Full-Time RVing–the First Year!

When I thought of RVing full-time in our retirement, I thought of great adventures. RVing full-time is certainly about great adventures—some of the time. It’s also about living your life and all the things that come with that—the good, the bad and the ugly.

The first kink in our plans.

We started our first year of full-time RVing by camping at Daingerfield State Park,  a great Texas State Park near Winnsboro, our home base. We were supposed to stay for two weeks so we could work out the kinks of our new lifestyle. We’d be close enough to our storage unit to swap things out and figure out what we really needed. After one week of wonderful, peaceful camping, Jim’s 93 year old mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She opted to forego treatment and went into hospice care. Her one wish was to die at home.

We had a house on wheels. It seemed so convenient. So we moved to Strawn, TX, and parked in the driveway of her home. Jim’s sister had shouldered the bulk of the responsibility for their mother’s care over the years. It was our turn. For the next six weeks Jim and I took care of his mother, with the help of some great hospice nurses and attendants. Of course, Jim’s sister helped but she was also able to have little break and take care of her own family. This was definitely a team effort.

This was how our great adventure began. I can’t say that I’m sorry, though. Jim and I married later in life and never lived close to his mom. I saw her on holidays and short visits but never really got to know her. For six weeks I had the opportunity to really get to know her. She got me hooked on “Wheel of Fortune” and I kept track of her medications. She had a sharp sense of humor and many, many friends. I’m glad I had the opportunity for the two of us to be friends, too. She will be sorely missed.

Back to the adventure??

Well, not quite. As timing would have it, we now had to return to our home base for a series of pre-planned dentist and doctors’ appointments. We spent the next several weeks at North Shore Landing, an RV park owned by a friends, Nathan and Debby White. Their place was on Lake Fork and very nice but it seemed we did nothing but drive to one appointment or another. This was certainly not an exciting time but we did have the opportunity to work out the kinks and plan our next step.

Finally, the great adventure begins!

It was now December and we headed to the beaches of the Texas Gulf Coast: Galveston, Magnolia Beach, Mustang Island, and the South Padre Island National Seashore. The winter weather on the Texas coast isn’t “swimming warm”, but its great “walk-on-the-beach” weather. We had a great time enjoying the new sites and learning about full-time RVing. We learned how expensive laundromats were, that we couldn’t eat out all the time and that some tourist sites were just not in our budget. We had a great time bouncing from one campground to the next all along the coast.

Daisy & Rose in San Marcos, TX

Our dogs take center stage!

While enjoying the beach our dachshund Daisy started experiencing back pain. We were so concerned that we would have to put her down. Instead we found a wonderful vet who treated her. She had some paralysis initially, but seems to have worked through that. he’s no longer in pain thanks to Dr. Guzeldere at the Flour Bluff Animal Clinic.

Jim doing laundry

The next kink in our great adventure.

In January Jim got sick with what we assumed was a cold; a dry nagging cough. Of course, he gave me the same illness and I, too, coughed for two weeks. The problem was that after a month Jim was still coughing and now he was in a lot of pain and couldn’t breathe. Off to the emergency room and a week in the hospital. What a scary time. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with him. In hindsight, he showed all the signs of COVID-19. Of course in February, 2020, that wasn’t on anyone’s radar.

Even after being released from the hospital, Jim was still very sick and weak. We spent the next few weeks parked in an RV Park while he recuperated. Then it was off to Winnsboro, our home base, to follow up with our regular doctor. Read more about health emergencies.

Now the Pandemic takes center stage.

By the time we finished with follow-up doctor appointments, it was March and the country was beginning to have lockdowns. We worried about whether or not to travel. Like the rest of the country, we hunkered down for the long haul. We saved money because we ate at home. We got several projects finished. We walked the dogs for entertainment and watched way, way too much TV. Like everyone else we spent several months being bored. Being seniors with underlying conditions, we decided being bored was better than the alternative.

Finally!!

On June 1st we couldn’t wait any longer for our great adventure to finally begin. Parks were beginning to open up and it was getting way too hot to stay in Texas any longer. We headed north for new sites and cooler temperatures. Finally, we were doing what we had planned all along: exploring this great country.

Whew! What a first year!

Why am I sharing this strange story about our first year of RVing? On other blogs about full-time RVing you’ll read about the first year lessons learned and first year expenses. Our first year of full-time RVing was just life. It wasn’t anything too exciting. It had life’s usual problems.

Are we sorry? Not at all. It was a great adventure, but not the kind we planned on. As you consider RVing on a full-time basis, you have to realize that as you travel the country, you’ll also be living your life and all that comes with that, the good, the bad and the ugly. Safe travels!

Sunset

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4 thoughts on “Full-Time RVing–the First Year!”

  1. Thanks for the update! During the lockdowns this year I found myself looking for entertainment on Youtube, and stumbled on to Rusty78609 (a fulltime RVer). In fact, he’s been a fulltime RVer for 20+ years, and shares many delightful videos from the numerous RV parks that he visits. Sure looks like a pleasant way to live. Glad to hear you and Jim are doing well, and hope 2021 brings you lots of exciting trips!

  2. We’re having a lot of fun, even after our weird first year. We both miss seeing you every weekend and our knives are in need of sharpening!

  3. Hi Mary and Jim, my wife and I are retired teachers from Lindale, TX, not far from your home base. I enjoyed reading your email and look forward to future ones. We are thankful to hear Jim has recovered and that you both are healthy.
    We LOVE taking our camper out and enjoying God’s beautiful creation, but are not full time. We have retired in Tennessee to be close to kids and grandkids.
    Our two favorite rv trips have been to Big Bend and the Smokey Mountains.
    Hope to meet you on the road someday!!
    God bless,
    Bene and Anna Davis
    Columbia, Tennessee

    1. Thanks for your kind words. We love what we’re doing and want to share the adventure.
      I hope we meet up on the road one day, maybe at Big Bend. Texas has so many wonderful places to visit.

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