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Post Info TOPIC: Things just got a lot more serous... your thoughts appreciated


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Things just got a lot more serous... your thoughts appreciated


I've made this same post on the SKP forum, but assuming that a Venn diagram of the two forum populations would not be two equal sized, concentric circles, I'm posting here as well. Please forgive me (in advance) for such a long post, but I feel you need the background information to give meaningful advice... and things have evolved quite a bit since my first post back in May.

First, the basics: I am 61 (and will turn 62 this coming February). I am retired Army and will retire from my civilian job at the end of February. My wife is a little more than four years younger than I am. She is an "international" sort of gal (born and raised on the mission field in South and Central America) and then spent half of her adult life in Spain and Central America (again, missions) with her first husband. I'm originally from southern New Mexico where my mother and sisters still live. We currently live in Aiken County, SC (across the river from Augusta, GA). I am a (very happily) remarried widower and my two adopted children live in the Augusta area; my wife's two children and the rest of her family are scattered from coast to coast - but mainly in TN, VA, MD, and CA.

We have been discussing the "full-time thing" for about a year, now, but I was beginning to think the future was looking like keeping the house, moving up to a modest fiver (we currently have a TT with a 2500HD diesel truck) and spending as much time on the road as finances would permit. (My wife would also like to spend at least a month each year in Cuenca, Ecuador.)

Fast-forward to this past Monday evening when my wife asked me to close my Kindle and said, "Let's talk." I gave my heart rate a minute to come down, turned my chair toward her, and asked what she wanted to talk about. She had obviously been deep in thought about something over the weekend, but I didn't know what. She said, "I'm ready to downsize, sell the house, and go full-time."

With her missions and my missions/Army background, being mobile with minimal possessions is neither new to nor uncomfortable for either of us. An RV would also be much easier and less expensive to put in "storage mode" while we leave the country for a month or two than the house would be. We have been working on a pros/cons document and having conversations around that. We have also started thinking about what we would want to have with us on the road, what we would "absolutely" have to hang on to and store, and what could be given to kids, donated, or sold. We would move our domicile to Texas (I have been a Texas resident several times in the past and it's close to my family).

My primary questions today are these (but PLEASE insert any other wisdom or advice that comes to mind):

1) In addition to the truck/tow vehicle, we have a 2009 Toyota Corolla with less than 60K miles in excellent shape (paid for). I don't think storing it somewhere is a viable option due to the needs of a motor vehicle to be run/driven/maintained periodically. Would you sell the vehicle or drive it separately to places where you would be staying for more than just a few weeks? Fuels costs wouldn't be much (>30MPG highway) and we get a very good multi-vehicle discount on the insurance with USAA. The cost of keeping it registered in Texas would also be a fraction of the cost in South Carolina. My main concern on this point is that my wife can't drive the truck (she's "spatially impaired" in terms of knowing where the outer boundaries of a vehicle are) and I don't want her to feel stranded or trapped when her only independent transportation is a bicycle. I also see the car as an important part of my wife's exit plan should anything happen to me. Your thoughts?

2) Since we just bought the truck a little over a year ago (a new 2013 crew cab standard bed 2WD D/A still on a dealer's lot with only 10K miles on it at this point), we can't afford to replace or upgrade it. I am very aware of the payload limitations of a 3/4 ton truck - despite the pulling power of the Durmax/Allison combo. My leftover payload (occupants, fuel and junk in the truck) on the rear axle is 3,120#, but the remaining payload per GVWR is 2,480#. I will, therefore, consider only fifth wheels with pin weights (loaded) of 2,000# or less (keeping about a 20% safety margin). We have had the smaller Nu-Wa units recommended to us on other forums and my wife really (I mean REALLY) likes the new Grand Design units. We can't afford the Solitude, but the smaller Reflection series would be within both our weight and financial budgets. We've spent time inside both the Nu-Wa (a used unit) and the Grand Designs, as well as a number of others. Obviously, enclosed, heated underbelly and tanks would be a must-have. Personally, I think double-pane windows are important for full-timing, too. I will not own another RV that I can't put load range E tires on, either. Since we can't go DRV, Presidential or other VHE (very high-end) fifth wheels, what other brands/models/units would you recommend? What major design considerations would you feel are critical for full-timing? (We've already decided on what will/won't work for us in terms of floor plans.)

