More preparations! Post 4

Garland and I have been back and forth as to what our “home on the rode” will be. Do we want the size and more residential feel of a Fifth Wheel or do we want a Class A Motorhome. A Class A would be more comfortable driving/traveling, especially for me and the pups and I could make lunch as we’re driving. With a Fifth Wheel we would have to stop and potentially have to open the slides to do that.

G recently made some modifications to his truck, so that lends itself toward the Fifth Wheel, but then we need to sell my car. We don’t want to be in separate vehicles while traveling. We actually enjoy spending time together. 🙂

I think the Fifth Wheel is our choice for a couple of reasons. The price is better/more in line with what we want to spend and we can have all we need – an extra room for G to work, washer and dryer hookups and possibly a second bath. You know where I’m coming from – all men should have their own toilet. 🙂 Some Class As have all we want but are extremely pricey.

We’ve physically toured Fifth Wheels in FL and NC, and G is constantly finding different manufacturers/models online. We are YouTube junkies…watching video tours almost everyday!

We are also getting things accomplished at home – working toward listing our house. New/replacement windows will be installed soon – that was not an inexpensive purchase! We had our fence replaced a month or so ago. We started installing vinyl flooring (looks like wood) in the living room and hallway back in December. Had to put on hold on that when G’s knee started bothering him. It was harder than we thought it would be, since we needed to put plywood down to level the floor. At the transition places (foyer and kitchen – they are tile) there was too much of a height difference. We are also going to put this flooring in our downstairs master.

We’ve recently been told by two real estate agents not to spend too much money in renovations, since homes in our area are selling so well. They typically don’t stay on the market for more than a few days – which is FANTASTIC! Our initial plan was to re-fresh the kitchen with new counter tops and totally re-work the downstairs bath but now we’re rethinking that. We do think we still need to replace the stove as we have already added a newer refrigerator, dish washer and microwave – all the same manufacturer. When we moved in, all the appliances were original to the house (1980’s). I had never seen an oven without a glass front before we moved here!

The biggest thing we’re doing is donating items we don’t need and trashing others. Whether you call it downsizing or working toward a minimalist lifestyle, it’s really satisfying making trips to Guardian Angel Thrift store. I like donating there because they fund Alzheimer’s. I’ve been four times in the last few months and plan on many more trips! I hate to admit I have things from the early 90’s that I haven’t laid eyes on until now. G and I have been married just a little over 11 years and both been married before, so our combined belongings are WAY out of control. If you just look at the amount of clothes we own and don’t wear, it’s a lot! We did try (with our good friends helping) soon after we moved here, to organize things. We called them “Box and Wine” nights. We emptied many boxes and I think we did dispose of quite a bit of paper back then – don’t know why I keep so much paper! Another area I’ve worked on is the kitchen. Why does anyone need “THAT” many Tupperware/plastic containers? And I was amazed finding double or triple items!

We are going to get a small storage unit, for things we just can’t part with – like my Mother’s Limoges china she purchased in France and knick-knacks that would not survive in an RV. Christmas decorations from both our Mom’s are also hard to depart with.

More details later…

More on our FL Trip – Post 3

We LOVED Fort Myers in February! We stayed from Feb. 23-26th, at Fort Myers RV Resort. Weather was absolutely perfect. TT has only 10 resorts in the whole country, where you pay a fee for camping, instead of nothing out of pocket and of course, Fort Myers is one of them. We paid $20 a night, instead of the $60 rate – still a deal.

First impression of this campground was very good – nice pool and spa area, palm trees everywhere and the Nicest bathroom/shower house we have seen at any campground!

So, we were escorted to our site by two employees and with them both spotting G, we could not fit into the first site they took us to. It was so cramped there was no way our camper plus our truck was making any of the turns. To say the sites here are tight is an UNDERSTATEMENT! They found another spot and probably the only reason it worked is the site to our right had no power – so no camper/RV there. We lucked out! I will hate to see how we are able to maneuver there, if we go back later with a longer Fifth Wheel!

There are lots of permanent sites here and most of them are very cute. We spoke with our neighbors and found out the majority of the people come from up north in October and stay until Spring. Everyone we met there was super friendly. Even in Fort Myers we met a couple from our home town – small world! They were sad we were not staying until the weekend, to go sing Karaoke or to be more precise, they were sad that Garland was not going to sing, when they found out his hobbies! Our neighbors directly behind us went a few doors (aka a few campers down) for a dinner party and on the way back brought us left-overs, which were really good. I told G I would eat mine after him, in case he died…he didn’t, and then I enjoyed mine! It was a great place to take the pups for walks and they also had a dog park. I wanted to try out the shuffle board court, but didn’t have time.

Our last day in FL, we took vacation, to explore the area. We drove just a few miles to Fort Myers Beach, which took about 40 minutes, due to the traffic. We laughed as some neighbors that had left the campground about the same time as us, passed us in the bike lane! But it was worth the traffic! We ate at The Dixie Fish company, right under the bridge. I would highly recommend this restaurant. We both LOVED our food and it was right on the water with fabulous service.

