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Weeks 9 - 12 (February 26, 2005 - March 25, 2005)

Week 9

Saturday, February 26, 2005 through Friday March 4, 2005
Another Uneventful Week for RV Dreaming

This week was spent concentrating on work, visiting the hospital, and working on the website at night.

The one thing that did happen was that I noticed our RV manufacturer, Keystone, finally got a website up for our rig, the Cambridge. The website is http://keystone-cambridge.com/.

There you can see photos of the exterior and interior. We can't wait to add real life photos of ours when we get it and get on the road.

Well, that's it for another week. I have to get ready to go to Orlando for business next Sunday through Wednesday.

Week 10

Saturday, March 5, 2005 through Friday March 11, 2005
Researching RV Clubs

This Saturday I am researching RV clubs. It seems all RVers are members of at least one club and often several. I just have to figure out which ones will be right for us.

Holy Cow! There are over 150 RV clubs and associations. This is not going to be easy.

In tooling around the internet, I have determined that there is definitely one club we want to be members of. That is Escapees. Escapees is a club that specifically caters to full-timers and has about 35,000 members at this time.

Escapees has a few affiliated campgrounds, a 10% discount program on campgrounds, a good RV forum, full-timer resources, and a great program called CARE.

CARE is actually a place in Texas where Escapee members can go and have professional medical care while living in their own rig. It is for folks whose physical capabilites have declined and they may need permanent care for the rest of their days or for members that are recovering from an illness or surgery until they can get back on the road. CARE is not free with membership, but the cost is unbelievably low on a monthly basis when compared to more traditional alternatives.

The annual membership fee for Escapees is a little higher than with some other clubs, but since this club really seems to have a heart and be concerned for its full-timing members, it is an affiliation I think we should have. A few clicks and we are signed up with a new member packet on the way.

The second club I joined was the Good Sam Club. It is the largest club for RVers with over 1 million members and the cost was only $19.00 to join. Surely we can make up $19.00 a year with its 10% discount campground program. If not on campgrounds, there is a certain level of buying power with a million members that should save us enough money on other Good Sam discounts to justify a membership.

My only concern is that several members have complained about the overwhelming amount of solicitations through the mail from Good Sam. However, there is a place on the web to sign up to have the solicitations stopped, so we can use that if it gets too bad. A few more clicks and the Good Sam new member packet is on the way.

Another large club we looked at was FMCA - the Family Motor Coach Association. This also looked like a great club. But since it caters to motor home owners only, and we are doing the fifth wheel, I decided not to join.

The third club I did join was Passport America. Passport America is strictly a club where members are offered 50% discounts on campground stays at over 1,000 campgrounds across North America. At $44 per year, this seemed like a great thing for full-timers. The membership package is on the way.

A caution on Passport America. The reason they can offer 50% discounts is because campgrounds would rather fill spaces by offering a discount that have them empty. In other words, the discount often does not apply to weekends, holidays, or peak seasons. Also, it may not be offered on the campgrounds best sites and often it is only offered for a maximum of two or three nights. It may not be a good deal at all for weekend campers, but most full-timers still swear by Passport America.

Well that's it for RV club research for today. Maybe I'll check out some others another time, but it could get really expensive to join very many.

Sunday through Wednesday was spent in Orlando on business. Upon arriving back home, the good news was the RV dealership had not called yet for us to pick up our Cambridge. I really would like to have our truck, before we get that call.

We didn't spend much time the rest of the week on anything RV related. It is now college basketball tournament time in the Bluegrass state, so trivial things like complete lifestyle changes have to take a back seat for a little while.

Week 11

Saturday, March 12, 2005 through Friday March 18, 2005
Back To The Website & Checking Out RV Forums

Remember it is college basketball conference tournament weekend and NCAA tournament time starting Thursday, so keep your expectations low for this week.

I haven't felt very creative over the past several days and the website construction is a bit of a chore. It takes a lot of time to get informative pages set up with links that work for us.

