Where did we go? We went to EUROPE!

Hey Gang!  It’s been entirely too long since our last post.  Embarrassingly long actually.  Part of that time was spent visiting our oldest daughter in college while she is studying in The Netherlands.  We had an amazing time visit her.  We spent several days in The Netherlands, two days in Germany, and a day trip to Belgium.

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So, what did we get from the trip besides the opportunity to see our daughter?  Well, in short, we got a lot from the trip.

  • Let’s start with the 75 miles that we walked.  YES, 75 miles walked in 8 days…not kidding, our phone apps kept track.  Sore feet!
  • We also learned about another way of life, which ever so ironically, plays into the RV life.  We witnessed minimalism in bulk (pardon the pun).  Everywhere, almost everyone lives a modest lifestyle.  They could be wealthy, but their possessions would be minimal.  Never a need for a Walmart in Europe.  These guys bought quality items only as a must.  Their houses looked like a weekend camp set up.  A couch, bookshelf, small tv (usually smaller than in the RV), a bed, single dresser, small closet, etc.  Their yards were small and manicured, usually with ornate topiary trees.  It was absolutely amazing.
  • We saw several permanent campgrounds full of RV’s.  Several photos of those to be included.  Many of them have those heavy duty canvas enclosures for a “porch”, and several had something resembling a hard tarp over the top.  (see pics)
  • No bubble wrap.  If you have kids, you know what I am talking about.  It’s the helicopter parents.  Not that they didn’t care for them very well, they just didn’t go to great lengths to be over-protective.  We saw the best park with a stream running through it.  There was a floating, and wobbling, platform with no railings that the kids would use a rope to pull themselves across the stream.  No safety whatsoever.  No locking gate to access…nothing.  Kids were taught early to know their limits and they stayed within them.  On the adult side, there were no warning labels.  No packaging letting you know to take the pizza out of the plastic wrapper before putting it into the oven.  It gave us a calm sense of responsibility…..until William looked up the eviction laws.

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Shelley returned with a new sense of motivation to what we like to call, “HIT BRICKS”.  A sense of readiness to experience all that live has to offer.  A sense of simplicity.

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Part 2……Where does the Road Lead?

I believe that this is a question that many people that travel in their RV will ask on a regular basis.  It should be one of the more exciting questions that runs through your mind.   William is drawn to rivers and mountains, and I am drawn to mountains and oceans.   Where does your Road Lead?

Let’s start with Spring…….I like it to call it the awakening.  If you are from Missouri, like we are,  it is the awakening of pollen!  The sneezing and watery eyes that go with it, is added for your pleasure.

This is the season that William & I will search for adventures that are not weighted down with pollen and seasonal allergies.  The first thing that comes to William’s mind is Colorado, with side trips to Utah and Wyoming.  We both love the state of Colorado, and have visited many times.  Knowing the weather can be tricky in the spring, will most likely limit where we pull the RV.

I lean more towards the coast of the Carolina’s, not that I have been there, but do feel it is in a great location for weather for that time of year.  The bonus of getting to the Carolina’s is that you have to travel through The Smoky Mountains, and The Appalachians.   We would love to have readers input on this one!

Both locations would bring ample opportunity for great sightseeing and outdoor activities.  Spring is the time to brush the cobwebs off the outdoor equipment, grab some extra tissues, and set off on the next adventure.

Please share with us, where you like to spend your spring season!

Seasons of Travel…a 5 part series.

Dreams play just as important of a role in this process as do the plans.  At least that is what we believe will get this job done, but in reality, we do know better.  The job of transitioning to a full-time RV lifestyle requires tons of planning and some dreamin’.  Let’s dream a plan for a moment.

Many of those dreams include where we will go, beyond just what we will do, where we will land has many important features and decisions to be made.  Factoring for family get-togethers, meeting with fellow full-timers at events, and achieving work related travel needs, there are important considerations for us to plan where, when.  Our issue is that everything sounds appealing.

