Dennis and Me

Life is a Journey, Some prefer to Drive

We were both retired, newly married, and in 2012 we bought a 2007 28′ Tiffin Open Road. We went on the road a least one to two weeks out of every month. It became a hassle for us to empty out everything like the refrigerator, clothing for laundry and such. Then in 2013 we talked about our ability to RV full time.  In April 2013, there was some active debate on how to accomplish this and after taking a large inhale we decided to “just do it” and not look back.

2007 28′ Tiffin Open Road

We had a 2007 28′ Tiffin Open Road only six months. April 30th, we traded the Open Road in for a 2007 40′ Tiffin Phaeton, a larger space, for ourselves and our two dogs, Molly (Cocker Spaniel) and Bai Lian (Chinese Shar Pei),  During May we went out for a 3 night trip in the Phaeton to see how everything worked and prepared a checklist of fixes for the dealer to handle in the first 30 days of purchase.   Well, our slide went out fine initially but when it retracted a bolt broke preventing the slide from closing. We struggled and finally Dennis was able to get it to close so that we could travel back to the storage facility, he replaced the bolt and then brought it to the dealer for repair and to check other things.

2007 40′ Tiffin Phaeton

Note: The first thing you recognize about an RV is that you have to expect the unexpected. It’s a home on wheels and things shake up and down, comes loose and appliances may fail just like a house but you have to be able to adapt to the changes and challenges you encounter. You have an electrical system, heating and cooling, water and waste systems so have to be able to manage and maintain those things when traveling.

Getting rid of the house in the 2013 Florida economy wasn’t going to happen especially when up-side-down so renting was the next best thing.  We had two houses to rent. My house was prepared for rental as it was the one we were living in.   Patching,  painting and replacing the things we’ve lived with now must attract a renter and living on a small lake was a plus.  Placed an ad on Craigslist and after the weekend it was rented.  With  application and background check completed the renter’s move-in date of July 1st was a go. 

The end of May, we had our first garage sale to get rid of items in the garage.  It was a success but I knew if we were going to sell things more rapidly there had to be a better process.  I contacted estate sale companies to evaluate their method and process.  We knew the company had to have an active following and recent sales.  It was narrowed down and a selection was made.  A sale was scheduled in 2 weeks.  We moved what was necessary and more into the RV; separated items to disburse to children because we can’t take it with us.  We scanned, shredded, donated and threw away things.

Our words to the estate sale person, “everything must go.”  The estate sale consisted of a several day process culminating in the Friday and Saturday sale.  Small items had to be placed on tables, furniture arranged, displays made, moved and reorganized.  We weren”t there for the actual sale but stopped in at night to see how it was going.  By the end of the sale only a few items remained.  The estate sale company took a remaining piece of furniture to their store for sale and donated the rest.   The house was now empty. We still had three cars. The other house was rented furnished and the renter was known to the family.

We found a RV Park nearby to live in the motorhome while completing everything and moved in the middle of June.

Note: Address consideration is a big issue for RVers and we chose to keep Florida as our residence.  Some full time RVers use a mail forwarding service, however, we chose to use a relative. 

Since we had three cars and we decided to tow the 2011 Smart car and got a Falcon 2 tow bar and hitch and had it installed locally.  The Nissan Pathfinder was 10 years old and had 152,000 miles on it so it would have to go.  We could have put a for sale sign on it, placed an ad but decided to see if a dealer would buy it.  We know that we probably could have received more money for it but expeditiously, a dealer worked out well.  Our Mini Cooper SS convertible is our fun car but we decided to put it in a storage unit until we return to Florida for the winter.  We rented a storage unit to store the car then went through the RV to see if we should leave anything else behind.  I’m a photographer so we stored some framed pictures and our winter clothes.  That way we don’t have to carry around anything extra.

That’s how our full-time lifestyle adventure began in 2013.