Category Archives: Early Days

First Year on the Road

Yesterday marked our first anniversary of hitting the road as full-time RVers. I’ve written 277 blog posts since then and I’ve slept in our motorhome every night for more than a year (we moved into our Gulfstream before we actually hit the road – we sold our bed the week before).

Leaving the sticks and bricks for the last time

Leaving the sticks and bricks for the last time

The early days on the road have become a blur. We had planned to take a vacation to upstate New York to visit Donna’s family and also visit friends during the Lake Placid Ironman week. When I moved up my early retirement date, we carried on with our vacation plan. The only difference was that we didn’t return to Michigan. We took our home with us.

So we started our journey in the Northeast. From there we headed west. A month or so later, we were in the state of Washington. A month to get from New York to Washington may seem like plenty of time. But we learned that traveling by RV means you should plan for short hops and try to stop for at least a couple of nights at each place. Staying for a week or more in an interesting area is even better.

We utilized an America the Beautiful Pass to enter national parks along the way. We visited so many beautiful places and even had a few wildlife encounters. Posting this journal has kept the memory of these places and the people we’ve met fresh.

It’s also gratifying to know that this blog has inspired others to enter the RV world, just as other blogs inspired us to hit the road. We’ve been told that we inspired at least two couples to make the plunge into the full-time RV lifestyle.

By the time we made it to the Washington coast, the rainy season was looming. After visiting family for a week north of Seattle, we hit the road and headed south. We traveled down the coast through Oregon and northern California much too quickly, but still couldn’t beat the rain. When we finally made it to San Diego in late September and settled in, we found our groove.

Our first two months were exhilarating, but at the same time exhausting. We learned the ropes and could set up or break camp efficiently. We also realized that our choice of coach wasn’t ideal for our full-time lifestyle.

Three months in San Diego allowed us to get re-energized. I enjoyed re-connecting with old friends. Donna and I also have immediate family in the area which made our home feel even more like home. We plan to be there again this fall.

We’ve learned to dry camp – whether it’s an overnight stay at a casino or WalMart or in a state or county park or on privately owned land like Mumbro Park. Taking what we learned and researching coaches on the market, we found a coach that met our needs in Mesa, Arizona. We traded the Gulfstream in for an Alpine Coach.

Mesa was another long-term stay (for us anything over two weeks is long-term) of three months. Again, we were able to re-connect with friends there. That’s the beauty of the nomadic lifestyle. We can travel to great places and spend time with friends and family.

When we left Mesa in the spring, we had a better idea of how to plan our itinerary. We had reservations scheduled in places where we knew we wanted to spend time. We also had open dates between these reservations which allowed us flexibility and spontaneity. So far, it’s worked out great this summer.

We had an opening in our calendar recently that we filled with a stay in Winthrop, Washington that Donna said felt like a vacation. A week after we left there, the town was threatened by wildfire. People were evacuated from the area. There’s no electricity at this time for many of the small towns east of the Cascade Mountains. More than 150 homes have been destroyed by the largest wildfire on record in Washington. The fires have burned more than 250,000 acres of forest and towns.

We’ve had a mix of weather here at the Lake Goodwin RV Resort. During the first week of our stay, we had temperatures well above average. The weather deteriorated last weekend and we had a few showers. Yesterday we awoke to a thunderstorm. It rained all day and the temperature stayed in the low 60s. The rain made it to the east side, helping the fire fighters. With so much groundcover gone, the next threat east of the Cascades is flash flooding.

The park is becoming a pond

The park is becoming a pond

We spent the day indoors and played games with our eight-year-old granddaughter, Gabi. Alana stopped by after work. We ate fish tacos and visited for awhile and then she took Gabi home with her.

Gabi couldn't stay overnight without her little friend, Beary

Gabi couldn’t stay overnight without her little friend, Beary.

This morning, the rain is still falling. I don’t have much of a plan for today. We’ll move out of Lake Goodwin RV Resort next Monday after a two-week stay. We might move over to my daughter, Alana’s driveway for a night or two before we head down to Portland, Oregon.


