The road to vagabond living: “An epiphany”

Seven years until retirement and I need a plan!

The prospect of living the rest of my life in my Georgia house seems like a prison sentence.  I have to find some other way!  I want to get more out of life than the same old routine!  But what?

I search for an alternative.

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The photos for today’s post were taken from our Sore Finger Road camp in west-central Arizona.

Well, I could sell the house and move somewhere else.  Maybe rent an apartment so I don’t have the burden of maintenance.  But where would I go?  And wouldn’t I tire of that location just as I tired of Georgia? And of Florida before that?  Again, I’d end up looking out the window at the same old view.

I try to think “outside the box.”

Hmm  . . . Maybe I could reside in another country.  At least I’d have a new environment and culture to explore.  I research online, stumbling upon forums of ex-patriot retirees.

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I think this is Martin’s Peak (elev. 2,333 ft.).

It isn’t long before I know that isn’t the life for me.

What, then?  What exactly DO I want?

In order to figure out what I want for my retirement years, I find it easier to eliminate what I don’t want.

I don’t want to work. That’s for sure.   I don’t want responsibilities or commitments.  Had those since the age of seventeen . . . . 

I don’t want to be tied to a schedule.  I don’t want to worry about bills.  I don’t want routine.  I don’t want predictability.  I don’t want to fade away.

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This photo shows our camp along a spur of Sore Finger Road.

Okay, how do I live a full life?

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I discovered this cactus at the edge of a wash, hidden under the branches of a creosote bush.

I want to live well within my means.  I hate debt. 

I want to feel free and unburdened.  

I want to get rid of all this stuff in my life! 

I want to get away from the rat race! 

I want to roam! 

I don’t know much about RVing or camping.

This is what I think RVing is . . .  People retire with tons of money and buy one of those huge RVs like rock groups ride around in, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they travel from one RV resort to another in it, paying high fees, so they can eat in high-end restaurants, ride around in carts on golf courses and get their face plastered with mud in spas.

Hummingbirds have plenty to eat from the many ocotillo in bloom.

Hummingbirds have plenty to eat from the many ocotillo in bloom.

That’s not the retirement I want, even if I could afford it.

Months go by as I continue to commute to work, use up my weekends doing chores and preparing for the next week of commuting to work and so it goes, round and round.

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This lane behind our camp goes to the cholla cactus garden.

All the while I carry around those questions in the back of my mind that keep nagging at me:  Where does all this lead?  What will I do when I finally retire?  Is it all downhill from here?  Is this all there is?

One Saturday afternoon I sit at my desktop computer at home and browse the internet.

I’m not looking for anything in particular, just bumbling around to entertain myself.  I don’t remember how it happens exactly.  I open up a page and there’s a picture of a man standing next to a Class C RV.  Of course, at this point I don’t know the term “Class C.”

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By gosh, she’s got it!

I read a little bit and I’m stunned, absolutely stunned.  The next few hours I devour post after post of Tioga George’s blog.

Here’s a guy on a limited income who wants to live each day to the fullest, having gone into cancer remission.  He doesn’t go to RV resorts, golf courses, and spas.  He goes wherever he wants at his own pace, and he lives simply and economically in his RV!

This is it!  This is the answer!  

I have no doubt that I’ve found what I’ve been looking for, and the funny thing is . . .

I’d never camped a day in my adult life. 

The vision of traveling and living full-time in an RV is love at first sight!

(In the next installment I’ll describe how my vision evolved from Tioga George’s style of vagabonding to one of my own.)

Thursday, March 20

The crew and I are in our third day at our boondock on a spur of Sore Finger Road near the Harquahala Mountains of west-central Arizona.  Since we’ve been here we haven’t seen one other person.  No vehicles have driven by.  Absolute peacefulness reigns.  The weather is divine.

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Spike and Bridget in their usual poses.

The crew’s supply of meat and our supply of drinking water is running low.  Tomorrow we go to the Safeway grocery in Wickenburg and rather than drive all the way back here, I’ll take the Best Little Trailer along and move us to a new camp!

rvsue

AS ALWAYS, THANKS FOR SHOPPING AMAZON HERE!

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129 Responses to The road to vagabond living: “An epiphany”

  1. CheryLyn(Oregon) says:

    Hi Sue,
    Am I first? have to admit that I had just looked at your page and was just back to make a note and saw a new post so jumped down:)
    Now back to read.

  2. denise says:

    HAH! I also raced down to see if I could be first! Now to read the blog.

  3. Pauline from Mississippi says:

    I am loving the story of how you got from there to here…or here to there! I truly believe you made the right decision for you. God bless you Dear Sister Susan
    I love you

  4. CheryLyn(Oregon) says:

    That’s what I thought that rving meant also. It wasn’t even on my radar until a day at the tire shop and a chance article in a magazine of women traveling alone and the same week my daughter introduced me to blogs and forums. Out of curiosity I started looking for rving people.
    Hope it is ok to post twice in a row. I have had a question for awhile. I am so technologically challenged that I doubt I will ever have a blog. Actually, until a year or two ago I have never heard of forums or blogs. ANYWAY..Q. I know that this blog and related photos etc. occupy your day to some extent, what would you do if you didn’t blog? I’m trying to remember what I used to do before work and other responsibilities took over and could I translate to rving. I don’t slow down much at present.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Post as many comments and questions as you want, CheryLyn. I want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome here.

      Good question. What would I do? Maybe I’d get back to painting or take up some hobby. It’s hard for me to think of what else I’d do because I feel like I’m meant to write online.

      Like most people, myself included, we try to plan ahead and that’s a good thing. Sometimes though, things have a way of working into our lives all by themselves. I certainly never planned for this blog to be a big part of my life and the photography hobby is a bonus.

      What you want to do will come along . . .

  5. Wow! No one has driven by your camp! You’d cringe at where I’m at, but, it’s been out of absolute necessity to get online for my teaching, and it’s been endurable. I’m camping off a turn out (I think that’s what it’s called) off the side of the end of Move Road in Lone Pine. Last Saturday I got a “friendly warning” that I had been in Lake Isabella for my 14 days and that it was time to move on. Ug. I really loved Lake Isabella and wanted to stay for another week or two. I was even camping at a different location, at Remington Hot Springs, but, I guess it was too close to my previous spot. Oh, well.

