It’s been almost a year since we attended the RV-Dreams rally in Sevierville, TN and I thought it would be a good time to give an update on the Graduating Class of 2014. While we were at the rally we met tons of couples who were planning on full-timing and of the 11 couples in the pictures below 10 are on the road!! So for those of you reading this who think it all sounds great but could never happen for them, maybe this will be a little proof that it can happen 🙂 Also, it really demonstrates how different the life looks for different people.
Jo and Ben – Traveling nurses who have been on the road for a year in an Arctic Fox fifth wheel. They are on their third work contract and have been from Maine to Florida this year. They travel with a Malamute and a Shephard Mix.
Craig and Jo – A retired couple who waited three years to make their dream a reality as they took care of Jo’s aunt until she passed away. They travel in a Lifestyle Luxury fifth wheel and have mainly been in the southwest and southeast with some jumps up to the Midwest to get solar, Mor-Ryde suspension, and custom RV furniture. No pets but Craig adores every dog he comes across and the feeling is mutual .
Eileen and Gene – Both retired, just purchased their second Winnebago. They have been all over this year from Wyoming to Maine to the Florida Keys. They took a “break” in Florida for a few months so Gene’s mom could stay with them in a condo they rented, but will be back on the road very soon. They travel with a cavachon.
Lee and Tracy – On the road since November 2014 in an Open Range 386 FLR, we have been on the East Coast from New Hampshire to Florida. Lee just finished a 10 week RV Technician school and will be working as a Mobile Tech on the road and Tracy continues to work from the rig as a project manager with the same company she worked for before selling the house. No pets currently.
Cori and Greg – Have been stationary full-timing for a little under a year in their Country Coach Class A as they started a Solar business and finished other job responsibilities. They will be starting their wandering in April and will be doing solar installs on the road. They travel with a cavachon.
Debbie and Steve – Get the award for most miles traveled in their Montana Fifth Wheel. They started in California, went across the northern US, down the east coast and into Florida, and are now exploring the South West. Steve works from the rig for a large software company and Deb keeps them moving and organized. They are still waiting for their house to sell, but have the ability to full time while waiting. They are currently traveling with their son’s pitbull who is a total sweetie.
Linda and Scott – They did a bit of traveling out west in their Trilogy Fifth Wheel and then took a long-term work kamping assignment in Texas helping to start a brand new campground. Linda is a traveling nurse and Scott enjoys working at the campground they are at so much they may extend and continue to stay in Texas. They travel with two dogs and two cats.
Sue and Guy– Have been waiting to sell their house all year and finally decided they had waited long enough. Guy retired and they have hit the road in their Class A with their house still on the market, and couldn’t be happier. They are swinging through the Southwest, but then are heading back to the east coast. They travel with their little dog.
Bill and Kelly – Kelly and Bill are retired and living off their investments in their Landmark fifth wheel. They have traveled from the Midwest to Florida so far and are with their dog and two cats.
Pam and Red – Pam and Red are retired and just purchased their second fifth wheel a Grand Design Toy Hauler. They have been to Alaska, to Quartzsite and are now heading to Texas among many other places. Pam doesn’t have a blog, but sends us these great newsletters with beautiful pictures of the places they have been. They travel with three dogs. Of all the couples Lee and I have the most travel envy for Pam and Red as they are ALWAYS somewhere super cool.
Eileen and Mario – Are the last couple left in the group who are not on the road yet. Ellen finally retires in just a few months and they are trying to figure out what the next stage looks like. Mario loves his toys so they are currently in a toy hauler. I don’t think they travel with pets.
There are many other couples from the rally or the RV-Dreams forum who accelerated their plans and ended up going on the road in 2014/2015. Here are a few of them…it really was a good year for graduates.
- David and Sharon sold their Bed and Breakfast and are now in Florida
- Mitch and Cheryl sold their house and are traveling in Florida as they work on the road
- Curt and Glinda retired and are hanging out in Arizona
- Larry and Brenda retired and hanging out in Texas
- Dawn Raye a soloist who is seeing the country which I think is incredibly brave
- Jim and Barb retired and traveling all over and definitely get the most boon docking nights award
I know I talk quite a bit about these people we started the journey with, but thought this would be a good time to check in on how they are doing. We have had the opportunity since full timing to meet with 9 of the couples and will be seeing several more at the RV-Dreams reunion rally this May. In my mind we are family. Maybe we don’t see each other as much as we would like, and are spread out across the country, but truly an RVing family. Love you guys and very happy for all of you that your dreams are coming true. Go Class of 2014!!!