Project of the Day

After I posted to the blog yesterday, Donna and I went for a bike ride. We did a lap on Fiesta Island then rode past Sea World and Dana Landing. We completed the loop by following the Bay Walk around Mission Bay back to the RV park. By the time we finished our ride, it was time for lunch.

After lunch, my project for the day was painting the floor of our new cargo trailer. The trailer floor is coated on the outside, underneath the trailer. I like to seal the floor on the inside. It makes the floor more durable and doesn’t allow spilled liquids to soak in and weaken the plywood. For this project I bought Glidden Porch and Floor paint, a paint brush and a cheap roller with tray.

I started by sweeping the trailer and cleaning the floor.

Bare floor

Bare floor

Then I masked areas I didn’t want to paint with blue painter’s tape. This took about an hour.

Masked with blue painters tape

Masked with blue painter’s tape

I used a paint brush to work around the edges and any areas that would hard to reach with a roller. Then I used the roller to complete the job.

The paint looks darker than life in this photo

The wet paint looks more blue than gray in this photo.

I was surprised at how well the Glidden Porch and Floor paint covered the plywood. When I painted the floor of our last trailer, I used a Valspar paint. The plywood soaked up so much of that paint, I needed two gallons to complete the job. The Glidden paint covered so well that I was able to apply two coats of paint with only one gallon!

Jon done!

Job done!

I bought two gallons of the paint, anticipating a similar result as the last time. I’ll return one gallon to Walmart – $25 bonus!

The entire job took about two and a half hours. Most of the time I was either sitting and leaning forward as I taped or used the paint brush or I was standing, bending down to use the roller on the floor. By the time I was finished, I could hardly straighten up. I had pretty bad lower back pain for the rest of the day.

Donna prepared Baja style blackened tilapia fish tacos for dinner. The were so good, I imagined I was down in San Felipe.

Baja style fish tacos

Baja style fish tacos

I told Donna about the time my friend Jimbo and I rode our bicycles from Mexicali to San Felipe. San Felipe is a little fishing village on the east side of Baja California on the Gulf of California. We made the 120 mile ride and were famished. We each ate half a dozen fish tacos and washed them down with an equal number of beers. This was back when the dollar was king and the peso de-valued. I think our bill came out to couple of bucks each.

This morning I still have a backache. I think I’ll take it easy today.

Double-Locked Security

Our new cargo trailer was delivered yesterday. It arrived around 1pm. Mike from TrailersPlus dropped it in the lot across from the security shack, which is manned 24/7. When we first arrived here at Mission Bay RV Resort, we wanted to drop our trailer there. But the lot was quite full at the time and there wasn’t enough room to maneuver the trailer behind our 37′ motorhome.

We dropped our trailer in the alternate lot next to the park office. This lot is a little more 1,000 feet from the security shack. The road curves, so the security guard doesn’t have the lot in his line of sight. They do a drive-through periodically, but they didn’t notice the theft of my cargo trailer from that lot. The primary lot by the security shack is fairly empty now and that’s where our new trailer will stay.

I added a coupler lock on the trailer tongue in addition to a pin lock like I had before. This double security should make it harder for a thief to steal our trailer. Today I’ll paint the floor and ramp door. Then I need to install a wheel chock for the scooter, but before I can do that, I need to buy new tools.

Trailer coupler lock

Trailer coupler lock

Coupler lock and pin lock on trailer

Coupler lock and pin lock on trailer

I didn’t have time to paint yesterday. I needed to scan some documents. Before I could do that I needed to update my printer software. This turned out to be a long, frustrating process. HP’s install wizard kept locking up. It automatically installed a lot of software I didn’t want. I spent over an hour trying to get the scanning program to work.

By the time I scanned and e-mailed my documents, it was time to fire up the grill. I grilled Morrocan-spiced boneless chicken thighs and veggies around 3pm. I cooked dinner early so Donna could take it on the boat with Bud and Mona for a sunset cruise. I didn’t go out on the boat because I had arranged to pick up my daughter, Shauna, downtown at 5:30pm. With the rush-hour traffic, I would have to leave by 5pm.

