A friend spoke frequently about how he would buy an RV when he retired and wander the U.S. the way he always wanted. When our friends questioned the sanity of our desire to settle in the northwest, it made us think. Why not buy an RV when we retire and spend a year in the areas we’d like to settle? We can experience the weather first hand for days on end instead of those short one or two week vacations where everything is a new adventure. We can move around to see which towns and areas most appeal to us. We can get to know the region before we commit to living there forever. It sounded like a perfect plan.
We mentioned this to our RV dreamer friend and he asked “So are you going to get a Class A, B or C, or maybe a Fifth-Wheel?” Huh? We camped in tents for years. We were Boy Scout leaders and camped every month of the year no matter what the weather. We were good at the tent thing but our experience with RV’s was limited to sleeping in a parked fifth-wheel for a few nights during a family reunion. We had much to learn. And we did. We searched the internet, we bought books and finally we spent three days at the Hershey RV show so we could actually meet the ABC’s and all their friends.
Day 1 of the Hershey Show: Overwhelmed doesn’t begin to cover it. We had that dream of cruising in a little van (Class B), parking where we liked without worrying about length or towed vehicles. But we knew we would both still be working part time and living full time in the RV and taking the granddaughter with us as often as possible so we quickly ruled out the B’s. There are full timers in Class B rigs but after touring a few, we knew they wouldn’t work for us. We wanted to stay under the 30’ limit that some of the State and National Parks have so we narrowed it down to either the A’s or C’s by the end of the first day of the show. We were still thinking we could get by with just the motorhome and no tow vehicle.
Day 2 of the Hershey Show: We must have crawled in and out and all around over a hundred motorhomes in those first two days. There were a few A’s we liked that were 30’ or less but they felt oversized to us so by the end of the second day we had narrowed the field down to a Class C.
Now the RV Shows are not just RV’s. They have vendors like Camping World (with everything you didn’t know you needed until now) and all sorts of booths manned by people that are totally happy to chat with you about their RV experiences. We saw and spoke with tons of people selling the RV’s, touring the RV’s and working at the vendor booths. To a man/woman, the full timers had one regret – they wished they had done it sooner. We heard that statement over and over again “We wish we had done it sooner”. That phrase rang in our heads as we dragged our tired bodies to the hotel for the night.
Day 3 of the Hershey Show: John shares an epiphany he had. He just turned 60. We’ve saved a good bit of money. We’ve had a few health scares. He states that if we are going to do this, we should do it now while we are able to hike, canoe, raft and wander our way through anything and any place that appeals to us. We decide that we are going to commit to a year on the road and that we will start it within the year. Now we are on a mission – we go back through the Class C rigs taking brochures and making copious notes. We laid on the beds, stood in the showers, sat on the toilets, and lounged on the chairs and couches. We peered into the cabinets and storage bins and we asked questions. We were looking for room to set up two computers so we could both work inside during bad weather; we needed room for clothing; room for cooking utensils and food; room for basic camping gear; room for the cat and the tools and the toiletries and the medicine and maps and electronics and on and on. We leave the show with a list of five units that we plan to research and choose from. We are tired but excited. Our somewhat orderly, boring life has tipped on end and our staid work and retirement plans have taken an amazing turn; all in three little days in Hershey, PA.