This month we celebrated our 1 year anniversary of the full time lifestyle on June 15. Exactly one year ago we pulled out from Camp Horizons headed back to Fairfax, VA with our new home. I figured that the anniversary was worth a little introspective/evaluation.
A few statistics of our first year:
Number of campsites: 42
Longest stay: 110 days at Fort Myers, FL
Shortest stay: overnight (7 times)
Average length of stay: 7.75 days (excludes Fort Myers and the overnight stops)
Number of nights without full hookups: 14 no sewer, 13 no sewer or water, no boon docking stops, 20 days on 30 amp power, remaining days 50 amp power…so 87% of the time we had full 50 amp hookups and 93% of the time we had electrical/water/sewer hookups. Since 30 amps really isn’t a limitation unless you need to run air conditioners only having 30 vice 50 amps isn’t any burden at all.
Total towing miles: 9,497
Total driving miles (car): 28,189; of these 9,497 were while moving with BAT and another 18,692 were non towing…i.e., doing fun stuff, running errands, and other stuff while parked.
I was going to total up our entire spending and categorize it like our friend Howard from RV-Dreams does…but decided that was too much trouble and nobody cares much about the details anyway…not to mention the idea that I wasn’t really comfortable putting all those precise income and outlay numbers out there. First, it’s nobody else’s business and second I don’t want to make anyone feel superior or inferior based on any numbers I might publish. So; suffice to say that we’re living comfortably on Neil’s Navy pension, Connie’s ACP Pension, and the income from her part time job with Northern Virginia Community College…without spending any of our “retirement” money at this point. If any of our readers are considering a similar lifestyle and would like to have some more detail please let us know via a comment with your email and we’ll talk offline. about it.
Biggest Pluses: Seeing all the cool places we have been and being amazed that we’re not actually spending any of our “retirement money” yet; and then moving someplace new before you get bored.
Biggest Minuses: There have been a couple of these. Finding doctors in semi-emergency mode is a pain and we realized we could have retired earlier given the state of our finances. Following that would be rig issues…getting things fixed at the New Horizons factory works pretty well but getting things fixed on the road is much harder. The factory service rep essentially leaves you on your own to find repairs and then it’s an issue of who has to pay. While we love our New Horizons Majestic and would not have bought anything else (or not bought it given the issue we have had)…and despite all the issues being relatively minor; getting things fixed under our “2 year hitch to bumper warranty) has been…well, let’s call it problematic to be diplomatic. The warranty page does state they have a 2 year warranty on materials and workmanship but then in the fine print talks about components being covered by separate vendor warranties. What they don’t tell you in the fine print is that these vendor warranties are only for a year and (we have yet to get a decent answer as to whether there is really a full 2 year warranty or whether it’s a 2 year warranty except when it’s not; and have not gotten a decent answer as to whether the vendor items with 1 year warranty are covered by New Horizons for the second year under their warranty. Connie’s biggest minus would probably be the difficulty of finding a decent nail and hair place on the road and the attendant difficulty in getting things done the way she likes them…followed closely by every grocery store in the country having a different layout making finding your normal stuff difficult…followed closely by the lack of what she deems sufficient hot water. An RV only has an 8 gallon water heater and because of the short pipe runs the temperature set point for the heater is set lower than what would be common in a house…so having enough hot water to take a shower, wash your hair, and shave the larger areas that ladies have to shave (ha says Neil, any shaving is more than I have to do!) becomes difficult without taking a submarine shower which means turning the shower on and off. A submarine shower is really required anyway since the shower is pretty small compared to a house.
Hmm, looking at the above two paragraphs one might assume that we aren’t liking our new life since the plus paragraph is much shorter than the minus paragraph. That isn’t true though; as none of the minuses has really been anything other than a nit-noid sort of issue no different from the issues one has with a sticks and bricks house. Overall the pluses have far outweighed the minuses; we’ve seen a lot of places we never went before, and we’ve revisited several places we did go before to do other/different things.
I think that all of us would wholeheartedly recommend this lifestyle for anybody; and don’t really worry that you can’t afford to do it the same way we do. That might be true; but as I said we could easily have cut our expenses by 1/3 if we had to and we know lots of people doing it for even less than that including our friends Howard and Linda from RV-Dreams. They park in free/very low cost places and boondock without hookups a lot though…but that’s what they want to do anyway.
Would we do it again. Answer: YES, we should have done it sooner.