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Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-02-2006, 02:01 PM   #1
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Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

RV nomads find a different road to a rich life

ERed and living the good life on less than $3,000 per month...including ~$600/mo. for health insurance.

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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-02-2006, 06:04 PM   #2
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

What is interesting is that so many RVers used to be liveaboards, as they mentioned living on a boat. I just read an article about that in the latest BoatUS magazine. Something about the nomadic lifestyle and tiny bathrooms....I like the fact that they have customized their trailer for solar.

We sold our sailboat earlier this year, already have the 28 ft vintage Airstream MH, and want to buy a trawler when DH retires in 6 years. A lifetime suppy of repair projects ahead. Sigh.
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-02-2006, 06:48 PM   #3
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

Yep, it's a great retirement lifestyle, if you like to travel and don't have strong ties to a community or a deep to stay close to a "home base".

You do have to be willing to let go of a lot of "stuff", LOL!, 'cause you can't take a whole lot of stuff with you in a nomadic lifestyle. We do see people pulling their garages (i.e. a long trailer) behind their motorhomes sometimes. So I guess some folks try to take more "stuff" with them as they travel. I imagine that gets pretty old after a while (and they look for a more "permanent" spot).

We know SOOO many people who do a lot of camp hosting and have seriously low expenses as a result. Yes, it probably saves about $1000 a month. People tend to travel less when they are camp hosting, so there is a cut down on fuel as well as other expenses.

And I'd say many fulltimers are living on less than $3K per month. Many on less - I see numbers like $2K to $2.5K thrown around a lot. Many of these folks are old enough for medicare, so that's part of the lower expenses.

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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-03-2006, 10:43 PM   #4
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

I had to smile at this part of the article:
Quote:
Jim, always an engineer, customized a relatively small GM truck to increase its torque and horsepower so it could pull the 15,000 pounds of trailer and contents. The truck brought their total investment, paid in cash, to nearly $115,000.

Is that a lot?

For many, yes. With a careful purchase of used tow vehicle and trailer, I figure you can be on the road for less than $50,000. But here in America, the Land of the Infinite Upgrade, it's also possible to spend much, much more.
Our total investment in our RV and tow vehicle is $17,000...6K for a used Jeep Cherokee and 11K for a very lightweight, nearly-new 16-foot Casita fiberglass travel trailer. We're not full-timing in it, but we certainly could.

With gas at $3 a gallon and seeming like it's going to stay there, we're really happy we got this modest set-up. Pulling the trailer on the highway at a good but safe clip we average 15 MPG.

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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-03-2006, 11:07 PM   #5
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

Congrats on the small investment in your RV setup. The total paid by the RV couple profiled is actually pretty common. I'd say many fulltimers pay around $100K for their RVs (including tow vehicle or towed vehicle). I'd say most pay at least $50K.

LOL! We started with a Casita - loved it. But us as a couple fulltiming in it? NO WAY!!

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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-04-2006, 08:24 AM   #6
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

We have a 23.5" Lazy Daze. It is a nice set up and we have stayed in there with two dogs for up to a month. It can tow a car but generally we tow a couple of motorcycles on a trailer.

No way for fulltiming.
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-04-2006, 08:27 AM   #7
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red-y
I had to smile at this part of the article:Our total investment in our RV and tow vehicle is $17,000...6K for a used Jeep Cherokee and 11K for a very lightweight, nearly-new 16-foot Casita fiberglass travel trailer. We're not full-timing in it, but we certainly could.

With gas at $3 a gallon and seeming like it's going to stay there, we're really happy we got this modest set-up. Pulling the trailer on the highway at a good but safe clip we average 15 MPG.
Red-y,
I'm picking up my Casita in July. Are you on www.casitaclub.com boards?
Lots of good info.
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-04-2006, 09:59 AM   #8
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

Hmmm

The old memory banks - 11 MPG flatland and 8 MPG hill country with a 28 foot used Prowler(5000 lbs??) and 318 Dodge Ram regular pickup.

