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Full-time RV-ing, our first anniversary today- sharing our experience


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Today we celebrate exactly 1 year of full timing in our class A diesel pusher. It has been NOTHING like we planned or thought it would be and yet it has been an INCREDIBLE, wonderful, some things even better than we imagined. We have no regrets, glad we did this and at the same time, we feel today that maybe its time for us to go back to a sticks&bricks home.

It has been awesome, but we have also had set-backs, and we were a little stressed out by our steep learning curve in the beginning (never having owned any type of RV before). While some things were more expensive than we thought, we managed to stay within our budget. We have mostly stayed in RV resorts, not much boondocking. I think sometimes we spent money like drunken sailors this first year, so many things to buy....  We have spent on average $7,200 per month - all in (food, diesel, taxes, insurance, entertainment, travel, all the RV supplies&gadgets, engine service etc etc). We have no debt, our biggest bill is COBRA health/dental insurance which we pay $1,700/ mo for. And the $7,200 average includes going to Sweden for Christmas (staying with family there and storing the RV at an indoor facility). I'm glad we had some cash reserves, because the spending was un-even and some months we needed to use it, other months we were able to replenish it.

We picked up our Class A in Tampa Florida on August 29, 2019, our start was a little "rocky" as we ended up having to rush out of there due to a threat of a Hurricane, rather than stay and learn our coach at the dealer as planned. Also campgrounds in Georgia were full as Floridians were evacuating, and we didn't have any reservations. It all worked out despite several smaller set-backs, we successfully arrived in back "home" in Oregon to register the motorhome with DMV and had fun along the way.

We left Oregon early October and headed toward LIvingston TX, where we had signed up for RV bootcamp in November. Which everyone should attend once in their life, and weigh your RV and take the driving school - all great experiences. We stayed at fun places along the way, visited national parks, went on great bike rides, played golf and hiked. Ate awesome food - we joke that we eat our way across America - LOL

We headed to a Newmar Dealership in Dallas TX in early December, where we had the annual diesel engine service etc performed. This we had budgeted for, its spendy, but since its still under warranty we wanted this dealership to do it. Then went to Sweden for Christmas, returned to Dallas and headed south to spend the winter along the Gulf Coast.

We had a few wonderful RVing months, seeing parts of the country that we never had seen before, met awesome people, caravaned for the day to Mexico with fellow RVers, met the best Karaoke singer ever and learned a lot from seasoned RVers taking us under their wings. Started in South Padres Island, and stayed in great places as we traveled north, staying about a month at each place (we found it cheaper to pay the monthly rate rather than daily/weekly). By the time we arrived in Orange Beach Alabama Covid broke out. We were scheduled to stay there from March 1-31. We ended up staying there, sheltering-in-place for 3 months, so left Alabama June 1. We felt very fortunate to be "Stuck" in that beautiful place of all places during the shut-down, even though it was a little unsettling not to have a place to "go home" to in such extraordinary circumstances. But we really were fine not being able to "go home". I was a bit upset that we could not go see our son during that time as he was isolated working from home for weeks, it was a little hard being so far from family at that time.

Like everyone else, our original travel plans and reservations for summer 2020 were canceled..... so since we had nowhere to go in particular, and by now had a black tank sensor issue, we headed to the Newmar dealer/repair facility near Atlanta Georgia on June 1. Oh BOY - we got to see rioting up close and it was SCARY, so we decided to stay out of big large metro areas.....

Our coach was manufactured in Nappanee Indiana, near Elkhart (RV Capital of the world), so we headed there for a sensor replacement. AND we went to the RV Hall of Fame Museum, very cute, worth a visit if in the area. 

While in Nappanee, we  discovered how beautiful and peaceful rural America is, even in times of crisis. And how much we appreciated the peaceful, beautiful rural bicycling, so we extended our stay there for another week. Thanks in large part to COVID we had to re-think our travel plans and decided to focus on the best bicycling and rails to trails, while staying rural. We discovered the most gorgeous, peaceful towns and awesome bicycle rides in Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Places we never heard of, wonderful places we probably never would have found if we had stuck with our original travel plans. Many of these little places were Amish communities, with the best pies you can ever imagine ! And, great bicycling, there were even roads that only allowed horse&buggies and bikes, no motorized vehicles, a bicyclist dream !! Because the Amish are non-political, we found that as long as we kept the TV off, our moods were good, life was grand and we felt a bit removed from current events. We were of course horrified and saddened by the tragic events that took place and still are affecting people across the country. But it felt good to be able to still focus on the good things in life, and take a break from all the negativity in media and sometimes not so peaceful protesting.

