I have to say, when traveling across the country pulling 40’ behind you a myriad of things can go wrong. And sometimes they do. Fortunately, as of the time of this writing, it’s been relatively smooth driving. The weather has been fairly cooperative as well.
While I think it’s great that some people who travel have their plans scheduled out a year or months in advance—our family has never traveled like that. That does limit us sometimes when it comes to campgrounds. Many times the nicest ones are booked so you end up calling and hoping they had a cancellation or settling for what you can find. If we’re just stopping overnight it matters little to me (as long as it’s a safe area) what the campground is like, as I have MY home on wheels, which we love, so as long as we have full hookup or even just water and electric I’m happy. Now this kind of traveling isn’t for everyone, it’s just how we do things.
Our drive from mid Nebraska to Cheyenne went well. We stopped at the KOA Cheyenne https://koa.com/campgrounds/cheyenne/?utm_source=campgroundreviews.com&utm_campaign=RVLife_Campgrounds&utm_medium=referral for the evening. I would stay there again. We have found that sometimes the KOA’s are hit or miss. Some are quite nice and others—well, they leave a lot to be desired. There’s approximately 500 of them around so probably if you’ve traveled for any length of time you’ve stayed in one or two. Most of them offer different amenities (for instance the one in Cheyenne had a fenced in dog park, mini golf, a pool, horseshoes, etc.) which is great. Typically we don’t partake of many of the amenities, but they are there if we decide to. They can also be a little pricier than a different campground in the same area—so just do your due diligence and check out the reviews.
After one night at the KOA we were off to Montpelier, Idaho. Yes, Idaho. But no worries we had reservations for a site in Alpine, Wy for a few days next so it was literally a stop over point. There we stayed at a KOA https://koa.com/campgrounds/montpelier-creek/ as well…..mostly because there isn’t much else in the area. While there wasn’t anything wrong with it, this one seemed a little more run down than the one in Wyoming. While it was completely filled it didn’t have the same vibe as the one in Cheyenne. It felt a little older and the sites could use a little updating. But for one night it was fine. There was a nice little walking trail that bordered a creek and had wild roses growing nearby which was a lovely 20 minutes spent.
You’re also close to the Oregon trail center, which I think would be super informative and educational to visit. Maybe next trip.
The drive between Cheyenne and Idaho was pleasant. I enjoy driving through Wyoming and in all honesty it’s one of my favorite states. The variety in landscape is quite amazing. Eastern Wyoming I would consider an extension of Nebraska. Flat and kind of desolate. One interesting features we saw on rte 80 in Wyoming were the vedauwoo rocks. This is shortly after you leave Cheyenne. People come from all over to rock climb these structures and camp nearby.
There’s a lot to see in Wyoming if you have the time. I will say something that can be frustrating (to me at least) is when you’re traveling with a huge 5th wheel you can’t always stop and see things you want to on a whim. Many times I’ll see something and want to stop but we’re limited by our size and parking—or maybe just the route—so I make a note and will try to make plans to see it next time when we can stay closer. So I would say that’s one of the down sides to driving such a big rig.
So after a few days of driving we made it to Wyoming. What will we decide to do next?
A few weeks ago I received a text from a family friend and it said “you may want to read this“. I immediately went to the website and started briefly scanning the article. Then a wave of nausea hit me like a tidal wave. A panic attack…could it be? My immediate reaction was to quickly turn off my computer and hide it under the bed. There is no way my husband could see this. It would support every negative feeling he has about my Camper Crazy dream. He will say, “see, everything I have been telling you is confirmed in this article” and with a quick chuckle finish with a “I always knew you were crazy.”
A few days later peeking under the bed, I stared at the laptop and wondered if I was emotionally strong enough to confront the dreaded list. With sweaty palms and a racing heart, I summoned the courage to reopen that link and start reading. To be honest, I could not read it all at once. It took me a couple days to finish it. It was like trying to choke down a plate of broccoli, brussel sprouts and sauerkraut accompanied with a glass of buttermilk. I could not like it!
Should I just give up on my dream based on this article? At first, I was almost convinced that I should. The article was based on interviews of people that decided to live my dream and their valuable personal experiences, which remarks did not coincide with my dream.
Then my more rational side kicked in a couple of my brain cells. I decided that I would take one item at a time and analyze how it applied to us and how we could overcome. I started with what I felt would be the easier items to confront first.
