The first two weeks of going full time

Our first two weeks of freedom weren’t really free. We had quite a lot scheduled and had a tight schedule to meet. We were excited to leave on our adventure and ready to start our 1300 mile journey.

Observation Tower – Hot Springs NP

DeGrey Lake – Arkansas

First up The day after Jimmy retired we headed from Texas up to Arkansas for an LTV Rally. This would be our second rally to attend as Texoma Travelers members and we were really looking forward to it. This rally was held at DeGrey Lake Resort State Park and it was just amazing to see so many LTV’s in one spot! We filled an entire loop and actually overflowed into another. We made new friends, toured other coaches and enjoyed great food too. Our free time was spent Geocaching and exploring Hot Springs National Park. We just had a day at the park so we plan to go back and spend a little more time there… I’ve got to soak! While in Hot Springs, we climbed to the top of the Observation Tower… if you ever overhear someone say you can take the stairs to the second floor, DON’T fall for it! The second floor is actually all the way up at the top!! We climbed it and while the climb itself wasn’t bad, the swaying was a bit scary! We did get some great pictures though. The last day of the rally was cut a bit short due to bad weather so we headed out early for the next leg of our journey.

Next up – Table Rock State Park near Branson Missouri

The plan was to get set up and relax a bit before an early appointment with RV SunScreen, but the weather was again not cooperating and our appointment was moved to the late afternoon. We were quite surprised when we got to the park and found out that our site had no hook-ups. Looks like when we booked, we booked a basic site which is a primitive site… who knew! We were excited to try out our solar as we had not had much opportunity to use it and plan to be off the grid as much as we can. This spot would be a great way to practice. We learned a lot in those two days, but we sure haven’t gotten it all figured out. Turns out our spot wasn’t so good for practice… darn beautiful trees, LOL. After spending the early morning hours with no power, we understand that we have a lot to learn and we will need MUCH more practice.

Sewing the edges

Cutting the final shape

RV SunScreen showed up at our site as scheduled in a pick-up truck. They opened up the back, pulled out tables, a sewing machine and screen fabric then proceeded to custom-make the windshield and side window covers while we watched! It was neat to watch them work. You could tell they had done this a few times!

Drilling hole for snap… GULP!

Sizing the screen

Our screens turned out great! They snap in place, darken the windows, prevent people from seeing in during the day, but still allow us to see out. We love that we still have a view, but don’t have to worry so much about everybody seeing what we are doing. Bonus points for also cutting down on the heat coming in! Installing and removing them has been interesting. We are not tall people and have found it is a bit hard to attach/un-attach the top snaps. We could use a stepstool to get it done, but our way is way more fun!

Can’t reach!!

Got it… With a little help!

Our next appointment was a week and 650 miles away, so we drove about halfway and spent a few days at Sangchris State Park. We randomly chose this park as it was generally on our way and at about the halfway mark but driving in sure made us question our decision! We drove through miles and miles of fields with no oasis in sight… then suddenly, there it was with a huge lake too!

It was a pretty place and we were the only ones there besides the camp host. Weekday camping score! This was our first experience with a central water system… we had no idea there was such a thing, but we later found that it is very common!

We were all alone here!

It was also the first place we have been able to gather firewood and we could see why! Branches were constantly falling and they needed us to help keep the area clean! We enjoyed our stay and were ready for the final appointment. Levellers install!

Final stop: Elkhart Indiana. We got up bright and early to prep for the day’s journey and headed out. We have since learned to do most of the prep the night before. Pre-work sure makes morning departures easier.

We arrived at Equalizer Systems shop after dark, parked and went to bed. It was hard to sleep as we were excited about this upgrade! The installer knocked on our door around 6:30 am to start the install. We waited in their “lounge” area. Our cat, Max, was quite happy with the accommodations. By the early afternoon, they were done and we were on our way again.

One relaxed cat!

Overview of Controls

Equalizer Control Panel

Wait! Where are we going next?? Who knows! We’ll take it day by day and go wherever the road leads us… after all, home is wherever we park. Hello freedom, we are so glad to meet you.

Lessons Learned:


Note: Full-time RVing (in any type or make of RV) may have implications on policies including, but not limited to, warranty and insurance policies. Please do your own research before making the decision to live in an RV on a full-time basis.

