My wife decided she wants a 5th Wheel. Since we will be living in the RV full time, she says the trailers don’t give her the feeling of “home”. Although the Class A gives her that feeling, for us towing a vehicle behind is out of the question. Therefore, 5th Wheel.
How big. Well, since she won’t be driving, size doesn’t matter. Therefore big enough so there can be a king size bed, full size refrigerator, a bathroom shower you can comfortably turn around in, and a living room to give her the same comfort as home. Therefore, about 38 feet. WOW!
We have been on many road trips during our 33 year marriage. I like to drive and she likes to ride. A perfect combination. Many years ago we belonged to a road rally club. The purpose of the club was the gathering of car enthusiasts who would be given clues to transgress a 100 mile or so course through the city and countryside. The couple who figured out the clues and arrived at the secret destination closest to the time allotted won. We learned through this club the responsibilities of the driver and passenger (navigator). The driver had to know what road he was on, the speed limit of the road, the speed of the car, and the last intersection passed. The navigator had to know, according to the directions and clues given, the speed the vehicle was suppose to be going, the next turn maneuver (by clue or street name), and give the driver adequate notice to make the next instruction. If the driver missed a turn or the navigator failed to give the correct instruction, the other was not permitted to criticize. There were no exceptions to this rule. You were not permitted to blame the other for getting lost, or having to make a U-Turn. My wife and I follow the above on all our trips, and it has made for happy motoring. The same rules will apply on our 5 year odyssey.
Looking for the perfect 5th Wheel, has not been as easy as expected. There must be about 70 different brands and types of 5th Wheels. Each has 4 or 5 individual floor plans. We are in the process of narrowing down the number by eliminating those that are not meant to be lived in full time. This is a result of quality of construction and insulation. The vehicle has to be comfortable in temperatures above 100 degrees and down past freezing. Our anticipated journey will take us to the southern United States and as far into Alaska we can go on paved roads toward the North Pole.
I never camped as a kid, I was not a cub or boy scout. Of course I camped in the army. It was OK, you slept in a small pup tent with another guy. You had to dig your own latrine. It always seemed wet or damp. You were never fully clean. You shaved in cold water. Therefore I never had the desire to do additional camping.
My wife, on the other hand, went camping all the time growing up with her family. They would camp locally as well as going to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive in Virginia.
When we were dating, the Baltimore Ski Club, of which we were both members, had a summer trip to Kitty Hawk to do some hang gliding. They planned to camp in the park adjacent to the dunes. I wanted to go hang gliding, but had no desire to go camping, plus I had no equipment. She insisted, telling me it was not like the army and I would enjoy it. We borrowed a tent and equipment from her cousin and off we went.
Sure enough it was great. Hot showers, the tent we borrowed was huge, not like my pup tent, we had camp fires and hot food, roasted hot dogs, made marshmallows and smores. Plus they had clean, heated, indoor bathrooms. It was heaven.
That night it stormed (I love storms, especially with lightning and thunder, still do). With a large tent we could stand up and move around, plus it did not leak. It was great. Because of the storm, hang gliding was cancelled.
My girlfriend (eventually to be my wife) apologized, saying it was the worst camping she ever had. The facilities were not as nice as she was use to plus the storm. I told her I thought it was great.
We then camped for the next 30 years, going with her son, friends, and eventually her son’s children, our grandchildren. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Now that we are retiring, the grandchildren are to old to hang around with us, and our bones no longer appreciate sleeping on the ground, we decided to go RVing. Although most people who own RVs use them for camping, so they do not have to sleep on the ground in a tent, our camping days are over. Been there, done that. We are now looking to see the Country. The purpose of our RV is not to get away for the weekend, or even a week or month, but to replace our home. Hence, full time RVing. Living in your RV 365 days a year.
We will no longer be camping, we will be sightseeing with our house.
The plan is to buy an RV in September, retire at the end of the year and travel around the continent for 5 years. The question, therefore, is what to do with the house I now live in.
Plan A: Sell the house, use the money to buy the RV and tow vehicle and not have to finance.
Plan B: Rent the house and use the money to pay off the RV.
Plan C: Tell my wife it is her problem and not to bother me about it.
The problem with Plan A is what if I don’t like the RV life, I am now homeless. My wife’s concern is, she wants a place to come “home” once in a while. She wants the feeling there is a “base” for us to work our of.
The good part about Plan A, other than not going into debt, is that if we don’t own property in Maryland, we can call any State our home State. For example, if we called South Dakota or Montana our home State there is no income tax. If we stay in Maryland, our social security and pension are taxed as income.
The problem with Plan B is that we need to hire someone to manage the property, that is, take care of all maintenance issues, find renters if the first ones leave. Make sure the property is not abused or trashed by the renters.
The good part about Plan B is if we decide that the RV life is not for us, we can come back in a year and retake our house. Count the RV as an expensive toy we broke and live happily ever after.
I see no downside to Plan C. That seems like the wise choice to me.
In preparing for my 5 year sojourn, I need to think how I will communicate with family and friends. I have always been into electronics and computers. I was on the internet before there was an internet. It was called bulletin boards. My first “computer” was a Commodore 64. If you remember them, you probably qualify for AARP.
My early computers were Tandy by radio shack (sorry to see you go) and Intellivision. I really liked Intellivision, but it did not last. Being a lawyer, the standard for writing documents and briefs was Microsoft Word. I wanted to use Apple, but they were considered a toy back then. I can now break the shackle from Microsoft. I bought an I phone 6 plus.
My plan is to also buy a Mac Air and skip the tablet, therefore the 6+. The truck I plan on buying to pull the RV has an I Phone port, so I can switch between the three devises when using the GPS.
I took an Apple workshop on the I Phone and read the manual cover to cover (it’s a character flaw). I find I can’t use my favorite e-mail program, Incredimail, and I am therefore learning to use icloud.com.
Eventually I will learn to place this blog on my own web site, www.scheinin.com, where I have unlimited e-mail addresses. All in good time.