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MacMinn

"Half-timing"?

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I'm not sure if there is such a thing, but we're interested in camping in the winters, and be in Minnesota in the summer/fall. We will also use our RV some in the summer around. We would like to be mobile in the winter, at least until we figure out where we might want to spend a few months at a time in the winter.  

Just looking for suggestions from others that do something like this.  We don't want to pull the camper back in the winter.  We'll also probably go back to MN for a few weeks during the holidays. How do you store your camper in situations like this?  After the holidays will probably head  back out to explore more in the south and west.

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We are based in the Twin Cities and enjoy Minnesota and the surrounding states from early May - Labor Day. We spend a lot of time on the North Shore (Lake Superior) and down in the Driftless Zone (Lanesboro, Root River Trail). I also do a lot of biking around the lakes and other paved bike trails in the Twin Cities metro area. And we enjoy the shopping, arts, sports venues, dining, parks, farmer's markets, fairs etc of this region. 

We have indoor storage in MN where the RV rests out of the elements during the time we are in our town home. Indoor storage is hard to find, but not impossible. 

Our town home lends itself to "lock and go" so we can go anytime..except during tax season when we work FT. Our low real estate taxes, maintenance fees, and utilities give us little financial incentive to look at full-timing, although one can't help consider the option given the number of folks who enthusiastically embrace it. It is not for us. We recenty sold our lake home, embracing the RV life style on a "half-time" basis. We much prefer the RV and lifestyle compared to a fixed vacation home.

By traveling south later in the year, we shorten our winters. But we return in late Dec (early January this go around) for the tax season which we start in early to mid January. So we've learned how to winterize on the road, typically when we cross the TX/OK line and spend a night in a motel en route back to MN. Last year we got back and the RV into storage before the first snow flakes so no trouble. Not looking forward to driving in snow but it's possible with our time line, and we'll deal with it when it comes. We learned how to winterize the rig ourselves which eliminates the need for an RV service appt.

Most campgrounds have storage areas for the time you would be back in MN. Also, lots of storage lots and other facilities especially down in the larger snowbird destinations like Mesa etc. We do sometimes fly home and try to position ourselves in cities that Sun Country services, as their fares are very low and they allow one way tickets on short notice. Orlando, Harlingen, and Mesa are 3 good places to be if you need to fly home to MSP.

 

 

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5 hours ago, MacMinn said:

We don't want to pull the camper back in the winter.  We'll also probably go back to MN for a few weeks during the holidays. How do you store your camper in situations like this?  After the holidays will probably head  back out to explore more in the south and west.

Some RV parks have a storage area.  If not, there are usually plenty of storage facilities in the snowbird areas.  It really shouldn't be an issue.

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Except in the east Phoenix valley, storage for RVs is getting terribly expensive because several subdividing HOAs have cracked down on people keeping their RVs on their property during the whole winter!

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Back in 2011 when we began our initial stint of full timing our plan was to stay in Illinois until right after the holidays and then head to Florida for the winter.  After April 1st then come out of Florida, travel all over, then land in Illinois late in the fall and do it all over again.

That only worked out one complete cycle.  Leaving late December from up north was not good the years we did it.  One morning I spent almost 3 hours getting ice off my slide toppers so I could put the slides in to get on the road.  We also needed a ton of extra equipment/gear to get through low temps in December.  

Winterizing and storing may work a little better but for us that wasn't an option since we were full time.

Now generally what we do is camp in Alabama during November.  During the late part of the month we drive our car up into Illinois and spend an early holiday week with family.  The campground in Alabama is only $330 a month and folks watch over our RV for us while we are gone that week.  Then around December 1st we make the run into Florida for the winter.

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There are many people who do some variation of what you are thinking of and most refer to themselves as snowbirds. The only issue that I see is that of finding a new place to store the RV each summer, unless you find a place that you will return to the same storage place each spring, but there is no reason why you can't work out a system to do this. The other option would be to go south before the weather gets bad and wait the winter out before returning each spring. We know a lot of people who do or have done that. 

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I am originally from San Diego. My first two years of RV life I returned home for the winter and traveled the summer. I put my rig in storage for the winter. The storage in San Diego was about $250 a month. In my third year I decided to rent out my house rather than leave it vacant for six months. I have been going to Phoenix for the winters. This year I’m going to FL. My plan is to find a place in AZ or FL to purchase in an RV Resort in about five years and travel in the summers. I am the opposite of a snow bird. 

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FL-Joe. Where in AL and FL will you be spending the winter?  I will be in Gold Poer AL for Nov and Davenport FL starting Dec. 

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Minnesota parks often say the camping season is April 15th to October 15th. But we've had blizzards in April and temps can still freeze your water pipes in late September. I remember sitting in Texas impatiently waiting for the temps to warm up enough so I could go home. If you really want to be on the road half time you need to be prepared to winterize your RV just as Todd said. We have also done that and stayed in motels even though we were driving the RV.

Linda

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Wife and I were "snowbirds" for a few years prior to full-timing.  When we returned to Michigan we would get any needed RV work done and then put the RV in inside storage.  A few times we left the RV in the south for the summer.  When we did that, we basically had it winterized and then placed it into a climate controlled storage facility.  Summer heat and humidity can do a number on RVs that are just sitting out in the elements, even when covered with an RV cover.   

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On 9/9/2019 at 11:24 AM, Twotoes said:

FL-Joe. Where in AL and FL will you be spending the winter?  I will be in Gold Poer AL for Nov and Davenport FL starting Dec. 

We do a CG outside of Robertsdale AL and then we will be returning to North Ft Myers.  Will be on AL for November and FL from Dec to May.

Sometime during the winter months we will probably take a few days and come up to the Ocala area (by car or motorcycle).  We have friends that built a home up there and we want to check out that general area for a possible future retirement location.

Where is "Gold Poer AL"?

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We meet up with friends who bought a home in Loxley last year.  We will be doing a ton of fall riding all over that area.  Don't know if you are a vet or not but the USS Alabama (Mobile) is worth the visit.  Maybe you have already visited there.  I went again last year but went through the VN memorial and display outside for the first time.  I was very fortunate and hardly anyone was in there.  With the loud speakers going off re-enacting announcements and the chopper sounds I could easily sit down and close my eyes......took me back 48 years to base camp!

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