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Full Time RV living - Page 7

post #121 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicole_marie View Post
So excited to see this 'tribe'. Aimee, I have followed your blog for a few months...amazing!

A few years ago, one of my friends sold her house and traveled with her husband and three daughters. At the time, I thought...wow...cool, but craaaaaaazy, right?! And I never really considered it again.

It's amazing how lots of time together and lack of money can change your perspective on what's truly important.
Yes, more than one person thought that we were crazy. We wound up as an International news story for heaven's sake.

If we had had a better full-timing vehicle so that we didn't freeze and I hadn't let all the crazy talk get to me we would still be on the road. I miss it terribly. It was such a wonderful thing for the kids to experience and I wish I didn't feel so much like it was this or that.
I can't really complain though... 300 acres in the national forest, nearly off grid is nothing to sneeze at. My heart is in traveling while Dh's is in farming, and he is right in regards to one being more sustainable for us than the other.
We eat a completely organic, totally whole food diet and that was getting to be a real battle on the road. Especially with our wonky fridge.
So, I live vicariously through all you Luckies now
post #122 of 519
Aimee, you really do miss it much? Your home and land is so amazing! I have read the last post on your blog no less than a dozen times and shared it with anyone who would read it. The "pampered slavery"...wow. I get it. I really do.

Most of our family is really excited for us, and most are not surprised...I guess this is something they would expect from us? Some are freaking out asking how we are going to afford it and I honestly don't know what to say other than "I don't know!". ...and I guess I'm ok with not knowing how we are going to come up with the finances. I just trust that we will find a way. We plan on trying to spend as much time off the grid as possible.
post #123 of 519
Oh yes, I do miss it that much.
Honestly, I'm very much a go with the flow kind of person and I enjoy new thing and opportunities to overcome new obstacles. It keeps me feeling powerful, alive and free. I was the one laughing and ignoring the fridge door that was in a pile of exploded condiments in the hallway while Dh was trying to have a nervous breakdown.

Though traveling was actually Dh's push, he was extremely poorly suited to it. He is NOT a go with the flow kinda guy. He's more of a have a meltdown when I say something he didn't expect kinda guy.
Though we never failed to come out on top he went into a panic at every new experience. Though he's a highly intelligent and capable person he totally lacks confidence in handling things. He replaced our carburetor outside of Yellowstone NP using online instructions, fixed the ignition on the side of the road in BFE Wyoming, fixed the fallen fridge door, rewired the water pump and bypassed the water heater... made a new ignitor for the broken furnace out of an Allen wrench... he didn't gain an understanding of his own ability to handle whatever comes. Instead he filed those achievements as blind luck that likely won't be repeated in the next "disaster".

In the end I called off the traveling because I couldn't integrate an unplanned pregnancy and being the sole source of confidence, plans and family morale.

The kids and I miss it a lot, yes.

As for not knowing your source of income, I wouldn't worry about it. Of all of the families we met on the road, we were the only ones who had an on going income (Dh telecommutes).
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
Craigslist is a great source of one-time jobs. Some people pick up longer lasting jobs and stay put for a month or so to build savings... travel for a while, then stop to work again, etc. Many WWOOF farms accept families. We had friends who traveled the festival circuit as vendors and others that repaired and sold junkyard finds. You're only limited by your imagination!

Other travelers are also a good source of boondocking tips. Bus Village at the Rainbow Gatherings is a great way to meet people to travel with. As with any lifestyle, community makes life easier!
post #124 of 519
How exciting! So many changes in the works. You will love the west coast. We only spent a month driving down it but could have spent a ton more time there. We loved the Oregon coast though it wasn't sunny.

Craigslist just hasn't worked out for us. I have put up ads, emailed and called about so many things but never found a job for DH. It's nuts. He's a really skilled carpenter so I thought he'd be able to find small jobs everywhere. We might end up subscribing to Workamper at some point. At this point he will go work at his old job for a few months at a time and then travel in between. That's fine with me.

I believe we've decided that for March we will head south and check out the Kennedy Space Station, Everglades and the Florida Keys.
post #125 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonStarFalling View Post
How exciting! So many changes in the works. You will love the west coast. We only spent a month driving down it but could have spent a ton more time there. We loved the Oregon coast though it wasn't sunny.

