Our Journey From Dreamers to Full-Timers: The Dream Becomes Reality

By:  Kelly Barnett

11th Nov, 16

In September 2009 Michael was transferred from his duty station in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, to Montgomery, Alabama.

We sold our home in Wisconsin and rented an apartment in Alabama knowing that retirement was now just three years away and our dream of living full-time in an RV was getting closer and closer. No use in buying a home if we intended on buying and RV and living in it.

All those years of attending RV shows gave us a lot of ideas of what we wanted and didn't want in an RV.

Narrowing Down Our Options

We always thought we didn't want a fireplace, but then one salesman explained to us that since the fireplace used electric and most of your campsites provided electric it was cheaper to heat your RV using the fireplace than turning on the propane furnace (additional expense).

We knew that we wanted a fifth wheel, but we also knew that it had to meet certain criteria. High on that list of criteria was that the refrigerator, bathroom and bed needed to be accessible when all the slides were in.

In late 2007/early 2008 we attended an RV show and found a brand we fell in love with…Heartland RVs. Heartland was relatively new but we found that their product (Landmark) was built well, used quality cabinetry (they had a cinder block in one of the drawers to show how sturdy they were), were affordable and the décor was to our liking.

From that point on we knew we would eventually buy a Heartland Landmark. We didn't know what floorplan or any other specifics as we had several years yet before our dream would be fulfilled.

Fast forward to October 2010. Retirement was now just under two years away and it was finally time for us to start shopping for our new home!

Landmark 365

There were several options in Landmark floorplans at the time and we scoured over the literature deciding what floorplans we liked and those that we didn't were crossed off the list.

We went through the list of options choosing those that we wanted on our coach: Yeti package, washer and drawer, generator, heat pumps, bicycle lock, Good Year tires…pretty much every option available…we chose.

However, we still weren't quite sure of which floorplan to go with…but eventually chose the Ontario. On a Friday, we emailed all of the ordering information to the RV dealer we were working with and she responded to let us know that she would forward everything to Heartland on Monday as it was the end of the work day.

On Monday, we received notification from our dealer that the Ontario was no longer being produced. We were so disappointed. We'd debated so long and so hard over which floorplan to go with and now we were back to square one.

The dealer put us in contact with Ron D., a Landmark Regional Sales Manager at Heartland, to see if there were any in stock anywhere…there weren't. After much back and forth Ron sent us a drawing of a new floor plan that would be coming out very soon, the Key Largo. We fell in love with the floor plan!It had so much storage and open space…it was ideal for us!

Love At First Sight

Ron told us that they would have the Key Largo at the Tampa RV Show in January as we didn't want to order our home sight unseen. We made plans to attend the RV show and were pretty certain we'd be ordering our new home there!

We were blessed to meet Ron in person along with Kary K., Jim Beletti, Heartland Owners Club Director, and several other Heartland Owners that were there to volunteer at the show. Even though we did not own a Heartland (yet!) they took us under their wing and introduced us to other members of the "family" and included us in their activities.

We went home with the purchase agreement for our 2011 Heartland Key Largo in hand and had become new members of one of the best "families" out there.

We will forever be grateful to Ron for going above and beyond in helping us fulfill our dream.

Kelly Barnett

Kelly Barnett

RV There Yet Chronicles

My husband, Michael, and I have been living fulltime in our 2011 Landmark Key Largo since April of 2011 and LOVE every minute of it. 

When Michael retired from the US Army in October of 2012 (after 29 years of service) we hit the road and haven’t looked back. 

We usually work in the south Texas oilfields in the winter and spend time with our two sons and their families in the summer. We travel and sight-see as much and often as possible.