Thursday, June 21, 2012

Our First Year as Fulltimers

Wesley Chapel, Florida  (high 89, low 73)

I have been wanting to do this post for a few weeks.

We have a milestone.

On June 2, 2011,  we closed the sale of our house in Georgia and became official “houseless” full-timers.

We’ve talked about our first year of full-timing a lot during the past few weeks.   Even though we haven’t yet left Florida, it’s been a wonderful year .  We have had some amazing adventures and seen some beautiful things. 

I think if you have to be “stuck” in any state, Florida is one of the best.  (except during hurricane season)

This post is mostly for us to remember our first year of full-timing, and to document certain important dates.   I hope it’s not too boring.  It will be full of photos, so I apologize in advance if it loads too slow.  I could make this into two separate posts, but I decided I wanted to keep it together, for me.  Sorry.

So…..after the house closed, we stayed two days on the property to complete the sale of the mower, and golf cart.

We headed south and stopped just over the Florida Border in a little town called White Springs.  We needed a few days to chill out.

Next stop was Ocala, where we visited John Travolta.  Unfortunately he wasn’t home. 

We arrived back in Tampa and started motorhome shopping.  We decided we needed something a little larger than our 32 foot class A.   We found our motorhome at Lazy Days.  It’s a 41 foot  2003 Monaco Windsor diesel pusher.

Boy was it shiny.   This picture made me realize it’s time to get out the “Solution” and shine it back up.  It still has prairie dust on it!

monaco Motor home

I have a lot of counter space as motor homes go.

monaco Motor home kitchen

monaco Motor home bedroom

Between the looking for the motorhome and getting all the problems resolved, we ended up staying at Lazy Days until August 12.  It was a bit of a hassle, but we were “camping” free, and we ended up with a new refrigerator, batteries, tires, power cord, slide awning, awning seals, toilet,  and all the little things repaired.  They fixed all the small things, as well as the big ones.  (like the refrigerator)    We worked hard at finding any and every problem, and got them fixed before we left.    We were extremely happy with how we were treated at Lazy Days and would never buy anywhere else. 

Our first year was not all wonderful.  Towards the end of August, we finally lost the battle and lost our beloved kitty, Squeaky.  I still can’t think or talk about her without crying (guess what I’m doing right now).   I still shed tears for her on a regular basis, but at least it’s  not every single day anymore.   We loved her dearly and she was the best cat ever.  She loved me so much too. 

Since we no longer had to stay close to our veterinarian, we finally left Tampa and got some beach time in Vero Beach, Florida.  It was much needed.


We actually got to see a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral while we were kayaking!  How cool was that?


Of course a big thing that happened last year was getting little Baxter.



We had been so sad  and poor Al felt so bad watching me cry all the time.  He thought a kitten would help.

It did.   We brought him home on September 14.  He was 7 weeks old.  I finally had something to look forward to coming home to.  Although we had other cats, its was just not the same.  Baxter really helped.

October brought us back to the Atlantic coast, to Flagler Beach.

We got to see the Blue Angels at the Jacksonville Air show.


We enjoyed some beautiful sunrises over the ocean.



Lots of exploring all along the coast, including Daytona Beach and St Augustine.

November brought us to Blue Springs State Park for some kayaking and manatee viewing.


Another trip back to Tampa for a few weeks, and then the end of November found us on the Gulf Coast, in Fort Myers.

Lots of exploring and kayaking.


We found some Burrowing Owls.



In the meantime, Baxter is growing up.  He has officially wormed his way into both of our hearts.  


We spent Christmas in Tampa, but left for the Florida Keys on December 27th.

What a beautiful drive.


We had an exceptionally warm winter so we got in a lot of kayaking.

kayaking from bridge at sunshine key

We enjoyed our two weeks in the Keys so much, we made plans to come back for a longer stay.


We went back to Tampa the middle of January.  We stayed there until the end of March.  We got some things done to the motor home, like Eternabond on the roof, tire covers, dash cover, and replacing the carpet with Allure.

We spent some time with Mom and tried to get some of her health issues resolved.  We finally discovered one source of her problems was an extremely low thyroid.

We did have some fun while we were back in the Tampa area.  We had a wonderful day in Crystal River at the Three Sisters Spring.  There were a LOT of manatee.


A day kayaking at Weeki Wachee springs.

This was the first (and only) time we had seen deer swimming.



