Title: The Story of How We Got Here ~
Blog Entry: Hello,  We are Matthew & Sarah Huckabee we went full time July 26, 2014. Our going fulltime happened in a very strange series of events.              First off we are newlyweds! We got married in June, Matthew surprised me with a trip literally A-ROUND Colorado. Now I had never been west of Kansas City, KS although I had dreamed of it for years. I was very excited to say the least. We packed up and left literally hours after the wedding, instead of the next day. We took our time and finally made it across the CO border.              A thunderstorm, well that's what we will call it, kicked up and every radio station was telling us to take cover immediately. So we did what every Missourian would, do we pulled over at a rest stop to watch the storm pass. :)  We had just covered 825 miles in my 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee with no problems whatsoever. Or so we thought. As we pulled out onto the interstate with semis blowing past us and steady rain beating down, the unthinkable happened, my Jeep began to shake making an awful noise. We are pretty handy, so I figured from my experience that my serpentine belt was being chewed up and very soon we would lose all power. We made our way to the closest exit. Mid way down the off ramp we lost all power. No Brakes, No power steering, No lights, Nothing, just both of us holding our breath as we coasted under an awning that had to have been put there by God. Because what are the chances???              I must digress for a moment. We had reservations in Aurora, Colorado and were on our way to make those reservations to spend the night in a hotel there in Aurora. This put a damper on those plans!              W e are sitting in the Jeep under the awning and we are not sure what we should do. We don't even know where we are. We know we have crossed into Colorado but we're not really sure what town we are near. Turns out we were in Burlington, Colorado. We knew this because we were close to an overpass that had in big bold letters, CITY OF BURLINGTON, plastered across it. We googled places to stay and came up with Burlington Comfort Inn. After a short phone call to a very nice lady who told us she would come get us if the police couldn't, we got to ride in a police car to the Hotel. This was my very first ride in a police car ever!!! I was very, what's the word, nervous! This is the part of the story where if we were talking in person my husband would chime in "This is the reason she tells it, she's more animated" :)  There's a long story about the police officer and the ride that we won't get into in this story.              It is now 9:30 at night in lovely Burlington, Colorado and like a lot of travelers we have been eating nothing but junk over the last 825 miles. The only place open is a Denny's about a mile away and it is still raining. We walked to Denny's and chose a booth directly across from 2 TV screens. We were both pretty tired so it took a minute to realize what the newscasters were saying.             Now remember we are supposed to be in Aurora and we would have made it about an hour or two before our stop at Denny's if our Jeep had made it. Their are multiple Newscasters in Aurora standing in front of the same building. They are talking about 7 tornados that touched down or were spotted in Aurora, some causing damage to vehicles and structures. Especially the structure that they are standing in front of, turns out, IT IS OUR HOTEL!!! They are standing in front of the hotel that we had reservations for. We would have been driving into or sitting inside of that hotel at the exact time that the tornados touched down. Still gives me chills when I think about it!              So the next morning we go down to the lobby to see what kind of dealerships are in town, there is not a Chrysler dealer in Burlington. One of hotel staff was very kind and gave us a ride down to a Chevrolet Dealer. They towed our Jeep and determined that it was blown up and might be able to be fixed but would take 4 days to get parts. We started making phone calls as fast as we could. The closest car rental was in Denver 2.5 hours away. The closest U-Haul was in Kansas 2.5 hours away. So we started looking at trucks. We had already decided that when we got home we were going to try to buy a new truck but not as new as we got and a ¾ or 1 ton not a ½ ton for sure. We asked lots of questions and looked for a while on the lot. They had 2 trucks that were even close to what we wanted but no ¾ tons. We had the option of a red loaded 4 door or a blue semi-loaded extended cab that was 2 years newer and much cheaper. We decided a new truck was what we needed to do. We traded our blown up Jeep for about $1,000 less then what we had paid for it the year before and we got a 2011 GMC Sierra extended cab ½ ton with the heavy duty towing upgrade. On down the road we went.             Fast forward about a month. Matthew works for the Railroad and I have prided myself at being a Homesteader. I raised Chickens, Turkeys, & Rabbits for our food and to make a small living from. I also had a milk cow for milk, butter, & cheese, a very large garden, a few fruit trees, some berry bushes, and a start of Mule Foot Pigs. Everything was very good and I absolutely loved growing and raising our food and knowing that I had a sustainable cycle of life on my farm. I also have to mention that we have 2 Horses, & 2 Dogs. Life couldn’t get much better, but it could get worse.             