Meeting With “New” Full-timers

A couple weeks ago Karen and I met with a terrific couple from the northeast.  Russ and Kay of the Destination Unknown Blog recently left their home state on tour. I met Russ on my own blog which he follows. I noticed on RVillage they are parked in Colorado today.  Although technically they have been full-timers for a while, having lived stationary in their travel trailer, they had only been on the road for a few weeks when we met them. While here in the Kansas City area they stayed at the Trailside RV Park in nearby Grain Valley Missouri. This park is right behind the local Jayco dealership and just off Interstate 70. This park would be a handy stop if someone needed work done on their rig as there are several dealerships in the area. Russ was telling me most of the parks in the area he researched were full and Trailside would not have been their first choice as the camping spots are so close he could not put his awning out. I know some of the area RV parks have closed for the year or turned off their water. I keep a list of Kansas City RV Campsites on my own blog, having toured many in the area. Karen and I have been looking for a good place to park for months at a time during visits home. I had asked Kay and Russ for a list of restaurant types they liked so I could pick one out nearby where they were staying. We met for dinner and then went to their home for a visit. This was a good chance for me to checkout Trailside RV Park, get to know our new friends and ask a ton of questions about their transition to fulltime RV living and now travel.

 

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Russ and Kay

 

Once I got home I wrote down a few quick notes of what we learned from Russ and Kay. The best part of it all was meeting yet another fine couple who shared the same values we have.  Kay said the most challenging part of the life was having enough space to store everything to include stocks of food. Here are a few more bullet points:

  • Don’t be afraid to make your trailer your home. Hang photos on the walls. They use Velcro strips and don’t have to remove the photos for travel. I was worried about marking the walls up but after seeing how they have customized their home with decoration marking the walls up seemed trivial.
  • Russ walked me through his solar setup and how the controls work. That was a first for me and very interesting. He told me to make sure and shut the inverter off at night (he does not have a residential refrigerator) or you will drain the batteries.
  • We talked about how well their dog Jake adapted to the lifestyle. Karen was impressed with the setup they had in the backseat of their truck for Jake. I noticed they could leave the windows down and Jake did not jump out.

 

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Karen Walking Jake – Nice Fall Colors Also

 

  • Kay told me not to overlook some of the requirements Karen will have for our future home which includes shoes storage and a place to apply cosmetics.
  • They have a seasonal spot up north they rent. There they have a wood deck and plenty of space.
  • Karen sure liked the second exterior door leading outside from the bathroom. Kay said it comes in handy when family is tent camping nearby so they can use the bathroom at night.
  • Kay also does artwork while on the road. Their trailer is a bunk house model. The top bunk is used for storage and Jake jump into the lower bunk. They removed the sofa in the bunk area and replaced it with a desk. When they are relocating, Russ stacks the computer on the lower bunk. It’s a fine office.
  • If I got my notes right, they sold off their sticks and bricks home and rented a home for the winter. They had been spending months at a time living/vacationing in a previous travel trailer, then moved into their new one. I’m planning to take Russ up on his offer to show us around once we travel to his home state.
  • Russ showed me a few tricks they use to secure stuff when moving. He installed drawer handles that match the trailer and uses bungee cords such as to lock down Jake’s food and water dish.
  • Russ and Kay would be a good contact to visit with if you are planning to live in a larger Travel Trailer pulled with a large gas truck.

 

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Cords and handles to tie stuff down.

 

Here on the home front not much has been going on. Last week I went to yet another coworker’s retirement party. Standing in the back of the room were prior retirees. I stood with them talking about the old days. They asked when my time was coming. It just does not seem real that we are the old-timers because I don’t feel like it. Life moves so fast and I have so much I still want to learn about the job. But, getting out early enough to enjoy life with less physical restraints is more important than the love of a job. A couple guys that were in academy classes before me are also planning for their day to come. I’m next… but that’s still about three years away. I could go in two but financially it makes since to stay the extra year. By then I’ll be “one ass chewing away from retirement.” Not really. Us old-timers know how to stay out of trouble and the bosses’ office.

