Tuesday, December 31, 2013

1st Year of Fulltiming Summation

Casa Grande, AZ

It's the time of the year when so many bloggers post a "year in review" or a summation of what occurred during the year.  Well, I've decided to follow the leads of others and do a summary of a few of the "key" points during our first year of fulltiming.

I'm not going to re-hash the places we've been, nor show pictures of significant stops. Hey, that's what the past blog entries are all about.  Please feel free to look back at our blog during the first year if looking for something specific.

Ok, here goes.

First, I truly cannot believe that we've already been on the road for an entire year.  We departed VA on 1/1/2012 (where it was pretty chilly) and headed south.  To steal a phrase from someone whose name I cannot recall "We wake up with nothing on the agenda, and by the time we go to bed we've only accomplished half of the things on the list".  The year has just flown by.

One of the good things about visiting many new to us places is that we've already discovered sights and attractions which we'll definitely put onto our list to return.
Because I'm a bit anal when it comes to numbers and statistics here's a breakdown of our first year on the road:

Transportation Related

Motorhome:                     Miles Traveled                   9095 miles
                                         Ave. MPG                          8.58
                                         Total Cost of Diesel Fuel   $4162.53
                                         Ave. Price per Gallon        $3.61

Honda Fit:                       Miles Traveled                    8592 miles
                                         Ave. MPG                          39.34
                                         Total Cost of Gasoline        $777.66
                                         Ave. Price per Gallon         $3.56

Camping Related  (Figures include all utilities as well)

                              Total Cost                            $7387.21
                              Ave. Price per Day              $20.24
                              Shortest Stay                        1 night
                              Longest Stay                        60 days

        Types of facilities (separate locations, not nights)

                             Private/Commercial/Fairgrounds        18
                             State Parks/COE/County Parks           7
                             Membership Parks (TT, SKP)              9
                             Tiffin Service Center                             1
                             Dry Camp (Boondock)                         1
                             Total Locations                                   36

We actually camped in a total of 15 different states during the year of 2013 and stayed an average of 10.14 days in each location.

I have all of the budget line item figures for the year as well, but because this varies so much from person to person I've decided not to post charts for these figures.

Should anyone be interested in a "budget" item please do not hesitate to either leave a request in the "comment" section below or send us an email at the address listed in the top left portion of this blog page.

Summation and General Comments Pertaining to the First Year on the Road

The phrase "we've had a blast" really sums up our first year as fulltimers. We have visited so many places we'd only read about prior to being able to retire.  We've found that you really can't get to know a totally new place until you spend at least a couple of weeks in one location.  You really need to get to know the area by visiting the downtown areas, going to the grocery stores, and stopping to talk with folks who actually live in an area.

We've visited some very small towns this year, but found that there are things to see, places to visit, and new things to discover about each and every area we were in.  Other than the freedom to go basically wherever we chose, probably the best thing about fulltiming is meeting new people.  With few exceptions, almost everyone we met was "upbeat" and loved to take a chair and relate some of their traveling experiences.

I hate to say this about our past "working" life and living location, but in the 25 years that we lived in our last stick and bricks location, we never really got to meet our neighbors.  We lived in a "bedroom community" where usually both adults worked during the day and had long commutes.  By the time everyone got home, it was late and not much socializing occurred.

Fulltiming has created a refreshing change.  We've met new folks (and have remained friends either thru blogging or emails) as we've traveled the country.  It really is amazing how many folks you will eventually meet up with again at a location clear on the other side of the country.

While I will agree with the statement that "fulltiming is not for everyone", it certainly is for us.  I would encourage anyone who truly believes that this is the lifestyle which they would like to pursue, to go for it.  One of the many reasons that Karen and I decided to begin fulltiming as early as we could is because we did not want to look back 20 years from now and "wish" that we had done this. We are very thankful to be able to actually live our fulltiming dream NOW.

Here's wishing everyone a safe travel year in the coming year.
Hopefully, we'll meet up with a few of you on the road this year.

(OF NOTE) We began writing this blog in December 2012, just prior to our fulltiming life on the road. We've now had over 50,000 pageviews to date. We never thought that so many people cared about what, and where we were.  We began this blog just as a "diary" for ourselves and to let our family know a bit more about our travels on the road.  THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HAS READ OUR BLOG!

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve As a Fulltimer

Casa Grande, AZ                   (Please click on pics to enlarge)

This is our first true Christmas eve after becoming fulltimers.  (We don't count last year as we were still in the area of our "previous life" due to still working until the end of last December).

There are many differences between this year and years past, but we are certainly not wanting for friends and activities. 

