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Young couple deciding to take the leap


DerekandRenee

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Hello,

 

We are Derek and Renee, 27 and 29 years old. We have 3 dogs and 4 cats! :) We have decided to buy and RV and live full time. We don't have a huge budget, but we think we can make it work. I am prior military and plan on using some of my educational benefits as income as well as doing the work camp gig...

My question to the experiences folks is, what parks allow bigger dogs and "restricted breeds"? It seems everyone frowns upon that and I don't have many choices. Could someone give me insight please?

Also, do you think it's a good idea for a young couple to do this? I think it would be a ton of fun and we aren't guaranteed tomorrow so I want to live a fun life!

 

Thanks for any replies.

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! We will be happy to do all that we can to help you find your way.

 

There is much more involved in making this change than just finding an RV park so I'll offer a few suggestions. The first is that you do some serious reading on the subject of RV living because it is much different from living in a house or apartment and there are many things that you will need to do such as setting up an address somewhere in order to register vehicles and hold a driving license as well as getting mail, voting, and a host of other things. We call our legal home of record our domicile and I'd invite you to read this article on choosing one which is from Escapee's magazine. You might also want to visit your local library and get one or two books on the subject of living in an RV, just to lean about the kinds of things that we deal with as well as some thoughts on what needs to be done. You can also find a selection of such books on Amazon or several other places for purchase.

 

The pet issue could also be a problem as not only do some RV parks have restrictions on dog breeds, but even more common is a limit on the number of pets allowed. You may find that Corps of Engineers parks are a good choice for you as they are not expensive and they also have no pet restrictions as long as your pets are kept leashed and do not bother other campers. You may also want to do some study on the different types and quality levels of the many RVs that are available out there. I'd suggest that you start by just spending some time walking through as many different ones as you possibly can, just to see what is available and to get a feel for the range in prices. If you choose a trailer you will need to also consider a tow vehicle and if you select a motorized RV then you will have other things to consider. As you look at the choices you also need to study things like the weight ratings so that you will know if each one can carry the weight of all of your belongings.

 

There is a lot involved in making such a life change but it is something which can be done if you want it badly enough. You will find that there are many of us here who have done or are doing what you are considering and we believe that for us it was the best possible way to live. I happen to be one of that group and I encourage you to move ahead with your plan, but do take enough time to learn what to avoid and what must be done. The reason for this is to make sure that it works out well and allows you to spend a long time traveling and enjoying our great lifestyle. There are many things to consider and issues to deal with, but it can also be one of the best decisions that you will ever make so do not allow the size of the task to deter you but do take some time as you move ahead to avoid disastrous mistakes.

 

You can do this, but it will take some time and study to do so successfully!

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How does one use their educational benefits as income????

 

He most likely didn't convey what he means. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, when one is a full time student, one receives an allowance equal to E-5 housing allowance. That amount varies based on location. I believe there are other education benefits prior military may have paid into that provide income when they are used. Or he means something else completely and I have no idea what.

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How does one use their educational benefits as income????

Thirty some years ago Dave's educational benefit paid more than his educational expenses that gave us a little bonus income. At the time he worked full-time days and went to school half-time nights so we didn't see a whole lot of each other. But, the payoff came in later years after he stumbled on a class that changed his major and paid off big time over his later years of working. GI benefits are wonderful things to have earned.

 

Linda Sand

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There is a woman Michele Rouse who has 6 dogs and does workcamping. She may be able to give you some information about traveling with restricted breeds.

I found her. thanks!!!

 

Welcome to the Escapee forums! We will be happy to do all that we can to help you find your way.

 

There is much more involved in making this change than just finding an RV park so I'll offer a few suggestions. The first is that you do some serious reading on the subject of RV living because it is much different from living in a house or apartment and there are many things that you will need to do such as setting up an address somewhere in order to register vehicles and hold a driving license as well as getting mail, voting, and a host of other things. We call our legal home of record our domicile and I'd invite you to read this article on choosing one which is from Escapee's magazine. You might also want to visit your local library and get one or two books on the subject of living in an RV, just to lean about the kinds of things that we deal with as well as some thoughts on what needs to be done. You can also find a selection of such books on Amazon or several other places for purchase.

