Since leaving MA just a couple days after Thanksgiving last fall, I’ve enjoyed a five month stay in Florida. My time there included six weeks of physical therapy at the start of my stay, much relaxing and visiting with my sister and several friends.
Now I’m back in the Napa Valley area once again and I have to say that this year there was a slightly different ‘feel’ to my turn off I 80 onto CA-12 Jameson Canyon Road!! There was still an ‘Ah-h-h-h-h’ moment but it was short-lived. One of the first things that I noticed was the rolling hills were already past their springtime greenery. Then I noticed the traffic congestion along this road had increased significantly and finally, I saw that there is major road construction going on along this stretch! I know the construction taking place on this roadway will prove to be a positive thing once it’s done but I sure was happy to be through that area and moving along up toward Yountville where the greenery kicked in via the new growth on row after row and field after field of grape vines!!
Probably the bigger influence on my less than enthusiastic arrival moment is the fact that I was arriving without my ‘home on wheels’! I had hauled it as far as New Braunfels, TX where I dropped it off. It’s on consignment at PPL there - under a three month contract with them. Hopefully, someone will be looking for just such a rig to start or continue their full (or part) time rv-ing adventure. I will admit, though, that I am truly a 'reluctant leaver'!!
I’ve spent the better part of a year ruminating on this decision -- it hasn’t come easily by any means! A dose of ‘reality’ hit me over the winter of 2010-2011 when I found that continuing to live the full time lifestyle had become financially unsound for me. A number of factors have ‘aligned’ over the time that I’ve been a full-timer that I simply hadn’t even contemplated might happen - not the least of which has been the downturn/collapse in the economy with a corresponding increase in the spiraling price of gas, food, site fees, repairs, etc. There are other factors influencing my decision; factors that are more about me and my personal experience as a solo full timer but are very similar to the experiences of some (not all) other solo rv’ers -- doing it all and doing it alone! This last factor hit me like a thunderbolt and was the most difficult to get over/through -- it took the longest for me to accept (not so sure I actually have). And, honestly, it isn’t (and wasn’t) a constant or continuous feeling/influence on my full timing lifestyle but it would meander in and ’set a spell’ from time to time. Even so, I felt I had to place it on the plus/minus decision-making list.
So, now that the decision making process has become reality, I’m making a concerted effort to stop thinking/speaking/referring to my 5th wheel as my ‘home’. I’m doing a pretty good job of that when speaking out loud about it but in my thinking process, I still find it’s ’home’ to me. I suppose the complete change-over will come with time. Or, maybe there will be a very quick transition once it sells?
I will say that from the minute I entered that Carriage 5th wheel back in July 2008, I felt it was just the rv unit for me!! There wasn’t one thing about it that I found fault with and, boy, was I excited when the seller and I agreed on a sale price, etc. It was a longer rv than I was looking to buy but I wasn’t intimidated or deterred by the extra footage (33 - 34’ vs. 29 - 30’). Of course, once I started traveling in it (especially in the first few months), I recognized that perhaps I should have stuck with my original size rig and choice of hitch setup. Things improved in short order and, for the most part, I learned my lesson, albeit the hard way!!
It’s been a phenomenal 3 ½ year adventure and I wish that it wouldn’t have to end but. . . . . at this point in time, it does make sense to market it and see what happens. I’m hoping that the features this 5th wheel has to offer, the new tires all around (put on just a year ago and used very little) and the very good condition that I kept it in will help it stand out among the other 5th wheels of its age on their lot. Here's a link to the listing for my Carriage on the PPL website: (hope it works!)
What’s next for me?? Only time will tell. The day I brought the Carriage into PPL, I sent texts out to family and a few friends saying “….. it’s official, I am truly homeless now!!“ That isn’t true, of course, but when one of my friends asked me where I would live, I said I was going to become a ’senior couch surfer’!!
While I remain hopeful that the Carriage will find a new owner during its consignment tenure, I continue to ponder my options if that doesn’t happen. I can choose to leave it with PPL on a month to month basis after the initial contract time expires. Another option would be to commit to full time Workamping. That could mitigate the financial burden considerably especially if I limit the mileage between assignments! That one would probably be my least favorite option. Also under consideration is finding a permanent lot to set it on and make that my ’home base’. The biggest negative to doing that right now is. . . . . I have NO idea where I would want to place it permanently. Florida does make the most sense as it offers the best option for finding the warmest climate in the country for the winter months. One of my sisters lives in the St. Petersburg area and I have friends in that general area also. The thing is. . . . I really like southern AZ and CA (I like the northern CA also) - hmnnnnn!! Fortunately, I’ve always been a very flexible gal and that may be a much needed attribute over the next few months!!
A 'saying' that I have made frequent use of for many, many years now is..... 'Life is Change'!