Great Topic! Thought I would share some of our experiences and thoughts to the discussion.
Dorthey and I are from Juneau, Alaska (although we have lived in a number of Alaska locations), and began researching used motorhomes in 2002 as we anticipated retiring in 2003. Our goal was to avoid winters in Alaska and spend summers RVing. Our research was exclusively via the Internet as it is not possible to go out and "kick tires" on RVs in Juneau. We had owned a Monaco Class C used mostly for fishing trips in Alaska with our kids but were sure we wanted a Class A for the extra room and amenities.
We had never heard of full-time RVing, but during Google searches I happened on to several websites put up by full-timers who described the life style and their experiences in sometimes significant detail. This revelation planted the seed and by the fall of 2002 we had decided to buy a new Class A, sell our home, and become full-time RVers. We said we would give it 3-5 years and go back to sticks and bricks if the lifestyle wasn't for us. We decided on the Alfa SeeYa Class A and requested on-line quotes from outside dealers. "Outside" is how Alaskans refer the lower forty eight states--if it isn't inside Alaska, then it is outside.
Selling the house in early 2003 was straight forward, but deciding what to keep and what to sell, and what we would store versus what would be needed in the motorhome was a bit of a chore. Finally, we agreed to go through the house together, room by room, touching each and every object in it and making a decision...sell, give to kids, keep, keep for now and decide later. This process took some days but went a long way to preserving our marriage since all decisions were joint ones. Of course I was given the opportunity to go through the garage alone as Dorthey was in her sewing/crafts room. However, each of us was also tasked with identifying the space required for the things we wanted to bring aboard the SeeYa we had ordered from a Mesa, Arizona, dealer.
We both retired May 30, 2003--Dorthey from the Alaska State Department of Labor and I from the telephone company. We had sold our home a couple months before and were living in a furnished rental condo by that time. The motorhome stuff was stacked in boxes in one bedroom. The first of June we flew to Phoenix and took possession of our 2003 40' Alfa SeeYa. We drove the coach back as far as Seattle, flew to Juneau, loaded a Uhaul trailer with our stuff, put it and the car on the ferry, and headed for Washington.
Our first outing was attending Life On Wheels in Moscow, Idaho. We counted that experience as one of the most beneficial things we did in starting out as full-timing chichakos (Alaskan for tenderfeet). Anyone not sure about entering the RV life either full-time or part time should attend Life On Wheels in my humble opinion.
Our state of domicile remains Alaska. It is, in fact, a good state for full-timers as there is no state income tax, no state sales tax, and to personal property taxes, or vehicle taxes. Our two year license renewal for the motorhome is $120, as it was when the Alfa was new. This was not a hard decision for us as Alaska is home (Dorthey was born and raised there).
We've been on the road since retirement and haven't looked back. We traded the 2003 Alfa for a 2007 Alfa a year before Alfa went out of business and though we were sorry to see them go, we still love our Alfa. One thing that we have discovered to be true of ourselves that may or may not be true for other full-timers has to do with how long one stays in one place. We have meandered about with short stays along the way, we have stayed for a week, or a month here or there, even 3 months and 5 months on a couple occasions. For us, it seems, the longer we stay in one place the smaller the motorhome gets. Others like spending the winter in one place and enjoying the ambiance of friends and activities that snowbird RV resorts are known for. We like those things, too, and have made an incredibly large number of new friends in the RV world, some who are full-time and others who snowbird to the same place each winter. We just spend a few weeks with them and enjoy the benefits of resort living, then move on to our next adventure.
I could go on and on but will call an end here.
Best wishes to all,
2007 Alfa SoooLong
Alfa Owners Club, Roadrunners Chapter