 

The pet issue could also be a problem as not only do some RV parks have restrictions on dog breeds, but even more common is a limit on the number of pets allowed. You may find that Corps of Engineers parks are a good choice for you as they are not expensive and they also have no pet restrictions as long as your pets are kept leashed and do not bother other campers. You may also want to do some study on the different types and quality levels of the many RVs that are available out there. I'd suggest that you start by just spending some time walking through as many different ones as you possibly can, just to see what is available and to get a feel for the range in prices. If you choose a trailer you will need to also consider a tow vehicle and if you select a motorized RV then you will have other things to consider. As you look at the choices you also need to study things like the weight ratings so that you will know if each one can carry the weight of all of your belongings.

 

There is a lot involved in making such a life change but it is something which can be done if you want it badly enough. You will find that there are many of us here who have done or are doing what you are considering and we believe that for us it was the best possible way to live. I happen to be one of that group and I encourage you to move ahead with your plan, but do take enough time to learn what to avoid and what must be done. The reason for this is to make sure that it works out well and allows you to spend a long time traveling and enjoying our great lifestyle. There are many things to consider and issues to deal with, but it can also be one of the best decisions that you will ever make so do not allow the size of the task to deter you but do take some time as you move ahead to avoid disastrous mistakes.

 

You can do this, but it will take some time and study to do so successfully!

Thank you so much for all the info! very helpful

 

Any one can be a full time RVer. I find a lot of work that is not in the main stream of RVer life.

 

The pets I can not help with, we travel with one dog and have had no problem.

 

I will definitely look into it

Any one can be a full time RVer. I find a lot of work that is not in the main stream of RVer life.

 

The pets I can not help with, we travel with one dog and have had no prob

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As the others had mentioned, I do use my G.I. Bill benefits. It pays a housing allowance based on the zip code you are in.

I'm not a psychic nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night but I can foresee some problems with this - if you are traveling full time. You'll have a domicile address but you may be attending classes elsewhere. If there would be a difference in your payments, good luck convincing a government agency of your actual location without an address change.

 

As far as the rest of your plan goes, the subject comes up a few times a year on another RV forum. The poster usually makes 1 or 2 initial posts and they're never heard from again. Most workamping jobs are minimum wage or less and NO BENEFITS. Of course, if you have experience in building trades (electrician, carpenter, plumber, etc) campgrounds will welcome you with open arms - and pay you far less than the going rate. You should be entering your prime earning years and saving for retirement. Right, tomorrow is not guaranteed but that's no reason not to plan for it. Everyone wants to live a fun life but we all have to find a way to pay for it.

 

You don't say if you 2 are currently working. If you are, are the jobs portable?

 

RVing can be a very expensive way to live. RVs are depreciating assets. They are subject to repairs more often than a sticks and bricks house. If you break down 1000 miles into your first trip, do you have the funds readily available to pay for repairs?

 

I'm not saying that your plans are impossible but there are many more possible difficulties than pet restrictions at campgrounds.

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My question to the experiences folks is, what parks allow bigger dogs and "restricted breeds"? It seems everyone frowns upon that and I don't have many choices. Could someone give me insight please?.

 

 

 

 

If you have concerns about restricted breeds, I'd go here and do your research. It's getting harder and harder to find campgrounds and in fact, states that allow certain breeds. I travel with three dogs, myself so I understand the concern. Many campgrounds I have found have a 2 dog limit, which means I end up doing a lot more homework before I move to the next destination.

 

Hope this helps.

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I'm not a psychic nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night but I can foresee some problems with this - if you are traveling full time. You'll have a domicile address but you may be attending classes elsewhere. If there would be a difference in your payments, good luck convincing a government agency of your actual location without an address change.

