The first hurdle to ‘chucking it all’ was selling our house. Our homeowner’s insurance website updated the value of our house monthly. So we had an idea how much to list for. Dianna (the Real Estate agent who sold us the house) had become a friend and still lived in the country club. We sought her out for advice. Houses were selling and our asking price was comparable. We listed (with Dianna of course) our home mid-January; had an acceptable offer by the 3rd week of February and closed 30 days later. It was faster and easier than we dared hope.
Unknown to us when we listed, we would have less than 60 days to un-“STUFF” enough to move into an RV (a significantly smaller accommodation). Tilly took on the task of deciding ‘the what & how to get rid of part’ for our joint possessions. She brilliantly de-stuffed us (see “Out of Sight-Out of Mind”).
A major factor in all our decisions was the type and size our RV would need to be. The number of available accommodations in RV parks and other campsites declines significantly with every added foot in length. Figuring the best balance between type and size was MY job.
Our RVing experience was limited to a couple of summers plus a few weeks in both a VW Westfalia and our existing Ford F150 & 24’ 5th wheel combination. We had already worked out the kinks of hauling our kayaks (on a custom designed & built for 5th wheels rack for the truck built by U.S. Rack – https://www.usrack.com/responsive/fifth-wheel-truck-rack.php .
Why not keep our existing set-up? There were two problems…
1 – The trailer, while comfortable enough for a long holiday, was not large enough to accommodate full time living – the bathroom as small as any airliner’s toilet and the shower stall seemed made for a anorexic midget. The couch and dinette were so close that whenever one of us wanted to move it was an exercise in contortion.
2 – Our truck while having a large engine, was not otherwise up to towing a larger/heavier 5W. It was already was at the upper end its towing capability.
No matter what, for full-time RV living we would have to sell or trade in our truck and trailer and buy a larger RV with more storage. The choices for RV living are widespread … ranging from Class A – bus type motor homes, Class B – camper type vans, Class C – a cross between the camper type van and bus type, cabover campers on pickup trucks, bumper pull travel trailers to 5th wheel travel trailers.
We decided to visit local RV dealerships to help clarify which type(s) would meet our desires and needs. Visiting an RV dealership is almost a survival of the fittest scenario. It feels almost like smearing your body with chum and diving into the ocean. You are set upon by a trio (the salesman, his buddy and usually the general manger) of desperately hungry sharks – one nudges and bumps while the other two circle keeping you off guard, to wear you out enough for the kill (SALE contracts)… while the lesser sharks (other salespeople) circle out of range just in case.
Our “24 HOUR RULE” saved us more than once as we were driven to the verge of desperation into potentially buying something we were not sure we wanted.
Class B was too small for living full time. But each of the other categories had both positive and negative considerations. Choosing the best RV for us was going to be based on our ideas about which type would most meet what we needed (space for living full time) & wanted ( freedom and flexibility to travel out of the way places i.e.- the boonies).
Our decision was helped by a couple of emails from our friends J and N (perennial snow birders & boon dockers). We had told them of our idea/decision to go full time and our dilemma of which type of RV. They shared details of their search to upgrade their existing rig (cabover and diesel truck) to a 27′ 5W trailer. J has a wealth of experience and knowledge about RV’s and boon docking. So any decision or recommendation he makes is well worth consideration.
We were already experienced with living in a 5W. If we replaced the truck, our current 5W would suffice until we could find a 27′ or slightly larger 5W. It made the most sense to follow that course.
So began the search for a new truck. Last year while towing our 5W down from BC to California via Wyoming and Utah, I had watched enviously as diesel trucks (pulling bigger 5Ws than ours) chugged past while we crawled up hills. I knew zip about diesels… J again came to my rescue. Based on his advice supplemented by my own research of towing and diesel truck forums, I began the search for a Dodge Ram 2500 (judged to be the one of the top choices for towing 5W trailers). In the 2003-2005 models, Cummins diesel engines are STILL considered to be some of the best.
All I had to do was to find that make, model, and year, in good shape and with low mileage AND then a larger 5W trailer. How hard could that be?