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Old 11-25-2018, 02:39 PM
 
Location: State of Grace
1,582 posts, read 1,138,557 times
Reputation: 2614

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
As soon as we sold the house, I retired and my wife and I took off for full time living in a truck camper. Aside from doing photography and visiting absolutely beautiful areas, our long term goal was to look for a lower COL area for retirement.


Traveling in an RV saved us a lot of money over trying to maintain a house on Long Island. The lure of the grandkids became too much for my wife and after a couple of years we returned to LI and split a house with our older daughter and her family. Now we just travel a few months a year. I am currently in Death Valley and will soon be returning home after 4 months. The wife had a health issue and missed this trip, but we are likely to spend February in the southern States.


If you are thinking of doing full time RV living, I will warn you the times they are a changing. When we started as full timers 8 years ago, there were an estimated 250,000 Americans living as full timers. The number has grown to over 1 million. I cannot begin to imagine how many millions of part timers have RVs. That means it has become difficult and more and more expensive to find places to stay.


There is another even bigger issue impacting our National Parks. The number of foreign visitors has grown to be immense. Many of them rent RVs. In order to get into the National Parks most of them make reservations as far in advance as allowed. This year I decided to make a reservation for Arches NP. I did so as soon as allowed which was 6 months in advance. I waited a bit to long that first day but I was able to get the last 4 days of the last available campsite and that was for the end of October when the camping season is ending. Forget Zion. The last 2 times I visited late in the Fall, I literally could not find a place to pull off the road to park and see the sights. Yellowstone is no better. Within a few years you will need a reservation to even enter the major parks.
There are many more Nomads on the road than you might think. We’ve lived a nomadic lifestyle for decades, and we’ve owned a series of RVs. At this point in our lives (and careers), we find we neither need nor want the hassle of maintaining a rig, so we’re downsizing to a high top, extended cargo van, which we plan to convert to suit our needs.

Several of our friends have gone this route and being able to park almost anywhere *stealghily* was as much of an allure for them as it is for us. We don’t like campgrounds anyway - most don’t offer much privacy - so since we have enough solar (and genny) to function well off the grid, that’s the way we choose to travel.

Tens of thousands of people now live in camperized vans, SUVs, and even tiny cars because they can’t afford housing in this economy. Some of the conversions are surprisingly innovative, and the number of people living this way is growing rapidly. Most are either retired or semi retired, but many hold full time jobs and come home to their tiny homes. They do seem to be a happy bunch!

The fellow who interests me most, rides around the country on a gleaming black Harley. He totes a small tent around and sets up camp wherever he likes. He’s a carpenter by trade, and he works in construction for three months of the year, which leaves him free to travel comfortably for the other nine months. He’s been living this way by choice for circa thirty years now. He has hundreds of stories to tell!

Most people who take to the road for financial reasons, either live in a van, SUV, or car. There are communities of Nomads, big and small, and they sometimes travel together and/or rendezvous in suitable places, so it doesn’t appear to be a lonely life at all.

There’s a lot to be said for minimalism nowadays and most of what I hear and see makes sense. We’re looking forward to downsizing in the spring. Our extended van will be new, of course, so we shouldn’t have any maintenance issues beyond regular tune ups etc. for several years.

We’ve loved touring in our RVs, but there is a time for everything, and for us it’s time for a change.

As the world population continues to grow, so do the number of people visiting cities, as well as wilderness areas, so it just makes sense to downsize, making parking anywhere easy.

Love and All Good Things,

Mahrie.
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Old 11-25-2018, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Cochise county, AZ
4,977 posts, read 3,464,691 times
Reputation: 10513
I've been looking at the cheaprvliving site again today and there was a woman who had a car and a springbar tent. They are made in Salt Lake City, which I liked a lot, and are extremely well built. They're able to stand up to all types of weather. Pricey but she's had hers for five years and has had no problems.

It will take me a few months to save for it but if I go that route, once my apartment lease is up, I could realistically save for a decent van and leave my investment account alone. I'm thinking I would like a high top van so I can stand up in it. The ones I am seeing look very comfortable and cozy. I still need to downsize more but there's a lot I wouldn't need it I decide to do this.