 

In my experience using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the school does all the paperwork. If online classes are used exclusively, there is a set payment for the housing allowance regardless of where you are...about $700 per month. If taking in-residence classes, full payment. Online and in-residence can be combined per semester and still get full payment. With so many schools doing it, it's easy to find one that knows how it works.

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It could be a good move for the online or in residence classes as long as you can buy the RV outright and not have a note to pay each month save the lot rent. I used my GI bill while active duty. I saved most of it for my Masters in IR, using active duty TA programs and GI bill for part of my first BS. I did not RV fulltime however until I retired from the AF after 27 years. Then we did 7 years full time traveling with a 65 pond Shar-Pei named Bogart. Some parks had a 20 pound and under rule. We just stayed at the next one down the road.

 

Where you will run into amusing encounters is when you tell other full timers that you are too. They gave me a lot of ribbing, good natured, but they thought it was ridiculous that I was fulltiming so young at 45. I never made a point of having had several very lucrative businesses while on active duty that my wife ran during duty hours as well as our being Pro DJs from 1983-2003 when we did our final year for a seafood themed bar and grill on Fridays and/or Saturdays. I also made a lot wheeling and dealing vintage, performance, and collectible cars, bikes, and vans I restored. So I got a lot of the same thoughts thrown at me that I "should" be doing my life according to another's plan or what they thought was right. Back in 1997, when we started, our RV peers were usually 20-25 years our seniors as I was 45-52 for our fulltime years. I did run into a fellow guitarist and RVr in the Escapees home park Rainbow's end and we played a computer music trivia game and did our own too.

 

We made a lot of friends in Escapees traveling the country. My retirement covered the expenses because we bought used rigs and 1 ton diesel dually truck cash. You can do the same as long as you like. You'll soon learn if you can handle the lifestyle and expenses it takes. We loved it but came off the road to take care of elderly parents ostensibly, but I believe my SH (Significant Harassment,) Lynda, was just tired of traveling, as we did so much in our military career, and as military brats, both of us, from the time we were born.

 

My advice would be to read read read, then when you think you've read enough, read some more. Many of us have websites with more information and you can find many of those as well as blogs in our signature blocks.

 

I would not take back a minute of my career or my full timing. My SH feels the same. We just got a cute fifth wheel that we are going to use in a few weeks for a month while our new house pad, concrete and then the house is put in place. We will be staying on our five acres where the new house will be going together. It is nit a fulltime unit just a nicely made weekender for backyard camping for a month, then our trip to Laser Spinal for some cutting on my neck and lower back.

 

We are loving it. We've been setting up the LR and BR TVs and audio systems, and are waiting for a mini desktop computer to come in that will be the mini HTPC. We got is for a song as it needed a roof but had just started because the front and back main seams needed caulking. But the EPDM had given the expected years of service and we plan on keeping it around for a few years so are putting a better set of tires on it and have already changed the roof from EPDM to commercial grade TPO with heat seamed joints and water block sealed penetrations. It got a great test here with our torrential rains and flooding. Perfect!

 

My point is that you can, if you are handy and can figure things out, do a lot of upgrades and custom touches on these rigs, they are not all that hard to R&R anything on them if one has a strong back and some smarts.

 

So welcome from one Vet to another who used the GI Bill for bettering my education. You earned it, use it.

 

Huah

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Do you plan to sit in one location and attend school, using the RV as home to save money or do you have in mind to travel the country? We could give somewhat better advice if we knew a little more about your plan.

Kirk, we plan on staying down here in Florida for a little while then going out and seeing different locations! We don't plan on moving every month, but every couple months.

 

I'm not a psychic nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night but I can foresee some problems with this - if you are traveling full time. You'll have a domicile address but you may be attending classes elsewhere. If there would be a difference in your payments, good luck convincing a government agency of your actual location without an address change.

