Exit Strategies

 Posted by at 2:02 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 182014

Note: This is an update on a blog about hanging up the keys that first ran in the blog in November, 2010.

The time comes for all fulltimers when illness, advancing age, changing interests, family needs, or some other reason causes us to make the decision to hang up the keys.

Some fulltime RVers enter the lifestyle knowing that they will only be traveling for a certain amount of time before they settle down, while others hope to travel forever, and only leave the road when forced to do so.

Over the years quite a few fulltimers or wannabes have asked me what our exit strategy is for when the day comes when we have to get off the road. Hopefully, Terry and I are a long way from reaching that point, but like most of our RVing friends, we know the time will eventually come. We don’t have a firm exit plan and hope to continue to travel as long as our health allows, but we have talked about what we will do at that time in our lives, and where we might want to live.

Before we hit the road, we lived in the little mountain town of Show Low, Arizona, and my daughter and her family still live near there. But neither of us likes Arizona enough to want to live in the state again.

We love being around water, we want a moderate climate, and we don’t want to be in a big city. However, we want to be close enough to the services we will need as we get older.

At one time we thought that the Rockport/Aransas Pass area of Texas might be it for us. We like the laid back small town atmosphere, it’s on the Gulf of Mexico with lots of opportunities for fishing and kayaking, and the cost of living is affordable. Because it’s only about 30 miles from Corpus Christi, there is easy access to any kind of shopping or medical services one could want or need.

But that was before we discovered Florida’s Space Coast. If we had to make a decision today, I think it would be Titusville, where Cape Canaveral is located. We like it for its small town Old Florida feel and abundant water sports opportunities, and it is close to major shopping and medical facilities, if needed. The cost of living is low and at this time it is a real estate buyer’s market.

Having had big houses, small houses, mobile homes, and just about every kind of dwelling available, we have both agreed that we don’t want to deal with all of the maintenance that goes along with another one. We’re comfortable living in the small space a motorhome offers and would be very happy to find a lot someplace and live out our days in our home on wheels or in a park model.

We know some fulltimers who have already purchased a lot someplace, in preparation for “the day,” whenever it comes. We almost bought a lot (actually three adjoining lots) in Aransas Pass a few years ago, but we felt like that would be the first string that started to tie us down, and we were not ready for that. We still aren’t. We worked hard to cut those strings so we could live the fulltime lifestyle. We worry that if we had a lot, we’d feel like we had to go back there every year, because why have it if we’re not going to use it?

Of course, if all goes well, I’ll follow my original exit plan, which is to bounce my last check, burn my last drop of diesel, and have a fatal heart attack, all on the same afternoon.

So what about you? Have you thought about what you’ll do when the time comes to hang up the keys? What are your plans?

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  28 Responses to “Exit Strategies”

  1. We’ll probably be parked right next to ya’ll, and I’ll spend my days trying to keep your pacemaker working.

  2. We have talked about this and I think we’ll go back to our hometown of Anderson, Indiana in the summer to be near family, but get a park model or something in the Sarasota, Florida area for the winter and do the snowbird routine.

  3. I don’t even want to think about hanging up the keys at this point since we’ve only just started fulltiming. Hopefully I’ll get to ride in the ambulance with you when we both burn that last drop of fuel and check out. But lets not be in a big hurry ok?

  4. Good post Nick. We haven’t “hung up the keys” for good but we’re getting a preview of what it will be like. Family needs have caused us to settle down temporarily. Although we intend to get back on the road someday it will probably be many years (8-12?) and our travels then will be much different since we hope to be fully retired by that time. Our previous fulltime adventure lasted 8+ years and we worked regular jobs from our home on wheels. http://macandchris.net/category/going-part-time/
    Happy travels.

  5. We’ll go back “home” to be near kids and grandkids. When I was in high school, I had a friend whose grandmother lived three months with each of her children. This doesn’t sound too bad to me, but my children and DH don’t agree:-))

  6. For us, that time arrived four years ago. My heart attack in 2004 didn’t stop us; but a fourth back surgery and neuropathy did. I simply was not able to perform the many chores associated with the RV lifestyle. We were lucky enough to sell our diesel pusher, and found a mobile home co-op community between Naples and Fort Myers that boasts the most activities of any in the SW Florida area. We bought a 2BR, 2 bath mobile home with Florida room and lanai and are loving it. My 1950 Willys Overland Jeepster travels with us and the car carrier is stored for $10 a month. My wife is still very active in several sports and we both volunteer for Lee County Parks & Recreation. Many friends are from the RV section and rents from that “community within a community” are used in part to keep the co-op fees low. Five palm trees shade my corner lot so after a bike ride around the complex, I can relax with a book and a beer, or visit with the many neighbors walking by — and it’s warmer than those places north of the big lake!

