We made it safely back to Florida last week. All five of us. Our little animals are such troopers. They didn't complain hardly at all at being hauled cross country in under two days. We're all settled in at Karin's parents and have handled the chore of getting our new car registered and plated in Florida. We drove down here with the plate off of the old car, since the temporary one we got when we bought it in Indiana had expired the week before.
We had packed our Saturn Vue up with as much of our stuff as we could fit. We borrowed a rooftop carrier which we put all of our clothes in. That helped. But we still have lots more back at my son's house. We had thought about renting a a U Haul to take everything in but decided against it because of the expense. We knew we wouldn't need all of our stuff for awhile anyway. We'll just drive back up (without the animals) at some point and get the rest. It may take two trips; we'll see. Frankly it gives us an excuse to see family again and is still cheaper in the long run than the U Haul would have been. Although to do it this way we had to give up on keeping our mattress which we went to great lengths to get out of the RV. And it was a very comfortable mattress. But my parents are going to take the mattress instead. So that makes me happy!
Sooooo.....what will we be doing while we camp out here at Karin's parents house? Aside from some Florida wandering anyway? Well, we thought long and hard about things while we were in Indiana all those weeks. And for now, we will not be getting another RV. We have a lot of reasons for coming to that decision. Not the least of which is the fact that right now we simply aren't up to driving one. The accident shook us to our cores. I cannot overstate this. We were already experiencing some stress surrounding driving that size of a rig and towing a car behind as well. Maybe with more time out on the road we would have gotten past that. But the fact is that at the time of the accident, we weren't there yet. And the accident took away whatever confidence we had built up. Seriously!
Add to that the fact that we had come to realize that in order to make things work financially (living only on Karin's police pension), we would need to travel at an extremely slow pace, much slower than was ever our intent. Moving means gas expenditures plus higher campground rates, staying put means no gas costs and lower camping rates. While we never planned to go zipping across the country, we did want to be able to both go to new places AND visit friends & family somewhat frequently (at least more frequently than we'd been able to while working). But it was becoming clear to us that trying to pull that off was going to push us to our limits constantly and we would always be stressed out over that. Friends, that is not how we want to live. Always struggling to make it and feeling that pit in the stomach stress all the time.
While sitting in Indy, Karin started looking around online and discovered that you can buy a place in Florida (at least ways in some areas) VERY cheaply (considerably less than renting an apartment). Like cheaper than I ever would have believed possible. And considering the fact that we don't need (or even want) much space we can look at some of the lowest priced options. Now I know what you're thinking......buying a place is soooooo not nomadic!!!! What are we thinking????
We're thinking realistically. For our needs RIGHT NOW. Right now, we want to be able to quickly get back to Indiana. We have ageing parents. We have kids, grandkids and grandkids-to-be up north. From here it's just a 14 hr car drive to Indy and we can do that for just the cost of gas. Which means we can make that trip many times a year. We would also have the advantage of already being here when Karin's family and my parents come during the winter. It pretty much covers the whole being connected to family issue.
Provided we can get a place for what we think we can (shouldn't be a problem), we can not only have a very inexpensive home base but also be able to travel a reasonable amount. We ought to be able to put enough money aside each month to build up a decent travel fund for taking us to all those places we crave visiting. Like I said, for right now our travel plans don't include an RV. But that's just how we want it NOW. If there's one thing I know, it's that change happens a lot.
We still love road tripping it. We still love traveling with our own bed and our own kitchen and all that good stuff. We still love the freedom of RVing. But when we decide the time is right for another rig, it will be very different from our original set up! We will likely go much smaller. And not bring a tow vehicle. We're thinking maybe a small class C or maybe a conversion van. Something that does not stress us out to drive. Something that does not eat up the amount of gas that a much larger rig does. Something that we can easily pull off the road for those impromptu travel experiences. Something that doesn't require a ridiculous amount of planning and maneuvering in order to enter and exit gas stations successfully (wow....this was the single most difficult task we faced with our RV! The location of our gas tank fill made it crazy difficult). We did learn a thing or two about what works and does not work for us in our short five months out there. :)
Even though buying a place in Florida makes sense, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. Florida is not my dream location. My heart is in the desert back in Tucson. I have to keep telling myself this is just for NOW. We can always do something different down the road. I have seriously had some panic attacks over this. And tears. But I know from experience that you can almost always find a way to make wherever you are a very good place to be. And that is what I'll do. Because it's my nature to be happy. Hey, if nothing else, the air fares to Costa Rica are cheaper out of Tampa than they are out of AZ! I will get to Costa Rica if it's the last thing I do!!!!
All of these changes leave this blog in a strange place. Buying a place and living in a stationary home aren't exactly nomadic. I've followed many RV blogs where they quit living in their RV but nothing changed with the blog. And it feels weird. To me at least. I'm just OCD enough to fret about such things (oh stop laughing!!!.....even I have certain things that need to be just so, ask Karin). So you can expect that I'll change up the blog a bit to make it reflect our current lives better. But I'll wait until we actually are in one place. We still feel quite ungrounded at this point.
I still have some unfinished business to discuss that is RV related. That'll be coming shortly. Till then, happy trails to you, whatever kind of journey you're on!