On June 5th, 2015, Dave and I celebrated our 1-year anniversary of living in our motor coach onboard the Fur Ball Express. (Sorry, Linda, but the name of the Queen Mary had to be retired as the Fur Ball Express is much more aptly named for our rig with the two fur balls in it). At the time we were still working our jobs and we didn’t hit the road until mid-October last year, as we wanted to have a bit of time to get acquainted with the rig and figure out how things worked before we hit the road. A lot has changed for us within the past year. We both retired from our jobs, sold our home and everything that we owned, and took a huge gamble on living this type of lifestyle. As I had mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, living this type of life style was something that we both wanted to do and we both thought that we would enjoy it. We were wrong. WE LOVE IT! The freedom that we have to go from place to place, whenever we want, has been most awesome.
Our travels so far have taken us to West Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Philadelphia, Ohio, Tennessee, Maryland, New York, Georgia, and Ontario, Canada. We’ve toured the Charlotte Motor Speedway and taken a couple of laps around the track; rode the rides at Walt Disney World (numerous times!); toured numerous revolutionary and civil war battlefields and learned of the history that helped shape our nation; visited NASA; and watched the Blue Angles in action, to name just a few of the highlights. Most importantly, we met some wonderful people along the way. J
There have been some challenges along the way, such as two broken windshields (more on that later), two chassis batteries that died (thankfully they died while we were at a campground and not out on the road), a couple of leaks from hard-driving rain around the slide seals (every coach and fiver inevitably has the same issues in regard to rain and slides), route logistic nightmares (refer to earlier nail biting journeys in previous blogs), our inverter appears to be not working (that’s on the task list to be looked at), the splitter on the front TV going out rendering our bedroom TV inoperable for a while, and properly learning the operating details of all the mini-systems in the coach so we don’t do things like draining the batteries to death in the future. We persevered though and conquered each challenge that we were met with. I remarked to Dave the other night that a year ago my priorities used to be work, taking care of the house, clothes shopping, and going to the movie theater to see a good movie for relaxation. My priorities have changed drastically. They now consist of level camp sites, 50-AMP electrical service, sewer connection service, and finding great campgrounds to stay at on our travels.
Dave made a very good comment the other day regarding retirement. After I tallied up our living expenses for the past year, and the two of us spending a couple of hours trying to figure out the most efficient route(s) for our upcoming excursions, Dave said that “retirement is not for the faint of heart.” In reality, it wasn’t that bad, as the figure for our expenses encompasses everything that we spend money on, from a bottle of water to vehicle registrations. Our average monthly living expenses are slightly more than expected, but our entertainment expenditures have increased significantly, as that is our life now. Since neither of us had done this before, we had absolutely no benchmarks to compare to, so everything considered, we are quite happy with our first year on the road. Our travel dates thankfully are casual, but we are learning very quickly about what routes to avoid at what time of the week or day, i.e., avoid the east coast traffic AT ALL COSTS. We can’t imagine how we lived on the east coast for so long and dealt with THE TRAFFIC. Maybe we’ve just become soft from living in the Midwest for so long.
Since our departure from Indiana last October, we covered 1,960 miles in the last 2-1/2 months of 2014; we have traveled 4,062 miles so far in 2015.
Alvin and Waddie are adjusting to life on the road better with each excursion that we leave out on. When we first started traveling, we decided not to cage Alvin and Waddie during our travels as their cages stress them out. Instead, at least in the beginning, I played goalie in that I kept them away from Dave has he drove. Eventually, Waddie would hide underneath of the sofa and only come out once we had stopped at the next campground. Alvin would hide either beneath the other sofa or try to hide behind me in my seat. Sharing a seat with a 16 pound cat is not an easy feat!
Waddie now sleeps in her bucket (it’s what we call her kitty bed) and Alvin lies on the floor behind my chair. Occasionally, one of them will come up on the floor in between our seats and want to see what’s going on, but for the majority of the time, they just sleep now. Personally, I think that they’re just closing their eyes and praying for the rig to stop bumping and shaking on the road.
Alvin loves to explore each new campground that we’re in. He can’t wait for Dave to finish setting up outside so that he can get on his leash and go to explore. Alvin has become quite the ladies’ man too! Friday night, we had new neighbors pull in next door to us and they were a fairly young couple with three kids. Well the kids, around 14 years old, had to love on Alvin. He reciprocated by loving all over them as well. The kids decided to go on a walk, and as they were leaving, Alvin began running after them on his leash. Dave had to walk very fast in order to hang on to Alvin’s leash. It was quite comical to watch, as Alvin has never done anything like that before. I wish I would have had my phone with me, as I would have caught that on video.
Waddie, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with going outside. She’s very content to have me put her bucket up in the front window so she can sit there and watch people walk by, or just curl up with the sun on her and take a nap.
We realize how truly fortunate we are to be living this kind of lifestyle and we’re so glad that all of you are on this journey with us.