Our Rig

Heartless Heartland RVs

I thought it was time to write an update on our RV resolution, or lack thereof. I think Heartland RVs should change their name to Heartless.

If you missed our interview on the RV Show USA you can watch a commercial-free version here:

After listening to that you might think that Heartland would have finally decided to step up and do the right thing. Well, you would be wrong. They absolutely refuse to do anything to help us and for that reason I think they are the most Heartless company I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with.

Since my initial post about our Heartland woes: The Day our Heartland RV Left us Homeless I was quite overwhelmed by the response and number of comments and emails I received from people expressing their support, encouragement and also their own stories of Heartland’s lack of customer service. I want to thank all of you that took the time to comment and/or share our story as well as sending emails to Heartland on our behalf. We are so appreciative of all of you!

I am sorry I was not able to respond to every comment, but I’d like to highlight some here. I was just appalled at all of the people that let me know how they have experienced similar issues with Heartland.

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Another one where Heartland wants an RV towed to Indiana which is unsafe to tow.

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Yes I posted on their Facebook page until they blocked me from posting further.

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We tried contacting Thor and received no response.

Side note: Thor owns Heartland as well as several other RV companies. My advice would be to stay away from any company owned by Thor.

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I’m seeing a trend here.

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Ditto to my last comment.

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Another who agrees that they are Heartless.

This is just a small sampling and does not even include comments from all the Facebook shares. There seems to be more than just a few unhappy Heartland Heartless customers.

Since my initial post our insurance company re-opened our claim and sent a forensic engineer to inspect the unit. He proved it was not the road but was frame failure due to a broken weld and mis-aligned slide. I can’t elaborate on that at this time in case we take legal action.

Incidentally, Heartland still blames us. Just the other day I received a letter from Trailer Life Magazine. I took some of your advice that I should send them our story. They received a response from Anthony Roberts at Heartland explaining why this is not their problem. By the way, Anthony Roberts (anthony.roberts@heartlandrvs.com) was the guy I mentioned in my first blog post who lied to us about sending an inspector from Lippert. His letter was quite long so I won’t quote the whole thing, but he did say this: “It was determined that this was related to impact damage causing the twisting of the frame. One conclusion we gave was possible the unit went off the road twisting the frame and in conjunction impacting a tree limb causing the damage to the side of the unit.

Wow! Still blaming us… sad.

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Heartland’s inspector didn’t even notice the issue that the forensic engineer discovered. Could it be because he was sent there for the sole purpose of coming up with a conclusion as to why this is not Heartland’s responsibility? All he could come up with is that we went off the road and hit a tree?

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I agree, what kind of business sense is there in letting this get so public?

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Believe me, I wish we had hit a tree! What possible motive would we have to deny that? An insurance claim would have been much simpler if we had had an actual incident on the road that caused this. We are honest people though and are not about to lie to an insurance company and claim we hit a tree when we didn’t.

But the good news is that on 9/20/2018 Heartland said they’re launching an initiative to boost quality and service. You can read all about it here: Heartland RV launches initiatives to boost quality, service. When I read that I thought “oh good, they can start by helping us, right?” Wrong!

Here is a snippet of some of the quotes from the article:

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Isn’t that nice? Heartland President Chris Hermon says he recognizes the need to be accessible to customers. I wonder why he hasn’t bothered to respond to any of my countless emails to him. If you feel like sending him a note here is his email, but don’t expect an answer: chris.hermon@heartlandrvs.com.

And Jim Fenner was quoted in the article about having an obligation to stand out and be leaders in the areas of customer service. Hmm, we haven’t noticed any of that “customer service”. His email is fennerj@heartlandrvs.com if you feel like reaching out.

They posted that article on their Facebook page and I decided to comment on it, but guess what? My comment was deleted and I was blocked from posting anymore on their page. A friend of mine who also owns a Heartland did the same thing and her comments were also deleted and she was blocked. We decided to let some friends know how we had been blocked from Heartland’s Facebook page, so several of them decided to comment on our behalf. I’m sure you see where this is headed… yup their comments were also deleted.

