New Here & RVing

I'm considering selling my home, buying an RV, fifth wheel, or pull behind. I am on an insulin pump and, therefore, understand I cannot qualify for a CDL. Can anyone tell me which RV's would require a CDL? I had my heart set on possibly buying and converting a used Greyhound bus, but that probably requires a CDL, right? :(

Anyway, I'm a young 57, divorced, completely retired 100% service connected veteran, and my youngest will graduate university soon. I live near the nation's Capitol, but grew up out West (Southern and Northern Pacific Coast area) and traveling the USA, and world. I retired in 1998 and have become quite involved in philanthropic endeavors since, lobbying Congress on behalf of a couple of non-profits on a regular basis. I love the change of seasons, but just don't care to experience deep freeze winters anymore. I'm quite social, but quiet and very happy by myself in the wilderness with a rod and reel or hiking. I just require the comforts that a motor home or trailer offers.

So, there you have it, a wannabe's first message and some questions. I'm a complete greenhorn at RVing and would like not to have to make a bunch of mistakes from the start, as far as obtaining good, reliable equipment, etc. Any helpful responses will be very appreciated.


Senior Member
Re: New Here & RVing

Well, before you do anything 'irreversable', like selling your house, you might want to actually try RV living for a month to see if it really is for you... Pretty much 'everyone' likes it for a weekend, but doing it full time is not for everyone.

The need for a CDL or other special license to drive a RV varies by state, and if you are legal where you are registered, you are legal anywhere in the U.S. due to the reciprosity law. So if your state of residence requires you to have a CDL to drive the RV you want, move to another state which does not. In fact, if you are 'full timing', you will want to choose a state of residence which is 'remote resident friendly'. In order to qualify, a state should have no income tax or special RV taxes, reasonable vehicle registration rates, no requirement for a 'physical' home address (a P.O. Box or mail service is allowed) and make it easy for residents to do 'state business' by phone, fax, internet and/or mail.

The list of traditional 'states of residence' for full timers seems to have at the top Florida and Texas, although I've heard rumors that Texas may have tightened the restrictions. South Dakota seems to be making a bid to head the list.
Re: New Here & RVing

OK... Here's how I understand your situation...
You're single and will mostly travel solo....You will probably spend a week or more at each site. Being full time, you'll probably not travel over 200 miles each time you move.....And you'll want to spend winters in the South, the remainder of the year somewhere else...
In my opinion, you don't need a big 40' Class A. You'd do better with a small trailer and an adequate tow vehicle. Or a Class C with a small toad... Full timing with a Class C only is not good. You'll need some wheels to get around on while you camped (hooked up). A bicycle or small motor scooter is inadequate for most full timers.
Hertig gave you the best idea you can have...that RV may be excellent for your weekends, but you may not be suited for full-timing. Then again, you may be...
So....Your best bet, in my opinion, would be to rent a Class C for a month... Or, if you have a substantial tow vehicle, rent a small trailer for a month. With either rig. spend a week somewhere, then move for another week...etc.,,,and see how the first month goes.
Since your title was "new here and rv'n", did you know you can supplement your income and/or reduce your living costs by Workamping or Camp Hosting?????
Re: New Here & RVing

Thank you John and Texas, I appreciate both of your thoughtful, but candid remarks and suggestions. Perhaps I should explain myself further.

My son and I have been long time winter survivalist campers, using tents and handmade lean-to. As a young man, following my military years and during summer breaks from university, I backpacked Europe, alone and with a small backpack, carrying only two vinyl shower curtains (one for a ground cover under a sleeping bag and one that I stretched over the bag by attaching one end to a fence or bushes), a sleeping bag, two days change of modest clothing besides what I was wearing, a camera, and small toiletries and essentials. I also included some peanuts, raisins, bread and cheese, all of which I replaced as I traveled, and a skin of drinking water. In other words, I am familiar with roughing it. In fact, I’m much more familiar with roughing it than I can post here.

