April 12, 2017

Saying Goodbye to the RV Lifestyle


*19,000 miles driven

 *32 states visited

 *107 different RV parks

The last four and half years have been busy ones. After buying a used 30 foot RV in September, 2012 from the rental company, Cruise America, Betty, Bailey, and I have done everything we hoped to in our motorhome. We have seen the country in a way that only comes from driving miles and miles of Interstate and back roads. 

We have battled high winds that wanted to shove us in a ditch. We have suffered through the failure of an air conditioner in late summer, in Texas. We have had a side mirror fall off in Alabama that had to be ducted taped to the window so we could drive home. We have learned how to tow a car behind a 6 ton RV and not have an accident. 

We have learned to pack for two months away from home. We have learned to live together in 200 square feet and stay happily married.  We have learned how to feed ourselves with a minimal amount of mess to clean up afterwards. We have collected memories and experiences that will last the rest of our lives.

But, like all things in life, we have decided it is time for a change, it is time for us to sell the RV and shift to other vacation and travel options. The vehicle is eleven years old. That means major systems will begin to fail and need to be replaced. The air conditioner was just the first fatality. The furnace blower fan sounds like a bearing may be going. Six tires are nearing the end of their usable life. 

Living in a hot climate means we can leave very little in the RV while it is parked at a storage yard. Packing before a trip takes a lot of preparation and then re-loading the rig every time. Arriving home, we are faced with taking everything out until the next trip. Frankly, that part is getting old. Driving an ungainly 6 ton motor vehicle through traffic and bad weather has become a bit stressful.  

Buying an RV and exploring the country was one of those "bucket list" things we dreamed about, and are so happy we took the plunge. It has been a tremendously satisfying experience. It has been an important part of our retirement.

So, what's next? Betty and I want to go back to England, Ireland, and Scotland. We are anxious to take a river cruise from Amsterdam into France and parts of Germany. A cruise to the South Pacific calls to me. A few more trips to Hawaii are a must. Flying to Portland and maybe eastern Canada are possible. We have even discussed taking the train from Vancouver to Toronto or points east.

Retirement is about adjustments and changes. The RV time has been fabulous. What comes next will be just as good. We can't wait.

Goodbye, dear and faithful friend.



















29 comments:

  1. You've been hinting at this, so it's not a total surprise, but still, we will miss our RV hookups with you two!

    I've always said that RV'ing is a lifestyle more than a hobby, meaning it has it's share of challenges just like anything else in life, so I do understand an RV-run coming to an end. Plus, with the growth of sites like VRBO and airbnb, one can find terrific places to stay for far less than a comparable hotel stay, plus enjoy having Wifi, laundry, a kitchen and room to spread out generally included. We're doing the east coast right now by VRBO, rather than by RV, simply because getting here from the west coast simply wasn't feasible.

    We are on year 11 of owning an RV - a travel trailer in our case. In that it has no mechanical parts, and only two relatively inexpensive tires, plus fits in our garage, it's a very low cost 'toy' for us to retain at this point. In our case, being so close to the California coastline here, I can't imagine ever getting tired of RVing at the beach given how inexpensive it is to do so.

    Having said that, however, we are preparing to VRBO our way through the Canadian maritime provinces in 2018, so there are definitely lots of non-RVing options out there to enjoy. So, Mike and I can't wait to follow along on your next non-RVing adventure, the first of many more to come I'm sure. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the RV weren't so work and future-cost intensive we would keep it because we like the freedom it gives us and the ability to experience different parts of the country. But, as noted, a Class C motorhome comes with major mechanical parts that can fail at any point. Plus, living in the desert, we must completely unpack and repack almost everything for every trip.

      It has been a tremendous experience and we don't begrudge a minute of it. Betty and I have talked about driving out to the Film Festival next year, staying in a hotel, and being able to hook up with you guys. So, the loss of an RV isn't fatal !!!

      Delete
    2. Or better yet, a VRBO for four and we both leave the RVs at home!

      Delete
  2. I still remember when you bought it! I can't imagine driving one of those things! Too huge! Enjoy your new travel adventures! I agree. VBRO and AirBNB are the way to go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have had great luck with VBRO in the past. I'm not a big fan of B&B places, but Betty is, so we are likely to compromise.

      Delete
    2. When you explore airbnb you will find there are often entire casitas or cottages available where you have privacy.We have come to enjoy staying with people in their homes..as long as we have some space.. and it always seems to work.. in Copenhagen we have an apartment all to ourselves through airbnb, very affordable.No "resort" fees or extra wifi fees etc..

      Delete
    3. Good to know. That puts them back on my list.

      Delete
  3. I feel your pain. When I had to sell my RV as part of downsizing, I felt like I was losing a part of myself. So many wonderful memories come from RV trips. Thanks for sharing your experiences in your RV.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Along with the hundreds of pictures of the rig, we will have lifetime memories. I am filling out the paperwork now to sell on consignment, so we will even get some of our original investment back!