Bud and Mona

Bud and Mona

Sunset at the Mission Bay jetty from the stern of Bud's boat

Sunset at the Mission Bay jetty from the stern of Bud’s boat

Shauna dropped me off around 6pm and took her car. Shortly after I returned, Bud, Mona and Donna returned from their boat cruise. They didn’t have dinner on the boat after all, so we sat at the picnic table and dined together. They told me about their cruise. They went out past the jetty into the Pacific Ocean. The water was much rougher once they left the bay. With the boat rocking in the swell, setting dinner plates was out of the question.

Morrocan spiced chicken with grilled veggies served cold over salad

Morrocan spiced chicken with grilled veggies served cold over salad

I enjoyed a bottle of Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout with the meal. Donna bought a few different stout beers for me the last time she went to Von’s. We sat outside and talked until 7:30. It was an enjoyable meal with great conversation.


Today I’ll go for a bike ride and then get to work painting.

Another Fine Day

Yesterday, the climate here couldn’t be finer. We had clear, blue skies all day with temperatures in the 70s. The gusty winds in the forecast never materialized here in De Anza Cove. Hard to believe it’s November – not only because of the weather, but how the time has flown by. 2013 is already coming to a close.

Donna took advantage of the beautiful weather by taking a bike ride around the bay. While she was doing that, I talked to Terri Lund at She told me what’s required to register our new trailer in South Dakota.

I drove out to Lakeside to finalize the deal on the trailer. On the way there, I stopped at the Penske Auto Collision Center in Kearny Mesa. My old friend, Bill Bandy, works there. I haven’t seen Bill in 27 years. He gave me a tour of the facility and we chatted for awhile. He’s looking forward to retirement, but has a few more years to go. I’ve heard this from so many people. I’m thankful to be blessed with an early retirement and pension.

At TrailersPlus, I finalized the deal. They weren’t able to deliver the trailer right away as planned due to being shorthanded. Terri Lund told me I need to send her the original Manufacturers Statement of Origin (MSO) and a bill of sale showing that I paid sales tax. If I didn’t pay sales tax, South Dakota would apply a 3% tax. Unfortunately, I have to pay over 8% in tax here in California. The paperwork is always a hassle. The salesman told me I needed the California application for registration and another form called Statement of Facts. The California application for registration will provide a temporary registration even though I’m not applying for registration in California.

I’ll send all of the paperwork to Terri and she will handle the registration in Madison, South Dakota and send me the registration and license plate. This is a convenient service. The registration fee in South Dakota for the trailer is $37.87. Not too bad.

After I returned, Donna took the car and did some shopping. Shauna returned from Washington, DC Tuesday night, but she told us we could keep her car for another day. We will get together with her tonight.

While Donna was out, I set up my amp stand and broke out my Gibson ES339. I haven’t been practicing guitar – it’s been a few weeks since I played. It was obvious at first. I was really rusty.  I need to work guitar time into my daily activities.

I took a break and chatted with our neighbor, Bud, for a few minutes. Bud lives about 30 miles away from here in Escondido. His motorhome is in the site next to ours. He’s staying here for a month. Yesterday he towed his boat down to the park. He invited Donna and me to join him and Mona for a cruise around the bay later this afternoon. We’ll have dinner aboard the boat and find a nice place to watch the sunset.

Last night, Donna prepared baked shrimp with feta over orzo. We’ve had this dish before, but not since going full-time. It took her longer to prepare than she liked, so she’s going to cook it a little differently next time. All I know is it was good!


Today is another beautiful day. The temperature is supposed to be warmer than yesterday – 80 degrees – and the skies are blue.


Hello, Flo!

Yesterday was a busy day. I finished up the insurance claim paperwork. In California, if you report the theft of a vehicle (including a trailer), you will be investigated. You must complete an affidavit disclosing your occupation, income, debts etc. You have to allow the insurance company to check your credit report. The state wants to know if you are in financial crisis. If so, maybe the theft report is fraudulent. Seems invasive to the victim, but it’s the law of the land.

Completing all of the forms took a couple of hours. We drove up to Kearny Mesa to the Progressive insurance service center. The people there were very friendly and took care of our needs. Some of paperwork had to be notarized, which they did for us. They looked everything over and made copies of everything for us. The paperwork will be sent to our claims adjuster in Modesto. Now we have to wait and see what the next hoop to jump through is.