What's your empty trailer weight?
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-04-2006, 10:30 AM   #9
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

Fuel at $3 per gallon certainly has cut into the budget.* With my 150 gallon tank to fill, I sure get a lot of questions and strange looks while refueling.* *Hey, I once got 9MPG, 7MPG is more normal.

We keep remembering thats its the nomadic life that we enjoy!

Dave
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-04-2006, 10:34 AM   #10
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

Quote:
Originally Posted by dex
Are you on www.casitaclub.com boards?
Lots of good info.
Yep, we've spent lots of time there. In fact I refer people to the classifieds on that site when they come up and knock on my front door and offer to buy my trailer (it's parked in the driveway). Last such conversation was something like:
Random guy: Do you want to sell your trailer?
Me: Sorry, we love it and it's not for sale. I'm retiring soon and we have plans to take a lot of trips in it.
RG: What would one of those go for, used?
Me: I'm not sure but taking a wild guess, maybe 8 or 9 thousand?
RG: Would you take $5000 in cash right now?
Me: It's NOT FOR SALE. Try www.casitaclub.com and check the classifieds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unclemick2

What's your empty trailer weight?
Dry weight is 1650 pounds. We figure with the tanks full and our gear, it's around 2000 - 2200. That's why the 4.0 liter Cherokee pulls it so well.
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-04-2006, 02:37 PM   #11
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

Quote:
Originally Posted by ex_CFO_now_RVer
Fuel at $3 per gallon certainly has cut into the budget.* With my 150 gallon tank to fill, I sure get a lot of questions and strange looks while refueling.* *Hey, I once got 9MPG, 7MPG is more normal.

We keep remembering thats its the nomadic life that we enjoy!

Dave
Well, my tank is "only" 115 gallons, and we usually buy 70 to 80 gals at a pop. Yes - it's quite a bit of money - usually a bit over $200. But in our normal travels we only fill up once a month, and in terms of our monthly expenses that RV fuel bill doesn't really stand out. We spend way more on camping fees, eating out, groceries, etc.

I love taking my own home and car with me wherever I go. The best part in transit is pulling into a rest area, and being "home".

Audrey

P.S. For you casitaclub folks - I'm on there! Most of my posts were from mid-2002 to mid-2004. When we sold our Casita, we got back 90% of what we paid for it and sold it within two hours of posting it on the casitaclub ad page.

Most RVs don't hold their value like that (at all!!!!). As far as we're concerned, we had virtually "free" use of that Casita for two years. SWEET!
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-05-2006, 01:45 PM   #12
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

Quote:
Originally Posted by mclesters
A lifetime suppy of repair projects ahead. Sigh.
Sarah
Sounds like our camper. Its a 1985 VW Westfalia camper van. At least the motor is no longer a problem, replaces with a Subaru unit. Now if we just had air conditioning...
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-05-2006, 02:27 PM   #13
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

As a live a board, I think there is a strong similarity in the life style of the full time boater and RV’er. They both have a wonder lust and don't need a lot of things in their life. Here in the PNW many live a board’s that are retired also have an RV that they use in the winter to travel South to warmer and drier climates. We’re thinking about doing that next year. The winters up here can get cold, wet, and windy and when living on a boat you are constantly out in the elements every time you step outside. It’s easy to get cabin fever when it’s been raining for 4 months straight. On the other hand, the summers here provide some of the best boating in the world. Combining boating and RV’ing might be the answer.
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-05-2006, 02:34 PM   #14
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

Quote:
Originally Posted by AFloat
As a live a board, I think there is a strong similarity in the life style of the full time boater and RV’er. They both have a wonder lust...
Hmmm. I always thought it was a wander lust, but now I wonder...

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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-05-2006, 02:43 PM   #15
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

One of my fondest childhood memories was back in the summer of 1982, when my grandparents took me on a ~8 week cross-country trip. We did it in a 1976 GMC crew cab pickup that had a 10-foot Skamper pop-up truck camper. It didn't have a bathroom, and was about as close to nature as you could get short of just tenting it, but I had a blast. I'll admit that sometimes I felt kinda sad giving up Intellivision for Uno, and the Dukes of Hazzard and Incredible Hulk for whatever we could tune in on the radio. And I remember the ballast resistor went out on the truck as we were about to go up Mount Whitney, but Granddad, in his infinite wisdom, had a spare.