So if you are relying on Heartland’s Facebook page to find out if their customers are happy, you’re only getting one side of the story. Negative comments are deleted.

In addition to their article claiming quality and customer service, their website advertises this:

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Their definition of “longevity” must differ from mine because an RV that only lasts 3.5 years does not meet that standard.

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Several people commented to say we should contact Lippert since they make the frame. Below is the response we got.

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Email reply from Lippert.

We have no idea what is meant by “the course of action that is to take place”, but notice who is in the Cc: line? Our good friend Anthony Roberts is at it again!

Some have asked if we have an extended warranty. The answer is yes we do. Our dealer in Jacksonville, FL, Dick Gore’s RV World sold it to us. However, we regret purchasing that because it has been useless. They don’t cover much of anything, and especially not something like frame failure.

Thank you to everyone who offered other pieces of advice like hire a lawyer, file complaints with the attorney general, BBB, NHTSA, Trailer Life, etc. We did all of that so far except hire a lawyer. We have consulted with a couple of lawyers and are still undecided about whether or not to move forward with that. There would be a lot of time and expense involved which is probably why so many people don’t bother. That means the big companies such as this one get away with this nonsense because it’s so difficult for the little guys to fight them.

These past 3+ months have been so stressful and have really taken a toll on our family. I have had so many sleepless nights and felt sick over this for too long. There is a huge part of me that just wants to “let it go” and move on with our lives. I’m so tired of the emotional energy this is taking.

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If we choose not to pursue legal action this RV will most likely be hauled off to a junk yard in the near future. If any of you would like to go pick it up and put it on a lowboy trailer as suggested in the comments above, please feel free. While you’re at it, please take it to the Tampa RV Show in January. It would be an effective advertisement on the shoddy workmanship of Heartless RVs at one of the biggest RV shows in the country.

If we do decide to just let this go and move on, that doesn’t mean we can’t keep sharing our story. We want to warn as many people as possible against purchasing from this Heartless company or anything made by their parent company Thor. My first blog post was seen by well over 30K viewers. Please do me a favor and share this one too. Let’s get the word out to stay away from this company.

In closing, I don’t want all of my blog posts to be about this negative experience we are having with Heartland. Recently the 4 of us watched our Nomadiversary videos from our 3 years on the road and reminisced about why we live this way. We love the RV lifestyle and we love seeing this beautiful country we live in. We have had a temporary setback. This video right here shows the good stuff. This right here is why we do this, why it’s worth it and why we’re anxious to continue on with this incredible lifestyle. I also love the song If Today Was Your Last Day. I got to thinking, if today was my last day I certainly wouldn’t be wasting any more time on this Heartless company. I hope you enjoy this video of our 3rd year on the road and let it be a reminder that the RV lifestyle really is good in spite of bad companies.

 

Thank you for watching and listening. I hope to resume posts about our travels again very soon. 🙂

Categories: Our Rig | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

We’re Going to be on a Radio Show

This is just a quick post for anyone who is interested in updates about our RV disaster. We still have no resolution from Heartland, but we are being heard by the RV community. The RV Show USA invited us to be on their show to tell our story. RV consumers are getting pretty tired of the poor quality of RVs that are being manufactured these days and the lack of customer service. This show is calling the manufacturers out on that.

If you feel like tuning in to listen to the show, here are the details. The show airs live Wednesday night, October 10th at 8pm EST. It’s a 2 hour show and we will be on during the 2nd hour which starts around 9pm EST. It will also be recorded so you can listen at another time if you would like. To watch the show visit the RV Show USA Facebook page or the RV Show USA website  or the RV Show USA YouTube Channel.

This is a quick video promo for the show.

 

Categories: Fulltime RV'ing, Our Rig | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Day our Heartland RV Left us Homeless

It has been a long time since my last post and a lot has happened since then, but quite frankly I haven’t had the heart to share this until now. Usually I’m sharing beautiful pictures of the amazing places we have been. It’s really hard to share a post like this instead. I’ll warn you — the pictures aren’t pretty.

