Full-time RVing … page four of our story, answering your questions about getting started and our first few months as full-time RVers, including our one regret, and an update from Alaska.
We felt free!
Most of our collections of things were sold or packed up in boxes in the cargo trailer to be sold. I had kept some of my antique furniture, but it was now out of sight in one of those indoor, climate controlled storage warehouses. Instead of my new S-10 Blazer to drive, I was now responsible for towing the cargo trailer with our 10-year old, three-quarter-ton pickup. We’d be traveling separately, since Bob would be pulling our RV home with a very used, one-ton pickup we’d recently bought.
We left South Dakota to do a bit of flea marketing around Denver. The markets there are open during the winter. We always looked for markets that allowed us to park (live) on the grounds.
May brought the re-opening of the outdoor flea market in Rapid City. We parked our RV there for the summer. We bought and sold. Bob made a few more improvements on the trailer. This time when people talked about winter markets, we listened with new ears.
We’d already figured out that we could make a living selling at the markets. The first clue there was when I was bringing in more money selling used stuff on weekends than Bob was making at his foreman job with the city.
What did people think of our decision to go full-time RVing? Parents, relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, people at church, and throughout our small community thought we were nuts. I’d first given up my "good, secure" job to flea market. Then Bob did the same. Along with that, we'd sold our house and moved into a 25-year-old travel trailer. They were convinced we’d really gone off the deep end – and they didn’t hesitate to tell us so!
When the market closed that summer, we headed onward. We headed south, full-time RVers, happy and content.
Like so many full-timers, our one regret is that we didn’t make the change years before.
We’ve since traveled to many states (not yet the Pacific Northwest or Maine and some of the New England states). We’ve spent winters – and summers – in southern states. We’ve spent summers – and winters – RVing in northern states, including Alaska.
Sometimes we’ll get moving and move every few days for months on end. One year, we worked a stretch of antique engine and threshing bees. Starting in Georgia in April, we attended a different one every weekend. We traveled up the east coast to Maryland, then over to Michigan, and down through Indiana, ending up in Alabama for the winter.
We’ve also stayed in one place for a year or longer.
All the while, we’ve lived in recreational vehicles. New ones. Old ones. We’ve had short trailers, long trailers, a pickup camper, and a motorhome. We lived in a park model RV, provided by our employer. Brands have ranged from good classics (Airstream and Holiday Rambler) to some I’d never heard of and now can’t remember. We’ve had a new trailer from a huge manufacturer, so poorly built that we sat inside with the windows closed and watched the curtains blowing in the breeze. We custom designed a trailer and the manufacturer was closed down the same day we pulled our trailer out of the shop (a whole other story). We’ve even had RVs to use for vacations and time away from our RV home.
We currently own three.
We left our 29-foot, “good” trailer in SD, parked at a friend's, when we came to AK three and half years ago. We didn’t want to subject it to the rough Alaskan roads. It is still parked there.
We now live in Alaska, in the Forest River Wildwood that we bought to come up here in. It was inexpensive. Even though we bought it new, we figured it would be a throw away trailer, part of the cost of our Alaskan trip. But, years later, it is proving to be a wonderful little home. Being four feet shorter, four inches lower, four inches narrower, and 4000 pounds lighter than the Holiday Rambler, it has also spoiled Bob in regards to towing.
Although I swore I would never own another Fleetwood product in my life, we also have a 22 foot, 1982 Tioga Class C motorhome. We use it for short trips around Alaska and, sometimes, as an everyday vehicle.
And, that’s how we got started full-time RVing.
2011 Update: I wrote the above article in 2004. After several years of full-time RVing in Alaska, we bought a place, where we now have a cabin. Last winter, we took the Tioga motorhome on an extensive trip that included Branson, Mo, Cajun Country, the TX Rio Grande Valley, and the SD Black Hills. We sold it this past spring and are looking to replace it with a Class B motorhome or conversion van. We still have, and use, the two trailers.