Flo and Donna at the Progressive Service Center

Flo and Donna at the Progressive Service Center

While we were out, we stopped at Walmart and picked up a few things. We needed paper products and I also bought two gallons of Glidden Porch and Floor Paint along with a cheap roller and tray. When our new trailer is delivered, I’ll paint the floor and door panels with it.

Today I need to contact Terri Lund, owner/operator of This is where we have our mail delivered and she also assists with vehicle registration. I’ll need to register our new trailer there.

Yesterday the weather was a chilly 63 degrees, breezy and partly cloudy. Today is much brighter and the forecast calls for temperatures in the 70s. Santa Ana winds will move in and tomorrow will be 10 degrees warmer.

Making a List

Saturday I went shopping for a new trailer. They all look good online. I can’t buy one without looking it over in person. I drove Shauna’s car to TrailersPlus in Lakeside. Many of you might try to save money by shopping for a used trailer, but cargo trailers hold their value well. Used trailers in good shape are only a few hundred dollars less than buying new. I would rather buy new and have a warranty, new tires and no worries about how it may have been abused.

TrailersPlus is an Interstate trailer dealer. They have four lines of cargo trailers that I would say are value (cheap), good, better and best. The lowest priced is the Patriot line. These are lightweight, rather flimsy with lauan interior walls and .024 aluminum skin. I don’t think it would be durable enough for our intended use. Next up is the Victory line. This trailer has 3/8″ ply interior walls and heavier frame construction. They cut a few corners on this model – the aluminum exterior is .024″ thick and the diamond plate stone guard is only a few inches high. Their better line is the Loadrunner. This trailer is well-built with 3/4″ plywood floor, 3/8″ plywood walls, .030 aluminum exterior, one-piece roof skin, 500lb-rated roof bows, radial tires, LED lights, four floor tie downs and four wall tie downs. The top of the Interstate trailer line is the Pro series. These have all the bells and whistles. It’s basically the same construction as the Loadrunner, but has a different axle. It sits lower on a torsion axle instead of the Dexter spring axle found on the Loadrunner.

I spent about an hour looking at these trailers and comparing their features and prices.  I was planning to look and get an idea of what I wanted. I ended up finding a trailer I liked and bought it. It’s a 6 x 12 Loadrunner with a champagne beige exterior. They will deliver it to us on Tuesday.

Our new 6 x 12 Interstate Loadrunner trailer

Our new 6 x 12 Interstate Loadrunner trailer


I spent the rest of the afternoon listing the contents of the stolen trailer. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. I started with my tool chests. I tried to mentally go through each drawer and remember what I had in it. The insurance form requires me to list the item, where I bought it, when I bought it, original price and replacement cost. So, for each item I had to search online, find something comparable and look up the price. I couldn’t finish it on Saturday.

Saturday night, Donna made Parmesan-Pesto Tilapia and green beans and I grilled sweet potato slices to serve with it. Food fit for a king! We finished the day by watching an old movie – Platoon starring a young Charlie Sheen.

tilapia with grilled sweet potato and green beans

Tilapia with grilled sweet potato and green beans

Sunday morning, Donna went kayaking with our neighbor, Mona, and her friend, Vanessa. Actually, Donna and Vanessa kayaked and Mona took her stand-up paddleboard out on the bay. They started in De Anza Cove and paddled around the point to Campland, then came back to the west side of the RV park. While they were doing that, I continued to look up items online and work on my list of stolen trailer contents.

At 10am, I tuned in to the Chargers game and became a couch potato. They lost to Washington in overtime. The Charger defense couldn’t stop a Washington drive. It’s too bad. They went 12 consecutive quarters without giving up a touchdown, but didn’t have an answer for Washington.

I worked on the list of trailer items again in the afternoon. I need to finish it this morning. Today we’ll drive to the Progressive insurance office in Kearney Mesa and submit our paperwork. I hope it goes smoothly and we can get our claim settled.

