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Old 06-05-2015, 11:17 PM   #1
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Hi all -New here and hoping for advice

New to forum so I don't know if this is the right section to ask for advice.

Little about me:

"Semi retired" - (trying to write a book for kids between 12-15 or so).

I'm in Florida and have been looking to get out pretty much since I got here.

I was widowed in '95 and at the time had a son who was 9. I had lived most of my adult life with my wife in Colorado and after she died I figured it was a good time for me and my son for a change of scenery. I had a job offer in Florida for a while (wife didn't want to move so it didn't happen until she passed).

Company shut down after I was there for 8 years and have been taking on different jobs ever since - none of them anything I truly wanted to do.

Now collecting social security and a pretty small pension. And that's about it after getting killed in stock market after 9/11 and then the tech stock crash.

So on a strict and tight budget.

I had thought about maybe finding a used RV and living in it until I either found a place I wanted to live and/or a job I wanted to do (assuming the book doesn't work out which is an "iffy" proposition in any case).

Found a 1995 Fleetwood Class A for about $13000 - went to see it and it's been put into excellent shape with upgrades (and a motorcycle lift that is a big plus to me). Can be seen in ad at : https://miami.craigslist.org/pbc/rvs/5044189943.html

Think it's 30 feet and the owner seems like a straight shooter.

What I DON'T know is the cost of living in an RV - I have read you can park in BLM land for free but not sure about for how long. Also that would mean no hook-ups. (Can't carry water and such on my motorcycle).

A bit concerned about gas mileage, but I guess once I get to Colorado, Az., NM, etc...that's less of an issue - but getting 9mpg just to get there is going to be expensive (454 CI Chevy gas engine).

So bottom line is is it feasible to live alone (with my dog) on around $2K a month (with RV paid for) - and do it year 'round? I can probably work in Las Vegas since I had worked for Circus Circus 25 years ago and from what I was told when I left when my wife was very sick that employees that left under good standing had jobs whenever they came back (don't know if that policy still exists). I had written a letter of resignation explaining situation (wife had terminal cancer and I had to be with her to take care of her - and my young son - who is now 30 and in the military and also a graduate of law school...so nothing to keep me in Florida..no other family here, etc.

Never felt at home in Florida - I had lived in Aspen before my son was born and then in Boulder, Co...both places now far too expensive to live on my retirement income.

I like the weather out west more - even in the winter, but think the cold winters might be impossible living in an RV (really don't know).

Having a "home" that I can move can (I believe) give me the freedom to go further south in the winters - but I don't know how realistic that is - or if it's possible to find places I can stay for extended periods of time (and it would be nice to be able to meet people and make friends).

That's pretty much it. Thoughts on living and also on whether or not a 20 year old RV is going to be more trouble than it's worth? Can't really afford to keep fixing up major issues with the vehicle - however the price seems reasonable and having seen it, it is in excellent condition (at least from what I can see - and the owner has just bought a new RV so I tend to trust his word on how he's maintained and upgraded the one he's selling).

Any input appreciated. I've never even been in an RV, let alone owned one. I think the size is fine for me - I can get my clothes and other essentials into it, just would need to donate my furniture to charity (doubt I'd get much selling it).

Thanks in advance to anyone who can give me any info or opinions.

If I'm in the wrong section of the forum, please let me know and I'll move this or maybe the administrator will do it for me.

Should be able to buy the RV for cash since I'll be getting a bit more from the sale of my mother's house (not a lot, but enough to pay for the RV, get out of my current auto lease and cut my living expenses here in Florida by a good amount (I hope) - renting a 2 bedroom apt. had been costing me close to $2K a month with utilities (electric and internet and cable tv)...I know I'll want internet and tv is I can get some kind of dish set-up...haven't looked into it yet, but I know the RV has two TVs already in it (flat screens that didn't exist when the RV was built in '95)...no dish - just a cable hook-up for RV campgrounds I guess). No navigation, but I know Garvin type nav systems are 1/3rd the price they were when I got one in 2008 - also my iPhone has navigation which is what the seller told me he uses (small screen - not sure if it's better than paper maps?).

