Still planning for my dream....Concerns - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-24-2014, 09:37 AM   #1
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Still planning for my dream....Concerns

Thankfully I found this website about a year ago. I have read much and I check religiously for new information. I think about my future journeys daily and, just as so many, I get nervous about some things.

Brief background - I retire in 4 years with a modest pension and plan to be a semi full timer - meaning hopefully 8-9 months per year on the road. I have yet to purchase my RV, but know what I want, nor my vehicle to tow, again I know what I want. I will travel solo, and don't own a house or plan to have a permanent domicile in Missouri. I will either live in my RV while in Missouri or find an apartment for a few months. My first year of vacation I plan to travel nonstop for the summer, fall, and winter, and get back to Missouri in late spring (nowhere beats Missouri in the spring!).

Some things I think about....

Of course, #1 concern is money. I am frugal and don't live an outlandish lifestyle by any means. While I plan to be able to boondock part time on the road, I know I will spend time in campgrounds too. Some places the campgrounds can get expensive, particularly on the West Coast where I plan to visit on my first extensive trip. I realize you can get weekly and monthly rates, but a week or two in one place is all I am planning, except if my monthly budget starts running low and I need to stay put longer waiting on the next month's pension check. So I am thinking a week in a campground with electric and showers, and a few days of free camping here and there. I know I cannot afford $20-25 per night everyday of the month. And I realize I can stay some places for $300 per month. But I can only see staying in one place that long at my winter destination, south Texas. Does anyone else try to do the best of both worlds?

Next is worrying about boredom. I come from a small town, close friends and family, that I like hanging out with, playing golf, fishing, and having beers with. I know on extended vacations I have taken, I am always ready to get home. I'm outgoing and friendly, and know I can meet people with similar interests. While I am boondocking I will be on my own. But I know I will want to spend time near civilization as well. Don't know if anyone has an answer for that. Just wondering if anyone gets extremely bored and homesick.

I love to golf. Golf is expensive, particularly in some areas. Are there any golfers out there? How difficult is it to find courses that are reasonable, say less than $30 and I don't mind playing twilight rates? Places like Colorado are expensive. With money a major concern, will I have to give up golf? Again, I am frugal, understand priorities, just wondering if any of you golfers end up saying the heck with it, it just cost too much money on the road.

I know there are things I can do, fish, watch local high school or college sporting events, find a local watering hole to meet a few people, ect. I can only sightsee for so long and need things to do. Hiking never interested me - I need things to do.
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:42 AM   #2
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Hi Mark, I don't have any answers but hope to be in a similiar situation someday. Good luck with your planning and adverture!
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:41 AM   #3
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Mark,

I certainly believe you can manage on a modest pension. As to Golf, I don't know about the rest of the country but one year in FL we went out 3 times a week and were able to find places to golf for $20 for 18 holes. Of course there are plenty of places where golf is too expensive, like the Naples area of FL.

A word on Hiking. We were not big hikers before we started RVing but have become regular hikers since we began. There are so many interesting things to discover and so much to learn on short hikes.

One thing we do is geocache, usually a short hike and invariably it takes you to an interesting place.... I could go on for days about the neat hikes we've taken.

Consider this can be a marvelous adventure, one needs to seek it.

Camping can be reasonable if you become a Passport America member (usually less than $20), camp in Corps of Engineer parks (usually less than $11) camp in Federal Parks ($5 at Lake Meade), or use BLM lands. Lots of choices. We can drive across the country from TN to FL thru TX to CA and never pay more than $20 and typically $15 or less and usually for very nice campgrounds.

My suggestion for your pension check is to get a checking account with direct deposit. We have done it for 14 years without an issue. We also do all our banking and bill paying on line.

One conclusion of our travels, and our travels are like you plan, is that it's an opportunity to change, to approach life differently. I can say I have never been bored on the road. There is more to see in North America than you can see in the rest of your life.
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Old 09-24-2014, 11:01 AM   #4
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Thanks and your reply brings up another question. There seems to numerous clubs and organizations that offer discounts and I haven't paid too much attention to them yet as that is down the road for me. I've read people promote Escapees and you are a member of Passport America - I'm sure there are others. How does a person know which best fits their needs? Do some have more places to stay in certain parts of the country? Are they all about the same? Can you find participating campgrounds off the beaten path that honor certain club memberships?

That aspect is all new to me.
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Old 09-24-2014, 12:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Missouri Mark View Post
I love to golf. Golf is expensive, particularly in some areas. Are there any golfers out there? How difficult is it to find courses that are reasonable, say less than $30 and I don't mind playing twilight rates? Places like Colorado are expensive. With money a major concern, will I have to give up golf? Again, I am frugal, understand priorities, just wondering if any of you golfers end up saying the heck with it, it just cost too much money on the road.
Yes there are a number of golfers here. Some of us usually plan a game or two when we get together at various fiberglass trailer meets.

