...this video has me wondering if we could make it work. We're not considering a toy hauler either, but...

There are some things I like about this - namely the garage and the patio areas. With the screen closed over the big door, I can see that as a lovely room for my birds, and with the sound hookups back there, it would also work for keyboards. There is adequate room inside, but that whole outside setup is pretty great, as long as we're in warmer weather.

But in the end, it's probably not realistic. First, we're not going to always be in warmer weather - I'm still a winter-lover at heart, it is my very favorite season and I don't plan to give it up completely. Second, when we're moving, we're going to need a place to carry the birds (in smaller cages - their living cages will be bolted down, but removable for cleaning inside) in our vehicle, in addition to 2 dogs and a cat. And there simply isn't enough space in a pickup, even one with a full back seat. We are going to have to use a full-size van to haul a travel trailer (preferable), or drive a class C with a toad...

Anyway, here's the video that got me to thinking about it all:

[This video has been removed from YouTube]
 
 
his LaCrosse travel trailer has a LOT of features that I like! The layout is great, with the "bird room" at the opposite end as the bedroom, yet not totally closed off from the main living area. As I've mentioned previously I'd rather have a couple of chairs than a sofa in the living area, but that's not a deal breaker. And I could live with the U-shaped dinette, the free-standing table means it could be moved for easier access, or to set up a keyboard to make some music. And I LOVE the 12 cubic foot fridge/freezer! That means shopping more like I do now, which is better for the budget. I don't really know how important this is in practice but it has a fully enclosed underbelly as well, which seems nice to me even if I don't know why :). The outside kitchen is a bonus but would be lovely to keep from heating up the trailer when cooking on hot days.

Yup, this one may very well be a favorite of mine so far!

NOTE: Video has been removed from YouTube.

 
 
I like most things about this layout, do love the bathroom with the outside entrance so when we're spending time outdoors (something I anticipate we'll do as much as possible!) we won't have to traipse through to use the "facilities", dragging sand and dirt with us. I like the kitchen area a lot, with the exception of the booth for eating of course; more counter space than many others, not as much cupboard space as some. As with all of these, though, I'd adapt in the kitchen if the unit were otherwise suitable for us and our pets. In the living area I'd rather have a couple of chairs than a couch, but that might be easily modified.

I also like that it is laid out with 2 separate sleeping areas. In the "kids' area" I could use the upper bunk on the passenger side (which has a window) for bird cages. Since there is minimal storage in the "master bedroom" area, I could use that storage space in the back for our out-of-season clothing or whatever, and have even more storage on the driver's side after removing the davenport. Back up front, he didn't mention if there was storage under the queen bed - that would be a drawback if there isn't. Ideally I'd rather have the birds where the queen bed is, and the "master bedroom" in the back with that big slideout...but this could work for us.

Anyway, just another video of a travel trailer that might suit our needs, at least as what I anticipate they will be in a few years.
 
 
It's a couple of hours away from us, but this weekend is another Camper & RV show that I think we can go to! My husband only has 1 night (he works midnight-8 a.m...or 9:00, or 10:00...) off out of the next 10, but he said we can go. (Click on the title above to go to the information page for this show.)

This has been a rough weekend for us, our 14YO dog is failing fast. I am frankly surprised she is still with us...she has an appointment with the vet at 3:00, and I know in my heart that she won't be coming home. This, plus some other things that are going on, and I am really ready for a "date" like this with my husband...what a perfect date this will be for us!

And I will be excited to come home and share with you what we saw as well, though we're not ready to buy anything until next year - depending on God's plan and how He provides - it is so much fun to look and talk about right now :). Besides, a big purchase like this one requires lots of research, right? ;)

Our first RV won't be new anyway, according to what I'm thinking now at least. I would like us to buy a used one to try out for a couple of years before The Big Day, so that we have a better idea of the features, layout, etc. that are most important to us in actual living; only then will I feel comfortable with the big purchase of a brand-new model for full-timing.

Anyway - really looking forward to a much-needed fun day with my husband later this week!
 
 
 I really love the Class C motor homes. Don't know why, but I am drawn to them whenever I watch videos or look at websites. I just keep thinking a travel trailer would be more practical...but I can't help loving the Class C's!