Also know that Walmart stores (some) allow overnight parking, but that seems like just a one night thing - fine between Florida and getting out West, but I'm hoping to find a cheap way to stay in one place for a reasonable (affordable for me) cost once I get to the Rocky Mountain West for summer and maybe the Desert Southwest during the winters.

Again, thanks for any guidance.


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Old 06-05-2015, 11:37 PM   #2
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I don't want to try and comment too much on the coach, it looks nice but the add seemed a little over the top alarming. Date codes on tires is one place to start. Tires are expensive.

Living on $2000 a month in a RV? I am sure there are more than a few folks doing it, I might google rv travels on a minimal budget.
I believe I have seen some folks who write blogs about places to camp and how to make it all work.

I found your story very well written and I wish you the best of luck in all your travels. Find someplace that makes you smile. There are no do overs.

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Old 06-06-2015, 12:05 AM   #3
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It's good to have you here, good luck with your plans.
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TMan59 View Post
I don't want to try and comment too much on the coach, it looks nice but the add seemed a little over the top alarming. Date codes on tires is one place to start. Tires are expensive.

Living on $2000 a month in a RV? I am sure there are more than a few folks doing it, I might google rv travels on a minimal budget.
I believe I have seen some folks who write blogs about places to camp and how to make it all work.

I found your story very well written and I wish you the best of luck in all your travels. Find someplace that makes you smile. There are no do overs.
Thanks for your response -
I'm aware of the tire date codes - had the same issue with a new front motorcycle tire I got recently - back tire was fine, but front tire was "new old stock" and started to show dry rot after just a couple of months and practically no wear at all. Worked out OK - seller replaced the tire with one manufactured 4 months before it was sent to me rather than 5 years like the first one I got (rear tire was fine bought at same time as old front tire).

When I went to see the RV I was a bit overwhelmed and while I asked about the tires I didn't get a chance to check the date codes (wouldn't know how to get to see the interior tires on the rear?).

I realize I might be biting off more than I can chew at $2K a month - I'll have (assuming I pay cash) another $35-40K in cash to see me through until I can settle in somewhere and hopefully earn some money. (If I can get my book published that would go a very long way, but not something I can count on).

Since I wrote the post a short time ago, I tried finding a value on the RV I looked at - tough to judge since without having a mechanic go over the thing I wouldn't know what to look for - seems that I can get a newer vehicle for not that much more (especially assuming I can finance it rather than pay cash) - that would leave me with a greater cushion. Just afraid of over-paying if I want to get out of the thing if I buy from a dealer...not sure if I can get a bank loan on a used RV?

Really wish I had more time to do research, but if my house sells (have to split proceeds with two brothers), it might close in less than a month if the current buyer's offer gets approved for a mortgage. (too bad my mom took a home equity loan - that will come off the top).

Also looked at some other motorcycle lifts - forgot the brand but one is a hydraulic lift which seems more safe and reliable than the winch type lift on the "Overbuilt" lift on the RV (also it's obviously an older model since the newer "Overbuilt" I saw seems to be of a very different and compact design (folds up - not sure if that's really an issue when parked and bike is off the lift?).

Saw a Class 2 Mercedes that's a lot newer and has a diesel engine but not sure if it's capable of carrying a mid size motorcycle (or really anything more than a bicycle) - also not sure if a 22 foot RV is large enough to carry my belongings and my 60 pound dog...definitely would need a pass through to keep dog happy and out of the cab area, so a trailer wouldn't work for me (also seems it would be trickier to maneuver?? (never drove with a trailer, but had a license to drive a school bus when I was in college and drove a day-camp bus in the summers).

The RV I posted the link to was the only RV I've looked at so far. Unfortunately I'm pretty much limited to just private sellers (fine if I knew what to look for) - the nearest used RV dealer is 3 or 4 hours north of me.

There's an RV rental place about a half hour from where I live, but I'm sure that renting by the week or month or whatever would cost a fortune if I were to need it for a year or two which is what I'm anticipating (unless I just go right to Las Vegas and still have the job I left 20 years ago; which is at least possible...I will call human resources after the weekend and see if I can get a better idea. (might be too old for them to hire me back...68 now, and left when I was 48...probably illegal to discriminate by age, but doesn't seem to stop anyone and I've been told it's the hardest thing to prove by my lawyer)..

