How many years full-timing?

2-dswkayak2015 was a good year for us. It wrapped up an enjoyable eighth year of full-timing. We began the year in a wet and chilly Corpus Christi TX, and the year mostly improved from there.  Our year was full of interesting travels throughout much of the United States. We visited another FL state park (Silver Springs) for the first time before visiting Sarasota and Miami again. We added another state, Pennsylvania, to our camping list with two weeks enjoyable visits there.

5-liarWe traveled a different path westward to Farmington NM for the Airstream Club’s annual meeting and rally. It was fun to stop at the mother ship of Bass Pro stores in St Louis MO. Along the way we discovered a free city park in Elk City OK (electricity and water,) and nice RVers everywhere we went. While in Farmington at the annual meeting, Jim was elected to 2nd Vice-President of the international Airstream Club. This was an exciting event and promises to provide a lot of hard and rewarding work.

9-ChacoFarmington NM is a great part of the USA to visit. Attractions include Shiprock, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and Aztec Ruins, and Hovenweep National Monument, and Durango, among other ancient and more recently developed attractions. Summer may not be the best time to visit the southwest but we found the weather manageable and enjoyed our stay and the attractions.

3-CWCSadly, Jim’s mother died in mid-March last year. We left Miami earlier than planned to rush home to be with Catie and family during this tough time. Thankfully the campground in southwest Miami was very accommodating about refunding our unused camping nights, and we’re glad we weren’t any further away from the family home. Our full-timing lifestyle allowed us to quickly respond to the family’s needs and care for Catie so she could stay home during her last two weeks.

4-firewoodland

One of our daughters and her family repatriated from Vancouver in Canada last month. They’re getting settled in with many adjustments after being out of the country for ten years. We’re excited to have all our children and grands living in North Carolina for the first time. We sense, on the other hand, a tug to start settling on our NC mountain acreage. Doesn’t this look really inviting? We have courtesy parking – let us know if you’d like to stop in. It’s pretty nice.

 

6-Charlotte1-SAF

Two new grandchildren joined our family last year. We’re grateful our travels and their arrivals all timed well, and they’re both in N.C.

 

We encountered our fair share of mechanical issues last year. Our fridge and water heater both failed on our rain-soaked trip from Farmington. Not until we hit some dry pavement in Tennessee did these start working again. Our batteries stopped charging from shore power. We accidentally destroyed our folding step when we ran it into a projecting concrete sidewalk. Precipitates from the water heater clogged our sink faucet completely. The solar charger quit. Debbie’s makeup mirror LED lights failed. We found ourselves needing to replace the trailer’s brakes and turn the drums. We had our worst water leaks into the cabin. One that soaked the fabric base of our sofa and one that dripped onto the floor from inside the roof air conditioner.

These are all pretty routine maintenance issues to us. To have a gaggle of mechanical issues in the same year is unusual for us and was frustrating at times. We sometimes defer maintenance when we think we can count on getting to it before long. Ideally, we catch problems before they catch us. Other times, a delay turns out to be punctuated by a repair instead of preventive or scheduled maintenance. Dry camping is easy when most things are working. Living in an RV is easy for us when most things are working. Our RV is eleven years old and is apparently becoming a little more demanding. Okay – we’re on it!

Our 2015 towing mileage was 11,740, down from 14,866 miles in 2014. This brings our total full-timing towing miles to just under 108,000 miles. Our truck has 157,000 total miles, so towing represents 70% of our total truck mileage. The truck and trailer each continue to delight us with low maintenance needs and costs. We still plan to run the truck to 200,000 miles, or another three to four years, before replacement. Get your bids in soon for future purchase of a lightly used truck!

Our full-timing travel costs continued another year to trend downward. We spent $2,966 on camping sites, down from $4,050 and $4,565 the prior two years. Our average cost of camp site rental for 2015 dropped to $8/night, down from $11 and $13 the prior two years. Our average nights stay per site returned to six nights.