I believe we've decided that for March we will head south and check out the Kennedy Space Station, Everglades and the Florida Keys.
Oh, I'm so excited. We have family to visit in Portland so we will check out the coast. We even have friends to visit in Sitka, AK (although the rig is not going with us to AK)

Florida sounds like a great adventure too! I've only been as far south as Orlando. Have fun!
post #126 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by CageFreeFamily View Post
He replaced our carburetor outside of Yellowstone NP using online instructions, fixed the ignition on the side of the road in BFE Wyoming, fixed the fallen fridge door, rewired the water pump and bypassed the water heater... made a new ignitor for the broken furnace out of an Allen wrench... h
Your husband is a rockstar! Mine is an an electrician and DIYer. He can fix almost anything...but he doesn't do plumbing or finish work (well, he tries, but...well...it's just not his thing).

I couldn't decide weather to laugh or cry when reading about your fridge on the highway. Thank you for sharing everything that you do.

I have a lot of interest in WWOOF farms...hmmmmmm...
post #127 of 519
I might be joining you soon! This has always been a huge dream of mine and we decided this is the perfect time for us...we do not own a home but are renting and my IL's have told us they would take over our rent so we don't have to break our lease or get rid of our stuff. We have a very large sum of money coming to us next month (well large to us) and right now DH gets paid every month automatically for his GI payment and we are both in school full time with all online classes and are getting decent financial aid. We are thinking to start off we will try and go for 6 months and see what happens. I have a ton of questions though.

We are planning to leave by March 1. What would be a good destination to head to around then? What realistically would we be spending on gas and a site to stay per week or month? What things would we need to pack with us? We have two little girls that are 3 and 5 and a small dog. Also for financial reasons we are thinking of buying a tent trailer (we have a big SUV to pull it) would a tent trailer be someone that would be liveable for 6 months? It seems like most of you have motorhomes on here. We just can't afford that though. I am sure I will think of more questions. If anyone has any good info. for me I would love it! Thanks so much!

I am super excited, this has been a huge dream of mine and DH's for a long time. It would be life changing for us right now, we need to get out of the rut we are in and do something crazy and amazing like this. I just want to make sure we are well organized and know what we are getting into!
post #128 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beautiful~Life View Post

We are planning to leave by March 1. What would be a good destination to head to around then? What realistically would we be spending on gas and a site to stay per week or month? What things would we need to pack with us? We have two little girls that are 3 and 5 and a small dog. Also for financial reasons we are thinking of buying a tent trailer (we have a big SUV to pull it) would a tent trailer be someone that would be liveable for 6 months? It seems like most of you have motorhomes on here. We just can't afford that though. I am sure I will think of more questions. If anyone has any good info. for me I would love it! Thanks so much!

I am super excited, this has been a huge dream of mine and DH's for a long time. It would be life changing for us right now, we need to get out of the rut we are in and do something crazy and amazing like this. I just want to make sure we are well organized and know what we are getting into!
As far as a destination in March our goal is to stay anywhere where our pipes/tanks won't freeze. Our tanks freeze if it gets near 20 at night.

We budget about $500 a month for gas if we're driving several days a week. We usually drive 6 hours a day. I also budget at least $300 a month for camsites. We stay at passportamerica sites and average about $16/night plus we boondock a couple days a week.

I think I would be OK with a soft sided/pop up as long as the kitchen and bathroom was useable. I'm not real familiar with them. We have a 30 foot 5th wheel trailer. Some pop ups are just as expensive as travel trailers. You might be able to find like a 23 foot travel trailer that you could pull with your SUV. You'd have to check the GVWR of your SUV.

We mainly just have our personal items, clothing, dishes, a few books, toys, games. Bikes, scooters and out door toys come in handy. We have a laptop and a personal computer, TV, X box. Basic tools and knowing all about your trailer and it's systems in case something breaks. Be familiar with how to change a tire and backing into a campsite (even in the dark) and I think it's a good idea to purchase roadside assistance and trailer insurance.
post #129 of 519
Welcome! I agree with what MoonStar wrote. Though, I must say that I think you will find full-timing in a pop up very difficult. First off, you won't have as much room for things, and while you don't need much, every speck of space counts! But more importantly, it's much more work for set up and break down. I remember as a kid we took a 2 week trip in a pop up. OH, the work! We always had to take out the coolers & suitcases and load those into the station wagon (yes, we had a station wagon! LOL!) Then we had to pop the thing up and out, then make the beds, set up the kitchen, etc.

