Vern and Terri

What in the world possessed us to leave our secure jobs, home, friends, and all the certainties of our lives?

Wow, that’s a tough question to answer because there are many different reasons we decided to ‘pack it up and hit the road.’ And it wasn’t a decision we took lightly, or a decision that was made overnight.

Actually, believe it or not, we were into tent camping for years and endured the cold nights, unexpected storms, and the worst part – ‘no facilities’ in the middle of the night. Well, as we loaded the jeep one Friday afternoon many years ago for our weekend camping getaway – we looked at each other and burst into laughter. We realized we could no longer fit all the camping gear and added comforts we had purchased over the years inside the jeep any longer – that’d we’d now need to strap all the extra ‘stuff’ to the top of the jeep. What to do now, we asked ourselves.

We’re confessing that camping in comfort was important as we headed out to the wilderness. Although it was just the two of us, we had an 8-person tent, end tables, lamps, queen-sized air mattresses (not one, but two), firewood, food, dishes, chairs, bikes, etc. When we look back and remember that day we realize it was the moment we decided it was time to get an RV. We dreamed about what it would be like to be able to take a shower (indoors!), have a real mattress to sleep on, etc. That was it – it was time to rob our piggy-bank and purchase our first ‘affordable’ RV.

We’ll spare you the details on our first RV purchase for now because it’d take about 100 pages to write about our experiences with it (especially all the labor and money Vern put into it), but it was a learning experience to say the least.

We were stoked when we drove away in it after only paying $1,000. It was a 1971 Pace Arrow, which was 21′ long. It’d never win “RV beauty of the year,” but boy were we excited to finally have something on wheels. Anyway, we decided it was a good buy and, without spending much money, we’d be able to determine whether we really enjoyed RVing versus tent camping.

We were hooked from that point on. Even though we were working then, we’d start planning our next weekend getaway as soon as we possibly could. We’d try really hard to be gone at least three weekends each month. Unfortunately, we were forced to leave one weekend open for yard work and the ‘not so fun jobs’ around the house.

We enjoyed our Pace Arrow for a couple of years and then decided we needed a little more room. Since the dinette also served as our bed – it was tough in the mornings. Vern’s always been an early-morning riser (must relate back to when he lived on a farm!), while Terri enjoys sleeping in a bit.

So, the search was on for our second RV. It seemed much easier the second time around since we knew a little more about what was important to us in an RV. We searched until we found a good deal on a 1997 Rexhall Aerbus. We fell in love with the floor-plan and all the extra storage compartments. Once we got it home, Terri thought she was in heaven with all the extra storage and kitchen counter space. And ….. it even had a separate bedroom. We no longer had to convert the dining table to the bed. We were living the good life now!

We continued working and RVing as much as possible and dreamed about the possibility of becoming ‘full-time Rvers’ someday. Although we talked about the possibilities, we honestly couldn’t imagine taking the plunge.

Sadly, one day Terri received a phone call from her mother with bad news. She said she had been diagnosed with an aggressive-type of breast cancer and the outlook was not good. Terri’s mother had recently retired from the State of Florida (after working 40+ years) as a Social Worker and had just bought her dream home. She hadn’t been retired more than six months when she was diagnosed with this rare cancer. Terri immediately quit her job and headed to Florida in order to help her mom during this time. Although Terri’s mom was a fighter and had so much hope, she passed away less than two years later.

We hesitated whether or not to write about this, but it is probably one of the main reasons we decided it was time to follow our dream of touring this beautiful country of ours with no other commitments. Without question – it was a scary decision to sell the house, quit our jobs, venture off into all the unknowns, leave our friends and family, etc., but deep in our heart and soul we knew it was the right thing to do and it was the right time in our lives. We decided if we waited until ‘everything was perfect,’ we might miss the window of opportunity. We were young, healthy, and full of adventure and anticipation. We both agreed we didn’t want to wait until it was too late due to potential health issues, etc. It was time to LIVE TODAY! After all, if it didn’t work out as planned, we could always go back to living in a house, working the 8:00 – 5:00 grind, etc. What was there to lose?

Enough about us. That’s where our journey began. We sold the house and all the junk and bought a 2003 Alfa See Ya. We’ve been on the road since and it was the best decision we’ve ever made. We have memories to last a lifetime and we have so many more to look forward in the coming years.

Thanks for reading the story on our humble RV beginnings. If you’d like to share your comments and/or have any questions, contact us when you have time. We’d love to hear from you.

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Comments

  1. We are Pensacola Beach bound every vacation still tent camping. As of last year we have been doing our research and have come to the same we do not want to work till were 70 to pay the house off! We want to get out from under all this and really live the way we enjoy .We are in the process of finding the right realtor for the job . In Nashville Tn which is hot with the housing market now so wish us luck! We are in the process! You too sound so much like us. We go to Fort Pickens every summer after spending time with family in Destin ,we head down national sea shore that is what I see in your pictures you guys are boondocking on the national seashore right? Hope I hear back from you love to talk to you guys!
    charlotte and Thomas

    1. Hi Charlotte, Thank you for your message. We were on Pensacola Beach celebrating Vern’s birthday when you sent this message! Love Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens. Terri is partial to the area because she grew up in Pensacola. Beaches are gorgeous. We used to boondock on the national seashore just past Portifino. They used to allow 6-7 RVs to stay overnight with a 2-night maximum. The Island Authority doesn’t allow that any longer — not sure why, but we sure miss that spot. Destin is so nice, too. Stayed at Topsail State Park before? Another one of our favorite places. We wish you and Thomas luck with the housing market. Thanks again for contacting us! Vern and Terri

  2. Hi:

    I am looking for someone to type a manuscript January through March 2017. Will exchange 1 bedroom with ensuite 30 miles north of Tucson. If couple, they can park their rv in my fenced secured yard with access to electrical and water. Is there any way you can hep me get the word out?

    Ella Matthews, Calgary
    403-398-1217

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