New Decisions

The time is drawing near and we are so excited we could explode! Thank goodness it’s going quickly! Probably because we are so busy with all the transitioning!

Getting rid of our things has been a very time consuming and arduous process. We have held one sale so far and some people walked off with amazing deals! We have been working on the house too, giving a few rooms a new coat of paint, getting carpet installed, cleaning and sorting, and soon we will powerwash and get the windows done. Aiming to hit the market in a couple of weeks. There have been a lot of new decisions made and some even contradict things I thought we had already decided! Here we go…

Domicile
In a previous post, I shared we thought we would make our domicile in South Dakota. After researching more aspects and a lot of discussion, our domicile will be Livingston, Texas!

Most of the costs seemed to balance each other out. We had insurance quoted in both states, we looked at the costs to transfer the vehicles, how much we would have to do in the way of going back for vehicle inspections, etc. It all really looked like a wash to us. The tipping point for us was that the gun laws in South Dakota would have required us to stay there for 30 days to get everything situated for the concealed carry permit. It was immediate in Texas. That weighed a little more simply because our time of departure and wanting to get south before snow starts to fly.

The secondary reason is that we simply think we will be going near or in Texas more due to our plans to be in the south during winters. I am not sure we would be casually passing through South Dakota often, though I guess that could be wrong.

RV Trip Planning Software

It will be my job to do the travel planning. Mostly because I geek out and enjoy that, but also for some period of time Ed will keep his current job and I will have more time. So, I set out to find a software that could help me with the trip planning, evaluating campgrounds, keeping it all straight. I did a few free trials to see what I liked. Hands down, I chose RVTripWizard.com. I have suggestions for it’s creators, but my background is in running a software company that develops products for clients so my eye is different than normal folk. Hey maybe I will work for them from the road one day! I should look into that! Anyway, despite a few things I think it could do better, it’s a really powerful tool and I am happy with it.

Basically, it allows you to plot out the route of the trip and displays available campgrounds. You can customize it to know what memberships you have and then icons will display for places that accept them. You can click on the icon and get all the info you would want – reviews, tips, pricing, website, etc. The other thing I like is there is a panel to the left that displays all your stops. You can track all your expenses there, and I love that because we will need to monitor that for some time to understand our new budget better.

It also takes into consider your RV size for the route and the campgrounds and gives you a circle around how far you can go on a tank of gas. This is nice, though we do have a great GPS that also knows our dimensions so we can avoid going to underpasses where we do not fit.

Departure and Planning
So obviously we have now decided when we are leaving and where we are going. We depart August 10 after Eddie gets settled in at college. Our first trip will be to the FROG Rally (Forest River Owners Group) in Goshen Indiana. If Covid-19 allows them, they normally would let you sign up to do a factory tour so you can see how your RV was made. That aspect is probably more interesting to Ed, but we both want to go and see the vendors, get some further education, meet others and learn what they are doing.

We also learned that Milwaukee is holding their famous Summerfest in September this year. It’s usually in June/July but you know…Covid! Great for us! We love music festivals and this one sounds like a much bigger scale than when we attend Bourbon and Beyond in Louisville every year! Plus, Guns N Roses are supposed to play. I am sold on that alone! Anyway, since we have a few weeks between FROG Rally and Summerfest, we decided instead of taking the shorter route, we could drive north to the upper peninsula of Michigan and check it out!

When we leave Milwaukee we will make some stops in St. Louis, the Ozarks, Springfield, and then make our way into Texas. We will meander from Dallas over to Livingston (near Houston) and then check out Austin. Our oldest daughter wants to see Austin so she and her husband will fly and meet us there. Still working out the rest of our trip in Texas. We will obviously check out San Antonio, and I know I want to see Padre Island and Big Bend National Park. We are really not on a time schedule from here, so the only thing I know is after that we would like to visit Oregon, Washington and probably Glacier National Park by next summer. I know I will be tempted to go back to Jackson, WY but we will see if we run out of good weather before then.

Memberships
I did a post recently on memberships. After having logged many, many hours on the RVTripWizard Software, I have come to the understanding the most flexible thing we can do is probably instead of investing in the full Thousand Trails membership, to go ahead and equip ourselves for boondocking. Otherwise, we are going to miss opportunities due to expense. There is a lot of federal and state land as you go more west. Also state parks will be more feasible because many do not have the full hookups but their sites are inexpensive.

This will mean we will invest in solar panels, batteries, a controller, mobile dump station, extra water containers, etc. We have decided if we do not like this lifestyle you are going to get more out of reselling those things than reselling a membership to Thousand trails. Also, the tax credit this year is still at 26% which is a huge discount on this set up. We do think we might get a Thousand Trails region pass for the east coast area and that will be far less expensive than their full membership plan and allow us to have ways of staying free on the east coast as well.

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