We Bought an RV!

Our RV shopping trip to Florida was a success! We went to look at several RV parks and a few RV dealers. We also went back and forth by email with some other dealers to make sure we were getting the best price we could. In the end we decided to order a new 2018 Grand Design Reflection 297RSTS from the factory. It will be ready for us to pick up in September. Grand Design seems to have a good reputation in the RV world.

The first RV dealer we looked at was Lazydays in Tampa, Florida. This is a large dealer with an RV resort, big store, restaurants and even training classes. I had heard they did not deal much, but we knew they had a lot of stock to look at and we were interested in seeing everything they offered. We wound up buying our Reflection from Lazydays. They offered us a nice percentage off of MSRP, we liked our sales person and we loved the ability to stay overnight (or several nights) and test everything out. They will give us a full walk through of our travel trailer and even have classes we can attend since we are new to all of this. They are also a close drive to Orlando where we will be for several months in case we need any warranty work done.           

Lazydays is so large we were driven around in a golf cart. Our sales person dropped us off near all of the Grand Design Reflection and Imagine travel trailers. He asked if we wanted him to look with us or come back. Since we wanted to take our time in the trailers and not rush, we looked for a while without him hanging over us. He had other customers waiting around too so this worked out well for all of us. Many of the trailers were hooked up to electric and the AC’s were running. This helped us to get an idea of how cool they stay in 95 degree Florida heat!

The floor plan we chose was one we had been eyeing online for a while. It is just shy of 34 feet and has a nice layout for full time living. There is a small fridge and grill outside as well as a television. Not sure how much we will use that, but it is a nice option. The loveseat folds out to a bed and the recliners are heated and face the TV and a small fireplace.  

We decided to go with a free standing table and chairs even though we thought we would like the dinette better. The dinette was not comfortable and Craig was really cramped at 6’4. We also opted for a second AC since we will be staying in some hot areas (like Florida in September and October.) There is a lot of cabinet space, so hopefully we can fit the small amount of items we are taking with us. It looks like a small cat litter box can fit in the bathroom and a crate can fit near the center kitchen island. Their water and food also can fit in the kitchen area. There is a combo washer/dryer hookup in the bedroom, but we will see if it is worth loosing some closet space after we move in.

We also looked at Orlando RV in Winter Park, Florida. They were very nice to us, but did not have any Grand Design Travel Trailers there. We got to look at several floor plans that were really nice, but the RV companies (Forest River, Jayco, etc.) do not have great reputations from my research. I feel like we have been researching for years, so it is so exciting to finally have a decision made! Now for the truck shopping… And job applying…

When we got home our new campsite sign that we custom ordered was waiting. We love it and can not wait to get on the road! 3 more months!

 

 

       

It’s Official

Yesterday we gave our landlords notice so it looks like our start date is official! We are going to be heading to Florida on September 10th or 11th.  The departure date depends on how fast we pack the truck. I think a Monday will be the better travel day, so it will probably be the 11th.

We are going to Acadia National Park with friends for Labor Day weekend and held Blackwoods Campground again. We are staying 5 nights, so that gives us 4 full days to pack all of the things we are taking when we get back. Right now, that is not much. We plan on having about 10 boxes, a few bags of clothing, tools, camp gear and a few odds and ends. A lot of things we need for the RV we will get while we are stationary in Florida.  We need a few things like a surge protector, a water pressure monitor, a few Corelle dishes and a generator.

Next week we are looking at several RV dealers in Florida. I am excited to see the floor plans and RVs we like in person. We will look at more up north as the weather gets nicer too. Some of the local dealers are having open houses with give-a-ways. I want to win a national park annual pass one of them is giving away!

We continue to get rid of furniture and clothing. Last week we sold our bureau, desk, big chair, shelving and coffee table. We are down to the bed, couch and dining table. I did get a few collapsible pet bowls for the cats. I figured they would be good on the trip down to Florida. They have been really calm with all of the packing and furniture moving. I think they know they are going on an adventure soon. This place has been way too boring for all of us.

   

We also cleared out some more things from Craig’s parents storage area. They are holding a few boxes with pictures and scrapbooks for us. I am bringing some framed prints to friends in NJ and FL-hopefully they all fit. We did have a free coupon to make a softcover scrapbook/memory book online so we used it for a small one we can bring with us. We might get a small digital photo frame too. We can always show people pictures on the TV or our phones. It is so nice to not have a ton of huge photo albums sitting around. I love pictures, but we only looked at the hard copies once in a while.

