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Planning to RV full-time this spring
Old 08-15-2009, 02:53 PM   #1
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Planning to RV full-time this spring

If everything goes according to plan, I’ll be living in an RV and traveling the continent full-time by early next spring.

The decision to do this is a recent one; only a few weeks old, but it actually has been several years in the making. The original idea (at least for me) came from this very forum about three years back when brewer12345 posted a link to this site. I forwarded the url to my wife who liked the idea but thought it was something we’d do later in life. We both thought we would spend years traveling internationally first, and only then come back to the States, get a dog, and roam around the Americas like John Steinbeck in Travels with Charley. So we back burnered the idea and never really seriously talked about it again.

We did talk frequently about extended travel and a life on the road. But our long-term international travel ambitions always faced one insurmountable obstacle – our two cats. We would never abandon them to a shelter, or even to friends or family. We’re responsible for them as long as they are with us, and we hope they are with us for a long time. But the little fur-balls do complicate our vagabond plans.

The answer was always so simple. A couple of weeks ago my wife asked me why we couldn’t take the cats along with us in an RV. And just like that, the decision was made.

So now we’re hot and heavy into planning for this endeavor. And what I’m most surprised by is how complicated it is to walk away from our life. In the daydream we just buy an RV and go. In the real world we need storage for our stuff, a tenant for our condo, a property management firm to manage said tenant, a state to claim as a domicile, new drivers licenses to match the domicile, health insurance, all the other insurance, a tow vehicle, mail forwarding service, etc. etc. etc.

It’s all a bit overwhelming, but its great fun at the same time.

Seeing how this forum is at least partly responsible for this irresponsible decision, I thought I'd share our plans, and say thanks to everyone here for the help you've provided over the years.


Cheers.
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Old 08-15-2009, 02:59 PM   #2
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Once we sell our house, our plan is also to full time RV for at least a couple years. We will store many things in a self storage place somewhere and give some things to our kids. My husband has researched a lot of the details, and apparently South Dakota is one of the best places to claim residence due to taxes, etc. Also, if you google how to handle getting mail, there is information available that will help you with that as well. Just thought I'd help you with what little I can.
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by . . . Yrs to Go View Post
...I thought I'd share our plans, and say thanks to everyone here for the help you've provided over the years.

Great! You're doing something I'd love to do, but would have to get a divorce first so it isn't going to happen.

Please keep this thread going and update us on your progress. I'm guessing one of the biggest hurdles is letting go of "stuff" and deciding what to take with you, what to keep/store and what to dispose of/sell. How are you working through that one?
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:19 PM   #4
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I'm guessing one of the biggest hurdles is letting go of "stuff" and deciding what to take with you, what to keep/store and what to dispose of/sell. How are you working through that one?
We're probably still a couple of months away from dealing with that challenge in earnest. I'll let you know how we cross that bridge when we come to it. But one of the large items to deal with is our car. We both love our car. We live in an urban environment and rarely drive it. It's six years old with just under 20,000 miles on it. It has spent most of its life in a garage under a car cover. It's practically new. At first we thought we'd keep it. But it can't be easily towed so we've recently come to the realization that it is most practical to sell it. It's kind of sad. But its just a car. Most of the rest of my stuff will go without so much as a second thought. My wife is going to have more difficulty.
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:23 PM   #5
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I just read Travels with Charley last week. Of course, travel with your sweetheart is even better. I have not seen you mentioning the RV you have in mind. Keep posting to this forum. I also have been reading blogs from other RV full-timers on the Web. My wife is warming up to the idea of extended RV'ing. However, we cannot see ourselves being full-timers. I myself still feel the need of having a fixed base to go back to. You are going in spring, but my planning stage is open-ended due to my wife's need to be near her ailing father.

Have fun planning!
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:24 PM   #6
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I'd like to hear how it turns out. If we decide to stay here and retire in place, the thought of RVing all summer in cooler climates is one I'd like to investigate more.
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:54 PM   #7
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I have not seen you mentioning the RV you have in mind.
Probably because I don't know yet. Thinking a Class C or a small Class A. We've pretty much ruled out a 5th wheel at this point, but we still haven't narrowed the list down too much. I'm hoping to form a short list before September when a big RV show rolls in to Hershey, PA. But right now the list includes just about everything with four wheels.
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:58 PM   #8
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My husband has researched a lot of the details, and apparently South Dakota is one of the best places to claim residence due to taxes, etc.
Yup, we're pretty much decided on SD. TX is another good choice and is still a possibility. I like the fact that the Escapees mail service in TX has actually successfully defended in court the legal residency status of its addresses. But we're probably going to still go with SD because it looks like we'll save a bunch on health and other insurance.
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:05 PM   #9
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Yrs, I highly recommend you invest a few bucks in the information these guys offer to help you with your research and buying decision. I think they are the closest thing to a reasonably unbiased opinion on RV quality and safety you can find.

