A New Chapter
In the first few years of our 12 years of full-timing, we covered 15 to 20,000 miles a year in the RV. By our fourth or fifth year we had slowed down to less than 10,000 miles a year. We were already spending a little longer in Florida each winter by the time our granddaughter was born in 2014, and that year we also started spending more time in Amish Country in Berlin, Ohio, in the summer. Back then, we made stops for several days to one or two weeks in places like New Orleans, Lower Alabama, Knoxville, and Nashville on our way up north and back down south again. For the last two years, we eliminated those additional stops and pretty much went straight from Florida to Ohio and back again only stopping for one or two nights at a time along the way.
With our travels having slowed so much, we have decided begin a new chapter in our lives and "hang up the keys." Except for several visits a year to Pittsburgh and maybe a couple of other "vacations," we'll be staying in Florida year 'round. We love the co-op and the area where it is located so it feels like home to us. Not only that, but living there is very economical.
Twelve years ago, Paul was willing to give up his workshop, his garden, and the stability of living in a sticks-and-bricks house for the adventure of traveling. Margery gave up her well-equipped kitchen, her quilting hobby, and the friendships she had built with other women at our church. We have traveled almost 95,000 miles with our two RVs (much more than that when you add in day trips and other sightseeing treks in our car and truck) and we have visited 46 of the contiguous 48 states. We have seen natural wonders and historic places, we have met terrific people, we have learned lots of new things, and we have had many wonderful experiences. However, the days of driving the RV and all the setting up and packing up have become more work than adventure. Paul especially, is now ready to get back to a steadier lifestyle and to his hobbies, albeit on somewhat of a smaller scale than when we had our sticks-and-bricks house.
Not only have we decided to stay in Florida, but we have also decided to trade in the 5th wheel for a park model. When we bought the 5th wheel three years ago, we did so because we think 5th wheels are more residential than a motor home and are better suited to staying in one place for longer periods. We planned to just park the 5th wheel and continue living in it when the time came to stop traveling, and we also thought that time would be a few years farther away than it actually turned out. Once we made the decision to hang up the keys, however, Paul realized there will come a day when he is no longer able to climb up on the roof to inspect and re-caulk the seams several times a year and to do some of the other maintenance chores an RV requires. Therefore, we figured if we will eventually give up the 5th wheel for a house or a park model, we might as well do it now before the 5th wheel depreciates any further.
We looked at several makes and floorplans of park models at several dealerships and ended up ordering a Chariot Eagle with a front kitchen from Winter Haven RV in Lake Wales. We went with a front kitchen because the kitchen is larger than those in other floorplans. A large kitchen with plenty of storage and counter space is important to Margery, who likes to cook.
We wanted to get our order on the books to lock in the price, but we asked to have the delivery (which would have normally been in February) delayed until April after the co-op activities slow down. Not only will we be pretty busy until then; but we'll need an empty site close to ours on which to park our 5th wheel while they set up the new park model, and there probably won't be many vacancies at the co-op through most of March.
So what does all this mean for our blog? Because the hosting fee for the blog is paid up through August, 2018, the posts on our past travels will remain online at least until then. Updates will also continue until August, but will be rather infrequent. We plan to document the arrival of the park model in April, and Paul will be building some of the furniture for the park model so we'll tell you about some of those projects. We'll also let you know if we do any sightseeing or if we try any new restaurants so stay tuned.