On November 7th, 2015, Cooper and Tracy Barnett finally embarked on a 40 year dream to become full-time RV dwellers. As newly-weds, back in 1975, the Barnett’s worked in an RV-ownership park in Hobart Mills, California, just outside of Truckee, near Lake Tahoe. Back then, they spent that summer in a tent, working as a camp maintenance man/weekend cook (Cooper) and recreation director (Tracy) for the families who either owned or were looking to purchase one of the campsites. It was there that they formed our dream of retiring with “an Airstream RV with a Good Sam sticker on the back”.
Over the years the Barnett’s have owned several different kinds of RVs, have continually been members of the Good Sam RV Club, taken various two to three-week trips in whatever RV vehicles they owned, with kids and without. They spent three summers as campground hosts on Rabbit Ears Pass while owning and working full-time in our Italian restaurant in Steamboat Springs, CO. (working during the day and driving up the pass at night), all while planning for our eventual transition to retired RVers.
After selling the restaurant in 2004 and Cooper and Tract each moved on to new careers, Cooper at ACE Hardware and Tracy as program manager for Main Street Steamboat Springs.
In 2013, our daughter, Brady, and her husband, Paul, let us know that they would like to help us toward our dream. We were concerned that we would not have the means to travel if we didn’t sell our house in Steamboat, but, if we did sell the house, we would not ever be able to buy again in Steamboat, if we wanted to return. Brady and Paul, over the next two years, readied their own house for sale, sold it, moved in with us and we all lived together for about 6 months. Although quarters were small (1352 square feet and five people), we all made it work.
Cooper retired from ACE in March of 2015 and Tracy retired from Main Street November 1, 2015. With the trailer (a 32 ft 2002 Prowler with one long slide) packed and waiting in the driveway, along with the pickup truck with our two scooters in the bed, we pulled out of the driveway with a foot of snow on the tops of the trailer, truck and scooter seats to being their new adventure.
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Update: October 2016
We have been on the road now for almost a year. In that year we have upgraded our travel trailer to a 2015 Rockwood 30 ft travel trailer with three slides. Our other trailer was more of a camper and this unit is more of an apartment. The floor plan is much more suitable to full-time living, with a dining table with chairs, two recliners and a center island in the kitchen. Storage is about the same and still quite limited but it makes us think twice about what we bring into it. Having very little storage also is good for the budget because we have to assess buying anything new. The biggest addition had been more crafting supplies for me for my pineneedle baskets, a new passion.
We are very happy on the road and have found the adjustment relatively easy. There is so much to see and so much to do, and we finally have the time to do both. Our expenses are pretty predictable, barring any major truck repairs, and we have been healthy. It has been a wonderful year and we look forward to several more.
We have no idea how long this adventure will last, but for now, we are taking it one week at a time.