Phannie

Phannie
Photo taken at Winchester Bay, Oregon

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Stopover in Texas and a Fulltiming ModeTransition

At the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, Willis, Texas...

We had been dreading our departure from the cool Colorado environs where we spent the summer. We were fully aware of the late August heat we would encounter as we slowly watched the altitude unwind on the GPS as we left the picturesque mountains behind. 

Our first night's stopover was in Roswell and, noticing the 99-degree reading on Phannie's OAT gauge, we braced ourselves for the furnace-like blast when we opened the door on arrival and stepped outside. And yes, it was just as we feared. We almost stumbled as we tried to catch our breath. 

This was not the end of the unpleasantness, however. We were immediately besieged by a swarm of houseflies so numerous that four of them flew into the coach before I could even close the door. I'm not sure what was going on with the flies in Roswell--maybe there was a housefly convention or something! But it was bad. Really bad. After we left, it took us a day or two to find and swat all of the little varmints. We lamented to each other how pleasant it was in Hawaii and Colorado, where flies were almost nonexistent. 

The next day, I decided to drive all the way to Killeen, Texas, where we were to attend a 50th anniversary celebration of longtime friends, Rev. and Mrs. John Abbey. We had a great time with this wonderful couple and their family, agreeing that our time with them was much more important than our constant whining about life's little discomforts:


Arriving in Killeen from Durango, Colorado was the culmination of two 500-mile legs in Phannie with only one overnight stop. This represents about twice the normal distance that we usually travel in a day, and I think it represents a change in our philosophy about what our travel days will look like going forward. But I also think this is part of a new paradigm of sorts from fulltiming 'vacation' mode to fulltiming 'destination' mode. 

This change in travel modes among fulltimers is a very common phenomenon, we have learned; in fact, it is almost a rite of passage. Put simply, it is a shifting of new fulltimers' priorities away from the usual frenetic pace of travels at the beginning of their new taste of freedom. Being unfettered then by obligations at work, they typically think they have to get out there and see everything at once. 

However, as they begin to check off more and more of the myriad places that have been on their bucket list, they realize that a more measured pace perhaps yields more satisfying results, so they slow things down and begin to spend more quality time at fewer stopovers. Maintaining a furious pace of driving, then setting up and tearing down at campgrounds can be exhausting and, after doing this for a while, you begin to realize this isn't exactly fun any longer. This is why vacation mode is usually not sustainable over a long period of time.

Having said that, I have determined that a 500-mile driving day is too much, even though Phannie doesn't really tire me out. The comfy captain's chairs and air ride suspension make for a very pleasant driving experience. However, we know better than to push ourselves beyond what is a safe limit, but we are likely to make longer legs than we used to--especially if our stopover is at a place we have already been or that holds little interest for us. So, it seems we are definitely getting into a 'destination' mode; we want to get where we're going and stay there a while. 

We had to hurry to Conroe and participate in another round of doctor checkups to get prescription refills before we depart for Tennessee in a couple of weeks. Arriving at Thousand Trails on Lake Conroe, we noticed there were no shortage of spaces:


That's because most of the sane people weren't here in the blast furnace like we are!  We must do a better job of scheduling our appointments next year. 

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; 
please forgive me if I don't appreciate it as I should each day.

You don't stop playing when you get old; you get old when you stop playing.

24 comments:

  1. I can do 350 to 400 comfortably on an interstate. Off interstate it is more like 275 to 325 comfortably. Since many times I have completely viewed an area I am passing, it just naturally happens I roll on. But getting in big miles in a day is still not a goal at all. My actual goal is not miles normally but no more than 6 hours on a long day including rest stops.

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    1. I think you've got it just about right, Barney. You know your limitations--one of the few nice things about getting older and wiser!

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  2. We travel somewhat like Barney never settling in one spot for any length of time works for us. Always enjoying new scenery.

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    1. We like a change of scenery, too, George, but just not as often as when we started.

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  3. Yup, I recognize that shift of mode:) Now that we are anytime travelers, we are back to see it all mode:)))

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    1. Amazing. I hadn't thought that it may go back the other way! I've got to ponder this.

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  4. Wow that is some long time traveling. It is nice to keep on enjoying new scenery however. Thanks for the share, hope you have a fantastic rest of your day. Keep up the posts.

    Greg Prosmushkin

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    1. Thank you, Greg, for your encouragement. I'm so glad you chose to travel with us!

