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          Have a question on full timing- send it in! To send, To send, click here.  Carol  

 
June 2012
Gas prices are way up and looks like they will stay there!  Prices here in Canada are high also fuel 133.9 a liter (1.33) 4 liters to a gal. about the same as in Washington, in fact WA is higher.  Our trip from Palm Springs just for fuel has come to about $850 one way.  About $175 more then last year. Dairy products are high here also.
My I Phone has been great, love it. Takes photos almost as well as my Sony, gas buddy app and around me have helped us a lot on this trip north.  Don't know what I ever did without it.  We have to turn the phones off up here in Canada since we don't have international calling, so will have a lot of updates I am sure when we get back to the states.

Seems there is always something that has to be fixed on the rig each year, this year its the awning, motor shot will get it fixed in Mt. Vernon at Paulbso RV repair, they seem to be good people we will see when we get there on July 24th 2012.   
December 2011
I have an IPhone 4S, Mike got me one for Christmas and there is APP called Gas Buddy, we will be using that on the road.  Can't wait to travel as there is also an APP called Around Me, showing everything from Restaurants to Casinos and RV parks.  Will let you know how will it works.
July 2011
Guess the economy is not coming back as fast I thought it would. Gas prices are high average about $3.89 a gallon.  Our total cost for gas from Yuma to Rapid City, SD was $765 and we had 1/3 of a tank left when we arrived.  If you have a computer look up gas prices and stations as part as your trip planner, this will help to save you $$ and you will also know what exit to take when you need to fill up.  Also look up rest stops, especially to see what ones are open and which ones are no longer open.  Even with the price of gas it still is a joy to be full time, we do want we want when we want and where. 

State parks have also gone up in night rates but so have all private parks, check on the web for reviews of parks where you will be, this will help you to determine which park you would like to stay in.   If you have passport America, which really does save you money when spending just a night or two in the area, check online for reviews also.  We will still stay in them as they are great for that one night and most of the time you can find something special about the area and maybe you might what to stay longer.  We found several that the mangers are like talking to a visitor center and will guide you what to see on your short stay, who knows you just might stay longer as we have done.  The cost per year around $49 if you join Please tell them Mike and Carol Carmichael sent you as they like to know.  Thank you

I have been having good luck in finding a beautician for cutting our hair, groomer, nails and doctors, going online again and checking for reviews, the best tip I can give is YOU MUST HAVE A COMPUTER WITH WI-FI CONNECTIONS.  You will be able to find anything and everything you will want while traveling.  We have the Verizon air card with 5 GB of air a month, so far we have come close to using the 5 gigs but never over.  The cost for us around $60 a month and we have not had any problems getting service so far, it may be slow in some areas but still we can get online. Until I can think of something else to add just remember  Always have fun and make sure you meet everyone you see they just might become life time friends.

March 3 2009  

Ok the economy is bad but full time is not!  We have not had price increases with most of our memberships and the cost of traveling has come down and hopefully it will not go up too soon.  We have paid about $500 out of pocket for the 5 1/2 months we have been in the area , that would be the cost of a hotel room for about 3 nights.  Eating at the parks when offered is about $15 per couple and you get good food or you could eat out for around $40 a couple you choose, the area attractions are abundant if you want to play tourist but there are a lot of free things to do no matter what town you go to, go to the Chamber of Commerce and get a guide book it is free also.  There are so many activities at these parks there really is no need to go looking for outside attractions for entertainment.

We did up grade out Thousand Trails membership to the Elite as this will allow us 3 weeks in park to park and 120 days to make those reservation, we now can stay just in TT parks if we wanted as there are a lot in the north (CA, OR & WA also one in Canada) we will be heading that way so will let you know about them. 

If you go full timing make sure you check out the Resort memberships and never buy new talk to Chad he will find exactly what you are looking for in a used one.  You may upgrade once you join if you choose too but only if it will fit your lifestyle as Mike & I did.

If you are thinking of becoming full time then start out 6 months at a time see if you can live in the smaller space and together, think about where you will put what you want to take with you and always remember the

Golden Rule

If you want to purchase something...you will need to get rid of one item...or ask yourself where are you going to put it!  This is the only buying rule we have other then do we really need it?

Another rule make time for yourself away from your partner this will give you items too talk about and make you appreciate each other more.  Give each person some room.  Mike loves to be outside and I am a indoor person so that is our extra room.  Also the activities at each park are for women, men and together so have fun doing all.

That's my advice for now, email me if you have questions.

