It's a couple of hours away from us, but this weekend is another Camper & RV show that I think we can go to! My husband only has 1 night (he works midnight-8 a.m...or 9:00, or 10:00...) off out of the next 10, but he said we can go. (Click on the title above to go to the information page for this show.)
This has been a rough weekend for us, our 14YO dog is failing fast. I am frankly surprised she is still with us...she has an appointment with the vet at 3:00, and I know in my heart that she won't be coming home. This, plus some other things that are going on, and I am really ready for a "date" like this with my husband...what a perfect date this will be for us!
And I will be excited to come home and share with you what we saw as well, though we're not ready to buy anything until next year - depending on God's plan and how He provides - it is so much fun to look and talk about right now :). Besides, a big purchase like this one requires lots of research, right? ;)
Our first RV won't be new anyway, according to what I'm thinking now at least. I would like us to buy a used one to try out for a couple of years before The Big Day, so that we have a better idea of the features, layout, etc. that are most important to us in actual living; only then will I feel comfortable with the big purchase of a brand-new model for full-timing.
Anyway - really looking forward to a much-needed fun day with my husband later this week!
I really love the Class C motor homes. Don't know why, but I am drawn to them whenever I watch videos or look at websites. I just keep thinking a travel trailer would be more practical...but I can't help loving the Class C's!
This is one that would be great for us, with a couple of exceptions, all in the kitchen: I want chairs instead of a booth, an oven, and a pull-out spice rack. I mentioned all of these in a previous blog post, so I will say no more about them now. But by pulling out those bunks, I'd easily have space for a few bird cages, elevated on stands or chains, with dog/cat crates beneath. Perfect space for those, with the windows, and close to the living area.
We - ALL of us - could be pretty comfortable in this one.
(Reminder that we're not looking at prices, brands, etc in these early days - just looking at features right now.)
I am passionate about cooking, and am learning to enjoy baking as well. As I read this post, How To Plan Meals For a Camping or TV Trip
, I started thinking more about what day-to-day life will be like without my fully stocked kitchen, full of gadgets and cupboards packed with ingredients and counter space for creating and kneading and mixing.
First I want to mention that this is speculation, given that we aren't actually living Vita In Via (life on the road) yet. Camping is easy, for a limited time we can manage just fine. Full-timing will be different, I'm sure, even though we haven't done it yet I can still somewhat imagine how different it will be. And I won't know for sure until we're actually doing it. All I can do it try to plan the best way I can, and then be flexible when the time comes.
Second, we have lived a low carb lifestyle for 8 years. Our pantry won't be full of pasta dinner kits, no pot pies in the freezer...we don't eat packaged food very much (exception being the occasional frozen pizza - a weakness of ours!), and I cook from scratch. However, this is also a good thing, not only for our health, but also because there are a whole lot of foods that we don't have to make space to carry: canned soups, breakfast cereals, frozen dinners, loaves of bread, crackers, cookies, cake mixes, etc. And because we eat mainly fresh, a lot of our food doesn't have to be stored at all! Farmer's markets, roadside stands, produce markets, butcher shops all carry the fresh meats and produce that we live on, and buying just a few days' worth at a time means no long-term storage space for the majority or our groceries! These will take up fridge space along with our eggs, butter, cream, and cheeses.
Baking supplies will be the main storage issue, I believe. And baking is a bit more interesting when it's low carb. I don't just have a bag of flour and a bag of sugar and a few spices in my cupboard. I need a combination of flours (almond, coconut, gluten, fibers, protein isolates, etc.) to achieve good results. I anticipate that these will take up a good portion of our cupboard space, along with other baking ingredients (baking powder/soda, sweeteners, extracts, etc.) and spices.
Counter space is at a premium in these travel trailers. I can certainly use the kitchen table as a workspace, which will help somewhat. And I will have to be training myself to clean up as I go, as well, since I won't have 5' of spare counter space and a huge kitchen sink to stow my dishes until I'm done. That is something I can start working on now, developing this habit.
Cupboard space is also limited, so I don't know that I'll have every different type and size of bowl or utensil or baking pan available to me; where would I keep them all? Now, I can use a dozen different items in just creating a single meal. In a TT I'm wondering how much space I'll have for these?
And this brings me to another feature that I see as almost a necessity: a pull-out pantry (or 2!). I can't imagine, when I'm in the midst of a project, having to drag out everything from a shelf and find a place to set it, so that I can get to something I need way in the back! Ugh!
One good thing: GRILLING! Grilled meats and vegetables, and even baked goods such as flat breads, will be done outside. My husband is an expert on the grill, and the ability to grill many of our meals will definitely be a godsend!
