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!

 

 

       

September Trip Planning 


The past few weeks we have been busy getting rid of furniture on local groups and selling things on Ebay. We are trying to get rid of as much stuff as we can before our September launch date. 

In between work projects, I have been planning our September route down to Florida and our Florida to Wyoming route for March/April 2018. 

We hope to travel down to Florida with just the truck and pick up the travel trailer there. I was able to book our rooms for Shenandoah, Great Smoky Mountains, Congaree, Charleston and Savannah. I still need to look at Florida and see where we may want to stay for two or three nights before we pick up the RV.  A few of the RV dealers there have parks that you can stay in overnight while you load your RV up. 

Lazydays even has a huge RV store where you can purchase a lot of RV items. It would be great if we can make a deal with them for a travel trailer we like. Then we can stay for a few nights and take some RV classes and shop. Also, we want to make sure everything with the RV is OK. 

I have also started booking RV sites for our Florida to Wyoming trip in March/April 2018. We want to give ourselves around 5 weeks to get there and stop along the way. We hope to see some beautiful beaches, New Orleans, Austin, San Antonio, Big Bend National Park, the Rio Grande, Guadalupe Mountain National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Roswell, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park (hoping for no snow) on our road trip! Whew! The Florida state park sites go up for booking next week, so I hope I get the ones we really want. I heard the Florida beach parks can be tough to get.

The first three months of our Florida fall/winter season are booked at Fort Wilderness. That should work out great if we work seasonally at Walt Disney World. We will look at some other parks for January 2018 to the end of March 2018 while we are visiting Florida in May. 

We are both super excited to start our travels and work in the national parks! 

 

Full Time RV Route Planning

RVMapRoute2017/2018

After we decided on a date of 2018 for full time RVing, I have been planning a route. I think I have a good plan for our first year! I have been using Road Trippers again since it is pretty easy to map out a route online. Then the info shows up in the app on my phone. It is a rough draft right now since campsites are still too far out to book in a lot of the areas. I have to fill in stops in between major stops as well. I would like to keep our driving time to 3-4 hours or less on travel days. We also have to firm up where we would like to work. Interviews for the summer season (April-October) in the National Parks usually happen in November and December of the previous year. We hope to work in Yellowstone or Grand Teton for our first summer season since they have a lot of options for Workampers.

Our plan is to head down to Florida in the fall of 2017. Hopefully the beginning of October. We will just have the truck at that point. We want to stop at Shenandoah, The Blue Ridge Parkway, The Smoky Mountains and Congaree National Parks on the way down. We would also like to see Charleston and Savannah since we have never been. Our cats Lotus and Bamboo have been on a road trip before from Florida to Massachusetts, and luckily several of the hotels are pet friendly.

We will stay the winter in Central Florida. My parents are there and Craig and I lived there for nearly six years. We hope to do some seasonal work at the parks and shop for an RV. 5-6 months should be plenty of time to find one we like (fingers crossed.) Towards the end of March/beginning of April we will head to Wyoming by way of Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. We hope to see several of the National  Parks in those areas on the way. I would like to get to Wyoming towards the end of April, so we will tell them that in our interviews or add that info to our resumes. 

After working the summer in Yellowstone or Grand Teton (hopefully), we would like to head down to Utah or Arizona again.  Zion and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon are open year round. If we can, we would like to work a few months at one of these parks. Then we could head to San Diego for a month and up the coast to Yosemite! I am hoping we can work the summer season of 2019 (April-September) in Yosemite National Park. If they would let us leave mid September after Labor Day, we could see Lake Tahoe, Lassen, Redwoods and Crater Lake.  After that we will have to decide! 

Again, we are pretty flexible since we will have to see what job offers we get and what is posted next year. Craig and I have both worked in retail, merchandising, front desk and concierge at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, waited on tables, bartended, etc. in the past. We have worked in travel, banking, library/archiving, IT, web design, marketing, PR and owned several companies. Both of us are good with computers. We used to own a pet sitting company so we can help out on farms. In the next year and 1/2 we plan on taking several AMC classes on trail work and building, wilderness first aid and  map and compass info. We already volunteer for several local outdoor organizations helping with walks, trails, hiking, etc. I think we have well rounded backgrounds for Workamping!

Wheelingits blog posts on Planning RV Travels are a big help. I have bookmarked and Pinned so much info it will take me a year to get through it all! A trip to AAA is in order so we can pick up some paper maps. I will also buy Benchmark Maps so we have paper maps on hand. 

Stay tuned for more planning!

   

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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