We drove to a park on the beach, close to Bonita Springs. Gorgeous white sand, like in the panhandle. We then visited The Mound House (Estero Island), which is a restored house and museum atop an ancient Calusa Indian shell mound – with artifacts and a show that teaches about the time-line of the shell mound. Very cool! Rode down the main street in Fort Myers Beach, looking at the multi-million dollar homes. And of course, on the way back we stopped at the Love Boat, an ice cream shop with tons of homemade flavors. G bought us t-shirts that say, “The answer is Ice cream, who cares what the question is!” My husband is an ice cream fanatic, just like his Mother!

More on the second part of our trip later.

Second Trial Trip – Feb. 2021 – Post 2

Another title to this could be/or as we like to call it the “…what’s going to happen next – trip!”

G mapped out a trip, taking us from Fuquay to Fort Myers, Florida and back in a 15 day period. We planned on 3 stops on the way to our final destination, since we both don’t like driving more than about 4 hours at a time.

We left on Friday, Feb. 19th, headed to our first stop in Yemassee, SC. Campground was The Oaks at Point South. I worked in the car for a few hours, as we left around 3pm and G was finished for the day so he’s job was just driving. We had rain for 30days and 30nights, so we should not have been surprised that the campground was a SWAMP when we arrived, in the dark no less. It was hard to find a section of grass for the pups to go out – what a mess. I’ve never been so glad to have rain boots!

We went to bed that night and didn’t make it very long, all (2 of us and 3 dogs) sleeping in the bedroom together. You see, our bed is not quite a traditional queen, it’s considered a camper queen. Shorter than normal and with G’s new wedge pillow, his feet hung off the bottom of the bed! He was so uncomfortable that at 3am he got up and made the bed up over the dinette. It all seems very comical now, but not at the time. So, for the rest of the two weeks, we slept separately – not ideal.

We were going to go into Savannah, GA on Saturday, but due to not getting great sleep the night before, we decided to have an easy day and relax…after we went to brunch at the Waffle House, right beside the campground. I was so hungry…the Alstar Breakfast never tasted so good and Mr Tye, our server was a hoot.

After eating…ah it was so good…we headed into Port Royal Sound area, in search of a Tractor Supply or Walmart – to purchase G some rain boots…for the above mentioned “swamp” campground.

Hanging Moss

Driving into town we saw gorgeous trees with hanging moss. Nothing reminds me of “Low Country” like hanging moss. That was the first time both of us have been to Beaufort, SC – same spelling as Beaufort, NC but pronounced like “bufort” not “bow” like the NC town.

Our second stop was Jacksonville, FL and a campground called Pecan Point, arriving Sunday, the 21st. This should have been just a short 2 1/2 hour drive but we’re not that lucky – always seems to take us longer pulling the camper.

Arriving at Pecan Point, in Jacksonville, we were very pleased to see concrete pads. No “SWAMP” there. 🙂 Very nice campground, but not part of Thousand Trails (TT), so unfortunately we had to pay (our of pocket) to stay.

Of course you know something is going to happen here: That night the sliding door to our bedroom came off it’s tracks (which it has MANY MANY times) in the past, so G had to fix that. Hate that door!

On Monday, the 22nd, we left Pecan Point and traveled to Wauchula, FL – was supposed to be our longest drive at appx 4 1/2 hours, but as you’ll see why, it ended up being MUCH longer. I worked in the truck and it wasn’t that bad. Just a very bumpy ride, when going over bridges / transitions as those can be really rough. If I remember correctly, G took 1/2 a day off for the drive.

Somewhere on I95 we were on the phone with our friend and G just happened to look out the side mirror. Thank God we were in the far right lane because our 6ft by 4ft door to the outside kitchen was open – traveling 70mph!!! We pulled off to a safe location and used duck tape to keep the door shut – I know you’re laughing…duck tape. All the latches on the door were not usable (since they were now bent), from the force of being sucked open by the wind. This taught us two valuable lessens for the road: #1 always have duck tape and #2 keep the tool bag where you can access it easily. AND on this camper there is a silver stripe so the ever useful duck tape didn’t stick out TOO much. 🙂 But seriously, if we had not been in the right lane, we could have killed someone, as the door is on the passenger side of the camper.

Peace River Campground is NOT easy to find. Had to stop for directions, even though we were using Waze. We made it and this is a TT campground, so no out of pocket expense to stay. No concrete pad but also not as muddy as The Oaks either. Huge campground and an interesting fact: You pick out your own site and they have this crazy lottery system for sites with sewer hook up. You have to go to the office, or some designated place and see if your name is pulled. If you don’t show up – twice, you’re OUT of the lottery and out of luck for a “full” hookup. Glad we didn’t stay there long – very loud with a ton of kids. It was nice down by the river though, which we found on our walk.

