So many set backs September and October with my father in law. We finally got him into a home at the Arkansas State Veterans Home. We had been working on getting out of our house and into the camper. Then with Rays placement we had to get his house emptied and sold. Ours had been on the market for almost a month and our realtor was contacted for his house. Long story it sold before it was even listed. Then November came and we closed on the sale of our house. We had to get out. You move to being gone while still in a house. So In August we moved to Indian Springs RV and mobile home park. It was great, still close to getting our house ready to sell, yet we were finally full timing. All of the fine tuning was taking place. Now just waiting for the right time. With all the kids and grand kids not wanting us to move before the holidays, we decided to stay till Christmas. The first benefit of living on the road you can come and go as you are ready. So its finally going to happened Dec 28 we will hit the road. Load up the camper and trailer and head to Texas. Working 4Bike-Police.com we needed a place that had lots of Police departments and hopefully some with bike teams so we could help them refit their bike fleets. We of course looked though all of the options and Facebook inquiries and decided On Marquee on the Bay RV Resort on the water near Galveston Bay in the Dickinson Bayou.
We are really ready to start moving so we made our first outside our comfort zone. A two week trip with two destinations. Fort Chaffee RV Park in Fort Smith and The Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro. This was really a good test. While we were out we got to use all of the ideas we have gotten so far for camping plus a little insite on working 4Bike-Police while traveling. We had a great time and while at Fort Chaffee I got a haircut and sat in the chair that Elvis sat in when he joined the Army. It was really nice we fished, golfed and hit the local water park. Historic downtown Ft Smith is really interesting to visit. While there we made a trip to Greenwood to set up a booth at their 4th of July Festival for the AFF. Guest of VanderWat Prosthetics.
On the 5th we picked up and hit the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Had a great time there but no Diamonds. Braxton had a better time playing at the splash pad. We also got a visit from Kyle my son and family. They dug with us and we had a great mexican dinner.
As with everything it takes practice to get good at something. I was reading a post about people going full timing and one of the most popular suggestion was start close to home. There you are familiar with everything and it helps make the transition a whole lot easier. That was very true for us. Our first orientation trip was for a week at Willow Beach State Park in Little Rock. We learned the workings of the camper. Boy was it a life changer. We were so excited and wanted to just keep on traveling. The dogs loved it and very quickly made a new home. Willow and Lance just took it over. Seems it was enjoyed by the whole family and we found our right home. As my grandson Braxton said: 'Mamaw saw it so Papaw bought it'. So very true.
The second trip was only a three day weekend and we traveled to Gulpha Gorge Park in Hot Springs. Very reasonable National Park 28.00 per night full hook ups. There is also some discount passes available you can buy there but we were too young to qualify. We are learning what we need in a camper to travel, lets start off with a blower, weedeater and ant killer. Although for some reason here was a tick infestation. They were dropping off the trees around the camp. Someone said that it was very strange for so many. But these are things you would need to clean off your area and treat for insects to get your site ready for you.
So lets talk television now. In the gorge you are deep in the woulds and surrounding rock. TV was very limited to non existent. Traveling with a grandson needs a little entertainment. We went to a close Red Box and rented movies for the weekend. As we looked around the camp we saw numerous portable TV dish receivers. One of the most popular was the Playmaker definitely something to invest in while full timing. Tammy has "her shows" she just needed to watch any where we traveled. We went with Dish on the Go and bought a Playmaker II with the Wally set up. The best thing with it was if you dont use it there is a Pay As You Go plan that you can turn on or off depending on your area and desires. Cant wait to try it out when it arrives. We also bought it at Amazon. We have been signed up through Amazon Smiles a program Amazon to give back to charities. We have selected the Arkansas Freedom Fund. Now all of purchases Amazon gives a portion to the Charity. A great way to help Arkansas Veterans. But for our trip we hiked the trails with the dogs and Braxton. Really getting into the woods was awesome.
Our third outing was to Maumelle Park on the Arkansas River. A COE park 22.00 nightly and we did 5 nights. Starting to really get the hang of things. Learning the ins and outs and signing up for all the full timing Facebook Groups, reading blogs and looking at all the suggestions. Our first since my stroke on May 1st and my semi-retirement. This trip is where I started getting the full idea of working while traveling. For both my job at UAMS and my internet work at 4Bike-Police.com and the Arkansas Freedom Fund. I knew I needed connectivity. We went with the Verizon Jet Pack for unlimited data and the large coverage area. That went great the jet Pack worked as advertised. I was able to sit out side in a lawn chair and do all my work while watching the river and the ducks and geese. Tammy got to build another fire and roast marshmallows and the dogs enjoyed running the area.
The whole time we are living, we are looking at others and watching so we get more ideas on what things we will need when we hit the road. This was the first use of the Dish on the Go and Wally. It worked as advertised and Tammy was happy she had to watch the Walking Dead. We saw a neighbor with a portable fence. We thought a great idea for the dogs, so we ordered from Amazon for around 100. two sections and were fenced.
Many people that have followed us on Facebook and at 4Bike-Police know that we started in 2002 with the Masked Merchant. It was a camping gear and outdoor store. Well I started selling Police bikes and accessories and that just blossomed to what it is today. I have been working for the day to retire and just work 4Bike-Police. So I turned in my resignation and decided to do it. My boss at UAMS though asked if I could stay on and I was able to work from home or where ever I could find a computer so I did. This was the point that I decided to take 4Bike-Police on the road. I figured that by traveling the USA and stopping in at departments around the country, I could help evaluate, build and equip their bike teams. So I bought a small trailer and got started. Gary and Chad came by to help me pick it up. History was in the making.
At 4Bike-Police we have a vinyl cutter for the decals we make so I was off getting decals cut and contacting our vendors to get theirs on the mobile billboard. It looked real sweet as I was off to the International Police Mountain Bike conference in St Louis. We are and have been an IPMBA Product Purchase Partner since our beginning. Learning is a life long process. While at the conference I learned that 4Bike-Police in big letters on the side of a trailer is an invitation for disaster. Even though I hold no weapons or actual gear in the trailer criminals dont see that. They want in. So when we got home after the conference I removed the lettering. Made a generic trailer that better displays bike repair for First Responders.
IPMBA was a great show though. I had new products and displayed everything. New helmets from Serfas, bike storage options from Steadyrack and the news that we were going mobile very soon.
So here I was February of 2018 and I had the need really bad to purchase a RV. We had been looking for about a year. Many models styles and not wanting to rush into anything. Tammy just did not want a living room in the kitchen and wanted completely separated living eating kitchen bedroom etc.
So we decided on the Columbus by Palomino 384RD. The tow vehicle was a 2011 Ram 2500 4wd short wheel base.
It completely had the power and ability. BUT, you knew that was coming. A 43' fifth wheel on the short wheel base left if vulnerable to lots of sway during high winds. Also there was a little drag and pull when downshifting going down a hill or coming to a stop light. For a vehicle 8 years old my warranties were over and all of the sudden I had a series of engine lights that were going to cost me. So I did what anybody else would of done. I traded for a new vehicle with warranty. An idea I owe to my son in law. Who wants to start living the dream with vehicle costs? So the vehicle choice was still a Ram. A 3500 dually. That had completely solved the sway and pulls like a dream. The engine and downshifting are smooth and the worry of costly repairs are gone.