 

October 2008            
I have been asked by so many people as to how we like full timing and how do we become work campers.  NO I WOULD NEVER OWN ANOTHER HOME TOO MUCH WORK I'M RETIRED

First we love the life full timing provides, your only worry usually is where to go next and you meet so many wonderful RV'ers and owners of RV parks.

Now that the gas prices have sky rocketed we have too really think about where that next place will be.  Being on a fixed income makes it hard to travel to all of the places we had planned to go too now, so we stay in the west, southwest and northwest area.  We put aside about $500 a month just for gas, this will only give us about 3 tanks and it will get us to our next stop with gas still in the tank.  We usually stay at the next stop for at least 2-4 weeks so this has not been a hardship on us yet.

 We buy our food at a super Wal-Mart as they are less expensive in most areas for the staples and can goods.  I buy our meat at Costco, I divide the meat as soon as we get to the Motorhome and Mike cuts and we seal it in the Seal-O-Matic.  I can get about 1 1/2 months worth of frozen meat into our freezer, and the steak meat I buy ($80) last us about 8 months we get to have steak at least once a week. We only shop once a month for our grocers, going once a week for vegetables and milk. Our cost for food runs about $500 a month.

We upgraded our washer/dryer to a larger tub (see below) so now I can wash everything including sheets here in the motorhome if we are at a park with 50 AMPS.  If not then we use the parks laundry machines.  We found that most parks are high when it comes to washing and drying, if we use the parks the cost there is about $15 a week.  Doesn't sound like much but that is $720 a year.  We also purchased a water softener which has cut our cost in half for laundry detergent and the daily bath, dish soaps etc. The cost for the softener was about $340 and the savings for the year for soaps was about $300 so by the 2nd year it will have paid for itself.  We pay for electric at the RV parks so it is our cost for the dryer that runs our bill a little higher, however I have the piece of mind of what has been washed in the washer.

We don't spend on going out (once a week we do eat out) as we find lots of ways to have fun, at the RV parks or driving around the area, the scenery around the area takes us at least 1 week to see so we are having a great time getting to know people and the area.

Since we do belong to a club membership we can get free camping as long as the RV park is  in a state we want to visit.  The southwest only offers about 15 camps from Utah, AZ, CA, & Nevada, and being only able to stay in each for 2 weeks we try and work it too where we stay at one have our week out and go into the same park again that actually gives us 5 weeks 4 of which do not cost & if one is RPI or AOR then we pay  $10 a night.  We put enough into savings every month to cover the yearly cost of these memberships and for yearly tags, insurance etc. Also some for back up emergencies.

As for work camping, we tried our first job in Amado AZ since that is a great place to spend the winter and I have family there it worked out great as we worked 20 hours as a couple and since they did not have Activities I became once again the Director and we had fun.  Our second job was in Utah for the Rockport State park, this one turned out the best as we did not have set hours and we were left to mange the park ourselves, we usually put in about 35 hours together and that really didn't need to be as the Rangers said we only had to do P & R, but we wanted the place to look great so we cleaned the sites as each camper left and made sure everyone who came to the park had a great time.  I guess our worked paid off as we received a letter from a person who wrote the governor of Utah thanking us.

By going to workcamper.com you can sign up to get the from the ads business owners who are looking for people who will work in exchange 20 hrs. a week as a couple, you get site and usually electric. Some will pay for over time.  Put your resume on the site making sure you have a picture of yourselves, rig and list tell them about yourselves, also make sure you put in your resume what you will not do. For instance I will not do housekeeping or cleaning of restrooms.

I suggest everyone who would like to work some of the months while full timing make sure you put your resume out there it, we found stopping for a couple of months even working is relaxing.

We might decide to take the winter off and not work (it is great too not have to work we decide when and where) , we probably will work come this summer maybe back to Rockport, we should be working winters and going to Washington during the summer since we have 19 parks we can go to under our membership maybe we will do that next summer.

I hope I have answered some of your questions if not email me with your question I will gladly try and answer. carol856@hughes.net

 

August 2008
Wow how time fly's, now 4 years later and still enjoying the fulltime life.  We have camp host during this past winter, I working in the office taking reservations and putting on the Texas Holdem games while Mike worked a Jack of all trades mainly security and helping people with their wi fi.  De Anza RV park was just 30 minutes from Nogales Mexico, and just a short trip to Tubac, had fun shopping and trying to find Mike's Moose Gruel Beer. 