    So, I took off the same day I got the warning from the ranger and headed to Lone Pine. I tried looking for good camping at Alabama Hills, off Movie Road. But, Saturday is not a good day to looking for camping at the famed Alabama Hills. Alack and alas, After driving the full length of that that wretched (though with breathtaking scenery) washer board road, I finally found a 4G LTE signal….near the end of the road overlooking 395. So, I had to forget Alabama lovely, but, too popular for my liking Hills for a mostly quiet turnout over-liking 395. I can hardly hear the traffic from up here. I think I like this spot enough to stay for another week before heading up to Bishop. Occassionally, traffic does pass the van, but, it’s been surprisingly quiet and doable. There doesn’t seem to be any other free choices here where I can still do my online work and have peace, quiet and privacy. This will do for now. Happy trails! I really enjoy reading about how you got where you are today!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Gloria!

      Gee, have you considered the site where the crew and I camped? It’s private and quiet and I had internet signal (with the Wilson antenna, of course). If interested, click this link to the post “Feeling right at home in the Alabama Hills.”

      It’s on Tuttle Creek Road off of Whitney Portal Road. Not much traffic and you’re not close to the road anyway.

      • Nan says:

        Sue, how large a rig would fit into that spot? Any room for 40 ft. pulling a 16 ft trailer with toad? Yes, yes, I know….not your choice for camping. But there are 16 feet in this coach moving about, I have my spinning wheel and antique circular sock machine, a tapestry loom and John has his rigid heddle weaving loom. We need the room!

        I am getting closer to have spun enough yarn for a cool night in the desert pull over sweater. Going to be heavenly with my socks from my sock machine.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Nan,

          If you’re talking about the Alabama Hills camp, I’d say no, the problem would be turning around and the sites are too small, if my memory is correct.

          • Nan says:

            Thanks Sue! I follow your blog and others who have smaller homes on wheels. It is hard to decode of there would be room for our monster. Maybe, just maybe, you might consider advising the size of the rig that will fit where you are. I keep a list of spots and I am sure others do also…..

            Have been reading your blog ‘forever’, but have just started a dialogue. Someday Oliver and Olivia want to meet Bridget and Spike…..oh what a time that would be….sometime down the road.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              That’s a great suggestion, Nan. I haven’t done that because I’m clueless about big rigs. I don’t want to encourage someone to drive out to one of my boondocks and tear up their undercarriage on the road or get in a tangled, can’t-turn-around- predicament because of what I said on this blog.

              Nina of Wheeling It gives that kind of info because they drive a big rig. A big rigger can advise a little rigger. The reverse is guess-timation. I’ll keep your suggestion in mind in the future.

      • Okay, great! I’m planning to go into town soon today anyway to take advantage of the supposedly free water at the Portagi Joe campground sort of at the beginning of Tuttle Creek road. I did recall the blog where you had camped off Tuttle Creek road, but, I thought it may have been the paid camping, since that’s what’s advertised up there. So, I didn’t pursue it. Plus, it was a steep, narrow road the further I went up Tuttle Creek Rd., and I honestly get freaked out by steep, narrow roads. Don’t know why. I’m getting better enduring them though with experience.

        So, it looks like I should go up that steep and narrow road then to get to your camp? May I ask about how far up Tuttle Creek, and on which side of the road? I guess I could grab any reasonable spot off the road, so long as it’s free. I know I won’t bother paying to camp at Tuttle Creek. Anyway, I’ll see what I can find.

        I’m not using a very tall antennae. It’s one I got from my Millenicom WiFi service. It’s around 10″ tall. Not bad. It’s certainly better than the little dinky Wilson Antennae I had started off with.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Gloria. . . You don’t go all the way to Tuttle Creek campground. When you make the lefthand turn off of Whitney Portal Road and on to Tuttle Creek Road, you will drive straight through hills on both sides of the road. Immediate through those hills, there a dirt road off to the right. It’s right before a wash.

          Drive up that lane and you’ll see a bare spot to the right. Don’t park there. Occasionally (not often) someone will do target practice on the rocks there. It wasn’t a problem when we were there.

          Continue a short distance and you’ll see two campsites on the left and a cul-de-sac camp spot at the end of the lane. It’s a short lane. We camped along that wash where two cottonwoods grow.

          Good luck!

          BTW, I’m sorry I didn’t explain this sooner. We were on the road today and shopping.

          • Thank you, Sue, for sharing the spot. I did go scouting up in that direction and probably saw the road you’re speaking of. I think it also goes off further into some brown gravely looking mountains? Perhaps a 1/2 a mile past the Portegee Joe Campground but before the winding roads and massive boulders begin? Maybe not. This is tough without more landmarks.

            But, no matter now, I’m back at my old camp and it feels goo. I did enjoy the scenic drive up through those boulder canyons! Gorgeous country. I even drove past Tuttle Creek campground and drooled over a few lovely homes back there. Besides, I don’t think anyplace off that road would work for me as the best I could get out there was a weak 3G signal. Perhaps if I tried it with my antenna, I would have had a better signal. But, here at my old spot, I have 3 bars of 4G without even putting up the antenna. My classes are king and I really prefer and need a speedy signal. Also, I ran out of strength during my search as my throat glands are swollen again (arg…I thought I was over that), so, I’ll just let it go for now. I’m truly happy back here now at my old spot. Only one car has passed by since I’ve been here this morning, and traffic is not that big of a deal since it’s a washer-board road, and I think most folks are like me, and don’t prefer to travel long distances over them. I only have to travel up a mile and a half from 395. I think I’ve found a great trick from this experience. In remote areas like this, it’s best to camp as close as possible to the main highway, but off of a dirt road that’s relatively non-busy. Heck, I have a better signal from here than I did in town!

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              For future reference… The left turn from WP Road onto the road that goes to Tuttle Creek campground is BEYOND the rt. turn into the Hills where the historical marker is. I don’t think you went up WP Road far enough. Sorry you missed it!

  6. weather says:

    what a hilarious outlook about and opinion of rving you had back then!That really made me laugh.The “country club set” holds appeal for so many and certainly offers it’s own types of pleasure,it just has no close association with camping or traveling in my experience.The unexpected combinations of ideas and things is a great source of humor to me.– Beer, onions, flowers — a farm stand I drove by had this up as their only sign.The incongruity of what they selected to sell is as hilarious to me today as it was so many years ago when I saw it.Now I watch for similar ones.On the list-Davids bridal shop and pizza.
    Real freedom in travel the way you are doing it is so much more suited to you and so many of us that you share it with.I’m glad you began then,and still are figuring it all out.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, weather,

      Those incongruous combinations of some businesses are funny.

      Yeah, this ain’t no country club livin’ but I love it!

      • Alan Rabe says:

        But it is “Country” living.

        • Sierra Foothill Mama says:

          My favorite is “Tie-Die Jerky” in the town of Groveland on Hwy 120 in California on the way to Yosemite. Been there for more than 10 years. Hippie van, lots of tie-die shirts and clothes and jerky, makes sense to me.

