Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Life of a Fulltimer

We recently purchased/traded our Class A motorhome for a fifth wheel and truck. We were informed that there were some errors on our credit report that we needed to address. We signed on with a company that specializes in credit repair and counsels you on a course of action. Besides correcting errors it allows your credit score to better reflect your creditworthiness. One of the byproducts of the information age is that your credit score is used in all sorts of things besides purchases. Not only does it help set your interest rate(s); it can even determine whether you get hired or not. One of the things that came up was verification of our address, which had changed after years in a stick and brick home. The credit reporting agencies wanted something with our address on it, like a utility bill. As a fulltimer and a gate guard we have no utility bills as we live off the grid. Even when we are in a park somewhere we still don't have bills or correspondence that comes to us. Addressing some of these issues has been a challenge. 
Company helping us with Credit Reporting Agency, "What is this address you are using?'
Me, "It's a mail forwarding drop box."
Company helping us with Credit Reporting Agency, "Is that where you live?"
Me, "No, I just have it so I can receive and have my mail forwarded."
Company helping us with Credit Reporting Agency, "Why"
Me, "Because I live and work out of my RV fulltime and I need an address not only to receive mail but to register my vehicles and establish residency."
Company helping us with Credit Reporting Agency, long pause...
You get the idea; plus I didn't even want to try to explain why we had P.O. boxes all over South Texas. And then our Dish receiver started to act up. I won't regale you with the minute details, but Dish basically said they could not send equipment or dispatch service to anywhere but our service address (the address on our Dish account). Dish supposedly has a department specifically designed to deal with RV'rs, but you wouldn't know it by calling their tech support. We now know to just ask for the loyalty department and; if they still act like you're speaking Greek and won't connect you, threaten to cancel the account. Folks have been hitting the road since the first car was built. Admittedly it has progressed to the point where you now can actually live in a rolling mansion. Still the advent of mail forwarding and fulltiming has to be over fifty years old. You wouldn't think that folks would look at you like an alien when you sport an out of state address, license, phone number and checking account-amongst other things. There's a business opportunity in here somewhere.

One of the other challenges of fulltiming/gate guarding is getting reliable, honest and knowledgeable repair work completed on your RV or vehicles. I swear that once you get south of I-10 you are seriously looking at a still to be settled America. Or at least the America of the 40's and 50's. Problem is that no matter how charming that lifestyle was; and a lot of these small Texas towns can be quite charming, that was fifty plus years ago. Very few of the hardy settlers are left and a gritty Tex Mex clique has evolved. Kudos to them for establishing businesses and scratching out a living. But try dealing with them as a gringo much less an outsider. Mom, Pop and apple pie Americans are few and far between. We have been dealing with Paul from Family RV Center and he does a first rate job. He will come to you, but will charge for the travel expense. At least he comes when he says he will and he has always been fair with us. We had a ton of questions about our new to us fifth wheel and a fairly long punch list. There are still a few things left on the list, but we did get the important stuff out of the way. We now sport a second air conditioner and have resolved a ton of questions. More importantly Paul is going to return to fix the few things left on the list.

I suppose these challenges are part and parcel of living off the grid. I mean how many people wouldn't bat an eye at making a two hundred mile round trip to town? No matter how prepared you are or how long you have done it; living in close proximity to another human being is the ultimate challenge. Why do you think the submarine service tries to determine if candidates are psychologically fit for the lifestyle before they even consider their qualifications. So not only are we independent and self reliant, we are also very unique. The person that said building a house is the ultimate test of a relationship never lived in an RV on an oil gate deep in South Texas.

1 comment:

  1. Even though we're not in South Texas and, while similar to yours, ours is not a gate-guarding job in that sense . . . I still get ya about ours being a totally unique lifestyle. It really differs from the folks who work at campgrounds and from those who are retired and simply traveling. I say . . . Yay, us! :)