 

As far as the rest of your plan goes, the subject comes up a few times a year on another RV forum. The poster usually makes 1 or 2 initial posts and they're never heard from again. Most workamping jobs are minimum wage or less and NO BENEFITS. Of course, if you have experience in building trades (electrician, carpenter, plumber, etc) campgrounds will welcome you with open arms - and pay you far less than the going rate. You should be entering your prime earning years and saving for retirement. Right, tomorrow is not guaranteed but that's no reason not to plan for it. Everyone wants to live a fun life but we all have to find a way to pay for it.

 

You don't say if you 2 are currently working. If you are, are the jobs portable?

 

RVing can be a very expensive way to live. RVs are depreciating assets. They are subject to repairs more often than a sticks and bricks house. If you break down 1000 miles into your first trip, do you have the funds readily available to pay for repairs?

 

I'm not saying that your plans are impossible but there are many more possible difficulties than pet restrictions at campgrounds.

You certainly aren't a psychic with no knowledge of the G.I. Bill, so no luck is needed :)

I have VA benefits the rest of my life and I don't have many bills..at all.

I am a government contractor with many different skills, but I am out to enjoy myself.

See, I plan for my future, but I don't pinch everything I have in hopes of having a retirement at the age that I cant do the things that I can now....... I see no point in waiting until I am older with health problems trying to have fun.

Take care!

 

 

 

 

 

If you have concerns about restricted breeds, I'd go here and do your research. It's getting harder and harder to find campgrounds and in fact, states that allow certain breeds. I travel with three dogs, myself so I understand the concern. Many campgrounds I have found have a 2 dog limit, which means I end up doing a lot more homework before I move to the next destination.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Thanks for the info! I will check it out. Much appreciated!

 

 

In my experience using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the school does all the paperwork. If online classes are used exclusively, there is a set payment for the housing allowance regardless of where you are...about $700 per month. If taking in-residence classes, full payment. Online and in-residence can be combined per semester and still get full payment. With so many schools doing it, it's easy to find one that knows how it works.

Correct!

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It could be a good move for the online or in residence classes as long as you can buy the RV outright and not have a note to pay each month save the lot rent. I used my GI bill while active duty. I saved most of it for my Masters in IR, using active duty TA programs and GI bill for part of my first BS. I did not RV fulltime however until I retired from the AF after 27 years. Then we did 7 years full time traveling with a 65 pond Shar-Pei named Bogart. Some parks had a 20 pound and under rule. We just stayed at the next one down the road.

 

Where you will run into amusing encounters is when you tell other full timers that you are too. They gave me a lot of ribbing, good natured, but they thought it was ridiculous that I was fulltiming so young at 45. I never made a point of having had several very lucrative businesses while on active duty that my wife ran during duty hours as well as our being Pro DJs from 1983-2003 when we did our final year for a seafood themed bar and grill on Fridays and/or Saturdays. I also made a lot wheeling and dealing vintage, performance, and collectible cars, bikes, and vans I restored. So I got a lot of the same thoughts thrown at me that I "should" be doing my life according to another's plan or what they thought was right. Back in 1997, when we started, our RV peers were usually 20-25 years our seniors as I was 45-52 for our fulltime years. I did run into a fellow guitarist and RVr in the Escapees home park Rainbow's end and we played a computer music trivia game and did our own too.

 

We made a lot of friends in Escapees traveling the country. My retirement covered the expenses because we bought used rigs and 1 ton diesel dually truck cash. You can do the same as long as you like. You'll soon learn if you can handle the lifestyle and expenses it takes. We loved it but came off the road to take care of elderly parents ostensibly, but I believe my SH (Significant Harassment,) Lynda, was just tired of traveling, as we did so much in our military career, and as military brats, both of us, from the time we were born.

 

My advice would be to read read read, then when you think you've read enough, read some more. Many of us have websites with more information and you can find many of those as well as blogs in our signature blocks.

 

I would not take back a minute of my career or my full timing. My SH feels the same. We just got a cute fifth wheel that we are going to use in a few weeks for a month while our new house pad, concrete and then the house is put in place. We will be staying on our five acres where the new house will be going together. It is nit a fulltime unit just a nicely made weekender for backyard camping for a month, then our trip to Laser Spinal for some cutting on my neck and lower back.