       

I will post pictures of the RVs we like after we get back from Florida. 

 

RV Shopping 

Last Saturday Craig and went to look at some RVs with two of our friends. The only RVs we had looked at recently were Airstreams, so we were pleasantly surprised. 

Many of the floor plans would work great for full time living. There is much more storage space and room in the RVs we toured than the Airstreams we looked at. I expected them to be cheap looking, but the flooring, kitchens, wood and design were very nice. 

Some had large showers in the bathrooms and nice closets in the bedrooms. Several even had outdoor kitchens with a sink, grill and small fridge. One brand, the Mesa Ridge, had nice insulation and heat around the tanks. There were small fireplaces and heated seats!

We are pretty sure about the floor plan we want and several brands have that style. We are going to check some more out in person. It was cold, and many had the slides in so we could not get a great idea on true space. The dealer we visited has a spring open house where many will be fully open for touring. Hopefully we can see more of the floor plans we like ASAP.

 



Seasons

As spring is trying to get going here in Massachusetts, I have been thinking about how soon we will be able to “follow the weather.” Thankfully, our winter was pretty mild and we did not have a lot of snow. Especially compared to 2014’s crazy snow storms. This spring has been cold, windy and wet. The trees just started to bud and bloom a few weeks ago. Many are still not out with a month until summer! Maine and New Hampshire had snow the other day.

I do not like winter and love the sun and heat. I find myself saying-“just one more winter here” and “we have to enjoy this fall since we may not be back here in a while.” I do like the summers and fall in Massachusetts, but dislike the winters and springs. Even summer is really not warm enough for me here. We get about two very warm weeks in the 90’s. I am so excited to be able to move our home around!

We have still been clearing out clothing, books, knick knacks and selling and donating them. Some shelves are finally emptying out. We have about four boxes of things we will store at Craig’s parents until we find a place we would like to buy land. Some photo albums and photos (we rarely print anything anymore, but these are pre-digital.) A few books that were signed for us or we really like and a few scrapbooks. I would not be crushed if they had to go too, but it would be nice to keep a few memories in print form.

This is all we are keeping in storage!

This is all we are keeping in storage!

 

Empty shelves

Empty shelves

There are a few things we would like to try and see around here before next October. We have been meaning to go to The Boston Harbor Islands (NRA) for a while now. We would also like to get the Boston stamps for our National Park Passport. Maybe the Cape Cod National Seashore ones we missed as well. We would not mind going back to Acadia NP and Minute Man NHP one more time. Stay tuned for a Boston Harbor Islands post soon!

Going Minimalist 

These were all full last week-getting there!


After moving our stuff to Florida and back to Massachusetts, we got rid of a lot on our last move. We went from a big 2 bedroom house with a huge yard to a small loft that Craig can walk to work from. We knew we wanted to full time RV soon and then build or buy a small cabin.

Now that we are going on the road, we are trying to get rid of even more things. I have been selling Disney collectibles we got when we worked in Florida, purses, prints and more. Craig brings in kitchen items, cookbooks and knick knacks to work every week to see if anyone will use them. We have donated clothing and are giving away furniture. We will sell and give away our bigger furniture next summer. 

Things to donate


It is so nice to see shelves empty and clear. We still have a lot to go through, but every day more goes out the door. We have been really good about not buying anything new unless it is an item we really need. We will probably “shop” for camping gear on Craigslist before we go on the road. Otherwise we need very little. 

Soon all the shelves will be empty


I did get a new atlas this past weekend and it is great to see our planned routes on paper. 


We have been pretty minimalist for a while now, but we are loving getting rid of so many things. I wish we did it sooner, but we enjoyed our stuff while we had it. Now we can spend any extra on experiences! 

List of RV Resources

 

Since Craig and I have been talking about full time RVing, I have been researching a lot online. There are some great resources out there that will help us along the way. I thought I would make a list of what we have found useful in case anyone else was thinking about RVing full time or even part time. 