My situation now is that I own a cabin in the Eastern Panhandle mountains (I see them as hills) of WV, about an hour and half train ride from Washington, DC's Union Station. I may keep the cabin property to use as my permanent address and as a place to return to should I become worn out and tired of travel, which I rather doubt would happen. I will not give up my volunteer work with the non-profits.

I am a 100% service connected veteran with an above average retirement income and only myself and my two Black Labs (my faithful shadow companions), to support. My service connection you ask? I have a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and a number of other physical and psychological injuries that result during rough military service. I volunteered, knew the risks, and have absolutely no regrets or issues with the U.S. Army. I have been and continue to be well compensated for my injuries and with a “Total and Permanent” rating, will be for the duration of my ability to stay alive. My main diagnosis is incomplete quadriplegia due to a military spinal cord injury at C-5, 6. I'm one of the fortunate survivors in that I do not require a full time motorized chair.

The reason that I am considering a class A or a Fifth-wheel is for the comfort and roominess. Having a spinal cord injury (SCI) of my type requires that I sleep on a good, comfortable motorized hospital bed so that I can achieve a certain position by cranking knees up somewhat while elevating the head. I can't use a bicycle or motor scooter because I can't hold on to them tightly enough, so I had thought about trading off a seven passenger TrailBlazer for a smaller vehicle like a Subaru that I can tow behind a class A. I like the fifth-wheel idea because I can unhook from a dualie (spelling???) and use it for transportation as desired.

With my diagnoses and service connection, I will eventually have to submit to either long term care at worst, or assisted living. When and if that time comes, the Department of Veterans Affairs will take me in wherever I am. I also have a second abdominal aorta aneurysm (AAA) that is being monitored by semi-annual Doppler Ultrasound exams by the VA Vascular Department. I can have those follow-up exams at any VA facility in any major city along my travels. I underwent surgical graft repair of my first AAA back in 2002. This second one is above the first repair and is going to be about a fourteen hour long surgery that is full of risks, especially on someone with my laundry list of ailments.

Anyway, I have family spread out all over America from coast to coast and in between. I want to really live life the way I want to before something prevents me from leaving a hospital room. Does this make sense? I've been divorced for eighteen years. I raised my youngest son since he was age nine, when his mother walked out on us. He is now age 26 and graduating from university after starting late. He graduated high school and said he was tired of school, against all my coaxing to the contrary. He did work as an apprentice electrician and became licensed before deciding that sweating all summer and freezing during winter in home construction was working too hard. He graduates this semester with honors in Information Systems (computers) from a good university and he will begin working with NSA. He will live near work and I can now begin traveling and doing things that I have long dreamed about. I've already been all across America and traveled the world, but now it will be at my pace, with my faithful dogs and my satellite transceiver so I can have high speed Internet on my laptop just about anywhere I am, as I do now. I hope I have shed better light so you see that I am serious and determined. You'll just have to trust that I am also able.
Re: New Here & RVing

Thanks for the welcome Texas Clodhopper! BTW, I am originally from Central Texas, same town as my father and grandfather. One of the places I plan on visiting again soon.

Ron :)
Re: New Here & RVing

Now, Ron. You know how big Texas is, and Central Texas is not that much smaller! :eek:

What town would you call your "hometown" if you were still there where your Pa and GPa were?


Senior Member
Re: New Here & RVing

I suggest that you try visiting some of the web sites that you find in the signatures of the posters on this forum to get a feel for the way that we who are fulltime choose to live. There isn't just one way of doing this, just as there isn't just one way to live in any other type of home. It does take some adjustment as it is very much like moving to a new town where you have to begin to make new friends again. I also suggest that you take a look at the Escapees RV Club ( ) and consider joining them and becoming a Texas resident again. There is still not state income tax here and the cost of registration of vehicles is low.
Re: New Here & RVing

Hey, Texas Clodhopper, I'm from Clifton, Bosque County, near where Rts. 22 and 6 intersect and West of Waco. I enjoyed spending a couple of my Army years being stationed at Fort Hood, since I could drive through the back (Northern) gate and be with family. My Uncle was a hog farmer with several good hunting hounds. There was never a dull moment at Uncle Cleo's :)
Re: New Here & RVing