 

We are loving it. We've been setting up the LR and BR TVs and audio systems, and are waiting for a mini desktop computer to come in that will be the mini HTPC. We got is for a song as it needed a roof but had just started because the front and back main seams needed caulking. But the EPDM had given the expected years of service and we plan on keeping it around for a few years so are putting a better set of tires on it and have already changed the roof from EPDM to commercial grade TPO with heat seamed joints and water block sealed penetrations. It got a great test here with our torrential rains and flooding. Perfect!

 

My point is that you can, if you are handy and can figure things out, do a lot of upgrades and custom touches on these rigs, they are not all that hard to R&R anything on them if one has a strong back and some smarts.

 

So welcome from one Vet to another who used the GI Bill for bettering my education. You earned it, use it.

 

Huah

Thank you for such a post! I feel better after reading this. I have been reading as much as possible and trying to figure out which route I should take when I buy my RV. There is pros and cons with each one.

I can figure stuff out and for the most part pretty handy. This is something I have been wanting to do and hoping everything will go smooth!

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Ok just bear in mind that the so called "Rubber" (EPDM or the less common TPO) roofs on these things are really only good for from ten to 15 years and cost from $5k-7k for the roof to be replaced by an RV place. I lucked out and ran into a commercial roofer just starting out to use TPO on RV roofs for around $2500, give or take. So my really inexpensive very nice and no damage to the roof marine plywood as I was up there once they got the very thin old 12 year old EPDM roof off. Most used RVs have folks still upside down financed, so way overpriced here in the ten year old plus units, and most in sad shape inside or have melted pressed wood roofs that leaked or floors. It took me about six months to find mine at the perfect price to be able to bring it back to excellent condition. Another biggie is the reefer which today can cost in the $2k range to get replaced. The guy I bought mine from had just replaced the cooling unit himself. He restored and painted his own gorgeous 57 Chevy stock and perfect, chrome trim re-chromed and all there. See the trend here?

 

The thing you need to answer is are you going to travel in the RV while going to school or be stationary for the first few years? See you can get a park model if stationary.

 

If you are not working now you might consider going to work as a helper mechanic at an RV dealer for six months to a year, before getting your own, where you can learn the systems and basics of their construction and durability. Plus, you can perhaps get a wholesale deal like I do and cherry it out. Never jump at the wrong one and/or from the wrong person. Whenever you feel pressured remember they made millions of them, you can wait and save. We've seen some folks who believed the dealer and spent all they had only to find themselves in a money pit as he could neither fix, nor figure out any of it.

 

Now that's just brain storming not trying to tell you how to proceed. But being able to professionally fix RVs on the road can be a good sideline, or a god skill set to get another RV dealer job to recharge finances in a pinch. You know, improvise, adapt, and overcome.

 

Good luck! Ask any questions along the way. Lots of experience here.

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If you are shopping for used RVs you would be wise to learn as much as possible about them first and use that sort of information to narrow the choices to those in better condition, then pay for a professional inspection of the chosen RV to be sure it is in good condition before you buy. One of the best ways to learn more about used RVs and who builds quality ones is to join the RV Consumer Group and take advantage of the wide range of educational materials they make available to their members. It would also be very helpful to have some type of guide to use when you look over each used RV and my favorite is to use the RVCG pre-purchase inspection guide in this link.