Our living and traveling in our beloved home on wheels came to an abrupt halt last month on a lonely stretch of highway in rural Maine. We had just finished visiting Acadia National Park which I haven’t had a chance to blog about yet. I will eventually, but first…this:

We noticed another stress crack in the sidewall of the RV. If you remember we had one of these repaired back in 2016. I sent the pictures to our contact at Heartland to ask for help since he helped us find a place to have the first crack repaired a couple of years ago.

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My Heartland contact never answered me so we talked to some repair centers near us in Maine and although none of them could fix it for us, they said we should be fine to wait until we could find a repair center in Canada where we were headed next.

We left Acadia and headed towards Canada where we had planned to spend a few weeks exploring and visiting family up there. My parents were flying up to meet us in Nova Scotia.

The roads in Maine were pretty rough and bumpy and after several miles of that we stopped at a rest area. Someone pulled in after us and said that he had been behind us for several miles and he thinks something is wrong with our trailer. He said our trailer shifted to the side and the wheels didn’t look quite right. Chris looked around and noticed the wheels protruding out too far on the driver’s side and the frame looked bent.

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Frame shifted to side and wheels protruding.

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Frame shifted to side and wheels protruding.

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Bent frame.

We also noticed the crack in the sidewall had gotten worse and we had 3 new cracks on the opposite side!

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Passenger side crack.

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Passenger side crack.

Chris broke the bad news to me that we weren’t going to make it to Canada and we just needed to find the nearest campground so we could figure out what to do. We called Good Sam Roadside Assistance, but they were not able to send someone to help us. They actually told me that if we can’t tow it neither can they. Well, we couldn’t very well live at the rest area so we had no choice but to move on. So I searched on my phone and found the nearest campground in Calais, ME called Keene’s Lake Family Campground. It was about 30 miles away so we put on the hazard lights and drove slow. By the time we got to the campground the initial crack had gotten so much worse that the roof was starting to separate.

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Passenger side crack with roof separating.

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Passenger side crack gets worse each time we move it.

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I know the passenger side crack is pretty bad which is why I share the most pictures of that one, but I don’t want to ignore the other 3 cracks on the opposite side of the RV.

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Driver’s side crack #1.

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Driver’s side crack #1.

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Driver’s side crack #1 interior.

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Driver’s side crack #2.

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Driver’s side crack #3.

The campground owners were very accommodating and kind to us while we were there, letting us stay as long as we needed while we sorted things out. Once we were set up in a campsite and opened the slides we noticed further damage on the inside: the crack goes all the way through to the kid’s bedroom, paneling fell off the ceiling, a wall separating in the kid’s room as well as the floor separating in their bathroom.

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Passenger side crack interior.

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Bathroom floor and kid’s bedroom floor separating.

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Bathroom floor and kid’s bedroom floor separating.

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Bathroom floor separating exterior.

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Bathroom floor separating exterior.

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Kid’s bedroom wall separating.

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Kid’s bedroom wall separating (close-up).

Chris called our insurance provider to file a claim. They sent someone out a few days later to take pictures and inspect the unit. Unfortunately they did not cover the damage because they said the damage is due to “frame failure” which is a manufacturing defect. I guess rough and bumpy roads should not cause an RV to literally fall apart without there being a weakness somewhere in the build of the unit.

I started conversations with the manufacturer Heartland to see if they would help. Heartland only offers a 1 year warranty and our unit is 3.5 years old. Still, I had hoped that since there was such extensive damage to a relatively young RV that Heartland may step up and do the right thing. I had wrongly hoped they would agree that an RV they built should not fall apart after just 3.5 years.

My initial conversations with an employee at Heartland ended with this email:

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He said this has nothing to do with manufacturing but he thinks something was “drug down the top of the sidewall”. Well, if that was the case then our insurance provider might have covered it. Then there would have been an actual incident that caused this. However, this explanation makes no sense because it does not take into consideration all the cracks on the opposite side of the RV and the interior walls and floors separating. So we did not just go away with this explanation as I’m sure they hoped we would. After pushing them further, 2 employees at Heartland said they would send someone to inspect the unit.