We love having our home and all our comforts with us wherever we go.

We had really looked forward to attending RV rallies - none of which we were able to go to, again because of COVID.

I will say that because of COVID, we have mostly kept to ourselves, in our RV and on our bicycles, limited our trips to the store, not really eating out etc. So we have not met many new friends. Luckily we enjoy each others company, but its a bit lonelier than we had expected out here on the road.

Our drive last week was the trip from hell. Evidently our Air valve Control Arm was ziptied rather than bolted down. And the zip tie broke, so the air valve control arm was just hanging there, as a result, we were not fully aired up. We got scrambled so bad that we have a cracked tile, lots of saw dust, the water re-circulation system in the shower leaked, so water was running out under the coach, wet insulation and all that goes with that. One of the coolant lines from the Oasis to the engine began leaking, dripping onto the control board, so break lights etc are not working correctly. Engine coolant leaking.

Because we were riding so low, our Jeep (towed vehicle) broke lose. Disconnecting your TOAD on the side of the freeway is not a fun experience at all....Luckily Bill is a very good driver and we  didn't have a wreck. We had to stay at a rest stop for the night until we could call coachnet and Freightliner for help. Luckily we are so comfortable in our home wherever we are.

So now we are back where we started 2020, at NIRVC in Dallas, waiting to hear if our extended warranty will pay for any of this - so far the estimated repairs will run $5-6,000. The coach manufacturer has declined the repairs because we are 8 months out of warranty. As a side note- some people recommend towable RVs instead of motorized so you can stay in it while being repaired.  I can say that we have been able to stay in our coach at every repair place, including the factory. Never had to go to a hotel. 

As we sit here, we are thinking maybe we just get the RV repaired, sell it and buy ourselves a sticks and bricks house. We really have mixed feelings about this. It has been a wonderful year, so many great experiences, and we still have so much we want to see and do. At the same time, maybe we are not cut out for the stress associated with owning a Class A Diesel pusher and all the things that can go wrong. This last drive was traumatic. Even before this happened to us, we have been talking about whether this coach is too big for us and maybe we should get something smaller.

So, this is our first year experience, as I write this I don't know if there will be a second year for us....

In conclusion its been a mixed bag - mostly good. To Any one out there considering trying the RV lifestyle - we say: DO IT !!! It's worth it, and who knows, maybe you'll love it or hate it, but we don't think you will ever regret it. 



2019 Newmar Ventana, pulling a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

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Wow! What a year!!

Regarding the air valve control arm...... that should be a chassis issue.  Have you contacted  Freightliner ?  They should be responsible for repairs.

It sounds like you basically enjoyed most of your first year.  You've got a lot invested in going full-time.. sale of house, etc.  I'd recommend at least trying to deal with the chassis mfg. and consider hanging in there at least another year.  No way you could have two years like that!

Best of luck to you!!!

Edited by 2gypsies

Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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Wow! Quite a story. If your budget will allow, keep the RV and get a home base somewhere. I find time on the road less stressful than what you describe. I can be home in 3 or 4 days from almost anywhere in the lower 48.

Doesn't have to be the extreme of all or nothing.

Good luck with everything and thanks for sharing.

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Wow, lots going on with you!  Certainly a more eventful first year than mine has been.

I had a very long talk with a guy I know who at the end of a year of full-timing realized that he needed to have 4 walls around.  He still goes out on multi-month trips, but he just likes to have a home he can return to.  I thought a lot about how he reacted before I sold my house - I didn’t think that I would feel the same way after a year, but I was prepared in case I did.  Not a thing wrong with it either way, we are not all alike.

In your shoes I might give it another 6 months, just to see how it goes with either your repaired or a different (smaller?) RV.  Unless this last rough spot is the stick that broke the camel’s back type of thing, but if you are still thinking about remaining on the road, then give it a couple of months more.

Good luck with your decision and safe travels, no matter what you decide to do.

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On 8/29/2020 at 2:40 PM, Bill&Anneli said:

In conclusion its been a mixed bag - mostly good. To Any one out there considering trying the RV lifestyle - we say: DO IT !!! It's worth it, and who knows, maybe you'll love it or hate it, but we don't think you will ever regret it. 