All the while, Baxter is growing like a weed.   His love of sitting in bowls causes us to buy him larger and larger bowls.






I had a Laser Iridectomy surgery done on my right eye on February 23.  Wow, that wasn’t fun. 

We headed back to the Keys on March 21st.   We spent a night in the Everglades then headed to Sunshine Key Rv Resort.  We were there almost 5 weeks.   We had a wonderful time and decided it is where we would like to winter.  

We visited with Margie and Roger who were also staying at Sunshine Key.


Once the winds died down, we had some amazing days out on the Atlantic ocean kayaking and snorkeling.

kayaking around sunshine key

kayaking around sunshine key, snorkeling

We explored Key West and went for the evening sunset celebration.  That was a lot of fun.

Mallory square, Key West

We spent May back in Tampa.  Campground rates are so much cheaper by the month, so we decided to hang around for a while, visit with Mom and get some chores done.

We ended up spending our 39th anniversary, my birthday, and the anniversary of us becoming official full timers…..on the Kissimmee prairie.      There was no place we would rather have been for those two wonderful weeks.


rain on prairie

I have a hard time believing that it’s been a year since we sold the house.  It has passed so quickly.  We feel very lucky to be “living our dream.”  Of course we very much want to head north, or west.  

We are currently in the planning process for our next adventure.  We are hoping to actually leave Florida!

This month, is doctor appointments for me, so we’re back in Tampa until July 22.  Of course if any of these tropical systems send a hurricane our way, we may be leaving sooner!


  1. This is a terrific summary Karen and beautiful pictures. Baxter and the beach, what more could anyone want. Congratulations on your anniversary!!

  2. You did an excellent job of summing up your first year. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Great post. I relate to the passing of a beloved furkid. Also, my ears perked up around Daytona...that's where my only brother lives. I love Florida!

  4. Wow just seems like yesterday how time flys by.

  5. Congratulations! It's fun following along and watching all of your beautiful adventures! No matter where you go...

  6. Congratulations on your milestone! Here's to many more for as long as you want to live the lifestyle.

  7. Hurray! So sorry about Squeaky still - we know how hard that is - and YAY for Baxter. He cracks me up every time I look at his pictures.

    What is that bird on your header? A caracara?

  8. I have had so much fun following along with you this past year, and cried with you for Squeaky and laughed at Baxter's antics. So nice to have the wrap-up, Karen. Congratulations on your anniversary!

  9. Karen & Al,
    Great post. Even though I have been following for a while, there were events in your travels that I had missed. Congrats on your first year.

    Jim & Judy

  10. What a beautiful year! Baxter sure likes to sit in pots and bowls doesn't he.

    I really do hope that this time next year we will be almost ready to start our new life. Keep your fingers crossed for us! Maybe in 2013 you will head West and we will Head East and cross paths somewhere. Wouldn't that be a hoot!

  11. Congrats on a full year behind you... now get out there and start on the next one...

  12. Congratulations on your first anniversary as fulltimers. It's great to look back and review all that has happened. We wish you many happy trails ahead and safe travels.

  13. congrats on your one year anniversary!..what a lovely recap filled with many special memories..Cheers to year 2..and many more safely travelled miles and beautiful views out the windshield!!

  14. Congratulations! WOW has Baxter ever grown.
    You two had a wonderful first year. Hope the second, third and more are as fun filled as the first!

  15. The first year is such a milestone.Congratulations!

  16. Congratulations and what a great recap of your first year. It sure brought back a lot of great memories of reading your daily posts. A few sad ones too with the loss of your beloved Squeaky.

    You've sure packed a lot of great adventures into your first year of fulltiming.

  17. A year? Where did that go?
    Congratulations on your first year. May you have many more.

  18. Great cap to your frist year! We've enjoyed the post and pic's. looking forward to more as you venture out. "KEEP ENJOYING LIFE "!!

  19. Congratulations on that first full year of full time rving. The time sure does fly by, and the adventures awesome. We are beginning our 7th year on the road, where does the time go?

  20. Great Blog....enjoyed it immensely. That Baxter, what a dickens! I love cats and their comical way of pulling at your heart.

    Congrats on your 1-year anniversary. You make Florida sound pretty attractive as a destination in our future.

  21. Nice recap on your 1 year full-timing anniversary!

  22. I like to read recaps, and you did a great job! Hopefully year two will include some places outside of Florida for the two of you. :)


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