 

As you look to older RVs you need to spend more time studying them as the potential for problems is greater because no matter how well constructed an RV was when new, even the very best one could be seriously damaged in only a few years with the possibility increasing with each year of life. A leaking roof is one major concern but realize that most of them will last a very long time, if properly cared for. All RV roofs need to have an annual inspection and regular maintenance and that is the key to a long life. The three most common roof materials are rubber, aluminum, and fiberglass. Both aluminum and fiberglass roofs can be damaged and both require regular inspection and maintenance of caulking around edges and penetrations. The rubber type of roofs are mostly EDPM and more recently a better quality called TPO has become more common. Many people will tell you that they are bad, but that has not been my experience. Either of those will be more likely to be damaged by tree limbs dragging them but they will also withstand more hail than either of the first two. Both of them typically come with a material warranty of 10 to 12 years and if properly cared for should last at least 15 years and 20+ years is not uncommon. EDPM has been in use on industrial buildings, particularly flat roof situations, for many years and a life of 20 or longer is not uncommon. We were fulltime in a 1998 RV with an EDPM roof and I took regular care of it and that RV is still in use today (by a different owner) and it still has the original roof.

 

Interiors are also important to most of us. Things like drawer fronts and work surfaces tend to show wear very quickly if not of high quality or sold wood materials. Water stains on ceilings, around vents, or below windows are always a bad sign and indicate leaks. A leak is not fatal if corrected promptly but a leak not repaired can do structural damage to the walls that is difficult and expensive to repair. Once dry-rot has begun in hidden areas it will continue even after the leak has been repaired if the damage is not all removed. Most modern RVs have walls that are made of laminated materials and set up as a single panel and those can be very difficult to repair. Leaks can cause those to begin to separate and once they have begun to de-laminate it can be nearly impossible to fix so avoid that sort of damage in a used RV.

 

I would encourage you to join the Escapee's RV Club, or to at least take a close look at the benefits which they provide to members. While we are mostly significantly older in age than the two of you, we welcome younger members and there is a big push on to expand our membership to younger RV folks such as yourself. Of particular interest to folks who are newer to the RV world is the RV'ers Boot Camp and another very good opportunity to learn more as well as being able to meet other Escapees is the annual Escapade, next to be held in Vermont.

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Where you will run into amusing encounters is when you tell other full timers that you are too. They gave me a lot of ribbing, good natured, but they thought it was ridiculous that I was fulltiming so young

 

Yep. Getting a little of this now. Not fulltimers, but when folks ask how long we've been on the road (3 months so far) then ask if we're retired, their envy kinda shows thru.

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Yeah I got a lot of you are too young to be retired. And yes we got a lot of the comments like "I'd love to do that someday!"

 

When you run into a close to your age RVr that is fulltime you will both not know how to act! :D It all works out.

 

Go here and read these two pieces I wrote about limited resource thinkers and the RV lifestyle actually scaring some folks: http://home.earthlink.net/~derekgore/rvroadiervfulltimingwhatisitreallylike/id65.html

 

Let me know what you think. ;) My email is on my website too if you prefer. Hang in there young hero!

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Remo,

http://bestsmallcampers.com/about-me/ Sound familiar? I retired from the Air Force first so could live minimalist as long as my assets didn't get in a bind. Had we not had enough to buy all cash it would not have been enough but we were able to not dip into investments and live on around $1800.00 a month but remember that was 1997-2003 and diesel was under $1.50 or so. Had I been single I could be very happy with my current 28.5 foot RV size but would need a four season rig. I would do OK single even with this: http://www.fiberglass-rv-4sale.com/for-sale/2012-19-scamp-deluxe-5th-wheel-18000-nh

 

But I would much rather keep the Significant Harassment of my life for the last 43 years. I'm spoiled rotten you see. :) She enjoys my zigs and zags and says she just holds on and loves it. We get a lot of how different we are as a couple. We are honest with each other but never rude or unkind, (well almost never) we share everything as best buddies and husband and wife. Our travels are in the website, and they reflect my warped sense of humor. We were, are, and will remain happy campers. ;)

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Kirk and RV,

 

Those posts are very helpful. I am looking into videos that show you what exactly to look for when buying used.

I don't plan on being stationary because I definitely like moving around ....it drives my wife crazy! lol

I can never decide if I want to move here or there, so I figured its just my gypsy blood (literally).

I would just like to find parks that have space. Everything down here in Florida is completely packed with rude people. I just want our space and not be on top of everyone else.

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