You can click on "photos"
directly to the first photo page, which has a connector to the second
page (if there is one).
For the first time since we started full-timing
nearly five years ago in
May 2000 we have sat in one place for three months as we spent the
winter at the Encore RV Resort in Clermont, Florida.
We did what most folks do when they come to Florida for the
winter. We visited with people we have known; met some new folks;
played golf; saw lots of movies; ate out a lot; bought passes and spent
several days in
Disney World; worked on our house on wheels (clean, wash, wax,
etc). So this travelogue will mostly be a photo journal
of folks we met and visited with during our stay. Please know
that if we visited with you and there is no photo on our photo page,
it's because I didn't have the camera with me at the time.
Diane and I also had lots of time to chat about
what we want to do in the future. Naturally, that included
discussions about whether we want to continue full-timing or get off
the road. The answer, for now, is that there are still lots of
places we want to see so we'll stay on the road as full-timers.
Our checkpoint year has always been 2007, and it remains 2007. As
a result of our chats, I wanted to write something about full-timing
and nesting because we are both feeling more of a desire to nest.
There are lots of definitions floating around
about what makes a
full-timer, and I have been part of discussions about that
subject. Diane and I agree with the definition that says a
full-timer is one who lives AND TRAVELS full-time in an RV. Some
folks think that someone who lives in an RV all year, even if it
move, is a full-timer. We don't think those people are
full-timers. Some folks think that if someone lives in an RV all
year, but moves it from one place for six months to another place for
six months, is a full-timer. We think of those people as
snowbirds who happen to live in an RV. Some real purists believe
that if someone owns a house, even if they have rented it out, but live
and travel in an RV, are not full-timers. I guess we aren't
purists in that sense because we know folks who own a house they've
rented out, but live and travel full-time in an RV and we think of them
as full-timers. In any case, as I said, there
are different definitions for what people think makes a full-timer, so
we don't expect everyone who may read this to agree with what we think
makes a full-timer. I wrote this paragraph to set up the topics
in the following paragraphs.
I think of
nesting as staying in one place for three months or more, or even
coming off the road to nest permanently in a house. I
don't think we are running out of steam or losing interest
in travel, but maybe, just maybe, we may be feeling a need to nest a
bit. We seem to be talking more often about where we might want
to buy or build a house. Not that I think we'll be off the road
anytime soon, but we seem to be talking about it more often, and I
think it may be more me than Diane. Now
that we have been on the road for almost five years the plusses and
minuses become clearer.
Over the past five years we have met several people who were
full-timers and came off the road. It seems that the first
threshold that folks reach for coming off the road is somewhere between
two and three years. In some cases it was the husband who wanted
to come off the road, but the wife who wanted to continue. In
other cases, it was the wife who wanted to come off the road, but the
husband wanted to continue. The unwritten rule of thumb goes
something like this: "if one of a couple wants to come off the
road, then the couple comes off the road". Living in an RV
full-time would not be a happy home if someone is doing it out of some
sense of duty to their spouse rather than having a desire to
full-time. We have heard many reasons for coming off the road
(I'll use "I", but it could be "We"):
"I need more space"
"I need to have roots"
"I miss my grandchildren and/or children"
"I miss having a house"
"I want to buy a house because the interest rates and price of houses
are rapidly increasing"
These, and other reasons, are the ones we have heard most often whether
years or 15 years of full-time travel. Everyone has a different
threshold for living life as a nomad. There are even some folks
who start to full-time and come off the road in a year. Those are
the sad stories because they didn't really think it through before
selling everything and buying an RV. I remember my mom telling my
brother: "I'll give them six months". Well, we are nearing five
years and still loving the travel part of full-timing. But there
are some downsides.
Diane talks about more space and the
thrill of decorating one more new house, and I'm sure that someday that
will happen. For me, coming off the
road would have more to do with a desire for a more regular dose of
camaraderie. We are all different, and we all have different
wants and needs for companionship other than our spouse. People
who write RV books, and lots of full-timers, talk about the community
or RVers. It is a community, for sure, but it isn't the same as
living in a housing community for all, or most, of the year.
