Berlin, OH - July 10, 2016
July 10th marks our 10th anniversary of full-timing. Ten years ago today, we closed on the sale of our house in the morning, went to lunch with our daughter, Lora, and then hit the road.
Over the last 10 years, we have traveled over 75,000 miles in two different RVs and have visited 46 states. Most of that travel was in the first 7 or 8 years. After that time, we started to slow down considerably.
Almost two years ago, our granddaughter, Lydia, came along and that changed everything. We made the decision to be part of her life and try to spend most of the summer fairly close by. Because our travel had already started to slow on its own even before Lydia arrived, we were already considering switching from a motor home to a 5th wheel. Lydia's arrival cemented our decision to switch because, while the motor home was well suited to our travel style in our early years of full-timing when we moved from place to place frequently, we felt a 5th wheel was more residential and was better for sitting still for longer periods.
After investigating many different 5th wheel makes and models, we ended up ordering a Tradition by DRV Mobile Suites late in the fall of 2014. We picked up the new 5th wheel in January, 2015, so we have had it for about a year and a half now. We have been very happy with our decision to switch.
Our travels for the last two years have been quite leisurely. We spent the winter in Florida like we always have, and we spent all of last summer and we plan to spend all of this summer in Berlin, Ohio, which is only about two hours from where Lora, J. Michael and Lydia live in Pittsburgh. That gives us the opportunity to visit Lydia often.
When we left Ohio last fall, we headed south to Lower Alabama with only a few overnight stops and a 5-night stay in Knoxville, Tennessee, along the way. After staying in Lower Alabama for a month, we headed to our snowbird roost at Blueberry Hill RV Resort in Bushnell, Florida. Then after 5 months in Florida, we headed back to Ohio this past April with a short stop in Lower Alabama, a few overnight stops, and a weekend sightseeing stop in South Carolina. Since we are mostly staying in places where we have stayed many times before, we are doing less sightseeing. We spend much of our time relaxing, eating at our favorite restaurants and trying a few new ones.
Speaking of eating, year 10 brought a new hobby. While we were in Ohio last summer, we bought a smoker. It's a small one that we are able to carry with us. We use the smoker just about every week to 10 days smoking one of our many favorites or trying new recipes. Our favorites include turkey breast (delicious cold on sandwiches), meatloaf (also delicious on sandwiches), shrimp, mac and cheese, and pork shoulder.
Something else new for us last year was changing our domicile from South Dakota to Florida. Being South Dakota residents worked well for us for us for 9 years. However, our drivers licenses were up for renewal this year, and with our more relaxed travel style, we weren't very excited about driving all the way to South Dakota to renew our licenses. Not only that, but we spend a lot of time in Florida and feel very much at home there, so we decided to make the switch.
In year 10 we traveled almost the same distance we did in year 9 - about 3,000 miles. We made 14 stops, which was identical to the year before.
While we are traveling and sightseeing less, we still like being mobile so we can be close to Lydia in the summer and so we can be where it is warm in the winter. We're looking forward to another year of slow-paced travel.