So, the one night we stayed at Peace River, we were awakened up by a SCREAMING alarm. Our propane alarm was going off and we could smell gas! I was so tired, G couldn’t even wake me fully, but I remember him opening windows and going to turn the propane tanks to off. I wondered if we would die in our sleep. But even that didn’t keep me awake long! We didn’t figure out what the problem was until a couple of days later. G originally thought all the rough roads broke a gas line somewhere…but that was not it! That night we were so tired, I cooked a frozen meal in the microwave – just didn’t feel like preparing dinner.

G’s chair in the kitchen/living room area!

So, this brings us to the fact that our camper is too small for us – for doing this full time. We have a tiny jack-knife sofa that only fits me and the 3 pups and G brings in a “lawn” chair to sit in front of the kitchen area – for us to watch TV in the evenings. So, it’s hard to maneuver around his chair and ottoman. Granted, it is a very comfortable lawn/camping chair. We remember that I had to lean over him to get to the microwave and now think that’s when I turned the nob on the stove to “just barely” the “on” position and not quite to the “lite” setting. So, gas was coming in at a slow rate from the stovetop! I think it was a day or two later that G turned the propane back on, to see if we could figure out where the gas was coming from, and we both ended up at the stove at the same time. I looked down and about died, when I saw a nob was turned to “on position”.

So, driving from Wauchala to Fort Myers (which is appx. 2 hours) we had no power to the fridge/freezer, since normally the propane is on while traveling (to cool the fridge)…but we had to turn it off the night before because of the leak – ah if we had only looked at the stove/cooktop knobs in Wauchala! 🙂 We heat water with electricity when connected to shore power so we would only need it to run the furnace or cooking.

See my next post for more on this trip!


I can’t remember when Garland, who I call “G” first told me his idea of traveling and working in an RV, seeing parts of the country we have not seen. At first I thought it was crazy, but after the past year of working remotely most of the time, we are all in! We’ve seen too many examples of family and friends waiting to do what they want, live the life they want and the opportunity passes them by, because of illness, money, family obligations and the list goes on. We both want to enjoy life, before we are not able.

So, in preparing for this new life, we decided to have some trial runs- this was our 2020 trial run:

My Cousin’s daughter, got married in September 2020 and we took the camper to Lake Wylie, SC for the weekend, to be closer to the wedding venue. After the weekend we camped a little closer to home for the next week, with both of us working every day. G turned the bunk room of the camper into his office – with a desk big enough for his multiple monitors. He was able to shut his door, when on conference calls and training sessions. We set up a folding table in the bedroom for me. I also could shut the sliding door for even more distance – when needed to concentrate. It was a great week, and we were able to visit some local wineries on the weekend, before returning home.

G’s camper office

During the week, it was nice change of pace, to be able to take the pups walking in the campground and we met some nice people. Even sat outside one evening by a fire.

With our Thousand Trails campground pass, we were able to stay the second week at no additional cost – which was fantastic. You do pay a yearly fee but we re-cooped our money after just a couple weeks of camping.

All in all – it was a very successful first run of working together in the camper. No major hiccups and we enjoyed ourselves. We figured if we could live for a week in our current camper and not kill each other, we’re on the right track.

Some thoughts:

We have had many, many conversations about when we will be able to do this full time. We’ve both decided we don’t want to start in the colder months, and we feel it will take a while to get things settled…so we came up with a tentative “Go Full Time date” of Spring 2022. We have a lot, I mean a TON of downsizing to do in every aspect of our lives.

Over the 2020 Holiday’s we went to dinner with our friends who retired and were in their RV full time for over two years. After talking to them we are even more sure of doing this. And this is not our only research into this new lifestyle. We constantly watch YouTube channels of people who live on the road full time. We have some favorites to watch and have learned a TON of things to do AND not to do. G has done most of the research on campers, Wi-Fi, places to visit, camping passes, etc. and I also love watching videos too, except the boring ones. The most important aspect of planning where you go, is Wi-Fi coverage. Most campgrounds have terrible coverage, so you need to rely on your own cellular coverage and have the right tools to do so. We don’t plan on doing much Boondocking, which is camping without hookups, but G is purchasing a very good generator from his brother, to help if we don’t have hookups.

There is so much to consider about “Life on the Road”. You need a place for your mail to be delivered and some folks set up residency in FL or South Dakato – locations with preferred tax benefits. Some states only require you to reside in the state one night and you can register to become a resident.

We need to figure out when and how often we would come back to NC – for things like Dr. appointments, Vet care for the pups, getting DL’s renewed, etc. We also need to research the pups’ food. Currently, we have it delivered to our home, but when we’re on the road…we’ll have to see. Our friends have told us don’t worry about getting your needed prescriptions around the county, since there are multiple drug store chain locations nationwide.

One hot topic we have debated is if we should rent out either our permanent residence or the rental we currently own. Our friends said this was the one thing they wish – they had kept their residence and rented it out. Seems like sound advice…but neither G or I wish to have another rental and we have long wanted to sell our current rental, it being a good distance from where we live.