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One of the best aspects of RV life is the number of people you meet along the way.  When meeting new people, especially those who do not RV, an inevitable question is, “Where are you from?”

That naturally leads into the conversation about traveling full-time and living in our 5th wheel.  It’s amazing the looks we get – some are intrigued by the idea of roaming freely while others are shocked at the thought that we have gone outside the norm.

During a recent conversation a woman said to me, “What a great idea – it’s got to be so much cheaper living in an RV!”

I couldn’t help but chuckle because that is so far from the truth.

Now let me preference this by saying that everyone travels differently – everyone has different needs, desires and budgets.  The amount of money you spend while traveling as a full-timer will vary greatly. 

But – it did get me thinking – what a great article this would make LOL.

I figured I would do a side by side comparison so others can see as well:

Full-Time RVing ExpensesStick n’ Brick Expenses
Campgrounds – this cost can vary greatly – the longer you stay in one location – the cheaper the rent.Property Taxes
Utilities: Water – FREE Electric – if staying for a month – have to pay electric / nightly rates include electric Propane Cable / Internet Garbage – FREE  Utilities: Water Electric Gas Cable / Internet Garbage  
Cell PhoneCell Phone
Fuel – much higher due to diesel, distance we travel, and pulling an RVFuel
Insurance – car, RVInsurance – House, car
Registration – car, RVRegistration – car
Maintenance – car, RVMaintenance – House, car, yard
Health Insurance – this expense if far greater on the road since we have to carry independent coverageHealth Insurance
Site SeeingVacations
RV Expenses vs Traditional House Expenses

Most of these expenses are fixed, but there are a few that will vary. Everything is based on choices we make along the way.

We spend more in gas/diesel than we ever did living in a home and that was with 2 cars.  We also spend a great deal more site-seeing/eating out as well.  The insurance on our vehicle and RV are more now than they were when we lived in Illinois.  And, don’t even get me started on health insurance!

Despite living in an RV, we have all the same expenses and though some expenses are cheaper, we are finding others that are quite a bit more.

Living in an RV = Cheaper – not for us!

Exit Plan!

Have one.

What is an exit plan and why would I need one.

Living full-time on the road seems to be a dream for many.  How can it not be!

Dreaming of adventures – where to go – what to see – what to do —

No one ever wants to start dreaming of the end – that certainly is a buzz kill….

But, the reality is, everyone who decides they want to travel full-time needs to have an exit plan.  Everyone needs to know what they plan to do when the time comes to stop traveling – for whatever reason:  boredom, fatigue, financial, emergency.

What will you do?

Where will you go?

Will you stay in your RV?

If so, where?  Warmer climate?

Colder climate?  is your RV equipped for colder climates?

Will you sell the RV?

Buy a home/condo/townhouse?

Do I want the hassle of owning a home again?  Should I rent something?

These are all important questions that need to be discussed PRIOR to hitting the road.  Naturally the plan doesn’t have to be in depth because things change, nor do they need to be set in stone, but you need to have a plan – an idea of what the future will look like, IF…..

Our exit plan is still something I continually struggle with on a daily basis.

We always said we wanted to be in warmer climate – snow was something we only wanted to see on TV.  But all our grandchildren are up north.  Ditching the kids is easy, ditching the grandkids – not so much!!

Yes, technology allows us to “see” the kids as often as we want – but have you tried to FaceTime with a 2 year old.  Attention span is that of a fly!!!  Video calls just cannot take the place of being with them in person.

Yes, we can fly home to visit them.  But if we do that, how often?  Every 2-3 months?  Is that in the budget?  Will work allow such frequent travel?  Will we stay with the kids or get a hotel?  Is THAT is the budget?  Though I continually come back to this plan – is it really affordable?

Again, an exit plan does not have to be set in stone in the beginning.  It may evolve over time as our needs change.  Ours started out with finding an RV resort in Florida to park the RV so we can live in it.  Mike can always find work.  I can continue working remotely, or go back to teaching, or simply find something else I love to do.

In fact, I am writing this from sunny Florida and am contemplating changing our exit plan again since the weather is so beautiful…. decisions, decisions…

So, our exit plan.

Grandkids win!! 

Though I would love to be in sunny Florida enjoying the sun on my face, the sand in my toes and the salty air on my skin, being with our grandchildren often is what makes us smile daily. 

So, as of right now, November of 2019, our exit plan will be to head back up north to be closer to the grand-kids.