Anyone can just link to another site, but it is necessary to set up links to affiliated websites in a way that can earn us a commission or referral fee - we are going to need every dime we can get on the road. If our visitors buy a product at another site by linking through RV-Dreams.com, it doesn't cost them any additional money, but helps us earn a little. However, setting up the links in the way all the different ways affiliates require is a challenge.

I kind of like figuring it out, but construction and linking is very time consuming and it is hard to stay focused for long enough periods. Plus I am not feeling very well this weekend.

But I have to start getting some traffic to the website. I can't wait until it is perfect, or no one will ever find it. I have decided to join some RV forums to see if I can spark any interest.

Wow!! There are a lot of RV forums out there. I set nine different forums up in my Favorites. Now I have to sign up with all of them in order to post. Sheesh!

Well I got signed up with four forums - got sidetracked perusing the topics and discussions. The forums are a great place to learn and do research for my website. Most everyone is so nice in RV world.

I did get RV-Dreams.com out there. I found that there is actually a group out there that is signing up all folks that are going to start their full-timing adventure in 2005. They consider themselves a 2005 graduating class. The facilitator responded to one of my posts with enthusiasm about my website. He wanted to link to it on his site. That was encouraging.

Well that's about it for the weekend - just basketball and another open house on Sunday. I'm still not feeling very well.

Still no call from the RV dealer during the week. A couple of funny things happened though.

I posted a topic on a forum to see if anyone had comments on the new Keystone Cambridge fifth wheel like we are getting. Since it is such a new model I did not expect much. However, I did get a reply from a couple that is expecting theirs in early April. After some back and forth we found out that they bought theirs at the same RV show we attended in January in Cleveland and they were a couple we sat and talked to for over an hour in the model RV. Too funny!

The other great thing that happened was that I got an email stating that someone had purchased three Dream Job ebooks after clicking through RV-Dreams.com. We had our very first sale and earned our very first commission of $7.77!! (about 3 gallons of gas)

Now I am pumped back up to get the website in good order. The first order through the website and the fact that our beloved Louisville Cardinals made it through the first round of the NCAA (along with the semi-loved Kentucky Wildcats) made for a nice end to the week.

Week 12

Saturday, March 19, 2005
Insurance Research & More NCAA Basketball

Before the games started on Saturday I worked on researching the cost of health insurance and insurance on our truck and 5er (that's what the experienced people call fifth wheels - "fivers").

This research may also determine where we set up residency since all insurance plans and rates are based on your state and zip code. For starters I am getting quotes in four states - Kentucky, Florida, Texas, and South Dakota.

Kentucky because that's our current state of domicile, it would be easier since we wouldn't have to change residency, and my perception is that insurance will probably be cheaper. Florida because they do not have state income tax, Linda has a sister there that could forward our mail, and we would not have to physically go there to register the new vehicles. Texas because it is home to the Escapees RV Club for full-timers and is therefore the choice of many full-timers, it also has no state income tax, and it is easy to establish residency. South Dakota because it is the new hot location of full-timers, it has no state income tax, all other taxes are cheaper, and many full-timers claim cheaper insurance can be had there.

A word of warning. Getting insurance quotes in four states for the full-timing lifestyle is not an easy task. Health insurers have no idea what to do with full-timers and there are only about 6 vehicle insurers that cover the special needs of full-timers. Therefore, I made my initial inquiries as easy as possible. More on how I did that later.

Sunday, March 20, 2005
Continuing Research

There are so many things to research, it is hard for me to stay focused. One minute I am working on the website, the next I am in an RV forum, the next I am planning for our new lifestyle, the minute after that I am looking at income opportunities, and the minute after that I am answering the wonderful emails I have been receiving through the website - all in the middle of March Madness and both our teams are still alive!!

And with all of that, it is another Open House day showing our patio home. Why has every Open House Sunday this year been gloomy? I can't wait to spend our January through March in sunnier climates.