3) And finally, what we jokingly call "Clause 11 in the job description" here at work: "...and anything else deemed necessary." Assuming we are talking about the emotional and lifestyle aspects of full-timing - along with an exit plan - what other wisdom would you like to impart? What else should we be thinking about?

So - not very much to ask, is it?...

Thanks!

Rob (and Laura)



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Looks like you have already talked yourself into taking the extra vehicle. Many people do that so I don't see any problem there as long as you don't mind driving separately when you travel.

I suggest going through the section on Buying An RV here on the forum and read through all the posts regarding 5th wheels. This same discussion comes up and you'll gain a lot of information and can maybe narrow down to the point that your questions are more specific to your situation.

I would just read everything I could find here and also look at other full-timing forums (google it). Every situation is so different just like in the S/B lifestyle.

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I can only speak to number 1. I think your idea is a good one. We started fulltime 8 years ago with a 5er and truck. In year 2 we decided to try it with a car as well. It was a great idea (for us). We do a lot of sight seeing and don't stay in the same place for months on end. The fuel saving in using the car (as opposed to the truck) for a daily driver paid for the extra fuel for 2 vehicles when moving and the extra insurance.

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Also, read through the main site, http://www.rv-dreams.com/, Howard (and Linda) have put a lot of time and research into it.  



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For number 1 .. I think bring the car..

1 month in , driving a dually, we decided to get a car. My elantra will pay for it self in 4 years. Yours being "free".. you just keep your money in your pocket.. Fuzzy math..
It will save you some money driving the car.. even with maintenance etc..And you can drive the coastal cities and park in the smart car sized parking spots.. A BIG PLUS !
I won't say the elantra rides better than the ram 3500..it don't.. but we make our sacrifices. btw 3000 miles in 1 month on the car..




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When we full-timed many years ago we always had a truck and a car for all the reasons mentioned here. We are stationary for a while and have two trucks, a Nissan Titan and a Toyota Tundra, both capable of pulling our 28' 5th wheel or any bumper pull. I used to be a sports car fan but now I drive either of the trucks. I haven't towed any of our RVs (except for pop-ups) but, with a little practice and a lot of determination, if I have to I will. I understand the feeling of "spacial impairment" and I don' try to squeeze a truck into a VW space... Just let your wife know - I'm 5'2" and 77 years old, If I can do it, she can!

Since I have lost count of how many RVs of all sizes, brands and models we have owned I'm not going to suggest any. We have gone from small to large and back to small again. Floor plan and strong frame are our major considerations. As to emotional and lifestyle questions, same answer, lived in too many places, small, big and in between, and after 30 years we are still together. Somehow, we always adapt. Our RV is our exit plan. Neither one of us can afford our current house if the other one is gone but either one of us can live in the RV at a much lower cost of living.

Read Howard and Linda's blogs (and many others) for a ton of straightforward information. It's a great lifestyle!



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Dyana L. Smiley


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There are pluses and minuses to bringing a car but my preference is to have the car for the reasons stated above. We traveled for 15months and half the time with the car and the other half without. I do recommend you get good radios so you can talk to each other on the road. Bill Joyce has made good recommendations about them. I'd post what we bought but I can't remember the model. 😒

Sherry

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For sure you are going to hear from the people that like having a car with them. Most fulltimers only "move" 5000-8000 miles a year. Having a car with you is not a big burden as long as your wife does not mind driving it. However, I will note that your wife should learn to drive the 5er at least for short distances. It may become necessary in your future.

We have had only the truck as a daily driver. And for some time only a semi truck - 3 years. Before that it was just an F550. Since then we have had a Jeep or a smartcar for a daily driver. So in our 15 years fulltiming we have done it both ways. Having a daily driver that is a car is definitely a good way to go assuming you can manage the logistics without an issue.

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You are in a position where you can try the second vehicle for a while and see how that works out for you.   If you sold the car before getting started, you may always wonder what it would be like with having a second vehicle , and to later have it cost you extra (purchase/or rental) to find out for sure one way or the other.   



