On the Cusp of ‘16


It surely can’t be the end of ’15 and the beginning of ’16 yet, can it? This year has flown by with exceptional speed.  Even in the middle of our extended stay in Milwaukee I kept thinking how can the year be passing so quickly.

The year of Waiting

For us ’15 was undoubtedly the year of waiting.

In a colder than usual S. Texas winter we waited for the warm weather.  Then we waited to get out of there when I was feeling poorly and the heat and humidity finally spiked.  Then we arrived in Oregon and ended up waiting a month on RV repairs.  When we headed East we got as far as Idaho, slipped and fell, then waited for my ankle to heal sufficiently to move on.  We arrived in Minneapolis and waited on family to show up.  Most of the summer passed without undue waiting, but then we waited all the way through Sept, Oct, and November for the release to travel.  It surely has been the year of waiting.

Has all that waiting changed how we feel about RV’ing?  Not really. Much of the waiting could easily have occurred if we were living in sticks & bricks.  I used to wait for the seasons to pass every year— having always hated winter and not gotten much Spring in Wisconsin either.

Biggest Changes

The biggest changes this year were two fold.

  1. While we continued to ‘camp’ pretty much as we usually do, we did have two long stays in RV parks.  One of those was by choice, the other was because there weren’t good options.  But the rest of the year we did our thing at smaller and federal/state properties.
  2. We made physical changes to the coach.
    1. In the spring we changed out the old toilet and replaced it with a newer one.
    2. This fall we swapped out the NeverCold absorption fridge for the residential Whirlpool unit.
    3. And also in the Spring we changed out our old narrow sofa for a recliner chair and small table.

Moving forward into ‘16

Our plans for ’16 are pretty simple.

  • check out Florida for three months — or as long as we can tolerate the humidity.  We aren’t sure if that is something we’ll enjoy or not but the only way to find out is to try it.
  • We head towards Wisconsin in April, making a stop in Milwaukee for a quick (we hope) 24 hours on the heart monitor.
  • Then the Summer spent camp hosting in Spring Valley for the Corps of Engineers.
  • Late September we run back through Milwaukee for what we hope will be a much shorter annual physical and meds-re-up before heading — most likely — to the SW to see if we like that any better than we like S. Texas or Florida.

It’s possible we may end up ’16 with fewer stops than this year — we’ll see.  And the mileage could possibly be lower as well.  But never say never and take each day as it comes.

’15 stats

We spent the entire year in our coach with the exception of the +/-2 weeks it took us to drive to and from Milwaukee last March for Peggy’s back surgery.  We love our coach and it’s comfy; just right for us.

We drove 6921 miles in the coach.  That works out to about 19 miles a day worth of driving.  I did way more than that in Milwaukee before going mobile — though not in a diesel pusher.

For the entire year we stopped overnight in a TOTAL of 33 different campgrounds/places. Of those stops, 11 stops kept us in one place more than 7 nights.  That averages out to 11 nights per stop (even if some of those stops were overnighters and others lasted several months). And that includes the 7 nights spent with Uncle Wally (after adding in the lasts two unexpected nights this week).

Our towing miles are now up to about 23,000 miles on our CR-V over our 4 years as full-time RV’ers.  All of those coach miles were accompanied by tow miles on the car.  Old Betsy is starting to show her age (she’s a 2004 with almost 130,000 on the odometer) but she’s still a faithful companion.

I did not track $ / night this year. This would probably be our most expensive camping year thus far.  We spent 3 1/2 months at Palmdale paying commercial monthly rates, and then 3 1/2 months in Milwaukee paying commercial monthly rates. Most of the remaining nights were at state park and Corps of Engineer rates.  Still, it was a more expensive year for us.

We’re holding pretty close to our self-imposed budget, which is good.  We continue to go where we choose.  We travel as much (sometimes more) than we really want to.  So far RV’ing has been as good and better than we expected.

I have to admit that because of the medical issues we faced this year we have discussed (without taking any action or making any decisions) how long we want to do this. When we first started full-timing the subject of coming off the road was related to long-distant-health-eventualities of which we were having none, zero, bupkiss.  This year that changed and it’s prudent for us to at least get the topic out on the table so that if something changes dramatically (or suddenly) that we’ll have a game plan in mind to put into motion.  But, we have no intention of getting off the road and we have actually had at least one or two pending discussions about ’17 already.  We aren’t making firm plans but we have a sort of objective.

RV’ing is still too good to be true.  We are enjoying ourselves (often) so much that we (almost) feel guilty.  Certainly, retirement is turning out better than we ever guessed it might.

Is everything perfect.  Obviously not.  The events of this week speak to that directly.  You can make plans, but plans don’t have to make reality!  And so far we’re still happy enough to have our plans change and to be able to flow with the changing tides of circumstance.

I hope you have a great year.  I have never been one to make resolutions, or such, and holidays come and go often before I know it.  So, remembering to wish people Happy New Year isn’t something I always remember to do.  But Happy New Year.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

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6 Comments

  1. Happy New Year to you too! Thank you for a year of interesting posts, photographs and your perspective on life!

    Although now we live in our RV for six months in Texas during the winter, we’ve experienced a bit of the good and bad as you have in our 17 years with various RV’s during retirement and more prior to that. The worst was a blown diesel truck engine in Bowie TX while towing our 36 foot 5th wheel. There we were, down and out in a shabby campground for 18 days wondering if the extended warranty was going to cover the 12K cost. It did, but Oh the anxiety during the first two weeks!

    We don’t tow the behemoth 5th wheel any more, it is stationary. For two years now our adventures happen in a truck camper during the Minnesota summer and the annual migration to and from the 5th wheel. The truck camper has the same systems that bigger rigs have, just fewer and smaller sized so I expect we’ll have issues with it as it is 11 years old and so is the truck (engine is 6).

    As you said RV’ing is great and we enjoy it immensely in all its forms and will continue to do so until we can’t.

    Guilt? Not so much anymore!

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    1. Cletus, I love hearing from and running into folks like you. You’ve been on the road for 4 times as long as us and you’re still happy. That says a lot about the appeals of RV’ing — it’s not just for crazy folks! 🙂

      The willingness to adjust to change is such a huge part of this lifestyle. It’s easy most of the time — it really is — so long as a person doesn’t become too invested in their own plans and ego.

      Ha! — Bowie Texas — I know how that feels. Years ago I had a pushrod failure in my own semi tractor (I was an owner operator for a while) while passing through San Angelo TX and spent — I can’t remember HOW long anymore…

      I like the idea of a pickup truck camper for short trip / weekenders — I think it’s a great solution.

      When we started out we thought we MIGHT be looking for a place to settle down — but we haven’t found such a place yet. Could we end up doing the 6 months / 6 months semi-annual dance? Could be but we’re not in a hurry YET to change what we’re doing. We’ll have to see what surprises life has for us.

      >

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  2. What a year! Best part is you still love what you’re doing! Hopefully 2016 will be as rewarding as you can shine and hopefully Florida isn’t to humid but predictions don’t bode well…but on the bright side…we will, at long last meet! 😀

    Like

    1. Yup! No need to repeat ’15 as far as I’m concerned (though I shouldn’t say it that way because I’ll live longer having been through it).
      We aren’t going to be Energizer Bunnies in terms of exploration but we would like to see a few of the beauties of Florida — and get to meet you guys, and as well as Jim and Diana of Explorvistas who are down in Melbourne this winter. We didn’t rush getting here and we aren’t going to rush while here. Whether the weather is good or bad isn’t in our control so we’ll just go with the punches knowing we made the ‘best’ decisions we could with the info at hand. So, let the good times roll.

      Like

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