On a completely separate note I wanted to take a moment and give an update on working from the rig. So far our travel schedule has been pretty simple with 6 weeks in South Carolina and then 10 weeks in Largo, Florida. Now we are entering the phase where we will be moving every 10 days or so and I wanted to pass along some of my lessons learned. These are very specific to my particular work situation but hopefully they may help others. You should know we have two vehicles and I fly for work at least once a month, sometimes twice and the work trips certainly complicate things.
1. We have to plan our route at least 30 days ahead. My trips are mainly booked 30 days in advance and I need to know what airport I am flying in and out of in order to book the trip. This requires coordination in advance of where we will be and the necessity of being within two hours of an airport. Thus far on the East coast has not been a huge deal but as we move out west this will require more careful planning. The upside of the pre-planning is less stress and the ability to really look for a good campground deal. The downside of course is less spontaneity. Currently we are booked in campgrounds through May 15th, but are loosely schedule through July 4th.
2. The weekends are the only time we are guaranteed to be able to see local attractions. I am trying to book us in campgrounds on a schedule so we have two full weekend days to see local attractions. The two days do not have to be consecutive, but I like one Saturday and one Sunday if possible. When I am working from home we have the opportunity to see local attractions in the evening but many are only open during the day or if nature related only during daylight hours. In addition, I have to assume that a work trip could be scheduled at any time. Recently we booked a week in Savannah (which has been on our Must See list from the beginning) at a state park near the city. The price was high, $273 for a week, so we decided to try to just stay there one week, which essentially gives us part of a weekend. We booked the campground (which was already filling up btw) and two days later I was scheduled for a training class that same week. Usually, I do have some flexibility over my schedule, but other trips are mandatory. So we had a decision, do we cancel the week, try to stay somewhere else, or let the plans stand. When faced with these decisions, I like to make a plan and agree that unless there are extenuating circumstances this is how we will handle similar scenarios going forward. Ultimately we decided to keep the reservation as we would not be able to get our deposit back and there wasn’t really another campground close to Savannah that looked appealing. Does it suck that Lee will be in the really cool campground all week, and I will be in New Jersey…sure. But why should he suffer because I have a work trip, plus I am looking forward to the class its just a shame it’s in a not very exciting part of New Jersey lol. In order to make this work,btw, I will be flying out of Jacksonville, Florida on Monday and then flying back into Jacksonville on Friday and then driving to Savannah on Friday.
3. Travel days are complicated. We have two vehicles which means I cannot work from the rig while Lee drives. I am seriously tempted to turn in the company car, but it is saving us so much money when we get to a place I have held onto it. That may change once we are moving more, because I could work on the computer while Lee drove and we could travel any day and any time we wanted. With two vehicles I can only travel a few hours in the morning during the week. My conference calls start around 9am est usually and I need to be in front of my computer for most of them. Can’t do that while driving. So that means we have very short hops or we travel on weekends. We are still working through it, and again in the east it is less of an issue because new areas to explore are relatively close to each other. Should be very challenging when we get out west and we are dealing with longer drive times and the time change as well.
4. Vacation Days are used differently. Over the years my use of vacation days has morphed. When the kids were small much of them were used in kid related illnesses or activities. When they got bigger we used them to travel back to Columbus so the kids could see their grandparents. Finally we started taking a couple real vacations a year and I used the extra days for long weekends. (I have 4 weeks vacation a year.) My vacation schedule flips to a new year April 1st and I am thinking about using some vacation days as travel days to help make the schedule a little easier to manage. Occasionally I will want to take a week off (Rose Bowl Parade HOP and RV Dreams rally come to mind), but the best us of the extra days might well be allowing us to travel with no limitations or through areas with limited cell coverage. Will let you know as it unfolds.
So that’s what I have learned so far and at this point I am sure some of you are thinking is all of this even worth it. My answer is heck yes 🙂 The other night I worked until 6pm…drove 15 minutes to see a beautiful sunset on the beach…and then came back to the rig in time for my 9 pm call. I would have worked those same hours in New Hampshire but without the sunset on the beach 🙂
- Depending on your work situation travel may be complicated and require planning in advance
- Vacation days might be used as travel days or to extend a weekend to see extra stuff
- There isn’t as much time as you might think to see local attractions during a work week. Allow yourself a full weekend in a place to really see the area.
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