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Great input, everyone - thanks! It's sounding like (as several have suggested) that it makes sense to keep the car and see how it works out. If we discover we can/would like to do without it, we have a granddaughter that will be needing a car next year...

"Keep them cards 'n letters comin', y'all!"

Rob


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I loved your post btw...I won't comment on the first two questions as that seems week covered the third question though...I will jump in on. Emotionally we made the decision one year ago and are days away from closing on the house. The last year as been an emotional one...not necessarily in a bad way...but we were pretty comfortable and doing this really knocked us out of the comfort zone. So my summary advice

1. Talk, talk, then talk some more . Your feelings will evolve as you go along and you'll probably hit some nasty spots but overall it's been a terrific growth experience.

2. Make friends ..go to a rally. We have several couples we rely on through the process for advice and emotional support and they were all met through an RV- Dreams rally.

3. Be flexible...because whee you start may not be where you end up. Every decision involves trade offs of some kind and along the way you might change your mind about what you want this lifestyle to look like.

4. There's no one true way. Every single person I've met who does this is doing it different,y..which is cool. You have to find your way high individually and as a couple.


Trace

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Sounds great!!! Rob and Laura; and Lee and Trace!!! Soon everyone will have left their S&B's for the wide open road. Talk about Freedom.

Rob; Brother; Thanks for your Service from this Old Army has-been; Veteran! LOL!

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PIEERE wrote:

Sounds great!!! Rob and Laura; and Lee and Trace!!! Soon everyone will have left their S&B's for the wide open road. Talk about Freedom.

Rob; Brother; Thanks for your Service from this Old Army has-been; Veteran! LOL!


Don't ever see yourself as a "has-been," Pieere! As long as you're walking and talking, there is life in front of you. 

On a slightly different note, you're pretty chilly today, aren't you? My stepson in Knoxville is at 36 degrees right now - we have warmed up from 35 to 38 with wind and light rain. I'm trying to talk Laura into going over to Camperland to compare two models of the Grand Design Reflections... the weather isn't on my side right now, is it!

Rob



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Rob and Laura,
We aren't out yet, but getting close, but we are keeping 2nd vehicle for multiple reasons. If we break down, we have 2nd to get help, also may need for workamping or separate jobs, and the truck is diesel which definitely requires more gas then the jeep. With the trips we've made so far, we used walkie talkies to carry on conversation about pull-offs, and just to jazz the trip up and it worked great. Our thought process is, that if we're living together 365 days in a relatively small area, the alone time driving is sometimes welcome :)
The other question you asked about which 5th wheel...we can speak for Grand Design. We have a Solitude, but we also looked at the Reflection. The thing with them, even though they are a new company is the reputation they have for standing behind the units. We absolutley love ours so far, and the feedback has been very favorable. Maybe check out their owners forum and ask any questions you have. The feedback is great, and the group is very helpful for dealers, etc. Good luck and have fun regardless of what you decide on.....and Laura has great taste! :)

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As others have noted…do what seems right to you.

Financially…as long as you're not paying a car note the expense comes out pretty even…at least based on our experience. We tow about 8000-11000 miles a year and the car gets that for when we move plus another 10K or so from being the daily driver. Insurance and maintenance would be pretty much a wash for us given our miles driven and gas mileage.

For us it comes down to whether we want to drive the 450 dualley everywhere and how often we actually need 2 vehicles at the same time. The latter isn't that often and the former is just a pain for us…it's harder to park and maneuver. Some parking lots have large enough spaces so that I can park completely in a single space but that doesn't happen very often. More typically BAT (big a$$ truck) need to take up 2 spaces and if they're short then sometimes 4. This forces you to park way out in the nether regions of the lot…especially if you need the 4 spaces.

We had a battery failure in BAT this fall up in OH…and if we hadn't had the car to jump it in the morning I woulda had to go up and snivel to the park management to see if they would send somebody around to help. It was the second morning of a 4 day travel session and we had to jump it every day until we got to our destination near DC for a week and I could get it into the Ford place to have them fix it.