One expected decrease is our towing miles per relocation. We averaged 178 miles per relocation in 2015, our second lowest number in eight years. Moving more often within southeast USA from July through December 2015 drove this and other reductions. This year we’re likely to spend more time traveling out west, so some of these may swing upward again.

10-75 degrees

Finally, we now freely admit we’re likely to build a house. We bought very nice land two years ago in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Weeks spent at various times of the year getting a feel for the sun, the weather, the wind, and the neighbors, provide us good ideas for site placement.

This attraction to building a house runs counter to our full-timing ethic of the past 8+ years. We promised we would only stay on the road full-time so long as we wanted. We’re still loving it, but are beginning to wonder how many more years. We think it’d be nice to eventually have a house again.

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
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9 responses to “How many years full-timing?

  1. Congrats on the grandkids. I’m sure being somewhat close to them is a pull. Your property sounds lovely and the perfect home base. Here’s hoping 2016 is as exciting as 2015 was :-)

  2. Jim and Deb: You have done an amazing job of full timing and sharing your experience with the rest of us. Thank you for that. The siren song of a place of your own is understandable but somehow I thing the road will be at least part of your life for some time to come.

    When you begin to plan your house I hope you will keep a blog about that as well. did I say I am envious? I am writing this from my office.

    Doug

    • Doug,
      We started two years ago a journal about Woodland Ridge, using “My Land Plan.org” Unfortunately, I haven’t learned how, if at all, it can be shared with friends. If I can’t work that out then I’ll either start a separate WP blog or start folding those stories into this one.

      Debbie and I agree, we’re addicted to rolling down the road. It’s such a great feeling when the wheels rumble along, the rear view mirror is full of silver, and we are enjoying going somewhere again.

    • I think this link [http://mylandplan.org/community-journals] may allow finding us. We are there as “Woodland Ridge” or my email nfivertg@gmail.com

  3. Albina Marques

    We met you at Jackson Center last June & really enjoyed the pleasant conversations in the service center waiting room. We then became WBCCI
    members. Also became stockholders at Va Highland Haven AS Park & love it there. We are not full timers, reside in FL in winter. The Blue Ridge mountains area is beautiful & I’m sure you will decide when the time is right to settle. Grandbabies do grab our hearts don’t they? We have one in Fl & 2 in SC. Whishing you both the best of good health & safe travels.
    Tony & Albina Marques

    • Hi Albina & Tony. We too enjoyed meeting and talking with you. Congratulations on becoming members and also getting into Virginia Highland Haven Airstream Park. Such a beautiful place, we’ve enjoyed every stay there. Safe Travels and we’ll see you down the road.

  4. Hi folks. Good to read up on what you two have been doing. Sounds wonderful having the family all closer together. Makes for easier time visitIng We are in Florida this winter. Having a wonderful time at an airstream park called Land Yacht Harbor in Melbourne, FL. Fortunately they allow us SOB’s (some other brands) to rent spaces too. Do you know of the park? It’s pretty basic, but extremely clean, convenient, and very inexpensive, coming in around $350/mo for our 4 months here. We will be coming back next winter for 6 months. That price sure makes up for travel during the summer months. Anyway we will be up your area of North Carolina in the spring. We plan to do some checking out of the region for a future home base. So perhaps we can connect for a coffee if you are there too. The rest of the summer will be spent in the north east eventually touring Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in the fall before returning for Florida in November. Take care and enjoy rolling down the road. Like you we are always homesick for places we haven’t been.

    Rob and Jan Wilson.

  5. Hi Jan and Rob,
    Debbie and I’ve enjoyed many visits to Melbourne Land Yacht Harbor. We love the park’s proximity to the beaches, the flea market, and historic district of Melbourne. The price is really a bargain, isn’t it?

    A visit over a cup of coffee sounds great. We hope you can stay with us at Woodland Ridge when you come to NC. Whether we’re there or not, you are welcome to courtesy parking with hookups. If we’re around we’ll gladly give you the fun tour of a great locale in the NC mountains.

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