are outdoor persons and explorers.

We also didn't rush travels.  As many other full-timers do, we just drove a maximum of 300 miles/day and ended our day around 3pm or before.  Sometimes we'd only move 100 miles.  We didn't care about big cities. We enjoyed the countrysides.  We tended to explore every nook and cranny of a state.

For sure, everyone is different. You'll soon find what works for you. Just know that there are many ways of traveling.

Have fun in your new lifestyle!

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Hey guys! <grin>

Sandy, Barb, Earl, and two gypsies you guys got it.

But to the others, thanks for letting me know it needs to be made clearer. ;)

OH jeez I forgot to say we would never, and just said never! One thing I never said:I never said the 2X2X2 rule was in stone but when we were in a hurry we used it so we did not miss anything not on the beaten path. Sometimes we stopped and did not leave for a month. in 1998 I promised to help a friend with his political campaign for a state position and were a month late. So we never scheduled again. We were fully retired at 45 and it took us a year to stop acting like we were on vacation, had to be back to work, so first thought we had to drive eight to ten hours daily. My mom who is gone now had Alzheimer's so we started every trip from our NW Louisiana winter quarters down I20 to El Paso, then across 10 to 8 to San Diego where she and my two brothers lived. We'd stay there two weeks to a month at Fiddler's Cove Military RV park and yacht club out next to Coronado Naval air station with the Bay on one side and the Pacific on the other. We spent our last month in Alaska at Eagle's Rest RV Park in Valdiz,because of the charters out to the gulf for barn door halibut and the last of the summer salmon runs from a friend's folboat in the bay. That was 1999. We stayed 12 days boondocking in Soldotna that year for the red salmon run. It is not in stone never was. But it did stop us from acting like rushing tourists and missing everything along the way.

But the rule is a good tip for newbies who might otherwise set a destination and drive 12 hours a day to get there fastest. We stayed a couple of weeks at Evergreen COHO COOP, for the Wooden ships Festival and many times spent a few weeks in Chanute Kansas where our HitchHiker factory was, since closed, but I believe still doing service on all brands. We'd find things like this: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=chanute+kansas+Pioneer+days&&view=detail&mid=39A25A05E7D69E0DDA9739A25A05E7D69E0DDA97&&FORM=VRDGAR IN our explore day.

We were retired and young at 45, and fulltimed for 7 years, ~6.5 years taking it easier. I make rules for me not others. But I do advise newbies to take a day to explore wherever you end up stopping, planned or serendipitous; you might stay a week, month, or a lifetime! For you folks who are grumpy relax, fulltiming is supposed to be fun and whatever way you want.

For you folks having a bad day, great, you do whatever floats your boat or blows up your skirt. Relax guys! Online advice is always worth what you paid for it, yours and mine.

Edited by RV_

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21 hours ago, Vonbrown said:

Hello!

I finally graduated to full time in my 2016 Minnie Winnie from a car and tent, then a van, moved up to a car and trailer and now my class c. So far, so good. 

I'm finding that the most important thing is a budget.

Other than that, I just try to see things, go places and do stuff.

I like the challenges of living on the road. I just like my freedom both in spirit and in mind.

Welcome to the Escapees forums Vonbrown! You will find a lot of helpful folks here, and even a few grumps thrown in to keep us straight. How you drive and where and how long you stay will all come after budget I agree. If you need any advice on budgets of others several of our members here have detailed budgets and information on RV expenses on their personal webpages as well as here, check some of them out. I look forward to your future posts and input!

Safe travels!

My website is offline for maintenance at the servers for a few days.

Edited by RV_

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On 3/24/2019 at 5:20 PM, Vonbrown said:

I'm finding that the most important thing is a budget.

Other than that, I just try to see things, go places and do stuff.

We are happy to have you on the Escapee forums! We are happy to help in any way that we can. It might serve you better to start new threads when you have questions, just to be sure that they get addressed. Budget is clearly an important thing and we will do our best  to help you. There are many things which can be done to stretch a budget depending on the lifestyle that you prefer.  It is difficult for us to give you figures as the cost of RV parks varies widely depending on where you stay. In the midwest, it probably averages about $30-35 per night while on the west coast or in Florida will be $50 to $75 per night. Fuel prices also vary widely geographically. What you spend time doing is also part of the mix as amusement parks are quite expensive but hiking and taking pictures can be very inexpensive. Federal facilities can be quite inexpensive if you are 62 or older by getting an America the Beautiful, senior card. Some state parks are reasonable while others can be quite expensive. Food expense cost and living expenses will probably be about the same as you have now. The cost of fuel can be controlled by adjusting your amount of travel. We could probably give more advice if we had more specific information about your plans and dreams.

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I am in the same boat in that I am starting this same "adventure"with my wife and 2 chihuahuas. I learned as much from this post as I did my own posts for information. I am glad that I am part of this forum where experienced people can help me sort things out.

I appreciate you guys.

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