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Old 05-02-2006, 12:26 PM   #1
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I am new to this forum, but promised my husband I would go online today and check something out for him. I found you on a search engine and thought someone here may be able to help us.

We do NOT currently own an RV, but my husband has been talking about possibly getting one for a while now. He is very close to retirement and we have 5 children, whom we homeschool, ranging in age from 5 to 15 years. We have been talking lately about taking a "once-in-a-lifetime" trip around the US. We would use it as an educational trip for the kids and see all the places we have only ever read about.

Are we completely nuts? Has anyone ever done such a thing or know anyone who has? We have so many questions and would just like to do as much research on this as possible before we make any decisions or take any steps in that direction.

I would appreciate any feedback or information you can give us.

Thanks,
Diane
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Old 05-02-2006, 12:26 PM   #2
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I am new to this forum, but promised my husband I would go online today and check something out for him. I found you on a search engine and thought someone here may be able to help us.

We do NOT currently own an RV, but my husband has been talking about possibly getting one for a while now. He is very close to retirement and we have 5 children, whom we homeschool, ranging in age from 5 to 15 years. We have been talking lately about taking a "once-in-a-lifetime" trip around the US. We would use it as an educational trip for the kids and see all the places we have only ever read about.

Are we completely nuts? Has anyone ever done such a thing or know anyone who has? We have so many questions and would just like to do as much research on this as possible before we make any decisions or take any steps in that direction.

I would appreciate any feedback or information you can give us.

Thanks,
Diane
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Old 05-02-2006, 12:43 PM   #3
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First of all, welcome to iRV2. We're glad you found us.

I'd suggest taking a look down in the Full-Timers forum (under RV Life Styles on the Main Page). You may find some topics there that will help - of course, feel free to open a thread with any questions you might have while you're there.

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Old 05-02-2006, 01:27 PM   #4
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Keep reading on this forum and others, a good second choice might be RV Netand the "Open Roads" forum. Between these two you can find most anything RV related. You will have to make a choice of what type of RV you desire - everything from "pop-up" camper to trailers, to 5th wheels to motor homes. With a family the size of yours the motor home may not offer a floor plan with enough room for everyone. (we carry a tent that we call the "spare room" if our grown children will be visiting).

Whatever you do don't be in a rush to buy anything. There are so many choices. Get active on the forums, ask all your questions before making up your mind.

It sounds like you are planning a great adventure for your family. You will be in awe of the wonderful sights and experiences this country has to offer.
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Old 05-02-2006, 03:18 PM   #5
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Hi Diane and welcome to iRV2.com.

No, you aren't crazy and in fact a lot of people travel for extended periods in RVs, some even living in them full time and known as "fulltimers". We ourselves spend about 6 months per year in our motorhome, traveling around the country or sometimes staying predominantly in one place (this summer it will be Moses Lake, WA for 4 months).

A trip such as you are talking about would actually take years - we live in a huge and spectacular country with enough things to see and do to last a lifetime. Even hitting the high spots takes a couple of years. So on eof the things you need to do is make a list of "must see", "hope to see"and "see if we can fit it in". Another is to budget time and money. And since you mentioned kids, will school be a constraint?
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Old 05-02-2006, 03:18 PM   #6
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Diane & Family Welcome to irv2.com
If you think your completely nuts than I guess my wife an I will have to join you. We have had over 30 years 60 kids thru our house whole and the only way we could travel is with a motor home and a sleeper pop-up behind it. The pop-up has traveled more miles than the three MH's it has followed. Trips to Calgary, Alb. Canada,N.S.,P.E.I. across country and many to Mickey land, FL.
Great times had by all and twins coming to irv2 Tenn rally in July. Its a good means to do what you want and when you want.
So like everyone has said read and ask questions that is the only way to keep from making a wrong desision on this life style. Enjoy and come back often. "007"
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Old 05-02-2006, 11:07 PM   #7
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Diane and family, You may want to concider renting a motorhome and trying it on a weeks trial runto be sure it is what you think it is. A motorhome may be the only way to gget enough seating room for all of you to travel and have enough power to pull it all. 007 sounds like he has a good system by towing the sleeping quarters. Good luck and welcome to our website and forum.
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Old 05-03-2006, 02:49 AM   #8
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Welcome Diane to the IRV2 website, no you and your husband's plans are well founded, planning such an adventure is as important as going, make sure you see everything in front of you, so that you are not always backtracking. Ed.S
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Old 05-03-2006, 06:42 AM   #9
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Welcome Diane!!!

I homeschool as well and also have 5 kids, aged 3-15. You sound just like us. Our dream is to RV across this great country as well. By the time dh retires though, our youngest will be 20. He is late starting his career in the Army as a chaplain. He does get 30 days leave a year though, so we can explore the areas around our post.

