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About ToddF

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    Senior Member

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    Burnsville, MN
  • Interests
    Biking, Half Timer, Bichon Frise fan

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  1. Part of the confusion comes from mixed messages. RV sales appear to be soaring during the pandemic. On the other hand, the CDC says "travel increases the risk of catching the virus and spreading the virus". But travel on a subway and airplane compared to an RV are 2 very different scenarios. A breakdown is difficult under normal circumstances but obviously potentially complicated with the virus. Ray's story taken under advisement. (Sorry you were unable to get to Mayo. It's an amazing place). Currently at Whitewater State Park, less than 30 minutes away from downtown Rochester and Mayo clinic. (It makes a good base when here for medical reasons in addition to be a great place to getaway from the Twin Cities). I'm going to break my trip into 2 segments...the first is the trip out to the Poconos and Jersey Shore and Penna dutch country. (I'm comfortable going to these areas where I have lived and have family.) At the end of October, I'll have to decide whether or not to head down to Florida or return to Minnesota. I've made a decision that moving the risk down to zero is not how I am going to deal with pandemic. I have neighbors who haven't left their home (except for medical appointments) since January! I'm not going to do anything foolish though, like head out to Sturgis. That's just plain ridiculous.
  2. Story on Bloomberg this morning re skyrocketing lumber prices. (Ditto for steel). Construction costs for raw material are soaring. I'd look around for something already set up and grab it if it suits your fancy. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-07/timber-touches-record-with-lockdowns-spurring-renovation-revival
  3. If TT cancels my reservations, I'll return to MN. Given my lifestyle, I won't be putting anyone at risk beyond that incurred in conducting "essential business". The virus can hit like a ton of bricks...if I get sick far away from home, I'll have to send for help. (I do have a plan.) Osterholm (of MN) in New York Times today advocating for another lockdown. CNN also a big story headed in that direction. In the meantime, 250,000 crowd into Sturgis SD. One thing I like about my plan is that things aren't as busy after Labor Day. Planning daily walks along the Jersey shore..very few people after Labor Day and the weather is typically gorgeous.
  4. I recommend looking for a S+B home with a good place to park your RV on site. Choice #2 would be to buy a lot in an existing development. Buying raw land and starting from scratch will take too much time and $.
  5. I am also self-employed (tax preparer with a storefront). I closed my office on March 12th to foot traffic. Clients dropped their info off thru my mail slot or uploaded via secure portal. When I reopened office to in person service with new precautions (on May 26), I was shocked at how many people would walk in with no mask. Many had obviously not grasped the seriousness of the pandemic. If you are serving the general public, you must have strict rules in order to keep your business safe. No exceptions.
  6. I do not have to travel. But I plan to leave MN on Sept 10 for the rest of 2020 before returning to MN at the end of Dec in time for tax season. I will be traveling solo and look forward to visiting familiar places from the NY/NJ/PA tri-state area and working my way down to Florida for Nov/Dec. I will be almost exclusively in TT parks. I am on an elite contract with the Florida "Max pass"...first time using it. Reservations booked out thru early Dec so far. I understand about the virus. I will wear gloves when I gas up. I will wear a mask in grocery stores and shop early when stores are not busy and have been cleaned overnight I am a "home body" and spend a lot of time in my RV alone. I take daily walks and bike rides.I'll need to use laundromats..the one high touch area I can't avoid. I'llnl only use pools if nearly empty. Any words of wisdom appreciated especially from anyone who frequents the East coast. I love to travel and knock 2-3 months off my winter. I have made similar versions of this trip before and am comfortable with where I am traveling. "MO" at home since the pandemic started has been similar to what I have planned for the trip. Tried eating in a few restaurants and have dropped that component due to risks and reduced enjoyment due to all the precautions.
  7. It was the worst part of our 7,000 mile trip last year. Feels like a roller coaster ride. Not sure of alternate routes.
  8. I remember shopping at my local grocery store before Walmart's SuperCenter (and also Target SuperCenter) opened and noticed increasing grocery prices. As soon as Walmart and Target opened, the prices on most items dropped 50c to $1.00 or more. I joined Sam's Club as a business member for $100 year even though my needs are limited, they have gained my goodwill for the grocery savings and use of their parking lots a couple of times a year for overnight stops. Walmart also has water dispensers in most of their stores and I like the filtered water for 39c a gallon. And in the town where I prepare taxes, before Walmart you could work for "Mom and Pop" and make minimum wage as a clerk or cashier. Now Walmart employs hundreds of people in our area for liveable wages with health insurance and stock purchase plan options, 401K with match etc. I think the CNN article must have been needed on a slow news day, as pointed out, no direct info from Walmart Corporate in the article. (I've seen W2s from cashiers for 40K+ )