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  5. I agree with you 100% regarding the difference between vacation mode and retirement mode. We finally decided that dragging a lot of weight around the country was counterproductive, and bought a park model in NW wyoming. 4 years later I've concluded it was a good decision. We were living in Houston, Tx until last May, and drove up here for 5 month stays. 1750 miles. Now we do it in a 1/2 ton pickup with 1 to 3 nights in a hotel. Yes, I'm tired of hotels, after my years of business travel, but it is so nice to escape Houston summers, and not have to drive a big motorhome around. We sold the house in Houston, and are in the process of building a new one in Round Rock, TX.

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    1. Hi, Bill! Well, it seems you have graduated through the phases I was describing and reached a situation that works for you guys. Obviously, we're not there yet, and I hope we do the same. Funny how we've been thinking that a park model may be in our future. Great minds...

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    2. We're 59 and 60 YO. Been RV'ing since our 20's. Married 35 years. I guess it's an evolution. As side note, as you are an accomplished pilot and I'm a Mechanical Engineer, I suspect we have a similar skill set.

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    3. Probably so. But you've got a lot more time in an RV than we do. Honored that you visit my humble blog, my friend.

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    4. I enjoy reading it. Life is all about experiences, and they don't have to be your own. If you ever get to NW WY in the summer, please contact us and we'll show you around. Keep up the blog, I enjoy your writing.

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    5. And, BTW, we started out in tent campers, and graduated up over 7 units. It took a while.

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    6. Thanks for the invite; we would love to visit sometime.

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  6. Any time, just let us know. This year, since we're between homes, we'll stay up here as long as possible. Might actually get to experience some snow! Yuck. And I grew up in Minnesota.
    Wish you all the best. Park models represent the best of both worlds. Seasonal, yet no cold floors.

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  7. I find it interesting that there are probably as many variations on "travel mode" as there are different types of RVs. Seems to me that RV travel is so fluid that it can easily be made to fit any vacation or full-timing mode that exists.

    Alan and I don't RV full time, but we do go on extended trips of up to 5 or 6 weeks. On our cross country National Parks trips with the kids, there were many days that we averaged between 500 and 700 miles, especially during the first couple and last couple of days of the trips when we were trying to cover a lot of ground through the middle of the country. We would usually travel for a solid two days, then stop for a day of R&R. But, Alan loves to drive and he and I have always enjoyed road trips over any other form of vacation. Plus, both of our kids are excellent travelers. This mode of travel wouldn't work for everyone, but it works for us.

    That being said, I can see us slowing down a great deal during our future travels since the kids won't be taking those long trips with us any more. (Breaks this Mom's heart, yes it does.) With just the two of us, I can see traveling more in the shoulder seasons and staying in one place a little longer to really relax and enjoy the area we're in - the advantages of no longer needing to work around the kids' school and sports schedules. To tell you the truth, it almost doesn't really matter where we go or how many miles we log getting there - I'm simply grateful that we're able to spend time on the road exploring this gorgeous country of ours!

    Hope you and Sandy enjoy your Tennessee travels!

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    1. You're right, Mary, about the fluidity of travel modes as they apply to different constituencies. However, I think the paradigm shift I described is quite common among fulltimers, if my observations (and personal experience) mean anything.

      I admire the youthful stamina you and Alan enjoy to enable your making the long legs. (There was a time...sigh.) It was T. S. Eliot who said, "The journey, not the arrival, is what matters." So true, and how appropriate to your comment!

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  8. One thing I didn't mention to you came to me today as I was watching the radio controlled planes flying today as I was sitting on the deck this afternoon. There is a very active RC airplane group here in the park. And to my untrained eye, they appear to be relatively sophisticated. And they have their own building and "runway", FYI.

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    1. I've seen some pretty amazing RC airplanes, too. For some reason, though, I can't get too excited about these--I guess since flying the real thing has to be more satisfying.

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  9. Since our season started April 30, we have travelled 3737 miles in 136 days with 30 stops in Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. So,
    average miles/trip = 3737/30 = 125
    average days/stop = 136/30 = 4.5
    The longest trip was 291 miles and the shortest was 32.
    We have been fulltiming since March 2013.

    I'm not sure where this puts us in your 'vacation' vs. 'destination' classification.
    Our next 2 or 3 days will be in a destination mode from Sandpoint ID to Salt Lake City = 709 miles.

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    1. Hi, Craig! I'm not sure either, but I will give you guys credit for wringing every drop from your stopovers. I admire your inquisitiveness and energy in seeking out interesting adventures wherever you go. I always look forward to each blog post.

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  10. Very informative and useful historical post. I see you have a lot of other cool stuff available at your website, simply bookmarking it to check in spare time. Thanks and keep the good work up.

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