The Search Is On

We started the RV search by googling until our eyeballs almost fell out and clicking through a ton of listings on rvtrader.com. We then decided we needed to look at some of these things in person to really get a feel for their size and floor plan. We headed out to La Mesa RV (LMRV) in Mesa, Arizona to check things out. We immediately ran into Bob who was an incredibly knowledgable guide through our next four trips to explore models. In all we made three trips to La Mesa RV, one trip to Glendale to a big RV show put on by the valley LMRV dealerships, two terrible but informational trips to Worldwide RV in Mesa and one incredible trip to Affinity RV in Prescott.

In the beginning we were thinking we wanted to do a custom sprinter van conversion. We both liked the idea of it fitting easily into parking spaces and looking pretty normal on regular city streets. Then we remembered that Rivers owns like 4,000 Hot Wheels cars and there was no way we were going to survive in a footprint that small. Then we moved on to class C options. They seemed really cool and our favorite was the Winnebago View. Those weren’t going to work out because Rivers needs to travel properly restrained in a car seat and they don’t offer that option (legally, anyway). We finally settled on the safest method being a 5th wheel or travel trailer and a truck to tow it. As much as that sounds like narrowing things down, not so much.

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There is an incredible amount of options and choices in the world of towables. We started out looking based on price. The travel trailers (TTs) are much cheaper and in some cases have more spacious floorplans. The interior ceiling height was fairly low, though, which is a problem if your husband is six feet tall. We did entertain the idea of getting a TT for a while and found a ton of models we liked. It was nice to have Bob as our salesman, and once he had the full story of our plans to fulltime in it, he really knew what direction to guide us in. We really liked Bob for his no-bullshit style and the amazing wealth of knowledge he had. He was very honest with us about a few brands that he felt were cheaply made and would not stand up well to full-time occupancy no matter how careful we were.

On trip number two to LMRV Bob showed us a bunch of travel trailers and of course we fell in love with a few. Our original favorite was the Dutchmen Denali 371BH. It had a bunk house for Rivers to have his own space, a bathtub, a kitchen island with lots of storage and nice solid surface countertops. With two opposing slides in the living room and kitchen area, it provided a really open feeling to the space we knew we would spend all our time in. Then Bob wanted to show us some Keystone brand options. Our favorite Keystone TT was the Keystone Outback Ultralite 293UBH. This model was cool because it had three beds in the bunk house and a small dinette. We thought it would be a great space for Riv to color or play with vehicles on the table top. It also had a bathtub, which was an original necessity on my list that I had to give up once I realized how impractical it was. We also noticed during this trip that the TTs didn’t offer much extra storage space. Considering we would be fulltiming, storage was a big necessity. We left that day feeling like we were definitely headed in the right direction of finding the right setup for us.

After looking at so many towable options Ben set out to research towing and the kinds of hitches available for TTs these days. He had memories of traveling with his family when they had a TT they towed to the mountains, and was hoping that time & technology offered a more stable/less swaying option. During his research he became pretty convinced that with as much as we would be moving around during our winter travels he would prefer towing a fifth wheel (5er). We also learned how much more headroom it would offer for him, so we decided to hit up LMRV again.

On our fourth trip to the dealership we found out Bob wasn’t there because he was busy getting things ready for the company’s big RV show they would be hosting that weekend at University of Phoenix Stadium. We were then warned that inventory was low on-site since many of the rigs had already been moved to the stadium in preparation for the show. One of Bob’s colleagues showed us a couple of 5ers they still had and we made plans to hit up the RV show to have a better selection to consider. Since we had a few days before the show we used the LMRV website to look at the brands & layouts we would want to see in person.

Next Post…The Rv Show

 

 

A New Journey Begins

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We are becoming full-time RVers!

“Wait…what?”

That’s a pretty typical response that we’ve received from the few people we have already shared this with. We seem to be greeted with one of two reactions: people either think we’re crazy, or they think our plan is awesome. Many people plan or dream of a lifestyle like this for years, but I can’t say either of us had really put too much thought into it before. We are incredibly excited about this new plan, especially when you consider how quickly it’s fallen into place.

It all started on a Tuesday afternoon at the end of October. We had traveled up to Flagstaff to do some hiking over Ben and Rivers’ fall break. As we hiked along, stopping to take pictures and collect beautiful yellow leaves, Ben posed a question that pretty much came out of nowhere.

What if you could quit your job and we could just travel during the winter?

Obviously that sounded amazing, but how could we afford that? My simple response almost startled Ben.

I’m down. Figure out the details and I’m in.

He said he’d run the numbers before and if we weren’t wasting our money each month paying high rent, outrageous summer power bills, and all of the other house-related expenses it was completely possible on his river guide income alone. This meant we would have to be stationary for the six months out of the year he was running his river season, but that we could spend the other six months traveling anywhere we wanted. We chatted though scenarios and options for the rest of the hike. By the time we got back to the car and the cell service, we were both googling RV types and prices.

A mere six weeks after Ben asked me that random question on a hike we owned both an RV and a truck to tow it with. Six weeks. We really are crazy and apparently efficient! I will share more about the research and buying process in the next few posts.

 

 

 

 

Last Trip of the Season

Every season I look forward to the last trip of the season. I love that my husband loves his job. I love my husband’s job. I just don’t love how much of Riv’s life Ben has missed.

This season has been the hardest one ever. They are always hard for me because my anxiety intensifies and depression creeps in due to the loneliness. This season I haven’t been lonely, but truly overwhelmed. I have mentioned to more than one person that somehow in the planning of our family I “forgot” how much I would be on my own with our baby. I was quite simply just overjoyed & excited about the concept to the point that I never stopped to think how hard it would be.

It was no big deal over summer when I had all day at home with Riv to get just one load of diaper laundry done. Balancing work & Riv & diaper laundry & showers & teacher clothes laundry & work meetings & nap schedules & sleep for myself… I just haven’t figured out how to balance it all.

To be honest, I wouldn’t be functioning on the level that I currently am without my mom. She has been a lifesaver in all of this craziness for us. We are truly lucky to have her taking care of Riv during the day while I am at work. He loves her so much and I love to see his face light up & hear his excited squeal every time she comes to our house.

Ben will be calling me tomorrow as his last trip of the season ends at Lake Mead.

He will take his last ride of the season in the semi back to the warehouse.

He will pack away his gear after the last trip of the season.

Then he will come home to his family. ❤