Sunday, December 19, 2010

God Loves Nomads! Can you see Jesus in a Roadtrek?

I happened to be reading the end of 2 Timothy in the Bible last night, when at some point Paul’s lines of well wishing to folks that he had left in this city or seen in that city, and his instructions to bring his coat he had left in another city melded into my world. My world, which always includes seeing so & so in this or that city, remembering to give items left by so and so to somebody else when I see them again in yet another city and giving regards to this person from another person as we hurry to get south before winter. The names may have changed. I don’t know any Carpus’s in Troas or Erastus’s in Corinth but I do know a Bill and June headed to Texas and a Pat and Mike that just made it to Florida for the winter.

I got to thinking a little more about Paul and some of the other major biblical figures and you know what, none of them appear to have stayed in one place much. Paul seems always to have been on a journey, unless, he was in prison. (For some of us sitting in one place too long kind of equates to prison on some level.) Some estimates say that Jesus spent almost three years of his life on the road. David definitely got around while being chased by King Saul and Moses, well, we all know about his 40 years wondering in the desert. These were all ‘go-to guys’ for the Big Guy and none of these guys were nesters. They all had what I would call ‘nomadic tendencies’. I had a well meaning friend tell me that I needed to rebuke the ‘gypsy spirit’ in my life and that God’s will was that I stay in one place and settle down. Really!? Paul wrote most of the New Testament and I don’t think he ever had what many would consider a ‘real’ home. In fact, I can’t recall any scriptures that say ‘stay in one place your entire life”. I think Jesus said, “GO and make disciples of all men”. The key word of course being “GO”. Genesis says Jehovah told Abraham to ‘hit the road’.

So why is it that people think of us modern day nomads , out roaming the highways and heading south before winter, as odd ducks? I am thinking we are the ones getting it right! Ecclesiastes says “There is nothing new under the sun” and indeed people have been nomadic throughout history. I am convinced that if they had RV’s back in Biblical times that Paul would have been in a motorhome, Moses would have had a Toy Hauler, so he could haul those tablets around and I peg Jesus as a Roadtrek kind of guy. RV dealers back in the day would have made a mint off all the ‘gypsy’ Jehovah lovers. So to my road loving friends I say, don’t be swayed by the nesting naysayers in your life, remember all God’s go-to folks were Nomads too! Keep those wheels turning!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sisters on the Fly

Too good of a Rving story to not pass on!   Seeing stuff & having fun .. that's what it is all about.  These gals rock!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

FAQ on Full-time RVing: Question #1 How can you afford to do this?

Probably the question that I have been asked the most during the past 6.5 years I have been Full-time RVing is "How can you afford to do this?"   A lot of people planned and saved and/or receive retirement income in order to spend their golden years on the road.  I did not plan or save and being I haven't reached my golden years yet, I don't receive any retirement funds.   I sold my home and all my belongings before the housing market collapsed.  With the proceeds from the sale I bought my RV and spent my first two years traveling. Being that my 'plan', albeit conceived a couple of _days_ before I bought the RV (story here) and started full-timing, was to spend a year traveling and then go back to the real working world, I had to start rethinking things when one year stretched to two years.

Working on the Road
When I realized I might be doing this a bit longer & may need to work on balancing some income with the outflow, I tried my hand at Work Kamping, which a lot of full-timers do to help with expenses.  Most Work Kamp positions involve staying a season at a campground and working 15 - 20 hours a week.  Some work in the office, some park RV's, clean bathrooms or whatever needs to be done.   In return you get your campsite & usually your electric free.  No cash exchanges hands.  I spent a summer working in Yellowstone National Park which isn't a traditional Work Kamp job since I received a hourly wage and did have to pay for my site.  This has been my only 'Work Kamper' experience, it wasn't the best of stints for me because I had to work more hours than I wanted and I didn't have input as to the scheduling (I guess that kind of makes it a 'real' job :) ), although I  loved being in Yellowstone for 5 months.    I also did a short stint working in my field and now I still work in my field but as a part-time consultant.   I can set my own hours and work from where ever I am.  It means that I am limited to staying where I can get wifi but I am okay with that.   This summer I also picked up a flexible part-time job in a tourist town close to the RV park I wanted to spend the summer at.  There are lots of seasonal opportunities in tourist areas if you are not particular about what it is that you do.  One of the benefits I find by working, besides the income, is that it helps you to connect to the area better.  I learned a lot by connecting with the rangers and other workers in Yellowstone and did the same this summer.  So even though I had visited the same area in Colorado for many years, I learned all kinds of information that I didn't know just from talking with my employer and co-workers, who were locals.  So working can have benefits besides just putting gas in the tank.