We're off to Alaska next summer in a caravan with Bill and Linda Napier and RVadventure Treks…and we're not taking the car with us. So we'll be single vehicle from about the end of May through September…guess we'll find out whether or not the above determination was accurate or not.

One thing we have to come on an agreement on is back seat driving…on our recent trip up to northern FL for our solar panel installation we left the car in Fort Myers and just took BAT and the rig…by the time we got back I was telling Connie that either she needed to stop or else when we got back from Alaska and the kids asked us where mom was I would have to say "Who?" She couldn't understand that after the GPS told me to exit here that I really didn't need her to remind me 5 seconds later. I told her I've only missed one exit that I was supposed to take in 3 years (actually it was a rest stop) but then we had talked about it 35 miles back and I got to paying too close attention to a technical podcast. Figured it out at the last second and I could have still made the exit but decided that it wasn't worth that severe of a braking effort…so just pulled off at the next exit so she could recycle the morning coffee.

 



-- Edited by Neil and Connie on Tuesday 25th of November 2014 10:51:25 AM

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If car has no note it is cheaper to have one. I cannot buy into buying a car, paying a note, will generate additional income. My dually gets around 14ish as a daily commute. DW car gets 24ish. That's only 10mpg. Be hard to justify a car payment if this only reason for it. We have a car so DW will have transportation while I'm at work. If we were retired we agree we would just have the truck. You do need to add insurance and tags also.

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I'd have to agree with with Snow Gypsy that you seem to have already made your mind up on keeping the car.  It's certainly an enhancement to the lifestyle in terms of flexibility but from a financial point the more you drive it, the better the value.  If you are only going to put, say, a 1000 miles a month on it during your runaround travels, the total expenses make it harder, but not impossible, to justify speaking strictly from a money POV.  Now, if you drive it 3000 miles a month like Junkman, then you can more easily make the case it's a good move to have it. Putting 3000 miles per month on the TV just running around, will really eat up your fuel budgetcry, not to mention depreciation and your eventual maintenance budget.confusebleh If money is no object.... never mindsmile



-- Edited by biggaRView on Saturday 29th of November 2014 12:27:43 PM



-- Edited by biggaRView on Saturday 29th of November 2014 07:28:06 PM

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Thanks for the continued input, everyone. I'll post a bit of an update and a twist to the car as a second vehicle.

First, the update. My wife is now fully committed to making the transition ("graduating") by the end of 2015. We have started clearing out years worth of Spanish teaching materials from the basement and will progress to the attic, garage, etc., with time. She has already made significant progress on the kitchen and closets. She is starting to describe it as a "freeing" experience. We have also registered for the spring educational rally and will probably head out for a 3 - 4 week trip from there in our travel trailer before we sell it to start getting ready for the fiver. The plan at this point is to have the house ready to put on the market and show while we're in Ecuador for a month this coming August.

The car... we are insured with USAA and just learned a couple of weeks ago that USAA has "insurance storage" for vehicles. I'm sure this was designed for active duty personnel deploying, but anyone with USAA can take advantage of it. When you put the car in storage, you can go on-line, sign in to your account, and put the car in "storage" for insurance purposes. This drops the rates significantly for the stored vehicle because all they're covering you for is anything that might happen to the car while stored - it won't be exposed to the hazards of driving during that time. When you need to use it again, reversing the process is very simple. Since the car is paid for, I'm wondering if it doesn't make sense to put it in storage while we transition, move domicile, make our first few long trips, and see what pans out. If we decide we want to hang on to it, we can pull it out of storage and use it. If not, we can sell it. On the other hand, since it's in great shape and has low miles on it, we would be hard-pressed to justify selling it and buying another car when we have to come off the road. Perhaps I can run the numbers on the insurance during storage, annual tag fees, and the minimal maintenance that would be required and see what it would cost to keep it for 5/7/or 10 years. It might just be economical enough to justify keeping it. In response to comments above, we only put about 1,000 miles a month on car now, but would not run around much in the TV when full-timing, either (certainly not 3,000 miles a month). Thoughts?...

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Second Chance wrote:

Thanks for the continued input, everyone. I'll post a bit of an update and a twist to the car as a second vehicle.

