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Preparation To Full Time


Teresa/Dennis McKee

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Dennis (age 55) and I (age 50) are so excited about our upcoming move to Full Time RVing. We have 3 children (Tommy 27, Hannah 19, Collin soon to be 18) and who at are all living at home at this time. Collin graduates HS in May of 2016 and will be going to college. Hannah and Tommy already attend college locally. We have been building our house with our own hands and sweat equity for the past 8 years and it is almost complete. We will be putting the house on the market to sale in April 2016. Dennis retires from his state job of 33 years in July 2016. I will continue to work until our house sells. I am a RN and will be taking travel nurse assignments during my semi-retirement to maintain my license in compact states and provide additional income to Dennis' retirement. We made our definite decision to go full timing a year ago and have been building a plan. It has been a difficult and emotional roller-coaster ride, to say the least. We've done research on coaches and made our decision on a fifth wheel then there was... do we buy used?... do we buy new?.. We've built 2 houses and saved money, do we redo our fifth wheel home?... How much money do we spend?... How much is too much?... Insulation, moisture buildup, structure, length....Finally, it has come down to, we're tired of building houses (we don't want to rebuild an RV, no matter how much money it would save us). We are ready to relax and enjoy. We want a new HOME that doesn't require repair or major maintenance. We want comfort and convenience. We have decided on a 2016 Heartland Landmark 365 Charleston. We haven't made the purchase yet. We'll sell the house first. We have looked at some used F350 as a tow vehicle since our coach weighs in around 15K. Now for the kids. Our 2 boys have Aspersers so adjusting them to our retirement and their independence has been a challenge in itself. When we sell our house, we will buy an income property that will give the kids a place to live while they are going to college and hopefully finding their own way. It will also give us a place to store some of our things that we don't want to part with right away. And, It will give us an address to maintain our Texas residency. We've started selling some of our things. I've gone through closets and given away clothing items and have my pile for Goodwill. We've sold several items on Facebook and Craigslist. The kids have designated pieces that they want for themselves. It is kind of liberating, really, to minimalize our possessions. My Goodness, but we have a lot of stuff. I have a garage sale planned at our house in early March and one at my sister's house in late March. I carry myself and 2 of our children on my medical insurance. We'll be switching all of that to come out of Dennis' retirement since that income will not change. I will plan to carry the kids until they are 26 or until they are able to carry themselves, whichever comes first. I will admit, those kids worry me. We have 5 dogs. Yep, I said 5. Our outside dog, Rosie, will go out to the country at my Dad's house. We'll be taking my other 4 fur babies with us. 2 short haired Chihuahua (Bruno and ChaCha), a long haired Chihuahua (Cloe), and a Yorki (Sirus). We'll need extra advice on traveling with dogs. And, as excited as I am, I know my heart will cry when I drive away and leave my children for the first time. So, this is us as we make our way to 2016, a year of major changes and an exciting new journey. I am thrilled that I have found this forum and I will be picking your brains for information. I am also documenting our journey on FB at FreeWheeling (that's our new name, cool, huh.) So check us out. It's always good to put a face word on a page. Looking forward to some new friends on our new adventure.

 

Teresa McKee

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A couple things I want you to know about. When it comes to a brand new RV it don't mean that there won't be any repairs. Let it be known if it is new it will require some repair, and if it's used it will require some repair. It's just the RV industry that we all have come to know. New will have little things right off the bat that needs repair for sure. Heartland Landmark is no exception. Don't get me wrong nice laid out plans etc. but they will have some problems. You can also look at it this way. If you buy slightly used unit them new buy bugs have been taken care of by the previous owner hopefully and your not going to take a hit on the depreciation.

 

I also noticed that you are talking used F350. Do yourself a favor and stay away from the 6.0 diesel. And yes, if your going with the landmark or something equivalent to that I would suggest you stick with diesel.

 

Dave

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! We are here to help and support you so feel free to seek advice or understanding at any time you feel the need and join into conversations with comments or opinions as well. Everyone is important here and you are also!

 

I read your post with a small degree of envy, as we traveled a similar road to get to our fulltime experience as well. While there are differences in the paths taken, we all share many experiences and understand the anxious moments and areas of concern. No parent is ever completely free of nervous periods for our children but we just move ahead, doing the best that we are able and pray that our offspring will be happy and successful in their lives. It does seem that you are well along the road to successful RV living and have done much of the research already. We may be better able to respond if you share a bit of information with us about what RV experience you already have, if any.

 

Since you live in Texas you may want to consider the Escapee mail system as a good place to maintain your domicile as we found it exceedingly easy to do when we went on the road and it can all be done by phone and by mail. We had been residents of Polk Co. and lived at Raimbow's End for nearly 3 years before we ever set foot on that property. The convenience of having mail forwarding services from the very best can easily justify the cost and I think that you will find the membership to be of great value also.

 

Thank you for sharing your story thus far and do join in often!

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Teresa, congrats to you both on your upcoming life change. My wife and I are in the stages of doing exactly the same thing in the next year or so.

 

In preparation for full timing, we recently purchased the Heartland Landmark 365 Key West and love it. We added the stackable washer and dryer plus added the dishwasher. Since we don't plan to be boondocking that 41 foot long beast, we went down the "max comfort and convenience" route. The RV is currently at a waterfront RV park in Rockport, Texas where we're using it as a vacation/weekender getaway until we start full timing.

 

Don't hesitate to PM us if you have any questions about your new rig. We're in the San Antonio area. Also, Heartland has a very, very active owner's forum. If you haven't already, join or just peruse that website and you'll find a ton of useful information about your new Landmark. Be sure and check out the owner-written "user guides" which you'll likely find some of the best sources of Heartland RV information on the web.

 

One thing I did want to mention from your original post. Check the max gross weight on your Charleston. I think it is 18,000 pounds, not 15,000 as you mentioned. That may make a difference in your tow vehicle requirements. A properly equipped 350/3500 truck should do the job nicely but you definitely want to over-buy on your tow vehicle, hitch, etc.

 

Congrats again on your upcoming life changes. Enjoy the adventure!

 

Jeff & Laurie

 

EDIT: Finally got into the Heartland website and confirmed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is 18K pounds.

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WOW. You have done some great research and thinking about this. Which is good.

 

Four dogs. Going to run into some problems with that. Some campgrounds don't allow that many. Be sure to ask when making a reservation.

 

If your working and only have one vehicle what is your husband going to do? Or is he going to drive you to work and home every day? Maybe a second vehicle? Something to think about.

 

I agree on the washer/dryer. Love ours.

 

Eleven years of full-timing RV. Most of it has been great.

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Welcome aboard. One of my self-imposed jobs on this forum is to look at floorpans and tell buyers of any potential problems I see. The ONLY one I could find in your proposed purchase was no place by the recliners to sit my drink. That's easily fixed. I'm duly impressed. I hope this way of life turns out well for you and that your kids do well also.

 

Linda Sand

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Your post is hard to read, please put it in paragraphs next time. I second another poster's advice, just because you buy new does not mean troublefree. Sorry about that. Buy a 1 year old used unit of good quality, you can still get an extended warranty but you haven't spent the big bucks for a new unit. You really don't know what floorplan will suit you until you spend some time in it. You can spend big bucks on the new shiny unit and end up hating the floorplan.

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