Whether or not you are financially able is really dependent on the lifestyle you live and if you would maintain it. If you are willing, you can cut your expenses back to the extreme - boondock a lot, get an RV that uses less gas, don't eat out. Or you can go to the other extreme - stay in RV resorts, eat out every night, buy the biggest gas guzzling vehicle you can find.
Figure out what your base expenses will be, regardless of whether you are traveling: health and auto insurance, cell phones if needed, food, etc. Will your money last? Now figure out how much traveling will cost: gas, campsites, maintenance, etc. Inflate those numbers a lot to see where you end up. Our low end budget is $36K a year. Our high end, no expenses barred, budget is $61K a year. We figure, for us, it will fall somewhere in between. If it gets too expensive, we will camp host.
DH and I are 46. I retire next month and he retires in January. We will then hit the road. Our finances look similar to yours in three years but we have a lot longer before SS so a greater chance to blow through our money. But, I don't want to be old and sitting in a chair saying, "I wish we had done it." You only get one shot at life.
Get a camera with as many mega-pixels as you can afford.
This is only true if you want really big images. The pixel count has no relation to the quality of the image, only the size of the image and in fact, can have the opposite effect.
If you are going with the canon line of DSLRs, try the 70-300 IS for a zoom. It is a little slow but the results are good. I can hand hold down to 1/60 sec. and get sharp results. The Tamron 28-75 2.8 is a good walking around lens and gives you a faster aperture.
http://www.fredmiranda.com/ is a great place to check lens and camera reviews.
This weekend we are going to a VA state park. The campground is completely booked. It is about 2.5 hours away, so we will be taking off work early in hopes that we arrive before the majority of people so we can select a decent site. I hate playing campground roulette. The last time I arrived at a VA state park on a Friday, there were five other campers circling the campground looking for a site. It became a race to find available sites. And people were taking the wrong types of sites, apparent due to them moving and circling again after visiting the registration desk.
We are also planning to be in Alaska next summer. We hope to cross near Vancouver around May 15 and cross back near Glacier National Park around August 31. We plan on boondocking as much as possible. Due to our different timing, we may not be able to caravan with you, but maybe we will run into each other a time or two.
Check out Keystone's Outback and Sprinter lines. Or Arctic Fox. We use a drop shank and haven't encountered any problems yet. The shower in our 27rlss is pretty large, for a tt. Our previous tt was a Jayco Jayflight. We had to flip the axles to get it riding higher.
We were in that site last weekend. I love Assateague and would take you up on the offer if it was later in the year (july or August). I'm sorry about your illness and I hope for best for you. If you can't get reservations later in the year when you are better, I have H10 for a weekend in October that you are welcome to use.
In Maryland they will be out in the next two weeks.
If you're in an area with new development (less than 17 years old), it's not much of a problem. The older the area, the worse they are. We get them pretty bad but they really don't bother me. Much better than mosquitoes and ticks, that's for sure. Around here (DC area) brood X is a lot worse.
The Fort McHenry Tunnel (95) has the same restrictions as the Baltimore Tunnel (895):
"Vehicles carrying bottled propane gas in excess of 10 pounds per container (maximum of 10 containers), bulk gasoline, explosives, significant amounts of radioactive materials, and other hazardous materials are prohibited from using both the Fort McHenry and Baltimore Harbor Tunnels. For additional information regarding these restrictions, please call 410-537-1374."
The easiest way around is 695E to the Key Bridge. It is a toll bridge.
The best bridge is the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. It will also help you avoid the CT traffic and all the parkways in the south end. It is farther but sometimes actually faster. Definitely less stressful.
The second best is the Tappan Zee. You will run into traffic but, if you time it right, it might not be too bad.
I have always avoided the GWB, even when I lived in the area. The bridge and the Hen Hud Parkway are the absolute worst. Hen Hud used to have potholes that swallowed cars. As far as I know though, no trailers on the parkways of NY anyway.
My DH is also a LEO. Over the last two years, we have stayed at rest areas in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Iowa, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. We have never had a problem, never been asked to leave.