  7. Barbara says:

    The how you got there is very interesting. I have had the gypsy bug since I was a teenager. If my parents had not kept a strict eye on me, I could have been a roaming hippie, so I knew I wanted to travel after retirement, but have limited, fixed income.

    I too read an article about this couple, who lived not far from me, that bought a motorhome, sold there home and everything in it, and took off. They had camped, as adults, with their children, and knew that’s what they wanted to do. They had saved and planned really well for their retirement lifestyle.

    After I read the article, I started following their blog, and actually met them, when they came to visit family. Their rig is impressive, but bigger than I wanted or could afford. I did communicate with them through email and he gave me a boatload (or RV load?) of advice as well as put me in touch with other friends with other types of RV’s, magazines, etc.

    To be honest I had pretty much ruled out a smaller trailer, until I found your blog. then I started reading others and decided, this would be the most practical and affordable route.

    Questions to myself, though, have been pretty similar to yours regarding apartments, same area, same lifestyle, etc. I want change and lots of it!!

    It the cactus with the purple blooms another cholla?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barbara,

      I don’t think it’s a cholla, maybe a hedgehog cactus? Someone will tell us!

  8. klbexplores says:

    I too started reading Tioga George. It was exciting when I found you and Barbara and Chinle. Solo Women finding their own way. I still follow each of you and find myself learning something new frequently. I doubt without the solo connections I have felt I would have had the courage to find my own way. Thanks and keep on rolling.

    • Geri Moore says:

      Chinle just published a new book, “The Silver Spur Cafe”! Available on amazon via RVSue’s link. If you have never read on of Chinle Millers books, now is a good time to start! She write very humorous mysteries that take place in Utah!
      (Sorry Sue, Just had to plg for chinle…. I am reading silver spur Cafe now! Hope you don’t mind!) Buying her books keeps Chinle on the road as well!

  9. Pleinguy says:

    Really enjoying the story of how you became a vagabond. Similar to what I experienced. And, I too discovered George and Miss Tioga early on, which helped me decide to full-time RV when I retired. Looking forward to the next post.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pleinguy,

      I do admire George very much. He came up with his vagabond plan, as far as I can tell, without having someone to show him it can be done. I’ve often wondered where I’d be now if I hadn’t come across his blog when I did. He influenced a lot of people.

  10. Larry & Barb says:

    Barb and I are really enjoying your blog some of the stuff you went through we did too. We to followed others who have been full timing, how they got started what to look for, how to set up your rig to boondock. There was a lot of prep for us and the time just dragged by, we thought we would never make it. Now it has been 5 months and we are loving it. Blogs like yours are invaluable to us. Thanks

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Larry and Barb,

      Great to hear from you!

      “We thought we would never make it.” Boy, can I relate to that statement. From your comment I assume the preparations and waiting were worth it. I’m happy for you both. 🙂

  11. Tioga George was our inspiration, too. I’ll never forget opening the email my husband sent me at work with George’s link. He helped us all realize that it really WAS possible to travel in an RV without a huge budget. Bless his heart!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Grace,

      Funny how you remember your first encounter with Tioga George as clearly as I remember mine. One thing that impressed me with his blog was the way he greeted each day with a sense of adventure and delight. That taught me a lot.

      It was difficult in those days to find information about the cost of full-timing. All I could find were vague references in terminology that’s relative to one’s resources… “not very expensive” doesn’t help much! That’s why I opened up my finances for the world to see, even though it goes against my upbringing and personality. Which reminds me, I need to get caught up on those monthly reports!

      • Grace says:

        Yes, it was different then. Now there are so many RV blogs I can’t keep up with them all. I tend to stick with the ones like yours that mostly boondock and aren’t afraid to say where! Thanks, Sue, I never miss a post! Grace

  12. Bev says:

    We had sold our home and had ten days to vacate. We dumped (literally) all of our “stuff” into a storage unit. While staying at my son’s house, Jim and I looked at each other and said “Now what are we going to do?” We agreed that we wanted to travel so we started looking at RV’s. We were directed to an open house for a Newmar Dutch Star at a dealership in Boise. Our story is that we bought a very expensive hot dog and the dealership threw in the motorhome–free. No planning on our part–a lot of faith and trust in each other! That was 14 years ago! I can’t imagine not living this lifestyle.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bev,

      There are times when you simply KNOW you’ve found a good thing. I send you both a belated congratulations for daring to take a leap into new territory!

      Wow! You’ve had 14 years so far… The places you’ve been, the memories you’ve made!

  13. Interesting, very interesting how we come to this way of going. We share some of those motivations as you Sue. We also followed bloggers and have to say yours was one of the first to really catch my eye and really get the fire burning to get stuff gone and get out of town. As we read your blog and a few others, that fever continued to grow then viola, it all started falling into place in January 2012. By September we were leaving the old place in the rear view. Thanks for the inspiration and helping us see it was possible. We would never go back now.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rhonda and Wayne,

      I caught up on your most recent blog posts (I can’t keep up with all the blogs out there) and saw where you mentioned me and my friend, Mick, in relation to your Wilson antenna. Thank you for that.

      Classic words of a happy full-timer. . . “We would never go back now.” Same here! It’s unthinkable!

      • Never go back, and another often heard is ‘ OUR ONLY REGRET IS WE DID NOT START SOONER’. It has been our observation that many are in YR 12 or 13, but our all time record breaker was a couple who were workamping in a COE park, 28 years FT!!!
        I can say without hesitation if it were not for Micks help, my Wilson booster would have gone back. He is the ONLY one who knew anything a=bout anything, the tech support people at Wilson, 3G Store and others were no help.
        Thanks for the insight all along the way.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I do wish I could have started sooner. If I had, I’d be looking at the rest of my life struggling financially. What I should have done is planned for full-timing when I first entered the workforce! Oh well, I didn’t know . . .

          Mick is the GREATEST! He has helped me beyond measure…

  14. Diane, Blue Ridge Mts., VA says:

    One thing is for sure, you are not the wall flower that simply may”fade away”.
    You are a real planner, I admire that. Somehow I have just realized how important that is in order to make a drastic change. It was a very gutsy thing you did. I an relate to some of your former thoughts…Can’t wait to hear more…
    Love seeing the incredibly beautiful desert flowers!
    I know your pups will be glad for their new treats. We will await your new campsite and enjoy the journey. Take Care

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diane,

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m surprised to be called a planner as so often I operate from the seat of my pants. I guess it’s common for people to have contradicting sides to their personality. An impatient procrastinator… A spontaneous planner… A sedate adventurer… That’s me! Haha!

      Have a wonderful day!

