I began by reading the RV Forum this led me to the purchase of the following books, RV'ing Basics and the Complete Guide to Full Time RV'ing both by Jan Moeller. I read these both cover to cover and have referred to the Complete Guide many times. Then I spent and currently spend lots of time on the RV Forums. Here you can search for anything and learn more than you ever wanted to. In the beginning I spent most of my time reading the Travel Trailer Forum and reading the Full Timing Forum. Now I spend my time on the Fifth-Wheel, Technology and Full-Time forums.
So after I requested and downloaded a bunch of brochures, I began looking at weights (carrying capacity) and space and visualizing "living" in a RV. I even joined a few owners forums of the RV's that I was considering. This provided insight on what I can or might expect from dealers and manufactures as far as problems go. Also I learned about modifications people made to their RV's. There are a lot of really creative people who help one another on these forums. I highly recommend that you join and read everything you can, ask questions and help if you can.
V1 = 92 Lumina APV 175K (DW)
V2 = 03 Astro AWD 20K (DH)
V3 = 98 Accent Gsi 113K (DH)
DW = Designated Wife or "we don't need no stinking papers"
DH = Designated Husband
TT = Travel Trailer
RV = To be determined Currently the Forest River GeorgeTown 359TS
Georgie Boy Pursuit 3180, Georgie Boy Cruise Master 3460 are in the running
Toad = To be determined
Well after much reading I took DW to an RV center and showed her what I
was talking about. She didn't really say much but was impressed how much
I knew in a short time. When I focus on something that I am interested
in I am a human sponge. So back to my research I went. While thinking about full
timing I began to have other thoughts about this. I know that I could do the TT
thing by myself but DW would probably be happier if it felt more like home. Plus I
wouldn't mind a bigger RV. The current problem/setup in my eyes is the
limitation that V2's tow weight. While 5500lbs should be enough to tow a
TT, TT's don't lend to a "house" feel at least in the weight class I could tow.
Most bedrooms are part of the dining area with out a way to create a better
level of privacy.
So then a thought came to me, "what about a 5'r" (5th wheel). Well to do this I
would have to sell the van and buy at least a 2500 or 3500 series truck. Well this sounds
good at first until you look at the cost of a new truck. Before you say
"don't buy new", forget it. My goal is to live cheaper than I do now, have less
hassle and be more flexible. I want to start with new to have warranties and get extended
warranties as well. So my next thought is that maybe we get rid of DW's van. I'll get
rid of vehicle V2 and we would buy a Class A Gas (34' - 38') and get a trailer for V3.
This seems to make the most sense, she could either workcamp or maybe she could find a
job near where I am working. The other thought is that I can get a small car for major city
travel and parking. This seems to be a more WIN-WIN situation. Now to get DW on board.
The RV Show South Bend Indiana 2004:
Well this was our first show. Its a little more different that I thought it would be.You can go in to anything from a $9K Pop-up to a $1.2 million Class A DP (Diesel Pusher).I knew that I would be able to buy an RV at the show and most have the price somewhere that is easy to find. What I didn't like was if someone was attempting to purchase an RV they would lock it up and make the deal inside.
Now I understand why but they don't post a sign on the door as to what's going on. Now being newbie's this seems rude plus if I am trying to compare 2 RV's and one becomes locked I either have to find a person representing that company or go back to a brochure. Overall the show was fun, we talked to a few people who had booths (Good Sam, Passport America, Sun Fun) but mostly looked at RV's.
We attended two seminars, the first one was 100 Years of RV's. Al Hesselbart talked about RV's from 1902 up through about the late 90's. He has a great slide presentation that goes with it too. You should see this. The second one was by Joe & Vicki Kieva they covered 10 tips to buying an RV. They do it in a great tag team version where one will talk on a topic and then segue to the other, it's quite entertaining.
Where to reside:
For everyone this will be a personal choice. I have not started to go through the motions to make the change as I have at least 7 more months to see if my
contract is renewed. If it is I plan to start setting up all of my bills on auto pay that I would be taking with me. Other bills like water, cable, electric and trash I will just right check until I make the move. After some reading I have decided that my choice is South Dakota, for me its close to my kids and they seem more RV-friendly. Alternative Resources seems like a good place to start. If you decide on Texas then the Escapees is where you might want to start.
First look around not from where you are sitting right now. Go down to the
basement, up to the attic or storage locker, look around have you used any of this stuff?
Are you saving it for your kids?
Do they want it?
Are they too young to understand?
Well here is where you have to decide what to do. You can either ask them now if there are old enough and tell them to come get it or find a place to store it and they can take it now. If not maybe either a friend or a small storage area could be the answer. Remember that if your friends house catches fire or floods those items maybe be lost. Also an insurance adjuster may not cover them, so check on a rider. Storage facilities have insurance you can purchase them or you can get your own. They can also provide climate controlled storage for those special things.
For me I have 4 things that I consider of value. I have my great grandmothers dresser, a large Peanuts collection and 2 Marx toys that are about 40" long. My kids are too young to understand the value of an heirloom. So the dresser could go to an antique mall and sell it there as it's not worth $40 a month to store for the next however many years. As for the Marx toys well I'll see if I can find the a place on board. If I can't hopefully I can find a friend or family to store these as I recently acquired the second one. I have decided that for now I would use a garage sale to rid myself of these items I do not use. Here are pictures of our garage sale.
Well, knowing that "stuff" has weight and weight is an issue in this lifestyle I began calculating the things I would bring / need and I came to about 400lbs, now I had not included some other RV'ing related items yet nor had I figured in what DW would take since this has become a very touchy issue. DW likes to quote a movie called The Jerk "Its not the money, it's the stuff". Well for me the stuff is just that, STUFF. I have created an Excel Spreadsheet that adds items and gives you a total. (Please feel free to update it and send it back and I will post the revised one.)
DW called me on my cell today when I was home and told me that a Class C
was on the side of the road and the dolly had a flat tire. She asked if she should stop as we are members of the Good Sam Club. I said sure and I would stay on the line just incase. Well the short of it was she really enjoyed talking to them and we found them a place to get another tire for the dolly so they could head to their home base in Wisconsin.