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About this blog

This is our journey into RVing.  As our kids grow up and move on with their lives my wife and I thought that RVing might be for us as we get closer to retirement.  

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markandlisav

Born Again Driver

I must admit, I use to be one of ‘those’ drivers.  I was very impatient with slower drivers and large vehicles.  It became like a chess game for me, plotting my next move to get me ahead of the perceived roadblock to my progress.  Then… we bought our RV over a year ago.  Thirty-eight feet plus our Jeep Wrangler in tow.  Suddenly, almost amazingly I am quite content to ride in the right lane at or slightly below the posted speed limit.   ‘Look at all these crazy drivers out here’ I say to my copilots (wife and pups).  ‘Wow! That one was close!’ I exclaim on a regular basis.

I discovered something again during our RV adventure… there are good people out here in the right lane.  Slow lane?  I think not – more like careful, experienced drivers that see the big picture of arriving safe in one piece (not to mention saving on fuel). 

So I take ranks now with my brothers and sisters in the right lane.  As the rest of the world speeds by – changing lanes rapidly, talking on their cell phone and yes TEXTING at 90 mph, I will be holding my own in the right lane, safe and steady. Strangely enough, I drive this way now even when I am not in RV.   Seems like the good habit of courteous / safe driving has rubbed off on my ‘civilian’ habits as well…. who knew….

markandlisav

Here we Go

In preparation for our Key West trip, we decided it might be a good idea to take the family and rig out for a weekend ‘shakedown’ prior to leaving.  All packed, frig loaded, tow car connected – ready to go… Well, no.  We had just made it to the end of the street and the dreaded “check engine light” comes on.  Abort!  Back at the house, I dig through the freightliner manuals I have and of course hit up good old ‘Google’.  Fault number found, it appears to be an EGR valve (did I mention you really have to not hate fixing things on an RV???).  Long story short, my local repair facility did not have the EGR valve in stock and we were scheduled to leave in 6 business days.  Thankfully, they overnighted the part and had it installed just in time to load up and hit the road… Not exactly the way I wanted to start off.  Leaving at 4:00am for the long drive, I thought we hit a bad omen with the interstate being closed at our exit.  Sign from above to abort? Nope – press on and let the chips fall where they may (Coach.net membership is current I hoped).  I never watched the dashboard as much as on that trip.

All in all, a smooth trip down to Blue Water Key Resort.  Wow, the website really did not do it justice.  What an amazing place and staff.  The fishing, food and atmosphere of the Florida Keys were perfect.  Seven days flew by and we really hated to leave.  On the last day, my wife and I reflected on our RVing experiences up to that point.  What really amazed us is how many friendly people you meet.  Walking through RV parks with the pups, we really have met some nice folks.  It kind of renews my faith people, which honestly gets tested from time to time in our daily lives.

The trip home from the keys was smooth and uneventful.  Once we got home, my wife and I discovered we were thinking the same thing.  In the past, we loved going on vacation, but we were all “glad to get home” when it ended.  This time, we did not have that feeling.  While it was nice to be home, we missed being out in the rig in a new place.  Even the kids felt that way.  Stress level at an all time low.  Well, back to work / school / normal lives to raise the cortisol levels again…

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markandlisav

Like so many others, our kids are growing up and moving on with their lives.  Happy to see them grow and become independent, but sad to see that part of life ending.  At this point, my wife and I kind of looked at each other and asked, “what’s next”?  Great question.  I grew up RVing and always enjoyed it and thought it would be cool to do in retirement, but my wife was a hard sell.  Strangely enough, it took hurricane Matthew hitting us in Florida to help my cause. 

As the hurricane bore down on us, we (along with thousands of my fellow Floridians) had to decide to stay put or evacuate.  Having pets, it is difficult to find places to go besides an emergency shelters or hotels hundreds of miles away.  At that point, I told Lisa that if we had an RV, we could just pack up and go – kids, dogs, bird and rabbit.  We decided to hunker down…

The hurricane passed – lots of damage – no power or water for a week.  Another opportunity to mention if we had an RV, we could at least have a cool place to sleep and take a shower.  We started the RV search the next month after the cleanup 😊.

What to buy?  New or Used?  Class A or C or 5th wheel?  After many discussions, going to RV shows, wearing out my fingers on Google and looking at about everything for sale in 100 miles radius we decided on a used Class A diesel.  Growing up, my family had a Class A and it was a great way to travel so I think I certainly leaned that way.    

During our first months of being “newbie” RVers, I discovered a few things. First, RVing was VASTLY different to what I remember as a kid.  In those days, we had an old 25-foot Banner RV on a Chrysler chassis that rode like a tractor.  The new RV rides like a town car and probably has more square footage than the house I grew up in (not really...).  With all the advantages I assumed there were going to be some disadvantages.  I was right.  This new RV is a complex rig.  I quickly came to the determination that if you don’t like fixing things or understanding how they work your rig will spend a lot of time at a repair facility. 

The first six months was us literally learning the systems, operation and monitoring of this new house on wheels.  Fortunately, we had the bonus of being able to park the rig at our home and plug it in to 50 amps – helps the learning process and gave me a ‘man cave’ to hide in from time to time and read the stack of manuals I had.  We would take the new member of the family out for short trips, hoping our two dogs would acclimate quickly.  One did… one did not… Oh well, time for the first vacation in the RV and test our plan.  Off to Key West…

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