The votes were tallied and the majority — at least the very few that elected to vote, cast their votes in favour of welcoming owners of self-contained RVs, namely travel trailers and fifth wheels.
My understanding is that the FMCA has roughly 135,000 active members. Only 9,800 active members voted on this item. 6,820 voted to extend membership beyond owners of motorcoaches. And that is all it took to change the original vision for FMCA.
Membership in FMCA was contingent upon ownership of a motorhome and the vision of the founders of FMCA was a club specific to motorhomes. On their website, FMCA has a series of questions about the change including this one:
17) How will FMCA fulfill the vision that the founders had that FMCA would be an exclusive club for motorized RVs?
We recognize your concern about this issue. However, to continue to exist as an association, we also recognize that we need to avoid stagnation. The RV marketplace has changed and evolved over time. We’ve looked around and seen that our families and friends – those we want to welcome as new FMCA members – have many choices of RVs that are not motorized. We want to make sure FMCA flourishes well into the future, and broadening our focus is a way to help ensure this.
We have been FMCA members since we purchased our coach. Not quite sure how to react to the change.
I love Airstream trailers. I am not much of a fan of fifth wheels. Not that it really matters except that my ownership experience is quite different from travel trailers and fifth wheels. I’m not all that interested in reading articles about travel trailers and fifth wheels nor being part of rallies with travel trailers and fifth wheel owners. And given the recent surge in the sales of motorhomes coupled with the demographic shift to retirement and the appeal of an RV lifestyle, I’m not sure how necessary it was to make this change.
Looks like it was volume related and there is no question that there are far more travel trailers and fifth wheels than motorhomes. Maybe this will encourage more members. I guess we will find out.
In the province of Ontario, Canada, we are required to hold a commercial driver’s licence to operate a Class A diesel motorcoach. Specifically, a DZ licence.
The Z designation is for the air brake component and it is mandatory for anyone in Ontario that operates a vehicle with air brakes.
The Class D licence lets you drive any truck or vehicle combination exceeding 11,000 kilograms (roughly 24,000 lbs), provided that the towed vehicle weighs less than 4,600 kg (roughly 10,000 lbs).
To apply for a Class D licence, you need to be at least 18 years old, hold a valid Ontario licence other than G1, G2, M, M1 or M2, pass an eye test, submit a medical report, pass a written test about operating large trucks and tractor-trailers and pass a road test.
To make our life in retirement just a little more interesting, our provincial government has elected to change the rules regarding Class D renewals.
Class D licence holders up to age 80 will be subject to a Class D knowledge test and vision test every five (5) years at time of licence renewal. Class D licence holders over the age of 80 will still have to complete an annual knowledge, vision and road test.
Class D licence holders under the age of 46 will be required to submit a Medical Report every five (5) years.
Class D licence holders between the ages of 46 and 64 will be required to submit a Medical Report every three (3) years.
Class D licence holders age 65 and older will be required to submit an annual Medical Report.
Having a more stringent requirement for commercial truck drivers makes sense. Does it make sense for someone like me that operates a recreational vehicle? I will now have to do the Class D tests every five years and medicals every year after age 65. And I’m just not sure how relevant all of the truck related content is for someone who drives a recreational vehicle. Some of the content is applicable. Most of it, however, is primarily for people who drive trucks for a living.
As we plan to be in the States during the winter months, it will be quite aggravating to have to deal with license renewals in March — March being my month of birth. Our provincial government bases renewals on date of birth.
Could be costly having to fly up to Canada just to do a licence renewal every winter.
This is our rock guard on the back of our coach.
Tough to keep it clean and after reading several threads on the IRV2 forum, I’m not too sure about keeping it on our coach.
Here is one comment from one of the threads:
Why not try going without the so-called rock guard for a while and see how it goes? You may find your toad will suffer less stone chips and stay cleaner.
I removed mine at an RV Park in Whitehorse, YK after fighting with stones covering my toad everyday on our way to Alaska. Prior to departing, I had raised the flap from 4″ clearance to 6″ clearance on the advice of our caravan organizer to prevent the flap from dragging on the ground going through some of the dips in the highway.
Turns out that even at 6″ the flap was still causing small stones to be tossed up and covering my toad.
In Whitehorse our Wagon Master suggested removing the flap altogether. So on his advice, I made arrangements with the park owner to leave it and pick it up on our return.
Lo and behold, there were no more stones and the toad seemed to not accumulate dust and mud as it did with the flap.
When we returned to Whitehorse, I told the RV park operator he could just dispose of the flap as I was now convinced it was doing more harm than good.
That was three years ago and I have not regretted its removal. In fact, I used to use a Guardian Rock Guard and a custom windshield cover which I have not used in over 15,000 miles and I have zero stone chips to the toad.
Others I have talked to along the way have gone the same route and are very happy with the results.
Worth a try.
I’m going to do a bit more research. I have seen some toads that have extensive damage on the front end due to stones being thrown up from the back of the coach.
I’d like to keep the toad in good shape.