We started to have a problem with our well. Then we got the news that the Railroad is going to implement some better technology and my husband’s job could be gone by 2016. Now they can’t fire him but they can put him on "Reserve" for 75% pay. Sounds good. It is if you can live on 75% of your income. Our farm like I said was very sustainable. Not much money went into it because of the hard work and research I had put it with the help of a lot of other people’s knowledge wisdom that had been shared with me over the last few years.              We decided our best bet is to make as much money as we can in the next 2 years, get our rig and our truck paid off and then we could live on 75%. Matthew put in for a few different temporary transfers and we got the call on a Monday that we had been picked for Pueblo, Colorado. Normally when you go on these temporary transfers you get 2 weeks to 2 months to show up at the new location. He had put in for the temporary transfers about a week before we got the call so we had been looking at Travel Trailers and Fifth Wheels for about a week. We had a 28 foot Travel Trailer and had done this once before when we had first got together so we kind of had an idea of what we wanted.             When we got the call that we had been picked for Pueblo, Colorado that Monday, we were told that we would have 5 days to report out there. Never has it ever been that short of a time. I got to work. I sold literally all of my livestock and setup in 3 days. I moved my horses to a friend’s field, and sold everything else. It was very hard for me to do but this has been my Husband’s dream for years and I really wanted to help make his dreams come true. I made enough money to put a down payment on the Fifth Wheel we have now.             To say that we put buying our Fifth Wheel on fast track is an understatement! We looked and we looked and we read and we researched and we talked and we called and we cried and we laughed and we finally made our way to Springfield, MO to a Heartland Dealer. That's where the story gets even more interesting.             We went into this dealership thinking we were going to buy a travel trailer come hell or high water that day! I had the one I wanted picked out and they had it! It had everything we wanted even the artic package, or so we thought. We looked at it one more time and like any good country girl I got on my knees and looked under the rig for the first time. I had looked at this same model at two different dealerships days before and had took their word on what the Trailer was equipped with. It did not have a heated and enclosed underbelly it didn’t even have heated tanks. It was 100% exposed to the elements in every way you can imagine! This is where I do not understand RV manufacturers! This specific model had not one, but two electric fireplaces, one in the living area and one in the bedroom. Why on earth would it not have an artic package? It also had the standard propane furnace. If you need a propane furnace and two electric fire places I’m pretty sure you’re not going to be staying in Key West! It’s just silly!             Anyway, here I am feeling defeated and the guy, I should say kid, is telling us sorry they didn’t have what we wanted and blah, blah, blah. As we are listening and talking to him I decide to check out their website, which sucks by the way, on my smart phone. Low and behold there is a ½ ton towable fifth wheel on their lot for much less than the Travel Trailer we were heartbroken about and it says it has a dry weight of 7500 pounds. Me being me, I say "What about this one?" He didn’t realize they had that one and looks at his list, which hasn’t been updated, and says yeah we have that trailer, let’s go look at it. I fell in love with that trailer it was affordable, very pretty, & bigger then what we had thought we could have. We tell him we want it, we go in and start filling out paperwork. We were there for a good 30 minutes before his manager stopped by and asked to speak with him. Turns out the trailer had already been SOLD. I was devastated and kind of pissed! I just stood up and started to walk out when he says, "let me try one more thing." He leaves, comes back in and says what if I can get you a better quality fifth wheel for about less than the travel trailer we looked at? We were ready to leave but we stayed and said show us.             That’s when we met our Sundance. Rated to be ½ ton towable with an 8500 pound dry weight it is under our tow capacity and is GORGEOUS!! When we walked in it I turned around and told the guy that there was no way his manager would be able to sell this rig for what we could afford. Turns out I was wrong! Because they tried to sell us a rig that had already been sold and because of our pressing situation, sure right, they would WHOLESALE this 2015 Sundance Heartland 285ts to US! The next day we were back to pick her up.              We ended up being a day late to report, but all was well. We found a cute family owned campground called Indian Springs Ranch and Campground between Penrose and Canon City, Colorado and we have been here for a little over a month now. We plan to change campgrounds soon. Being on temporary transfer we have to stay close to Pueblo and we don’t ever know how long we will be here. If and when we get released we will move on to the next temporary transfer and so on and so forth and if we can stay at it till 2016 we will be out of debt and ready for a real Full-Timer’s Lifestyle.             Well that’s our story. I hope you enjoyed it and didn’t get lost in my rambling.  Until Next Time,   Sarah Huckabee