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…And So It Begins

It’s hard to find the best date to start this travel blog. Do you pick the date when the idea just starts to develop over dinners on the porch watching YouTube Airstream videos? Do you start once you have ordered the RV and talked to a realtor? Too many options to choose from, so I have decided to choose the date we first moved into our Airstream, unintentionally, and just summarize the events of the past few months.

Duff and I have been working hard over the past several years to be able to retire at a reasonable age and travel as much as possible. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we started to think more and more about buying an RV and using it to travel the country.

Originally, it started as a way to follow our beloved Los Angeles Dodgers around, but then we started to realize that plenty of people live full-time in their RV while they travel. As veterans, we’re more than capable of living in close quarters and not staying in one place for long, so we knew we could do it.

As we started to research living full-time in an RV by reading blogs and watching YouTube videos, we started to become interested in Airstream travel trailers and how we could make this happen.

It wasn’t the plan to move in on September 8th. We met with the realtor and agreed to set the listing date for the house for September 9th. We knew we could stay in the RV while the house was being shown over the weekend, but we fully expected to be back at the house on Monday, leaving the RV safe and secure on base.

But, when we arrived at the Air Force Base (AFB) we were pleasantly surprised with how great it was. There were twenty-five spots (give or take) so it wasn’t very crowded. The short-term spots were well away from each other and our outdoor area faced the woods and not the road, so we could sit and look out at the forest and relax.

After a couple of days of that view, we decided it would be less stressful to just stay in the campground and drive the hour home if needed. And so began our full-time living two months earlier than planned.

When we decided to become full-time RV’ers upon my pending retirement in November 2022, several things needed to happen and they needed to happen in a pretty specific order, or life was going to get (more) crazy. The first step we took was meeting with the Airstream dealer in November of 2021 to get a deposit placed on our new Airstream.

We had to upgrade from the Bambi 16RB to at least a 25-foot model, to live comfortably. The wait for a new Airstream was going to be 12-18 months due to all the supply chain issues and increased demand thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Perfect! That gave us plenty of time to get the house ready to sell, or so we thought.

With all the supply chain issues, used cars and trucks were hard to find, and the ones you could find were way overpriced. Plus, we needed a truck with certain specs to use as a tow vehicle. That meant we had to order a new truck through a dealership. That was going to take four to six months. Perfect! That gave us plenty of time to get the new travel trailer.

Then, we met with a realtor to find out how the market was and what we’d be looking at in terms of time on the market, etc. At the time we met, the market was on fire. We were informed our house could be bought sight unseen for a crazy amount of money over asking with people clamoring to be the next owner.

Perfect! All of this will line up great. Without getting into the minute details, things got crazy in the summer of 2022. We were informed that we had been bumped up to an earlier date for our Airstream due to someone canceling, the truck was shipped to us on time despite all the horror stories about delays, and the housing market started to slow down significantly as interest rates rose.

With a new delivery date of August 2022 for the Airstream, we realized we could get the house on the market earlier than my retirement date. But, this meant speeding up the process of selling, donating, or trashing thirty-two years of ‘stuff’ and just keeping enough to fill a 5×10 storage unit with the most meaningful items from our lives.

Tuck and Duff and The Beast

It seemed like July to October went by in a blur. There was so much activity, all while I was still working a full-time job. To add to the craziness, our first buyers pulled out of the deal within a week of closing due to medical issues. We sure didn’t want to leave on our full-time adventures in November with an empty house sitting back in NC waiting to be sold. Thankfully, another family quickly put in an offer and things were off and running again.

As I type this now, it is November 10th. Duff would remind me here to point out it’s the Marine Corps birthday, so Happy Birthday to my Peeps. We left Seymour Johnson AFB at 10 a.m. on our way to our first stop in Blacksburg, SC.

We stopped near the house on our way out to see one of the best friends (and neighbor) two girls could have. Tom met us to see us off in style with a going-away gift and to get a chance to see the new Airstream. Without his guidance on how to back up a trailer in the early days, I’m not sure we’d have gotten to this point. He’s one of those people you just know you won’t ever lose touch with.

We are an hour out from our first stop and Hurricane Nicole is making her presence known with rain, a stiff breeze, and bumper-to-bumper traffic. It couldn’t be the Tuck and Duff adventure without something making it adventurous on day one. Until next time, peace out! (a nod to the CTQS girls. You know who you are!)

Route for this leg of the trip

Miles driven this leg: 267

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