Monday we celebrated our first full year living in our 5th wheel. Last year while still working on selling our house we moved the Montana over to the KOA here in Crawfordsville and made it our new home.
That first month was probably the most challenging. The water on our site was not turned on yet and I had to stretch 100' of hose to refill our tank every few days. The weather that first month was pretty cold as well and we got our first taste of what living in a 5th wheel in winter is like :-).
Our week ends were spent at our old house cleaning out and having garage sales. That was a lot of work and I was sure happy when it was all done.
Rudee had to commute to Indianapolis to work those first few weeks and she was relieved when her company rolled out the work from home program. Her commute now consists of walking from the bedroom into the living room :-).
The sale of our house closed in May and we have not looked back. We were able to use the proceeds to reduce our debts and get further along in our plans for our future.
Both of us have always enjoyed week end camp outs with our friends and didn't let the fact that we were living in a campground stop us from going camping. We pulled out of the KOA and traveled to area campgrounds for week end stays several times throughout the year.
We have found that living in our 5th wheel vs. our 3 bedroom house is not as big a change as we thought it would be. I guess when you get right down to it, how much space of your house, regardless of how big it is, do you really live in?
We were both a little apprehensive as winter approached. I had been doing a lot of research on how to make our rig "freeze proof" and hoped I was prepared.
We started the winter off a little rough with a pesky furnace problem we couldn't seem to resolve. When we finally found and replaced the faulty part (under $10.00 grrrrrrrr) we were good to go.
The weather this winter was a nice challenge for us. We had some lows a few nights below zero and a long stretch with high temperatures in the teens. Through it all we were warm and comfortable. We kept the thermometer set at around 72* during the day and 68* at night. We augmented the furnace with electric heaters to help maintain the temperature and our 100 lb propane tank lasted 10 days during the coldest spells. We did keep a small stream of water running at night when the temperatures were in the single digits. I don't think we would have frozen up by not doing this but why take the chance.
I have tracked our utility bills and we have spent just over $1000.00 for electric for the year (avg. $85.00 per month) and we have used approximately $620 worth of propane ( avg. $51.75 per month). Sounds like a lot but compared to what we were paying at our house we are saving an average of $120 per month. Cool.
So where do we go from here? Well we are going to "stay the course". We are still looking at another 4+ years for Rudee to retire and have the option of continuing her companies group medical plan. The KOA will still be our home for the foreseeable future. Rudee's company requires her to be tethered to a phone line with high speed internet and unless this changes we are pretty much stuck in one spot. We are hopeful that their technology will change to adapt to a more "mobile" lifestyle and that would open up some more options for us.
My job is looking a little more secure but I don't think I would pass up a good opportunity should one present itself, especially if it helps us achieve our goal to travel.
We will continue to work on our finances with our goal being debt free. We are closer than we have ever been to that goal and I'm more committed than ever to making that happen.
We are looking forward to our second year. The future is looking pretty good for us and we are looking forward to the day we can roll up the cords, undo the hose, raise the jacks and head on down the road. I'll keep you posted.