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Email asking me for the unit location so a frame vendor can come to inspect it.

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Email from our selling dealer letting me know someone is coming to inspect it.

Well it turns out they lied about sending someone to inspect it because about a week later I spoke with Anthony Roberts (from 2nd email) on the phone and he told me he does not believe anything is wrong with the frame and he will not be sending anyone to inspect it.

Chris decided to contact him after that to which he replied that they would inspect the unit if we bring it to them in Indiana. Seriously?

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Email telling us to bring it to Indiana if we want it inspected.

We had previously told them the unit is unsafe to tow. We had to move the RV from a campsite to a storage area within the same campground and in doing so some of the cracks got worse and the hole in the side opened up even larger. Also one of the slides doesn’t even go in correctly anymore. Do they really want us driving this down the road??

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Slide goes in at an angle.

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Slide goes in at an angle.

Does Heartland really think it is reasonable to ask us to tow this all the way from Maine to Indiana? Do they really want that liability on their hands if we were to have a serious accident on the way?

Anyway, after informing Heartland that I would be publishing this story on social media, they finally decided to send someone to inspect it. But guess what? The inspector was a paid employee of Heartland and so I’m sure you can guess how that turned out.

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Notice that this inspection is for the “Benefit of Heartland”

Here is a picture from the inspection report basically claiming that we hit a tree.

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This totally disregards the fact that the crack was there in June long before our incident in July on the road when the unit just basically started falling apart. We did not hit a tree or anything other than maybe pot holes in the road. This sidewall crack was already there before we moved from Acadia. On that drive the crack got so much worse and the roof began to separate. The inspection report also totally disregarded the 3 cracks on the opposite side of the RV. He didn’t even mention those! Obviously that’s what happens when a manufacturer sends their own guy out to inspect a unit. Whatever it takes to swing it in their favor!

I used to give positive feedback about Heartland because we experienced great customer service through them in our first year. You may remember I blogged a couple of years ago about a previous crack we had in the sidewall and how Heartland took care of us and helped us find a place to have it repaired: RV Repairs in Louisiana. Back then I was so impressed with how Heartland took care of us when our selling dealer in Jacksonville did not.

I didn’t realize when I used to praise them for their great customer service that it only lasted while we were under the 1 year limited warranty. I guess they don’t care about keeping customers for life. We had been looking into upgrading our RV to a toy hauler at some point, and had considered another Heartland. Not anymore — now we will never buy another Heartland because we know from experience that they do not stand behind their product. We will also discourage anyone we know from purchasing a Heartland.

I realize that not every Heartland will fall apart the way ours has, but wouldn’t you like to know when you buy an RV that the manufacturer stands behind their product when something this extraordinary happens? Even though we are well past the 1 year warranty, if they were a company that cared at all about maintaining customers for life they would have done something to make this right. The frame should really have a longer warranty than 1 year anyway — I mean who buys an RV and doesn’t expect it to last longer than 3-4 years?

Unfortunately many RV manufacturers have a reputation of making poor quality units, but I have been researching and asking other RV friends for feedback to find out if there is any manufacturer who truly stands behind their product. I have been consistently hearing great things about Grand Design. All of my RV friends that have a Grand Design rave about their excellent customer service. Perhaps our next RV will be a Grand Design and if so, hopefully we will experience much better customer service with them than we did with Heartland.

So, that’s the story of our life for the past month or so. The good news is we were able to make it to Canada. We moved all of our stuff out of the RV and into a storage unit and then stored the RV at the campground.

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Our last night we spent in the RV. Still smiling and looking forward to seeing the grandparents in Canada.

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Fat Cat hid in a moving box to make sure we didn’t forget her. 🙂

We met up with my parents in Nova Scotia and visited several places with them while staying in VRBO rentals and with friends and relatives. It wasn’t quite the same as having our home on wheels, but we made the best of it.

After a vacation in Canada with my parents we headed back to Maine, loaded everything we own into a Uhaul trailer and headed south to regroup and start over.

