Monday, December 24, 2007

A snowy departure from St. Joe to Alam, AR

We have really come to appreciate our Meridian coach. It has performed great in the snow and kept us nice and warm in temperatures down into the single digits. Today, 12/23, we left at about 9am after we saw that all the roads were well plowed. The only real problem was all the slush that covered the roads and flew up on the coach and tow car. What a mess!

We had to stop repeatedly and clean the windshield and mirrors, but eventually, we managed to get out of the snow cover and driving became much more enjoyable.

Wow -- this is a bunch of snow! We are VERY ready for warmer temperatures, but very pleased that the RV park did such a great job plowing the roads.
On the plus side, we had a great breakfast at Waffle House in Kansas City!

St. Joseph, MO in a blizzard!

Oh Brother!

We got an early start on Saturday, 12/22 expecting to drive south of Kansas City (about 400 miles). The weather was great, clear, but cold. Fortunately, the coach worked well and we tooled along in fine style.

Everything was great until we were about 40 miles north of St. Joseph when I saw a flake of snow. We checked for rv parks in the area and the only one that was open was the Beacon in St. Joe, so we set our sights for St. Joe.

The snow really began to come down about 12 miles north of St. Joe and we got in line behind the trucks as we slowly (about 10 mph) moved south as you can see from this shot. The coach worked great, but I was very happy to finally get into the RV Park. By the way, these are great folks -- they plowed our site for us before we parked (had almost 10 inches by this time) and made sure we were snuggly parked.

Fulltime at Last!

We hit the road as "Real" fulltimers on Friday, 12/21. We left the house empty and for sale. Of course, getting the last items out of the house and getting the house clean and ready to show, took quite a while longer than we expected. Plus, we had to finish loading the coach. Thus, we didn't get underway until late in the afternoon and decided to only go to Sioux Falls for the night at the Tower Campground. I was worried about how well the coach would handle the low temperatures (we got down to about 12 degrees) and ended up placing a couple of trouble lights in the water bays to keep things warm. I was able to measure the temps using a wireless thermometer and sensors in each compartment. This worked great and I found the compartments stayed at about 38 to 40 degrees overnight.

What a real thrill to think that we were finally underway!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Life On Wheels

We had the chance to attend the Life On Wheels University at Moscow, ID and had a great time. Here we are arriving and getting ready to drop the car.

We arrived in very hot weather and spent the first night in a temporary parking area and were very thankful that the generator was working great. Met some great folks.

This picture from the LOW website gives a great view of the main parking area and the fine facilities at the University of Idaho.

The house decision

Many of the prospective fulltime RVers we have talked to have wondered if they should try to keep their house or sell it. We wondered the same thing and I decided to take a look at the decision process.

A house is an emotional item to many, but for the fulltimer, the house question is fundamentally an issue of emotion versus investment. Some of the items we considered were:
  • Should we keep house as an "escape" in case fulltiming doesn't work out?
  • If we do keep it, how much would it cost to keep it?
  • What kind of factors do we need to consider when determining the cost?
To try and evaluate this, we considered the following cost items:
  1. Home value
  2. Home mortgage costs
  3. Utilities costs
  4. Condo or homeowner fees
  5. Opportunity costs of your home equity you could invest
  6. Maintenance costs
  7. Property Taxes
Using this information, we created a spreadsheet that allows you to input the costs that represent your individual data. Access the spreadsheet here .

Counting down to Fulltime

Well, only 10 days to go until we go move into the coach and start the fulltime lifestyle. This weekend was very busy as we continued to move items into the coach and our small storage building. Once everything is loaded, we are off.

Looking forward to heading south as the temps here in South Dakota are holding in the low teens for a high. Last night, the low was 2 degrees! The low temperatures make it uncomfortable to load the coach, but the excitement of departing makes it worthwhile.