We Signed up for a New Life

We did it. We signed on the line and put our house up for sale. Emotions were real. Real loud (at least for Jimmy). I was just plain excited. All I could see was the next step in our journey to full-time living and I just couldn’t wait to get it on the market to see what people thought. You see, we remodelled just about every square inch of this little house and we made it spectacular. We made it smart. We made it the house that people stopped to look at as they drove by. We loved it and I wanted to know if others felt the same.

Then reality set in. Showings come with hurdles; they are a big pain. It means someone else is going to be living in our house. Showings mean we couldn’t finish getting rid of all our things as a furnished house sells better than an empty one. Showings mean that we had to keep our house spotless all of the time. Showings mean we are displaced every time they show the house. But they get the job done and are a vital part of the whole process.

Our biggest hurdle?  We sold our second vehicle months earlier as we downsized, so we only had one vehicle. This would have meant that one of us was always going to have to figure out what to do with themselves, two dogs and a cat during every show. But luckily, we already had our LTV and it was conveniently parked in our driveway!

Little home parked next to big home = WIN.

Spending hours out in the LTV was as good as being in the big house! It was way better than sitting at a McDonald’s or looping around the block for hours. Or walking if one of us happened to be at work. We also could peek out the window and see who was looking at the house (don’t tell on us). We also got to spend time in the LTV organizing, installing interesting stuff and in Jimmy’s case, sleeping after working graveyard shifts.

The remaining hurdles had to be dealt with one at a time. Some were mental, some were physical and some were just plain logistical.

The Mental

Well yeah, the whole selling the house you thought you would retire in is hard. We just had to get over this one as there’s a bright and scenic-filled life waiting down the road.

The Physical

I had an emergency appendectomy right after we signed. It wasn’t fun, but I’m ok. I was limited to only picking up 10 pounds or less for a while and this left a lot to Jimmy (sorry babe).

The Logistical

Oh man! It’s not like we were moving to another house or had plans to later. When we closed, the house was supposed to be empty and we had a lot to sell or get rid of. But the realtor wanted us to keep the house furnished until we got a “clear to close” status from the buyer’s financing. We weren’t sure how we were supposed to sell it all when that status doesn’t usually happen until a week prior to closing! We considered moving everything to storage and selling later but decided to offer it all up to the potential buyers and see what happened. Fingers were crossed!

We received a contract from the very first showing which was less than 24 hours after we listed! This was when things became very real for me. We were selling our house. Holy cow! Wait, I’m not sure I want to! But, I did. That was hard. The showings continued for a week while we waited to see if any other contracts came about but it seemed like we would be living in the LTV much sooner than expected.

Those reactions to the house I was wondering about? Yeah, they were all great. The best one was “OMG, this house is FABULOUS!” One week after our listing was published, we had shown the house 17 times and had received 9 contract offers!

Life is good.

Fast forward 2 months and you will find that we closed just over a month after listing the house and have officially been living full time in the LTV for a month. The situation has not been ideal as we are both working different schedules. This means someone is always stranded or having to find something to do while the other one sleeps. It hasn’t been nearly as hard as we expected, but not particularly easy either. Luckily the RV Park we chose is quiet and not terribly far from work.We stayed in this first ‘resort’ park for 1 month. For our purposes, it was great. Even if it was a concrete jungle. We didn’t use many of the facility perks – only their WiFi and popcorn. We were spurred to move on when they switched us to a daily rate at the end of the month. Jimmy really had a hard time giving up the popcorn.

We moved out to a County Park on the beach and LOVED it! Wildflowers were blooming, walks on the beach were relaxing and migrating birds singing outside lulled us to sleep…. It was hard to leave!

April 17 was Jimmy’s last day of work. April 18th marked our first true day of freedom and the beginning of Full-Time RV Life. Will we miss family members that live locally? Yes! Do we miss the house? Surprisingly, no! And the furniture crisis was averted when the buyers asked for most of our furniture. We actually only had to sell a few things and donated just one carload. Waiting and the minimalist game paid off.

Are we still scared to embark on this new way of living? Sure, but we are ready!

Did everything we need fit in the motorhome? Gosh, we hope so. Honestly, I feel we have too much and plan to reevaluate monthly. Do we miss our “hometown” or jobs? Nope, but we sure do miss the people!

Let the adventures begin!

Lessons we learned:

Note: Full-time RVing (in any type or make of RV) may have implications on policies including, but not limited to, warranty and insurance policies. Please do your own research before making the decision to live in an RV on a full-time basis.