I sure hope our children are done having children – otherwise, how will we ever enjoy the warmer weather!!!

Kansas Salt Mine

Descending 650’ in 90 seconds is no joke.  The sheer darkness is enough to scare anyone – big, small, grown, young, man, woman… doesn’t matter.   Losing the ability to determine if your eyes are opened or closed, is frightening.

But how far is 650’?

This article did a great job to help visualize just how far down one would travel if heading to the salt mines by comparing the depth to the height of certain national monuments.

Statue of Liberty = 306′

Washington Monument = 555′

St. Louis Arch = 630′


Since the early 1920’s people have been fascinated by the salt mines and have enjoyed descending into the great depths to explore them.  The Hutchinson Salt Company realized that turning the unused sections of the mine into a museum could bring many tourists to the area. However, using the one small elevator simply would not work since each time visitors were brought down, production of the salt had to stop until the people were safely in the mine.  So the production of a new shaft was started in 2004, taking nearly a full year to complete. 

The new hoist was a double-decker elevator built to accommodate 30 people – 15 on the lower level and 15 on the upper level.   The new elevator also allowed for larger items to be brought into the mine making the process of harvesting salt easier and quicker for the men below.  Some items would require the men to disassemble them so it could fit in the hoist and reassemble it once they were in the mine.

In June of 2013, the Kansas Underground Salt Museum opened. 

Tours take visitors through the many chambers ranging from 2,500 to 15,000 square feet with ceilings as high as 17 feet in some areas.  Each chamber is separated by a 40 foot square block, referred to as pillars, left intact to support the salt above.

At times, sections of the chamber floor began to rise, so workers used railroad ties to help prevent the floors from moving.

Once items were brought into the mine, they remained below forever.   Below is a vehicle referred to as a Mantrip. This type of car was used to transport miners to and from the mining areas.

Miners used railroad cars to help transport the salt along the tracks. 

Not all salt was worth mining.  Some sections of the walls only contained small amounts of salt, and since it would cost more in man power to retrieve the salt, some areas were left behind.

To help keep track of each section, miners wrote the month, day and year on the pillars indicating when that section of the mine had been worked on.

Since the mine is so far below the surface, it naturally maintains a temperature of 68 degrees with a very low humidity. Because of this, the Underground Vaults & Storage uses 26 acres of the mine to secure such items as original movies, television show masters, medical records, valuable documents and even actual costumes from popular movies.  That section of the mine is highly guarded and is not open to the public; however, several items were given to the museum to put on display.

Film reels & documents

Biggest Mistake of Our Lives

Sharing ones mistakes is never easy – it requires an individual to become extremely vulnerable.

Being vulnerable is not easy for me.  I prefer to keep things private – I don’t enjoy attention.  What is easier is putting up a front so that all appears well.  After all, we all carry burdens – the last thing I want is to add additional burdens onto others.

I don’t say this to evoke empathy from anyone – I say this so you truly understand I share this only to educate others.

If you truly want to live this lifestyle, you must learn from others to ensure you don’t lose the one thing you are seeking – FREEDOM!

When researching this lifestyle, I did my research!!  After all, I am an educator – we LOVE to research!  I made sure I truly understand what I was getting into.  It all started with creating a budget.  I needed to know what type of expenses were to be expected.  I read any blog I could find that was willing to share their expenses while being on the road.  I knew I would have fixed expenses and flexible expenses, and that those flexible expenses would just continue to grow until they were needed.  I knew those expense you did not touch – they needed to be there, just in case.  So, I created a spreadsheet listing everything I could think of and more – just to ensure I had a real sound idea of what the monthly cost would be.

Once the budget was created – it was time to turn my attention to the #1 reason that prevents non-retired individuals from hitting the road – health insurance.

We are not retired – and as an independent contractor, I did not have health insurance provided by an employer, so before hitting the road, I needed to have this figured out.

The first place I turned to was the marketplace which, if you have never been there before, can be very overwhelming.  There are hundreds of plans to choose from: Gold, Silver, Bronze, different insurance companies, different deductibles, different coverages, etc.  This is where we decided that our domicile would be Florida since they were the only state, at that time, which offered a nationwide plan.  However, the cost for this plan, for both of us, was $1,400.

