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.
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.
- 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.
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.