When my wife Lin and I decided to retire at the age of 50, after having long and successful careers, we were looking for a change. We didn’t want to sit in our 2200-square-foot house staring at each other or the neighboring houses (only five feet on either side of ours) for the rest of our lives!
So, one night, as we lay on the sofa watching the tv show Going RV, it hit us. Let’s buy an RV and travel the country! Nothing was really holding us back from this major life decision. After all, we had just lost both our mothers that same year. My mother to a brain aneurysm which caused her to take a terrible fall and Lin’s mother to ovarian cancer. Yes, it would be hard to leave our families and friends, but we also realized life was too short not to see this beautiful country of ours.
Getting more excited by the minute, we kicked off our quest to find the best RV for our needs and budget.
After several months of online research, followed by a few visits to Houston-area RV dealerships, we determined our list of must-haves.
At the top of Lin’s list was a washer and dryer. The luxury and convenience of being able to do loads of washing and drying from the comfort of our RV was tops on her laundry list (pun intended). Having to haul our dirty clothes to a laundromat on a weekly basis was not an option. Honestly, it was a deal breaker for her. No washer/dryer, no full-time RV living!
I, on the other hand, was adamant about going with a diesel pusher motorhome. As the main (ok, only) driver, I wanted our new RV to comfortably climb the mountains that I knew we would encounter during our travels. Not feeling like we were in Fred Flintstone’s foot pedal car was a must have for me!
We also needed plenty of room for our three dogs Brady, Abby and Wally. At 50, 40 and 5 pounds respectively, they each needed their own space within the RV. But we didn’t want too big of an RV either. Not too big that it would be a challenge for me to maneuver in National and State parks, not too small that we were climbing on top of each other. It had to be just right. Goldielocks much?!
And since we still wanted to continue to exercise on the road, much like we were doing before we made this decision, we needed plenty of basement storage for our workout equipment. Full pass-through storage for our rowing machine, barbells, weights, dumbbells and kettlebells was important. Being a former CrossFit gym owner, I wanted to take the entire gym with us! After all, as the “RV Fit Chicks”, we want to encourage other RVers to stay fit and healthy on the road, so having our workout equipment with us was important.
From researching and visiting RV dealership lots and RV trade shows, we found that the Winnebago Forza 34T Class A diesel motorhome was the best fit for us. It checked off all our must haves. Everything we were looking for was there in just 36 feet!
Ironic side note: Remember that tv show we watched that was the catalyst to us living full time in an RV? Well, we ended up having our own episode on that very same show, Going RV!
Full-Time RV Life in the Forza
After living full time in our Forza for almost a year now, there are even more aspects to it that we had no idea we’d love so much!
The mid-entry door has been ideal for us – or should I say our three dogs. It gives us plenty of room to get their leashes on and get out the door easily. Most Class A Diesel motorhomes have their entry door located at the front of the coach providing little room to get 12 puppy dog paws in and out of the RV multiple times a day. With our mid-entry there’s no wrestling around the front passenger seat while the dogs are jumping with excitement to go outside.
Initially, we thought we would never need or use the electric fireplace, but it has become one of our favorite features. It not only provides a nice ambiance, but also puts out some good heat which comes in handy on chilly mornings. Plus, it keeps us from having to run the propane heater as often – saving on propane fuel costs. It’s a win-win!
The entire floorplan of the Forza is perfect for the two of us. We especially love how the sofa sits directly in front of not only the fireplace, but also the tv. This makes for an extremely comfortable viewing experience. And we love not having to visit the chiropractor for neck adjustments due to an awkward tv-viewing angle!
As for storage, there was no need to rent a costly storage unit or “borrow” the garage of a family member. Everything we own fit perfectly inside the Forza. Mainly due to the generous amount of storage both inside and outside the RV, but also due in part to Lin’s impeccable organizational skills. She mindfully dedicated each area for a specific purpose.
On the passenger’s basement storage side alone there’s room for our workout equipment in one compartment (the gym), tools and barbeque stuff in another (the tool shed) and jack pads, leveling blocks and toad cables in the third bay (the utility room). On the driver’s side, the main storage bay holds all the miscellaneous items from plastic containers of sewer hoses, water hoses and additional cleaning supplies (the junk room)!
We couldn’t be happier and more content living full time in our Winnebago Forza 34T. Everything we could ever need or want lives right inside our 8’6” wide x 36’ long home on wheels: our workout equipment, our fur babies and each other. We look forward to enjoying many more years of retirement traveling the country in our Forza!