      Delete
  4. Have you ever done a general blog on "letting go" in general? Attachments take several forms, of course. On my cul-de-sac is a nice little house that has been vacant the entire 15 years I've lived here. The lawn has been kept mowed and some minimal maintenance done. A daughter has not been able to let go of it all these years (and maybe some before I moved here), because of her fond memories of it being her father's and mother's home, then her mother's alone for many years. Now it seems, it will be razed to the ground, because the internal foundations have rotted through. To me this seems like a pathological attachment and inability to let go, although it isn't my place to judge the daughter's sentiments. It does cause me to reflect on my own attachments, however.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The house example is one of the more extreme examples I have heard of attachment.

      The idea of a general blog post on letting go is a good one. Look for something on that in the future. Thanks for the idea.

      Delete
  5. Seeing the country on a road trip is wonderful. You can get to places you might never see otherwise. But, hauling that big trailer around would get old real fast for me! Maybe you can fit in a trip to Cape May in your next incarnation!
    b

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Betty and I absolutely want to get east again to see her family in West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Cape May is just a hop, skip, and a jump from there. Time with you and Dave (and doggies) would be special.

      Delete
  6. Wow! What a life altering decision! All the very, very best on your next chapter! I love classic cars- the old Mercedes, Jags, etc. had several show car Best of Show awards. Sold the cars to people who would love them even more than I did. Friends, family regularly asked me me why I would sell my "treasures" that I had loved so dearly. My answer was just like yours," it was time." Have not regretted it a second. On to our next chapter 2 years ago and loving it. All the best to you on your next chapter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it is time. Just like deciding to move from Scottsdale after 30 years to be close to grandkids. To everything there is a season. Thank for your well wishes, Jack.

      Delete
  7. You and Betty are everyone's retirement rock star idols! Great way to model flexibility and practicality and a bit of whimsy, as it should be. By the way, some friends took that trans-Canada rail trip and loved it. Also know people who have done the European river cruises--also a great success.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As old as rocks, is that what you mean?

      Importantly, did you note that Portland is still a part of our must-do list?

      Delete
  8. Bob, My wife and I just returned from a three week trip in a Cruise America rented RV, traveling from Tennessee to the California coast. It was a wonderful retirement road trip on some of the roads less traveled. As much as we enjoyed it, I don't think I am ready to buy one for some of the reasons you mentioned. We're by no means through traveling, just keeping our options opened. Nevertheless, I envy your RV record...37 states and 107 RV parks has given you many great memories, and the comments above have given me some ideas for future trips.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have been very happy with the unit we bought from Cruise America, after renting one for a test trip. At 11 years old and 139,000, though, it is beginning to have issues. They are not unexpected, but have given us a push to reassess what is next.

      Delete
  9. To everything there is a season. Glad to see you knowing when to "move on" ;) . I like the idea of a post on knowing when to let go of something.
    Bon Voyage to more far-flung places.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Janette. Yes, I will follow up on that post idea.

      Delete
  10. If you have not done so yet, I recommend cruises to the maritime provinces in Canada and to the Panama canal. Beautiful scenery, great people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cruises and Canada are certainly on our future list. Combining the two might be perfect.

      Delete
  11. Understand completely, Bob. I think I mentioned in the past how Deb and I thought seriously about doing the RV thing full-time, and getting rid of our house. Nixed that idea after a lot of research and seminars, primarily due to the excessive cost and potential failure of various components. We are still thinking about park model RVs or manufactured homes for our next iteration, giving us a smaller base to jump off for our travels, likely in a quality 55+ community (and definitely not in something like the Villages)!!

    We have a similar attachment to our Harleys. If/when we give them up, hopefully many years down the road, it might be a bit traumatic as well. The beauty for you guys is that all that will change is your standard of accommodation since you will still drive for many trips. Many folks out there would love to be so blessed.

    Good choice for you guys needs. Happy for you both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Chuck. The biggest adjustment we will have to make is what to do with our dog. RV travel is perfect with a pet, but not nearly as practical with a car and staying in hotels. Assuming we leave her with one of our daughters there is probably a limit of a few weeks away, instead of the 2 months in an RV. That was part of our decision-making process, and obviously we have decided we can make it work.

      And, nothing is forever. We can always buy another RV if it turns out we really miss the lifestyle.

      Delete
  12. Another great post! I have thoroughly enjoyed all your travel experiences! My husband and I are just starting our third round of camping! We had a truck camper when we first got together 40 years ago. When the kidlets arrived we got a pop up tent trailer that traveled hundreds of miles although probably only a handful of parks. Now I am retired. We have a hybrid camper trailer we purchased a year or two ago and hope to go to a lot of the campgrounds and parks that we haven't seen for decades. We have the freedom to just pack up and leave for a couple of days midweek since i'm not working and his work is flexible for him. We won't be traveling anywhere far away but if we get to go camping when we want to go, where we want to go, while we still are able to manage it, then we will be very happy. I look forward to hearing all about your river cruises and other adventures!! Good Luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your good wishes.

      In reality, if we were able to store the RV on the side of our new home, like we did before we moved, the decision might have been different. There would still be maintenance issues, but the $1,000 a year to store it, and the inability to load it until the morning we depart are major obstacles. There is room on the side but the HOA is not a fan of large motorhomes on a side yard!

      Delete

Inappropriate comments will be deleted