Cruising America's Tips for Fulltiming

Where do I start?
That's the first question we asked ourselves! We had all this STUFF!
  • Furniture - We decided that we really didn't have any valuable, century-old antiques that would buffer our retirement someday, so it was - YARD SALE TIME!

  • Clothing - Do you have as many clothes that never get worn as we did? Great time to call the Salvation Army! How much room are you really going to have in your motorhome or travel trailer for tons of clothes? And 8-10 pairs of shoes (or more!) each? No way!

    We were leaving our "day jobs", so what was the need for the power suits? (A little twinge here from me....I paid quite a bit for some of those suits!) Our lifestyle was changing. Time for more casual, wash-and-wear clothing, after all, our 22' motorhome doesn't exactly have room for an ironing board! We settled on one power suit for me and one set of dress clothes for Mike...just in case.

  • Stuff you just CAN'T get rid of! - We all have special mementos, books, etc. So, box those up and find a friendly relative with some attic space. Most of our stuff we HAD to keep, we found we didn't need on a day-to-day basis....some of it hadn't been looked at for years, but still...

  • The Kitchen - I love to cook and had every gadget imaginable in my kitchen. But after some thought, I decided that I really didn't use most of it but once or twice a year, and usually there were ways to "substitute". I decided that in the motorhome and with our mobile lifestyle, I probably wouldn't need the 6 cookie sheets and cooling racks, canoli tubes that I use once a year during the holidays, the blender - when a small mixer will usually do the same thing, etc.... We found that the most used item we have now is our wok-type skillet. We use it for almost everything!

  • The Bathroom - Maybe it's just me, but I sure found a lot of STUFF in my bathroom that never got used or was so old I'd be afraid to use it! Get rid of that stuff. And more bulk purchases of toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. when the sale price is just too good to pass up. Where will you put it?

  • Hobbies - This was the hardest one for me. I love to quilt, but obviously that was out in our small motorhome. So all the fabric had to go! Tough one! Find a "smaller" hobby - like needlepoint or cross stitch. BOOKS - we had a million! Some of them had to go with us, but the majority went to the yard sale, the Salvation Army and some into the attic at Mike's parents home.

How will I get my mail?
This was a big one for us. After all, our clients pay us by check or money order! We checked out Escapees Club and though it appears to us to be a great program, we wanted to keep our legal residence and our home base in Wyoming.

Mail Boxes, Etc. to the rescue! With the help of Julia, the great lady that runs the local franchise, we were all set!

  • One annual fee for our box.
  • A street address for receiving packages, etc.
  • Periodically we send her a check for postage.
  • Our mail is forwarded every Friday, we just call and give her the address to ship to.
What about banking?
Another easy one. Bless the inventor of the ATM card!
  • Our bank is a member of the Cirrus network and we have (so far anyway) always been able to find a bank with an ATM that is connected to that network
  • We mail our deposits to the bank on a regular basis (although I do admit to sending them certified, return receipt!)
  • Our bank has a system to allow us to call and transfer funds between accounts as necessary. And now, we can even do this online!
  • For regular payments, we have set up electronic transfers.
  • For irregular payments, such as insurance, our Good Sam ERS, etc. - we use checks.
How do I stay in contact with everyone?
  • We decided that cellular phone service was too expensive for us at this time.
  • Phone cards are great!
  • A nationwide pager allows clients, family and friends to get in touch with us anytime. We use Voice America (from Campers Club of America), but there are several out there. The Escapees Club also has a paging/voice mail system available. Voice America has an 800-number we can call if we happen to be "out of range", but this doesn't happen in very many places - Casper being one, though! They also offer voice mail, fax service and a lot more.
  • Email! - our favorite!
What about computer equipment?
Our recommendation - Gateway laptops!
We have two of them and just LOVE Gateway support! As we have travelled, we had a floppy drive wear out (from transferring all the photos from the digital cameras!) in Oregon...just called Gateway and ordered a new one drop shipped to the Gateway Country Store in Seattle. Arrived and within minutes, the folks had changed it out and we were on our way. Mike's hard drive crashed while we were in Alaska. Again, a phone call, drop ship to the store in San Antonio and when we arrived, we were up and running again in no time! The technician even told us how to save the thousands of photos that were "stuck" on the crashed hard drive!

We have a Hewlet Packard printer (they are absolute workhorses!), an external HP CD recorder and Zip drive that we can use with either laptop, and an HP scanner. And don't forget our recommendation for the digital cameras - Sony Mavica!!! - we have 2 and love them!

What about internet connections?

  • Get a nationwide ISP service, such as Earthlink, Mindspring, AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy, etc. Just be sure to get one that offers an 800 number when there is no local access number available.
  • Find out where the modem friendly campgrounds are - especially the ones with instant phone hookups on site!
  • Find out about the other modem friendly folks - Flying J, Kinkos, Office Max, cyber-cafes, etc.
What about pets?
Lexxus, our chocolate cocker spaniel, is our road-warrior. She loves the motorhome! She goes with us nearly everywhere. When we are doing a review at a Bed & Breakfast, she just stays in the motorhome. We do, on occasion, need kennel services. We ask the locals wherever we are to recommend a kennel.

Make sure you have with you the records of your pet's shots. And if you plan to go into Canada, you will also need a special form you can get from your vet. Just remember, this form is only good for 6 months. We have a vet on the east coast as well as one here in Casper, but again, if you find you need one in a strange place, local residents will most likely be able to point you in the right direction.

If you will be traveling around a lot from one climate to another, be sure to give your pet heartworm prevention medicine on a year-round basis!

Emergency Road Service
Our recommendation - GET A PLAN!
We use Good Sam's Emergency Road Service and couldn't be happier! Three times we have had to call them. Once for a rear wheel bearing that went out in the middle of the Grand Teton National Park, again just north of Washington, D.C. when we broke an axle, and ONCE AGAIN just outside Winston-Salem, NC when we broke the OTHER axle. Each of these towing services would have cost us several hundred dollars! This is the best $89.95 per year we ever spent!

Mike and I are not exactly what you would call "mechanically inclined" and we have had the normal things happen many times "on the road"......dead batteries, tires blown, that kind of thing. Each time we have found an honest shop to take care of us. Gives one hope for this world after all. We have all heard the horror stories about dishonest mechanics, etc. and I'm sure there are some out there. So far, we have been fortunate!

I'm sure I forgot something....if there is something I didn't cover, EMAIL and we'll try to find an answer for you - or at least point you in the right direction!

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