I had to skip down to Slide 8 before I found a comfortable area to start. Not that dealing with your own waste is easy! However, in our previous article “To poop or not to poop” we confronted that topic with experienced campers. I feel like my husband will be more than capable of taking care of that part of the mess. He is an electrician by trade. That is close to a plumber, right?
Slide 9 discusses how small the living quarters are and how it can create issues between traveling companions. That seemed plausible. We have been married 45 years and there are times I would just like to have the house to myself for an afternoon and have a “Calgon” moment. Is that enough to not follow my dream?
I sent a message to my friend Debbie. She and her husband sold their home and living full-time in an RV for over a year. When I asked her if she thought spending all her time with Joe caused issues, she laughed. Her reply was: “When you retire with your spouse what difference is there between hanging together all the time at your house or on the road in a camper? Either way you are together, so why not spend the time enjoying journeys?” Boom! Good Answer. Two down, eleven to go.
Slide 10 deals with the challenge of driving an RV. It is one of the things that sort of scares me. Not that my husband is a bad driver. But, lets face it, when one retires and ages, you look forward to losing your hearing and your eyesight. Uggg!!! It is always easier to drive when you can see where you are going. One of the things we learned from Dan & Mary Ellen, (the owners of the Pleasure-way) is careful planning helps. They plan their trip each day so they are only driving six hours a day. They can start after rush hour and arrive at their next campsite in late afternoon. A great plan!
I realize it is best if I learn to drive whatever camper we purchase in case of emergency or when my husband just doesn’t feel like driving. However, if we purchase a fifth-wheel or a travel trailer, I have zero experience. A Class C is not as scary to consider since I have driven the largest U haul trucks packed with furniture across the country.
Shanna and Brent ended up getting a fifth wheel to replace their totaled trailer. (refer to “Griswold’s in the making” article). Today she drove through Fancy Gap, VA on I-77. She said it is much easier towing a fifth-wheel than the previous Grey Wolf trailer.
Driving through Fancy Gap in a car scares me, so I am pretty impressed that she drove the F-250 with the new Elkridge. I was even more impressed that Brent wasn’t on his knees praying the whole time she was driving since the F-250 is his pride and joy.
Lynette and Mark from one of our previous posts drive a Dodge dual wheel pickup with a Jayco fifth-wheel. She tells me not to worry, it is easy. So I guess, if nothing else, I have Shanna and Lynnette to give me driving lessons if we buy a fifth-wheel.
Slide 11 discusses problematic overnight parking but gives suggestions on some apps you can utilize to find overnight parking. Easy enough we can do that. Note to self: download apps. 4 down!!! My blood pressure is now normal!
Slide 13 made me sigh. I am not a hoarder exactly, but very sentimental and like to keep things, that in all honesty.. I don’t need. However, I feel that someone close to me may appreciate the fact that I kept something that they may appreciate in the future. My husband on the other hand loves tools and wire, and nuts and bolts. We have made great strides in reducing the stuff we have over the past year. It is just stuff that will rust and deteriorate over time. For those things like old photos and letters and cards that are so dear to my heart, I am hoping my children will help me scan and maintain electronically and maybe keep some of the originals. Renting a storage unit is an option but costs extra money. We can’t forget that once we retire we are on a fixed income. A difficult obstacle for the emotional side but we can overcome!
Slide 14 deals with the fact that it is not easy to pull up your roots and leave friends and family. There is absolutely no way I can go for several months and not see my kids and granddaughters. We would both go insane. Another tip I learned from the glampers Dan and Mary, is when they owned their Class A is to invite others to join you along the way. Often they would have their kids, grand-kids and other family members and friends fly to a city on their journey. They pick them up at the airport and they travel together in the RV for a week or so and then drop them off at another airport to fly home. That way they continue their travels but share their journey with the ones they love. That can work for us as well.
Slides 2-6 &12 is what stresses me out. Those items started the heart palpitations and doubting my sanity. According to the article, RVs can be expensive, can cost a lot to repair, they depreciate, get bad gas mileage, can cost a lot to update if you buy used, and insurance can be a pain (see our blog on things you need to know about RV insurance).
While at face value those are accurate statements, what about the flip side? If you sell your home and purchase a condo to retire in, you may have huge assessments that come along as the association implements upgrades. Or like many that retire in Florida, they purchase mobile homes in 55+ communities. What happens when the AC goes out or the hot water tank breaks? Those repairs are not cheap either. Plus the lot rental can be increased every year. Stick and brick home renovations are expensive as well. In either case, if you live in an RV or a regular condo or stick and brick home – any type house repairs are going to be needed and will be expensive unless you know someone that can make the repairs for you.