We are going full time in 2 days.  Thank you for the truth, and thank you for this last advice.  
My feeling on your story above is that the travel experiences you have had were quite positive.  Weather and virus notwithstanding.  The bad experiences center around your main transportation.  I think you are on the right track to consider swapping just that part of your whole gig for another model.  Opinion from someone who has not been there.
The advice above, to go from full time to part time is also good advice.  We didn’t do that because we don’t know where we would like that 4 walls to be.

Kevin and June

2013 Volvo VNL 730    D13 Eco-Torque @ 425  Ratio 2.47 

2014 DRV 36TKSB3 


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  • 5 months later...

so for any of you that are interested, our "saga" continues....

While we were at the repair facility to fix the air valve control arm problem & damage in Dallas Texas, another coach hit the front of our coach.... Luckily only scratches to the clear coat and one of the mirrors, no structural damage. 

It's VERY expensive to repair scratches to class A RVs. Even though this was just a few scratches, the repairs came to over $10,000!! It was covered by someone else's insurance, but still makes you think how important good insurance is.... just the passenger side mirror alone was over $1,000.

So because the process to re-paint, cure and re-apply the diamond shield takes 3-4 weeks we decided not to stay and have it fixed in Dallas but to keep on traveling west since late fall/winter was coming and we wanted to be west of the continental divide for winter. (As a side-note this seems like a stroke of genious in hind sight - sometimes you get lucky).

Anyway, by November we rolled into the authorized repair facility that could repaint our specific coach to factory standards in Las Vegas, Nevada. We are not gamblers, never really thought much of going there, so were not thrilled at spending a whole month there....

BOY, were we blown away !!! There is fantastic cycling here, dedicated trails, great hiking, even a "real mountain" with skiing and hiking within 45 minute drive. AND you are within a few hours drive of 7 national parks. They have a State park (Valley of Fire) with rock formations that blew our minds !!!

So, after a month, living in our coach while it was being repaired, we fell in love with the hiking, cycling, gorgeous desert landscape, blue Lake Mead and friendly people in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas was not even on our list of possible home bases, or even places we particularly wanted to visit.... it took a scratch and specialized paint for us to find our new home base.

When we left Las Vegas at the end of November to spend winter in Arizona we kept thinking how much we liked it in Las Vegas. So in February we canceled our plans for Tucson AZ and headed back to Vegas. And we found a house that is perfect for us.

This is just further evidence that RV-ing requires flexibility and willingness to change your plans... and thinking of life as an adventure. If you can do that - this life-style rewards you in unbelievable ways.

Again, to any of you thinking about full-timing, all we can say is if you are good at making lemonade when life gives you lemons, you will have a fantastic experience no matter how things go.

After we get settled in our new home, we may downsize our RV as we won't be fulltime anymore. We will always love the adventure, and unique flexibility traveling and living in an  RV brings. Oh, and ofcourse, the places RV-ing takes you if you let it....

Happy Travels !!


2019 Newmar Ventana, pulling a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

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Loved your story!

And I can understand how someone would fall in love with Vegas - there’s a lot more to it than Las Vegas Blvd. and casinos.  Out of curiosity, are you going to be able to store whatever RV you end up owning (whether you downsize or not) at your house or will you have to store it at a storage facility?  My sister’s HOA wouldn’t allow an RV into the development at all, much less storing one on site.  Others I know in Vegas can have an RV parked by the house for 48 hours only while they pack for a trip (that works well for them).

Yes, RVing can lead to all sorts of unexpected places and experiences.  Glad it led to that place that “called your name,” your place in the sun.

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Hi fpmtngalto answer your question, we looked for a house with an RV garage, but did not find the right home in the right community for us with that amenity. Our coach is a pretty big investment for us so we prefer to store it indoors, do not want it sitting out in the sun for months when not in use. 

We ended up purchasing a home without an RV garage. We will be storing at National Indoor RV Center in Las Vegas. They have been great, we have had them perform service and repairs in the past and we stored our coach with them at their Dallas TX facility in 2019 when we went to Europe for a month. Not the cheapest option, but overall best option for us.

As a side-note, once we get settled in our house, we may downsize to a smaller RV. This coach is great for fulltime living, but maybe a bit much (and expensive) for short trips. Depending on what we downsize to, we may store a small RV in our regular garage in the future. The HOAs we looked at all let you keep RVs inside your garage. Most let you park an RV on your lot so long as it can't be seen from the street and/or neighboring properties, ie has HOA approved RV parking.

2019 Newmar Ventana, pulling a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

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