In this series, we will focus a part to each season.  These plans will be added to, changed, adjusted, molded, and otherwise scratched and started over, but we share the conversation with you….for your experience and input.

We’ve had conversations about spending spring and fall at our current, permanent campground, Lake of the Ozarks, in mid-Missouri.  But, I can see this changing.  We love the place.  Lots of great fishing, lake side restaurants, great neighbors, close to family, but…..America has so much to see and experience.

Beyond this, the obvious, Summer in the North/mountains, and winters in the South.  To be very frank, we are excited to open this conversation and get some feedback from fellow full-timers.

Options for the South in the winter are basically South Texas, Florida and Southern Arizona.  Shelley and I talked about this over the weekend and quickly threw out Texas. Maybe because we are naive, but just don’t have much interest there.  Shelley likes the beach.  I’m not a fan.  I prefer streams and rivers, with mountains, even better.  Arizona is dry, and one of my major escapes is humidity.

Summers are full of options across the North or the mountains.  Colorado is a top choice for me, as is Wisconsin, Minnesota,  and Michigan is a top choice for Shelley, then Oregon and Washington sound like good options.  One year, I would love to spend a summer in Alaska.

Spring and fall open a large dose of mid-America options, more than we should even introduce.  Smoky mountains are high on this list.  Im still a big fan of Colorado. Southern Utah with Moab and other options is worth a consideration.

If you have thoughts or suggestions to share, please leave us a comment below.  We would live to interact.

Sunsets & Campfires are better than therapy!

It goes without saying, siting by a campfire, or lying in the hammock, staring at a sunset, or just hangin’ around the campground is relaxing.  Maybe too relaxing, but hey, we’re willing to try it….full-time.

Life, as business owners, bombards us with needs on a regular, well actually, constant basis.  Staff, customers, stakeholders, children, spouses, family….well, you get it.  Ultimately, work life is the American disease.  Work/Life balance is a challenge, even for the simplest situations.

So, what better way to relax than in the comfort of the outdoors.  We all know and are puzzled by the fact that watching a campfire is mesmerizing.  Starry nights, the calm of nature, the joy of friendly neighbors.  It’s all a part of the draw.  No hotel, regardless of it’s status or class, can beat the effects of a nice campsite.

So, combine working with these attractively sought after campgrounds, and one has a recipe for a successful therapy.  No counselors or medications needed.  The sleeping pills, that help you fall asleep, get replaced by the sounds of nature.  If all Americans were to sell their house and move into a campground, A)  I would be very excited to sell a LOT of real estate, but I don’t know who I would sell it to, and B) the need for therapists would arguably dwindle.

So, if life throws you a curve ball too many, grab your gear, drive on past the therapists office, and head immediately to the nearest campground!  That means YOU.

The Next RV

The conversation has gone for a few weeks now.  The dedication to the full-time lifestyle is ramping up.  Questions look like this in our house/RV….

  • What will be our sources of income?
  • How much will our monthly budget look like?
  • Will our kids spend time with us when we are on the road?
  • How often will we get to come “Home”?
  • What stuff do we need for full-timing?
  • and, And, AND…
  • and, what is our full-timing RV going to be?

So, we decided to focus on this for a few moments.  We love our travel trailer.  Its done wonders for us.  The space is ample in the model that we bought.  We love the outdoor kitchen space.  The layout serves us very well.  The “below” storage is weak, typical of a travel trailer.  In the end, the biggest things we want to change are below deck storage and the fridge.

Our current Open Range Roamer cost ~$40,000.  It’s great.  The new RV’s that we are considering are $80,000.   So, that boiled down to about a $40,000 upgrade for a larger fridge.  This was a serious joke for a day…then the reality of construction, stability, storage and so many more things, we decided that this $40,000 upgrade actually provided good value to us.

Yesterday, we woke up at the lake house, our RV, and thought about the days activities.  Low key, easy going, beautiful weather.  Next week is Bike Week at the lake.  Excited to get the Harley out, but until then, its just us.  It’s the first weekend after Labor Day, the lake is SUPPOSED to have quieted down from the monster speed boats on the water, but we can still hear them, so, we skipped the fishing trip.