I just finished up evaluating the Prime Time Sanibel fifth wheel which had some changes in 2017. Prime Time is a Forrest River company and we have a local dealership. For our needs, I rated it higher than the Heartland Bighorn Traveler Addition that I wrote about in my last blog post. The Sanibel suggested retail price is however about 9% more expensive. For our needs I rated it 12% better than the Heartland.  Might write about that later along with the Winnebago Destination and 2017 Jayco Pinnacle. Just two more months till the next local RV show. I’ve got my list started of what I’m looking forward to checking out.

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7 thoughts on “Meeting With “New” Full-timers

  1. I do enjoy reading about your transition. Cindy and I are getting closer. We are closing on the house in a couple of weeks and own the lot across the street where we are getting it ready for a place to stay. Just got the water hooked up and start the septic tomorrow. It will be nice to have a place to get off the road and stay for as long as we like. We have a storage shed there for personal stuff as most of the furniture is going with the house. We were hoping Cindy would retire in Jan. but looks like she will work thru the winter and we will stay in the 5er. But come hell or high water we are heading out this spring. Russ and Cindy from SC.

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    • You have to be getting excited Russ. That date is not far off. Maybe retiring in the Spring would be better for travel anyway. We are wondering ourselves if it’s better to go in October 2019 or wait till spring. I suppose it will have something to do if we have a workamping job to be at.

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  2. When you narrow down your choice I suggest thar you:

    1) Go to factory and see your favorite unit being built. While there spend time and talk to owners of units who are having work repairs done at the factory service center and see what their wait time is for warranty AND non-Warranty work and whether or not they make appointments and/or reservations. I know of a manufacturer that is having so many repair issues that you can’t make reservations and the wait period can be weeks after you get there to get on the list. Often the campgrounds are full.

    (2) Same issue with a place to camp while you wait. DRV did not have a septic dump station at the factory. They dumped the black tanks in a field behind the plant.

    (3) Many RV dealers can only fix minor issues. Seasonal change times mean long waits for service. Many issues have to be fixed at the factory. Even then, don’t expect those repairs to always been done properly. We, and others, often had to have repairs done over and over for the same issue. The more “whistle and bells” you have, the more time you will spend in service centers. About 1/3 of the miles on our RV came from driving to the factory because dealerships couldn’t do the repairs.

    (4) It is hard to plan future destinations or workamping jobs when you don’t how long necessary repairshop will take. We often had to live with the inconvenience of things not working to meet work or family obligations. Quality control is normally done by the first owner, not the manufacturer.

    The reason this is important is that you may be there weeks or as many RVers we know have, including us, been there for months. Most factories are in places one would not like to spend a lot of time.

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    • Thanks for taking time for writing the great information Steve. I also appreciate the time you spent with me on the phone. I’m reading tons of blogs so I can see how others are handling this. I’ve read plenty of the good and plenty of the bad. Such as a couple who bought a new Lifestyles fiver that was so highly rated for it’s frame. Then they had a major frame issue. The company took the rig back and built them a new one. While they waited for months in a rented condo. They hit the road in their new trailer then the company went out of business. They don’t blog much after that so not sure how they are doing. I’ve also followed about a dozen blogs where folks are traveling in rigs constructed with less foundation that a DRV, Lifestyle, New Horizon or whatever. They are doing fine with no major issues.

      Do you think there is anything to what people suggest by buying a year old trailer with all the issues resolved? Or do you think there is a better chance you would be buying the problem trailer someone is running from? Suppose a good inspection would be in order at the least.

      I took your advise very seriously about concentrating on buying from a company that stands behind their product after sale. If one exists. I’ve placed that at my highest priority. We will most likely do some factory tours when we get closer to buying. Although if we bought used in 2018/2019, the 2017 trailers would be ones we should see at the factory. Karen’s folks live in Michigan so when we make trips and might stop at a factory or two. I have a couple in mind already.

      Hope your new home building is going well.

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  3. Mark, I enjoy each of your posts as you work through the process of finding the right unit for you and Karen. I just took a look at the Sanibel floorplan you mentioned. What a nice layout!
    We are currently planning some updates to our S&B home that we will be working on this winter in order to put it on the market in the spring. Big step for us!

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    • Putting the house on the market has to be the biggest step, just behind selling it and driving away. Congrad’s on being so close. I’ve got to get motivated to get some things fixed around here also. Thanks for following the blog crpeine.

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  4. Pingback: Boondocking at Apple Butter Days | Our Future in an RV

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