  15. mockturtle says:

    Sue, I’m a lot like you in my camping style [and in other respects, as well]. After a few days in a place, it’s time to move on!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, mockturtle,

      I deal with conflicting urges… I love staying in one place long enough to make it a part of me (sounds weird, but it happens!) — to know it well — and I love moving down the road to find a new camp.

      Sore Finger Road has been a delight. I’d stay longer but the crew must eat. We may end up coming back here as my next place to investigate might turn out to be another OHV playground. . .

  16. MB says:

    I’m in tears here! Your two lists are almost exact matches to the ones in my “little book” I keep with ideas, pictures and quotes that have to do with the person I am and the one I want to be. Thank you Sue. You are my Tioga George.

  17. Patty McKinley says:

    Such a great story! I must say, I still feel like you are writing the exact same thoughts I have had, and am having!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Patty,

      I think a lot of folks in our age group (assuming you are!) have become dissatisfied with striving for and maintaining a big house filled with stuff.

      Thanks for giving me your positive feedback on this story!

      • Nan says:

        Boy oh Boy, Sue…..your use of the word ‘stuff’ was just that. We had a house and two barns full of stuff. The only thing we miss is an alabaster carving of a pelican we purchased 30+ years ago on a florida trip. You know…it’s really hard to get rid of ‘stuff.’ Sold antiques to a dealer, Craigs list was used for other things. and the rest, we just gave away to those who needed it.

  18. Susan in Dallas says:

    It’s so important to know about yourself and I always assumed most folks did, but they don’t know themselves at all. I think I confused this idea with liking all I knew. Not so. You sure have proved that self knowledge will set you free in so many ways. You posted this to your blog on “National Happiness Day”. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Susan,

      “National Happiness Day” … too funny! We get one day to be happy. Okay, everyone, day’s over, go back to being disgruntled! Haha!

      Nice comment… Thank you.

  19. Geri Moore says:

    Wow! I need to get caught up! Between volunteering at Myakka and getting the Motherships slide fixed (finally) I am behind a few posts! but I gotta tell you, I love the history of how you got started! I am glad you are sharing this with everyone. Knowing what a private person you are, I appreciate the effort that you must be going through to put these very personal thoughts down. Thank you!
    Ha! I also love the names of some of your campsites, but Sore Thumb Road has to be my all time favorite! Cacti in spring bloom are just amazing! Love all the flower pictures! Okay, gonna go get all caught up now…. may not read all the comments but will read your last 3 posts that I missed! Thank you for being you.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Geri,

      Your absence from comments told me you were very busy with your new workkamp and the dadburn slide problem. Good to see you here. I appreciate your words about me sharing my history.

      I like that camp name Sore Thumb Road, too! Haha! It’s better than Sore Finger Road. LOL! How about Sore Toe Road? Or, I know! … Sore Head Road!

      I thought of you when taking the photos of the cactus flowers. Gee, Geri would love this!

      Hi to Chuck… His latest email of “smiles” photos was hilarious!

      Don’t work too hard… Love ya!

      • Chuck says:

        Hi Sue! Glad the ‘smiles’ brought you smiles, this blog brought me many smiles!!!!! Great pictures and very interesting dialogue. Great to have the slideout working and Myakka River SP is really neat! So much to do on our off time and 1/2 hr from daughters family. SWEEEET!

  20. Barbara Holland says:

    I am with you in spirit. I also followed Tioga George for the whole time he posted. God bless him. You and all the bloggers are a blessing to me. I’d love to be out there in person but I follow you and others daily. I am making the most of what I have and being thankful, thanks for all the lovely pictures too. Barbara in Florida

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Barbara,

      Great to hear from you! I love all “my” Barbaras!

      “Being thankful” is a big part of being happy with your life. It takes spiritual maturity and awareness to feel gratitude, because one cannot be thankful without there being a Someone to whom we owe thanks.

      I’m happy to share my life and crew with you!

  21. Ron in TX says:

    Sue
    I love the back ground tale ,and I think it parallels a lot of the mental part we are going through or have gone through.
    Now to make your head swell, do you realize you are nearly on par with George on the number of hits you have per year ,now that is a heck of an accomplishment,
    I was reading your blog this morning and started laughing, now don’t get mad and hit me, you didn’t retire you just changed teaching jobs ,now you educate and entertain hundreds of folks in the blog classroom every day.
    Oh I hope your still smiling.
    Ron

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Of course I’m still smiling, Ron. Once a teacher, always a teacher… and I love this big ol’ wall-less classroom with well-behaved students!

      What a wonderful thing — to have my blog put in the same rank as Tioga George’s! Thank you. It’s folks like you who put my blog on the blogosphere map. 🙂

  22. Sue,

    Thank you for sharing the story of how you came to the full-time life. My wife and I had not camped in 25-plus years when some new friends invited us to join them. Within a year or so, I knew I wanted to full-time. (My wife has come to the idea a little more slowly.) If it were just me, I think I would be perfectly content in a truck and camper or a small Class C (although I would definitely have a dog). However, my wife wants a little more space than that, so we have a fifth-wheel and will likely move to a class A when we get closer to full-timing. Then we’ll figure out a way to strike the right balance between the solitary boondocking I normally enjoy and the more social campground camping I occasionally need.

  23. rvsueandcrew says:

    Hi, Walt,

    Isn’t it exciting, planning a new phase for your life?

    I wish you well as you “strike the right balance between the solitary boondocking . . . and the more social campground camping.” Sounds like a good plan!

  24. Susan Smith says:

    Sue: I have many questions, but will read your archives to look for answers, b4 causing you to have to repeat!

    Just loved your frugal living when implementing your plan! How the heck did you avoid mildew/mold in your home in Georgia? Little A/C is something we try to do here in southwest MO, but seems as though we are getting mildew in the house.

    We are going to go fulltime RVing within the next couple of years, so finding your gem of a sight has been a real find for us….so far your style, your frugality are just what I want to read…I have no interest in luxury living or big Class A homes (been there–were not Fulltimers at the time—sort’ve Trial runs w/different RV’s)

    OK, got to get back to selling more of our STUFF on Ebay…slowly but surely getting things GONE!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Susan,

      I didn’t have a mold/mildew in the Georgia house (I did fight it in my Florida house though). I don’t know why I didn’t. Never even thought about it. The windows were open spring – fall. A low field was adjacent to the property and breezes would come up from it… maybe they helped.

      Best wishes on your way to a simpler, more gratifying life!