Well didn't get much done today and had only one looker at the house. Good news is we have been invited to dinner by some friends and we will watch Louisville try to gain a spot in the final sixteen of the NCAA tournament.

WOW! Dinner and the company were great and the Cards played the best game I have seen them play in a long, long time. Life is good, my cold is going away and I am ready for the week.

Monday, March 21, 2005
A Stroke Of Luck (Possibly)

Two pieces of news on the RV front. We can get our tow vehicle - our Ford F450 - next Saturday. And our RV dealer called and said that the delivery of the Cambridge will now be in April. That's okay with us, so I don't ask how it got delayed a month - but we could have done without that panic earlier in the month.

As for the possible stroke of luck, one of our close realtor friends was in the office. He said he was showing a couple some patio homes in our neighborhood. So we immediately cornered him, to find out some information and whether the couple might be interested in ours.

He said they are moving from a much larger home in Tennessee and are looking in our price range in Louisville to be closer to children and grandchildren. Sounds perfect! We schedule a showing for Tuesday morning. I will be on the road, but Linda is an expert at showing the house - hope they like it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Showing The House - Keeping Our Fingers Crossed

Before I get on the road, I have to tell you this story. Linda has on a business outfit ready to go to the office. However, she is searching for her black dress heels and can't find them anywhere. Apparently, back in January when we cleaned out closets and took fifteen bags of clothes to Goodwill, she gave away all of her black heels except for the one very formal pair she kept. After a good laugh and watching her put on a pair of not so appropriate black boots, she has vowed to go to Goodwill today to see if she can buy her shoes back!!

So for you aspiring full-timers out there, the lesson is don't get too far ahead of yourselves with the excitement of your new lifestyle.

Well Linda does show the house. They seem to like it and may be interested in buying it furnished! Later in the day the call back to see if they can look at it again with the realtor and without Linda there. That seems like a good sign. Keeping those fingers crossed for an offer!

By the way, no dice on Linda's shoes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005
We Sold The House And Everything In It!

Well I was hitting the road again early in the morning. But before I did, Linda and I discussed the potential buyers of the house and how we really wanted to sell it furnished even if we had to accept a little less than we wanted.

So in my experiences at negotiation, I worked out a plan that would be good for all parties involved. Rather than wait for an offer, I called the realtor with a proposal. I think it was the first time he had ever had a seller drop the price before a buyer offer and propose the terms of an offer.

So I left and the potential buyers wanted to see the place again. Linda called me later in the day to tell me that a contract had been delivered in the exact form I had proposed! She faxed it to me and, again with that feeling of "oh, this is getting very, very real now", I slowly signed it and faxed it back.

Though we accepted much less than we started out asking and paid a commission, we are still very happy considering everything. It gave us peace of mind having it sold and not having to worry about holding an auction. We also felt good because we were able to put a deal together that truly was beneficial to everyone involved.

Often I have to wonder if we are not just two of the luckiest people in the world or if we truly create our opportunities and just have the sense to act upon them. Probably a little of both.

Thursday, March 24 and Good Friday, March 25, 2005
RV Stuff Has To Wait - U of L and UK Are In The Sweet 16

Thursday night Louisville plays very well again and beats a very tough Washington team to get the the Elite Eight. Friday night Kentucky outlasts a national player of the year and his Utah team to get to the final eight as well. It is going to be a great weekend of basketball with Louisville and Kentucky playing to get to the Final Four and possibly meeting each other in the Championship game on April 4.

Go to Weeks 1 - 4 (January 1, 2005 - January 28, 2005)
Go to Weeks 5 - 8 (January 29, 2005 - February 25, 2005)
Go to Weeks 13 - 16 (March 26, 2005 - April 22, 2005)
Go to Weeks 17 - 20 (April 23, 2005 - May 20, 2005)
Go to Weeks 21 - 24 (May 21, 2005 - June 17, 2005)
Go to Weeks 25 -28 (June 18, 2005 - July 15, 2005)
Go to Weeks 29 - 30.5 (July 16, 2005 - August 2, 2005)