  7. Nick, Nancy & I are much like you and Terry, been F/T now for 16 yrs, been enjoying your blog and newspaper for quite a while. Anyway, we already own an RV lot in Colorado in the mts near Fairplay, great fly fishing and hiking, our two hobbies, that’s our summer hangout now with our moho, and with the addition of a park model our summer exit plan, We are on the “list” in Benson at the skp co-op and will winter there in the moho and drive between the two in a car or pickup truck. You’re right about not getting a lot before you want to use it. We feel drawn to CO each summer, but thats a good thing, but won’t buy Benson until we are ready to winter there. Since we are 59 its hopefully a long way off. When we can no longer handle the elevation of CO will just hang in Benson year round and party with the folks there. They have the best New Year’s eve party.

  8. We are with you Nick, sorta.

    Our exit plan consists on parking the trailer and living out our lives in it.

    As I am 5 years older, and in worse health than my wife, she tells me that if I go first, and she is not done traveling, she intends to cremate me, put my ashes in the trailer and keep on traveling!!!

    So far she hasn’t started clearing a space for the urn so, for now, I’m safe.

  9. At the present time we have a place in an RV Resort near Sebring, FL and also have a camper set up in Pa. for the summer (which is our home area). The plan is we will probably call the park model in FL our final stay. As we could stay all tear in FL a lot better than PA. The park here in FL has a lot of activities and things to do to keep us busy. If the time comes that one of us is mentally unstable, we have a saying “two into the woods, and one out” takes care of any other expenses, ha ha.

  10. Our philosophy matches yours Nick with one additional comment. That final check is payable to the IRS!

  11. We started RVing much later in life than most. Our plan was to give it 3 years to see if we liked it. Well we had 90,000 miles on our used 5th wheel in 5 years. We loved it and replaced our 5th wheel with a new one and another 3 year plan. We plan to keep on moving but if the driving becomes too much, park it in northern Arizona for the summer and come back to our home in the winter driving the car to and from We have our small home in Casa Grande that is wheel chair accessible. Financially, I need something paid for peace of mind.

  12. I HAD planned on living forever, but since you asked, I suppose I should have at least “something” in mind … so I’m taking notes of everyone ELSES plans. I hope I get to see them all before making my final decision. I’m thinking the other side of Greg might be a smart move!!!

  13. Definitely it will be in an RV park and probably get a park model as no sense sitting on an engine. We bought the lot at the SKP park in Yuma but we love Cottonwood so much we may get an annual site at TT.

  14. Unfortunately, after 5 years that decision was taken out of our hands. I had a cerebellar stroke followed by brain surgery two years ago. Thankfully we were parked in central NY and close enough to the Syracuse hospitals where a wonderful neurosurgeon saved my life. While we won’t be full-timimg anymore, we hope to continue to travel. We are so thankful after attending Life On Wheels that we didn’t put off selling the house and traveling this country for 5 years. We have such wonderful memories and 5 beautiful scrapbooks to show friends and relatives !!
    We, too, have chosen the Space Coast to buy a home. Just south of Titusville…Melbourne area. We absolutely love it here.

  15. Nick, several thoughts. First hello Fred, Gail & I live and work in Cape Coral. We are members of FMCA and escapees. I see so many people think they need a piece of dirt and buy something just to satisfy that need. Dirt costs money to buy and maintain and sell. Fortunately you guys has second thoughts about Texas before you bought, because it is really hard to move that Texas dirt to the east coast of Florida. Hopefully, it will be many years before you and Miss Terry have to hang up the keys. Another note, I can’t see you giving up driving if you can still kayak, so the water sports need might not turn out to be so important. If the end of driving is one or two years away it might be important to think seriously and maybe buy something but where ever is you best place today can easily be replaced by a better place in the not so distant future. And like Jan said they are two years past there three year plan and still going.
    Nick, I’ve been meaning to ask. What are your thoughts on replacing your current rig. What factors are you planning to use to decide when and what to buy to replace that Winnebago. Thanks.