Shelter Island

Yesterday we started out as usual. I posted to the blog while Donna was at her exercise class. When she returned, she had a couple of telephone meetings. I putzed around, then walked to the RV office to see about a refund for the trailer parking. I’d paid in advance to park the trailer in their lot for 30 days. Since it disappeared after 6 days, I thought I should be entitled to a refund for the unused days. They refunded my entire payment.

We rode the scooter over to Shelter Island around 1:00pm. We went to the Kona Kai Marina to meet Mark and Emily Fagan. Donna and Emily connected online through an RV group on Facebook, but had never met in person. Mark and Emily sold their home in Phoenix in 2007 and went full-time RVing. Their RV has been in storage for the last 3 1/2 years while they lived aboard their 44′ Hunter sailboat, Groovy. They cruised the coast of Mexico all the way down to Guatemala. Emily and Mark are photojournalists. You can read about their adventures and view outstanding photography at They’re actually selling their boat and returning to their RV.

We had a great time sitting in the cockpit of their boat and talking. We discovered so many similarities between us, it was wonderful. Mark and Emily are avid cyclists. Mark also is into motorcycles and has been riding since he was 16. Emily is a writer, like Donna. They met in a cycling club (just like Donna and I). They have two granddaughters – so do we. We all lived in metro Phoenix at one time. Mark used to live in Sterling Heights, Michigan not far from where we used to live. We visited for nearly 3 hours and the time flew by. We’re looking forward to another visit before we leave San Diego.

Mark and Emily Fagan aboard their Hunter 44 sailboat

Mark and Emily Fagan aboard their Hunter 44′ sailboat

When we left Shelter Island around 4pm, we were hungry. We rode over to the Offshore Tavern and Grill on Morena Boulevard. This place serves outstanding food, not your usual tavern fare. Donna had the poke plate (say poe-key). I had seared ahi tuna.

Poke plate

Poke plate

Seared ahi tuna plate

Seared ahi tuna plate

When we returned to the RV park, we found we had new neighbors. We met Bud and Mona, who are parked next to us. Bud lives about 30 miles from here in Escondido. He’s taking some time off and enjoying Mission Bay. We sat and had a few drinks. Bud has an old washing machine tub that he perched on top of a cut-off 55-gallon drum. He used it as a fire pit. This worked really well. The holes in the sides of the tub allows air to circulate. With plenty of air, the fire burned hot and clean with very little smoke.

Washing machine tub firepit

Washing machine tub firepit

Later, Mona served shrimp enchiladas that she made. They were delicious. Mona has a couple of stand up paddle boards. She offered to let us try them out. We’ll have to give it a try one of these days.

Mona's shrimp enchiladas

Mona’s shrimp enchiladas

This morning my youngest daughter, Shauna, picked me up in her car. We drove to the airport where I dropped her off for a flight to Washington, DC. She is a student at Cal Western School of Law. As part of her scholarship, they sent her to Washington to visit Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Kennedy. She will be in the court chambers on Monday to hear oral arguments. I look forward to hearing about it when she returns on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, we have her 2013 Jetta TDI. I think I’ll take advantage of that and look at cargo trailers today.

Insurance Claim

Sometimes we think no news is good news. I’ve been waiting for a few days to learn how the insurance company will handle the theft of my trailer. No news wasn’t good news. After I filed my claim, the claims adjuster phoned me on Tuesday. Her name is Nicky, she told me she needed to gather more information and would get back to me.

I was a little uneasy. I have an irrational distrust of insurance companies and the uncertainty was frustrating. I was polite and patient with her on the phone. She was the one who could help me and being a demanding customer wouldn’t help my situation. We agreed to talk again on Wednesday afternoon after she verified the facts.

We talked again on Wednesday. Her office is in California, my insurance policy was underwritten in South Dakota. She apologized for the delay, but said she needed more information from the state of South Dakota before she could determine how to apply the coverage.  She said she would get back to me on Thursday. I was feeling like she was looking for a way out of the claim, but I stayed cool, thanked her for her diligence and told her I looked forward to hearing from her.