Anyway, if I buy any RV - I'd like to be able to sell it for close to what I pay which seems possible with a 20 year old RV bought in Florida and sold out West - I could be completely wrong, but when I lived in Colorado I saw tons of RVs and virtually none here in Florida. Of course living in Aspen is different since it's a destination resort - living near West Palm Beach is far from being in a resort area of any kind. Nice hotels, so-so beaches, but the hotels seem to be mostly for business conventions. Not a place to take a family...(at least I can't see any reason to). Maybe worth a 4 hour drive to Orlando if I want to look at used RVs at dealers? (Just assuming they would exist - unlike here).

Thanks again,
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Old 06-06-2015, 04:10 AM   #5
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Old 06-06-2015, 06:03 AM   #6
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Old 06-06-2015, 06:23 AM   #7
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Hi Richard! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 06-06-2015, 09:55 AM   #8
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Welcome aboard Richard. This is good place to find other like minded folks that full time and info on rigs your considering to buy and what to look for.

Safe and Happy Travels.
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Old 06-06-2015, 06:25 PM   #9
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Welcome. Check out the sections "forum" at the top of this page. There are links there you might be interested in checking out. One is boondocking, one is RVing on a Budget and workkamping. Sorry I can't help with the MH. Good luck on your adventure.
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:17 AM   #10
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'Morning, Richard,

Welcome aboard. Starting right in, yes, 2K a month is quite workable, if not plush.

We almost always stay at RV parks, and they are cheaper by the week or month. BLM stuff is OK sometimes, but dumping tanks is a pain, so we try to stay with parks, if possible.

I am not at all familiar with the coach you mentioned, but Fleetwood coaches in general are considered to be reasonable good. Do check the NADA and your favorite bank to get a good read on what you are paying. That's a 20 year old coach, and the woods are full of them.

The coach probably has a generator on board, so check to make sure that it works well and runs your air conditioners....and make sure THEY work well.

There are thousands of things to check on, but it's like eating an elephant; take it one bite at a time.

If this whole thing sounds inviting to you, then definitely go for it. If you just want to live cheaply, it's not that simple. As others have said, your budget is very adequate. If it's the lifestyle you want, you will not be wrong. Stuff will happen. Yeah, that's life.

You said you have a son who is taking care of himself; good for him, good for you. Your turn now. You have paid your dues, so now you can go out and live your life.

You definitely found the right forum here. Really, absolutely anything you need to know you can find, either as first hand advice or a reference to someone who knows what you need. Check around the index. There are lifestyle discussions, budgeting forums, technical discussions, traveling advice, you name it.


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Old 06-07-2015, 09:40 AM   #11
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Welcome, don't forget registration and a mailing address here is a good blog to read 10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Fulltime RVing… – Wheeling It
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Old 06-07-2015, 02:52 PM   #12
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Wow, thanks to everyone for the responses!!!

Encouraging to hear that living on a $2K budget is not unrealistic (besides I probably can find some kind of work which I'd want anyway just to keep from going crazy from boredom).

I have checked the NADA book value on what I THINK is the same RV I looked at - not completely sure since I didn't see any with the exact same model name - but same year, size and manufacturer (and engine). IIRC the price was pretty much what the seller is asking for.....in the ad he said he put something like $19K into the rig over the past couple of years...doesn't seem unlikely since the kitchen had all new appliances, counter-tops were re-surfaced, upholstery looks just OK...maybe not ideal for my dog, but not a major factor for me and something I can upgrade if I want down the line.

Generator works fine - A/C felt colder than I can get my house. I believe the generator is relatively new and same with the A/C system, the bathroom fixtures are all new, Having a seperate stand-up shower stall is a plus compared to smaller combination toilets with a shower in the same space (guess that's a matter of RV size?). Surprising amount of storage space both inside and under the vehicle - I guess standard for an RV that size, but having no experience it was a lot more roomy than I'd have guessed.

