Feb 20, 2014 - Personal    22 Comments

A Moment of Clarity

Unlike most full-time RVers, I am not living off retirement income and must still earn a living. So unlike most full-time RVers who are living their retirements, I am dreaming of mine.

When I talked to my financial planner in 2008 about the idea of going full-time, he told me that I could afford several years of wild abandon with no concern about my future, but if I wanted to be able to retire, I’d have to buckle down within five to ten years in terms of retirement contributions and, ideally, acquire a little real estate.

In a perfect world, I could wander for the rest of my life and die grinning on a tropical beach in a far flung corner of the globe, but the reverse could also be true. I could find myself sick and forced to stop my wandering ways. Property and a nest egg would provide peace of mind in future travels because I’d have the assurance that I could take care of myself if the worst happened.

So we put together a five to ten year plan that had me living in my RV, traveling the continent, and hopefully building a business. Some parts of the project turned out better than others, especially the most important one: seeing the continent.

I’ve seen enough to accept something I’ve known since the fall and which I’ve shared with a few people since then: Miranda is likely never going back on the road. It’s five years sooner than expected, but here is the reasoning behind that:

-She needs about $6,000 worth of work to pass the mechanical inspection that would allow her to be plated in Saskatchewan.

-With my income, spending that kind of money on a depreciating asset at my age is an unsound financial decision.

-Because of the damage from the 2012 accident, I was warned by my insurance company that another collision would likely result in Miranda being a write-off. The idea of spending $6,000 and having her be destroyed is terrifying. The house part of her is in excellent shape and I’d be an idiot to risk it when she is parked somewhere she doesn’t have to move (much). The thought of moving to a new residence is unappealing me because I am so comfortable here. I therefore want Miranda to continue being my primary residence for as long as possible.

-$6,000 would go a long way towards developing my property and giving me a place to retire to at a time in the future when living in Miranda will no longer be sensible.

-I have absolutely no pleasure driving a big RV anymore and the thought of never again taking to the roads in a 60′ rig fills me with relief.

-Finally, winters are getting increasingly erratic and cannonball runs south and north in the spring just don’t seem worth the effort or the expense when southern U.S. winter conditions aren’t that great anyway.

That said, my traveling days are most certainly NOT done! And, really, if $10,000 were to fall into my lap right now, I’d get Miranda back on the road. It’s something I want, but not badly enough to put myself into a pickle for it.

Now, here comes the moment of clarity that I had a few weeks ago.

I have seen a lot of this continent, but I’m always rushing through this middle section, especially on the U.S side. Much like my year in Alberta let me see a really significant part of that province, my time here could allow me to see quite a bit of the Plains.

There are so many things I want to see in the U.S. that are just a day’s drive away, like the Black Hills and Yellowstone National Park. These are things to see in summer not winter, spring, or fall, the times I’m normally traveling to this area. Now, I am perfectly positioned to go explore these places in the summer!

Not having been to the U.S. this past winter and if I don’t go there next winter for an extended trip, I would be free to take a long weekend or two this summer to explore more of Montana and the Dakotas. For next summer, I could even plan a longer trip into Wyoming!

So where I stand now is that the budget for this summer will be focused on the cabin, with a little going to tourism on the side, just enough to keep me from going crazy.

Because I am already committed to spending another winter not traveling in an RV, I am going start looking early for a job for the winter, ideally somewhere I’ve never been, and take temporary accommodation if that pans out. Can anyone help me get a job on a cruise ship?! 😀

Another thought if business continues to pick up is to drive to Mexico with just my truck and rent an apartment there for the winter. In short, there are lots of possibilities!

I am also going to be watching the classifieds on both sides of the border for a small lightweight bumper hitch trailer, similar to the Casita my friend L has, that could be towed by my truck. So my RVing days are most certainly not done, they are just in a process of reorganization!

What’s important for me is to be on the move and to see new things. I’m grateful that my travels with Miranda have enabled me to find the perfect place for me to pause for a bit while I get things in order for the next phase of this wonderful life of mine. I am really enjoying my Saskatchewan interlude, but this is not the end of the road for me, just a breather.

Even though I’m not convinced that I’ll be traveling much, if at all, with Miranda from now on, I am going to continue this blog and suspect that now that all these thoughts have finally be committed to pixels, I’ll want to start writing more regularly again. After all, I am still living in an RV and I still have lots of RV living experience to share!