When we first started rving, we tried truck stops. The noise was overwhelming, way worse than any rest area we have stayed at. We tried a Walmart once but there were about 10 rvs in the lot and quite a few had generators (construction) running, grills out, and patio furniture. I thought it was a party (we found a quiet rest area about 10 miles down the road).
We love rest areas and welcome centers. We scout them out on our route beforehand and get a general idea of how large they are, how busy they are, what rules they have in place, and the security they offer. We have never felt in danger or feared for our stuff and usually have a very good night sleep.
If you put 400 lbs of stuff in the bed of your truck, it counts as 400 lbs against the payload. If you put 400 lbs of stuff in your tt, it counts as up to 60 lbs. against your payload. The smart move is to put it in the tt. But, 400 lbs adds up fast so take care how much you load in the tt.
For me, pillows, blankets, clothes and food definitely go in the tt. It is easier to load it in the right place at home than to have to worry about it when you get to the campsite. But, we leave our tt stocked during the season and only replace what we use as we go. Leaves less work and more time to enjoy.
When we first started camping, our dog panicked when alone in the tt and would bark. We knew this because we tested her by getting in the truck and driving away and then coming back on foot. We solved this by not leaving her alone in tt until she felt it was her space. We also worked on getting her less afraid of the situation by shutting her in the tt with us just outside for longer and longer periods of time.
Now she is sure it is her space and, being a small dog, has the need to protect it. To solve this, when on electric hookups, we leave the a/c fan on or the tv on and close all the blinds. She can't see out and has noise to cover up anything going on in the campground. When not on electric, if it is hot, we will not leave her alone. If it is too hot for us, it is too hot for her and we all go in the truck.
Bill and El used to fulltime on their c-dory. They took it all over the country, camping in it on land and water. We used ours for weekends and vacations, spending up to 10 days at a time in it. We plan on fulltiming in a land rv for a couple of years, then we want to switch to a sea rv for a couple of years. Towing a boat around is much easier than towing a tt or 5er and you can greatly increase your places to camp. As long as you can get around the lack of storage, it's a great way to see the country.
A couple of years ago we were heading back to MD area from Glacier National Park and stopped at Mirror Lake State Park for a couple of days to layover. We really liked the park - the site we got was huge and had electric hookups.
We are in our mid-40's, no kids. We enjoyed walking around the town and checking things out. We got some great cheese, had a couple of decent meals, and did some window shopping.
We wanted to do a boat tour or a canyon tour but, since we hadn't planned on being there, we had no reservations and everything was booked. We will probably end up back there again. It is kitschy enough to be amusing and not as crowded as Gatlinburg.
We picked up plastic 'wrapping paper' storage containers at Walmart at an after christmas sale. Perfect size for our tt as it allows room on both sides for other things. Underbed storage containers are also great to use. We also use the wrapping paper containers in the storage under the dinette. Saves me from having to mess with the seats to get to stuff.
We retire in January and will be hitting the road for two years by RV. Then we will spend a year doing the great loop on a boat. We have been rv traveling for two years now; we boat traveled for two years before that (vacations and weekends for both). We had the benefit of living on the chesapeake bay and having a boat small enough that it could be towed to places like the keys and the outer banks.
Honestly, there is a much smaller learning curve to an RV than there is to a boat. You already know how to drive and you know the rules of the road. For a boat, you will need to learn navigation, tides, docking, and driving. And that is just a power boat - a sailboat takes even more learning (wind, sails, tacking, etc.).
You might try renting an RV for a week or two, then doing a bareboat charter or something similar for a week or two. Both will give you an idea of what is in store and will give you a taste of the different types of living.
We stayed in site 18; absolutely loved it. But we were the only ones in the park (it was late March). It might get a little crowded if all the campsites are full and a little more difficult to maneuver around. You should fit in that site with plenty of room for the truck. It is right on the stream.
"The motor powered awnings and awning motor service kits were manufactured between February 13, 2013 and April 9, 2013."
If your trailer or your awning is not just off the line, I really don't think you have to worry. My 2013 was manufactured August 2012. I'm in the clear.