Yes you will be able to find golf for $30 a round or less providing you are flexible in your playing times. We have played some pretty nice courses all the way down the West coast of the US without paying the normal full prices. There are also lots of very nice 9 hole courses to be found in most areas that don't charge and arm and a leg - may not be up to PGA standards but still fun to play.

There are a lot of discount golf websites to be found for most areas that will show you what courses in the area are offering in the way of deals. Some times they may be doing upgrades to the course so only offer the front 9 or back nine. A good place to start looking at your options is Discount Golf Course Tee Times Nationwide - Book Tee Times Online - GolfNow.comĀ® which covers most of the US but it does not necessarily show all the deals to be found in each area.
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Old 09-24-2014, 12:49 PM   #6
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Mike,
I'm a member of a number of organizations, serving overlapping but not the same purposes.

Escapees is nice, mostly people who travel fulltime or a lot. They have an excellent mail service and will forward your mail, arriving in about 5 days. I generally pick a small town post office I plan to be at and call or send an email telling them where to send it. They also have about 20 parks around the country though mostly in the southern tier, all have boondocking for $5 or full service sites for $15-18 a night. In addition Escapee members can join Day's End for a very small fee like $10 and get a list of free or nearly free camping that have been used and suggested by the membership.

Go to their website for more information. They also host a big rally for beginners with lessons on getting started.

Escapees RV Club

Passport America we belong to this as well. They have a number of member campgrounds that offer 'half price' camping. The fee pays for itself for us the first week out. Plenty of Passport parks are off the beaten path as are Corps of Engineer parks. We once crossed Texas stayin in mostly Corps parks, they have always been excellent.

We also have a senior pass for Maryland. This allows a 50% discount for seniors at all state MD state parks. MD has a lot of very nice parks.

We of course have the National Parks Senior Pass ($10) that allows free entrance and 1/2 price camping, also usable at Corps of Engineer parks.

Escapees also have an excellent forum on all kinds of fulltiming topics.

There are also numerous lists of low cost or free camping sites on the Internet and can be found in earlier posts.

As to places to stay the number is overwhelming. Ginny has a log of every place we've stayed, about 3,000 nights now. We have belonged to a lot of camping organizations, they all have their benefits. If we don't like it after a year we drop it. Each area, state and province has little differences, for example in Newfoundland you can get a yearly pass that provides half price camping in their parks ($9). NM and Texas offer passes that also provided discounted fees or camping.

Camping fees are one of the bigger expenses but like Bryon says, you can camp for less than $10 a night on average. We've spent a week at Lake Mead for $35, less than some people spend for a single night.

Glad to share...
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Old 09-24-2014, 03:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Missouri Mark View Post
Thankfully I found this website about a year ago. I have read much and I check religiously for new information. I think about my future journeys daily and, just as so many, I get nervous about some things.

Brief background - I retire in 4 years with a modest pension and plan to be a semi full timer - meaning hopefully 8-9 months per year on the road. I have yet to purchase my RV, but know what I want, nor my vehicle to tow, again I know what I want. I will travel solo, and don't own a house or plan to have a permanent domicile in Missouri. I will either live in my RV while in Missouri or find an apartment for a few months. My first year of vacation I plan to travel nonstop for the summer, fall, and winter, and get back to Missouri in late spring (nowhere beats Missouri in the spring!).

Some things I think about....

Of course, #1 concern is money. I am frugal and don't live an outlandish lifestyle by any means. While I plan to be able to boondock part time on the road, I know I will spend time in campgrounds too. Some places the campgrounds can get expensive, particularly on the West Coast where I plan to visit on my first extensive trip. I realize you can get weekly and monthly rates, but a week or two in one place is all I am planning, except if my monthly budget starts running low and I need to stay put longer waiting on the next month's pension check. So I am thinking a week in a campground with electric and showers, and a few days of free camping here and there. I know I cannot afford $20-25 per night everyday of the month. And I realize I can stay some places for $300 per month. But I can only see staying in one place that long at my winter destination, south Texas. Does anyone else try to do the best of both worlds?

Next is worrying about boredom. I come from a small town, close friends and family, that I like hanging out with, playing golf, fishing, and having beers with. I know on extended vacations I have taken, I am always ready to get home. I'm outgoing and friendly, and know I can meet people with similar interests. While I am boondocking I will be on my own. But I know I will want to spend time near civilization as well. Don't know if anyone has an answer for that. Just wondering if anyone gets extremely bored and homesick.

I love to golf. Golf is expensive, particularly in some areas. Are there any golfers out there? How difficult is it to find courses that are reasonable, say less than $30 and I don't mind playing twilight rates? Places like Colorado are expensive. With money a major concern, will I have to give up golf? Again, I am frugal, understand priorities, just wondering if any of you golfers end up saying the heck with it, it just cost too much money on the road.