  25. I, too, am enjoying following along in your process. So many of your requirements for retirement match my own. I still own the house in Roseville, CA – it’s rented now and the renters have voiced interest in buying it. Oh, please God! I have absolutely NO INTEREST in returning to a sticks and stone house. I’m heading ‘home’ right now and the new issue is where can I park my RV for a few months while I take care of this bum knee that needs replacement so I can get back out there and hike to my heart’s content? Tomorrow I’m heading into Loomis (located off highway 80 heading east towards Reno, just about 15 miles out of Sacramento) to park on my girlfriend’s ranch. It works well until it gets too hot; then I ‘ll need to either pay them for lots of electricity or move to a cooler locale. The doc says it’s going to be u to four months before I can drive the rig any distance. Yikes, I’m going to be very diligent about all that pot-op therapy – to get into shape in the least amount of time possible for an old bird!

    • JodeeinSoCal says:

      Mary-Pat,
      I read your comment and wanted to share that my husband had BOTH knees replaced on November 7. He was standing on them within 10 hours, walking the hall the next day, and went home on day three. Two weeks after surgery he ditched the walker, used a cane for four days, and then no assistance after that. At Christmas he was completely off the pain meds and had very minor residual pain in the mornings. He planted a new lawn in the backyard on January 7 (two months after surgery) and all his muscles ached, but his knees had NO pain. So they may tell you four months but don’t bet on it! His doctor is sure that managing the initial pain with aggressive medication and doing all the physical therapy was the key to his success. Just wanted you to know it can be a good experience. Good luck!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Mary-Pat… Don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before… My uncle couldn’t walk on uneven ground and was in constant pain because of his knees. He had both replaced. He was more careful in his recovery… stayed in bed a lot for a couple of weeks, increasing his mobility slowly. (I think he liked being waited on. 🙂 ) Then he was good as new! Absolutely amazing….

  26. Bill & Ann says:

    Good post Sue.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks. I’ve been thinking of you, wondering the route you are on and hoping all is well.

  27. Ed says:

    Sue,
    I think you are right in your identification of the cactus with the purple flower. Your picture does not show the detail of the stamen very well but if it is green at the tip then that is more proof that you are correct.
    My guess:
    Echinocereus engelmannii (Parry ex Engelm.) Lem. There are many variations named Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus, Saints cactus, Hedgehog cactus, Strawberry cactus, Strawberry hedgehog cactus and Purple torch. I’ll go with Purple Torch simply because the name is so evocative.

  28. It’s so interesting how people come to RVing. I never expected this life. After we retired we bought a travel trailer, and for the life of me I don’t know why we did it. Anyway, after a winter in the Southwest, we returned to the east coast, sold the house, ejected a lifetime of accumulated stuff and headed out. The travel trailer became a 5th wheel, which became a Class A. Even though it’s larger, we’ve successfully avoided golf and mud on the face. Great retrospective, thanks for writing it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Allison,

      You’re welcome. Love your sense of humor! Wow… All it took was one winter in the Southwest and you were ready to dump the house and the stuff to hit the road. Fantastic!

  29. Susan says:

    Thank you for sharing your personal story, Sue. I only wish I could turn the page RIGHT NOW to read the next chapter! 😉

    Your lifestyle sounds so enticing. I have a few reservations about it though. Firstly, doesn’t boondocking get lonely? What about having human company to go for hikes with, have coffee or meals with and so on? What do boondockers do for stimulation?!

    (*Skip this everyone if you don’t want to read bathroom stuff!*) Secondly, the whole toilet/black water tank thing puts me off. How do you use an RV toilet that has no water in it ie keeping it clean? Isn’t carrying around your waste kind of gross? Aren’t you afraid the tank will be full and smelly before you’re ready to break camp? Sorry about these questions but I always need a proper bathroom and what a crazy thing to keep me at home! Also what about showers? How do you keep clean with limited water? Enough about that.

    Lastly, can Canadians manage the full time life? We have to be up here 6 months of the year to keep our health care, and the States has a complicated 3 year formula for how many days we can stay per year without having to file income tax. So many of the ‘deals’ that Americans have like seniors’ cards and such aren’t available to us. Maybe if some Canadians are reading this, they can enlighten me on if full timing is possible.

    Thanks so much again! It all just stretches my little old brain! 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Susan,

      To answer your questions. . . I never get lonely. Never have in my entire life. Don’t know what it feels like. Guess that makes me unusual and not a good one to ask about dealing with loneliness when boondocking. Remember that you can boondock and still go back to civilization regularly. There’s no rule that you have to be alone in the woods or the desert for weeks at a time. What do boondockers do? Hike, walk, listen to the birds and try to identify them, watch the rabbits, deer, etc, read, go online, play computer games, play movies, watch tv, cook, clean, do rig maintenance, play with pets, listen to radio and CDs, knit, crochet, paint, take pictures, make jewelry, carve, identify plants, check the engine fluids and tire pressure, handwash clothes and hang them up, play the guitar . . . you get the idea!

      Re: RV toilet. My toilet has a foot pedal. Press it part way and the bowl fills with water as much as you want. When done, press the pedal all the way and it flushes, just like a house toilet. Carrying around waste isn’t gross… Out of sight, out of mind, and with deodorizers there’s no smell. I can tell when the time to dump is drawing near. Believe me, the toilet and waste tank aren’t much different than what you’re used to.

      You learn how to keep clean with limited water. We are spoiled when living in a regular house. Most of that water blasting out of a shower nozzle splashes off and goes down the drain. Also, since you aren’t going to work every day, you don’t have to wash your hair as often! My hair was dry and brittle from all that shampooing!

      Can’t help you with the Canadian questions… Maybe a reader will answer your questions.

  30. Cinandjules (fresh snow in NY) says:

    You’re ( 😉 hah hah) story is interesting. Having the idea, finding the answer and having the courage to make it become reality is truly inspiriing. George did for you what you do for many here!

    I found you in a google search…fulltiming in a TT and I was hooked!

    No people!! Whooooeeeeee! Have a great time in town!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You found me from a google search? Gee, I need to tone down my grumbling about Big Brother Google. 🙂

  31. Becky says:

    Sue, I am loving reading how your retirement journey began. Very admirable!

    Unlike you, I have camped all my life and love it!! My Dad was a huge outdoors-man and had us ‘in the woods’ almost every weekend. We tent camped in Louisiana bayous, east Texas lakes and Arkansas mountains.

    I then raised my kids camping in the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming and also the lakes of Nebraska. Through the years we progressed from tents to a pop-up Coleman camper and then to a Class-C RV. The ‘kids’ are now continuing the traditions the same way!

    Drew and I decided many years ago that we would retire in an RV and be mobile. At first, we thought we would go with a Class A and pull a toad. However, we have changed course and have decided on a fifth wheel. We just bought our Tow Vehicle and are looking for the perfect 5th for us. We are still 5-7 years out from hitting the road full time but want to get everything paid for before we hit the road.