Yesterday, Nicky called me in the afternoon. She told me she verified how the coverage would apply and had the necessary forms from South Dakota. With some restrictions, replacement of my trailer and contents will be covered. One of the restrictions is the maximum amount applied for any single item in the trailer. The maximum they will pay for a single item is $500. I had a few things in there worth more than that like my shotguns. I’ll do what she told me which is to list the actual value of those. For example, if I list the SKB over/under double barrel shotgun at $X,XXX, I will receive $500 for it.

She advised me to itemize as much as possible. For example, I shouldn’t list assorted hand tools as a single item valued at $X,XXX. I should itemize the individual tools. That way I can be reimbursed for my actual loss without hitting the $500 restriction.

She was really helpful and I felt like she was on my side. Today she will e-mail me the necessary forms, then follow up with a phone call to go over them with me. She wants to ensure that I understand the forms and fill them out correctly to avoid any further delays.

Most of you are probably naturally polite and patient. I try to be, but sometimes I feel like I need to drive an issue. In this case, I feel that being polite and patient with Nicky helped. Maybe she treats every case this way, but I really think she wanted to help me get the most out of the coverage I paid for. This life of retirement might be mellowing me out!

This weekend I will go online to find the value of the items we lost. We’ll complete the forms, then we can start shopping for a new trailer. I won’t be able to replace everything, but this is about the best outcome I could have hoped for.

I know some RVers insure their RVs as if it was another car on their policy. Don’t do this. Read your policy carefully. I’m glad we purchased a Progressive  full-time RV insurance policy with contents coverage and a rider for the trailer.

Today, the sun is shining and the skies are blue. When Donna returns from her exercise class, I’ll go for a bike ride. After lunch, we’ll scooter over to Shelter Island to visit Mark and Emily Fagan on their boat at the Kona Kai marina. They have been full-time RVers and sailboat cruisers since 2007. Their web site is



Yesterday morning, I went for a bike ride. I rode the Sea World Bike Path, then crossed the West Mission Bay Drive bridge. I followed the bay walk around Mission Bay through Crown Point.

Along the way, at Crown Point Shores, I came upon a large heron standing in the grass between the parking lot and beach. I haven’t seen a heron this close to people before.

Heron at Crown Point Shores

Heron at Crown Point Shores

A little further along, at the Rose Creek inlet, I saw a pelican in the water. I stopped to take a photo. Before I could compose the shot, he suddenly leaped from the water, flapped his wings a couple of times and dived back into the water. He was fishing and just caught a fish! I watched him repeat this performance a couple more times.

Later in the day, on a walk around the RV park with Donna just before dinner, I spotted a kingfisher that looked like he was looking for dinner. Lots of bird watching here in San Diego!

A few people have asked us why we chose to live full-time in our RV and how we chose our motorhome. I think our transition to full-timing was a little different than most. I’ve shared bits and pieces of the story in previous posts. I’ll try to condense the story here.

Last fall, Donna and I made a trip to California. We visited my daughters and grandchildren in San Diego. When we returned to Michigan, we talked about the idea of getting an RV to enable us to visit and spend time with family across the country when I retired. At that point in time, my plan was to retire in May 2014.

We thought about keeping our home in Michigan and becoming snowbirds in the winter. I started researching types of RVs. Neither of us had any RV experience. In the evenings I would go online and read various RV forums such as and I also read blogs for more information. Some of the blogs I follow are; Wheeling It, Technomadia, Our Odyssey and Our Newell Adventure.

I didn’t want to spend too much money on an RV as we didn’t even know if we would like it. I decided to buy a class A motorhome with a gasoline engine. These tend to cost less than the diesel pusher models. Our intention was to buy the motorhome, take a few trips and see how we liked RVing.

I started looking at RVs for sale and took a few for a test drive. We all think we’re great drivers, so what’s the big deal about driving an RV, right? Well, it isn’t like driving a car. There are many aspects that you need to consider. I searched online and found articles and video tutorials for RV driving before I got behind the wheel.

A few months later, we found a used motorhome we both liked. Donna liked the floorplan (and so did I). I liked the way it handled. So we bought it. Our home is a Gulfstream Sun Voyager. It’s 37′ long, built on a Workhorse chassis and powered by a GM Vortec 8.1 liter engine. The transmission is an Allison MH1000. Although the sofa folds out for additional sleeping, the floorplan is really ideal for two people.

