Carrie and I purchased our motorhome at the end of February 2015 and after outfitting and a trial run we left Fort Myers, FL at the beginning of May and have been RVing fulltime ever since. We meandered our way up through the Eastern US, seeing family members and friends along the way and in between stopping at campgrounds or Parks to visit sights and attractions nearby. Family visits usually took less than a week so as not to overstay our welcome, and stays at other campgrounds or State/National Parks were usually for a week to settle in and look around at the local attractions.
We bought tickets to a Bluegrass Festival in Kentucky in June and camped there through the surrounding week, but other than that our itinerary has been pretty flexible. We started out with back to back reservations at parks through Florida and Alabama, but found having to meet a rigid schedule too stressful. Since then we’ve made reservations only a few days ahead with no problem, except over the July 4th weekend, where we lucked into a park very near Carrie’s son Nathan in Front Royal, VA. We’ve gotten better at planning out just the next leg of the journey in increasingly shorter windows.
Our goal for this first part of the trip after seeing family was to attend the Bluegrass Festival and then visit Maine during their abbreviated summer months. After living in Seattle for years I’ve always wanted to visit Maine to compare the two ends of the country as they lie along the same latitude, and we were never able to get there by sailboat while we Cruised.
We stayed for 2 weeks at a campground near Bar Harbor, longer than we’ve stayed anywhere else. At the beginning of our stay we asked ourselves how we were going to handle staying in one place for such a “long time”. Our next door neighbors in Bar Harbor were a very nice couple from Canada, enjoying a camping trip for their annual 2-week vacation. This was their final stop and they were rushing off every morning to tackle whatever hike or sight there were going to see that day. We had several days of rain during our first week and this couple left a day earlier than they’d planned because everything was soaked and the camping in their little pop-up trailer was wet and cold. It seemed their last night in Maine would be spent in a hotel before returning home to go back to work.
The morning after they left, I came to an epiphany of sorts: We are not on vacation! We do not have to be back at work, we don’t have a limited number of days to enjoy our trip before returning to the “grind”, with some limitations we can move around and do as we like. Traveling in our RV, our home, from place to place seemed so much like vacations in previous days that we (or at least I) fell into the habit of feeling that every minute of our time needed to be spoken for with an event.
Fulltime RVing is a lifestyle. Duh!! Interspersed in the days of the week (all Saturdays, by the way) with seeing any local sights, we still need to pay bills (having paired those down to a bare minimum), do laundry, shop for groceries, check mail, enjoy hobbies (still working on those), and take care of the other “stuff of life”, which rightfully includes times when we might just read, or nap, or do absolutely nothing; you know, retiree stuff.
There are numerous benefits to this opening of the clouds; this lightning strike of clarity. It will hopefully help us keep costs under control; it makes daily life a bit less stressful; that “stuff of life” gets done, new hobbies and passions get discovered and explored, and generally I’m hopeful that life will be more enjoyable as we adjust to a lifestyle that we had previously talked about doing at some point during part of the year, but by virtue of events that unfolded found ourselves thrust into rather suddenly.
Now, on the other hand, that we’ve seen the family that’s on this coast and made it to Maine while the weather was good (by Maine’er standards), we didn’t feel comfortable deciding our next destination the day we pulled out; so we’ve recently set another goal to attend an RV Rally with several RV “experts” giving talks and seminars over several days in mid-October in Bradenton, FL. It feels good at this point to have a destination in mind but still have some flexibility to move around and smell the roses along the way.
We also want to set up some medical appointments for physicals and other annual checkups, even some maintenance for the RV. We’ll see how things work out.
By the way, we do have a place to stay locked in for the Labor Day weekend. Yeah, we didn’t want to make that mistake again this soon.