That problem would obviously go away if I used a trailer but for now our plan is to tow four wheels down.
I came across this press release from Entegra:
Entegra Coach recently announced the expansion of its family of luxury products to include luxury Class C and luxury gas Class A members.
“The name Entegra Coach is synonymous with luxury motorhomes,” said Andy Baer, GM of Entegra Coach. “Expanding into smaller coaches allows us to better support our loyal Entegra Owners by providing luxury options prior to, and after, their large diesel coach lifestyle. … In addition, now multiple generations of families can enjoy the Entegra Coach lifestyle together, while in the luxury of their own coach.”
We almost bought an Entegra.
This one actually:
It was the first coach that we walked through when we went to the Hershey Show way back in September of 2015. Loved it. And the salesperson was very keen to cut us a great deal. If we bought the coach right then.
“Canadians buy from us all the time!” He told us.
We were not there to buy from a U.S. dealer though. We were there to do our research. And we ultimately decided on a Newmar Dutch Star.
We bought our coach from a Canadian dealer. Primarily for warranty support and relative ease of access. And our Canadian dealer, the Hitch House, has been terrific.
Thor had a knockout quarter with record sales of $2.23 billion, up over 30% and record net income of $128.4 million, up over 63%.
I had posted about Thor in December of 2016. At that time, the share price was $105 USD.
The current quote for Thor is $153 USD. Really big jump on their results. Yikes.
Companies like Thor don’t fit into my investment portfolio although given the incredible surge in the RV industry, perhaps I should have taken a bit of a position in Thor. It looks like easy money now doesn’t it?
Hard to say how long the ride might last for Thor.
This move by Entegra to get into Class C and Class A gas coaches is interesting. The new products were to be featured today at the RVIA show in Louisville. One luxury diesel Class C coach, the Entegra Qwest, two luxury gas Class C coaches, the Entegra Odyssey and Esteem, and one luxury gas Class A coach, the Entegra Emblem.
Nothing up on the Entegra website as yet.
I’ll have to check back and see what they are doing on this front.
With all of this demand and new product, it is bound to start getting crowded at the RV parks.
For whatever it might be worth, Andy went on to purchase a Prevost.
Maximize your RV experience, minimize headaches.
Such is the promise of Fantasy RV Tours:
It continues to be our mission to guide RVers to new places, reveal authentic cultures and offer a value unlike any other travel company. We understand the importance of cherished memories and bonding relationships, and we have included that spark of passion as an ingredient in all that we do.
It’s my sincere hope that the destinations featured on here impassion you to join us. You will see and enjoy more than you ever imagined – sharing an experience and a journey with friends you have yet to meet.
I still remember the time we spent with Chris, one of the Travel Ambassadors for the company. I posted about our time together here. It was our second visit to the RV show in Hershey, Pennsylvania and it was our first year with our new coach. We had taken delivery of our coach in June of 2016. Our trip out to Pennsylvania in September of 2016 was one of several road trips that we took with our coach that year.
It seems so long ago now.
Chris was very passionate about the RV lifestyle and very passionate about Fantasy RV Tours.
She had such clarity about life, about living in the moment and about pursuing your dreams. She told me to get out there before it gets too late.
And here I am.
Coach in storage.
I have about 7 months left before career ends and retirement begins. Work has not really changed in any meaningful way for me. It is still very much a high demand, high stress role and I suspect it will remain that way until I finish up late July.
Rather than being frustrated with working another 7 months or so because, believe me, I would much rather be out there right now. Especially as the cold weather descends.
No, I am choosing gratitude. To be thankful for my lovely wife and my wonderful family. To be thankful for the company that I work for as the company has allowed me to provide well for my family and the company has helped me achieve financial independence. To be thankful for the moment. Healthy. Engaged in life. Living in a wonderful country. With great friends.
For many of my American friends, they have been celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. Although the dates differ between Canada and the U.S. — Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in early October — staying focused on gratitude keeps the challenges of life in perspective.
We will be out there soon, Chris.
As my countdown to retirement draws closer, a few endings become apparent. The biggest ending for me is career. But there are other things that will be ending as well.
One of my bucket list items is to never be cold again in retirement. We intend to spend our winters in our coach traveling the southern U.S.
And that means one of my favourite concerts, Celebrate Christmas, will also retire when I do after a lengthy run in Kingston.
This is an event that I have produced since 2008. I also play. You might make me out as the guitar player out front, house right, in the photos above.
Most of my family helps out. My oldest son has served on bass since we started this event. My youngest son is part of the lighting crew. And Lorraine does all of the heavy lifting related to logistics. We coordinate a team of about 40 people for the show.
We have been fortunate to sell out the show every year. This being the final year, we elected to run for two nights, Thursday December 14 and Friday December 15 at the beautiful Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.
Friday night’s performance will be tough. I’ll probably keep it together for most of the evening but I suspect the last song will be bittersweet for sure.
I’ve put so much work into this program over the years and I will be sad to see it go. But, for everything we do in life, there is a time to grow and a time to let go.