When it was time to pack down, we had to do it all over again. And on rainy days, it was even less fun! You will spend a lot of time setting up and breaking down. And, what will your girls be doing while y'all are doing all of that set up/break down? I know what that would look like for us. I would be entertaining the girls while DH did all the work. That's not fun family time. Personally, I would never, never full-time in a pop up. But, that's just me. (no, seriously, I had FUN on our 2 week trip! LOL! I'm not damaged!)

I also agree - go somewhere warm. You will spend a lot of money on propane otherwise. And to me, the beauty of living in an RV is that you can follow the sun! But, that's also more expensive because you follow the crowds and the peak seasons.

I would spend some time reading books about full-timing it. I got "Living Aboard Your RV" from the library, and it was pretty good.

As far as what to take, take what you use most already. You won't need many clothes if you do laundry often. We have a small washer/dryer in our RV, and I do laundry about every day. So we often wear the same 2 shirts over and over! I have a lot of crafts & books, some legos, dress up, & a few other "favorite" toys. I wish I had room for more books, and I wish I had brought more puzzles.

We have a huge cast iron pot that we use almost exclusively on the stove. Occasionally, when we want a 2-course meal, we'll use a second pan. We use our oven a lot, with our glass Pyrex pan. Figure out what dishes work in your RV oven. We also took 1 plate, bowl, cup, per person, plus a couple extra for serving dishes. We originally took only a few pieces of silverware, but it didn't take up more room to bring along more, and with the little girls eating all day, plus needing some for serving, we grabbed some more.

That's all I have time to type at the moment. If you have any specific questions, send them out!
post #130 of 519
We don't full time (I wish!), but we've been on the slippery slope from tent to rv. I can't imagine fulltiming in a popup. We lasted 3 years with ours before we got rid of it.

Since you have an SUV, I'd suggest a hybrid (trailer with the pop up type beds at the end. So you have the lightweight almost of a popup, but the usable interior of a hardside trailer.

Never underestimate the joy of your own accessible toilet while on the road. Especially with kids.
post #131 of 519
Pilgrim Even with our 5th wheel it takes a bit to set up and take down. It can get tiresome if we're moving a lot. By the time we drive 6 hours, get to a campsite, park and set up the kids are going nuts. DH does all of the exterior setup/tear down. Everyone is tired, cranky, stressed out, hungry and the kids are bouncing off the walls from being in the truck. I don't recommend driving as much as we did. We put 10,000 miles on our truck in 4 months.

We took way too many clothes and bath towels with us. We really only wear three outfits and use 1 towel per person. Since you'll be traveling to different climates you'll need all seasons of clothing though. We ended up getting rid of a ton of clothes and some toys after we got on the road and realized our mistake. I only keep enough food for 2-3 days in stock. We also use two cast iron pans. I have a blender, a juicer, baking pans and an electric oven cooker.

I really underestimated the cost of using a laundry mat! It's usually $5 for every load and they're not even as big as the loads I used to be able to do at home.

We could do it with much less I know. We live really comfortably in our 30 footer with two kids, two cats and a dog. We have quite a bit of extra space and empty areas. However when we got weighed we were 400 pounds over the weight limit for the trailer and the truck! We had to dump some stuff and we always travel with empty holding tanks. Make sure you weigh yourself properly.

I got several full time RVing books, Boondocking and Workamping type books on amazon. None were really all that helpful. I wish there was a book for family full time RVing but I haven't found it yet.
post #132 of 519
I've been reading along for a while now, dh and I keep coming back to the idea of full-timing as all our other plans crumble around us. Since you're talking practicalities, I've got a question....what about health coverage? Do you all self-insure, or pay oop for private insurance, or what? Dh has chronic back issues (just now recovering from surgery #5) and his bills, even with insurance, are steep. I can't imagine what we'd do on the road if his back flared up and we had to pay cash for his treatment.
post #133 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonStarFalling View Post
I wish there was a book for family full time RVing but I haven't found it yet.
I'm writing one
Course my agent wanted it done a year ago, but I'm hoping it will be done soon.
post #134 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by CageFreeFamily View Post
I'm writing one
Course my agent wanted it done a year ago, but I'm hoping it will be done soon.
can't wait to read it!!

afa insurance goes - we have minimal coverage. But that's just us - we self-pay for just about everything. But we also use almost exclusive holistic practitioners.

