Our two months of being parked in our small RV is up and we're moving on to the travel phase of our winter sojourn. We had a very good stay in Fort Myers Beach and it was so nice to avoid the cold winter weather in a nice warm climate. Living in our small RV worked out pretty good. I wrote about my observations after the first month in this post - Living in a Smal RV - Parked for the First Month. Not much changed in the second month. Here are some final conclusions.
The small space in our 26 ft motorhome was workable. I can't image doing what we did in anything smaller. One of the key reasons it was able to work was where we were - in a warm tropical climate that allowed us to spend a lot of time outside. We were able to sit outside on most days, cook outside when we wanted, and spend time walking and riding our bikes to places. Had we been in Northern Florida or on the Panhandle with cool temps, staying cooped up in a small RV for 2 months would have probably caused some mental health issues (e.g, stir crazy, severe cabin fever).
As I said above the small space was workable, but not ideal. It would have been nice to have more sitting space and a larger cooking area. To get that, I'd have to get a larger motorhome or trailer. Both of these options would make our 2 months of stay put RVing more comfortable but it would drastically change our RV travel lifestyle that we have in the rest of the year. Our Winnebago View is about as large as I want to go in a motorhome. But having a trailer that we'd keep and use just for our FL stays is a viable option. Many of the snowbirds who stayed at the RV park, keep a trailer or 5th wheel in FL and have it put in storage during the summer months. Storing a trailer runs about $40 month and having it moved to and from the RV park runs about $40 each trip. Total storage and moving costs run about $500 and it eliminates the need for a towing vehicle. This is something we'll consider for the future.
All the appliances in the RV were very sufficient. The 5.3 cu ft frig with a freezer held enough food. The ducted heat pump / AC kept us evenly warm and cool. The two small flat panel TV's were fine and TV reception was sufficient. We used the RV park free wifi for basic web surfing. I love having satellite radio in the RV. I listened to it every morning.
Two months with no car also worked out. "Runaround Annie" missed driving around but she made do. We unhooked the RV about once per week. We also rented a car a few times. Most other travel was on bikes or on foot. Our physical shape made this work and the location made this work. The beach and several restaurants were 1 mile away. The grocery store and bank were 2+ miles away. There was also a trolley stop at the RV park and that made it easy to go the the movies and go the the grocery when we needed to lug more food. Again, I believe the location made it work. If we were in a more remote spot (like Quartzsite) we would have had to unhook the RV more and would have felt isolated. I'm not inclined to tow a vehicle so location is key to making it work.
- The added unplanned benefit of not having a car is that we saved a lot on gas that we would have normally been spending back home. Both of us would easily spend $35 each on gas per week. That's over $500 we saved by not having a car. We also got in a lot of exercise that probably won't have happened if we had a car.
- While we saved money on gas, we spent more on food. There was no big box store shopping or buying in large quantity of stuff on sale. With the small RV, there's no space for storing large quantities of food so we bought what we needed for the upcoming week (e.g., paper towels by the two pack, toilet paper by the 4 pack.) We also ate out a little more than we would have at home. I didn't track this but my guess is we probably spent $20-$50 more per week on food.
The close quarters and fairly constant contact with my spouse was a very good thing. When at home, we sometimes go our separate ways. I spend a lot of time in my office or dubbing around outside and "Runaround Annie" is usually earning her nick name - running around. But with the RV, she and I went everywhere together, ate at the table together, usually watched TV together, and most times where an arms length away. The close quarters would have made it real easy for her to deliver a "dope slap" if I earned one, but we had no fights or disagreements and didn't get on each others nerves
The social contact at the RV park was great. We went to many activities and events in the park. There were breakfasts, lunches, a Super Bowl party, and a dance. We met all our neighbors and had chats just about every day. We also made some new friends. You don't get this type contact with a short stay. And, we didn't get this type of social contact when we rented condo's. Its one the key things I like about staying in an RV park.
J. Dawg playing in the weekly Corn Hole tournament
So that's about it. Living in a small RV worked out and we'll be back in the same spot next year. Let me know if you have any questions.
Follow more of my travels at: http://jdawgjourneys.blogspot.com