Thank you again to those who are as committed to my journey as I am, wherever it leads me.

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22 Comments

  • Had this one bookmarked: http://www.allcruisejobs.com/

    😀

  • Well, I have to admit I kind of saw this coming. My feelings are mixed as I really enjoy reading about your adventures on the road but at the same time understanding the financial burden that living on the road put on you, both from the income and expense sides.

    I was happy when you found your little Saskatchewan Haven as it gave you a (very) low cost base to work from as well as a bit of security for whatever the future brought. The “community” you found and the friendships you have made are just icing on the cake, so to speak.

    I agree with you concerning weather in the USA. We have spent two winters in the US in the past eight years and the weather is a little depressing to say the least. “Good” weather can only be found in a couple of places and of course they are the most expensive areas to live and to reach.

    I will be watching with great interest to see how development of your granaries goes and also to find out what happens to Miranda. I know that whatever you decide to do will be the best decision for you and you know you have my support.

  • I can’t speak for other parts of the United States during this particular winter, but here in southeast Arizona, it has been one of the most pleasant winters I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy. It should be pointed out that I really, really hate to be cold, and have shivered mightily while reading your tales of going out in the cold to reprovision your refrigerator or fuel tanks!

    I live in a mobile home park that has a small RV area attached, and see the same RV’s come here every year to enjoy our spectacular weather. One fellow that has been coming here every year started out with a very small slide-in camper on the back of his smallish pickup truck. Last year and this year, he is pulling a small Casita. He usually stays for about three or four months, using the very nice facilities provided for those in smallish rigs. He strums his guitar with his dog at his side, goes out on what I presume are sightseeing excursions, and seems very content. I have never spoken to him, other than a greeting nod, but probably should do so.

    I’m sure there are many such places all over that would provide someone like you with a quality winter experience. As some folks from winter climates have mentioned to me upon seeing our mobile home park . . . “the cost to rent here for a month is just under our fuel bill for heat back home”. I was stunned!

    Hauling Miranda and a towed vehicle down very far into the States would take a lot of gasoline, so coming in just Moya, even pulling a small trailer, might be less costly, while providing a multitude of lovely venues for wintering.

    Using Moya as a makeshift arrangement for a short while and cannonballing down to the arid southwest might provide a good venue for finding a non-weather compromised trailer.

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

  • Bast, thanks for that link! 🙂

    Croft, thanks as always for your support.

    Judie, like Croft said, the places with the best weather tend to be the most expensive to get to. I had thought of going to Arizona this winter if I’d been on the road and it was almost double the cost of going back to Texas. But you are definitely in line with my train of thought. A trailer would be MUCH cheaper to buy in the U.S. and trailers are easier to import back into Canada than are MH. So one thing I am consider is going down to the States to get a trailer and then using that to go down to the Southwest in future years (I still want to experience Quartzite!). I also think it would be easier to get across the border with an obviously non-full-timing rig and my having property in Canada.

  • Hmmmm – twice as much? I just checked Google maps and the distance from Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, Canada to Sierra Vista is exactly 62 miles further than Houston, Texas – and there are tolls noted on the route to Houston. Should even out the cost! ;->

    If you were thinking in terms of say, Port Aransas, Texas, which is a popular snowbird area, that is 200 MORE miles away than Sierra Vista.

    There is also the possibility of storing your vacation trailer in a dry climate for the months you spend back in Canada. It would mean three or four days of travel in only Moya to leave/retrieve it, though.

  • You’ve obviously given this a lot of thought. It all sounds very reasonable. Hope you continue to travel to the states. Would like to meet-up with you sometime. I for one will continue to follow your adventures.

  • Judie, you’re looking at an ‘as the crow flies’ route. Remember that I would be traveling late in the fall in a big rig. So I would avoid snow and mountains. My route to go to Arizona would logically have to be straight down to Texas through the Plains the way I came north, and then going west.

    So 2,400 mi going through the Plains to get to Sierra Vista versus 1,800 mi to go back to Port Lavaca, a 600 mile difference. Okay, I was exaggerating, but it’s still at least an extra $600 in fuel each way.

    It would of course be different if I was traveling with just Moya! BTW, it makes me smile to have you referring to my truck by her name. 🙂

    I like your idea of leaving the trailer in the U.S.! Now, that is one permutation I didn’t think of!

