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thomwells

Starting Life as a full-timer

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We have lived on our Boat the Black Pearl, traveled across America twice in our 1938 Cadillac "Miss Emma" and now had to sell our car collection, close our business, and bought a one owner 2005 Tiffin Phaeton with 16K miles to start our new life in.

My wife and I love to fly fish, scuba dive, and travel off the beaten path. We love trails, small towns, any restaurant that makes home made anything, and live by the rule that we don't eat anywhere that there are pictures of food on the menu. ( A general rule for chain restaurants with crummy unhealthy food). We like to cook, listen to good music, and meet great people.

We both have had life changing health issues and now with Ouarda turning 50 and me 58 it's time to turn to full time RVing with a little time on the boat if we can afford to keep her. Right now the Black Pearl is on the Tennessee River near Knoxville. And we are in Tullahoma, TN helping my mother in law that now is in a nursing home.

We both have been in adventure travel all of our life, and lived abroad, taught scuba diving, fly fishing and once upon a time had real jobs. I have written a great deal and spent time on the lecture circuit talking about my various adventures. Now we hope to write as we go, and hopefully teach or do something to be of service and keep a little monthly money coming in.

We travel with our best pal, Emma a Jack Russell Terrier that by other's comment is the best Jack they have ever encountered. She is actually a Parson's Russell (longer legs) and I don't know much else except we probably paid too much.

We have had our motorhome serviced at the Frieightliner Factory in South Carolina, it had 16,000 miles when we bought it this fall, and have serviced all that we know what to do with.

Now we are ready to hit the road, with a stop to meet our new grandson Lincoln and our granddaughter Mae 2 1/2 as soon as weather permits travel to Northern Minnesota and then on to Colorado where we have two grown children in the Boulder area.

One of our first shakedown trips will be to the Kentucky Derby the first weeekend of May. We just have tickets to the infield as we are pretty financially strapped, but I have wanted to see the Derby since I was a little boy, so we are going to have the thrill of saying we were there.

I would like to know if it possible to travel to small out of the way places stay in more remote and less inhabited area's etc. We plan on putting our tandem fishing kayak on top of the motorhome.

We have a Kia Sportage 4x4 with manual transmission, and the previous owner left us a blue ox tow bar, but we are fairly unsure of how best to bring the car, and if it is worth it. Has anyone ever put a small motorcycle, or Moped on the back bumper? Does having a car really make full timing better?

Look forward to meeting folks, and if the RV folks are like our boating friends, than it will be a great experience with helpful, wonderful folks.

See you on the path,

Thom and Ouarda Wells

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Years ago and with a much smaller RV, (30’) we traveled without a tow vehicle. We found that we missed a lot of scenic stops do to our size. This is one of the major reasons we have a toad. Another reason is hooking and unhooking the RV from the campground to grocery shop, and explore. Would never leave home without it. Mc (full timer)

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Hi Thom & Ouarda Wells,

Welcome to the FMCA forum. For me, having a car is a must have for traveling in a coach. You'll need to look in the owners manual to determine if the car is towable and what the procedure is for towing. Consider contacting Blue OX to determine if the tow bar is okay for the weight of your car. After that, you'll need a baseplate for the car ask Blue Ox about this. Once permanently mounted to your car, it will hook to the tow bar. You'll also need a way to have running/brake/turn signal lights work in unison with the coach. Lastly, you'll need a braking system for the car that is activated by the coach. There are many vendors for each of these components. Blue Ox has everything you need. You can also go to any RV Dealer's service dept to get you set up.

As to traveling to out of the way places, there are many books on the market that will fill your head with places to see. Go to http://rvbookstore.com/Index.aspx and see what might interest you.

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Thom and Ouarda,

Here is another vote for taking a toad (towed car) on your journey. It will take a little time and some money to get it outfitted but you will have a much easier time if you plan to take the coach to a campground and park it for the time you plan to be in an area. It then becomes your stationary house while you take the car to all the places in the area you would like to explore. Lots of people do transport a motorcycle or scooter and they make hitch carriers for either of these. I rode motorcycles for many years but I wanted an all-weather vehicle available. One way to think about a toad is to consider it a life raft. If you have a breakdown along the road somewhere you can unhook the toad and go for help if you can't get it by phone.

As you get into traveling you will develop a comfort level with going to more remote places. If you are concerned about the toad impeding this, you can always unhook and drive the two vehicles separately when the going gets more difficult. I'm betting that 99% of your travel you will never even notice the toad behind you. When you get to the last 1% of miles on a trip, unhook and drive separately if needed.

Where have we been with our motor home? Death Valley, Big Bend National Park, John Day Fossil Beds, the Lewis and Clark Trail, Yosemite, Alaska, Canada (almost all) and more. We've been on ferries to several islands, we've picked up a few scratches from trees that were a little too friendly and gotten into places where we had to back out to get out! It is all worth it. You will meet some wonderful people who like you have decided to escape the normal day to day life that most other people have to live. Full timers, we are the fortunate few!

