“There is no such thing as a free RV show”. 🙂
Diana Belisle, 2003
We found that out in 2003 when we went to a show that had free admission, only to come home with a 24 foot Sunline travel trailer. :). That didn’t happen this year at the Grand Rapids RV show, but a life-changing accelerated ‘realization’ did happen to us at last year’s event. Last January, we decided to check out the seminars; something we didn’t normally do. There were two separate presenters: Jim DuFresne (travel videos) and Howard and Linda Payne of RV-Dreams. Howard and Linda were giving seminars on fulltime RVing, something they had been doing for nearly 10 years, after dropping out of corporate America in their early forties.
Copyright 2014, RV-Dreams.com
Up to that point, I had pretty much decided I was going to retire sometime in 2014, but Diana was not sure if she would teach another year beyond June. We had been researching fulltime RVing for years, prior to the show. After listening to the Payne’s seminars, we came away focused that we were going to make a move sooner than later. This lifestyle was not only doable, but was something we felt we needed to do, so as to not miss our chance of being able to roam America in good health. We had seen enough people fall prey to illness, and I myself had survived prostate cancer (5 years…yea!!!) so, by the end of March, I had retired. I immediately began the process of finishing our basement, in order to sell our house.
Above is the basement bathroom in process.
Here is the basement bathroom complete.
Above is the main room of basement in process.
Here is the main room of basement complete.
This is the great room with a fresh coat of paint, staged and ready to put on the market.
As we pushed through the purging and renovating, Diana made the decision that she was ready to put an exclamation point on her teaching career. We made the trek to Lansing and filed the necessary paperwork.
Woo-hoo! That girl is indeed one happy camper!
After Diana’s retirement in July, it was an all out push to have the house listed before Labor Day weekend. We knew the housing market was red hot in Grand Rapids, and we also knew it would slow to a crawl, once school started. We contacted a realtor who got the ball rolling, and the open house was set for the Sunday, August 24. We had three offers the first day, and the buyers accepted our counter offer 44 hours after the agent opened the front door to lookers.
In mid September, we attended RV-Dreams’ Fall Rally in Goshen, Indiana. The weeklong event focused on educating attendees on everything involved in being a fulltime RVer.
Copyright 2014, RV-Dreams.com
We met a lot of great people at that rally. In the coming years, we will feature them as we go. Here is a photo of us at sign-up. The woman in the blue shirt is fellow blogger Debbie from Down the Road with Steve and Debbie and the woman in the pink sweater is Jo from This Moment in Time. Jo and her husband Craig hail from Texas, while Steve and Debbie are from California. Check out both of their blogs to see their recent rendezvous along the Gulf coast.
During the rally, we received news from our agent that our closing date on the house was set. When we announced it to our fellow rally attendees, a collective round of applause went up. 🙂
By early October, we were pulling out of the driveway. Our first adventure was a grueling 2-1/2 mile trip to our current campground. To paraphrase Neil Armstrong, it was a small step…but in reality, it was a giant leap for us. We are wintering in Michigan this year to be by Diana’s mom.
Over the fall and winter, we lost our dear Jenny to cancer. She loved going for rides, and luckily had plenty of adventures during her 10-1/2 years. Her death was very hard on the two of us. Man, do we miss her.
So, our return to this year’s show was somewhat of a homecoming. Howard and Linda were off working the Dayton, Ohio show this year, and Grand Rapids had Shari Galiardi and her husband David Hutchison from Tales from a Mid-Lifeventure. They are traveling in their 1957 Sportcraft ‘canned ham’ trailer. Theirs is a totally different lifestyle than ours is in our 31 foot 5th wheel, but they are painting their portrait as they see fit, and that is what it is all about. They were delightful.
As you can see, this past year was a life-changing experience for us. The adventure of 2015 has begun, and we are excited to explore the vistas of this next chapter. The wonderful thing is our ability to move and adapt, so we are hoping to roll with the punches, rejoice in the victories, and savor the sweetness that our adventure brings us.