  • As I have learned by following you over the years, whatever decision you make will be the right one. As part of your research you might want to visit the Scamp factory in Backus, Minnesota, as that would be a reasonable location for you to shop although I think the Canadian made Escape trailers might be better for you if you decide to go that way. http://escapetrailer.com

  • That is an excellent idea, leaving something in US storage. My only concern would be not being able to check on it regularly. I have been going back and forth for two years on what is the best combination for myself. I want smaller for sure and was looking at a TT or B+ which are very pricey. I have read so many blogs and weighting the pro’s and con’s still didn’t give me a clear cut answer. I think smaller is definitely the way to go especially if no plans for full-timing in the future.

  • Waving to Moya! ;-> Our rigs all have/had names. It’s just part and parcel of having one be part of our lives. Your blog (and mine, for that matter), prominently features the name of your rig!

    As for storage in the United States, I personally know two couples who leave rigs near Brenda, Arizona. I don’t know if this is a common thing, and there are storage facilities there that specialize in this sort of thing, or what, but I could ask them if you are interested in knowing. Seems like an additional benefit would be to have it not be subjected to the extreme cold at Haven. Whether the extreme summer heat in this part of the country is better or worse . . . I don’t know.

    I wasn’t really trying to lure you to Arizona! It’s just the “rust” problems that I hear about in the Rio Grande Valley wintering spots in Texas that causes me concern. Maybe it was all those years in South Florida that clued me in to the destructiveness of rust and salt air that is prejudicing me.

  • We just arrived bome from our trip to Quartzsite, AZ and towns in that area. While in Parker, AZ I learned the RV park just over tne river in CA will store your rig for $30 a month tben set it up in your spot when you are ready to come down. Monthly is $400 plus electric and with a 4 month commitment you can have the Colorado River for your back view. My sister is currently enjoying that view….. We stayed in free camping BLM land the whole trip. We have already decided to return to tne desert next winter.

  • Welcome to the world of part-timing! I’ve been noticing how much you seem to like your new land so this seems a logical next step. Here’s wishing you the best of luck.

    Way back in time my folks towed a trailer from Iowa to Arizona a couple times. Then they figured out how much easier it was to leave the trailer in AZ. I never saw it again! Driving down took less time and less fuel but they had the comforts of their rig when they got there. Even if you wanted to travel around a bit it would still be easier.

    BTW I envy you the easy access to the Black Hills, Yellowstone and our shared Glacier area. They are such beautiful parts of the world.

  • Good Luck with your transition to a Part Timer and Snowbird.

    I also want to congratulate you on your 12 correct answers on the United States quiz. I only scored a 14 and thought I knew the United States fairly well. I do it here because I don’t ‘DO’ Facebook.

  • As usual I have something to say about several aspects of this post. Your problems with the vehicle/mechanical part of Miranda points out two things; how the motorized RV has the vehicle tied together with the home part and that buying a used RV will eventually have consequences. I like the idea of pulling a small trailer but will probably buy a small used class C made in the last 5 years or so. But that said, the fact that you can replace your vehicle and keep your home or the other way around is an attractive point.
    There are not many escape trailers available used which points to how good they are, people keep them. The same goes for Casitas and for that matter Lazy Daze RVs. I bought your ebook about getting your life organized and urge you to continue your creative and entrepreneurial pursuits.

  • John, if I knew five years ago what I know today, I’d have a bigger truck and trailer, not a motorhome…

    Thanks for the good thoughts!

  • Thanks, Ed.

    I’ve decided FB is a necessary evil. 🙂

  • Don, I’m starting to like the idea of leaving the trailer in the U.S….

    I can’t wait to start exploring this area. Hopefully in May!

  • $400 a month?!

  • Rust is an issue on the Gulf Coast, Judy! You should see my ‘new’ tow bar!

  • Lynn, I think I’d leave it in storage some place with a minimum amount of insurance and then not worry about it. Sometimes, you just have to let things go.

    I really wish I’d gone with a small fifth wheel when I started RVing.

  • Just catching up on your posts. Lots of places to rent very inexpensively on Isla de la Piedra/Stone Island, just minutes by panga to Mazatlan. You can rent a studio for less than $400.0 per month a block from the beach or a lovely place on the beach for $500.00 per month. OR you could stay in your RV and store it for cheap. It’s just who you know re the contacts.

  • Contessa, I emailed, but I also wanted to thank you publicly for this info!

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