I know there are things I can do, fish, watch local high school or college sporting events, find a local watering hole to meet a few people, ect. I can only sightsee for so long and need things to do. Hiking never interested me - I need things to do.

Once you hit the road there's some stuff you'll learn.
Cost of camping... The best deal going the National Park and National Forest Senior Pass, life time fee $10.00. Good for entrance fees at National Parks and 50% of camping fees in all federally run campgrounds. We spend 3 to 4 months out each year, average cost per night earlier this year was $5.50 per night in the west. There's also a lot of dispersed camping available on BLM and National Forest also on some National Park lands, those are free. Both the National Parks and the National Forests have web sites that will give a lot of good information. Once you make contact with the snow birders they'll have lots of suggestions.

The hardest thing was the first extended trip. Now it's all old hat and I never worry about where I'm going to sleep. One night stops are always free, rest areas, Wal-Mart, Truck stops and other places.

Boredom... We've never been bored. The National Parks usually have snow birders present and are easy to make friends. In fact when we first started this annual migration I knew we'd see some great places, but I never imagined how important the people you meet are. Many of the people are turn out to be long time friends that see over and over at different places.

Hobbies can be important to some anyway. Some of my traveling hobbies are, woodcarving, reading, music, and ham radio.
Woodcarving... It doesn't matter how good you are as long you're satisfied with the results. Small pieces of bass wood and carving knife and you're set. You might want to find a local carving club to get started before you retire.
Reading.. Both my wife and I carry kindles with us. Anyplace we can get wifi you can add to our digital book collection. There are thousands of free books.
Music... Learn to play a musical instrument. The simplest and easiest to carry is a harmonica, I have two. The other instrument I carry in a Mountain Dulcimer. Not only is the Dulcimer fun to play it attracts attention and helps getting to know new people.
Ham Radio --- Takes a bit more, but by now I hope you get the idea. All of this besides sight seeing, museums, ranger talks, visitor centers, local events, local club meetings. If you look around and be open there's more things to do than you'll have time to do.
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Old 09-24-2014, 05:36 PM   #8
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Great info and reassuring as well. Awesome that you average $5.50 per night. I will look into various clubs and National Parks Pass will be a must. My first trip includes Yellostone, Glacier, Olympic, and Yosemite NPs.

The discounts available is exciting news. One aspesct I hadn't looked into.

Byron, I wouldn't think of leaving home without my six string Fender acoustic guitar. I've been known to play for drinks!!
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Old 09-24-2014, 05:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Missouri Mark View Post
Great info and reassuring as well. Awesome that you average $5.50 per night. I will look into various clubs and National Parks Pass will be a must. My first trip includes Yellostone, Glacier, Olympic, and Yosemite NPs.

The discounts available is exciting news. One aspesct I hadn't looked into.

Byron, I wouldn't think of leaving home without my six string Fender acoustic guitar. I've been known to play for drinks!!

If one of these winters finds you in the southwest maybe we can get together for a little jam.
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Old 09-24-2014, 06:14 PM   #10
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It;s a deal. Since you are an aspiring harp player, are you familiar with The Ozark Mountain Daredevils? Great Missouri bluegrass/folk/country rock. If not familiar, do yourself a favor and youtube "Standing on the Rock", "Beauty in the River" and "Chicken Train". The reached their heyday in '70s but still play occasionally around Missouri. Great harp songs!!
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:26 PM   #11
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Mark, are you aware of RVillage's forums? They are geared toward connecting people with similar interests; you can join any sub-group you like and communicate with other RVers who have the same hobbies and likes as you. Also they help members see where other members are out camping, so you can more easily meet up and socialize with people you've already met online. For the gregarious camper, RVillage might be very useful.

As for camping expenses, between the lifetime senior pass (for half off at many CGs) and all the free national and state forest land and BLM land, you should be able to camp frugally. Freecampsites.net has some spots worth noting, and reading the many camping forums & blogs in existence will net you many other free campsite ideas.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:40 PM   #12
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Thanks Mike, I just registered to RVillage. Now I have another source but will still be sociable on here!!
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:24 PM   #13
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We use an app called RVParky that is awesome.

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Old 09-27-2014, 03:03 AM   #14
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Another thing to consider for low/no cost camping is campground host. I have not done it myself but have talked to a number of hosts. Generally it seems you get free site with full hookups and work a few hours a day. At Forest Service camps people I have talked with get paid something as well. At Yosemite NP the campground hosts are unpaid volunteers but get free full hookups, work 4 hrs/day and meet people from around the world, and spend the summer in about the most beautiful spot on earth.

Sent from my SM-T310 using Fiberglass RV mobile app
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