. . .there was a society blessed with advantages never before experienced by anyone in human history (or prehistory, so far as we know).  The society occupied most of a large continental land mass and was governed by a single nation state. The nation state allowed its residents to travel pretty much wherever they pleased inside the nation’s boundaries as long as they stayed out of Area 51 and gated communities.  The nation maintained a road network of a scale unprecedented in human history, roads linking virtually every inhabited area of the nation and capable of supporting huge internal combustion vehicles moving at speeds allowing their operators to travel thousands of miles in a matter of days.  A class of these vehicles, known as Recreational Vehicles, were capable of carrying all the comforts of home: hot and cold potable water, food, electrical power, heat and air conditioning, flush toilets, cooking appliances, refrigeration units, comfortable beds, tables, chairs, TV’s, Hummel figurines, and cats.

The society also included a large class of people who through good fiscal management, systematic avarice, blind luck, or a combination thereof, found themselves in a position to eschew confinement to a single location and spend their post-retirement years utilizing the technology represented by the roads and the Recreational Vehicles, and the freedom of movement afforded by the nation’s policies and sheer physical size to wander the land mass, changing locations on a whim.  These people became known as “fulltimers” and we have joined their ranks.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this became our objective. We’ve occasionally joked about living in a trailer but it was never something we seriously considered doing. Then a few years ago we began giving a lot of thought to the way we wanted to live the next stage of our lives. It seemed likely that we would never live in as large a home as we were currently in, certainly not one with the capacity to store the books we’d been accumulating all of our lives. The bursting of the real estate bubble in 2007/2008 made us aware that a home could be a ball and chain, preventing us from being as flexible as we’d like to be after retirement. We vowed we’d never own property again, we’d rent or lease and be able to move away from any undesirable neighbors.

Then Nan began to encounter coworkers who were RV owners. Their experiences allowed her to appreciate the advantages of the mobile lifestyle. Reducing our possessions to what would fit in a motor home or trailer would address our clutter-reduction objectives. She came up with a plan to drive to Texas after our January 2013 Cayamo cruise and buy an RV at one of the huge dealers there. Then we would drive the RV back to St. Louis, throw McGregor (our polydactyl tabby cat) and our stuff into the RV and just. . .go wherever we wanted. I liked the plan. We put it in motion.

As with most plans, it was modified to accommodate reality. In November 2012 we found a used diesel pusher Class A motor home we liked a lot so we bought it instead of going to Texas to buy one.

It was a ten year old fixer-upper, we knew it needed some TLC and the price we paid the seller reflected the issues we knew about and included a factor for surprises. Boy, have there been surprises, $10,000 worth so far and it seems like hardly a week goes by without a new one. But they have to slow down soon, right? We know the surprises will never go away completely, what house or vehicle is problem-free, after all? And the Edmund Fitzgerald is both a house and a vehicle, double your headaches, double your bills. Big fun.

– Poppa

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