What do we do?  A quick browse of Facebook and a search of the nearby RV dealership that we have heard about, we learn of an RV show a couple of hours away in St Louis.  We jumped in the truck and headed for STL to check out some models.

We arrived, saw our current favorite model, the Grand Design Solitude with the raised living room and giant storage box below.  We browsed and decided to look at some Class A Motorhomes.  Very nice rigs, diesel pushers, with all the amenities.

Obviously, these rigs cost more than the fifth wheels under consideration.  But, then we see the sales flyer.  $1700 a month.  Hmmm.  The nice one ton truck is $980 a month.  The new fifth wheel is about $600-$700 a month.  Same basic cost….per month….or is it.  Fuel economy?  Pulling the Fiver gets about 11mpg .  The Class A gets about 9mpg.  Not a huge difference.

So, what’s the consideration.  With nearly no research, I can realize that the Class A likely has far more upkeep costs in motor maintenance than the truck.  Next, the depreciation is far more substantial on the A.  With a truck that will lose half its value in 4 years with typical mileage, this will cost about $30,000.  The fifth wheel will lose half of its value in 4 years as well, at a loss of $40,000.  The Class A, could lose half its value in 4 years, but has a purchase price of $350,000, so a loss of $175,000.  This far outweighs the $70,000 hit from the fifth wheel option.

Other considerations.  The Motorhome had more storage underneath.  The motorhome allows us to be mobile far eaiser while traveling down the road.  The Motorhome doesnt require as much setup on arrival to sites.  Our wealthier predecessors of Class A dwellers are typically a bit older, while we still maintain greater agility and mobility.  Let’s save the cash.

Look ahead for more posts on our Fifth Wheel shopping experiences, as well as other posts.

First blog post

Yup, its September 10th, 2017, and the adventure begins.   It actually began early 2016, when investment real estate company owners, William and Shelley, bought their first RV. For more about their background, visit the About Us page.

Originally, the RV, a new 2016 Open Range Roamer travel trailer was bought to travel the midwest on weekends for brief escapes from the pressures of running  a company.  Years had gone into wishing, hoping, dreaming of the RV life, and finally, it had arrived.

William, an investment real estate guy, crunched the numbers, constantly showing Shelley that they were better and cheaper to stay in nice hotels each weekend, but the draw of nature kept calling.

Three RV shows, dozens of visits to dealerships, countless hours of conversations, they did it.  They bought a camper.  The F-350 merely preceeded the purchase by a few months for work purposes.

First adventures, a run to nearby Lake of the Ozarks for a weekend, then another short trip here and there, woke up one morning to a dusting of late spring snow, a trip to an ATV rally, trips to destination small towns in Iowa and Arkansas.  The new car smell had barely started to fade….

Get off work on Friday, drive, set-up, enjoy, breathe, take down, drive, storage, home.  Work Monday.  This was great, for many months, and still could be, but they wanted more.

William eventually convinced Shelley to park it for the rest of the season at a Lake of the Ozarks RV Park.  This was July 2016.  The season ran until the end of October.  By that fall, with no more set-up, take down, storage trips, Shelley was hooked with the permanent location.  Sure, any time they desired, they could hook back up and travel to another destination, but to date, still have not.

Now, 2017, two kids in college, one in later years of high school (you know the years, they don’t want to hang out anymore), the RV has been parked back at the same site at Osage Beach RV Park.

Each weekend, the dream continues, how can we stay here and not go “home”.  Trust us, we have a nice house, back in Kansas City, but the life is a demand.  The dream is alive, the discussions are daily, and the dream is taking shape.

Follow our blog as we go from typical 40-somethings, enjoying a empty nest that is within reach, and planning our life adventures from the road.  We will develop new sources of income, upgrade the RV, sell nearly everything with the house, and HIT THE ROAD, yes, doning Plaid Shirts.

We look forward to seeing you….