There is a camaraderie in the RV community, but it's different.
steady but, rather, seems to be there mostly at RV rallies where there
are lots of RVers. The camaraderie in campgrounds is fleeting
given that people are only there for a few days to a week or two.
I would say the
snowbird may have more of a feeling of community and camaraderie than
The snowbird has
a home and travels south for the winter months. They have a
community where they live, such as their neighborhood, or church, or
clubs. I think most snowbirds go to the same place every
winter, so they see the same folks every year and have a sense of
community in their winter habitat. As such, it is much easier for
them to make
acquaintances and friendships than the full-timer. On one of my
golf outings from the campground we were in I played with three guys
who all lived in the same town in Michigan. They also winter in
the same campground every winter. The spouses are also friends,
so they have have the regular dose of camaraderie I mentioned
For Diane and me, it is
a constant stream of meeting strangers along the way. I love
meeting and talking to lots of folks, but I'm starting to feel a need
regular companionship and the opportunity to make friends that I can
share experiences with on a regular basis, even if it's just a regular
foursome with whom
I would play golf every week. Except for about sixteen months
worked at a desk job, I have been a 100% traveler since 1993.
That's 12 years. All of my business travel was team travel, that
there were always three to five colleagues, and sometimes spouses,
along on those extended
trips lasting up to eight weeks. There were always people to eat
with, travel with, and share experiences. I find that I miss
that, and Diane has
indicated that she also misses travel with other people. Now some
folks might say that we should go on caravans, but we pretty much agree
that we aren't caravan types. The pace of those trips is much
faster than we would like to travel. Plus they are
expensive. When we did a lot of international traveling during my
last six years of work, we rarely took tours. We preferred to go
off and see things at our own pace and without some of the frills of a
tour that we wouldn't be interested in.
Our favorite time on the road was the summer of
2003 when we toured for 10 weeks with Norm and Linda Payne, including 8
weeks in the Maritimes. We have run into several groups of folks
who were traveling together. In talking to them, we found out
that they were almost always friends who lived in the same community
and enjoyed traveling together every summer. None that we met
were full-timers, although I'm sure there are clusters of full-timers
who are close to each other and travel a lot together. Diane and
I love to travel and aren't ready to give it up yet, but we both agree
that we miss the camaraderie of traveling with other people. I
wrote a bit about this in the travelogue titled "Camaraderie".
Given that we haven't yet done Alaska, or Quartzite, or Mexico, we
still have lots of places we
want to see before coming off the road. I guess we could sort of
snowbird by coming back to the Encore RV Resort next year and seeing
the same people that we've met this year, but that isn't in our
plans. We want to go out to the desert next winter and do
Quartzite and Puerto Penasco (Mexico). As of now, we are still
tour the Washington/Oregon coast this year after going to the Newmar
Full-timers Rally and the Newmar International Rally, both in
Oregon. Barring any kind of emergency, we plan journey to Alaska
It was nice to sit in one spot for a while this
winter. We got to meet lots of new folks while playing bunco and
euchre a couple of nights a week. I signed up to play golf every
week and met Chuck Dombrow the first time out. He and Linda were
in the park for two months and we hung around a lot during that time
frame. They were snowbirds from Wisconsin and will be returning
next winter. We enjoyed playing games and the four of us
playing the short golf course at Kings Ridge a couple of times.
Unfortunately, the winter didn't start off very good for Diane.
She became very ill in January and ended up spending six days in a
hospital. We had just gotten settled in at the RV park so we
didn't know anyone
yet. That meant no visitors for Diane except yours truly,
although Diane probably wasn't interested in visitors the first couple
of days when they had her on morphine to deaden the pain she was
having. The doctors didn't know what was wrong with her, so they
ended up doing several tests. The final diagnosis was
diverticulosis. The night before she was going to be discharged
heart started palpitating. She's had palpitations before, but has
just lived with it. It was probably fortunate that it happened in
the hospital because they called in a cardiologist who said she suffers
from atrial fibrillation. It wasn't something to be overly
concerned about, but should be watched. It took Diane a few weeks
to get back in form, so we spent almost all of February getting
Diane back to good health.
There were lots of folks we got to visit with during our stay.
