Thoughts on Fulltiming

I wrote down these thoughts on January 4, 2016, as we were in the desert Southwest, not far from our destination of Southern California.....

The last two days, as we drove across the vast expanses of the desert Southwest, I had lots of time to reflect on this incredible life we have chosen. We cruise westward toward the horizon, and I experience a profound feeling of well-being and contentment, and consider myself very fortunate that I am able to live this lifestyle.

The wide open spaces and peacefulness of the desert are truly good for the soul. I consider myself fortunate that my life partner, The Navigator, enjoys this adventure as much as I, and shares the adventure with me.

It is over five years since we sold our house in Horseshoe Valley, Ontario, and started traveling and living in our fifthwheel. We love our home-on-wheels, and we are as happy and content living in 360 square feet as we were before with six times that space. The difference is that we utilize 100% of our available floor space, whereas before it was probably 20%. Obviously, most of the "things" we had accumulated over the years had to go, and once the trauma of parting with them is past, there is an incredible feeling of freedom. Our life is now more about experiences than possessions.

Our rig has covered 50,000 miles (80,000 km) in the last five years. It has withstood the rigors of the road amazingly well, and I am regularly asked if the unit is new. Our choice of full-body paint when we ordered the rig has really paid off. As with a sticks-and-bricks home, regular maintenance keeps everything in working order. I have great admiration for Jayco as a manufacturer. The construction quality and robustness of the systems has proved outstanding.  We have lived continuously in the rig for over five years, in temperatures from -18C to +38C (0F to 100F), and have always been comfortable. Environmental and utility systems have functioned perfectly, after a few modifications were made (see here).

One can read so much these days about lack of quality and the numerous manufacturing defects in new RVs. A browse through the online forums will turn up countless stories of disillusionment and frustration, with customer's units spending more time in dealerships, waiting to be repaired, than actually on the road or camping. Our Pinnacle has never been back to a dealer since the day we took delivery! There were several issues that I took care of myself, which was much more convenient than leaving our home in a dealer's shop. The most serious issue was the failure of the Norcold refrigerator, which I replaced with a Samsung residential unit. You can read about that here. I perform all of my own maintenance on the rig. In addition to saving considerable money, this approach means that I have the ability to perform repairs while on the road, and also that we do not need to find a dealer and take the rig there.

This lifestyle is obviously not for everyone. That is a good thing, because if it were, the RV parks and highways would be filled to overflowing. For us, it provides a unique combination of adventure and fulfilment, and gives us constantly-changing scenery outside our windows.

Our backyard vista is different for each place that we stay. Looking out our living room picture window, we have grown accustomed to seeing new views.

Being fulltimers from Canada has its challenges, but the challenge has rewarded us with the kind of life that we both love. We are permitted, as visitors, to stay a maximum of 182 days in the USA during a 12 month period. We must spend a minimum of 5 months per year in our home province of Ontario, to maintain our government-provided health insurance. When outside of the province of Ontario, we purchase our own health insurance coverage to cover medical emergencies.

In our travels, we meet a surprising number of fulltimers, most of whom are American, but we meet a few Canadians too. We have got to know several of these people well. It is great to "compare notes" on the lifestyle.

In two days, we will arrive at our winter home, Rancho California RV Resort, known as "The Ranch". For me, the end of the traveling is bittersweet; I thoroughly enjoy the weeks on the road, experiencing new places, and meeting people at each stop. Nevertheless, it will be nice to settle in for the winter and reunite with friends we have not seen since April.

Here are a few pictures, taken on the road by the fearless Navigator, of the journey across New Mexico and Arizona.

All waterways west of here flow toward the Pacific Ocean, and waterways east of here to the Atlantic and Gulf.
This sign was in New Mexico, east of Deming.

Passing another rig, cruising westbound on I-10 in New Mexico.

Westbound traffic. Most drivers behave themselves; the truckers are almost always professional and courteous.

Crossing the NM - AZ state line. Finally, blue skies!

Caution signs warning of the possibility of dust storms. 

View of the mountains out the side window.


  1. Hi!
    Do you use address of the RV Park you stay in outside of Barrie as your permanent address? My husband and I sold our home but will need a permanent Canadian residence. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated!

    1. We have a mailing address in Barrie at a UPS store, which we use for almost everything (banking, credit cards etc). For drivers license and vehicle registrations, we use our son's residence address. This has worked fine for the last 6 years.