Saturday, February 11, 2012

RVing is for Me

Life has an uncanny way of changing. At least it has for Deborah and me.  We started out hundreds of miles apart, living in separate cities and states.  You have heard the saying that love will find a way and it certainly did in our case.  We have gone from a long distance relationship in separate states to shacking up together in Atlanta, Georgia to restoring an old historic home in Chattanooga to a luxury condo on the Tennessee River to a 350 square foot 5th wheel.  I have loved it all! 

We began our RV journey back in June of last year (2011) after selling nearly everything we possessed.  We said goodbye to family and friends and embraced our new lifestyle.  I have always known that I am adaptable and that I can be happy wherever I find myself.  Deborah has a different attribute that I call a wandering spirit.  I find that she is a bit of a gypsy.  Ever since we have been together she has loved each and every part of our lives.  Eventually, her internal clock gets to a point that makes her ready for change.   It does not happen on a regular schedule but it does happen.  Just when I think we are settled in a wonderful place for the rest of our lives, she is ready for a change.  From my point of view, it keeps life interesting and I am ready to go right along with her.  This last change was the most dramatic of all when we decided to "go fulltime RVing".  Using the old saying, "Eyes wide open", I fully expect another change at some point which I fully intend to embrace when it happens.  That's one of the fun things about her. 

Deborah with Judy and Allen from Santa Fe
As I have gotten older (now 59) I probably have certain things that I would not want to give up.  I can assure everyone that I have not given up anything that would make my new life less satisfying.  The biggest challenge in this new lifestyle is keeping in touch with my kids and with friends so they do not feel they have been abandoned.  I feel fortunate that we live in this time period where we have access to cell phones and internet just about anywhere we travel.  Not that long ago we would have been forced to find a hotspot to send and receive emails and cell coverage was very sporadic in a large part of the country.  I cannot say that it is perfect, but it is pretty good.   Using these technological marvels we have been able to keep in touch with everyone.  I particularly love Skype and Apple's Facetime.  Deborah is constantly on Facebook and keeps me updated on most of our friends and family.  How did early RV pioneers ever survive?

Kent and Phil in Rapid City, SD
My biggest worry was that we would not make any new friends as we constantly move around the country.  This has proven to be a non-issue.  We chose to winter over in Yuma, AZ at the Palms RV Resort.  We are here for five months.  As I peer out our window, I can name every person parked around us and we have made tons of friends with Canadians and Americans from all over the park some of whom, I believe, will be lifelong friends.  Even getting to Yuma we made new friends at places we only stayed at for far shorter periods.  There was Bill and Gloria in Crossville, TN who are also in Yuma right now; Kent and Cookie in Custer, SD who we plan to hook up with in the future; Allen and Judy in Santé Fe, NM who just visited us here in Yuma.  People who RV are in a “club” of sorts.  We connect at a basic level by sharing something in common.  I have met a few couples that I would not choose to hang with, but that is less common.  For the most part, it is a genuine pleasure to get to know new neighbors, to hear their stories and to share new experiences. 

Catherine and Jo Beth with Deborah in Santa Fe
Before beginning our journey we attended a rally, RV-Dreams, in Sevierville, Tennessee.  I had a new post recently and was thrilled to see Gin and Syl post a comment to my story.  They were a beautiful and energetic couple that we met at the Rally.  As we traveled to South Dakota to establish our legal residence, we stopped by a COE campground in Monroe City, Missouri and visited with a couple we also met at the rally, Bob and Janet.  The two of them are just the most wonderful people you could know and Deborah is in touch through Facebook with them.  Bob made the best pizzas in his Green Egg grill.  While in Santé Fe we hooked up with an adorable and interesting couple, Catherine and Jo Beth, who we met at the rally.  We are also keeping in touch with Dick and Michelle from Maine.  There are many others we are staying in touch with that we met at the rally.  I think that things like Facebook and Blogs perpetuate these connections and I thank my lucky stars that we live when we do.
Bill and Gloria Snodgrass with Deborah and Phil
in Crossville, TN
I have learned so much about our rig from other RVers.  One our first stops was in Crossville, Tennessee.  We had to stay there longer than expected in order to have some warranty work completed in Knoxville.  While there we became friends with Bill and Gloria.  They had a DRV Mobile Suites unit a couple of years older than ours and a Ram 3500 dually truck like ours.  Bill took me under his wing and advised me on how to maintain my unit and truck.  He had been an aircraft mechanic in a prior life and knows the importance of staying on top of things.  He and Gloria are just the best!  They own a home here in Yuma and we have gotten together several times.   Bill and I recently rode up to Quartzsite together.

