Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A year on the road

We started fulltiming a year ago. We moved into Bella on June 1, 2008. The time has gone so fast, it is hard to believe it’s been a year already.

We have driven 20,000 miles. We have seen 25 US states and 4 Canadian provinces. It has been one adventure after the other. We are not like the typical RVer. We hardly ever stay in campgrounds. We need to find work along the way to keep the tank full and the credit cards empty.

Bella has four 6 volt batteries and an 1800 watt inverter for most of our power needs. Bella also has a 4000 watt generator, but we rarely use it. We wish we could add some solar panels but so far the price of solar has kept us from doing that.

On the other hand we are just like all of you out there who are dreaming of traveling like this some day. It takes a lot of planning, tons of research, a bit of courage, and perhaps even a tiny bit of insanity. Whatever it takes, somehow we have done it.

For starters, we took our time to purchase the motorhome we wanted. This is crucial. It required intense research and much legwork. It almost felt like a second job for a while. It is important to spend time in different models and get a feel for what you like and dislike about them.

We made a list of those things and then dwindled the list down to the things we couldn’t live without. We found a 22 ft 2000 Ford v10 Four Winds Five Thousand, with a full kitchen and a full bathroom. We paid cash for Bella because we didn’t want payments. We were able to pay cash by selling our previous vehicles, which we owned free and clear too.

Once we bought Bella, Bernie remodeled the inside to suit our needs. We added laminate flooring in the living area, reupholstered the couch, and took out the dinette to add a permanent bed. Bella is the perfect home for us.

This trip has been a lot of fun. We have learned so much about the states we’ve visited. We have met many friendly people. We’ve had some wonderful meals and some amazing desserts.

We have seen some spectacular places. Like the sand dunes in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the leaves changing colors in New England, a snowstorm in upstate New York, and scenic drives like the Natchez Trace, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive. We have gone to sleep listening to the ocean waves. We have woken up on top of a mountain, next to a huge drop with a great waterfall.

It is a great idea to have some agendas, setting some goals, which help decide where to go next. We have decided to see all the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and to go to as many Diner, Drive-ins, and Dives restaurants as we can manage. This gives us something to look forward to. And it adds to the fun!

We hope to continue to travel for another couple years. We want to visit the rest of the lower states and maybe visit Alaska and Mexico too. We would like to go back to Canada too. So far Bella has been the perfect travel partner, with no mechanical problems or worries. If she keeps it up, the adventure shall continue. Stay tuned.

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