Since making our big announcement, we have been asked a lot of questions!
Though our answers to many of the questions will likely change once we are on the road and immersed in a lifestyle that is no longer a hypothetical or dream, we thought it would be fun to take a swing at doing a Q&A series. It will be interesting to see how our answers change six months from now!
In this post, we will tackle the nuts and bolts of our rig, truck and travel plans. Let’s dive in!
Q: What are you towing and driving?
A: Rowdy, our rig, is a 2006 Keystone Cougar fifth wheel. It is 32 feet long with one slide-out on the driver’s side.
We couldn’t be happier with our tiny home purchase and though we aren’t typically people who attach to brands, we are feeling some major love for Keystone and will definitely be looking at their rigs first if we ever upgrade. We will go into much greater detail about the layout, tank sizes, all of our camper gear and why we chose this fifth wheel in future posts.
Fun fact: We bought Rowdy before we had a truck to pull it! The owner of the RV lot was incredibly kind. He held Rowdy for us for a few weeks while we secured a spot at our local storage yard, and he delivered it for free when we were ready. Talk about going the extra mile for an excellent customer experience!
We are driving a sweeeeeet 2016 Dodge RAM 2500 Mega Cab with a Cummins diesel engine.
We are frugal people, and trucks of this size are not cheap, so we were determined to wait for a good deal. Our criteria was that it had to be used (but not too used), in good condition, have no history of accidents and have ample interior space for our large family.
We were watching online ads and local dealership updates like hawks and when we saw our truck pop up at our favorite dealership (we bought our minivan from them), we were all over it. Man, did we luck out! Not only did it meet all of our requirements, but it also has heated seats, dual climate control, navigation and a lined bed…all for far less cash than a brand new truck with just a factory package!
Why all of those details? Because we are passionate about a good deal, and are staunch about buying used whenever possible. We have been asked to recommend trucks and rigs to others who are interested in these purchases (kind of funny, since we are newbies) and our only advice at this time is this: Buy used, buy used, buy used. At least for your first go at RV life. There’s so much to learn, and a lot of mistakes to make along the way. Don’t overextend your finances for a camper and truck that you’re learning on. Leave some room to grow.
Q: Do you have experience with RV’s?
A: As avid tent campers, we hadn’t slept in an RV (that we can remember) until we purchased our fifth wheel. We had also never towed a camper, emptied a black tank or purchased RV specific toilet paper. Who knew that was a thing?!
That’s right. We bought Rowdy with zero experience. The good news is that we have spent the last year renovating and traveling on the weekends in our home on wheels, so we’ve become rather intimate with our rig. There have been mishaps and mistakes that have taught us quite a bit.
Tip: Watch out for random telephone poles in dark parking lots!
Tip: Don’t explore BLM land in the middle of the night and nearly slide off a mountain! It’s fine, mom. Everybody is fine.
Contrary to what these confessions might allude to, we aren’t too green to hit the road, but are also very aware that there is still plenty to learn as we navigate new areas. Hooray for learning opportunities!
Q: What if you break down?
A: This is a question that we get a lot, and it always surprises us.
Vehicle issues are not location dependent. Breaking down in Utah (knock on wood, just in case) wouldn’t be much different than breaking down in our hometown. We are insured on both the truck and camper and are members of AAA. We hope that we won’t have issues, and we go to great lengths to maintain our equipment, but life happens and we are prepared for it.
Q: Where will you park?
A: Everywhere! We are starting with RV parks while we make our way up the California coast toward Canada. The reason for this is accessibility to the ocean, and most importantly, so that we can find our rhythm of road life while maintaining some of the comforts of home – running water, electricity, and access to dump stations so that we can empty our tanks.
Once we hit our stride, the goal is to boondock the majority of the time with RV parks being an occasional treat. Boondocking is dry camping, which means that you live with what you have. No potable water and no dump stations. We will rely on our fresh water tank, our batteries and our generator.
The benefits of boondocking are many but the three big draws for us are; access to incredible locations that aren’t possible with RV parks, room to roam (and lots of privacy, peace and quiet to work and rest), and it’s little to no cost to stay for up to 14 days at a time.
Of course, there will be the occasional overnight in a Walmart parking lot and we do hope to take advantage of our membership with Harvest Hosts where we can stay on private properties like vineyards, museum parking lots, farms and more. We might also do a little bit of driveway surfing as well.
If you have any questions that we missed, let us know! In our next post, we will answer your questions about our brick and mortar home, how we can afford the RV lifestyle and much more. We hope to see you back here soon!
And, if you’re the sharing type, we’d really appreciate you helping us spread the word about our blog! We appreciate your readership and are thrilled that you are following along as we set out on this next chapter of life.