    Your blog is so interesting and charming. I find it inspirational how you have mastered everything on your own. Although I am married and will be part of a team I will make sure I can drive, park and do basic repairs/maintenance on whatever equipment we have.

    Give Spike and Bridget a hug from me. They are the best!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Becky,

      You impressed me with your statement “I will make sure I can drive, park and do basic repairs/maintenance on whatever equipment we have.” Hallelujah! I think you are wonderful!

      I hear about wives wanting a big, humongous RV while the husband would rather have a smaller rig. Will those wives be ready to drive that huge rig if something should happen to hubby? Will they be able to park it in a campsite? Will they take the burden of driving off their spouse once in a while? etc. It’s my opinion that no adult should go camping in a rig they can’t manage on their own. The days of women playing helpless should be over by now.

      Okay… now where was I. Haha! Sounds like you have camping in the blood. Good luck with your plans, and thank you for the sweet words about my blog. Yes, I agree… Bridget and Spike are the best. Consider them well-hugged!

      • Darci says:

        Your point is very good, and I think it is important. One time when I was RVing down in Mexico a woman pulled up. She was pulling a big fifth wheel. Her husband had had a heart attack and thankfully survived but was in the hospital and she had to get their rig back to Canada, but had never driven it, nor even knew how to unhitch it. I gave her some pointers, but she had to have her son fly down to actually do it because she didn’t think she would be able to do it on her own. After that I phoned my father, also an RVer to make sure he got my mom out to their rig and make sure she was well trained on all the basics and how to haul if anything if ever needed.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You saw firsthand the problems (and inconvenience to others) caused when one spouse is dependent on the other.

          I bet there are a lot of wives out there who wish their hubbies would learn how to do grocery shopping, take the food home, put it away, cook the meals, and clean up afterward (without whining or bothering the wife every step of the way, or using the adolescent trick of messing up on purpose in order to manipulate themselves out of responsibility.) Same goes for cleaning and laundry.

          When the wife is sick or disabled, she needs someone to take care of her. And when both are sick, the work of survival should be shared.

          Another reason I’m not married any more!

      • In our case, pulling a 34-foot fifth-wheel, the problem isn’t that my wife can’t pull it (she had to once after I suffered a severe attack of vertigo), it’s more that I don’t want to let her. I enjoy driving that much – when it’s not driving to work that is. 🙂 I know when we move to a Class A motorhome, she will have to be able to drive it, but it will be hard for me to sit in the passenger’s seat. When I get behind the wheel, I feel one step closer to freedom.

        • Oh, by the way, I do most of the grocery shopping and almost all of the cooking – without whining. 🙂 Cleaning and laundry are a little bit harder to deal with.

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Excellent! If more men learned the “nurturing skills”, the world would be a better and more peaceful place. That’s my opinion.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You point out an important point… It is more difficult to be the passenger. Being a good passenger is a learned skill, another reason for the wife to have the opportunity to get behind the wheel and the husband give up control.

  32. Oh, Sue! I wanted to ask you about what you do regarding your food in bear country. I’ve had my heart set on camping in and around Mammoth Lakes for about 8 months now, and have felt my new way of food storage in my van wouldn’t be an issue with attracting bears. I store everything in totes and use a lot of canned goods (which I doubt bears would bother wanting). But, I do like to cook in my van using my electric fry pan and water boiler which plugs so conveniently into my 12 volt socket. I’m not much of a fire cooking kind of gal, which is recommended folks do AWAY from their tent or RV in bear country. Anyway, it may be different for RVers…vandwellers.

    But, I do have boxes of dried goods too in totes (cereals, dog food, crackers) that perhaps the wiley bears could smell through the van and under totes. I’m not sure. I went to storing food in totes because last fall in Flagstaff, I had issues with mice. I thought that if the tote storage kept the mice out (which they have thus far successfully), than it should work for the bears too. But, the more I read about the issues with bears getting into vehicles, the more nervous I’m becoming as I get closer to Mammoth Lakes and thus bear country.

    Since cheap shopping is nil up in this area, my plan was to stock up for three months at a time starting this May in Carson City (what A hike!!). I’ve thought of maybe paying for storage in Mammoth Lakes just for the summer months for my big food supply and be close enough where I could jump in and out of storage for a week’s supply of food at a time to store it in the supposed provided bear boxes where I’d camp. Anyway, I maybe over thinking this and it’s not an issue, but, seems like it could be for those of us who live in our RV’s full time and like to stock up and are in bear country. I’ll keep searching for answers, but, just wondered if you had experience in bear country.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Gloria,

      I’ll answer as best I can with my limited experience boondocking in bear country and my limited experience in the Mammoth Lakes area.

      I’ve heard Mammoth Lakes can be very busy in the summer, so how you store your food may be fine, but Lord knows what the yahoos nearby will do. I’ve seen filled plastic kitchen garbage bags hanging from a tree all day while the people were away… well, don’t let me get started. . . . Anyway, lots of dirt bikes and ATVs around Mammoth Lakes in summer…

      Glass Creek Campground has bear boxes and I think it’s free.

      When I was in bear country, I usually stayed in campgrounds that had bear boxes. I didn’t walk outside of the campground, with or without the crew. Mostly I stayed at the campsite. People were grilling steaks, frying onions, etc. all around me. At one campground, one end was sealed off because they had a bear trap set up to capture a “nuisance” bear.

      I don’t cook much in bear country. Seems like storage in completely sealed storage boxes would work.

      Sorry I’m not more help. Readers? Any suggestions?

  33. Cinandjules says:

    Overthinking?? Absolutely not….when it comes to wildlife…especially bears.

    A bear will rip into a car for items such as a discarded candy wrapper.

    Don’t be bear bait!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I could never tent in bear country. People do it all the time… not me!!

      • Cinandjules says:

        I would love to stay in a tent outside our house. Jules says absolutely not…and IF you do..SaraAnn (before) is staying inside with me.

        “You’re gonna be in your sleeping bag and the bear is gonna attack you …thinking you’re a soft taco”. Nice huh!

