#2 Our Current RV

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How did we choose one from all the options?

Our decisions were a plenty! Do we get a Class A, Class C, travel trailer or 5th wheel? We talked to many RV’ers, went to a lot of RV shows, looked at floor plans and models online and, most importantly, talked to each other. We got the same answer – buying an RV is a personal choice depending on your needs.  Here is the list we used to decide on a 5th wheel:

  1. Cost – we already own a truck for towing – not a double expense for us.
  2. Must feel like home – not a cylindrical living space. 5th wheels just look and feel more like a small sticks and bricks home. Motor homes remind me of a bus.  Not that there’s anything wrong with living on a bus. It’s just not homey to me.
  3. Engine must not be in the home! I know plenty of things can go wrong in a travel trailer or 5th wheel, but I don’t want my house to be in the shop for an oil change.
  4. Towing another vehicle? We are getting older and it is tough enough to drive, maneuver and park without having an extra added vehicle in tow. We would rather tow a 5th wheel and detach the truck to use independently. One disadvantage is losing the truck bed for storage, but we will talk about that later.
  5. Accessibility – we wanted to be able to go anywhere including boon docking off the grid. 30’ is the maximum length for us – now and in the future.

The wisest decision to date was buying a used RV.  Let the research begin!  Although we still went to RV shows, we actually looked to buy at RV dealerships, Craigslist, classified ads, and websites like RV Trader.  We talked to dealers about our truck’s towing capabilities since it has a tow package.  Dealers told us our Toyota Tundra could easily tow up to 10,000 pounds.  They just didn’t tell us how much a hitch would cost with installation as well as air bags.  We found air bags are mandatory and worth the added expense just for the feel and peace of mind.

The worst decision was putting the cart before the horse – literally! We were told we already had part of our package in the bag.  So we shopped…and shopped…and shopped.  Nothing felt like US. We knew what we wanted, how big we were willing to go and the weight we could pull. We went on a road trip one Saturday.  Drove three hours out of our way and hit several dealerships.  We came home exhausted, but I grabbed the iPad and hit Craigslist anyway. “Hey, Honey…did you see this 5th wheel?”  I handed it to him.  He said, “NO – how did you find this?  I never saw this!  It looks great – give them a call right now”.  The private sellers answered and were open to a visit immediately, although they were 30 minutes away. We walked into the 5th wheel and knew this was IT.  Then the hitch had to be bought (used) and installed.  Then we towed our new, used rig for the first time and knew we needed air bags.  Expensive lesson, but we are happy.

So this is the RV we will make all of our mistakes in before buying our retirement/travel America rig.  This is the RV that will decide whether the Kendalls can drop out of society together without killing each other in a confined space forever!  We have a better idea of what our needs and wants will be for our next RV, but that’s a different blog entry.  Let the planning begin!

 

Our First Home On Wheels

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This is our first home on wheels ~ a 2002 Chalet Alpine pop-up trailer.  My husband’s first dream purchased to get us out of a tent and off the ground.

  • Weight (base): 1505 lbs / GVWR 3,000 lbs / Tongue 163 lbs
  • Length: 15′ 6″
  • Dual Dinette for seating and converts to sleep 3 Adults (front bed 40″ x 76” and rear bed 52” x 76”)

The floor plan below illustrates the minimalist’s dream:

alpine floorplan

Not featured above is:

  • Furnace (16k BTU) – came stock in our unit
  • Fan-Tastic fan – saved ourselves many times by sucking hot air out and blowing cool in
  • Shower – There wasn’t one!
  • Toilet – There wasn’t one!  I used a 5 gallon bucket with seat and lid.  It was cautioned-themed  bright yellow with “hazardous” in big letters

 

Interior Shots:

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Full size bed as a dining area (before modification)

 

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Our little kitchen
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The twin bed – converts into dining as in first photo
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The full size bed with John’s modification for extra storage