We brought it home in December and parked it in the driveway in front of our second garage. In late winter, we started sleeping out there most weekend nights, playing house and learning how everything works. It was winterized, so we couldn’t use the toilet or sinks, but we could eat dinner out there and watch TV. One of my first projects was to install a new flat screen TV up front, replacing the outdated TV that was there.

The pressure and level of stress at work was high. I was at a point where I dreaded getting up and going to work. After discussion with Donna, I decided to move up my retirement date. I was eligible for unreduced early retirement in May of 2013. I filed the paperwork for retirement, commencing on August 1, 2013. This changed everything.

With the decision to retire earlier came discussion about full-timing. We did a little more research and decided we wanted to do it. Once I retired, there wasn’t anything tying us to Michigan. We had been there for four years. We relocated there from Arizona when I took a job promotion. So we decided to sell our home.

With the house sold, we hit the road on July 23, 2013. I took the last week of July as vacation time before my official retirement date. Donna posted about downsizing our belongings here. I’ve posted about selecting and establishing a domicile here.

In hindsight, I wish we had begun planning to go full time earlier. Most people spend a year or two planning before they decide to go full time. The layout of our coach is not ideal for Donna to do her work. She’s used to having an office and large desk. We thought working at the dinette booth would be fine. As I said, it’s not ideal. If you are going to work in your coach, make sure you have adequate office space and a comfortable arrangement.

That, in a nutshell is how we got here. Now, we are considering upgrading to a diesel pusher with dedicated office space. I’ll take my time finding the right coach. Maybe we’ll find something by next spring.

Meanwhile I can dream about some of the coaches we see in the RV parks. Last week a 45′ Marathon Coach built on a Prevost (say pre-vo) chassis arrived here. It’s a double slideout model. I found a used 2008 double slide Marathon advertised online for $785,000. These coaches are usually made to order, however I found a new one for sale on Marathon’s web site for $2.1 million. I’ll need to win something bigger than the football pool before I can do anything but dream about one of these.

Marathon Coach

Marathon Coach

Marathon Coach with slides out

Marathon Coach with slides out

A couple of days ago, a 47′ Newell arrived in the RV park. It’s an older model, 1991. This one had a golf cart mounted on the rear and a Fiat 500 towed behind that. Unlike most coaches, Newells are built from the ground up at their factory in Oklahoma. They design and build their own chassis, then complete the coach. These are generally made to order and have a long standing reputation for high quality. This particular coach is a giant with a gross vehicle weight rating of 75,000 lbs!

47' 1991 Newell

47′ 1991 Newell

Golf cart mounted on rear of Newell coach

Golf cart mounted on rear of Newell coach

We’ll be looking for an affordable, used coach in the 40′ range.

The Fine Print

First of all, I want to acknowledge and thank all of you for the comments here on the blog and on Facebook about the theft we suffered. The support is welcome and very much appreciated. Yesterday was a low-key day. We remembered a few more items that were in the trailer. The loss  really started to sink in.

I spoke with a claims adjuster at Progressive Insurance. She will call me this afternoon for additional details. I don’t have a warm and fuzzy feeling about it. We have the trailer insured as part of our full-timer’s RV policy. However, the fine print says that the policy covers loss of unscheduled personal effects when:

1) they are in the covered vehicle; or
2) on the parcel of real property that is :
a) owned by you or reserved for your exclusive use; and
b) occupied by the covered vehicle.

I guess I’ll find out how that’s interpreted this afternoon. The trailer and motorhome were not on the same site. However, both were on the park property. If they claim the trailer was in storage, that is clearly not covered.

This episode is a bit of a downer. However, it doesn’t reduce my enthusiasm for the lifestyle we’re living. We’ve had a great ride across this country and stayed in amazing places. We’ve met many good people along the way and enjoyed new friendships. And we love being right where we are. I may not be able to replace all of the stuff that was in our trailer, but whatever happens, we’ll get along fine.

Today the weather is looking better, blue skies at sunrise. The five-day forecast is more of the same – abundant sunshine. Donna is heading out to her exercise class on the scooter. Later this morning I’ll head out for a bike ride. Life is good.