My Home on Wheels Pinterest Board

RV Shopping:

RV Trader

RV Registry

Pop RV’s

Trailers.com

Search Tempest (search all of Craig’s List)

Vintage Campers/Trailers

Airstream Classifieds

Working From the Road and Workamping:

Workamper News

Workamping Jobs

Camp Host Jobs

Workers on Wheels

Cool Works

Working Couples

Help Wanted for RV Parks and Campgrounds

Escapees/Xcapers

USA Jobs/National Parks

National Park Volunteers

Western National Parks Association

Xanterra Parks & Resorts

Delaware North

Aramark

Setting up a Domicile State:

Picking a Domicile State: Getting Mail and Voting as a Nomad

Big RV Questions: Residency, Mail and Health Insurance

Setting up Domicile in Florida as a Full Timer

How to Move to Florida in 1 Hour

Saint Brendan’s Isle

Mail Service and Domicile

My RV Mail

RVer Insurance-Auto/RV and Health :

RVer Insurance Exchange

RVer Guide to ACA Open Enrollment 2016

eHealth Insurance

RV Insurance

Explorer RV Insurance

Good Sam

Progressive

Geico

Esurance/Allstate

Nationwide

National Interstate

National General

Roadside:

Family Motor Coach Association

Coach Net

AAA

Spots to Stay:

Go Camping America

Recreation.gov (Federal Sites)

Reserve America

Public Lands Info Center (Western States)

RV Park Reviews

Good Sam RV Parks

Thousand Trails

Harvest Hosts

Worldwide Opportunities For Organic Farms USA

USA Campgrounds Info

Camping USA

US National Forest Campground Guide

Ultimate Campgrounds (Public Campgrounds)

Allstays

Boondockers Welcome

Boondocking.org

Free Campsites

Campendium

 

Apps For RVers:

Mobile App Essentials for RV Travel

Internet/Wifi:

Overview of RV Mobile Internet Options

Vinli

Stay Connected On The Road

How We Keep Online

Discover The Best RV Internet Service Option

Security/Locks:

Tiny House Security

MegaHitch Lock Coupler Vault

How to Keep Your RV Safe From Theft

RVing With Pets:

RVing With Cats

RV Traveling Cats

5 Tips For RVing With Cats

RV Traveling With Dogs

RVing With Dogs

Tips For RVing With Pets

Maps:

Roadtrippers

Benchmark Maps

RV Forums:

RV Network/Ecapees

Air Forums (Airstream Forums)

RVillage

Full Time RVer Blogs:

Gone With The Wynns

Technomadia

Top RV Lifestyle Blogs

live. work. dream


Future Goals

As we get older, Craig and I have been talking a lot about what we would like to do in the future. I grew up in New York City- one of the most expensive places to live in the world. When I met Craig, I moved to Massachusetts. Where he grew up was much more rural and quiet for me. It was also a lot cheaper! Then, house and land prices started to go crazy here too. We were not sure we wanted to settle in MA, so we never bought anything. When we got priced out of the MA market, we decided to move to Florida. We had been traveling there for years and liked the weather much more than MA. We bought a condo in a great area and had a blast working at Disney World for nearly six years. 

                           The Boss

We wound up working a lot of temporary and contract positions in Florida though. Benefits were not as good as up North. So when a good job offer came in for Craig back in MA, we decided to take it. It offered really good health insurance and we had been paying a lot for that in Florida. This was right before the ACA happened.  It was really hard giving up our Florida life, our cute condo and our friends. We had a tough time adjusting- do not even mention snow and ice to us! 

Since homes here have shot up even more in price, we will never own here. That is fine though because we know we never want to! We did not even plan on staying in MA  for the six years we have, but the economy was not great, and we were grateful for Craig’s job. Anyone we do know with a home in MA bought it before the 90’s, was given a hefty down payment from family or was given the home outright.    

We have some money saved and zero debt, so we plan on full time RVing for a while. If you read the blog, you know we love to travel! We want to work and volunteer in some of our National Parks.  Eventually, we would like to buy some land and build a small/tiny cabin. After renting for a while now, and growing up right on top of other homes, we want several acres. Things like solar, chickens and a garden to grow some food would be wonderful. We have not seen enough of the country to decide on a place yet, so that is where full time RVing comes in. The land will most likely be out West. We do not want to be near millions of other people on the East Coast.      

Since we are not getting any younger, we have set a goal of January 2018! We will have to Workamp for a while as well as work for ourselves. The ACA helps since we will not have to worry about having health insurance tied to a job. We have a rough plan on timing right now. Research has been ongoing for the past few years. Of course a lot depends on savings and stock rates when we decide to cash out. We have to time it right for taxes, etc. We will keep watching for good prices on trucks and RVs. Hopefully, we wind up with an Airstream-we have loved them for a long time. We have looked at some other types of RVs though.   

I hope you will follow along on our journey. I will do a post soon on all of the RV resources out there in case anyone reading is planning on this lifestyle too.

dont-be-afraid

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