C’mon baby, drive south…with the one you love…
Before we go any further in this post, Diana and I want to thank all of you who sent your thoughts and wishes our way after her mom’s passing. Our family is very appreciative of the outpouring of love and good will that was wrapped around us. We are fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful friends and family. Again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
So here we are, well prepared to face another winter in Michigan. The fifth wheel is skirted and El Niño is keeping Michigan’s temperatures in the low 40’s and snow free. Should we just stay here or should we find our way south? That question can be swiftly answered with a statement Diana’s mom used to use on me: “Boy, you are nuts in the head.” Time to open the tool box, grab my utility knife and get that skirting off the rig!
When Diana’s parents retired, and they were able to spend winters in Florida, her dad called and advised us not to wait until we retired but rather to move to Florida right then. We responded that we had jobs and were working toward retirement. He still thought we should just pull up roots and not spend one more winter in the cold. We are sure he is very pleased that he gets to be with mom again, and we are finally escaping the snow!
The time since returning to Grand Rapids from the funeral has been spent wrapping up loose ends and preparing to make the trip south. While we have technically been fulltime RVers for over a year now, this is really our official launch of being able to head out and see where the wind takes us. That prospect still hasn’t totally sunk into our minds yet. As one can well imagine, this is a bittersweet time for the two of us…as we grieve losing Mom. Fortunately she had a stellar sense of humor, and we don’t have to dig too deep to bring a smile to our faces with one of her quips. 🙂
Part of our preparation for heading out has been to get both vehicles ready to go. Yes, we’ve decided to keep our Ford Escape. That vehicle was the biggest item on our ‘pros and cons’ list. This very subject came up at the RV-Dreams rally in September, 2014. Howard and Linda travel this way, with Howard driving the truck/fifth wheel and Linda in their Jeep Liberty. One would think that the economics of having two vehicles would be cost prohibitive. That actually is not the case, as the fuel and maintenance savings of driving a much smaller vehicle at our destinations makes the money aspect a ‘wash’. Howard has crunched those numbers for 10 years now and has proven that to be a fact. Fulltime RVers travel an average of 5000 miles a year between destinations. If we limit the truck travel to that and some short travel to lakes and bicycle trails (the kayaks and trikes ride on the truck), we will save a bunch on gas and maintenance, while extending the useful life of our much more expensive truck. Plus, the Escape is much easier to park. This makes it more fun in resort towns, beaches, and even going to the grocery store. Our biggest con is not getting to ride together between destinations. Some might see that as a pro, but we really do like riding together. :). Part of the fulltime lifestyle is limiting our travel to about 200 miles a day, so we won’t be having the long driving days of past vacations. When we went to dinner with Howard and Linda in October, they reminded us that they use walkie talkies to stay in touch. As a result, we have purchased a set of Midland two-way radios to accomplish that. We will see how it works out. The one point that Linda made that struck home was this: We own the Escape. She suggested to try traveling with two vehicles and see if we like it. If not, we can sell the Escape at a later date. Linda has a knack for seeing the forest through the trees. 🙂
So the past week for me has been oil changes, new Goodyear Wranglers for the Escape, new RV compatible Garmin GPS units, and finishing up our drawer and door lock projects. Diana has been busy with wrapping up her mom’s personal business. We hope to pull out of Grand Rapids by the middle of next week. We are donating our skirting to our next door neighbor in the campground. In a rare moment of regret….something I just don’t do very often… I lamented to Peter at Life Unscripted that I should have waited on skirting the trailer. He reminded me that I made the best decision with the information available to me at the time. That meant a lot, Peter…thanks! Although Mom was having a rough go of it, her track record of fortitude gave us every reason to believe that she was going to be with us for awhile. Quite frankly, I wish we still needed the skirting.
So there you have it. We will reveal our destinations as we reach them, as fulltime RVers have a motto : Our plans are set in Jello. For now, all we are saying is: stay tuned and…..
C’mon baby, drive south!
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