  34. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    I remember reading a woman and her husband team of RV’ers back in the 1990’s. I think her name was Kate Peterson who I believe started the Escapees RV parks here and there all the way to Texas. She was a fiesty truthful lady like you Sue and she kindled a fire in me to do the same. Sorry I never ran into Tioga George’s blog. But I say it is true “you can never go back” once one has had a taste of true freedom. It seems to me that we are born into a system of servitude or slavery. Going after the almighty dollar is a dead end washboard road. Everywhere we look is telling us we can’t be happy unless we are buying something new. That may be fine for the madison avenue boys but give me the wide open spaces and let me be in peace. I tried to keep up with the Jones’s but the cost was just too much. Then I read Sterling Hayden’s book Wanderer and that made all the differance. He lived his dream. So I did my thing at first with a backpack then a Casita on wheels. I have never regretted it for a moment. If I had a theme song it might be that old cowboy song…’Don’t Fense Me In’, I think Gene Autry use to sing it. You’re gettin mighty close to Ajho your little bit of heaven…it should be nice there about now 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Joe,

      Oh, you are so right… Once I got a taste of this freedom, that’s all I want to do… roam freely following my whims. I’m skipping Ajo this year. Today we moved to a new camp and it is a beaut! I wanted to post about it before the end of the day but the connection is weak. I’ll have to be happy responding to comments. Maybe I’ll be able to post in the morning. I can’t believe we went from the lovely camp at Sore Finger to this wondrous place!

      Nice to hear from you again, Joe. You always take the time to write a “meaty” comment. 🙂

    • Elizabeth aka E2/etwo in S.E. NM says:

      Hi Joe…..
      The “feisty lady” who with her husband Joe started The Escapees RV Club is
      Kay Peterson. They began their venture in the late 70’s…. The club is now 35
      years old. There are many Escapees Parks all over our beautiful country. The
      SKP park where I have a leasehold is in S.E. NM, a bit north of Carlsbad. It is
      the 2nd park in the Escapee’s system.
      There is a very informative website http://www.escapeesRVclub.com, where you can
      get all kinds of information about the parks in the system. Also, there is a
      discussion forum where you can ask questions about everything you can think
      of about RV’ng generally. It is not necessary to be member of Escapees to participate in the Discussion Forum…..
      I am a Life Member of Escapees…. coming up on 28 years as a member and
      am enjoying celebrating my 30th anniversary of being a Full Time RV’er.
      Becoming an FT RV’r is the BEST thing I have ever done for myself.. Becoming
      a member of the Escapees RV Club is second best!
      Happy Trails to all of you “newbies” and long timers too!

  35. GypsyPurl says:

    “Here” is Sweet Home Alabama! I agree, the rat race and the unending monotonous routine can be maddening. Nothing like the open road to give you the feeling of joy and freedom to roam wherever you choose. Stay safe.

  36. Deb from NJ says:

    I just love reading your story and all the comments on the why and how they became or want to be full timers. Everyone has a story….including me. Reading about them here is preparing me for my time. That time can’t come soon enough!

    I would like to take the time to thank you and everyone else that share their stories here.

    Loving the photos. They look so clear and the colors are great!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Deb. I appreciate it also when readers share they stories. I’m pleased you like the photos.

  37. Cinandjules says:

    Did you know you can use a salad spinner to wash your socks and undies?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      No, I didn’t. I guess that means, conversely, you can use a dryer to spin your salad!

  38. Gayle says:

    “I don’t want to work. That’s for sure.” RVSue, that reminds me of a classic rock song that is every RVers theme song! Check youtube.com for Todd Rundgren, “I Don’t Wanna Work.”

    I don’t wanna work. I want to bang on my drum all day.
    I don’t want to play. I just want to bang on my drum all day.

    When I got older they thought I’m a fool.
    The teacher told me I should stay after school.
    She caught me pounding on the desk with my hands,
    But my licks were so hot, I made the teacher wanna dance!

    Ohhhhh ….

    (Try it, you’ll like it!) :))))))

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re funny, Gayle. 🙂 I can’t go to youtube right now. We’re at a new camp (It is a PRIMO CAMP!). Only one thing wrong, the internet connection is weak due to mountains all around. I’ve been trying to answer comments, on and off, for a few hours.

      Enjoyed the song!

    • I remember that song. We listen to it every once in a while, and it is sort of my mantra. Although I have to say, I do want to play all day – in a boondocking site far, far away. 🙂

  39. Cherie from OH says:

    My aunt and uncle full timed back in the 80s, as did my parents, so you might say RVing is in my blood. But this was before solar and they stuck to the parks and socialized with other RVers a lot. Not my cup of tea. Like you, Sue, I’m a bit of a loner and like a little “elbow room”. Tioga George first introduced me to the idea of boondocking, but it is your way of doing things, Sue, that really appeals to me. I like your style, girl! The hubby is reluctant to give up our home, so we are thinking of part-time RVing during the winter months first. We’re shopping around now trying to decide which type of RV would best suit our needs. Price may be the determining factor. With any luck, we may be on the road next fall.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That sounds wonderful, Cherie. Nothing wrong with starting out part-timing. Some find that suits them best. My situation made it difficult for me to “get my feet wet” first, so I jumped into “the deep end.”

      I’m tickled that you like my style! 🙂

  40. Elizabeth says:

    As always, enjoying what you have to say….still don’t know if we will ever RV or not…but it is there in the back of our minds and a possibility. Right now we know we are doing what we need to do. Day by day. We found Ms. Tioga and George first…then later on, found you…in fact, I think you had not been posting too long when I found your site. I love all the ideas and sharing that goes on here and went on in George’s. I understand why he would not want to post anymore…but I do miss him. And his observations. I hope you will keep on posting for many years to come. You share so many important things to know, esp. if one is going to live as you do. Thanks again!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Elizabeth,

      I think it was terrible the way a few of his readers attacked him with mean comments when he retired from blogging, trying to recover from personal tragedies. To be unkind to a man who gave so much of himself for many years. . . I don’t understand people like that! He was nice enough to allow argumentative, pompous people to participate with comments and look what it got him. He taught me a lesson about blogging. That’s why I work to weed out the mean-spirited people. . .

      I want my blog (to quote Mr. Rogers) to be “a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

      • Elizabeth says:

        No doubt George has gone through the worst of what can happen, to a parent at least…yet some had no understanding at all. Maybe if you never lose someone you love, you cannot understand. But he was more tolerant than I would have been. There is no good reason to allow snakes on a blog (or otherwise). Well, tis life eh? Some of those who are nastiest to us are kin…well, we did not choose them either…but we are happy to leave them be. Makes us wonder how it is that people think their words or actions don’t matter…to us they do, here and in the next life. It sounds like a lot of folks who RV are more laid back types, with similar values to those we have. THAT would be welcome.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You know what I think, Elizabeth? (Of course, you know I’m going to tell you… Ha!) I think there are a lot more sociopathic personalities running loose than we realize. These are people who are incapable of empathy, which means they are totally self-centered. It’s like they’re missing a wheel and they careen around on the remaining three, shooting sparks everywhere. You’re right. Keep ’em outta yer life!

