America through the Windshield--Getting to Know the First Americans travel blog


February 28-29, 2012--Tallahassee RV Park Site--Bob and Sherry

Our first peep at the RV Park brought thoughts of concern. Major road work was taking place. The construction workers were covered in the reddest of southern red clay. The entrance was a red clay road that crossed three red clay lanes and straight up a hill. Greg maneuvered the entrance without a hitch. The “slow as you go” policy works every time. We made it to the top of the hill and around to the back of the beautiful brick rancher. We pulled far to the right as the sign stated and pulled up to the office. WOW! The parking pads behind the house appeared to be right out of a Southern Living publication. It was full of tall straight pine trees with dozens of azaleas planted near the driveway entrance. We saw that the parking pads were pull throughs—that means the easiest of parking with plenty of room for our car both in the front and back of the RV.

We pulled in to our site and immediately got the dogs out of the RV—regular routine that cannot be altered or there would be a “puppy rebellion”. Then we looked up the drive and in drove a massive RV (looks like an 18-wheeler cab on steroids) with a long RV body. Gee it was big and it was pulling the longest “car hauler” trailer that we had ever seen. It looked to be about as long as the RV. It was being driven by a young woman, probably in her 40s. She was having no problems as she creeped along the driveway and then stopped and asked if we might know if she was at the correct parking site, immediately to our left. Yes! That was it. Her husband got out and slowly she maneuvered the RV and the trailer until she got them aligned. But, they were so long that they were stretching out into the main entry driveway. But, when they parked, got out, put out their one slide then began to open up the “car hauler” we knew they were parked and that was where they would stay.

The cab and the RV were as tall as the tallest 18-wheeler. If you click on the picture it will expand and you can see the rv. It was obvious to us that they had to stay on the trucker routes—no way could they ever get under any low clearance bridges. The RV was a beautiful steel gray with various shades of gray in the swirling designs that were covering the entire BIG RIG! The “car hauler” was jet black and so shiny that you could see the reflection of our RV. It was so big and beautiful that it was a bit intimidating. We were not pleased with the parking job and we hoped that they would be pulling out before we did in two days. We just knew that we could not get past their rig if the RVs parked across from it were still there. The RVs on the other side of the driveway were parked in their assigned sites. They were not encroaching on the center driveway with their RVs, trailers, trucks or cars—it was these guys. We decided that we would wish for the best and then deal with the problem only if we had to.

They were obviously not old enough to be retired. We scratched our heads and wondered if they were vacationing or working. They looked all-American very much like us. They both had long hair and were dressed in jeans, shorts and tee-shirts, nothing unusual about their looks. And, then we saw what they were unloading from the car-hauler. It was a big SUV and two Harley motorcycles. One was black and the second one was purple. They were big and beautiful. Now, this looked like lots of money to us. As soon as they parked the SUV, adjacent to the RV they got on the Harleys and they were gone. Oh well, they did not have a car hauler; they had a toy-hauler. There’s a big difference—more money for play things.

We did not see them again on our arrival date—we were out for the evening and they were inside their RV when we got back home that first night around 10:30 PM. Greg had a chance to introduce himself, meet them and briefly speak the next morning. They were nice people. They were working at the Florida Home and Garden convention that would be taking place over a 4-day period. They were sales people—and would be spending their days at their booth, effective Friday. They would be here when we needed to pull out on Thursday. Greg mentioned this to them and Bob indicated that they could pull in their slide and back up if needed—no problem! Whew! That was a relief. We were gone most of the day, but we were relieved knowing that we would be able to move without too much inconvenience. But, we continued to wonder why they didn’t just unhook the trailer and park it somewhere else in the park since they were extra long.

It just didn’t make sense to us since we had seen a similar Big Rig at the KOA campground in the Keys. We learned about the Florida Key monster toy hauler from one of the working campers. When we commented on how big and beautiful the RV was, the employee responded, “You should see the toy hauler that they are pulling.” The RV could not park until the towed trailer had first been parked in the overflow parking area. The RV was so big that the owner/driver was barely able to fit into the spot just across the street from us. We had watched the driver skillfully pull in then back in and align it with little effort. It was truly a BIG RIG—so very different from any other we have seen. It appeared to be a two story (stacked bunk windows) for sleeping bunks. The color scheme was most unusual. It was all creamy whites, tans and pale grays with lots of swirls. We had not been bothered by this toy hauler; it had been parked in the campground overflow parking lot where boats and trailers were parked. It was a magnificent set up. The toy hauler was as tall as the RV, it obviously had car lifts in it so the storage capacity was stacked. We saw that the driver had two gorgeous Harleys and a big SUV, big enough for the entire family Mom, Dad, three daughters and one son, ranging in age from eight years to late high school. It was easy to see that every square inch was used by this big family.