The more I research, the more I like the idea.
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Old 11-25-2018, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
7,687 posts, read 4,725,286 times
Reputation: 28160
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasperhobbs View Post
Wow you only empty your sewer tanks once a month or so?
I don't live in my little RV full-time. Nor would I. I'd go crazy. I need more room than that for the long haul.

Though I think many people who do full-time probably use toilets of opportunity elsewhere, so to speak, as much as possible. That's just good sense.

I do spend a lot of time traveling in the van, though. It's 3 years old and has 45,000 miles on it.
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Old 11-26-2018, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Full time in the RV
2,869 posts, read 6,409,975 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
Maybe not for a couple, but I have seen a great many singles full timing in a camper van. The biggest downside is no shower. A sponge bath could substitute for a day or two and there are often other options: campgrounds, community centers, etc.
Most professionally built camper vans have a shower.
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Old 11-26-2018, 01:15 PM
 
7,802 posts, read 4,395,350 times
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"I don't live in my little RV full-time. Nor would I. I'd go crazy. I need more room than that for the long haul."

Lots of people feel this way, but I wonder why. When I'm in my house, I'm either a) sitting on the couch watching TV, b) lying in bed sleeping or reading, c) sitting in a chair at a table eating, d) standing at a kitchen appliance preparing food, e) standing in a shower, or d) sitting on a toilet. You can do all of those things in the smallest of even camper vans or Class B motor homes, much less something bigger -- Class C or A or a trailer or fifth wheel. What do you really need the rest of the room of a standard house for -- just to store furniture and other possessions? When you think about it that way, it's eye-opening. When I needed wide-open spaces, I'd go outside.
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Old 11-26-2018, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,788 posts, read 4,843,885 times
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We are planning on buying a trailer, probably in 2019. We are looking at either a Casita, Scamp, Lil' Snoozy or similar sized trailer, used probably. We did the tent camping thing for decades, but just in campgrounds and national forests.

We've found three problems with tent camping as we get older, one is getting up off the air mattress is tough. Now they have the extra tall air mattresses that are the height of an actual bed, so that's better, but they're a lot larger and take up more room in the vehicle. Air mattresses also get leaks which are difficult to find, and then your repairs may not last long. Waking up in the middle of the night to get the noisy pump and re-inflate your mattress is annoying.

The second is the need to get up and go to the bathroom at night. I am very tired of walking in the dark to the central restroom at 2 am, or just squatting in the woods in the dark after climbing out of the tent and finding shoes and stumbling around looking for a private spot away from other campsites. I'm just done with that. I need an indoor potty, if just for those middle of the night pees.

Lastly, rain. Tent camping is great, and most tents will withstand a day of light rain. However, drenching rain, extending for hours at a time....almost no tent will keep you and your stuff dry for more than 10 or 12 hours in a persistent rain. Eventually it saturates the fabric, the seams, and even starts coming up through the floor of the tent. It soaks your sleeping bags. Then you have to go to a hotel and try to dry everything out.

So we're ready for hard side camping, and a smallish trailer will be fine as we spend most of our time outdoors when we travel, but a dry spot, a toilet, and a decent mattress will be very welcome.
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:21 PM
 
7,802 posts, read 4,395,350 times
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By "the RV Lifestyle," I assume the OP means full-time permanent residence in an RV and not just occasional camping?
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Old 11-26-2018, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Cochise county, AZ
4,977 posts, read 3,464,691 times
Reputation: 10513
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
We are planning on buying a trailer, probably in 2019. We are looking at either a Casita, Scamp, Lil' Snoozy or similar sized trailer, used probably. We did the tent camping thing for decades, but just in campgrounds and national forests.

We've found three problems with tent camping as we get older, one is getting up off the air mattress is tough. Now they have the extra tall air mattresses that are the height of an actual bed, so that's better, but they're a lot larger and take up more room in the vehicle. Air mattresses also get leaks which are difficult to find, and then your repairs may not last long. Waking up in the middle of the night to get the noisy pump and re-inflate your mattress is annoying.

