Gone SouthTuesday 11/3/2009 - When we planned on ‘going south’, Alabama was kind of the official destination of being in the south. Not sure why – maybe because of the name, or because there is no state south of it, Whatever the reason is – whenever someone ask us – where in the south? – Alabama was the answer. So we were very excited to finally get there and say – Been to ALABAMA.
It wasn’t easy to choose the right spot. We wanted to stay in the northern part first, and continue south to the gulf later. We looked for a place close to nature as a starting point, and found that the outlook mountain area is a center for many different nature attractions. Using our search routine, we finally chose a nice place near Fort Payne, called Wills Creek. It is a family owned small park, not too crowded, still out of the city limits (in an industrial zone, but you don’t really feel it).
Our way down was nice. Not too long of a drive, but very interesting. We drove through Chattanooga, Tennessee and the signs of ‘Visit Ruby Falls’ was the one you could not ignore. Huge signs on billboards, Barns, houses and anywhere they could put it. We looked at the GPS and saw that we are less than hour away, and thought – we should come here and see what it is.
We continued driving south and crossed Georgia for a short 10 minute drive, and finally entered AL. We arrived at the campground early and were ecstatic we made it while there was still daylight. In the last campgrounds, really since VA, we have tried to plan so that we get to the campgrounds early enough so that we have time to hook up and get familiar with the area.
A small research on the web exposed gazilion of nice places around. Not only in Chattanooga area but also in 2 state parks that were in close proximity to the campground, so we are hoping to do some nice explorations in the next couple weeks.
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RV DreamingWhenever we pull into a new campground, and even while we are there, we always look around at the other RVs. It is interesting to see how big of an influence the area and the type of campground has on the type of RVs you see.
There are always those big rigs, those motorhomes that cost half a million. This is not our league, we are not even looking at those. Then, there are those that are smaller or older than ours.
We have an ‘OK’ (Patti says nice) RV for an occasional traveler. A little old, but in a good condition. We have a 1998 27’ fifth wheel, with a back kitchen, a large single slide out, and a front queen bed.
But then, there are those RVs that you wish you had. They are a little longer, shinier and have the perfect size and slid-outs we would like to have. So we sit and imagine how nice it would be to have one. We even created a Wish List we would love to see in our future RV.
One day we will get there. We know we need to upgrade, because this RV we have is not ideal for full timing. So let me share with you our Dream List – The features we found that we are missing, and why. Just remember that for everyone that owns an RV, the needs may be different. Our is for a full time couple that live and work in the RV, and like to move around.
Wishful thinking - Our Dream List
Choosing an RV for Full-Time RVingSize: Size does matter! We want a fifth wheel that is 31’ – 34’ long. Fifth wheel have the advantage that some of the weight is carried by the truck bed, so the towing weight is lesser than the trailer weight. That give the option to have features that are hard to come by in a travel trailer. 27’ is a little small, but over 34’ will be too long and too heavy. You will pay in gas and it would be hard to maneuver.
Model Year – You don’t want to buy a new unit as it depreciates very fast, and loses value. OTOH, don’t get too old as you will face wear and tear, and high maintenance. In some areas – newer models have newer technologies too (entertainment is one). The best balance between value and cost would be about 5 years old unit.
Floor Plan – This feature is one of the most important but very individual, and different people would like different designs. We like the back living room, and slide out back kitchen. A nice working area is a big plus for us. A washer/dryer hookups are nice to have. The split bathroom is better than one single unit (It doesn’t stink to take a shower). Make sure you have enough storage place for your clothes (wardrobes and dressers).
Slide Outs – The magic number is 2 or 3. 1 is not enough (usually the bedroom is too small) and 4 are too much – usually one of the rear ones is split to two smaller ones. We believe that one slide out in the bedroom and one for the living/dining area – is good enough. Additional rear slide out for the kitchen or the entertainment center would be great.
Kitchen – Special attention should be given to this part of the RV, especially if you plan to cook your own meals. Make sure there is enough storage place for pots and pans, small appliances, plates and food. If you find a unit with a bigger (4 door) refrigerator that is a big plus. When you go grocery shopping, you need a place to put everything away. Some refrigerators are electric only and will not work while you travel. Chose one that works on propane electricity and battery power.
Hot Water – A bigger hot water tanks (10-12 gallon) will allow you to take a shower without freezing. Pay attention to the turnover time. Some units have a fast reheating cycle. Make sure you get a combination of Propane/Electric, an automatic ignition (DSI) and a heater bypass.
Boondocking – If you are planning to use your RV without any hookups, you may want to have a generator (or a prep for one) and bigger tanks for fresh water and waste water (Black and Grey).
Other Features – There many other features to look at when selecting RV, but they are not unique to Full-Timing. Just make sure that you have a place to work, relax and sleep comfortably.