I'll try to get tire info (date of manufacture) - still don't know how to check inside rear tires (Hopefully I can get a mechanic to go over the whole vehicle before making a final decision).

I'd rather have a more fuel efficient vehicle (Diesel) but the 454 should at least get the thing up the high elevation passes in the Rockies. I remember I bought a new '86 Honda Accord when I needed a car with a back-seat after my son was born. I thought at the time buying the middle level trim (no sunroof and no fuel injection) was a good way to save a significant (then) $2000 as opposed to the higher end model - but having a carburetor at 10K feet made it a struggle (approach to the Eisenhower Tunnel I was about as slow as the 18 wheelers and old "black smoke" diesel cars of that time. Mostly Mercedes and Volvo if I remember correctly.

But on the other hand, the still old type switchback passes (like Independence Pass going into Aspen from the East) might be few and far between these days (no more Loveland Pass, no more Vail Pass, etc.) - but while I remember RVs slowing everyone down, there's really no safe way to drive through those hairpin turns with any speed (not even in the little 914 Porsche I had in the mid '70s).

I would definitely need to have the brakes checked on any vehicle I'd drive in the mountains - reasons seem obvious enough.

I had asked my motorcycle mechanic about the lift and he said it was a good one...I have a medium weight cruiser - might not be "state of the art" but once in place and lifted, the thing locks securely with large stainless steel pins. Bike insurance is very cheap, so worst case (broken winch cable - etc.) I'd at least have coverage on the bike for under $100 a year. Insurance on the RV was surprisingly (to me) inexpensive. Agent told me it's because the average RV owner puts on so few miles a year. (Pleasant surprise).

Generator is 30 amp - I don't really know what that means to me...seller of the RV I looked at said it's more than enough for running the A/C (I assume the heat runs off the propane - and some electric just to move the air?). Generator is pretty quiet - certainly not anywhere near as loud as the generators people down here use during power shortages caused by storms...guess they are just smaller since powering an RV isn't as demanding as powering a whole house with central A/C.

I'll be sure to check the suggested links mentioned in a couple of the responses.....

Sorry for rambling on - I just don't know what to focus on since this is all completely new to me.

And again, I thank all those who responded to my plea for help. Every response has been useful and friendly. Great web site and I'm glad I found it! I hope the time will come when I can answer questions as well as just ask....but so far, I'm not there. But it's how a good forum seems to work...sharing info and passing on knowledge gained from experience. (If I am on the road in the near future as planned and have Internet access which I'm sure I will even if not 100% of the time) - I'll certainly share my experiences here in the hopes it might help others in the "same boat" as me which for all I know may be more common than I ever imagined - especially things like being widowed at such a young age, being a single parent, losing my savings in a market crash worse than the one that triggered the Great Depression in 1929....etc.

Stuff happens - I count my blessings that I've still got my health. A lot of luck I guess due to genetics, but also staying active when most my age don't. I play in a senior's softball league 3 mornings a week, bowl once a week in a league (and about once more just to practice and it also helps me build some upper body strength I need due to breaking my shoulder playing ball a year ago). Riding my motorcycle may not be the safest thing to do, but I've been riding since I got a 90cc bike for my high school graduation (when all my friends got cars - my parents couldn't afford a car, but managed a bike - to my mom's dismay, but my dad never grew up I guess). LOL

If the motorcycle doesn't do anything else, it at least makes me FEEL young. And after 50 years of riding with not a single scratch, I feel safe and confident (and even got used to wearing a helmet which wasn't something required back in 1964 - at least now where I graduated high school, nor where I went to college with that little bike).

Amazing how much I don't know about RVs, but it's forums like this one that accelerate the learning curve immensely....how did we manage before we had the Internet?

No matter what, if I do go through with my plans to live (at least for a while) in an RV, I expect to make mistakes. I can only hope that by doing as much reading and taking advantage of the opportunity to ask for guidance on a forum like this one I can (hopefully) keep my mistakes on the small side - at least avoid the potentially catastrophic mistakes like I experienced (for example) buying a used car for my wife from a private individual who had a half dozen cars for sale (probably not legal).