Now I knew the most costly expense would be health insurance – that is just the way of the world.  But I wasn’t willing to spend that so I looked into the health share options like Liberty Health Share. It looked very appealing.  The total cost was only $600 a month for both of us.  In comparison to the $1,400, $600 was a steal.  I most certainly had concerns – though they looked like an actual insurance company – required deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, health screenings, lab work – in the real small fine print they couldn’t guarantee payment.

I played devil’s advocate for weeks – was this really any different than a conventional insurance company?  Blue Cross Blue Shield has been known to deny claims – they have been known not to cover expenses.

We were both very healthy; after all, we both recently had physicals and received a clean bill of health. 

So – instead of doing the “right thing” – I decided, since we are both healthy, to forgo the health plan option and put that money aside so that IF it was ever needed, we could draw from that fund.

Now – I know you’re shaking your head at me right now.  I’m doing the same thing as I write this.

The first year was GREAT.  Though I had to visit the immediate care for a sinus infection, and have lab work done, since the money was put aside – no worries.

September 1, 2019

Labor Day, September 2nd changes everything. 

Michael woke me up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain.  He informed me he had been up for some time trying to get comfortable, to no avail.  He had already taken something in hopes the pain would subside – no luck.

The pain was in the middle of his chest and in the middle of his back.  So I pull out my phone and do what we all do – turn to Google.  I type in his symptoms and wade through the many options- ugh!  Needless to say, Google was no help. 

I get out of bed and say the only realistic choice is to head to the ER.

I know exactly what is going through Mike’s head at this moment $$$$$$$$$$$, and to be honest with myself, it was going through my head as well.

But, no worries.  I have money aside for this exact reason – quick jaunt to the ER – find out it’s something simple – pain meds – go home.

Since the location of Mike’s pain was “unusual,” they needed to run several tests to start ruling out possible issues.  They decide on an ultrasound of the gallbladder and notice it appears to be infected.  Again the location of his pain did not point to the gallbladder, even after the ultrasound.  The doctor wasn’t truly convinced that the gallbladder was the cause of such pain.  His first reaction is to admit Mike so they can observe him.

If I could include sound on this blog, it would be that of a cashier register machine – from the olden days – cha ching, cha ching, cha ching.

Let me just say, my husband’s health was and always will be my #1 priority – I would have, and still will, pay until my dying breath any price if it ensures he is okay. 

After hanging my head with embarrassment, I inform the doctor that we are uninsured, and not from the area, and would prefer that we take him to his doctors as soon as possible to have him looked over.  The doctor understood, wanted to run a few more tests to rule out other possible options and to possibly get a better idea of what was going on with the gallbladder.

September 2, 2019

After a long 9+ hours, they release us with some strong pain killers and advise us to have him seen by our doctors when we get home.

Well, that didn’t take long.  We do believe our drive home caused additional problems for Mike because we were back in the ER by the evening.

Now – I can keep dragging this story out – but let me just say – 2 additional visits to the ER, a 3 day stay in the hospital, 2 visits to the radiologist, and specialists has us seeing bills we have never seen before.  We can all do simple math – I most certainly did not budget for this!!!

Remember – we received a clean bill of health! 

And in a blink of an eye, everything changed.

I don’t share this story for empathy – I share this story to educate you.

Knowledge IS power!

DO NOT think a clean bill of health means you can forgo health insurance. 

DO NOT think $600 or even $1,400 is a lot of money.

DO NOT think this cannot happen to you.

A Mammoth Stop!!

It may have taken several years for Mammoth Cave to become a national park, but it only takes 1 visit to marvel at its grandeur.

Mammoth Cave National Park

With family in Tennessee, we have passed through Kentucky many, many times over the years, but never stopped to visit Mammoth Cave National Park.  Each time we passed the sign on the expressway, we ALWAYS said, “We need to stop one year and visit the caves.”

It’s sad to say that at 48, I was finally able to visit this national park.

Mammoth Cave R.R. Co.

Getting to the caves in the early 1900’s wasn’t always easy, so the Louisville & Nashville Railroad built a rail line between the two cities and for $3.00 you could visit the caves.

Our visit, however, started with this…

And cost us $40.00….

Learning about the history of the caves and the massive work it took just so we can walk through it is amazing…  Please keep in mind that I am not a photographer, so my pictures do not do the caves justice. 

The sheer power of water and how it can create structures such as these will forever dazzle me. 

There are numerous tours that can be taken.  We chose Domes and Dripstones which was a 1 ½ -hour tour descending hundreds of stairs.    Would not recommend this one if walking long distances is difficult or stairs are a challenge.

