“That There Is An RV…” – Cousin Eddie
Cousin Eddie had a ‘really nice’ RV…why can’t DEANO?!?! I had always had a grand vision of packing all the kids up and going on a big RV trip. We never did it. I never could rally the troops. I guess we/they had watched the movie ‘RV’ a few too many times and they had little faith in their dear old Dad. More and more, however, Emily and I moving into an RV for a good part of our life started to look like a winning solution that would check a lot of boxes. From an ROI standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to dive into owning an RV (and living the RV lifestyle) until you are going to be on enough trips to break even. We are not to that point yet in our life, so this gives me plenty of time to research, plan, think, rethink, and best of all spreadsheet. That sounds like pure Deano nirvana!
Over the past year, I’ve done lots of “spreadsheeting” as Emily calls it. I was trying to figure out was important to us and not important to us related to travel/life. What are things we care about in our daily life, and when we travel? What are things we don’t give a hoot about? How do those things impact the costs and how do we solve that?
Things I Care About When Travelling/Living:
- My Bike/Hiking Access – Having my bike and places to ride/hike.
- Coffee – Having hot, high quality, coffee every morning. You might think silly…I think not!
- A Place To Sleep – Without bed bugs, please.
- A Place To Shower – Warm shower, please.
- A Place To Toilet – So fancy!?!
- Being Warm/Cool & Bug-Free – AC in the Summer, heat in the Winter and no bugs all the time.
- Being Safe/Secure – Protections from bad guys, animals, elements, acts of God.
- Location – Being able to spend enough time in places that I normally wouldn’t get to AND visiting places I normally wouldn’t get to.
- New Sights/Destinations – This matters way more to me more than going to the same place over and over.
- Internet Access – Communication with family, work access, entertainment access (books, shows, movies…oh and Clash of Clans?!?!).
- Dude Where’s My Car? – Having a mode of transportation with me once there.
- Family/Friends – Having the ability to have people join us on trips (if/when they want to and are available).
- Cost/ROI – If not traveling a lot then it doesn’t make sense to ‘invest’ in traveling (just fly/rent).
Things I Don’t Care About When Travelling/Living:
- Lodging – Where I stay (nice house/hotel room). We aren’t there anyway because we are going to be out exploring. We just need a place to sleep for a few hours. I think if you’ve seen one fancy house/hotel you’ve seen them all.
- Food – We eat out every day anyway, so we’ll just do the same while traveling. We will want to do this when travelling most likely anyway to experience the local fare.
- Social Circles – Hell, we might see more people, more often than we do now while traveling.
Things That Make Travel Hard/Cost Prohibitive (And Maybe Impossible):
- Air Travel – We have to get where you are going (if they even go there). I generally hate flying because it adds too many logistics and constraints that I’d rather not endure.
- Car Rental – We have to have a way to move around once there. This is easier these days than it used to be. That said I’m not sure of the availability of rideshares at the National Parks we’ll be visiting?!?!
- Lodging – We have to have a place to stay. We stayed in a hotel a few years ago that had bed bugs in it and Emily now goes into full hazmat mode anytime we hit a new lodging environment. This adds such flavor to our stays!
- Time – We must get everything crammed in while there (burning all of the above every day along the way).
- Disconnected – Regular life is back at home and we will not be able to get certain things done when not home (maybe).
- Work/Income – If our jobs require us to be somewhere specific to do them then we can’t be AWOL.
In our research, we are leaning heavily toward an RV Trailer (and to pull it with a truck). My Subaru WRX won’t really pull a trailer?!? So, we’ll need to get rid of it and get a truck. We’ll also need an RV Trailer…duh. We’ve put together a plan that will get us on the road and seeing things that we’ve never seen before without all that, however. This will also begin to immerse us into getting out of the house and on the road. I’m excited about the plan and the stages in it. We can adjust things to progress faster or slower as things play out…but time is ticking!
|Subaru Crosstrek /|
|Plan car trips and stay in hotels (if needed). This option is cheaper until > 4 weeks per year are spent on driving trips or > 1 week per year flying. At that point, the RV travel trailer is the next best option available.|
RV Test Run
Rental RV Trailer
|Rent a few options and stay in them to see what we like/don’t like. Make 2 or 3 smaller trips to make sure the RV Trailer is the best option for us.|
RV Trips Local
|Pick an option (maybe not full tilt expense wise) and travel locally (in/around TN) several times per year. Starts making sense to buy trailer if > 4 weeks per year (driving) or > 1 week per year flying.|
RV Full Time
|Once we have all the equipment and have some experience, we’ll extend the geographic range, length of stays, and time commitment (and maybe go full tilt).|
What Are Our Goals?
My priorities are to see ‘outdoor’ things (to hike and bike). I’m much less inclined to go to cities and ‘man-made’ attractions. I feel like most of that is ‘seen one / seen them all’. This isn’t true but I figure we’ll hit many of those anyway while en route to the outdoor things that we are setting out to see. I’m sure there are all kinds of people who would say if you’ve seen one hill/waterfall/forest you’ve seen them all. But this is my plan, so I don’t care what they say! Ha!
To start seeing these types of things while also following our staged plan we will start in Nashville and expand our geographic range outward as time goes on. To do this we’ll set out to:
- See All The City Parks – Emily and I have hit all/most of these over the years. Our favorites are Percy Warner, Edwin Warner, Radnor, and Beaman. If I had to pick an absolute favorite, I’d say Percy Warner is my all-time favorite city park. It has everything this man needs; mountain biking, road biking, hiking, road running, trail running, tons of hills and owls!!! It is amazing to have such large outdoor space literally a short bike ride away from our front door.
- See All The Tennessee State Parks – Tennessee has 57 state parks. I’ve been to several but haven’t been to all of them. I also have not fully explored the ones I’ve been to. The whole point of all this is to see things and do things I’ve never done before so we will hit all 57 of them. We’ll explore until our heart is content and then move on to the next one. Some will be quick (measured in hours) and others might take several trips or multiple days to take everything in. There are 20 or so that should be simple day trips from Nashville (or overnight trips) that will fit easily into Stage 1. Some of the parks that are farther East and West might fit into later Stages. I figure this will take us a few years to accomplish. This goal lets us test everything out and get our legs underneath us to see if the RV life is really for us before we hit the open road.
- See All The National Parks (and Monuments) – The United States has 61 national parks. I’ve been to only a couple of these so far. This is THE goal. It will take many years to accomplish this goal but if fully accomplished I believe it will be very satisfying and quite an accomplishment.
- See Canada – We’ve hit a few spots in Canada already and will likely hit a few others before we get to this goal. But once we see the entire US we’ll go north and see that big old country. It looks like my kind of place!
- RV The World – Pick a spot on the globe and do the same thing. We can rent/buy an RV once we get there and do the same thing on other continents. This is obviously a large commitment and an extreme end of the full-time RV endeavor.
So that is the plan, so far. This is where I need your help. Have you RV’d before? Do you have any advice or tips for me? I’d love to hear things that you’d recommend or not recommend. I’m obviously doing plenty of research but sometimes it helps getting advice from someone you know. If you have any thoughts track me down and let me know. I’d appreciate it!