Phil's Wire Bonsai Tree
The pace of life seems slower right now but I think that is due to us being retired and not our new RV lifestyle.  There is always plenty to do, especially here in Yuma at the Palms.  I play tennis three times a week, volleyball twice a week, go to pottery classes three times a week, and try to make the burger bash on Saturdays.  Besides that, we have traveled down to Alagodones, Mexico a few times with friends, gone to concerts at the Yuma theatre, and seen all the latest action movies.  I have also conducted three multiple day classes to teach others how to make wire trees.  This was my contribution to all the wonderful amenities provided to us here at the Palms.  For anyone coming to Yuma for the winter, I recommend this resort.  It is FAB-U-LOUS, capitalized!  I have not seen anyone playing water volleyball yet but you can bet I will be in there with them when they start playing.

Phil throwing clay at The Palms RV Resort
It’s February and we plan on leaving at the end of March.  We have begun planning our next path.  We think we will head toward California, Oregon and Washington then head back toward Chattanooga and Atlanta by September.  We are planning on taking our granddaughter to Disney World in October and that is the only fixed event in our schedule.  We have a lot of decisions to make between now and then.  We will definitely winter over in Florida next year in the little Scottish community of Dunedin.

Oh, and one more thing.  Deb and I have had another lifestyle change.  She has always been interested in her quality of food.  She correctly believes in, "you are what you eat".  While in Yuma, some new friends had us watch another of those propaganda movies about the evils of eating flesh and of course Deb insisted on me sitting through it.  The movie was "Forks Over Knives".  Most movies she pushes on me show nasty slaughter houses and inhumane treatment of chickens, pigs and cows.  These movies never had an impact on me like this one.  This movie was from the clinical aspect and focuses on the relationship of diet and disease, and that was what convinced me. I can now say that both of us are on a vegan diet which excludes all meat, dairy, eggs and cheese.  Tough, right?   I can be stubborn and as anyone who knows me will attest, I was a meat and potatoes guy.   I ate very few vegetables.   I encourage everyone to watch this movie and draw their own conclusions.  After six weeks of being on the diet, even with my occasional cheating, I have lost 10 pounds and Deborah has lost 13 pounds.  That fat above my abdomen has disappeared and my spare tire has all but disappeared in just a month.  Deb is also looking pretty sexy.  Deb has to be creative with me since I really don't like vegetables.  She focuses on a lot of grains, beans, fruits, peppers, lettuces and tomatoes.  You can get “fake” meat that is soy and wheat based that has a meat taste and texture, which is pretty good.  I do a lot of stir-frying with these using a minimum amount of olive oil.  You can even have a “fake” hotdog.  I miss my standard old eggs and bacon breakfast but I like my newfound health.  We are both firming up and plan to stick with it.

Check out our travel photos at  I try to keep it fairly current with what we are doing. 

Happy travels to all!


  1. Great article. We are glad to hear that it is so easy to meet people and make friends. This is one aspect of full time RV living we are really looking forward to.

    1. I am sure you will have no trouble making friends and staying in touch with them as you travel. My wife, Deborah, is a Facebook guru now and that is one of the best ways to stay in touch. Just to let you know, here at our winter resort there are usually gatherings of folks every afternoon in an around our spot. You would have to go out of your way not to be social here. They also constantly have events like the Saturday Burger Bash that pulls folks together. Tonight, they had a band and dance (Elvis) for Valentines Day. From what I hear, most winter resorts do these types of things.