          • Gayle says:

            I’ve started reading Tioga George’s blog. Wow, useful info, adventure. But, wow, anyone that loses a child — everyone should just cut them all the slack possible. It just seems common sense that he would not want to continue his RV blog if he isn’t RVing. I can see, however, missing someone a part of their life every day. WE all went a little daffy while you took a rest, didn’t we?!!!

            • Cinandjules says:

              I found some of the comments downright rude and disrespectful.

              It’s really about the lack of respect for his privacy.

  41. Joan says:

    Sue, as I wait for an update on where you will go next, this blog entry to me is so fascinating, this is truly what I believe retirement is.. No debt, live with in your means and enjoy life to the fullest. Enjoy your travels as you slowly make your way out of Arizona, the triple digits will soon come and hopefully see you next time at the Kofa’s!
    God Bless.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Joan,

      Thank you for the positive feedback!

      As much as I would enjoy meeting you and other readers, I have to uphold my “no visitors” policy. I’m already crossing former camps off my list because of the likelihood of visitors and I now seek more isolated camps when I can.

      I am, however, delighted to bump into readers at the grocery, laundromat, propane tank, etc. Would love to meet you in circumstances such as that. 🙂

      God bless you, too.

  42. stan watkins says:

    How long has it been since you read Tioga George’s blog? When ever you put someone’s blog link up, I go there. It appears George has had a tragedy befall him and has stopped blogging, leaving his patrons to worry. I must say that when you don’t post even for a few days I tend to worry as well. Take care of yourself and the pups and follow your initiation.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Stan,

      There was a reason George stopped blogging suddenly — three violent deaths of people he loved. I know it may be hard to understand why he would drop out like that when you haven’t maintained a popular blog. It seems rude and inconsiderate from the reader’s perspective.

      However, I can understand why George needed to get away from the blogosphere in a hurry. It’s too much to deal with when one is wounded and reeling in shock, plus he probably associated it with the pain.

      If you follow the link I posted to his blog, you will find volumes of helpful information in his “magazine.”

      Thank you for the kind wish for me and the crew!

      • stan watkins says:

        I read his blog and am not worried about being responded to , just worried about you. I could easily see how George was shattered. BTW the word was intuiton, as in female intuition. When you get a strange feeling , trust your gut. We know how you like to be alone. Thanks

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Oh, I’m sorry, Stan. I didn’t mean it that way. It’s good of you to worry about me. Since living the vagabond life, I haven’t had a “strange feeling.” Hope I never do!

          • LeeJ says:

            That ‘gut feeling’ is a strange thing, and something to pay attention to.
            I once took my young son and my sister and her two kids up to the mountains to camp at one of my favorite spots..We spent the day hiking and swimming and playing..late in the day a group of men showed up and parked themselves nearby, not really camped..and it just felt weird after that…we had dinner…and our weird vibes continued… so about dark, way too late really to be leaving camp, we did just that…drove the two hours down the mountain to home..

            Later that night we were watching the late news and heard about a shooting in that area…
            Those men never said a word to us, ignored us in fact..were very stand offish…not the usual laughing, enjoying the outdoor sort of folks we usually encountered…was that the bad vibe thing? who knows, but we just felt this hostility and we wanted no part of it… We really never heard if this was the group involved in the shooting, but considering how hostile the vibes were..we wanted out of there, something wasn’t right that night.

            This camp was a boondock area along Beaver Creek in the Sierras, a place for fishermen, hikers, a nice place where you could camp without people in your lap…usually paradise..not this time…

            • LeeJ says:

              I sound like a real calamity howler, sorry…I still camp, often alone, sometime with another lady friend, I never let that one incident stop me…most folks are great, and will go that extra mile to help you.. just some are sociopaths…stay away from those folks!

  43. DeAnne in TN says:

    I had a very similar epiphany. The same thought processes were there, and it popped into my head and then I started researching the possibility. I’m still eight years out–I learn so much every day but I still have big doubts that nag at me. I think like everyone considering this lifestyle, I worry about being able to afford it and will I figure out the “mechanics” of the whole thing? Even with your assurances, I still feel completely inept one minute and scared to death the next. I know I won’t do my rv retirement the same as yours, and maybe that’s what terrifies me at times. Of course, I am also in a bad financial hole right now, and if won’t be fixed for another three years, so I think that caused trepidation as well. So, I just keep on reading, trying to glean the good bits and continue to reassure myself. Oh, if I could only win the lottery…

    Thanks again for sharing with us, Sue. We all “get something” from your blog, and we all appreciate what you do for us.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, DeAnne. Your present situation does not help your confidence, I agree.

      As time goes by, if this is something you really want to do, your knowledge and confidence will grow. Remember this: I didn’t know very much about the “mechanics” of full-timing with a trailer when I sold my house and hit the road. I figured I’d learn along the way. And that’s what I continue to do!

  44. Piperlin says:

    Hi Sue, your remark about getting rid of all the stuff made me think about two summer’s ago of getting rid of “stuff” in our house. My husband had retired and we moved to Virginia from Ohio. My daughter-in-law helped me and it was the most freeing thing I ever did! I actually had nothing in closets except our clothes. So I know without a doubt I could live with even less. We are still talking about something to travel in and live in. My husband likes your casita too. But now we are back in Ohio because my mother passed away and I have a house of “stuff” to get rid of. It’s sad because my mom wanted out of Ohio, she hated the cold, but she never got to Arizona and now she is gone, taken by a rare and aggressive cancer. It makes you stop and think. I want more out of life and I am hoping my husband and I take action and just do it. I admire you for your courage to follow your dreams. Different states and sites to see is my dream also. Life is to short to collect our stuff and just dream. We need to follow those dreams. I guess my mother passing has made me think more. Your blog is great and inspires me. Thank you so much.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Piperlin. I’m sorry your mother is gone. Your comment touched me, as I often think of my parents and how much they would’ve loved living the way I do. It’s a stab to the heart.

      On a lighter note…. Yes, it is liberating to get rid of stuff. We don’t realize how much it weighs us down. Thank you for sharing the important lesson you learned from your mother’s passing.

  45. JohnandPhyllis says:

    Another useful tool for finding camping spots in the west are the free maps for Garmin GPS at GPS File Depot. I have a Garmin Nuvi auto GPS and always have the land ownership maps running while driving. This one is for the western states and will install as an overlay to the road map that comes with your unit. The colors of the overlays are the same as the Benchmark maps but there is much more detail.

    http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/247/download/

    State: Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
    Price: Free

    There are maps of all types for all over the world at this site, and detailed instructions on how to install.

  46. AZ Jim says:

    Nothing here, just checking in, missy….

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