This is one that would be great for us, with a couple of exceptions, all in the kitchen: I want chairs instead of a booth, an oven, and a pull-out spice rack. I mentioned all of these in a previous blog post, so I will say no more about them now. But by pulling out those bunks, I'd easily have space for a few bird cages, elevated on stands or chains, with dog/cat crates beneath. Perfect space for those, with the windows, and close to the living area.

We - ALL of us - could be pretty comfortable in this one.

(Reminder that we're not looking at prices, brands, etc in these early days - just looking at features right now.)
 
 
I am passionate about cooking, and am learning to enjoy baking as well. As I read this post, How To Plan Meals For a Camping or TV Trip, I started thinking more about what day-to-day life will be like without my fully stocked kitchen, full of gadgets and cupboards packed with ingredients and counter space for creating and kneading and mixing.

First I want to mention that this is speculation, given that we aren't actually living Vita In Via (life on the road) yet. Camping is easy, for a limited time we can manage just fine. Full-timing will be different, I'm sure, even though we haven't done it yet I can still somewhat imagine how different it will be. And I won't know for sure until we're actually doing it. All I can do it try to plan the best way I can, and then be flexible when the time comes.

Second, we have lived a low carb lifestyle for 8 years. Our pantry won't be full of pasta dinner kits, no pot pies in the freezer...we don't eat packaged food very much (exception being the occasional frozen pizza - a weakness of ours!), and I cook from scratch. However, this is also a good thing, not only for our health, but also because there are a whole lot of foods that we don't have to make space to carry: canned soups, breakfast cereals, frozen dinners, loaves of bread, crackers, cookies, cake mixes, etc. And because we eat mainly fresh, a lot of our food doesn't have to be stored at all! Farmer's markets, roadside stands, produce markets, butcher shops all carry the fresh meats and produce that we live on, and buying just a few days' worth at a time means no long-term storage space for the majority or our groceries! These will take up fridge space along with our eggs, butter, cream, and cheeses.

Baking supplies will be the main storage issue, I believe. And baking is a bit more interesting when it's low carb. I don't just have a bag of flour and a bag of sugar and a few spices in my cupboard. I need a combination of flours (almond, coconut, gluten, fibers, protein isolates, etc.) to achieve good results. I anticipate that these will take up a good portion of our cupboard space, along with other baking ingredients (baking powder/soda, sweeteners, extracts, etc.) and spices.

Counter space is at a premium in these travel trailers. I can certainly use the kitchen table as a workspace, which will help somewhat. And I will have to be training myself to clean up as I go, as well, since I won't have 5' of spare counter space and a huge kitchen sink to stow my dishes until I'm done. That is something I can start working on now, developing this habit.

Cupboard space is also limited, so I don't know that I'll have every different type and size of bowl or utensil or baking pan available to me; where would I keep them all? Now, I can use a dozen different items in just creating a single meal. In a TT I'm wondering how much space I'll have for these?

And this brings me to another feature that I see as almost a necessity: a pull-out pantry (or 2!). I can't imagine, when I'm in the midst of a project, having to drag out everything from a shelf and find a place to set it, so that I can get to something I need way in the back! Ugh!

One good thing: GRILLING! Grilled meats and vegetables, and even baked goods such as flat breads, will be done outside. My husband is an expert on the grill, and the ability to grill many of our meals will definitely be a godsend!

For budgeting purposes, I will have to shop differently as well. I stock up on meats and frozen vegetables now, filling my freezer so that I can "shop" daily from my stock for that day's meals. The more often I go shopping, the more I spend. Typically if I go to the store just for 3 items that I need, I come out with about 20 items. And my grocery budget goes to the dogs. Since I won't be shopping the same way, this is a problem I will have to work on!

If you are interested, I have found a couple of video resources for cooking in an RV:

The RV Cooking Show is put out by Evanne; she and her hubby also blog about full-timing for younger RVers.

George Murphy is the RV Chef. I haven't watched many of his videos yet but like what I've seen!

There are also numerous single videos that some RVers post, as well as numerous blog posts. I'm making my way through them as I have the time, trying to learn all I can from those who already have the experience I lack.

Food is my passion. Shopping, creating, cooking, feeding people - I love it all! And definitely this is something that I will need to accommodate when we purchase our RV home when the time comes. So it's something that I'm already thinking about (one of the many things!) and planning for.