The second is the need to get up and go to the bathroom at night. I am very tired of walking in the dark to the central restroom at 2 am, or just squatting in the woods in the dark after climbing out of the tent and finding shoes and stumbling around looking for a private spot away from other campsites. I'm just done with that. I need an indoor potty, if just for those middle of the night pees.

Lastly, rain. Tent camping is great, and most tents will withstand a day of light rain. However, drenching rain, extending for hours at a time....almost no tent will keep you and your stuff dry for more than 10 or 12 hours in a persistent rain. Eventually it saturates the fabric, the seams, and even starts coming up through the floor of the tent. It soaks your sleeping bags. Then you have to go to a hotel and try to dry everything out.

So we're ready for hard side camping, and a smallish trailer will be fine as we spend most of our time outdoors when we travel, but a dry spot, a toilet, and a decent mattress will be very welcome.
In my research, most tent people used fold up cots. I'm still researching the feasibility of that. I am not interested in an air mattress. Getting a little too old to sleep on the ground.

The tent I'm interested in stands up well to wind AND rain, hence the higher price. Also recommended were portable toilets, port a potties, such as the luggable loo.

The smaller trailers intrigued me also. Some of them appear to be very well built and could be very comfortable. My car is a 4 cylinder and not recommended for towing, which is one of the reasons I'm looking into a van. The trailers look nice but I would have to replace my car and then buy the trailer. For me, it just makes more sense to buy just one item.

Your idea is good though. If I had a 6 cylinder and/or a larger car, that would be my first choice.
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Old 11-27-2018, 11:40 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
7,687 posts, read 4,725,286 times
Reputation: 28160
Quote:
Originally Posted by otterhere View Post
"I don't live in my little RV full-time. Nor would I. I'd go crazy. I need more room than that for the long haul."

Lots of people feel this way, but I wonder why. When I'm in my house, I'm either a) sitting on the couch watching TV, b) lying in bed sleeping or reading, c) sitting in a chair at a table eating, d) standing at a kitchen appliance preparing food, e) standing in a shower, or d) sitting on a toilet. You can do all of those things in the smallest of even camper vans or Class B motor homes, much less something bigger -- Class C or A or a trailer or fifth wheel. What do you really need the rest of the room of a standard house for -- just to store furniture and other possessions? When you think about it that way, it's eye-opening. When I needed wide-open spaces, I'd go outside.
OK, reasonable question.

I got in the daily habit of wearing a pedometer when I was trying to achieve 10,000 steps a day. Today I spent the whole day at the AZ house and logged 8,363 steps, almost all inside the house. I start feeling lousy if I sit down for more than 20 minutes at a time. There have been rainy days when I've basically been confined inside the van. Then I get fewer than 1,000 steps.

It's also possible the novelty has worn off after 3 years.
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Old 11-28-2018, 12:59 AM
 
Location: too far from the sea
19,848 posts, read 18,874,270 times
Reputation: 33760
If I had it to do all over again, I would have bought a small camper and kept it in one spot to use in the summer. But we bought a popup camper and thought we'd take it to Florida every winter. Well, we made it as far as Virginia and that was it. The tolls on the roads are high for a camper and the fees for the FL campgrounds were going to add up. We left the popup at my sister's in Virginia, flew to Florida and went on a cruise!

Brought the camper back up north and used it for little trips up to Maine. It was perfect. Originally we had thought we'd use it to travel around New England but it turned out we enjoyed the coast of Maine so much that we went to the same campground every year. That's why, in hindsight, I wish we'd bought a small hard sided camper that we could have kept there year round for summer use.

I've seen the national parks long ago, in a car, sleeping in a tent. I dislike RVs because I like camping and being outside. When I saw the gigantic RVs at the campgrounds in Maine, it was a turn off for me. I like nature and peace and quiet, being outside. But for those who like the big RVs, more power to you!
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