The first thing to do is find a trailer. See what is out there and then rent one to see if you like it. We currently own a popup. We all fit, but the sleeping arrangements can get creative. In the future we want to get a hybrid. We drive an Astro, so can tow a light one, but eventually want a full size van and can pull a bigger one. Fleetwood and Jayco make some hybrids that have 2 sets of bunk beds at one end, a sofa and dinette sleeper, and a queen bed on one end that pops out like a tent. We like the tent part. We want the bunk beds so there is no "I don't want to sleep with so and so tonight". If you are going to be living for a year in one, I don't recommend a popup. Depending on your tow vehicle, a hybrid might be your best bet. We looked into TTs that sleep all of us, but they were WAY too heavy for any vehicles that would hold all of us. Plus, you have to take the weight of all the occupants and their gear off of the total weight.

As for motorhomes, that would be another option, but we have found that we can't find one with enough seatbelts for all of us. They also don't have enough beds to sleep us all. I haven't looked at all of them though, so you may find one. I also am not sure if you can tow a big enough vehicle behind them to use to tour the areas in. We want to be able to leave our camper at the CG and then explore the area around us. DH is also concerned about driving such a big rig through the mtns. With a TT, we can drop it off at a campground and then hit the mtns.

Can you tell we have thought about this a lot. lol AAA also has tourbooks for each state that lists historic places, places not to miss (they call them Gems), and list the cost of each place. I go through and highlight all the free and minimal fee stuff.

What curriculum do you use? Abeka and Bob Jones history books list a lot of historic places in the US that we want to see. Do you know of any curriculum guide or unit study type thing that sends you through the US? That would be such an awesome learning experience. One you definitely cannot get in the classroom.

Look forward to hearing more form you. If you want anymore planning info, this group is great and I would be glad to share with you the things we have learned. We used to tent camp, and have only had our popup a few months, but have learned so much from this group.

Happy Camping!!!
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Old 05-04-2006, 03:32 AM   #10
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Welcome to iRV2! When our kids were growing up we took extended vacations each summer and traveled the country. At one point we were reviewing what states we had visited and discovered we had been to over half the lower 48 continental states. Then we set the goal to get to all of them by the time the kids graduated from high school. We completed our trek with Idaho, Washington and Oregon the summer before my daughter's senior year.
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Old 05-04-2006, 04:50 AM   #11
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Wow Rick, thats awesome. We are hoping for dh to get stationed at many different areas of the US so we don't have to drive as far to see everything. Glad to see it can be done on summer trips!
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Old 05-04-2006, 07:52 AM   #12
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I don't think you're nuts at all. I did a country tour w/ 3 kids in an 18' RV. Everyone had a wonderful time!
I now own a 26' Lazy Daze Class C & could fit your family in it easily. Be aware.... larger RVs will give you more room to rattle around in. That's true. But, not all RV's will fit everywhere! Part of the reason we had such a great time in the 18' was that we could park ANYWHWRE!!! We'd pull into beautiful places that were empty.... because the big boys couldn't get their rigs in!
In my book, small is better. But, I do often get looked at like I couldn't 'afford' a 'better' one. I guess that's why I picked this handle, kind of a Napolean complex thing. I have a 6800 sq'ft house on 1/2 acre 20 min from downtown Los Angeles. I can 'afford' anything I want. I choose to have something easy to park. If I needed all that space.... I'd go outside, or stay home!
Smaller really is is better!!!!
I kept the kids in line w/ a point system. They got points for good morning hugs, for helping one another, for policing the areas we were in (including other peoples trash, in which case they had to wear laytex gloves). They spent their points on souveniers, on choosing something to watch on TV, or choosing a place to stop, choosing our campsite, etc. It actually was a kick for them to 'buy' the campsite of their choice! Taught them to budget & not spend their points foolishly.
Good luck w/ your trip! I hope to be off on anohter very soon!
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:05 PM   #13
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regarding homeschooling... Make sure your are "legal" for your home state. Also, you need to decide if you will be homeschooling for the one year or will it be an ongoing thing. We homeschooled the girls (twins) starting with their 4th grade year until they graduated high school. We "unschooled" (no text books, we leaned towards the Charlotte Mason method of using "living" books - literature books and life experiences) but that was how my kids learned best and I had to spend the first year backtracking to "fill in the gaps" left by the public school system. As residents of TN, we used a church "umbrella" school (www.familychristianacademy.com) for school records and our SAT testing. If you will be putting the kids back into the public or private schol system, then you might want to stay with a curriculum like Abeka or Bob Jones as those two are the most like "real school". I believe both outfits have a test that your kids take to place them in the right grade level book. Don't be surprised if your kids test to a lower graded book than their school grade. Homeschoolers tend to perform at a slightly higher level than standard school. I think it has to do with the individual attention they get. Check out Homeschool Legal Defense, "You Can Homeschool" and the biggie "Homeschool Laws By State"

BTW, we full-timed for 18 months in a hard-sided vintage Apache pop-up in SC, GA & TN. With 2 adults, 2 kids, 1 large dog and an antique cat. It was tight and cramped in bad weather.
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