My DD1 is suffering greatly from asthma at the moment, and she's costing us thousands of dollars at the moment. (Don't get me wrong, she's worth it and I'll pay whatever I have to and more to help her.) We have doctors that are willing to work with us over the phone, call in prescriptions, and even call in labwork. (I find the facility, tell the doc where I will go, they send in the lab requisitions.)
post #135 of 519
Regarding insurance we have medicaid from our home state. I still paid for my script the other day but they informed me I might be able to turn in my receipt to my home state and get refunded from them. LOL I wouldn't count on that. My kids have never needed to see a doctor, just twice my DD saw a chiro which isn't covered by our ins anyway. So I'm mostly counting on not needing any steep medical bills or if we do traveling back to my home state or lastly paying out of pocket if necessary. We have the savings to cover things.
post #136 of 519
So what kind of toys do your small children play with while you are driving? Anything in particular? I don't want to do electronic toys as my son is only three. Does anybody have a tray or something that attaches to the carseat?
post #137 of 519
I'd love some insight mamas:

We're saving up to head out in a couple of years. We're still torn between a 5th wheel, a trailer, and a C class. Our plan is to drive for a day or three, and then camp in a national forest for a month or so at a time (we have an Access Pass so from what I'm reading it's 50% off fees?). We want to use that time to do excursions around the area and explore, but we want to have a 'home base' to come back to. We also want to venture into some cities, but aren't sure how to handle 'where to stay' for those times and still keep it inexpensive.

So here's my questions:

How did you decide between a 5th wheel or a trailer? We're leaning away from a C Class, although having a bathroom while driving is a nice perk. The trailers are SO much less expensive, but the 5th wheels have SO much space! We're currently in love with a Montana Mountaineer 345DBQ and from what we can see, a used one would be under 20K in a few years when we're ready to take the leap. The biggest 'perk' to that one is the quad bunks, we're having a hard time finding that much rear space with quad bunks in any other model.

I'm really torn between getting as much space as we can manage/afford (along with a newer model that has less wear and tear) and maybe getting less space (we still need 4 bunks though) that's a little older (hence much more affordable but potential maintenance costs) so we can go sooner. Your thoughts on either/both?

As for your 'original homes': do any of you rent out your old house? We're right next to a major AFB and I'd love to rent out our house to a military family on a two year lease while we travel (with a local property manager), and then have somewhere to come back to while we explore the next chapter of our lives.

Also what kinds of vehicles are you using to tow? I've read all the RV forums and there's everything from "buy the biggest f-450 you can find' to 'we manage with this little underweight SUV' out there. We *have* to have enough seating for two adults and three kids (possibly four...depends on if we have another one LOL) including car seats, so that's where we're having a hard time finding a tow vehicle. We need one that can haul plenty of weight but has enough seating for everyone, and that's tough.

How do you follow the weather yet stay just off of tourist season everywhere? That seems like a delicate balance and I'd love some insight

DH and I are so looking forward to joining all of you, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!
post #138 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetpeppers View Post
So what kind of toys do your small children play with while you are driving? Anything in particular? I don't want to do electronic toys as my son is only three. Does anybody have a tray or something that attaches to the carseat?
We drove 26 hours straight with our 4 year old in a medium SUV. He slept most of the drive off and on...only awake for a few hours at a time. We don't do much TV at all with him...but when we traveled that long, we certainly made an exception. He also had books and his favorite dinosaur and animal creatures which kept him pretty content with make believe. While we are in the motorhome, I'm not too concerned. I don't think they need to be buckled (well, probably the baby). But maybe I'm wrong. We haven't checked into it much and it could even depend on the state. Kids are not buckled on a school bus, you know?
post #139 of 519
Theoretica, those are great questions, many of the same ones we have. We also have 3 kiddos (and are considering a 4th) so the quad bunks in the back are a must for us. We've been looking at the Sandpiper 355QBQ. For us, the living space of a 5th wheel far outweighs any conveniences a motorhome provides while actually driving.

We are contemplating having a tow-only truck that Dh will drive and me following in the minivan we already have with the kids. However, we are planning to stay a bit longer in one place than it sounds like you are. Pre-kids we were seasonal workers in several National Parks and love that, so we will probably seek out that type of work again.

MoonStarFalling, how easy/difficult is it to receive care with out of state medicaid?



If it's not too personal a question, how much do you all feel is an acceptable amount to have in emergency savings for a family on the road? My dh and I are disagreeing about this, and I also think he is underestimating regular maintenance costs.
post #140 of 519
Theoretica, we don't full time, but if I were in your position and either owned a pickup or was willing to buy one, I'd go for a 5th wheel over a trailer any day. They generally seems to be better equipped, more storage, easier to tow (that I've only heard, I've only ever towed a trailer), and are just nicer.
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