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We have officially been living in our 5th wheel for two weeks now! We had our estate sale and sold so much, we had to move out of our house of 23 years! The house is empty except for our clothes closet.... still some work to do there. The house is on the market! Three years ago, when we started this journey, I thought this day would never come! We love our new 5th wheel, named Honalee! We are new to RVing so we are learning more every day. We still work... we both retire May 31!! And then the real adventure begins with travel! We had thought we would head to Newfoundland but after more thought, we remembered the reason we are doing this... to relax!! So, no agenda. We are just going to head North and see what we see and go where it looks interesting and end up where we end up. Hopefully we will learn how to slow down and relax. After working for 45 years (since I was 16), I have to adjust to the fact that I don't have to: go to work,... make money,.... pay bills,... and repeat.... The money will just come to me!!??

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Congratulations on your graduation Kathie & Tom!

 

We retire this DEC, and will be traveling to Alaska next year. We found out as we researched our trip, that campgrounds in very desirable places fill up quickly - sometimes a year in advance! So, you might want to consider (as we did) looking into long-range reservations to places you really want to visit. Especially in the Maritimes and popular destinations in the USA.

 

For instance, if you are considering visiting the Florida Keys in Jan, 2018, you are probably too late-already booked! Same for a lot of the campgrounds on the Alaska Highway & on a lot of the popular routes through the Maritimes: reservations for this summer were made by a lot of travelers *last* summer!

 

Not dissuading a go-with-the-flow, no agenda travel plan (we are doing this as well!!) Just suggesting that if a place you want to visit is a popular destination, you may want to consider making advance reservations and use that date range as a anchor around the rest of your footloose and fancy free travels :)

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I'm gradually getting stuff sold too for the house (my parents' house) to go on the market in May. I'd much prefer to get it all sold sooner than later but since they will be here for the summer they kinda want furniture and cook pots and plates to use while they're here (bummer). I'm looking at September as my launch date...but I will be done with work May 5th for other travel.

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Hi, Everyone! We are John and Pat, travelling with our 7-year-old diabetic orange tabby cat, Macadamia. It's all coming together! We finally sold (some), gave away (a lot) and/or threw away (some) our 'stuff' and have reduced our footprint to what fits in our mid-sized SUV. We put our house on the market on Friday and we just accepted an offer that meets our needs. We are shocked at how fast everything is going! If all goes well, we will meet our goal of heading out to South Dakota by 1 May and hopefully very soon after that, we'll graduate into full-timing. (We just have that niggling little problem of finding our 'dream' RV; but with luck, that will fall into place, as well.) We're very happy to be members of the Class of 2017!

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We move into our 5th wheel on the 1st of April (yes, seriously)  In December of 2016 we decided to sell our house and hit the road full-time with our three kids and two dogs.  Well everything happened a little quicker than we expected and the house closes 31 March.  We'll be staying local until 01 July so my wife can finish out the school year as the Childrens Director at our church.  I guess that makes us the Class of 2017.

 

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Still not sure if we belong in class of 16, 17 or 18!

We have been in the 5th wheel since last June (16) and parked in the driveway of our house for 2 months while we worked on the house during the summer. Getting rid of 99% of stuff we didn't need happened for 2 years straight  prior to that.  We put the house on the market in the fall., took it off again for the holidays and went with a realtor in mid January. The house sold within a week and we just closed Feb 27!!!!!  So officially we are full timers now (2017) since we no longer own property. We can't hit the road though until hubby's retirement in June 2018. 

We are overjoyed at being unshackled financially and debt free! It was tough to transition while still working but we have completed one of 2 midwest winters in the RV and are free to continue to save $$$ since we both will work another year yet. We are so glad we decided to downsize  2 years BEFORE retirement. 

Weeding out belongings, downsizing to about 400 sq ft and preparing to sell the home you lived in for 17 years is not for the faint of heart. It is a drastic event and I am glad we are finally done. We don't miss it now that someone else owns it....out of sight -out of mind. Can't wait to hit the road and wish all of you who are still in the prep stages the very best. Remember the goal when you are knee deep in paint or on your knees installing flooring..... the time will go so fast!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

House up for sale, check, RV on order, check, domicile, Tags/Registration, Insurance, all work in process. Looking forward to being part of the class of 2017 end of May. I will be reading up on FT life here, FMCA, and any other sites that can save me  some hard learning OTR.

Life is Gooder,

-R

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  • 2 weeks later...
1 hour ago, HSVBamaBob said:

Since when do you need to get a RV inspected for a Extended Warranty? I just called Coach Net and they quoted me a price. ?

I just bought an Extended Warranty from Wholesale Warranties, and they also required an inspection when purchasing a used RV. It was actually very interesting and helpful as the inspector went through the coach with an experienced eye and no emotional attachment. I learned a few things, and it turned out our coach was in great shape.

