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Preperation, part 1

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A Little Background Info

Ruth and I have been camping both separately and more recently together for quite some tome.

I began my camping adventures as a kid in South Florida, I remember a summer when I was about 13-14 when I set up a tent in my back yard and spent most every night during the summer “outside”. Looking back at those memories, it was one of the highlights of my childhood!!! Also looking back… what was I thinking, it was HOT, I grew up in Miami where summers are incredibly hot, but in those days we didn’t have air conditioning so who knew it was hot! Much later, after a long hiatus, I started camping again when my son, Danny, joined the Boy Scouts and we began our scouting career (thats a whole book in itself).

Ruth’s camping also goes back quite a way, she too has been an outdoor enthusiast for quite some time. She spent an extended summer with a good friend in Europe after graduating college and they explored a variety of different “sleeping” arrangements. Ruth, having two daughters, didn’t spend much time camping during the girls youth but was ready and willing to join me once I came on the scene in the mid 90’s.

 

In the Beginning…

So begins our camping adventures… at first in a backpacking tent, graduating to a car-camping behemoth, adding a blow-up queen size mattress and finally giving up on ground camping. From there we graduated to our first RV… a Coleman Pop-Up, the biggest of the biggest, with all the luxuries of home… including a toilet! Man, we were living large, no more sleeping on the ground in the sweltering heat or frigid cold.

DuckettMill Aug09 016As we explored the Southeast, pulling the pop-up and going through the set-up and tear-down process many, mant times we quickly realized the time needed to perfore these tasks and I soon realized that it took me longer to set-up the pou-up than a tent, but the perks were definitely worth it!!! This was great, we could have the entire family join us and we all had a place inside to sleep. Ever seen 7 people inside a pop-up, especially on a cold rainy night <grin>? Then came Eli, our grandson and camping got ramped up, sometimes every weekend of the month during the spring and fall.

And, the list of STUFF to take with us grew, and grew, and grew to the point that we ultimately completely filled every nook and cranny of the deflated pop-up, the front storage compartment, the bed of the truck AND the back seat!!!  Then to include the kids vehicles which were filled to overflowing. Stop the madness!!! I’ve come to realize that you just cant have too much stuff, or can you, more on that later.

As Ruth and I were camping America, well at least a VERY small part of it, we spent quite a bit of time discussing our future. We both love to travel and really struggle with the costs associated. We were struggling with the costs of living in a BIG house, a beautiful home on the river in Dahlonega Georgia, our dream home, which we built and really loved. BUT, it was expensive and we were no where near paying it off. So in about 2008 we starting to think of alternatives…

The What If’s (dreaming)

Staying in campgrounds you cant help but see all the different options there are for RV’ing, motorhomes, Class C RV’s travel trailers and Fifth Wheels… so we began  the What If

What if we sold the house; bought a smaller, less expensive home and bought a small RV? So we began the treks to the RV dealerships to look at options, you know just dreaming…at least at first. As we looked at the so, so many different options we started thinking about other what if’s…

What if we sold the house and bought a bigger RV, one we could live in? At this point we had ruled out small RV’s, really had focused in on motorhomes and 5’ers. The Class C’s were too small and the 5’ers have so much more room than the travel trailers. So we began he search, still not sure this was what we really wanted but leaning more in the direction of fulltime RV living. We started off looking at motorhomes and 5’ers around 30-32 feet long but quickly realized that there were some serious limitations to a rig of this size, so we moved to 34-36 foot models. At the same time we were looking at what was parked in campgrounds and started looking for specific brands and models. As we were looking at motorhomes and 5’ers we started thinking about associated costs weighing the motorhome vs. 5’er, we decided that to move a 5’er you would obviously need a truck to haul it but once parked you could use the truck to get around. With a motorhome you either haul to haul a second vehicle or disconnect everything and drive the rig wherever you want to go (we realized this one afternoon as we watched a very nice man become extremely agitated as he disconnected all the hook-ups and lowered the  stabilizers so they could go to the grocery store). We decided that a second vehicle was not the way for us to go. As we looked around  we found our first real “dream machine”, a Keystone Montana, then we saw the Montana Big Sky, then the Forest River Cardinal… and then we started thinking about other what if’s…

What if we sold the house and bought a RV designed for fulltime living? Sometime in the fall of 2010 we were staying at Unicoi State Park outside Helen GA, we saw a DRV Mobile Suites that one of the campground hosts had and really liked what we saw so we pulled out the iPhone and started looking for DRV dealers and discovered that Southern RV, in Jonesboro GA, sold DRV. On the day after Thanksgiving in 2010 we drove doen to Jonesboro to look at the DRV’s. Man these are sweet rigs BUT expensive and heavy!!! Southern RV also sells Crossroads and Redwoods, both Thor lines. Brad, the owner suggested that we look at the Redwoods which at the time was a relatively new line and is designed for fulltime RV living and quite nice!!! They had 2-3 of the Redwood models on the lot which we looked at (we spent about 6 hours looking at the Redwoods) but really liked the 36FB which they didn’t have. So we asked Brad to let us know when he had the 36FB on the lot so we could look at it.

Our chance came in early 2011 at the Atlanta RV Show. Brad had called us before the show to tell us that he was expecting delivery of a 36FB in February and that he was bringing it to the show along with several other models including a new DRV, the Tradition, a new line for DRV which was priced comparable with the Redwood. We trekked to the show to look at both the Redwoods and the DRV’s and all the other stuff. I never realized just how many different RV manufacturers there are AND how many accessories there were for RV’s!!! After looking through the 36FB we were convinced that this is the one for us, or is it?

Now that we THINK we have finally decided three things…

  1. we want to sell the house…
  2. we want to fulltime…
  3. we want a Redwood 36FB…

So now on to the next adventure, stay tuned…