I have a sister that lives in Ohio, in the same home she and her husband purchased back in the early 1960’s. If she only used her fuel oil for heating and not her wood-burner too, her heating bills in the winter would be astronomical. She would probably be better off driving a gas guzzling RV to Arizona to spend the winter. So saying that RVs are expensive may be true, but one would have to consider the alternative costs of whatever other living arrangements you make in retirement.
After reading the whole article I reached back out to our friends Debbie and Joe. Debbie made the point that after selling their home they purchased an RV lot where they spend the winters. However, after raising a family in a “bricks and sticks” home, they were happy to buy an RV even though they realized the RV would depreciate. Debbie said, “who cares? the experience is worth it”. Just look at this picture, you can see how the RV life suits them.
Slide 7 deals with something we basically have little control over, Health Care. It makes sense that when you travel continuously it could be a hassle. While doctors may be everywhere, we prefer our regular doctors. That can be a real challenge.
My husband had major back surgery a few years ago. If by chance he has a similar issue while traveling that requires additional surgery, there is no way we will want some random doctor performing the surgery. Not knowing how the whole Medicare thing works is also a little nerve-wracking but we have some time to figure that part out.
For employed people that have the option of participating in an employee sponsored HSA (health savings account), it may be something to take full advantage of, especially if planning on a “Camper Crazy” lifestyle after retiring. We realize we must have something set aside to help pay for costs not covered by insurance.
While there are downsides to retiring in an RV, there are also upsides. The 13 reasons mentioned above are things that we feel can be minimized with knowledge and planning.
Unfortunately, we should have actually started planning for this lifestyle even sooner. However, my husband’s hesitancy is actually a good thing because it offsets my crazy “jump right in and do it” personality. With planning and the right strategy… hopefully… we will NEVER regret living full-time in an RV in retirement. That is, if my husband can be persuaded to be Camper Crazy too!
What does a used Jayco 5th Wheel, a brand new Winnebago View C class and a Pleasureway B+ class have in common? Look closely, can you tell?
In our quest to figure out which type of RV we should consider for our future travels (if and when my husband decides it should be in our future), we decided to take a road trip. Traveling to just outside of Memphis, we met up with our experienced Glamping Sr. couple, the Mid-lifers in their new Winnebago and their friends that have camped for years from Arkansas, with their pickup and 5th Wheel Jayco camper.
On our way, we stopped at Gander RV Sales in Alabama. We have been to many RV showrooms over the past couple years just “kicking tires”, but now we need to get all the BUZZ! Time to really educate ourselves, but there is a lot to learn when you know little about the Camper Crazy World.
So to persuade my husband that this is a life he would enjoy, I take him into the accessory store. Anyone that knows my husband can tell you that if it has a knob or a plug or a switch… he has to turn it, plug it in or switch it. He just can’t help himself. My plan…there has to be generators right? We will make our way there. We will eventually make it to the campers, but one step at a time.
Oh boy, the bait seems to be working. He is enthralled with all the gadgets and the chair even has some kind of knobs and switches! Wow, they have more generators than one of the electrical supply houses he likes to frequent. This store is great! It is clean and spacious and has a great supply of camping gear, parts and accessories.
That is not all, they also have a nice selection of RV trailers and we look at several with our sales rep, Danny. He hasn’t been selling RVs for very long but is quite informative. Since my husband is a free lance electrical estimator, it is important that we have access to WiFi and we know not all parks have great WiFi, so we ask Danny about options. He shows us an LTE WiFi Router by Furrion. “Stay Online while exploring the world offline”, seems to be their motto. We need to explore this option further and if you are interested too, check out their website https://furrion.com/collections/routers/products/router
We see several campers that could potentially work for us, but feel more CONFUSED and overwhelmed with the amount of stuff we don’t know about the Camper Crazy world. So we get back on the road to hopefully find some answers. I am also very excited because I have a special surprise for Mark. I made arrangements for us to stay one night in the Winnebago View with the Mid-Lifers at the RV Park! Not so sure how he will react, but I am hoping that he will love it.
Oh, I almost forgot, what does a Jayco 5th Wheel, a Pleasureway and a Winnebago have in common? Owners that are all HAPPY CAMPERS and love think their RV is best…..for them at least. They are happy to share their likes & dislikes of their campers and discuss how to choose your RV and much more.