I wonder if I'd be able to put up with 8 weeks in a setup like that nowadays? Part of me would love to give it a try.

**Edit: I changed "6 weeks" to "8 weeks". After talking to my Grandma on the phone, she reminded me that we had driven my Mom out to Texas on that trip for a 6-week workshop at Shepherd AFB. We took our time going out, taking about 2 weeks to get to TX and then dancin' cross the USA for another 6 weeks before picking her up. And then driving back home in about 2 days.
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-05-2006, 03:48 PM   #16
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

Quote:
Originally Posted by AFloat
Combining boating and RV’ing might be the answer.
I know some stinker RVer's (that's green envy talking) who spend the summers running around the US in their RV, and the winters on their sailboat cruising Hawaii. They park their RV in WA somewhere, I think, and fly to Hawaii where their boat is docked year 'round.

I think their lifestyle exceeds my budget. Sounds real nice though!!

Audrey
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-05-2006, 07:50 PM   #17
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1
They park their RV in WA somewhere, I think, and fly to Hawaii where their boat is docked year 'round.
Hopefully they live aboard the boat (in the drydock or in the water!) and walk to the beach.

Winter sailing in Hawaii is nothin' like the ICW. Nasty NORPAC storms make for great North Shore surf but it's varsity open-ocean sailboat weather. It's more like Dennis Conner's analogy of standing under a cold shower tearing up handfuls of $20 bills...
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-05-2006, 09:32 PM   #18
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

RVers may want to check out Tioga and George's blog about retired life on the road. I enjoyed their posts from Mexico earlier this year -- now they're up in Glacier National Park.

http://vagabonders-supreme.net/blog/blog.html

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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-06-2006, 07:58 AM   #19
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

Audrey, what is "camp hosting"?

Thanks.
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple
Old 07-06-2006, 09:17 AM   #20
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Re: Scott Burns profiles a FIREd RV couple

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Audrey, what is "camp hosting"?

Thanks.
Most state and federal parks get considerable help from volunteers. One popular method of volunteering is to exchange a few days of work per week for a free campsite and associated utilities, laundry privileges, etc. The duties range from - checking campers in during after hours and maintaining bathrooms, to groundskeeping work, to assisting in the park office or assisting the rangers. Etc, etc. Ut totally depends on the position. The parks appreciate volunteers and will usually try to accommodate what you do or don't like to do, or you specifically look for a volunteer position that matches what you prefer to do and not do. Some positions involve a lot of interaction with the public, some positions very little.

This is a very popular thing for retired RVers to do as it way reduces RV living expenses, plus there are social benefits (you are the member of a close-nit team for a while and you get to know other volunteers - usually people with similar interests) as well as usually very nice accommodations for the RV not to mention that you are usually living inside a lovely natural area (which is why it's a park!). Every state/federal park we visit has several camphosts. These are usually seniors (sometimes quite senior) - the work is obviously not too demanding. Depending on the agency running the park - the requirements may be as low as 20 hours per week, or sometimes more like 4 days. But you get several days off per week to explore the area. It usually involves a commitment of at least 2 months, sometimes 3 or 4.

In the NWR (National Wildlife Refuge) system there is no place for the public to camp, but as a volunteer you get to stay in a nice RV "village" on the property. Less interaction with public unless you work at the visitors center. More working with rangers and property management, land restoration, wildlife management, working with biologists, etc. Usually a 3 month commitment. We consider this as an option for us once we are less inclined to travel as it would give us access to a natural area that would otherwise require a lot of commuting, and 3 months is a nice time frame to study and get to know a natural area. We fantasize that the refuge would consider our wildlife photography and videography to be the volunteer work they want - LOL! But that's not so farfetched - there is always a need for high quality documentation of wildlife and natural areas and we are willing to donate all our work.

Audrey
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