RVing Wisely
In addition to working part time, I also try and watch my costs.  I rarely ever stay in an RV park for a night unless it is a park that accepts Passport America, Camp Club or has another discount program.   Daily RV rates are always the highest.  I figure if I am only gonna be there a night I can just as easily stay at Walmart, a Truck Stop, Rest Area or where ever.  I usually do a weekly or a monthly rental.  The per day rate is then a lot less.   It's nice not trying to cram every area highlight into a two days period.  If I think I want to be in an area for a bit and haven't stayed in an RV park there before, then I will pay for a night before paying for the month, just to be sure there are no trains, planes or other major noise makers that aren't readily apparent upon check in.   I avoid KOA's if at all possible because their rates run on the high side.  I lean to parks that offer Passport America or another discount program because their monthly rates are usually lower.  The highest rate I have paid for a month is $625.  I try and stick with parks that aren't more than $500 a month.  When I started you could find nice parks for $250 a month, times have changed.  I just can't seem to justify the $600 plus a month parks too much.  You could pay a house payment at that amount and I am bringing my own house with me.   You can also find vacation rentals in a lot of areas that are fully furnished for around $600 a month, so why pay much more than that to park your RV?  The more park prices increase the more that I lean too changing my set-up to boondock more.  Boondocking which is staying free on public lands or other places is another option that many people choose.  I like the conveniences of the electric, water and sewer and meeting people in parks.

I have found that by making good choices on where I stay, staying longer and working part-time I can cover my expenses and enjoy exploring whatever area I am in until I am ready for a new adventure in a new area.  Everybody does it differently, but if you don't have that nice pension payment or social security check coming in .. know there are still options if being a full-time road warrior is what you want to do.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My First Experience with RV Park Age Discrimination!

Welcome to California .. Oh by the way, you aren't 55 so you are not allowed to be here, make sure you give security your pass on the way out!   And so it went as I tried to take care of my paperwork to move into the Rancho Casa Blanca RV Park in Indio, California, where I had hoped to spend the winter.  My mother was welcome and I would be welcome as long as she would be there everyday that I was there.. which wouldn't be the case, as I am the full-time RVer who wants to stay put and she comes and goes as she pleases.

So what happens at 55?  Am I  going to be more 'grown up' than I am at 46???  Less active? More active?  Does my money become greener?  Do I enter a special club??   I have stayed in many "55 and over" parks without a problem.  I never tried beat the older folks at shuffle board or anything like that.  I did play in the '55 and over' Softball league, (on the Rec team) and that did end up to be a problem.  I blew out my knee and had to have the over 55 guys carry me off the field and then had to go to India to get it fixed, but that's another story.

I have been full-time Rving since I was 40 years old.  In some areas the majority of the parks have been "55 and over" or Adult Communities but thankfully I have always been welcomed with open arms.  Most say they have to allow a percentage of people in who are not 55.   Apparently, Rancho Casa Blanca in Indio does not.  I am not questioning the legality of their decision.  Their rules are their rules.  I do question the wisdom of their decision.

Most parks just want to keep it quiet and not have kids bouncing their baseballs off the sides of folks rigs.  I get that.  I am old too and don't want a ball through my windshield or a kid playing hide and seek under my rig.  I get the point of Adult Communities.  I don't get not allowing a single 46 year old and her sometimes resident 68 year old mother a spot for the winter.  More and more people are retiring younger and traveling.  More too, with the advent of the internet, are just taking their jobs with them as they travel.  The result is that there are more and more 40 somethings, with money to spend, that are heading to places like Yuma, the Rio Grande Valley and Palm Springs, the places that have traditionally catered to the over 55 crowd during the winter months.  I have a couple full-time RV friends younger than me and many more that are between 50 and 55.  We need places to stay too.  We might prefer 50's music over the 40's Country and Line Dancing to Square Dancing, but I have met a whole lot of over 55's that do to!

The bottom line is that at 46, it doesn't feel really good to be denied a site because you are too young.  An adult is an adult.  I had spent couple weeks pouring through sites at Rancho Casa Blanca park, contacting owners with lots for rent, working deals for a seasonal rentals and so on.  I was quite disappointed to be turned away but as so many things go, I think that it has all worked out for the best.  I found a welcoming 55 and over park.  The people have been very friendly.  I had a concierge come check on me the first two days to make sure I was comfortable and finding my way around.  I have found several other 40 somethings here as well.  The first dance here had a guy playing 50's, 60's and 70's music. I knew all the words!  I don't know if I will still be RVing when I am 55 or not, but I do know that I won't be staying at parks that turned me away at 40 something.

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