I do plan to keep playing in retirement and focusing more on my jazz guitar. Not sure that I will still be playing large performance halls in retirement though. Maybe on a sidewalk somewhere 😉
Here is one of the songs from last year’s event. I get to have a bit of fun towards the end.
Not in Canada. A wonderful country but no tax deductions for owners of RVs.
It looks as though the laws might be changing in the United States causing a bit of a stir for RV dealers and customers alike.
This came in my Reuters feed:
Recreational vehicle retailers from across the country were sipping morning coffee at a convention in Las Vegas earlier this month when word whipped through the hotel’s “dealers’ lounge” that the U.S. Congress was considering tax law changes threatening their businesses.
Republicans in the House of Representatives wanted to jettison a part of the tax code that lets dealers of RVs, cars, boats, even farm and construction machinery, write off all the interest expense of keeping inventories of vehicles on their sales lots.
The RV dealers jumped on the phones to their representatives in Washington, adding to a wave of calls made by members of the powerful National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) as well as lobbyists for boat dealers and farm machinery dealers.
And then I came across this news item on CNBC:
If a provision in the House-passed tax bill makes it into the final legislation, owners of boats and recreational vehicles who write off the interest on their loans would lose that deduction.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved by the House last week eliminates the deductibility of mortgage interest on second homes. For RVs and boats that qualify as such — those with a kitchen, bathroom and at least one bunk — owners currently can deduct the interest they pay on financing those assets.
It came as a bit of a surprise to me that my neighbours to the south can write off the interest on their RV loans. At least for now.
Sales in the RV industry are white hot so I’m not sure how much of a dampening effect this might have on the industry. From the RV Industry Association:
The recreation vehicle (RV) industry’s shipments will reach 472,200 units in 2017, the highest annual total since the data has been collected, and a 9.6% increase from the number shipped last calendar year, announced Frank Hugelmeyer, President of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
According to a new forecast presented today by Hugelmeyer at RVIA’s Committee Week luncheon, RV shipments are expected to reach even greater heights in 2018, with wholesale production projected at 487,200 units.
Let’s hope that there will still be some sites available when all of these RVs go looking for a place to camp.
Tanja and Mark decided to retire early. Much, much earlier than me. They decided to retire in their late 30s, early 40s.
Their website, Our Next Life, outlines how they approached their goal. And it looks like they have been successful.
They posted a great article on 10 critical questions to answer before you make the leap to early retirement.
I think most of these questions are relevant regardless of whether you are retiring at age 40 or, in my case, age 61.
I took a bit of a stab at answering the questions. Some I will have to spend a bit more time thinking about before I retire in the next few months.
Q1. How will you support yourself without a job?
In our case, we are well prepared. I have defined benefit pensions, investment accounts and government pensions that should allow us to live very well in our retirement years.
Q2. What is your backup plan for dealing with financial emergencies or hardship?
In our financial plan I have a cash buffer to cover one year of expenses. We have two topped up TFSA accounts which we can use in a pinch. There is enough in there to last us several years. We have a contingency of about 40 percent of our annual retirement income in uncommitted spend in our retirement budget. So no real worries here.
Q3. How will you get health care?
As Canadians, we do have a pretty good health care system. I also have good retirement benefits program from my employer and we will have additional travel insurance for when we head south for the winters.
Q4. How will you keep your body and mind healthy?
I’ll keep riding. Cycling does a lot to keep a body healthy. And I will do more strength and flexibility work in retirement. Lorraine and I plan to be active in terms of walking, hiking and touring. For as long as we can.
Q5. What are you retiring to?
This is the one area where we will have to make sure we put enough structure into our lives. Yes, we will be doing a lot of travel in our coach. But it is important to revisit goals and to make sure that we are keeping very engaged in life.
Q6. What will your living situation be?
We downsized our house but did not buy another property. At least not yet. Our plan is to travel in our coach for the winter and rent during the summer months in Canada. If we get to that point where we want a permanent spot in Canada, we will have lots of time and sufficient financial resources to do so.
Q7. What do you want a day in retirement to look like?
Not sure. I’ll have to give that some more thought.
Q8. What will your social circles and interactions be like?
When traveling in our motorcoach, I have absolutely no worries. We have made so many friends in our travels to date. Our time in Canada may be a bit more of a challenge depending on where we land. Generally though, our involvement in church life provides a lot of social interactions.
Q9. How will you and your partner stay one the same page about money and goals?
We talk about this part of our life constantly. We are ready and anxious to get started. I suppose the real question is what happens after the retirement date has been reached which leads to the final question.
Q10. How will you define yourself and derive self worth post-career?
I see this question a lot and I guess I’m just not that worried about it. I have always had so many interests outside of work that I suspect I may fall into the trap of becoming too busy with too many interests. We’ll see. Lorraine has always had a better perspective on what is important about life. She has not been in the career track and she has never defined herself by a job.
All in all, a good set of questions and certainly relevant to our stage of life.
Not sure that I would have been ready to retire in my early 40s like Tanja and Mark.
I know that I am ready to retire now.