From my reading of the various company's contracts it seems that they all require this.

The main point of the inspection is to assure the company that they won't be paying for expensive repairs to items that were already broken before you bought the warranty. Imagine how many people would cheat them by buying warranties after-the fact if they could!

Edited by DunellenGuy
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12 hours ago, DunellenGuy said:

I just bought an Extended Warranty from Wholesale Warranties, and they also required an inspection when purchasing a used RV. It was actually very interesting and helpful as the inspector went through the coach with an experienced eye and no emotional attachment. I learned a few things, and it turned out our coach was in great shape.

From my reading of the various company's contracts it seems that they all require this.

The main point of the inspection is to assure the company that they won't be paying for expensive repairs to items that were already broken before you bought the warranty. Imagine how many people would cheat them by buying warranties after-the fact if they could!

AH! OK That makes sense now! Was not thinking of a used RV - now I understand completely -- thanks for the education DunellenGuy! Oh...and CONGRATULATIONS on your impending retirement!! Ya got us beat by a few months :D

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I haven't written for awhile. Things got super crazy/busy. We had an estate sale which was a huge success. We stayed in a hotel that night. We ended up getting the trailer out of storage the next day and have been living in it ever since! So, I guess we are full timers but our intention is to retire and travel and then I will call us full timers! I advertised our home on Zillow and another website and it sold (full asking price) in 9 days!!! We close April 25th. No realtors involved (although they certainly tried to get involved!) so we saved a bunch of money! We have mail-forwarding set up. We go to South Dakota in a couple weeks to become legal residents of South Dakota. We retire in just 47 days!! We are almost there! And.... since we have been living in the 5th wheel, we love it! We had never spent one night in a trailer of any kind so it's been a huge learning curve. It just feels so right!! June 1st, we are free!!!

Kathie and Tom

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We just got an offer on our house too which my parents accepted. It was for the asking price and in only two weeks of being listed. We were hoping to close August 1st but looks like it will be July 17th...only a week after I get back from England, and I only have three weeks in May to get everything done...feeling a little overwhelmed :-(

At least I have a lot of stuff already sold but we still have to sell the rest of the furniture and tools...and some of it can't be sold until July since the parents will need it. 

It's all a little earlier than I'd planned so hopefully the 5W will be ready (dealing with a few leaks right now and it just froze overnight...ugh).

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  • 2 weeks later...

To bad! We had that happen to us. They wanted the house "as is" down to don't spackle the nail holes. Well they couldn't sell their house after 60 days then did not want to extend. We moved the fiver back into he driveway and completed all the work in 1.5 months. new carpet , fresh paint, you name it we updated it or finished the forgotten projects. Put it up on FSBO had 22 showings and over 3000 hits on the webpage. Not one offer. We had moved back to the RV park and it was 65 mile round trip to show the house and my wife finally let me know she had had enough so i contacted my old school buddy and he came out the same day took a ton of pictures and we sold it in a week. Yep it hurts to lose 7% but what is your sanity worth.  When is the best time to sell a house is what i asked my friend- RIGHT NOW he said. Good Luck!

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Doc and I are on our inaugural trip in our "new to us" 2005 Tiffin Phaeton class A. We knew that we wanted to become snowbirds for sure, and possibly go full time, but we thought we should give ourselves a long trip to be sure. We are only 3 weeks in and we have confirmed to ourselves that this is the lifestyle we want! We'll be out for another month and a half, but then we will start getting rid of everything once we get home. We sold the house 3 years ago, so it's just the furnishings and other stuff that we need to let go of. It just doesn't make sense to continue to pay $850 a month rent (or storage) when we'll be down south for half of the year and out camping most of the summer where we live (Eastern Washington and North Idaho has some of the best camping areas around!). We still have our lease until Dec, but we will likely leave for Texas in early November and just eat those last 2 months of rent. So far, we've been staying in RV parks (aside from a couple of nights spent in rest areas). We know that we are going to have to alter those plans if we want to save money. We either need to stay for a month at each place to get the lower rate, or mix in boondocking in order to save some money. Not to mention that moving around is costing us a mint in diesel fuel! Our biggest concern, since neither of us is 65 yet, is health insurance. We have a lot to learn about how to establish our residency and what to do about mail. Right now it's being forwarded to my parents house since we will be there in a couple of weeks, but the health care costs are too high to make their state our residence.

I am so glad to be able to learn from the experience of people who have been doing this awhile- thanks for having us. Doc and Erin

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2 hours ago, Doc&Erin said:

Doc and I are on our inaugural trip in our "new to us" 2005 Tiffin Phaeton class A.

