So we are doing it. We are going to sell the house, get rid of most of our stuff, buy an RV and hit the road!
You might ask why someone would do something like this when they are not yet retired? How can you trade an appreciating asset for a depreciating one? I may not be able to help anyone understand, but as you read this post and others perhaps you will understand.
I am a little behind starting writing about this, but my goal is to capture the steps we take, decisions we make, places we go, lessons we learn, and so on as we go through this. Maybe they will be helpful to others. But if nothing else they will be a way to remember this remarkable thing we are doing.
I don’t want to spend much time on background because right now this is only for me, and I know the history. But in the event someone else reads this a little effort in that direction can’t hurt.
Ten years ago, as I write this, for our 25th anniversary, Mireille and I rented an RV. We loaded our three mostly grown kids and took a two-week road trip to her hometown in Quebec, Canada. As an aside, it never ceases to amaze me that someone can walk in, show an ability to pay, and drive out in a 30+ foot vehicle without any instruction or demonstration of any ability to drive at all! Anyway, that is what we did. After having to turn around and go back to the rental place for a bike rack, we got parked in our driveway and loaded it up. This includes Mireille getting the boys to exchange the mattress that was in the RV for the one from our bed.
We had planned on leaving early the next morning, but Mireille was so excited after having everything set up that we departed about 4:00 PM that afternoon. So, my first time driving the RV consisted of at least as much night driving as day and included crosswinds and narrow construction zones. Quite an initiation! It was hard to pry my hands off the wheel when we pulled into a Walmart parking lot that night in St. Louis. I had been white-knuckling it the whole way!
The next night we stopped at a KOA in Erie PA, and I think that is where I really fell in love with RVing.
It was a lovely park, and the people were all so friendly. As we were pulling into our spot we had an audience, which I found to be common in RV parks. Every one of the guys (and it was all guys) who happened to be standing around watching had his hands in his pockets. I am sure this was to keep their hands still as they wished they could have told me how to do whatever it was I was doing better. The campground manager invited us to a pancake breakfast that they were having the next morning, but we planned on leaving early so we told him that we could not attend as much as I wanted to.
While we were in Montmagny, Quebec (Mireille’s hometown) we stayed at a cool RV park the whole time. It was near Le Bassin in Montmagny, on the south bank of the St. Lawrence River and the east side of the Rivier Sud, just on the other side from Mireille’s parent’s house. We could walk or ride our bikes there easily.
We rode our bikes everywhere. Gregory and I even rode up to the chalet one day. I don’t remember how much everything cost, but it was wonderful, and we all loved it. So the money really doesn’t matter.
One day at the campground we were doing something with the awning, and one side of it came entirely out of the RV wall. All the screws that held the awning frame to the RV on one side had stripped out their holes. I got a ladder from someplace and looked the situation over, and after the initial panic was over just stuffed the holes full of toothpicks or wood matchsticks, I can’t remember which, and then screwed the thing back in using the original screws. It worked, and we had no trouble with it until we turned it back in, though I am sure we were careful with it after that.
On the way back we stopped for one night in the parking lot of a rest stop in New York. This was not your typical rest stop, as there was a big McDonald’s and visitor center built as an overpass over the highway. I think we put the slides out and in the morning were sitting in our lawn chairs, drinking coffee, eating sausage biscuits, and Egg McMuffins in the parking lot. We had several people walk by and say how cool they thought that was. We thought so too.
Here is a picture that I guess I took as we were nearing home.
To me, it says everything about this trip. The whole thing was Mireille’s idea, to begin with, and in this picture, I can see how happy she is. That made this one of the best trips we have ever taken, and the whole experience has stuck with both of us and made having an RV of our own and going everywhere and living in it something we have dreamed of these past ten years. This look is why we are doing it!