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Guest BillAdams
We have lived on our Boat the Black Pearl, traveled across America twice in our 1938 Cadillac "Miss Emma" and now had to sell our car collection, close our business, and bought a one owner 2005 Tiffin Phaeton with 16K miles to start our new life in.

My wife and I love to fly fish, scuba dive, and travel off the beaten path. We love trails, small towns, any restaurant that makes home made anything, and live by the rule that we don't eat anywhere that there are pictures of food on the menu. ( A general rule for chain restaurants with crummy unhealthy food). We like to cook, listen to good music, and meet great people.

We both have had life changing health issues and now with Ouarda turning 50 and me 58 it's time to turn to full time RVing with a little time on the boat if we can afford to keep her. Right now the Black Pearl is on the Tennessee River near Knoxville. And we are in Tullahoma, TN helping my mother in law that now is in a nursing home.

We both have been in adventure travel all of our life, and lived abroad, taught scuba diving, fly fishing and once upon a time had real jobs. I have written a great deal and spent time on the lecture circuit talking about my various adventures. Now we hope to write as we go, and hopefully teach or do something to be of service and keep a little monthly money coming in.

We travel with our best pal, Emma a Jack Russell Terrier that by other's comment is the best Jack they have ever encountered. She is actually a Parson's Russell (longer legs) and I don't know much else except we probably paid too much.

We have had our motorhome serviced at the Frieightliner Factory in South Carolina, it had 16,000 miles when we bought it this fall, and have serviced all that we know what to do with.

Now we are ready to hit the road, with a stop to meet our new grandson Lincoln and our granddaughter Mae 2 1/2 as soon as weather permits travel to Northern Minnesota and then on to Colorado where we have two grown children in the Boulder area.

One of our first shakedown trips will be to the Kentucky Derby the first weeekend of May. We just have tickets to the infield as we are pretty financially strapped, but I have wanted to see the Derby since I was a little boy, so we are going to have the thrill of saying we were there.

I would like to know if it possible to travel to small out of the way places stay in more remote and less inhabited area's etc. We plan on putting our tandem fishing kayak on top of the motorhome.

We have a Kia Sportage 4x4 with manual transmission, and the previous owner left us a blue ox tow bar, but we are fairly unsure of how best to bring the car, and if it is worth it. Has anyone ever put a small motorcycle, or Moped on the back bumper? Does having a car really make full timing better?

Look forward to meeting folks, and if the RV folks are like our boating friends, than it will be a great experience with helpful, wonderful folks.

See you on the path,

Thom and Ouarda Wells

First, WELCOME! You are going to (should) love being an RVer. There is so much to see, so much to do, some many places to go, that you could spend a lifetime on the road and not hit them all.

We have been full-time since 1997 and traveling full-time since 2000. There is no greater life, but you are going to need a tow vehicle of some kind to fully enjoy all the the opportunities that are about to present themselves to you.

There are going to be an enormous number of places that you will not be able to take your RV and there will be many times that many places where you simply won't want to take your RV. Need to run to the store for sugar? Do you really want to unhook and take the RV? NOT!

"Most" 4X4's are towable but it might take some very specific transmission setting to not do any damage so check your owners manual, check with your dealer, check the "what's towable" section of the FMCA database, whatever, to ensure you don't get it wrong. Getting it wrong is very, very costly!

You absolutely can (and should) travel to small out of the way places as well as the places that are not. You will want to fly fish at Yellowstone and you will also want to visit Cripple Creek, CO. Very different kinds of places but both what I consider to me "don't miss" destinations.

While this is going to be very different than boating, it will also be very similar. I have always enjoyed meeting RVers. I believe the reason for this is that any 2 people who enjoy each other after being confined into a 400 SF space (or less) for an extended period of time "actually like each other". Because of this, people who like each other make being with people who like each other a very pleasant experience. My wife and I have been together for almost 30 years and we are quite young by RV'ing standards (we are considered short-timers by many RVers) but we love each other, enjoy each others company and still have lots of fun together. Anyone interested in moaning about their spouse is simply not welcome around our fire. You will get no sympathy and likely have to sit through a diatribe about how special my wife is. The amazing thing is....this simply doesn't happen. Most folks out here LOVE their spouses and love being able to spend the amount of time and (especially) the kind of time with each other that this lifesytle allows.

I wish I had taken notes as I could easily have written a book. I think it would have been put in the Fiction section in the bookstore as no one would have believed that this could be true. You are about to encounter some of the most amazing things you have ever seen and many things you could not currently believe could exist. You will likely visit Quartzsite, AZ in mid-January, visit with "Naked Paul" at his bookstore, meander about "the tent", Rice Ranch, Tyson Wells and Prospectors Panarama and wonder "why?". You are also going to visit the Grand Canyon and know exactly why!