<SNIP>

. So far, we've been staying in RV parks (aside from a couple of nights spent in rest areas). We know that we are going to have to alter those plans if we want to save money. We either need to stay for a month at each place to get the lower rate, or mix in boondocking in order to save some money. Not to mention that moving around is costing us a mint in diesel fuel! Our biggest concern, since neither of us is 65 yet, is health insurance. We have a lot to learn about how to establish our residency and what to do about mail. Right now it's being forwarded to my parents house since we will be there in a couple of weeks, but the health care costs are too high to make their state our residence.

I am so glad to be able to learn from the experience of people who have been doing this awhile- thanks for having us. Doc and Erin

First, congrats on the New Tiffin Doc & Erin!!  - nice rig and the folks at Red Bay are good people, and have a fairly large campground - as you travel, you might want to stop and say hi to the folks that built your coach!

Camping...

Some of the cost cutting things you may want to consider is Workamping, camp hosting, Amazon Camping (if you want some extra income working at one of the Amazon distro facilities). Any of these activities can drastically cut your camping expenses (since they usually provide a free site in exchange for your time)

Another thought that has a up front expense is a campground membership. We have several friends that have the Thousand Trails premium membership and they camp for free at Thousand Trails campgrounds all over the USA (these memberships are not cheap though once you have them they usually pay for themselves in a year or two)

Passport America - if you are not a member, buy a year and see how it works for you - it worked so well for us that we are lifetime members - and the lifetime membership cost paid for itself ini a year!

Good Sams - same thing - 10% discounts at thousands (yes, really) of campgrounds in the US & Canada

Escapees - same thing here good discounts at a lot of campgrounds.

Health Insurance...

A lot of folks Domicile in FL because of the health insurance. That is about all we know though (We are Army retirees so this is not a concern for us) Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than us will chime in!

Mail Forwarding Service...

All the major RV clubs offer a discount on various mail forwarding services (FMCA, Escapees, Good Sam). For us, however, since we are going to domicile in FL, St. Brendon's Isle was the service we chose: [https://www.sbimailservice.com/]

The tipping point for us was the Mail Scan Pro feature. It makes the service a tad pricey (our plan is $25/month) but it lets me log on to their site and see the envelope of every piece of mail we receive. Better yet,  if a piece of mail comes in that I absolutely need NOW, I pay a small fee and they will scan the contents and it will be available as a PDF for me to download within 24 hours.

If you don't need that high tech feature, mail forwarding typically costs under $12/month.

(Fun Factoid about their choice of names for their company: St. Brendon's Isle is a mythical island, supposedly situated in the North Atlantic somewhere west of Northern Africa) :rolleyes:

Diesel...

Consider getting a Pilot Flying J Credit card. You get discounted fuel at these facilities when you use the card.

Get the GassBuddy app for your smartphone. A lot of folks do not realize this, but GasBuddy also tracks Diesel prices as well! With that big tank on your Phaeton, this should give you refueling options (We have a mantra we have used for years: "Half is Empty" i.e., when we are at 1/2 tank we start shopping for Diesel!

 

Any other questions? Ask away!

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Thanks for the reply HSVBamaBob. I will look into the Health Insurance rates in Florida. I've been reading a lot of blogs as well as books about fulltime rving and got some of your tips already. We got a free 1 yr membership to Thousand Trails when we purchased the coach, although we haven't stayed in any of the parks yet. We also purchased Good Sam and Passport America memberships, which we have been using heavily as we travel. Good Sam gives us a 10c a gallon discount on fuel at Flying J and Pilot, but I was thinking about the Flying J card as well.

Since this trip is a vacation, I left all of my equipment at home, but I started a web based T-shirt company about a year ago (before I left my job). I make custom T-shirts that I can sell on the web (although I've done way more sales through Ebay and in person than on my website). I think I am going to make some camping/RV lifestyle shirts and see if I can sell some to the parks I stay at. Many seem to have stores and they might be interested in having some shirts to sell with their name on them. The only down side to doing the business on the road is having to cart boxes of blank t-shirts around. I'll have to think on that some more I guess.

Do any of you have any tips related to rv remodel jobs? We want to remove one of the couches and put an entertainment center there, remove the dining booth in favor of a desk and add a couple of recliners or a reclining loveseat in the empty space where the previous owners had recliners. We aren't particularly handy people, so we would need to take it somewhere. The only thought I have right now is to have the work done in Montana or Oregon since there is no sales tax in those states. Any recommended shops to do the work? Any idea what the cost would be? We probably won't do anything for at least a year- just to be sure that our ideas don't change as we get more accustomed to living in our coach.

Thanks,

Doc&Erin

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  • 3 weeks later...

My house has been on the market for 50 days, nice 2  bedroom, den, 2020 sq. foot home, pool/spa in sunny Scottsdale, Az? Hope Im not violating any rule with my post. Probably asking too much, am still trying to make final decision on RV full timer life, RV type, so I might be class of 17! I can't buy an RV until house sells, looks like I may be homeless for a while. Maybe get an apartment for a month or two until I get the RV.

Thanks for all the great information.

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