Just before we ended up at our winter job we had to stop in to Beaudry in Tucson, to have the TV repaired only to find out it had to be replaced.  Beaudry replaced it with a $99.00 TV, what we had in there to begin with was a Sony flat screen TV.  When I saw what they replaced it with I blew my mind.  It was a Saturday and we told them come Monday they had better put one equal to what we had in there as it was all under warranty.  So we had to find a flat screen TV for them to install, MISTAKE, again Beaudry did not put it in properly and Mike and I thought we would lose it on the way down to Amado, he fixed it and made a frame around it to match the cabinets, he is so talented, we also had to have the microwave replaced. 

Here is a story to tell...Beaudry RV sent the micro out for service only to be told nothing is wrong, so I suggested I bake some brownies and when they are finished no matter what the Manger was going to eat them.  They said to cook in a conventional oven I needed to add 25 degrees and at least 15 more min. Now who had ever heard of such a thing.  But I did as they said (450 oven 60 min., burn time for sure).  When the brownies where done I had several of the managers and our adviser (they call them these as this is the first one you tell about what is wrong) come and eat my brownies  WELL YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THEM AS THEY HAD TO USE A SPOON THE DOUGH NEVER GOT DONE. They proceeded to replace the oven. I would never recommend Beaudry RV to repair or replace anything let alone go to them. I think we have finally learned our lesson "DO NOT GO TO BEAUDRY AND DO NOT HAVE CAMPING WORLD INSTALL ANYTHING"

After finishing our job there in Tucson, which by the way we went there so we could save money, ha ha, Mike decided he wanted to start embroidering patches (emblems) for hats, etc.  So we purchased a very expensive machine. He has not made anything yet but says he will soon.  As you can see with the repairs and the purchase no savings was involved. so Now we will take a summer camp host job and really save!

In May we made a visit to our son only to find out he has sold his house and will be moving to Seeley Lake which is in Montana.  Don't know if we will visit as often as that is pretty far for us to go considering the gas situation.

Our job for the summer is here at Rockport State park we are in the Juniper camp site area. The lake is about 3.2 miles long and about 1 mile wide nice large lake for people to come from Salt Lake and Park City and other small towns around.  We are suppose to be the Public Relations people and of course Mike is doing a wonderful job, take care of the rest rooms and that was it.  I bet you can guess we are doing more then that, our choice of course, we are cleaning all of the sites and going around like 2 chickens from Thursday to Monday making sure only those that are suppose to be here in the Juniper area are and we try and keep with the quiet hour (10PM) Mike doesn't say anything to anyone until 11:30 PM he is so nice, anyway we do love the job and the people here, have been asked to come back next season, don't know if we want too yet.

By the way remember earlier I said we came to save will the washer dryer went bad, so Mike and I took it to Camping World in Draper UT about 1 1/2 hour from here. Only to be told it would probably be another 1-2 weeks before it would be fixed.  Mike did not want to wait, he really has gotten use to me doing the laundry in the RV instead of him taking it to a laundry mat.  Anyway he bought us a new one and just yesterday Camping World called and said our washer has been fixed. (Again this was under warranty) so now I have 2 washers. Anyone want a washer with an extended warranty to go with it let me know.

We are still getting along fine with the RV, I would love to get another one with a third slide for the living area, don't see that happening in the future but will have to wait until I win the lottery. 

We are still figuring out where to go this winter, one thing for sure NOT ARIZONA I am so tired of seeing dirt and wind, might go as far as Mesquite and stay.  I do miss playing Texas Holdem with live people instead of on the web so we will find RV sites that have it or will allow us too put it on. 

We did love St George we stayed at Hurricane RV park (WHR) for two weeks it is about 30 min. from Zion National Park, if you have never been too see the park it is a must. There is a lot too do around St. George which by the way is one of the fastest senior citizen areas growing.  not much more to tell you for the year was expensive, exciting and we have meet a lot of wonderful new friends.  Mike is learning to take afternoon naps, isn't it something when we are young we don't want to take a nap now that we are old we can't wait for those afternoon siesta's.

Till next year  don't forget to read each months journal

Love Carol

August 14, 2006
It is now 3 years and we are still alive and doing o.k. have wanted to brain Mike a lot of times over this last year, but he does know how to drive the RV and make the reservations to our next stop and gets us there safely, also if something goes wrong he usually can fix, so I guess I will have to keep him around a little longer.