  9. Maybe join thousand trails? Look for work camping jobs? Hope it all works out ok for you.
  10. I hope some will still allow it. Walmart used to be a haven for RV parking, but more stores won't allow it https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/31/business/walmart-rv-overnight-parking/index.html
  11. My general advice would be to expect repairs in both cases (buying new or used). Have done both recently and in both cases, made many visits for various service needs and repairs. RVs are high maintenance and, unless you know how to do a multitude of things yourself, can get very expensive. Once you buy an RV and go through the initial repairs that are needed, you gradually get everything working the way you want and maintenance becomes more predictable. There will still be surprises and disappointments. Buying used kept our investment much lower and allowed us to try the lifestyle on for size before eventually buying new and spending a lot of $ and taking on a big RV loan. I make an effort to learn some maintenance tasks myself, which gives me more control, reduces visits to service centers, and saves me a few $. But I am very limited in what I can or will do. For example, I change the oil in my generator but not the RV. I winterize and dewinterize myself. I've replaced a toilet seal and installed a flat screen TV in the used RV that we bought. My sense from years of following forums and blogs is that there isn't a magic bullet in terms of a brand or manufacturer or type that will require less maintenance. RVs are complex monsters with any number of things that can go wrong. Once and awhile you get on a roll and get a good year or two without a big ticket item. Financially speaking, RVs are a money pit. I wouldn't have gotten into this game if my house hadn't been paid off and my finances in fairly decent shape. This isn't a lifestyle or hobby for anyone living on the edge. (Just my opinion...some seem to try it as evidenced by RVs that are obviously in need of repairs and maintenance in some parks I visit).
  12. When you're on the road, most want to be as "foot loose and fancy free" as possible. Being a landlord may get in the way of that objective. I've rented out my home a couple of different times when I was in transition and was always surprised at the problems that popped up. Late rent. Broken appliances. Mostly little stuff but annoying nonetheless. Make sure you understand the tax code if you decide to rent. You may lose your exclusion on the gain on your personal residence. And depreciation MUST be taken on a rental property and recaptured upon sale in most cases. It's a very individual situation, certainly could work for the right persons, both landlord and tenant. Shutting the house down and keeping the place empty will be my choice going forward.
  13. In Minnesota you could create a "Single Member LLC" and file income tax as a sole proprietor OR elect to be treated as an S Corporation for Federal and MN income tax purposes. If you don't have a tax advisor, consider consulting with one. (Each state will be different). naea.org (National Association of Enrolled Agents) member lookup EAs tend to have smaller practices and are very approachable for small business owners like yourself. Study the "Wayfair" decision to learn about sales tax issues, as Kirk has pointed out, very important. Each state will have different rules. In addition to tax and legal bases, be sure to cover insurance issues with a qualified insurance agent. Don't assume that business activity, however small, is inconsequential.
  14. I've been out East multiple trips and believe most of the parks in the TT Northeast zone can handle you. But go after Labor Day as the parks will be very full July/August. Wells, ME, Gateway to Cape Cod, Lake and Shore (NJ shore), Timothy Lake South (Poconos), should all handle a big rig. Pick up a Thousand Trails Zone pass. Things are tighter out East...with careful planning, you should be ok. If you are new and not 100% able to manuever in heavy traffic, I'd be extra cautious. In the NYC area, I leave Timothy Lake South on Sunday morning and head to the Jersey shore...after Labor Day. Minimal traffic at that time. Vermont is pretty but didn't see many campgrounds.
  15. Both states are open ...state parks in both MN and WI require online reservations. In MN, same day reservations will not incur reservation fee of about $8. KOA open. MN and WI require vehicle passes, in WI you have to buy an annual online and print receipt for use until you receive the sticker in the mail. The shutdown has made it difficult to get reservations, Sun-Thurs best odds. July and Aug are the busiest months. Try Whitewater State Park (MN) if you come home via I-90. Very quiet park with newer section in the open prairie and older section in woods. Not too far from Winona the river for scenic tours.
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