Another memorable day for me and Diane was a day we spent in
World when we met two young ladies from Japan. We were standing
on line for the Test Track attraction when we heard the two ladies
behind us speaking in Japanese. If you've looked at the
international travelogues I have recently added to our website you know
that Diane and I loved our trips to Tokyo. Not being shy to talk
to people, I struck up a conversation with the two ladies. They
were Yuko and Kasumi. Yuko was fairly conversant with
English, so we were able to chat. They were both going to
graduate from college in March and start new jobs. Yuko said she
was going to work as a flight attendant for Japan AirLines (JAL), and
Kasumi was going to start a job at the insurance office of Nihon
Seimei. We had a great time talking about places we loved to
visit in Japan. It took a while to get them to understand the
full-time lifestyle, but the photo on our social card got the point
across that our house was on wheels and moved around the USA.
They both thought that would be a great lifestyle. Subsequent to
meeting Yuko and Kasumi, we got a note from Yuko after
she got home. She said she was planning a vacation to Las Vegas
soon and had gone to our website to check it out. She found the
photos from our trip to Las Vegas and was very excited to visit the
- Bruce & Faye Ward who we met at the Spartan factory in
Michigan and again at
the Newmar factory
- Alan & Hedda Gnaizda who were colleagues of mine when I
worked in Miami back in the 1977-1982 time frame. We also visited
with them at their home in the DC area in 2003 as we made our way south
after touring the Maritimes.
- lunch with some RVAMERICA website folks the day before
heading to the Tampa RV show
- several folks at the Tampa RV Show: Sue & John Churn;
Stan & Betty Bober; Bob & Anne Roney; Dutch & Marilyn
Souder; Dennis & Cindy Henderson
- got to visit my Aunt Mary and cousin Jay in Tampa
- Ray & Earline Greer who were full-timers and now live in
house in the area. We got to visit and have dinner with them in
their new home
- drove into Orlando to meet Pappy & Cecile Doughty as
they were making their way back to Georgia from Okeechobee
- Kit & Nancy Carter were staying at the Thousand Trails
park nearby and came over for a visit
- Ted & Donna Rogers who we met last Thanksgiving in The
Villages were back in Florida for a long weekend and they drove to the
Encore park to visit with us
- Paul & Diane Andrus who live in Sebring and who we
visited back in December stopped by for a visit on their way into
- Tom & Tish McGonegal, who we visited several times in
our travels to the Boothbay Harbor area in Maine, were vacationing on
Island and we met in Palm Coast for lunch as we did last year
- I have had email contact with Darrell Patterson for some
found us via our website. As it turned out, he was coming to
Orlando on business and decided to drive from Michigan in their fifth
wheel and make it
a work/vacation week. That also allowed Judy to come along.
They had never been to Disney World, so we went with them to Epcot and
had a great day together.
- we made a few day trips to Ocala to visit with my mom
- visited with my cousin Dawn from Clermont
The spring Newmar full-timer rally was being held at the Clerbrook RV
Resort, which was about 25 miles north of where we were staying.
We already paid for our stay at the Encore park, so we went up to the
rally for a couple of dinners to meet the folks and play some
games. Many of the folks who attended said they would also be out
in Oregon for the rallies in June.
The three months went by very quickly and it was time to head
north. We stopped in Ocala for several days to visit with my mom
and help her run errands, as well as go to the movies and out to
eat. Then it was up to Lake City for an overnight to visit with
Diane's brother. As I finish this travelogue we are parked in our
daughter's (Jill) driveway for a couple of weeks to take care of doctor
and dentist appointments and visit with some old friends during this
On almost every visit back to the Atlanta area we have the neighbors
who lived next door to us in Marietta, Ron and Deanna Tarlton. I
guess because we used to live in the area we never remembered to take
the camera with us when we went out. As a result, I was never
able to put a photo of them up on our website. Well, this time we
We also got to visit with an old friend, Dave Kukielski, who we knew
from the church parish we belonged to in Marietta.
And then it was time to get on the road again. I imagine the next
travelogue will be from somewhere out in the Pacific Northwest.
Until next time, safe travels.....