The only question I have is what do you do with a husband who thinks retirement is just that, no honey do's, no washing windows.  I was asked the other day what Mike does, I told the gentleman he plays on the computer, plays lots of Texas Holdem online, practices his guitar, and once a week does the bed sheets at the laundry mat, takes out the garbage each day and rides his bike as much as he can at least 10 miles, if we need something from the store he volunteers (this way he can get some coffee), the gentleman said for me to ask him if he needed any help doing so much...ha ha.  So yes he is completely retired and I am semi-retired since I still have the cleaning and cooking, laundry etc.

We have had some exciting times, such as when the Awning had to be replaced, that was interesting it put us in NY which we were going to go to anyway, but in a different area.  And when Brigg passed, to find out that Canada's Vet's do not euthanize unless the pet is Canadian, or when we came back from Canada I had given all of my meats to a couple (who ended up paying me for them) and then we came across only to be asked do you have anything, not once did they want too see but I am sure if I had the items with me they would have searched the rig.  Another time we pulled into a park only to have so many trees and the spaces so cramped we had to pull out, or the time I got us kicked out of a park, or when we were heading for NY the coach started bugging out, finding a town that even Good Sam could not find on a map, (it was an easy fix, since the coach is all computerized, it seems the battery cables had fired themselves to the manifold and was making the computer go nuts), but if you don't have these kind of happenings where's the adventure.

 One of my favorite stops was a let's pull off the road for the night and we ended up in the Amana Colonies, which ended up to be 3 days instead of one.., or when you pull in a park only to have people who have been at another park with you, getting together with them makes it wonderful, things like that make you enjoy traveling in the coach and wondering what is around the bend.

Then there are those times we need to stop for the day, get the passport America book and see what is close, we find one, only for it too be way off the road and in our case (only twice using the passport America have we been disappointed) like the place we found next to Snake River with all kinds of unknown bugs, hot, and lots of dirt.  But then that is the venture we would not have if we not in an RV.

It has been fun traveling to all the states (about 17), seeing so much of the country but most of all meeting so many people who now have become email friends as well as long time friendships. From Rockport, Nashville, Pennsylvania, Niagara Falls, Canada, Washington all across this country we have made friends .  

 One of the great stops was to go to Michael's to see them and our Granddaughter, Brooke,  who is growing up so fast and turning out to be so beautiful, she loves to dance, when music is played she starts those hips moving and away she goes.

We have found that living in the coach full time to be great, not missing the house, we have everything we did with a home.  Other then Brigg's passing, I would like to get a new pet, but then again, we would not be able to take extra time site seeing knowing we would need to come back and let the dog out, or worry that the electric was turned off and got too hot for him, so for right now we will wait on getting another pet.

Many people ask us (and we are new at this) how did you give up not having a permanent home base.  There are times I do miss my puttering around the rose garden and such, and there are times I would like to just plant myself somewhere, by staying in one place longer then 2 weeks you really get to know the people and have a little more fun, but then we move to a new site and or town and that planting goes away, as there are so many new and exciting things to see and do not too mention the wonderful parks we stay in. If you have been keeping up with the parks page then you too know how great they are.  The best part of being full time and not having a home, you do not have to go back to all of those weeds to pull, roof to repair, etc.  Yes you do have to keep your coach up washing it every so often, this year we sealed the rubber roof, won't have to be done for another 5-6 years and had the coach oil changed, but basically other then the every day routine there is not much that has to be done.

If you ask me we could not have done all that we have if we had a home. We would have traveled yes, but would not have driven probably flew and then rented a car, and missed the scenery we have scene and the "oh lets stop here for a couple of days and explore "..so no Thanks for the home base , maybe down the road we will have to as we get older but for now we KEEP MOVING ON AND TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME!

Keep up with our Daily journal and by this time next year I will let you know if I still have a husband, and what kind of Adventures we will get into!

Until this time next year
Carol

December 29, 2006
A New Year is about to start and what a year it has been!

Mike retired, and we now have traveled for about 5 months and are finding that we love it. Sometimes we do get on each others nerves but who wouldn't when you have been married over 41 years and are in close quarters, we have solved this by Mike going for coffee as if he needed an excuse for that, or he will go outside weather permitting and play his guitar, as for me I just get on the computer and work on our web site.

We are really enjoying the traveling and now meeting others who are full timers and are giving us tips as to Parks, places and just plain living the RV life.

We will be heading towards Texas and hope to be in Pennsylvania by May if all goes well.

We have had the Awning fixed, new slide toppers, new battery replaced and a new washer dryer, hopefully this will be the end of repairs and replacements, it was an expensive year, but if we had a home the expense of upkeep would have been so much more, we would have had to put on a new roof, do the upkeep of the landscaping, which I do not miss and Mike is so glad he no longer has to take care of the over growth of weeds every year, I do miss my porch plants, but then they too would have had to be water and taken care of when we went away. When I think about it there is nothing that a home base has that we don't have in our RV.  I realize now that we had only used about 4 rooms in our home before and we still have those 4 rooms in our motor home. 