I could go on for hours (pages) but I suspect that you are already bored by this post. I can only tell you that you are about to venture out into a Country that you DO NOT know! I spent many years taking vacations on foreign soil. I had a great time, and I am glad that I did, but I really missed the most amazing places on this Planet and they are nearly all located here in the United States.

Our very first trip around the US started with Yellowstone in May (little did we know that May = Winter). What an amazing sight. Planned to visit for a couple of days....Left kicking and screaming after a week. However, we planned to return in August so we thought that would be OK. Want to learn about the 2 different Yellowstone's? Go when others don't want to (May) and then return when schools are out (August). I will never return to Yellowstone during the Summer months but I would love to visit in the Fall (yes, snow everyday) to see how different that time of year can be.

OK, sorry, I really am done.

Take a car. Take your time. Go to the small places. Go to the great places. Go.

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First of all, thank all of you for your great responses, and you have convinced us that pulling along a car is the way to go. We have a 2009 KIA Sportage 4x4 with a manual transmission and it looks like it is towable according to the specs. I don't think it will be as much fun as our 39 Model 61 Cadillac Coupe we drove in the great race, but perhaps a little more reliable.

All of your suggestions, for fly fishing, having a great wife for a pal ( I do too) and getting out there is just right. I am sitting in a snowstorm in Tullahoma, TN at my Mother In Law's home, and itching to get on the road in the Phaeton. I keep going out and getting ready. So by next week, we should be on our way, someplace south of here, for our first trial run. I will write about how we do and it should be a good laugh for all of you that know what your doing.

Sure hope to meet many of you along the way, and I really appreciate all of your comments, kindness, and I am going to call Blue Ox on Monday and give them the model number of the bar that came with our unit and see if it works, get a tow plate, lights, and I will give you all notice when we pull out so we give you plenty of berth.

Thom

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Hello Thom,

You are about to enter a time period that will change you and your wife forever. And in a good way. Even when things go awry you will look back upon them and be thankful they happened to you.

We have been on the road now for 14 months and have been writing about it and photographing it all along the way. Visit www.gypsylarry.com and learn and enjoy. It will cost you nothing but some time. Hopefully you'll learn from our mistakes but more importantly you'll find places we never knew existed. But do take along either a motorcycle or toad to roam. GypsyLarry

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Welcome to the forum, I am relatively new to this one also. I am waiting until 25 May 10 when my DW retirement becomes effective and we hit the road FT. In the meantime I have been making short "practice" trips for the last two years. I am heading ot the Keys next week for 5-6 weeks. then new flooring for the RV then it will be time to pack it one last time.

We are heading to Manchester TN just up the road from you to see friends in late Jun. If you are still there by then maybe we can meet.

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Please consider this an invitation to join the Full Timers Chapter of FMCA. We will be presenting a seminar on the fulltime lifestyle at the international convention in Albuquerque next month and also plan to participate in the chapter fair. We welcome those who are now fulltimers as well as those who spend a good part of the year in their coaches and those who would like to be fulltimers someday. Check the chapter information on the FMCA website to obtain a membership application.

Howard Bates, Vice President, Full Timers Chapter, FMCA

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I have to take exception with your comment about EMMA.

We have been told our Jill who is also a JRT is the best JRT they have ever encountered. She is also a Parsons and we couldn't have paid enough for what she gives us in the love and fun. Not a day goes by that Jill doesn't put a smile on our faces.

We plan to go full time next year and are working all the bugs out of our coach to make it happen.

We will need to meet you down the road to conduct a runoff with the JRT's.

Happy sailing

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I have to take exception with your comment about EMMA.

We have been told our Jill who is also a JRT is the best JRT they have ever encountered. She is also a Parsons and we couldn't have paid enough for what she gives us in the love and fun. Not a day goes by that Jill doesn't put a smile on our faces.

We plan to go full time next year and are working all the bugs out of our coach to make it happen.

We will need to meet you down the road to conduct a runoff with the JRT's.

Happy sailing

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Dear Kayak Couple and other dog lovers. Now I appreciate that your Parson's Russell is the best and I would suggest that we all have the best.

And we look forward to meeting you too. We love our motorhome, kayaking and being out in this beautiful country.

Let's face it though, these pup's are in charge of us, not us in charge of them. So I suppose it will be a runoff between them figuring out who has the best human companion.

I am hoping it is a tie, as you folks sound like mighty nice people. Look forward to meeting you all, and what a beautiful pup you have.

Thom, Ouarda and Emma

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Welcome to the forum, I am relatively new to this one also. I am waiting until 25 May 10 when my DW retirement becomes effective and we hit the road FT. In the meantime I have been making short "practice" trips for the last two years. I am heading ot the Keys next week for 5-6 weeks. then new flooring for the RV then it will be time to pack it one last time.

We are heading to Manchester TN just up the road from you to see friends in late Jun. If you are still there by then maybe we can meet.

We would love to meet. thom@thomwells.com

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