Driving to the caves, we discovered this cemetery:

And learned is was named after a church which was established by Homesteaders who have lived on these rolling hills of Kentucky for centuries prior to the attention given to the caves.

Many are currently resting on these acres.

We would highly recommend making this a stop along on your travels!!

Mike & Ann Lutz


And So It Begins – Purging

Selling the house went much quicker than either of us anticipated.  Deciding to list it with a realtor was the best decision we ever made (aside from traveling).  We signed a contract to list the house on Monday night, the realtor brought someone by Tuesday and presented us with an offer within hours. 


 A sign?? 

Yes it is.  Confirmation we are doing the right thing – on the right path.   

(or severally underpriced our home)

Let the purging begin.

I will say, this was the hardest part.  Though I was excited to start a new chapter, knowing we had to go through 17 years of “stuff” was going to be a monumental task.  Every time I got rid of one box, I swear 3 more appeared.  We spent weeks going through our possessions and making piles.  Things the kids wanted, things to store, things for friends/family, things to donate.  We chose not to have a garage sale or to list things online.  I had no desire to put in the additional work I knew it would take, so whatever did not go to the kids or storage, went to Goodwill.  Fifteen trips to be exact.  (I do regret not doing an Estate Sale – see “I’m Not Lost, I’m RVing”)

There were days I was giving myself a pep talk as I was walking down into the basement.  Telling myself I could do this!!!  I got this!!  Only to open the door, see the immense piles of stuff, and turn around and head right back up the stairs.

Be prepared to cry.  This was such an overwhelming task that there were days where I just wanted to sit and cry.  Going through a life-time of memories was difficult.  Constantly made me think of the kids and our grandkids…are we doing the right thing…should we be leaving them….will the grandkids remember us….what if something happens…

And the list goes on….

In the end, multiple people reminded me that our house will be on wheels.  If I miss them too much…we can come home.  If something happens…we can come home.  That’s the beauty of traveling…we can pick up and move any time we want.

So, how did we go through so much so fast?  We accepted an offer that wanted a 30 day closing.

That is the main reason why I didn’t go through the hassle of selling things.  I didn’t have the time or energy to tag, post, advertise, store, etc.  We had WAY TOO MUCH STUFF!!!  It needed to go and FAST.

Kids got the first pick.

Contractors got the second pick.

Rest went to Goodwill.


Did I mention we were renovating the house when we sold it….. 

Still amazes me that we sold a house while the tub and toilet were in boxes in the kitchen.

Meant to Be!!

Simplify To Magnify

How does one simplify 47 years of belongings?

Sell your home within 24 hours of listing it and accept a 30 day closing!! 

That’ll get ya’ movin’!!

It is not easy to go through 47 years of “stuff.”  Our home was only 1600 sf.  I cannot imagine those with larger homes.  The bigger it is, the more you accumulate.  So glad we moved out of that 3000 sf home before dreaming about this lifestyle.

Most people would say, sell it, have an estate sale, garage sale.  But we are all different.  I am not one of those people willing to hold onto something on the off chance someone will want to buy it one day; nor did we have the time to allow for it.  We had 30 days to get packed up and out.

We did what any other parent would do….we told our kids to come in and take what they wanted.  

Now, this can go one of two ways:  1) They will fight over items because they all want the same things, or 2) They will look around the house and think, “Why would I want any of this old stuff.”

Not that our children stated #2 out loud, but all four of them already had homes established, so other than a few pieces (probably those items that reminded them of, they didn’t want anything.

So, this still left us with a house full of “stuff.”  We started packing containers with items we knew would one day come into our new home.  All the while, keeping in mind that we will be moving into a MUCH smaller place. 

No more collecting 10 coffee mugs, but really only using your one favorite. 

No more 2 sets of everything: plates, bowls, silverware…can’t have it!!! 

7 spatulas….who needs 7!!!!!  And why did I have 7 to begin with!!!

Packing the items that would be going into the camper with us was the best place to start.  Even though we didn’t know which rig we were buying at the time, we knew the size of the rig would be dramatically smaller.  So, we had to be practical.

SIMPLIFY…  NEED vs WANT.    What do you NEED?

Boy that is a tough question!!!  And depending on which one of us you ask, will depend on what the answer is.