Kirk, thanks for the tips. I appreciate everything. I've been discussing the full time RV idea with my son for a couple of years, since meeting a fellow Texan, "full-timer" and checking out his class A. He and his wife are retired and love life on the road. I haven't any doubts that traveling full time in a class A would be my kind of life. Being single with my two dawgs would make it all the more enjoyable because I can pull up and go or stay a while without any argument :) Making Texas my home base is perfect and seems like home anyway, even though I have come and gone a few times over the years. Still lots of relatives in the Clifton, Dallas and Austin (Bastrop) areas too.
Re: New Here & RVing

I know where Clifton is, and its a little south of 6 & 22 and Meridian.

Reminds me of a famous speed trap the local Bee County Deputy Sheriff set up when I was in high school (don't ask how I know about it!)

Guess where he set up? Right on the stretch of road that passes the hog farm! They made a fortune until the State made 'em quit doing it!
Re: New Here & RVing

Ft. Hood has two FamCamps. The one at West Fort Hood is near Robert Grey Army Air Field. It's more like a parking lot with lot's of full timers there. Sadly, some of the rigs look like junk. The othe RV park is actually a recreation area. There are cabins, sites with full hookups, tent sites, marina, beach and all is right on the shores of Lake Belton. The rec area is @ 9 miles East of the cantonment area... We've stayed there many times.
Re: New Here & RVing

Way cool, Clodhopper! :cool: Not about your getting a ticket, but the other stuff about Clifton. Makes me a tad homesick. All the fellows in my Dad's family worked at the grain mill in Clifton at one time or other growing up. Lots of good memories there.
Re: New Here & RVing

Thanks for the info, Texas Camper. I know Belton Lake very well. I used to run with the daughter of a fellow that owned a large restaurant overlooking the lake (the name of which escapes me for the moment). Every noon I would order a "Mexican platter" with enchiladas, refried beans, mexican rice and who knows, with a lot of jalapeno peppers and hot sauce. That was a long time ago and I had a gut of steel.

I was stationed at Ft. Hood, Detachment C, 4th MP group, CID, and lived off base in the home of a Killeen Police officer. Fractured my neck real bad in a head-on collision while on duty in Belton. I was called in on matters involving military individuals suspected or aprehended by civillian authorities for illegal drug activity. Anyway, I was on my way to the Bell County Sheriff's Office and a lady in an Opel Cadet sedan crossed the center line at high speed abbruptly stopping my un-marked military sedan and sending me through the windshield with the seatbelt. Don't remember much of anything before awaking on the hood of my vehicle to sounds of sirens and people chattering loudly. That was the blow that essentially ended my carreer and introduced some life-long challenges. The lady walked away with no more than a few bumps and scratches.

Whew, did I take off on memory lane or what? Central Texas holds a lot of memories for me, mostly good and enough to make me down right nostalgic. Those were the days when Jane Fonda kept showing up to protest the Viet Nam war and hang out with a bunch of "Pinkos" at a coffeehouse near the post called the "Oleo Strut." Oleo strut is a very important component of the rotor on a Bell helicopter. Those were the days! :)
Re: New Here & RVing

I went to your web site, and it is very well done. It is awesome that you are continuing on with your life and living it to the fullest. I flew with many Nam vets, and the stories I heard I will never forget. And every single one (that I met) valued life and enjoyed every day.
Re: New Here & RVing

Thank you av8! I'm pleased that you found my Website interesting and positive. I have never been one to sit and complain. I have to keep moving, busy and looking for new adventures. I was just looking at a pre-owned Pace Arrow Fleetwood with about 14k miles on it. I'm still not sure whether I should go that route or a fifth wheel. I like the idea of being able to unhook and have the Dualie to get around town in. I have to weigh the pros and cons of towing a small vehicle behind a Class A, etc.