Sunday, April 25, 2010

How We Decided to Become Fulltimers

Charley and I started thinking about becoming fulltimers about 10 years ago. Charley started researching what it would take to do this using the internet and many, many blogs that he visits almost daily. He also sent a lot of notes to other folks who had been doing this for a while and obtained advice when he needed it. In other words he did all of the work to find out what we needed to know.

After we talked and talked and talked about it we decided that it was what we wanted to do and we started planning for it. The first step for us was to downsize from the large home that we had when our kids were still at home so we put our home on the market, sold it and bought a patio home to live in until we could retire. As a part of this downsizing our kids inherited a lot of furniture and other things that they could use in their homes. Some was placed in storage for our daughter who would be getting married a little later in this process.

One other thing that we had to do was get some bills paid off so that we could retire. That was a little harder but we made good progress during the few years we were waiting and living in the patio home.

We decided during this time that we wanted to go with a 5th wheel and large truck rather than a motor home, mainly to avoid the extra engine and tires of a tow vehicle which we would have to have. We started going to shows and researching on the internet to determine what we wanted. We even went to the huge show in Tampa, Florida to look at as many brands as we could in one place. That trip turned out to be very worthwhile and helped in our decision to go with a Montana.

In November 2008 we traded in our two existing vehicles and bought a Ford F450 to tow the 5er. Charley did a lot of research on this model and when we test drove it we found it to be very quiet for a diesel truck. That helped sell us on this model. Note - we have found the 450 to be very rough riding when we are not towing the 5er but we can live with that.

In early 2009 we put our patio home on the market and sold it within two weeks. We then ordered the Montana 5er that we wanted. So in April 2009 we were moving out of the patio home, giving our kids who had both just built new homes all of our remaining furniture and things, and moving into our new home!! We parked the 5er on our son's property and got started on our new life while waiting until I could retire.

Now the economic situation last year almost put us on hold for a while but we lucked out and made it anyway. So I retired on 12/31/2009 and we "officially" became fulltimers as of 1/1/2010. We became members of the Escapees RV Club, changed our legal residence to our Livingston, TX address, and moved the registration for our truck and 5er. Hence the reason for our recent trip to Texas, to get registered to vote and obtain Texas drivers licenses. We have also joined Passport America and Freedom Resorts to help with the expenses associated with a camping venture.

As we have said before we feel very strongly that we have made the right decision for us and have no regrets at all. We look forward to seeing as much of our beautiful country that we can in the years to come (some of Canada and Mexico too) and meeting lots of great people along the way!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Update for this Week

Sorry that I have not posted in the last week. We have been busy trying to plan for our next venture, going to baseball games and dance recitals and just getting caught up on all that has happened while we were away. We are still trying to make a final decision on when we will be leaving for our trip out west to Yellowstone and other points of interest.

We may be delaying the start of our trip to help with a babysitting need our son has but that decision is still pending. Will continue to update as decisions are finalized. If our plans are not changed we are still hoping to leave in early June.

Cheyenne is growing and loving being free of her leash while we are here. I am worried that she will have to relearn how to exist on a leash but maybe she will be okay.

Our youngest granddaughter just got over pneumonia and she is doing fine now. Hate it when the little ones are sick!!

More to come later......

Monday, April 12, 2010

Brief Update

It is good to be back seeing our family in SC. The grandkids obviously missed us and have been at our door constantly since we have been back. We missed them too and are enjoying all of the attention!! Our daughter and son-in-law came to spend the weekend so we have seen everyone now.

I am planning to update our blog during our stay here to let everyone know how we decided to become fulltimers when we retired and how we went about getting started so stay tuned!!

Sherry's Mom with the Grandkids

Kaydee and Her Cousin Madison at the Lake

Thursday, April 8, 2010

We Survived!!

We are back in Blythewood, SC (Columbia) for a couple of months and we survived our travels quite nicely and enjoyed it thoroughly!! We both agree that we have made the right decision for us and we will be returning to the road probably sometime in early June.

We enjoyed our visit at the Crooked Creek RV Park in West Union, SC. It is a very nice park and we recommend it. We got our three grandkids for a couple of nights and I think they enjoyed it too.

I will continue to maintain our blog and update with what we are doing regularly until we return to the road.

We are really looking forward to our next trip (to Yellowstone and all points along the way!!).

Thank you to all who have been keeping up with us and please stick around!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!!

We left Gulf Shores yesterday and traveled about 9 hours to get back to SC. We are now at Crooked Creek RV park in West Union, SC which is near my Mom's and Charley's Dad's homes. We are getting the grandkids tomorrow and planning to stay here until Wednesday morning and then will head back to Columbia.

We have decided that we will forever stick to our original plans to always travel no more than 200 miles, stop by 2:00, and stay at least 2 days. A 9 hour travel day was way too much!!

This park is very nice. It is owned by an old friend of ours from our high school days. It is located on Lake Keowee which is beautiful.

Our plan at this point is to be in Columbia for a couple of months and then we will begin our journey out west with our final destination as Yellowstone.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Blue Angels and Lambert's Cafe

Sorry that it has been a couple of days since I have provided an update. We have been busy and enjoying our stay here.

We went to see the Blue Angels practice yesterday and it was awesome!! These guys really know their stuff. There was a pretty large crowd there and the Naval Station really handles it well. They also have a Naval Air Museum on base that Charley wants to go back to visit in a later visit to Gulf Shores.

We went to Lambert's Cafe for dinner last night and that is a fun place!! Home of the "Throwed Rolls". We need one of these in South Carolina!! They do actually throw rolls to you at your table!! They also bring "pass arounds" through the restaurant during your meal. Last night they had fried okra, country fried potatoes, black eyed peas and apple butter/molasses for the rolls. And these were not just ordinary rolls. They were very large yeast rolls. Yum!! I had chicken & dumplings and Charley had pork chops. The prices are very reasonable, especially for the amount of food you get!!

Cheyenne continues to go for her walks and make friends along the way. Charley said a lady actually stopped her vehicle yesterday and had him lift Cheyenne up to her to be petted. And she loves the attention!!

We have our plans sort of together for getting back to SC from here. We may try to make this leg of our trip in one day. Planning to go by to visit our folks (my Mom and Charley's Dad) on our way back to Columbia and get the grandchildren for a couple of days while we are there. Then back to Columbia for a couple of months before we go back out on the road.

Blue Angels - Awesome!! (Double click on the first picture to see it better)

Lambert's Cafe - Be sure to watch the video!!