FMCA membership number: F381266 (we joined in 2006)
Our current motorhome:
A 2007 Beaver Contessa 40-foot
Three words that best describe our motorhome:
Home Sweet Home
The best thing about our motorhome:
It is the one we never thought we could afford and it is all we ever wanted!
Other motorhomes we’ve owned:
2003 Holiday Rambler Endeavor -- it was a great coach but got a little small once we started full-timing.
2002 Winnebago Adventurer -- nothing but problems from the date of purchase. Didn’t last very long.
1999 Fleetwood Bounder -- 28 feet with no slides, this was a great starter coach and we had some great vacations in it.
We decided to buy a motorhome because:
Ease of driving, parking and storing. We also have choices about what type of vehicle we can tow behind it and do our sightseeing with (and because it‘s what the wife wanted).
Ken: retired after 33 years as a City of Livermore (California) police officer.
Ann: retired after 22 years as a City of Livermore (California) police/fire/911 dispatcher.
We have two kids: Andy, 30 and Ami, 28; and two granddaughters, Alyssa, 8, and Alicia, 6.
We travel in our motorhome:
We have been full-time RVers since March 4, 2005, and spend 365 days a year in our motorhome.
Our favorite motorhoming destinations:
Ken would probably say Yosemite (or anywhere in Mexico!). I would say whatever is around the next turn in the road.
Our all-time favorite motorhome trip:
Our maiden voyage as full-timers to British Columbia, Alaska and the Yukon ranks toward the top of the list of favorite motorhome trips. A close second was our recent 45-day caravan to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. We also really enjoy Utah’s ‘color country’ and have just recently fallen in love with Virginia. Of course, there is also Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Let’s not forget Chicago and Lake Michigan. We could go on and on … making us choose just one is unfair!
Our “dream” motorhome trip:
I would have to say that for years our dream motorhome trip was to go full-time. We had great role models for this type of travel in that both sets of parents full-timed after retiring. We obtained this dream on 03/04/05 and haven’t looked back. It is all and more than we ever expected it to be and for now we have no plans to stop!
Our perfect day of motorhome travel would be:
Traveling less than 200 miles from one destination to another along roadways that we haven’t previously traveled on. Downhill with a tailwind is just a bonus.
Our worst motorhoming experience:
It’s happened with every motorhome we’ve owned -- spending time in service centers getting warranty work done!
Our motorhoming pet peeve:
This one is easy to answer: our fellow drivers who don’t know how to merge onto a freeway.
The best addition or alteration we’ve made to our motorhome:
Shelves in the pantry and shelves in the outside storage bays. Also, hanging shoe and clothing bags in the closet.
If we could change one thing about our motorhome, it would be:
Wow … when we purchased this coach we had a list of nine items that it “must” have, everything from tile (instead of carpet) to a desk, a big screen TV and two outside storage bays. Having had previous coaches and lived full-time in a coach we outgrew led us to this list. So, this coach doesn’t have anything in it that we would change.
Ken, here: A third air conditioner would be nice in summer. For reasons unknown to me, the 43-foot Contessa has 3 air conditioners, but our 40-foot model has only two.
Something about motorhoming that we know now but did NOT know when we started:
It is not necessary to buy the expensive toilet paper at Camping World. Any single-ply brand will work!
When driving a motorhome, the most important thing to remember is:
It takes a while to stop.
Our advice for other motorhome owners:
The purchase of a motorhome is only worthwhile if you use it. If you aren’t sure this is for you, start out by renting one for a weekend or weeklong vacation. If you do decide to buy, be sure to pick out a floor plan and/or size that work for you and your family. Remember that you will probably have to store it when you aren‘t using it. Also, remember that in all likelihood your first coach will not be your last.
When in a campground, look at other coaches and ask the owners questions. We’ve never met an owner who didn’t like to show off their rig, and RVers really are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. There really is no better way to spend quality time together and this country has some truly amazing sites to visit.
We love the national parks and are making a valiant effort to try to visit them all. We are also fans of baseball and have managed to take in a game at 13 of the major league baseball parks so far. Another item on the must visit list is the state capitols, and we’ve managed to visit 16 so far.
We like to hike and both of us enjoy reading. Ken is also a golfer ,which is a hobby I don’t share with him. That works out well for us, though, since it gives us a break from each other.
We aren’t really fans of chain restaurants, BUT we really enjoy Famous Dave’s barbeque.
Something others would be surprised to know about us:
We actually agree more than we disagree, and that will surprise most of our friends. (It surprised Ken when he read that I wrote it.)
If we were awarded a shopping spree at the store of our choice, the store we’d choose:
First store that comes to mind -- Ross Sporting Goods or Dick‘s Sporting Goods.
Any Army Corp of Engineers park in a site that is waterfront.
When motorhomers visit our state or hometown, they should be sure to see:
We are originally from Livermore, California, which has over 20 wineries and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Del Valle Regional Park is located just outside of town and it has a campground. So, you can camp there, do some wine tasting and take in the visitor center at the Lab (it is a sister facility to Los Alamos). They have also just completed redoing the downtown area and they have some shopping and dining down there now, along with a state-of-the-art movie theater. To much to list in CA, but from Livermore it’s a short BART train ride into San Francisco.
If you want to visit Sioux Falls you can stay at the state park just outside of town before having an early dinner at Famous Dave’s and then head to the park at the falls for which the town is named to watch the laser light show (held nightly during the summer months).
Items that we always keep in our motorhome’s refrigerator while traveling:
Since we are full-timers, our fridge is always stocked and probably contains most of the things your home fridge does. One item we always have is margarita mix.
Our advice to new motorhomers:
Use your coaches as often as you can, even if that means taking short distance weekend trips. Being away from home really allows you to spend some quality time together as a family and you will make memories that will last a lifetime.
Behind our motorhome, we tow:
A 2007 Chevy Silverado, four-door 4x4 towed with a Roadmaster all-terrain tow bar
When we’re online, Web sites we like to visit:
Yelp.com for reviews of just about anything. Rvparkreviews.com for user generated reviews of campgrounds. I [Ann] spend a lot of time on the various state and city tourism sites planning out our visits.
A technical or travel tip we’d like to share with other motorhome owners:
We always make sure we have enough fuel in the tank of the coach to be able to run the generator in case we break down somewhere along the way.
We joined FMCA because:
It gave us access to chapters that we wished to join. Once we joined these chapters, we were able to attend their area rallies and pre-rallies. This has given us the opportunity to meet people who have similar coaches and interests.
FMCA chapters that we belong to:
Beaver Ambassador Club, CAT RV Club
Full-timing is a fantastic lifestyle that is more than we ever thought it would be. If you have members who are interested in this lifestyle or who may have questions about it, we would be happy to try to answer them. We also maintain a web site, www.mytripjournal.com/ann-ken.
Other FMCA members may contact us via e-mail: