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Forge A New Path

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences" – Eleanor Roosevelt

Daryl and Mary are a couple that spend their winters in the Phoenix area. Betty and I have lunch with them a few times each season and enjoy their company. We swap RV stories and have a good time together. The last time we shared a meal, Daryl suggested I write a post using the title you see above. The idea has been on a back burner for several months, so I am past due in following up on his idea. After running across Eleanor Roosevelt's quote, I decided now is the time.

Regular readers know I am preparing to leave on a 2 month RV trip in a few days. We will be heading east to see family and add at least seven or eight states to our RV map. There will be an additional benefit: we will miss September, the last month of 100 degree Phoenix weather. When we return it should be in the 70's and perfect for the next 5 months.

The Forge a New Path thought was spurred by several conversations Betty and I have had about the future of our RVing. With over 133,000 miles on the speedometer and being 10 years old, our current rig is starting to show its age. Within the next two years we will have to spend at least $1,200 on six new tires. The refrigerator is probably nearing the end of its life. The water heater, water pump, and furnace aren't really designed to last much more than a decade. And, we spend almost  $2,000 a year to store, register, and insure the motor home. 

The interior wall paper is bland, the cabinets looking worn, the linoleum flooring should be replaced, the shower needs repairs,  the drapes are seriously sun-faded...in short our beloved rolling home is a lot like its owners: aging. So, the question we have been kicking around is do we buy a new RV, commit to an overhaul and redecoration of what we have, or close out the RV chapter of our life.

A newer RV would come with several benefits. The things listed above would not be problems. A slideout or two would give us much more interior room so we don't feel quite so cramped night after night. Some RV parks will not let rigs older than 10 years use their facilities - a stupid rule but a rule nevertheless.

Of course, that comes with a significant outlay. Brand new, the cost would be somewhere between $80-110,000. Gently used, maybe $45-60,000. No matter how we look at those numbers or justify the benefits, both of us question our sanity.

What about fixing, modifying, redecorating, and restoring the Class C we have now? If we did everything on our wish list, the cost would be a more reasonable $6-$7,000 and could be spread over a few years.  I have been told the Ford V-10 engine should easily survive 200,000 miles if I perform the regular maintenance. 

So, what does this have to do with forging a new path? Well, that has been at the center of our conversations: do we want to shake up and redesign the next several years of our life? What do we want to do with our time and money that will make memories based on shared experiences?

Spending much of our summers away from 110 degrees tops the list. Hawaii would probably be our first choice, but with a dog we love, that is not feasible (see the post about moving to Hawaii)  San Diego would be great, but being in a city with all the traffic and expenses seems counterproductive. That leaves us with the Pacific Northwest or maybe northern Michigan or even New England.  

Of course, an RV is not a requirement, though flying won't work because we won't submit Bailey to the cargo hold of an airplane. But, a car, motels, and a long term condo rental at our destination is an obvious alternative. The overall expenses would be higher than using an RV, but not so significantly to nix the idea completely. 

I guess the decision comes down to how committed we are to the RV lifestyle and for how many more years. Buying a new one would make a statement that this is our one and only vacation option for several years. Trips overseas would not be doable. Fixing up our current RV would still allow sufficient room in our budget for a trip back to Europe and Hawaii and a cruise or two.

Then, there is the option of selling the RV and moving in a different direction for vacations and getaways. The past 4 years have been a lot of fun. The experiences with our rolling home have been wonderful. We have brought back memories (and photos) galore. It is a very convenient way to travel with a dog.

There is no overlooking the fact, though, that an RV vacation is really a working vacation. There are meals to cook and clean up after, food shopping, laundry, sweeping, draining our own black and gray water, finding a gas station that is big enough to handle our rig, hooking and unhooking the car we tow behind us......there is work involved. If you have ever been camping you know.

So, we are likely to spend the upcoming trip as a time to reflect on the pros and cons of the RV choice and what we envision for the next 4-6 years. 

Forging a new path.....a great thought...with several choices of the path we want to forge.


RV travel



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