More Advice After Year Two

It hardly seems like two years have elapsed since we took-to-the-road (May 1999). Another anniversary date has passed for us, so we are adding another year's advice for beginners and those interested or considering the full-timing RV lifestyle.

A few words of caution. We are now becoming 'old hands' at motorhome living as well as the moving, parking, and setting-up of the 'behemoth'. We remind ourselves to not become overconfident, to stay alert, and look for the unexpected. And above all, enjoy life!

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

This Year's Guidelines

Rule 1: Don't Sweat the Small-Stuff
Since our home is on wheels and we move it on down the road, things are bound to breakdown. We sometimes require maintenance and repair. Therefore if we want to enjoy this adventure, it's best to remain flexible and adjust to the mishaps. We can use our own talents and develop skills to do some of the maintenance ourselves, or we can pay others to do those things. Both approaches work. The determining factors are how valuable our own work-time is and how extensive are the repair skills required. We try to recognize our own limitations and remember rule No. 1 (Above). Expect some unforeseen occurrences. A large-size camper or motorhome contains a number of complex systems; therefore over time, unplanned breakdowns can and do occur. We have built into our expense budget some contingency funds necessary to meet those events. And even more important, we try not to let those types of happenings dull our fun and appreciation of living the full-timing RV lifestyle. And most important is to keep in mind, Rule No. 1. Rule No. 2 - - It's all small stuff.

Vary the Lengths of Campground Stays
Now that we have been on the road awhile, keeping in mind that we are self-employed and working full-time, several patterns of travel have begun to emerge for us. In general, we head south for the winter and northward with the spring. East to west is determined by our family ties, our work, and our preferences. Our motorhome is a conventional model; that means that it is not specially equipped for extremes of cold, freezing winters nor hot, blistering summers either. Oh yes, we have both furnace and air conditioning units, but the comfort zone is best maintained by keeping it in that thirty to ninety-five degree range. For us, that has meant heading to the Southwest in the coldest winter months and drifting northward for summers. One exception was our stay in the mountains near Asheville, NC during July and August 2000. That was done with our work schedule in mind, and we had a great time there. We have also found that we can get the best campground rate by booking a stay for at least one month. We have remained for two months in some locations, again primarily due to a busy work schedule and the proximity to a good airport. However we have found that after eight weeks, we both get restless to move back on the road and setup in a new location. When moving from one long-stay to another, we often camp at locations for a single day, a few days, or a week if we have the time to stop and enjoy an area.

Santa Fe Skies RV Park, New Mexico

Son Benjamin at Biltmore Estates, Asheville, No. Carolina

Get Outside, Get Exercise Every Day
We work on the road. Our work often has us sitting at the computers for hours at a time. Therefore it is an absolute requirement that we get up from the workstations and out and about every day. Even better is to get some vigorous exercise. Some of our favorite campgrounds have built-in or closely allied opportunities for recreation and exercise. Some have a swimming pool. Here we sometimes get into the routine of going to the pool and even though we are not excellent swimmers, we swim some lengths of the pool. Other sites have great walking or hiking paths and biking routes. This year we have stayed at a couple of campgrounds where the facilities included an exercise room, swimming pool, and a game room. There, we have revived our skills of playing Ping-Pong. We like the game because playing two or three fast, competitive rounds gets our heart rates up and tones our reflex/reaction times. We usually followed this activity up with a cool-down hike around the campground or neighborhood.

Schedule Periodic Escape Adventures
Because we are self-employed, it is important for us to plan and schedule 'playtime.' Our work has us flying back-and-forth to schools, universities, and conferences where we do staff-development presentations and training for teachers and administrators. This work schedule requires ongoing preparation and intense concentration. Therefore we try to build-in time on our schedues for mini-vacations. These getaways allow us to refresh and energize ourselves. They often involve hiking and biking. Past escapes included biking through Cades Cove, a leisurely eleven-mile loop road in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, where we watched and photographed a black bear browsing in a tree and visited some historic settlements. More recently, we took a break to 4-wheel backroads and explored old mine sites in Nevada and did more hiking in Death Valley. No matter where we are - - there are neat and exciting things to do and places to visit. But to paraphrase Edward Abbey, you got to get out of the dang motorhome, car, whatever . . . there's a whole lot of world out there.

Chimney Rock, North Carolina

Echo Amphitheater, New Mexico

Wareagle Mill, Arkansas

Personal Notes. Year two for us was Larry's year for completing the dissertation, defending his research, and finishing up the Ph.D. degree from Indiana University. Because of that, a few months were spent in one location, and several months were devoted to buckling down to the task at hand. We don't know how many other people have written a dissertation in an RV, but it can be done. The hard work did pay off and in early May, about the same as our anniversary full-timing RVing day, Larry had finished his work at IU. Now we are a 'Pair-a-docs' - - it is perfectly appropriate for you to groan here (8-).

Also because of the nature of our continuing work, we must locate and reserve campsites where we have phone access for our DirecPC satellite dish. Connect that need with the often times required regional airport for either one or both of us to fly off for consulting and presentations; that involves an even more complicated search for RV campsites. But it can be done as evidenced by our database of Campgrounds with Instant Phones.

So we now begin our third year of full-timing RV life. We have determined that we love this lifestyle. It's lasted through the trial stages, and we envision continuing for several more years . . . or at least until we can retire and then really do some traveling. Alaska, Mexico, Central America . . . the roads go there too!

Developed by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 05/01.