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1Cor.10:31
 
 
You know, I realized I say "I" when talking about our future plans, even though the plans are for both my husband and I. The reason for this is that he doesn't really get excited or too involved in early planning stages of most things. Not that he isn't looking forward to it, but for right now he still goes to work at midnight, comes home by mid-morning, sleeps, and does it over and over again. Meanwhile, I've always been the investigator, the researcher, and the planner. He will always talk about it with me and let me dream/plan out loud even though he's not a dreamer (he's the opposite in fact!), and when there are things to be done - physical things - he is right there and ready to jump in and get 'er done. But in early stages of any project, that's my thing :).

Also wanted to mention something I've neglected writing about so far: I'm also researching solar power for our eventual rig. That's been important to me almost since the beginning of our discussions. I am not an environmentalist, haven't gone "green" - unless it involves the green in my wallet :). But I don't want to be dependent on electric hookups, or a noisy generator. So from the early stages of choosing our travel trailer or motorhome, that will be foremost in my mind.

I don't know ANYTHING about solar except what I've read and seen in videos online. I don't understand electricity or anything else but my husband does, and also how solar power works, so that's one of the things that he will be involved with, when the time comes.

Speaking of "when the time comes"...we don't currently have an RV. We have used a travel trailer, but don't own one. And we won't be buying one this year. We don't pay interest to others; we save for what we want rather than use credit and end up paying way more in the end...this year we will have saved enough for a (used, newer) full-sized van, and will have in mind when we buy it that it will, if all goes as planned, next year be pulling a smaller travel trailer, in which we will be spending as much time as possible. It will be our "practice trailer"; we don't plan to buy our full-time RV until we sell our home...and we don't plan to sell our home until the real estate market improves. (The possibility exists to rent it, if things come together before that, and use the "practice trailer" for a while longer - something we will have in mind when we buy it.)

The last couple of days have been really busy, so I haven't had a lot of time to spend online, researching and dreaming. But I want to start sharing some of my favorite floor plans and photos here as well, as I run across them. So lots more to come! :)
 
 
I spend a lot of time looking at RVs these days. At this point I'm not looking at prices or locations, just looking at floor plans and features. We're pretty sure we're not going to get a 5th wheel, the main reason being when we're traveling we will need to move parrot cages, dogs, and cat to our vehicle. A pickup truck cab just isn't big enough for that. And a truck camper, well...way too small - although they're MUCH nicer than they used to be! A class A motor home is overkill, and we don't want something huge, just big enough; I haven't seen a smaller class A that I love yet. Class B's have an unacceptable space-to-price ratio; heck, they just don't have enough space for our needs.

So I'm mostly looking at class C's and travel trailers.

Besides our own wish list of features, I am also considering our pets. I'm guessing by the time we go, we will be down to 3-4 parrots (several of our current 7 are elderly), 2 small dogs (one of our 3 is elderly), and the cat. In a motor coach, an ideal spot for bird cages would be in a bunk over the cab so there would also have to be a separate bedroom for us to sleep. If a travel trailer, a 2-bunk area would be a great spot to keep our cages - birds on top, dogs and cat on the bottom. (A toy hauler isn't out of the question to modify for cages/supplies either!) These are my considerations for our pets.

The class C's are nice because they aren't too big, and we all (people & critters) will be able to travel in comfort. That's the biggest advantage. But we'd need a toad; Pete and I are both big day trip people, and we would have to be able to get around wherever we are, and we wouldn't want to pack everything up every day that we want to go somewhere. I've seen some good workable class C floor plans that would accommodate our needs.

The travel trailers are nice for the reason I just mentioned: we need another vehicle to go places. That vehicle would most likely be a van, so that it can carry the travel cages when we're on the move. Which means 2 sets of cages for the birds; we could move the dogs' and cat's back and forth. But just one more thing to do when we move. OTOH, every time I see one with the bunks I realize how perfect that area would be for pets. And I also prefer the feel of a travel trailer inside.

As far as hauling a car with a motor home vs. hauling a travel trailer with a van, I don't know which would be more economical and which would be easier/more stable on the road. Those are things I still need to learn.