At the end of our second day we got to know Bob and Sherry as fellow RVers. They had the most unusual story we had ever heard since we left Baltimore in July. They are full time RVers. They have grown children, no longer living at home. Their parents live on the east and west coasts of Florida. Florida is home to them; however, after their children were grown they decided that they really wanted a different life style. Bob had been a long distance truck driver and Sherry had been employed in a different field. They were really living the all-American Dream. They had a big home with a newly remodeled kitchen on several acres of land. They decided that they should sell and move. However, the value of their beautiful home had dropped by almost 50% due to the economy and the stressed housing market. Sherry began to spend hours on the internet looking for options. What was out there for them? She found a web site where individuals could make straight swaps with all sorts of items: houses, boats, RVs, vehicles, etc. She was obsessed and driven to find an RV. She was constantly checking the site and contacting individuals who were posting RVs. After weeks of searching and attempting to make deals she discovered a couple in Maine. He had the Renegade 7 ½ foot interior custom built for he and his wife, upon their retirement. As the story unfolded we learned that the couple had been on two trips in their retirement purchase. The barely five foot wife hated the RV. She did not like the RV interior. She was so short that she could not reach most of the upper cabinets, even though her thoughtful husband had a matching footstool made for her. Sherry was delighted knowing that this could be the beginning of a new way of life for them. They were still young enough to enjoy the RV and find other employment when they needed more money. The older man stated that if she was serious that he would drive the RV down from Maine that weekend for her and Bob to see. This seemed too good to be true. Could their dream really be unfolding? In just a few days, there he was. The adventurous couple fell in love with this stupendous RV. It was beautiful, custom built, used twice by only one owner, had one slide out (the entire driver’s side slid out) and it had only a few thousand miles on it. Of course they wanted to make this trade. This was it! This was the beginning of the next phase of their lives.

The older gentleman was delighted that it was what they wanted and that they would definitely make the trade. Walking through it the first time was enough for them. As they prepared to show their home and property to the retired man, he said there was no need. He did not need to see the house nor did he want to take the time to see the house or the property. All he wanted was to finalize the deal. His wife had given him the direction, “If there is a house on the property, make the trade. Whatever it looks like I can live with it.” Sherry and Bob were beyond belief after he said this. They repeatedly made the offer for him to walk inside as they continued to tell him about the amenities. “No!” He just wanted to finalize the trade, get the papers signed and get back to Maine.

It turned out that the papers were completed and signed within two days and they were the ecstatic new owners of an RV. They sold and gave away all of their possessions. They were “bikers” and could hardly wait to get on the road. There would be thousands of miles to explore living full time in an RV. Plus, they would need their SUV and it would really be nice to have a boat when they were parked near water. They were Floridians and whoever heard of Floridians without a boat. After all the trading was complete and a few items were placed in storage they realized that a “toy hauler” would be needed for the bikes, their vehicle and the air inflatable boat.

After a few months of living on the road, Bob and Sherry knew it was time to find work. What a perfect match they found. They are sales reps for conventions and shows demonstrating a smokeless electric grill. The distributor has one or two other sales teams. He set them up with what they needed to set up a display booth for convention centers. He works out the schedules—so they go where he tells them they are needed. He forwards the boxed grills and they are delivered directly to the convention centers where the shows are held. They average working three to four days a week and traveling and exploring the remainder of the week. Most of their expenses are tax deductible since they must travel, buy fuel, pay for RV campground fees. They love the lifestyle stating that they will not get rich from the work; however, they hope to see more of the U.S.A. So far this year they have primarily been in Florida with a few out-of-state excursions. They are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to travel to states that are not contiguous to Florida.

So now, we know the story. One of the best yet!! And on Thursday when we pulled out it was a piece of cake. The RVs parked across the driveway left before us. Greg was able to pull the RV with the dinghy (our car) around Bob and Sherry’s RV by taking advantage of the two sites that were empty. This experience is not one we will soon forget.

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