Big beautiful looking 10 year old Cadillac convertible that did nothing except look good. If I hadn't been lucky to find a mechanic who wanted the car to fix up himself, I'd have had nothing but 4000 pounds of scrap metal.

Until now that was the first and last vehicle I bought from a private seller...and one of only two cars I bought used at all...the other was a car I had gone over with a fine tooth comb by a qualified mechanic before buying it and it was a great car - but only 2 years old - a far cry from a 10 year old convertible or now a 20 year old RV. Which I realize I'd need to have a mechanic to check out as well...so much I don't know - The one encouraging thing is that it seems (to my limited knowledge) that 50K miles on a 20 year old RV is not a lot of mileage (am I wrong?) and the upgrades and updates seem that they should show some pride of ownership...as I said, the RV I looked at is cosmetically in very good condition. But as they say, "beauty is only skin deep" and I'm not qualified to assess the mechanical condition by myself of anything more complicated than a 1965 VW "Bug"...(if that).

Any further suggestions and advice is greatly appreciated - I hope this can work out since the vehicle is close to where I live and the price is manageable for me. But I certainly don't want to find out there are issues I should have been aware of before the purchase; things I couldn't possibly foresee, but that I'd hope a mechanic would.

I'm not much of a gambler. In fact I've never once bought a lottery ticket in my life. And before working in casinos in Las Vegas I used to enjoy that kind of gambling, but never bet more than I could afford to - it was just entertainment to me, not an expectation of a big win (or loss). Now, having worked in casinos for a few years before going back to a "real job" I haven't stepped foot in a casino since...other than to get from one part of a hotel to another (which is how casinos are designed - want to eat? Go through the casino. Want to use a rest-room, go through the casino. Get to your hotel room? Go through the casino to get to the elevators). Etc...

Gambling on a used RV seems like the biggest risk I can possibly take at this stage of my life. Getting the "odds in my favor" seems possible only with a lot of research and patience and fortunately the age of he Internet makes all that vastly easier than the "old days" of 1992. The "Information Super Highway" as it was called before any of us even knew what that term meant (except for a very small number of people who couldn't possibly explain any of it to the rest of us).

Sorry for rambling on for so long - just seems like one thought leads to another - also guess I'm nervous and that makes me less succinct I guess.

Thanks again - especially to anyone who took the time to read through all of this!!!!

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Old 06-07-2015, 04:17 PM   #13
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It's really not that much of a gamble. As long as you pay cash and don't finance anything, the total loss is whatever you put into it. If you get some use and benefit from it, that is simply the cost.

If you use it for a few years and walk away (worst case), you still have your income and can do whatever you need to next. As to the age of the coach, there are lots of early to mid-eighties coaches still in use. You seem to be doing your homework, so there should be no real surprises.

You are already a Florida resident, so you know about the no income tax and low DMV renewals. You can keep that as your domicile wherever you roam, unless you take a full time job, and why would you ever do that?

Back to the hard look at where your life is and where you want it to go......It seems as if you don't need any more money (we all like more, but if you are warm and well fed, that's all that counts), so you don't need to worry about that stuff. Live your life! You are the only one that can, and it's the only one you have.

Soapbox disbanded for now. Go buy your new home before it gets away.

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Old 06-08-2015, 09:32 AM   #14
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I think you can do fine with full timing, might be a bit tough with only a motorcycle and no regular car type vehicle. Only because you will typically set up at a location for an extended period and having to unhook to go to store is a hassle.

You should check out the other sub-forums here for full timers, workamping (where you are a park "host" and do some part-time work in exchange for free rent) and the mfr specific forums like the Fleetwood one. Check out all those tabs at the top "Forums", "RV forums", "Owners Forums". With your budget you should be OK barring major breakdowns or repairs, even better if you have some part-time work. The 454 gas engine will work fine and 50K miles is nothing to worry about assuming good maintenance. Good to have an independent review before buying if you are not confident in your ability to evaluate it.

I say at this point in your life, try it and see. Not much to lose since you have no reason to stay in FL. Move to Las Vegas and get a job there to supplement your income. Even winter there is not too bad and you can make it in RV, although most RVs are considered 3 season. They are typically not built for real cold. So Aspen would not be recommended for winter as example.

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