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We came to Maine with our home on wheels and left with a Uhaul trailer. 😦

I will write later about our travels in Canada and also about our time in Acadia before this disaster happened.

I will end this with a reminder, please think twice before purchasing a Heartland RV. Remember, when we had trouble, they left us homeless and refuse to accept any responsibility.

Categories: Our Rig | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 148 Comments

A Tour of our RV

Many people have asked me to post some pictures of our new home, so here you go.  The first one of course is us in front of the new rig and truck:

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Some people have asked if we have a bathroom.  Yes we do, two of them in fact.  Here are a couple of pictures of the main bathroom with shower:

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And this is a picture of the boys’ little bathroom:

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Here are some pictures of our bedroom.  The bed is a king size and so comfortable.  But if I had to do it again, I would have gone with the queen size bed.  This bed takes up the whole room!  It’s very hard to make the bed since it’s hard to walk around both sides, so I usually don’t make it.  Only for the pictures. 🙂

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These next pictures are of the boys’ room. The first one is Jesse’s bed with dresser drawers and closets underneath.

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This is the back of the room with the tv and some cabinets for toys and books and dvd’s.

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The other side of the room is Jake’s bed with a sofa underneath. The sofa makes a bed so Gramma and Grampa can come and visit! 🙂

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Another picture of their room facing the other direction with Fat Cat up on Jesse’s bed. Their little bathroom is behind the door.

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And I love this USA floor rug where they like to play with their cars and go to all the states we’ll be visiting.

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The next few pictures are of the kitchen and living area.

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And this last picture is the outdoor kitchen which Chris loves!  He loves to grill out there while he’s watching sports on the outdoor tv.

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I hope you enjoyed the tour of our home!  As you can see, we’re not exactly roughing it.  No, it’s not as big as our house, but it’s pretty nice as far as RVs go.

Categories: Fulltime RV'ing, Our Rig | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Moving into the RV

It has been just over a week now that we have been officially living in the RV.  The last few weeks have been a blur.  Downsizing from approximately 2000 square feet to approximately 400 square feet is certainly not an easy task!  We have spent the past few weeks getting rid of everything we own except for what will fit in our new tiny home.  We spent the first 3 nights at a KOA in St. Mary’s, GA.  Then we moved to Flamingo Lake in Jacksonville where we are now.  We went to the house each morning and worked all day on packing & cleaning & painting.  Then came back to the RV loaded with boxes.  As I unpacked boxes I realized this stuff is not going to fit, so back to the house it goes to find another home for it.  Every time someone came to our house, I sent them home with whatever they would take.

It has been an emotional week because I have had to say good-bye (for now) to many good friends. Letting go of everything in our house has also been hard.  Coming back to the house throughout the week and finding the rooms empty has been hard.  So many memories were made there.  Our kids were born and raised there.  The boys’ bedrooms had Noah’s Ark and sports murals on the walls that I had painted when I was pregnant with each of them.  This weekend we just painted over those. That was very hard!  A lot of tears have been shed this week while I said good-bye to that chapter of our lives. I know that we take our memories with us, they don’t stay with the house.  And I know that we will make many wonderful memories on the road, but it’s still hard to let all that go.

I want to thank all of our friends that have helped us this week with painting and cleaning and spending time with the kids while we got all this done.  What would we ever do without such good friends!

Now that everything is done at the house I have been able to start getting our new home set up and organized. When we first started moving in and stuff was everywhere, I really felt overwhelmed and thought we had made a huge mistake. I wanted to move back to our house and forget all about this crazy idea to live and travel in an RV.  I wondered how I will ever get used to living in this small space. But, slowly I have started to find a place for everything and get organized and it is starting to feel like home.  Now I am sitting outside by the campfire watching the Super Bowl on the TV that came with our outdoor kitchen.  I have watched the kids ride bikes and play outside more in the last few days than they ever have.  We may be living in a small space but I realize we have everything we need, everything that matters in this life.  A big house and stuff to fill it up with are not what really matters.  Making memories that will last a lifetime with my family is what matters.

Categories: Fulltime RV'ing, Our Rig | Tags: | 12 Comments

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