As far as features: I love to cook and bake, so while I understand a full-size kitchen is out of the question, I do want to have at least a little bit of counter space and a "real" oven. I also don't like the booth-type kitchen tables, whether they are U-shaped or not. I'd prefer a couple of swivel chairs with the kitchen table between. (I'm guessing we could modify?) I also don't care about having a couch, but would prefer chairs - preferably recliners. In a travel trailer, we could maybe have both, but if I have to choose, I'll take chairs over a couch. A decent-sized shower is another must-have feature; when I'm showering I want to be able to move, not bump into the walls or stick to the shower curtain every time I raise my arms. And we will need space for keyboards. I plan to only have 1 by that time, and Pete will probably have 1, plus he has a QChord...so we need a place to store these, and to play music. We have a music room in our home but our living room will have to double as a music room when we're on the road.

Internet is an absolute must. Whether we have a satellite or an unlimited air card or whatever...we have to have reliable internet. Satellite TV is optional, as there is plenty of content on the 'net to watch on our television, connected to a computer or cell phone. But technology will continue to evolve in the next few years, so this isn't something I will worry too much about right now.

As for the size, at the only camper show we've attended so far we decided that something in the 28-32' range would suit us well. It would depend more on how the space is laid out than on how much actual space there is. A 32' travel trailer feels really big; a 28' class C feels kind of tight. Slides make a BIG difference also - a travel trailer with slides can feel really spacious and homey!

Gas vs. deisel (class C)? No clue, haven't looked into it that much.

This describes the very early stages of what we like now. That may change in the next few years, with more experience on the road and with possibly different circumstances, but we have to start somewhere! :)
 
 
...Husband Pete & I had always talked about traveling, and how we really wanted to spend much more time doing it. The thought of Full-Timing in an RV never occurred to us. And when it did, it seemed to be something that would be WAY out of our reach, financially as well as physically - our parrot cages do take up a huge amount of living space, after all.

Meanwhile, I've long had a fascination with the tiny home movement, living off the grid, self-sufficiency, and similar ideas. We'd planned to move to Marquette, MI when Pete retires in 2016, and I'd been using the internet to look into potentially putting these ideas into practice at that time.

Then one day it struck us: Why can't we travel AND live self-sufficiently after retirement? Hmmm...why not indeed? So I started researching - something I can do endlessly about any topic! - and I found out that not only was our idea entirely possible, but it is VERY doable! In fact it is as inexpensive, if not moreso, to "travelive" than either of us had thought!

This discussion started months ago - sometime last year - and since that time it has evolved from a dream into a plan. Now comes the start of working toward that goal: deciding which type of RV will be best suited to our purpose...reducing the sheer quantity of our belongings...figuring out how to manage this with our pets...and so much more, that will be discussed in these posts.

Right now, the goal is to be on the road soon after Pete's retirement. But that can change, as our circumstances may change to enable us to move forward sooner. I have a few possibilities rolling around in my head that may allow this to happen, but for now, we're planning on retiring into the lifestyle.

There are lots of blogs out there about RVing, RV Living, Traveliving, whatever, and I am subscribed to them all - or at least the ones I know about - which I will put into a blog roll here. (Please let me know if I missed any, so I can review it!) I also spend my evenings watching endless videos about the subject, as well as about various kinds of RVs; I'm everso thankful that so many dealers and individuals are using YouTube to show the details of their inventory! This really is helpful to me in learning which features we will need, and which we can do without, as well as for general knowledge purposes.

Spiritual application:
Anytime we are considering a change or undertaking, prayer to seek and confirm God's will is essential. Many people are familiar with, and claim, Ps. 37:4 (He will give you the desires of your heart), but there is much more to it than this. The first part of this verse (delight yourself in the Lord) is just as important as the second. Perhaps moreso.
Truly delighting ourselves in the Lord is more than just being tickled pink that he'll grant our desires. No, when we turn our lives and our spirits over to Christ, and when His very Spirit abides in us, our own desires change. (A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you...Without Me ye can do nothing. Ezekiel 36:26; John 15:5.) We choose to seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and THEN these things will be added unto us (Mt. 6:33).
It is when our will aligns with God's will, and our desires align with God's desires, that God grants us these desires of our hearts. For we're not seeking our own will, but God's. For where our treasure is, our hearts will also be (Mt.6:21). For it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil.2:13).

I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. Ps. 40:8