Monday, April 12, 2010

RV-Dreams Rally Part 1

Map picture

Above is the location of the RV-Dreams Rally that we attended from Apr 7 – 11 in Longs, SC.

Yes, one of the things I learned at this rally was how to add maps to my blog. 

Although I was really excited about the cool stuff I learned, the people we finally got to meet face-to-face…that was totally awesome.   So many new friends in such a short time, it was just one of our best weeks absolutely ever.

But let me tell you first that the absolutely WORST part of the rally was that the RV park used a HughesNet Satellite Wifi Service that was just about impossible.  I had very brief access to get to emails early morning and late night but never enough access time that worked that I could post a blog.  As a result this blog will be more of a summary than I had anticipated and the RV Park will probably not get the number of photos and kudos if would have otherwise.

Registration – Wed, Apr 7, 2010

You know you’re in for a good day when you get these kinds of views from outside the RV at the beginning of the day

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Ken and I volunteered to help get the name tags organized in advance of starting registration.


The lady on the far left is full timing in a 42 foot Dutch Star Diesel Pusher pulling a four door Jeep Wrangler…. Linda is my new ‘lady hero’…the epitome of ‘you go girl’!!


    Here we have Ken doing a great job of trying to put the names in some sort of alphabetical order.

We found out this was a little tricky since not everyone who was registered together necessarily had the same name and the idea that you would put the man’s name first didn’t work since sometimes there were two women in the same rig.

We got it close though and the registration went very smoothly.



Of course, you always have those who have their own ideas, like Bill who showed up with his own nametag!!

Bill was one of the many RV-Dreamers we found so fun to ‘hang with’ at the rally. He and Nancy were full-timers, travelled way too much in way too little time, and were now at the rally to learn more about doing it right. They are also about to head out for an Alaska adventure  in their Class B.  Little van-style class B’s would be great for the rough roads to Alaska but they will be switching to a Class A once they return from that trip.




And here’s ‘Dreamers’ in line for one of the most important parts of the day, the evening buffet!!  Opening night features a “Low Country” them.


Thursday Apr 8, 2010

Thursday was a day filled with classes.

Here’s what the classroom setting looked like


Classes included:

The Emotional Aspects of the Full-Timing Decision – this was an interesting discussion although Ken and I are lucky enough to be able to ease in to this decision and thereby lessen many of the biggest emotional issues.   For example, trips like this 8 week ‘adventure’ help us adjust to what its like not to have a ‘sticks n bricks’ home, or be with family all of the time. If we chose to go full-time, its a transition we are easing in to, experimenting until we find what works best for us.

What does it Cost to Full-Time – I’d already picked up most of this from Howard in prior presentations and from the websites.  I did pick up some pointers but find we are in quite a different situation from he and Linda in several area. 1) At least for now we have the cost of a physical ‘home base’ 2) We have much higher medical costs because of pre-existing conditions  3) We have ‘kid’ costs that Linda and Howard don’t have, both human and furkids  4) Howard does not consider RV replacement costs assuming they will determine how to work or do something else to cover such major expenditures when they happen – I’m too conservative to hit the road that way!  5) Howard and Linda assume they will ‘work-kamp’  a significant portion of the time which at a minimum provides free campground fees, and often more costs covered than that.  We do not intend to work except if it is by choice not by financial necessity. I think this session did help Ken understand why my expected annual budget is nearly double what Howard and Linda say is possible.

Selecting a ‘Home Base’ – this was not of particular interest to Ken and I since we don’t plan to become residents outside of Illinois at this time.  Instead we took some downtime.

TV Options for RVers – although we are quite happy with our DirectTV/manual tripod system that we move between home and RV,  this session did give me a good education on what works why and when, and confirmed that our selection was probably best for our situation.  The guest presenter, Bill Napier, is very knowledgable on the topic.

High Speed Internet for RVers – I found it interesting in discussion in this class to find out that their are numerous RVer’s tethering in to ‘unlimited data plans’ on their cell phones.   I also became really enamored with the latest cell phones that can now act as wifi hotspots.  The ‘Geeks’ were also able to explain why RV parks such as Willow Tree have issues when using satellite internet and exceed certain data usage levels.  It’s obvious that travelers flock to Verizon over other wireless plans.  Since we still have 18 months on an AT&T plan we have some alternatives to weigh and this class helped me to understand.  Now its a matter of balancing costs versus features.  I know one thing though.  I won’t take another trip without having my own access.  RV park wifi is just too sparse and undependable for someone as internet-intensive as me!!

We had a couple of hours break before the evening meal so Ken planned to take the dogs for a short walk while I did my Nordic Track and then he would nap.

Ken left our rig about 4pm to walk the dogs and about 5:00 I snapped the picture below of him getting an education on holding tanks from the Allegro Bus neighbor.


About 5:45 I finally sent him a text message when he was still MIA …. ‘has someone taking you in to feed?”  He did show up then just in time to get to the ‘Chili Cookoff Contest’.


Here are the judges who determined the winners among about 20 different chili entries.  Jim was able to come over to our table and still eat more chili after that…obviously some REALLY good chili!!


Well, I still have a few more days to catch up on but it’s midnight so I’m off to bed and will do my best to catch up tomorrow!!

Hugs, C

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