Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wishing we were already fulltiming

It's Thursday morning, and I sit here reading online journals of people who have escaped the gravitational pull of the work week world, and are living and travelling fulltime in their RV's. Elaine and I are a little less than 2 years away from realizing our dream to do the same. We've spent countless evening hours sitting by our outdoor fireplace planning, and talking about fulltiming.

Six years ago we were not evening thinking in these terms. We had not owned an RV for 23 years, and our only camping experience during those 23 years was tent camping. When we travelled to our favorite vacation destinations we stayed in timeshares. We have owned a timeshare week in Palm Desert, CA for about 23 years that we have transferred that week to many other places such as Kau'ai, June Lake, Lake Tahoe, Washington, etc. In the Spring of 2002 my son and his wife had purchased their first travel trailer. He and I share an insurance brokerage office together, and he would come into the office every few weeks telling me about their latest weekend trip in their trailer. We owned a 26 foot Columbia sailboat at the time, and had owned it for 11 years at that point. That sailboat was our weekend getaway, but it was always in the same marina. The idea of being able to go anywhere we wished began to appeal to us more and more, and a year later Elaine and I purchased our first motorhome, a 1987 Fleetwood Tioga 26' Class C on a Ford E350 chassis. It needed a lot of work, but we bought it with that knowledge. Over the next 4 years we travelled all over California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington taking several 2-3 week trips per year. We just completely fell in love with the RV life. Ultimately we decided that the Tioga was not big enough to live in full time and began to talk about what our next motorhome would be.

About 3 years ago our son, who owned the travel trailer, bought a Fleetwood Expedition diesel pusher with 4 slides, which he still owns to this day. We love his motorhome, but buying something like that would require us to take out a loan, but we didn't want to add a monthly payment to our budget. We wanted to buy something for which we could pay cash. Based on our price range we felt we could afford a 10-12 year old diesel pusher, so we began to look in ernest for something in that price range.

We spent a day at the 2008 RV Show at the L.A. Fairgrounds in Pomona looking at the various manufacturers to get an idea of who was making the kind of coach we wanted. We liked Country Coach, Monaco, and Safarai, so we began looking at used coaches made by those manufacturers. These coaches look great new, but after about 10-12 years they begin to look pretty threadbare. In most cases the wood cabinets, flooring needed refinishing. The upholstery was worn out. Quite by accident I stumbled across a 1982 Newell on Craigslist in the Palm Springs area. It was way older than I wanted, but the pictures really caught our "eye". We were planning on attending a wedding that weekend in the Palm Springs area,(February 2008) so made an appointment with the owner to "just take a look". I had never heard of the Newell brand before, but found a few articles on the web about the founder, and an owners forum that impressed me.

Well, stopped by the storage facility where Fred Hornbacher, the "current owner" stored it, and he proceeded to give Elaine and I an hour and a half tour of the coach inside and out. Well, as I have written elsewhere on this blog, we bought that 1982 Newell 36' coach, and have never looked back. The picture at the right is the exact picture used in the Craigslist ad.

We now spend time trying to divest ourselves of a lot of "stuff" that we don't need. I have been selling some of my bike "stuff" on Ebay, and have made some good money getting rid of the excess stuff. We will eventually tackle the stuff in the attic that has not seen the light of day for 10 years and get rid of "it". It's a long process, and even though I have made the adjustment in my mind to living in a smaller space, and living more simply, the actual execution of that will be a little more difficult, but we will get there. I am blessed being married to someone who is very flexible, and willing, no wanting to live more simply, so we will each have the other to cheer us on toward the finish line. Really, the finish line will the the starting line for our new mobile, simplified life on the road. I can hardly wait.


  1. I feel your pain on wanting to hit the road. May 2010 sounded almost too soon when I imagined starting out. Now it seems to be an interminably long time!

    Many of the journals I follow have unexpected early departures...

    I really relate to the lady in the clip I linked as my URL. (not sure if it will work, I couldn't paste a URL into the comment.)

  2. Hi,

    I'm taking a chance here that you might have someone you come in contact with that might be interested in a Newell coach. I have a 1986, 40 foot wide body with the 475 Detroit engine. It has nice contemporary cabinetry, very neutral colors with a trim in a slate blue. Corian counter tops. I can send any info and pics to anyone interested. My phone number is 352 328-9239 and my e mail is Thanks and I'm selling due to being a single mom/grandma and its more than i can handle alone.


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