If you do go with a Class A, pay very close attention to what they say about the ratio of wheelbase length to total length of the motorhome. You can find yourself owning a very squirrely handling vehicle if you aren't careful.
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:20 PM   #10
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Yrs, I highly recommend you invest a few bucks in the information these guys offer to help you with your research and buying decision.
Thanks for the reference. My copy of the RV Consumer Group ratings guide arrived in the mail this week and I'm working through it now.

In addition to the wheelbase ratio (which I hadn't thought of before the RV Consumer Group material showed up), the other thing I'm finding is that most manufacturers push the chassis carrying capacity close to the limit. It's actually hard to find an under developed chassis. Everything is built as large as possible with multiple slides. That's all well and good, but I'd like to have some capacity left over to actually carry some stuff and not be pushing right up against the recommended limits.

It's the nature of the beast, I guess.
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:25 PM   #11
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I've heard good things about Triple E. They seem to rank up there with Lazy Daze, only I won't have to fly out to California to see or buy one.

Does any one know anything about them?
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:25 PM   #12
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Wow - Congrats!

Our fulltiming decision was also made "just like that". Driving the RV trailer to storage after an awesome camping trip I told my husband - "you know John, the thing is, we really don't need a house!". He said - "That's it!". Decision made. Full throttle ahead on the transition.

Once we decided to go fulltime we ditched the small travel trailer for a large class A motohome with lots of storage and cargo capacity.

I spent a lot of time on the Escapees RV Club forum and the trailerlife.com forum planning the transition. Both these forums have active fulltimer discussions. And then when I found a owner group for the motorhome we decided to buy, I spent a lot of time there too.

Peruse some of our annual RV rambles here: Audrey & John's Travel Maps

Audrey

P.S. Completed 4 years fulltiming this past April.
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:36 PM   #13
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Now, one question is - why do you want to get rid of/move out of your current abode?

For John and I, we had been planning to move out of Austin (lovely city, but we really didn't want to live in a city anymore) for a long time, but we couldn't figure out where, and didn't want to interrupt our heavy traveling schedule to set up a new permanent abode somewhere else. So the fulltimer thing solved that problem neatly.

But we run into lots of couples who have a home somewhere but still go on extended 6 month RVing trips. They feel like they have the best of both worlds. They do! They also have the expenses of both worlds, but obviously they can afford it. Many of these folks live somewhere they really love, or have a beautiful home they adore, or live near valued family and like to be there for many months a year as well.

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Old 08-15-2009, 08:39 PM   #14
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Most of the rest of my stuff will go without so much as a second thought. My wife is going to have more difficulty.
Every marriage is different, but I think that in the long run you're probably going to want to keep her...
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:47 PM   #15
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On getting rid of stuff: It was brutal, but we did it! And are quite happy to be rid of most of it. Stuff can really be a shackle.
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:52 PM   #16
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Congratulations. I would like to do the same someday. I enjoy my winter trips.
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:57 PM   #17
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P.S. Completed 4 years fulltiming this past April.
Congrats on that and the 10-yr ER anniversary. Nice rig, by the way.

Any inside tips for a Noob?


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Now, one question is - why do you want to get rid of your current abode?
We're going to rent out our place. That way we still have the option of coming back at some point if we want to. I'm guessing we won't want too but the extra cash flow won't hurt either.
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:20 PM   #18
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If you haven't found it yet, check out the rv.net forums. Tons of info and an excellent full-timers forum.

We plan to part time RV after ER and have a basic home base near our present location. We'll probably be traveling about 6 months out of the year as we escape some of the more extreme weather conditions in our area. Winter in Arizona Late summer on the NW Pacific Coast
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Old 08-16-2009, 05:21 AM   #19
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We are not as likely to go full time although I dream about it sometimes. We do intend to go on several 2-3 week RV trips per year, perhaps a total of 3 months out of the year. We are considering a medium size trailer at this point, such that we can visit state parks in the mountains as well as cross country trips staying at RV parks. We still have a loy to learn, so please post your learnings as you go thru the adventure of preparing and setting off on your journey. We are still a few years from being able to embark on our own adventures.

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Old 08-16-2009, 08:45 AM   #20
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Any inside tips for a Noob?
You need a great deal of information to make this transition with minimal mistakes/hassle. The best stuff is these sites. My advice is to spend a lot of time perusing these forums. Many noobie questions are asked already and easy to find. And they never get tired of answering more!

Open Roads Forum : Full-time RVing

Escapees Discussion Forum (Powered by Invision Power Board)

FWIW - we are TX residents and use Escapees for mail service (very happy with the service). We were already TX residents so it was convenient to keep it that way, especially as we return for several months each year. We did switch counties to where my MIL lived.

I would be perhaps a little nervous about having real property and a storage unit in one state while establishing a new domicile in another state, but if you are sure to make all insurance, registrations, licenses, etc. in that new state you are probably OK if ever challenged. Most residence "law" as far as I know is based on intent - either you live somewhere, or you are wandering but intend to return. I'm not a lawyer, so don't take this as rock solid legal advice. This would be a good topic of discussion on any of the above sites.

Audrey
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