Category Archives: Preparations

Move in Day!

We got up early yesterday and headed to breakfast in Gatlinburg; then off we went to Knoxville 1 hr away to pick up our home. Does that sound odd?

We got here at RVsForLess at noon and immediately sought out our rig. We found it with some guys doing some work on it. Apparently one of the a/c units did not work so they were installing a new one.

We then began the long process of unloading the uhaul and loading our new home! We are extremely pleased with the rig. It is gorgeous inside and out and the workmanship appears to be top-notch…but time will tell on the workmanship. Today we will continue to load/unpack while my truck gets a new hitch installed in it. Then we will be moving on to Cherokee about 2hrs away, where we will be until the end of October.

Kylee was so thrilled to see her new room in the new ‘house truck’!

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Home in the Mountains…..Ahhhhhh

The successful RV-Dreams rally is over. We made some new friends and refreshed our minds about some logistical items pertaining to full-timing. My presentation on Medicare/Medigap was well-received.

After the rally, we drove back to delaware to load up our belongings in a UHaul trailer to take to Knoxville, TN, where we pick up our new fifth wheel next week. Unfortunately, the largest trailer available to us was a 5×8. I took one look at it and said, “no way” will we fit all of our stuff in that small trailer. Well, thanks to having a good friend who works for UPS and has helped me move several times, I learned how to pack  a truck like it’s going out of style! We fit everything we need to live in a small 5×8 trailer and I can not believe it! (Thanks Tom Carr)

From 2000sf packed with stuff to this!

We received confirmation from Karen @ RVsforless that our unit is “off the line” and at the dealer’s lot as of yesterday. They will complete there own 2 day PDI (pre-delivery inspection) and we will go on Wed morning to do our own PDI, stay overnight in their lot, and drive it off on Thurs morning. Until then, we will be hanging out in the majestic Smoky Mountains of TN and NC. We are staying in a cabin in Gatlinburg as I type this from the front porch listening to the many species of mountain birds waking up with the sun.

There is something very magical to me about the Smoky Mountains. I always feel like I am “coming home” when I come here. I’m telling you, as soon as we got here and I had a chance to walk around outside a bit, amongst the hills, I could literally feel the stress of the past 2 months lifting off me like the fog lifting off the mountains, giving these mountains their namesake.

I am not a fan of Gatlinburg due to its ridiculous crowds and traffic, but its proximity to Cades Cove makes it a great place to stay to play in the Smokies. Yesterday we spent the day in the Cove driving around and hiking a little. We have been here many times before and I never tire of its beauty. The cove used to be a community of 700+ families before the National Park Service forced them all out to establish and preserve the flora and fauna of the region. I have a love-hate relationship with our NPS…but I digress.

Roadschooling has begun: Kylee learns about the dung beetle!

Oh come on, I know you wanted a close up of the dung beetle.

John Oliver's residence. This last resident of Cades Cove died in 1999.

Inside Oliver's cabin

One of the things I love about the Smokies...the smell. The air has a sweet walnut smell about it , especially after a rain.

Kylee on safari through the cove.

The highlight of the day was when we got to see a few bears. One we saw running across a field right behind two amateur photographers that did not even notice him (haha)…we did not get a picture of him, but he was relatively big (~300lb). Then, later we saw a small mom and her cub.

 We got lots of photos but we desperately need a zoom lens! Hey, my birthday happens to be next week, hmmmm.

If you look closely at the last pic you can see the cub hiding in the grass.

Journey or Homestead?