Even our cat Willie seems to be pretty content laying beside our Christmas tree on the dash of our motorhome.  He loves to play (meaning swat) the ornamental presents which surround the tree.

A lot of folks in the park have gone home for Christmas, or many have family members visiting, but for the rest of us who are fulltimers, we are having a great time. 

One couple, who has been coming to Palm Creek for years, has an annual tradition of organizing a pre-Christmas "block party" dinner in one of the rooms at the club house. We had just barely met them, but they very graciously asked us to attend.  They provided the entrée and everyone brought a side or dessert to share. There were approximately 70 people in attendance this year.

Prior to dinner our host asked everyone to stand and give their names and to tell where they were from.  It was interesting to listen to the wide diversity of areas where people reside.  The largest number were from Canada, but the US was represented from as far away as FL and PA.  There was even a couple visiting from Scotland.

We had a wonderful time visiting and getting to know people we had just met.  Our table was made up of Alan and Brenda (Washington State) and Ken and Jill (British Columbia). They are immediately across the street from our rig and strangely enough we all three arrived in the park at exactly the same time back in early November. Both couples are RVers and I think this just gives everyone a common bond to strike up a conversation and friendship.

Just prior to eating, our host asked a few gentleman in the crowd to come forward.  No one else had any idea what was to come, but it certainly was amusing.  Please take a look at the short video below to see what I mean.

Another activity which brought the immediate community together was the construction and placing of luminaries on the streets.  The group gathered around 4 PM today under the guise of constructing the luminaries, but I think a bit of "happy hour" was the driving force as well.

Here's a picture of the luminaries before the sun set.

After darkness fell and the luminaries were lit, a true feeling of the holiday season was definitely in order.  Our rig is on the right side in this picture.

The night sky is clear and temps are in the high-40s as I write this blog.  It really is very beautiful in this part of the country at night.

We would like to wish all of our readers of our blog a very Happy Holiday Season and the best of wishes for a New Year.  Please be safe in your travels during this time of the year as it can be a bit maddening for those having to travel.  Fortunately, we are settled in for the winter and very happy in our "winter home".

Thanks for stopping by once again to take a look!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas in the Park

Casa Grande, AZ                   (Please select pics to enlarge)

It's been awhile since our last post (2 weeks).  Actually, there hasn't been a lot of "blog worthy" things to talk about.  Steve is continuing his physical therapy for the calf muscle tear and is progressing nicely. It was exactly 3 weeks yesterday since the injury occurred and I can get around pretty well already.  Now, it's just a matter of re-strengthening the muscles in the lower leg.  Pickleball here we come!

Karen has gotten a chance to play Pickleball many times now without Steve.  Something she enjoys, I suspect.  She also began a drawing with colored pencils class a few weeks ago.  For a first timer, I will admit that she's doing a pretty nice job.

Since I'm still limited in the amount of walking I can do, we decided to drive around the Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort the other night and view some of the Christmas decorations.  Since this is our first Christmas away from the traditional sticks and bricks house, coupled with a totally new geographical area (Virginia vs. Arizona), Christmas will "look" very different for us this year.

Here's a "daylight" view of some of the decorations cropping up around the park.

It seems that everyone, including the Resort, likes to wrap the palm trees in lights. This is the area near the Activities Center, and  the patio leading to the swimming pool.

Folks decorate everything.  Palm trees, sheds, houses.

 There's also conventional decorating around the houses.
Here's a look at the decorations in front of the same house, just different times of the day.

 Casa Grande's temperature today is supposed to reach 77 degrees with clear and bright skies.  I'll apologize to all of my family and friends back East, but we really don't miss all of that ice, snow, and freezing rain that I used to have to work in only one short year ago. This really is what the fulltime lifestyle should be all about.
Thanks for stopping by to take a look!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Trip to the Orthopedist

Casa Grande, AZ

Well, it's been 8 days since my injury and I was finally able to get in and see the Orthopedic Doctor today.  Of course, you don't really get to see the "Doctor", but rather the Physician's Assistant (PA)

After a brief discussion of the cause of the injury, and what I would call a cursory physical exam at best, he concluded that I most likely have a minor tear in the calf muscle.  (No mention of scheduling an MRI, btw.)

He gave me a list of Physical Therapists to select from and indicated that I'd probably be "out of pickleball" for at least 6 weeks.  I intend to do a bit of verbal research with my fellow pickleballers here at the resort to get a consensus on which physical therapists they've used, but more importantly, which ones they have had success with.

At this point I'm still using crutches to walk around with, but just elevating the leg at night (without compression), and taking some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs throughout the day.

In conclusion, not a whole lot learned, but at least it doesn't appear to be a major tear (which would entail a surgical repair).

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!