The Answer to Our Question Is . . .

The last post was titled The answer to YOUR question Is. I wish I knew the answer to this post, The answer to OUR question is. Let me explain. When you’re playing a card game, the first thing you do is shuffle the deck so you don’t know what card to expect next. When you are going on a cross country trip for four and a half months, you decide on your destinations, choose which routes to take connect those dots, then research campgrounds in each area. Then you determine what you want to see or do in that location so you will know how many days to reserve for your stay, before going on to the next destination. Once that is complete, you start the process all over again for the next stop. Similarly, when you are making a puzzle, it just makes sense to lay out all the pieces so you can find the straight edges, build the outside first, then start filling in with the pieces that are of the same color or pattern, or have interlocking shapes you recognize, so you can finish putting the whole puzzle together.

To make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs! Francis Duet

Yeah, it’s like that, but our puzzle is the next phase of our lives! As you have no doubt read by now, we have decided to end our travel adventure in the motor home and return to sticks and bricks living. (I reserve the right to continue to travel to those locations I must see: Colorado, Banff, Prince Edward Island) but we don’t need a forty foot motor home to do that. Kathryn misses her full sized kitchen where she can create great menus and also cook and bake more than one thing at a time. Besides, she said she would do the motor home travel for two years and she has. (plus one year parked for COVID) So what are the pieces of the puzzle to be put in place?

Where to live? We know we want to go back to Venice which will return us to our friends, our doctors, our dentist, Usher’s vet, our church, the beach, the little downtown, and the proximity to the things we enjoy in Sarasota. Puzzle piece one in place, Venice. I did extensive research for condos, houses, and apartment properties to rent, to narrow down where in Venice. Venice is a prolific second home market, so many of the rental properties are not available during the winter months as the owners come to enjoy the weather themselves. They just rent in the off season, and if it is available year round, the rate doubles during the seasonal months. Piece two in place, it has to be an annual rental agreement. I am also worried, if the real estate market even hints at a downturn in prices, will the owners of said houses or condos will quickly try to sell to capitalize on their investment and we will have to move again. Piece three in place, the apartment complex we thought we liked. The problem is, we are number 112 on the waiting list and they can’t give us any indication of when the floor plan we like will become available. It could be next week, or next month, or in six months, who knows? Current residents are required to give sixty days notice before leaving, so we will have time to prepare for the move, but when will that be? When the complex finally does call we’d better be ready to say yes to the move in date before the next person on the list does. Until then, we will continue to live in our RV, on the lake, and just start working on a different edge of the puzzle until the call comes.

What happens to the coach? We debated whether we should sell it privately or list it with a dealer. Privately, we will net more money but will also have to find buyers, make appointments, hope they show, if they do, close the slides, disconnect water, sewer, and electric, then go for the test drive, bring it back, open it up, reconnect everything, and repeat the process with the next “buyer.” We are convinced, it does not matter what we determine as our fair asking price, there is going to be the negotiation game to make sure we get as much as we can and the buyer wants to make sure they are going to pay as little as possible. Every little scratch or mark, continues this price negotiating process. (it’s used for God sake and that’s why we are only asking $$$$!) Ugh! Ever wonder why people hate to go car shopping or don’t like car salespersons? We have talked with a dealer and settled on a consignment price we can accept. Any asking or final sale price he accepts above that he will earn! The dealer will get many more lookers than we ever will and he has a trained staff to deal with this process. Piece four in place, consign with the dealer. The market for a used diesel pushers right now is still very strong with higher than usual asking prices and not many choices on the lot. But, from now until the first of the year is not prime selling time. The dealer tells us the middle of January is when the market gets hot and hopes we can bring the coach to him by then. Since I don’t think he wants us living in his parking lot, the when we bring it again hinges on that phone call from the apartment complex. But, at least now we have an expected sale price for our budget.

What happens to the toad? A funny thing happened on the way to Sam’s Club. Since we will no longer be towing a car, we decided it would be a god time to replace our car. Of course now we could buy any type of vehicle we imagine and our budget allows. It’s been a long time since we purchased a car. We got the FIT from our friend because we knew it was loved and cared for, small, light weight, and perfect to flat tow. I’ve always had good luck with buying a used car as long as it was a quality brand. Of course I do the research on reliability, what models have had problems, etc. Have you seen the prices of used cars lately? IF you can find any on a dealer’s lot! We had our choice from three at the first place we stopped. The good news on the shortages following COVID is we will get more money for our coach, but the bad news is we will pay more for our replacement car. Everything in life is a trade off! So, on our way to Sam’s we decided to stop at two dealerships and just find out what is out there. Needless to say, we never made it to Sam’s and are now driving our “new to us car.” We never make quick decisions, especially of this dollar amount, but it’s a quality Honda CR-V, with low mileage, and after fudging the numbers, (sure we will give you more for your trade in) the deal came in at the monthly budget we wanted. Piece five of the puzzle in place.

What happens to your RV stuff? There is a yard sale, or is it site sale, or downsizing sale in our future. We won’t be using the Blue Ox tow bar again, the expensive fancy EZ Shade tire covers, the portable propane fire pit, and much more. When we downsized from our home, we learned it does not matter what you paid for it, you won’t be making much money when it is time to sell. We had a beautiful mission style oak dining room table, with six chairs, and matching hutch we couldn’t sell for $400.00! Any used RV equipment we do sell will help a little.

Living in a motor home, do you have any furniture? As I said above, expensive furniture brings nothing when it is time to sell. We plan on furnishing our new apartment with quality used stuff from the likes of consignment shops, the Salvation Army, and Goodwill. We already have a blowup mattress and a couple of folding chairs. What more do we need? When we moved from New Hampshire to Florida, we had the mover hold back our furniture for three months so the interior of the whole house could be painted. This time we have no timeline to furnish the apartment and it will be fun looking for just the right table, or chair, or whatever!

What happens to the monthly budget? When I worked for a living, I had to keep accurate records on budgets for multiple of Clients. If one called and said, “we need to get $300,000 out of the fourth quarter, call me back in ten minutes,” I could do that. (if I couldn’t I was very familiar with the “compliment” if you can’t, I will find someone who can) Even now that I am retired, I can tell you by line what our expenses were while in our home, or during the past three years in the motor home. But, with this many pieces of the puzzle still undetermined, Kathryn and I are working from best guess budget estimates. Educated estimates yes, but still estimates. Yikes! In other words, the budget puzzle won’t be finished until we get all the other pieces in place first.

When I started RVTourUSA it was to document the process of going from a home to an RV in case someone said, “we think we would like to do that,” and to document the trip itself. Hopefully, I provided some entertainment along the way to you our followers as well. Thank you for making this journey with us. Now as we move from the RV back to sticks and bricks, I’ll do my best to make the next transition interesting and hope you will stay tuned!

Kathryn and I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas. Since we can all now travel and gather again, we hope you have special holidays with family and friends. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions but I am huge on making a plan and a timeline on how that plan will happen. Please take some time to write down what you have always wanted to do, or where you have always wanted to visit, and set the plan in motion to make that happen. If we’ve learned anything from COVID or Mayfield Kentucky, there are no guarantees that there will be a someday. Make today that day!

You Should Wake Up Ten Years From Now And Be Amazed At What You’re Doing. Suit Choudhry


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