First, the update. My wife is now fully committed to making the transition ("graduating") by the end of 2015. We have started clearing out years worth of Spanish teaching materials from the basement and will progress to the attic, garage, etc., with time. She has already made significant progress on the kitchen and closets. She is starting to describe it as a "freeing" experience. We have also registered for the spring educational rally and will probably head out for a 3 - 4 week trip from there in our travel trailer before we sell it to start getting ready for the fiver. The plan at this point is to have the house ready to put on the market and show while we're in Ecuador for a month this coming August.

The car... we are insured with USAA and just learned a couple of weeks ago that USAA has "insurance storage" for vehicles. I'm sure this was designed for active duty personnel deploying, but anyone with USAA can take advantage of it. When you put the car in storage, you can go on-line, sign in to your account, and put the car in "storage" for insurance purposes. This drops the rates significantly for the stored vehicle because all they're covering you for is anything that might happen to the car while stored - it won't be exposed to the hazards of driving during that time. When you need to use it again, reversing the process is very simple. Since the car is paid for, I'm wondering if it doesn't make sense to put it in storage while we transition, move domicile, make our first few long trips, and see what pans out. If we decide we want to hang on to it, we can pull it out of storage and use it. If not, we can sell it. On the other hand, since it's in great shape and has low miles on it, we would be hard-pressed to justify selling it and buying another car when we have to come off the road. Perhaps I can run the numbers on the insurance during storage, annual tag fees, and the minimal maintenance that would be required and see what it would cost to keep it for 5/7/or 10 years. It might just be economical enough to justify keeping it. In response to comments above, we only put about 1,000 miles a month on car now, but would not run around much in the TV when full-timing, either (certainly not 3,000 miles a month). Thoughts?...


 Check the rates.. it's only like $300 / year for our car.. full coverage..

 

Run the numbers -- all ways.

 

We are not the norm.. I want to go and do stuff.. either leisure activities.. or trying to make money.. I try and stay busy. 

I see retired , snow birds here that hardly ever leave the RV park. If I was one of them, I would not have a car.



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Have no tickets and we can't get liability/collision for 300 yearly. Second vehicle is a personal decision. Just don't buy into cheaper to have payment, insurance, upkeep cheaper than driving dually. We have a vehicle for DW. I rarely drive it. I work though.

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Gas engines do not take kindly to being stored, not to mention other mechanical parts for extended periods without regular "exercise".  Sounds like the decision to take it or store it will based more on the value of the added flexibility it could provide you.

FWIW.



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biggaRView wrote:

Gas engines do not take kindly to being stored, not to mention other mechanical parts for extended periods without regular "exercise".  Sounds like the decision to take it or store it will based more on the value of the added flexibility it could provide you.

FWIW.


 agreed.



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biggaRView wrote:

Gas engines do not take kindly to being stored, not to mention other mechanical parts for extended periods without regular "exercise".  Sounds like the decision to take it or store it will based more on the value of the added flexibility it could provide you.

FWIW.


I would not consider storing for more than a couple of months at a time (I'm an old "shade tree" mechanic and have rebuilt numerous vehicles and motors - and built two vehicles from the ground up). My late wife and I had very good results storing our Volvo sedan while we were in Somalia in the early '80s. We had my dad drive it once a month to charge the battery, "keep the tires round," and lubricate the seals (especially in the A/C system). Oil, of course, was changed based on time rather than miles.

Rob



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Just wanted to post up a recent observation..

I just moved into a nice rv park in ft meyers beach.. Place is loaded with million dollar class A's.. And class A's out number 5th wheels 10 to 1..

We just took a trip out to sanibel and captiva Island, then stopped at costco down here..

People, you need a car.. parking is nuts at the beaches.. we stopped at a restaurant on a beach.. and could barely get out out of our Hyundai.. Normally, you can find a parking spot , far away for a dually.. I didn't see one, without being towed.

I don't see it better in tampa area water areas, Miami , The keys... Or really any where near the ocean.. ( I've only seen tampa area and ft meyers area so far. )

Today, made us realize we made the right choice getting a car.. 110%..

It just depends where you LIKE to be.. Having a few beers at the "mucky duck" , sitting on the beach was pretty cool though..



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