I would probably say, “Yes, I NEED those 25 pair of leggings, AND 7 pair of jeans AND 3 pair of yoga pants, AND 5 pair of workout pants AND…..

You get the picture.  

I went through my closet 4 times and still have the items above…….if you saw the size of the closet I use and the size of the closet Mike uses, you would be amazed (or would you???  Don’t woman always collect more clothing than necessary?)

But, do I NEED them?

The answer is, NO!

Simplify!!!  (if only I could take my own advice…….. )

Drinking the Kool-Aid

Our 1st Rally

Know the feeling you get when you meet someone famous??  You get star-struck! You spend time learning about a person, watching them, following them.  You get this feeling of excitement when you finally “see” them in person, right in front of you. 

I spent almost a year following Howard & Linda from RV-Dreams.  I found their blog when researching the RV life.  You see, I’m a dreamer.  I ALWAYS dream.  Always have my head in the clouds.  When my husband shot down my idea of traveling (by that I mean backpacking) through Europe I began to think about traveling around the US.  There were countless advertisements on my Facebook feed showing how to travel the US in just a few months.  Got me thinking…why not try that.

I’m a teacher.  I get the summers off.  Maybe convince my hubby to, somehow, get the summer off.

That’s when I came across RV-Dreams.  I found Howard’s journals and began reading about their journey.  I can recall staying up many nights well past 1 a.m. reading “just one more journal.”  I found myself crying, laughing, shaking my head, but most of all, I found myself relating to them.  It became an obsession.  For months I began researching and following others out there who travel full-time.  My nights were consumed with research and my days were clouded with dreams.  Could WE do it?  Could I find something to do on the road?  I had “tasted” the Kool-Aid

After months and months and months of research, I wanted to learn more.  RV-Dreams was holding an informational rally in the fall to help educate others’ on the possibility of taking life on the road.  What better way to learn more about the lifestyle than from people who have been doing just that for more than 12 years.  Since I had spent so much time reading about their life, of course I was excited when I finally met them.  To me, they were a celebrity   

We spent the week just learning the basics.   We learned everything from different rigs, to basic mechanics, to places to stay and even ideas on how to finance such an awesome life.    Most of all, we spent an entire week with like-minded individuals who all had the same goal:  experience life.  We joined a community of wonderful people.  Never have we felt more comfortable around a group of strangers – even Mike. We forged life-long friendships with amazing people

If you find yourself wondering or dreaming about doing the same thing – surround yourself with like-minded individuals.  They will help your vision come to light!

You, too, can drink the Kool-Aid!

RV Dreams Tennessee Rally 2017

Leaving the Kids

How does one leave their kids?

I have NO idea.

I had become so engrossed with the idea of traveling that I honestly, at first, didn’t even think about the kids.  After all, our 4 children were grown and have lives of their own.  They are busy with work and activities that we didn’t see them often, so naturally, they were not on the forefront of my mind.

That was until the plan started to become much more real and the idea of not seeing our grandkids became a reality.  Don’t get me wrong.  We LOVE our children, but we absolutely ADORE our grandchildren. Leaving our children was hard – but leaving our grandchildren was heart-wrenching.

I can’t even tell you how many times, mentally, I backed-out of our plans.

And then, I realized, the number of people who put off their plans, for one reason or another, and it then became a distant dream.

Life can be too short.  I do NOT want to be left with the “what if” syndrome.

The 21st century has afforded us the opportunity to stay connected!!!  Our electronically advanced society puts us in the same room as others.  Hell, our grandchildren will have a better grasp on technology than we will.

Watching all the YouTube videos, reading everyone’s blogs – I knew we HAD to do this!!

So, we started tapping into this wonderful technology.  Video chatting!!!!   We decided to try this out with our middle grandchild, Braxton. What a hoot!  He is certainly use to technology – his mother is on it all the time – constantly putting the camera in his face (love you honey).  Now, he wasn’t even 2 yet, so bear in mind his attention span was probably 5 seconds – but it was PERFECT!  It was the affirmation I needed to confirm what we wanted to do is okay.  Not that we needed “permission,” just acceptance that we can be away and still see them – watch them grow!!!

So, how does one leave their children? 

By simply getting in the RV and drive. 

And when you miss them, you call them.  Video chat them.  Scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat.  Look at their faces and SMILE.

We are doing what many others only dream of doing – we are living life and exploring our beautiful country.  One state at a time.

Life is always better with grandchildren – 2019