  16. Even though we are not ready to hang up our keys we do have our retirement place already. Four years ago we bought into a Escapee Co-op Park in Hondo TX. We love the small town of Hondo that has just about everything we need. The town of is small but has a excellent hospital, good clinic a Wal-Mart and a movie theater. The folks at the park are our second family and there is always something going on. Cost of living is good for retiree’s on a fixed income. We are happy knowing that if and when the time comes to hang up the key we have someplace to go and it is paid for. Also we are only 39 miles west of San Antonio if something major comes up

  17. When Dave decided he was done with all that traveling he rented an apartment in the Minneapolis area so I’m kind of stuck with that. I started going solo snowbirding last year but my health cut my trip short this year so we’ll have to see what the future brings. It sure hurts my heart to see my rig parked out there in the snow, though.

  18. Well Nick…We are about 10 months out on leaving….and of course so so excited…but we have also thought of that…All our kids are with in 15 mins of each other…We have 2 rentals, one is only 650 square feet….really small…I think smaller than the motorhome…lol…It has a small yard and a garage, bigger than the house i think…lol…but it is also in town and close to the kids….So no matter what happens, if one or both of us live their, it is financially easy to survive with SSI…In the mean time….We are just renting it out…The kids are sending us of with their blessings….and I think a little envious….lol…They are glad we are able to live our dream…Theyll so miss us on some of the holidays, but it will be good for them…Time to rely on themselves….I say, this is better than death for them….We leave but we will come back….haha….Time to cut the strings…..

  19. Wondering what your reasons are for not wanting to live in Arizona again? We are slowing down also and Arizona, for climate reasons is popping up on our list more and more.
    Love to hear your thinking.

  20. Jim McManus, at this point we have no plans to replace our Winnebago Ultimate advantage. It has 77,800 miles on it, which is not much for a diesel, and runs fine, and we love the floor plan. So why change anything? We would like to replace the carpeting in the living room with laminate, and eventually we’ll replace the RV refrigerator with a residential model. Otherwise, we’re very content.

  21. Fred, as I said, we love being around the water and neither of us likes the desert. We much prefer green grass and trees. Our old hometown in the mountains is not desert but we also don’t want to deal with snow again.

  22. So now Chris and I have to do your laminate too.

    I think you’re just jealous.

  23. We haven’t even started our adventure with RVing yet but have already decided when ready we will hang up the keys in Livingston, TX at the Escapee park Rainbow’s End. It’s only 2 hours from the kids and close to Houston for excitement.

  24. It’s the Rio Grande Valley for us! We love the Mission area, which has everything we could ever need or want. We plan to get a lot at one of the nice senior-oriented parks there and buy a park model.

  25. Patti and I will face that day sooner rather than later since she has become stricken with MS and treaveling is becoming problamatic for us. Last year we bought a lot in the Foothills here in Yuma and we plan to stay here until it gets too hot, then we’ll go over to our son’s place near San Diego for the summer months. We loved fulltiming and hope to get at least one more season on the road. We only made it three years before this yanked the rug out from under us. Nick, tell your readers not to wait too long. While we are making plans, life happens.

  26. Jim retired a year ago. I’m going to join him 12-31-2014. We look around us & see people our age & not much older suffering from ill health, having heart surgery & just generally slowing down. We figure we’ve got maybe 10 good years left & there’s no reason I would give work any day I didn’t have to.

    We’re on 2 acres here at the end of the road & it’s pretty high maintenance. Once we’re not able to keep it up (we think probably 15 years or so from now) we’ll sell this place & move into ‘town’ near one of the kids. Small house, small yard, sidewalks to walk on, space for a little garden…sounds perfect for us when we’re oldtimers.

    Great topic & definitely something we all need to think about, not full fulltimers.

  27. That was the first thing Mary and I thought about before we sold our house in June 2013.. But things never go as planned. For the last four years we would go to Fl. For the winter. Tampa and Naples so we bought small condo, price and location to good to turn down the Angels were looking over us. We leave Moho. In miss. In winter, stay in condo. Travel in Moho rest of year. No Debt .. Exit plan Naples Fl. Or Arlington Tx. Near Girls.

  28. Have not even thought about hanging up the keys and we are not FT yet, not even sure that we would be FT but we love to travel. I need some room in order to live but only enough to have a little grass. See I am a puppy dog. I’m 9 years old and my Mom and dad take me every where. I love the RV and meeting new humans. I don’t particularly like other dogs cause all of them are BIG and I am only 6 pounds of carefree snoozer most of the time. I’m sure that Mom and dad will drive into the sunset some day but I don’t think I will be around. So my plan is to enjoy every minute of the day by sleeping on the dashboard in the sun and sittin on my Mom’s lap watching the good old USA slide by, and keeping my eye on that special blade of grass for a little sprinkle Upward and onward.

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