It’s been over a week since we returned home from our first RV Rally, and we’re so glad we invested the time and money in the experience. We met a lot of great like-minded people who both inspired us toward our full-timing dream and also challenged our assumptions about what the full-timing life is all about.
Kudos to Howard and Linda Payne for putting together an event that was fun, educational, well-organized and inspirational. These guys know their stuff, and they are also hella fun to listen to as they recount their adventures and mishaps on the road.
One of the highlights of the week was on Saturday afternoon when many of the attendees graciously opened up their rigs (their homes) for tours. Andy and I concentrated on the fifth wheels since that will likely be our next purchase once we graduate from Lizzy, our 22′ Class C. If you’ve never been inside a fifth wheel RV, you should make it a point to check them out whether you’re planning to buy one or not. These units are amazing, with all the comforts of home but the flexibility to live just about anywhere you choose (as long as you have a big enough truck to pull it around). I’ll have to admit, I experienced a fair share of “rig envy” while touring these beautiful homes, but I’m doing my best to suppress it!
We did have one free afternoon during the rally, so Andy and I took the car and drove from Sevierville, through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, to Cherokee, NC.
It was a beautiful day for a drive, and the leaves were just starting to develop their fall colors. We stopped several times to get out of the car and enjoy the scenery.
When I was growing up, my family took several vacations in this area. I remember vividly staying at the Redskin Motel in Cherokee, and happily spending all my allowance money at the tourist-trap souvenir shops along Cherokee’s main drag. We couldn’t afford a family vacation in Gatlinburg, so Cherokee was a great alternative base camp. The little town has, of course, changed so much over the years, and now has an impressive area developed by the Native American Cherokee people that includes a park, museum, and other infrastructure that was all new to me. I would love to go back and spend more time in the area and become more educated about the history of the people who were there originally.
The rally officially ended on Sunday morning with a send-off breakfast, but we skipped that meal since we weren’t convinced that their sad attempts at vegan options would be better than what we could prepare for ourselves–plus we needed to get on the road for the long trip home. We pulled out of Sevierville just after 9am, and got home around 4pm as I recall. We spent an hour cleaning out the RV and getting her back in her storage lot, and then it was time to rest up to return to work the next morning.
Our main take-away from our first RV rally was simple–we are more convinced than ever that this is what we want to do. We are financially ready for this. We are capable of handling challenges intelligently and calmly. We are excited about seeing new places and experiencing different cultures that exist outside our comfort zone. We know there is a support system of like-minded, kind individuals who are happy to share their knowledge and experience with relative newbies like ourselves.
So we’re moving forward with the grand plan! Our first yard sale is taking place this weekend as we begin the process of divesting ourselves of almost all our worldly possessions in order to fit into that little RV named Lizzy.
Wish us luck!!