Every great story involves a quest. In J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins ran from the door at a quarter till eleven without even so much as a pocket handkerchief and launched on an adventure that would change his life forever. Alice stepped through the looking glass into Wonderland; Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter stumbled through the wardrobe into Narnia. Abraham left his country, his people, and his father’s household to follow the most outlandish sort of promise from a God he’d only just met, and he never came back. Jacob and his sons went to Egypt for some groceries and four hundred years later the Israel nation pulled up stakes and headed for home. Peter, Andrew, James, and John all turned on a dime one day to follow the Master, their fishing nets heaped in wet piles behind them. The Sacred Romance involves for every soul a journey of heroic proportions. And while it may require for some a change of geography, for every soul it means a journey of the heart. The choice before us now is to journey or to homestead, to live like Abraham, the friend of God, or like Robinson Crusoe, the lost soul cobbling together some sort of existence with whatever he can salvage from the wreckage of the world. Crusoe was no pilgrim; he was a survivor, hunkered down for the duration. He lived in a very, very small world where he was the lead character and all else found its focus in him. Of course, to be fair, Crusoe was stranded on an island with little hope of rescue. We have been rescued, but still the choice is ours to stay in our small stories, clutching our household gods and false lovers, or to run in search of life. (The Sacred Romance , 143-44)  John Eldredge
It’s interesting that this Daily Reading from one of my favorite writers, John Eldredge,  was sent to me this week while I am in the planning stages of full-time RVing. You see, this is a dilemma that has been haunting me for months…to Journey or to Homestead?  Lately, I have felt the need (perhaps from watching too many Glenn Beck shows this past year) to move away from high population areas, buy lots of land, and become homesteaders, like Robinson Crusoe, securing my family’s survival. I have been reading about self-sustaining things like bread-making, canning, and off-the-grid-living in general. I am a avid follower of politics and given our current state of affairs I feel that there is reason to fear the possibility of a collapse of the American system including everything we have come to rely on from energy delivery to food supplies to the value of the dollar. There has been this tug-of-war going on between my heart (journeying) and my brain (homesteading). My brain says to follow the logical conclusions of my fears and hunker down for difficult times. My heart says to trust God and follow my dreams.  But, when you are a husband and father your personal dreams tend to get overshadowed by things like security, as they should. Or should they?
What would I be teaching my daughter by living and planning our lives around fear? I believe in living in reality, but not at the expense of our hearts. As long as my wife is on board with the full-timing dream (and she emphatically is), then we will go in that direction, throwing caution to God. I will be wise and plan properly, but not obsessively.
I believe I have the heart of an adventurer for a reason: I was made in God’s image. His image is one of adventure, wildness, and strength…not complacency, fear, or passiveness. Society has convinced too many men that their work is done once they have built their family fortress. This has cost us dearly as men. Our hearts have been destroyed by trading them in for security. I refuse to live like that. I want to take the journey, wife and daughter in arms, and see what God has in store for us as we trust Him for our security.
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
Henry David Thoreau

A little chaotic

Well, we are in full chaos mode around here trying to get the house ready to sell. Trying to squeeze all the contents of a 2500sf house into 300sf is proving to be a real task!

For me, just give me a commercial dumpster and I am happy to dispose of just about anything. Lisa, on the other hand, is a pack rat and gets sentimentally attached to stuff. Take, for example, the 10 boxes of Depression glass we have been hauling from house to house for 10 years because she thinks “someday” it will look nice in a house.

In order to ease the stress of this transition, though, I am not asking her to throw away anything she does not want to right now. After all, I’ve got this closet full of backpacking gear I have collected over the years that I just can’t bring myself to get rid of yet. I mean, come on, I never know when I might need 10 camping cook pots, 4 backpacking stoves, 10 half full fuel cartridges, etc etc.

Our plan for now is to dispose of a lot of stuff, give a lot away, and store the rest of it in the basement until the house sells. Then, when the house sells and if we still can not part with it all we will rent a small storage unit. Until then, our basement will look like this

It is amazing how hard it can be to part with stuff…even stuff I have not used in years! This is good for us though.

In addition to packing the inside I have been working to spruce up our house’s curb appeal. In this housing market it is crucial to not turn off potential buyers. I have been fertilizing the yard, putting rocks down, scrubbing the back deck, and anything else that might draw attention to our house. We love this house…but we are ready for our next adventure!

Our day ended with a nice pasta dinner outside on our deck as we shared our excitement about the journey ahead…

Cashin’ in our chips

Who?  We are: Kyle age 38 (Dad, business owner, and author of this blog), Lisa age 34 (Mom, homeschool teacher) and Kylee age 3 (The apple of my eye)

What?  We have decided to sell everything we own except what we can fit in a small storage unit and our 36′ Motorhome (A 2008 Holiday Rambler Admiral 34sbd a.k.a our “house truck” as Kylee has called it) to live, work, travel, and homeschool on the road…FULL TIME!

When?  We are currently in the process of getting rid of stuff and will put the house on the market in May. When it sells, we are officially “full-timing”. Until it sells we will be in our planning and research phase.

Where?  Everywhere! We plan to cover, at a leisurely pace, every facet of this great nation as well as Canada and maybe Mexico. We will stay in RV parks, campgrounds, state and national parks, BLMs, and anywhere else we feel like it and are welcome. Heck, we may even come stay in your driveway if you’ll let us!

How? No, we are not independently wealthy! I will continue to work my current business (Medicare Supplement Brokers) from the road.

Why?  This one requires a little more explanation which I will provide as we approach launch day. Hopefully, if you follow along with us it will become evident why we do what we do! But, here are a few of our reasons:

  1. To challenge ourselves to live more simply by possessing less stuff and placing more value in people.
  2. To re-define what it means to live the “American Dream” (more on this one later).
  3. To meet people and develop some eternal friendships.
  4. To enjoy each other as a family.
  5. To connect with our creator through his beautiful creations.
  6. To give our daughter, Kylee, a broader “roadschooling” education filled with experiential learning.
  7. To volunteer our time to others.
  9. To allow this list to grow…
That’s my introduction. All of these questions will be answered in much greater detail as this “House Truckin'” develops. This blog will serve as my diary of our journey. I hope to entertain and inspire my readers by being transparent and blogging regularly with thoughts and pictures from the road. Much more to come!
Are we nuts? You betcha.