I am finding that the budget does not go as far as we had hoped, we have eaten out a lot which is very expensive, so this coming year there we will cut eating out to one day a week, also the cost of doing laundry was running us about $20-30 a week and that is one of the reason we bought a new washer/dryer so I could do larger loads everyday, we will take the savings and add it to the gasoline budget for traveling. Gas prices fluctuate a lot from state to state, so far the highest has been AZ. We hope that this will change as we go east, with the elections over, we can see that they are going up all over.

Since joining the KM resorts and having ROD the cost of RV parks have been free. This has helped us a lot, we have talked to others about parks, they are paying out ( without joining a membership park) have gone to about $35 a night!

Mike is thinking of adding a antenna to our internet system, so that others who are in the same park we are in, can get on the internet also. When we were at St. David RV Park several people used our system to get to their emails, so this started Mike thinking and finding out what it would take to make this into a side hobby.  He is hoping that if he got 10 people each paying about $2 a day that would pay for the equipment and our charges for our monthly internet service. I hope this works as he loves to help others when it comes to getting onto the WEB.

The greatest part of living full time, we get to see different cultures and cities, I am finding that everyone we have met on the way give great advice as to where to go and what to do when we get there.  I can't wait to see what next year traveling will be like.  We are planning to see much and do a lot. 

Am adding a recipe page this year hoping to add a recipes from each park. Recipe Page

Until next year Carol

Aug 2006
It is now 2 years (Aug 2005) since we started living full time in our RV, it doesn't seem like it but time fly's when your having fun...or like me when you are getting OLD!

I thought it might be hard to have Mike around full time and in such confined space, however, I have found that it is no different then when we had our large home. He has his hobbies and I am busy with the web site and reading (I am finally getting a lot of reading done).

We both don't like driving more then 4-5 hours a day, usually start out around 9AM and are in a RV park by 2-4PM, love having  a some what short day,  I don't get as tired and the driving is done before night falls, we are set up usually within 1/2 an hour and have dinner & relax for the night.

The next day we find out what we want to do and see, make our plans for the week and just enjoy!

We have it down as to when we clean and do laundry...Mike does the laundry and I clean the motor home, he loves to do the wash as this gets him away while I clean and he can practice his guitar while watching the wash.

We have been extremely lucky, as we have not had any major problems along the way, last July we had to have one jack replaced and now this month Dec. 2006 we have to have another Jack replaced and have the slide out covers replaced, and that puts us back into Tucson at Beaudry RV as  they seem to be the only ones in the southwest that can do the repairs.

One of the things I found difficult in moving around is finding a Beautician,  the first one that did my hair after leaving Tucson was in Logan, UT and she was ok cut my hair about 2 inches too short, she said it would grow out which it did and it actually saved me money as I did not have to have it done as soon as I would have.  The next beautician which Mike found in Elwha WA( he liked the way she did his hair), when I saw her place of business that should have given me a hint but Mike said give her a chance...Ok, I did, I bought my own color and she didn't even have the developer so Mike had to find a beauty supply shop and get the developer. Then she couldn't figure out how much too use, guess should have walked out them, but again Mike said give her a chance. to make this story short I walked out with yellow hair, shorter them a butch, and all split ends...Ladies don't let your husband recommend a beautician

As for cooking I can't seem too cook on gas so everything I do is in the convection oven and I love it, so my gas oven makes good storage for my George Forman grill and my small waffle maker.

Our motor home has all the room we need, I can even take my Christmas decorations with me, I would have more room if I did not have to take winter clothes with us, ok, I know we should be where we do not need coats, we keep trying but so far every time I am about ready to get rid of the winter clothes we are back in cold country. If someone out there knows how to convince a husband not to go to cold country and too the desert PLEASE tell me!

I was going to make this short but I see have almost told you our life will not all of it but a good two years. one thing I think is amazing is not one time so far have I gotten bored or felt like I missed having a house. The greatest joy about living full time and traveling is being able to meet so many wonderful RV'ers...Each RV park we visit we come away with a new friend and know when and if we go back to the area we will meet them again.

I would like to get some recipes of easy cooking for the convection oven, between the crock pot and simple dishes I am running out of ideas. if you read this and know of some easy and inexpensive recipes email me carol856@hughes.net

Thanks Carol