For budgeting purposes, I will have to shop differently as well. I stock up on meats and frozen vegetables now, filling my freezer so that I can "shop" daily from my stock for that day's meals. The more often I go shopping, the more I spend. Typically if I go to the store just for 3 items that I need, I come out with about 20 items. And my grocery budget goes to the dogs. Since I won't be shopping the same way, this is a problem I will have to work on!
If you are interested, I have found a couple of video resources for cooking in an RV:The RV Cooking Show
is put out by Evanne; she and her hubby also blog about full-timing for younger RVers.
George Murphy is the RV Chef
. I haven't watched many of his videos yet but like what I've seen!
There are also numerous single videos that some RVers post, as well as numerous blog posts. I'm making my way through them as I have the time, trying to learn all I can from those who already have the experience I lack.
Food is my passion. Shopping, creating, cooking, feeding people - I love it all! And definitely this is something that I will need to accommodate when we purchase our RV home when the time comes. So it's something that I'm already thinking about (one of the many things!) and planning for.
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1Cor.10:31
You know, I realized I say "I" when talking about our future plans, even though the plans are for both my husband and I. The reason for this is that he doesn't really get excited or too involved in early planning stages of most things. Not that he isn't looking forward to it, but for right now he still goes to work at midnight, comes home by mid-morning, sleeps, and does it over and over again. Meanwhile, I've always been the investigator, the researcher, and the planner. He will always talk about it with me and let me dream/plan out loud even though he's not a dreamer (he's the opposite in fact!), and when there are things to be done - physical things - he is right there and ready to jump in and get 'er done. But in early stages of any project, that's my thing :).
Also wanted to mention something I've neglected writing about so far: I'm also researching solar power for our eventual rig. That's been important to me almost since the beginning of our discussions. I am not an environmentalist, haven't gone "green" - unless it involves the green in my wallet :). But I don't want to be dependent on electric hookups, or a noisy generator. So from the early stages of choosing our travel trailer or motorhome, that will be foremost in my mind.
I don't know ANYTHING about solar except what I've read and seen in videos online. I don't understand electricity or anything else but my husband does, and also how solar power works, so that's one of the things that he will be involved with, when the time comes.
Speaking of "when the time comes"...we don't currently have an RV. We have used a travel trailer, but don't own one. And we won't be buying one this year. We don't pay interest to others; we save for what we want rather than use credit and end up paying way more in the end...this year we will have saved enough for a (used, newer) full-sized van, and will have in mind when we buy it that it will, if all goes as planned, next year be pulling a smaller travel trailer, in which we will be spending as much time as possible. It will be our "practice trailer"; we don't plan to buy our full-time RV until we sell our home...and we don't plan to sell our home until the real estate market improves. (The possibility exists to rent it, if things come together before that, and use the "practice trailer" for a while longer - something we will have in mind when we buy it.)
The last couple of days have been really busy, so I haven't had a lot of time to spend online, researching and dreaming. But I want to start sharing some of my favorite floor plans and photos here as well, as I run across them. So lots more to come! :)
I spend a lot of time looking at RVs these days. At this point I'm not looking at prices or locations, just looking at floor plans and features. We're pretty sure we're not going to get a 5th wheel, the main reason being when we're traveling we will need to move parrot cages, dogs, and cat to our vehicle. A pickup truck cab just isn't big enough for that. And a truck camper, well...way too small - although they're MUCH nicer than they used to be! A class A motor home is overkill, and we don't want something huge, just big enough; I haven't seen a smaller class A that I love yet. Class B's have an unacceptable space-to-price ratio; heck, they just don't have enough space for our needs.
So I'm mostly looking at class C's and travel trailers.
Besides our own wish list of features, I am also considering our pets. I'm guessing by the time we go, we will be down to 3-4 parrots (several of our current 7 are elderly), 2 small dogs (one of our 3 is elderly), and the cat. In a motor coach, an ideal spot for bird cages would be in a bunk over the cab so there would also have to be a separate bedroom for us to sleep. If a travel trailer, a 2-bunk area would be a great spot to keep our cages - birds on top, dogs and cat on the bottom. (A toy hauler isn't out of the question to modify for cages/supplies either!) These are my considerations for our pets.
The class C's are nice because they aren't too big, and we all (people & critters) will be able to travel in comfort. That's the biggest advantage. But we'd need a toad; Pete and I are both big day trip people, and we would have to be able to get around wherever we are, and we wouldn't want to pack everything up every day that we want to go somewhere. I've seen some good workable class C floor plans that would accommodate our needs.
The travel trailers are nice for the reason I just mentioned: we need another vehicle to go places. That vehicle would most likely be a van, so that it can carry the travel cages when we're on the move. Which means 2 sets of cages for the birds; we could move the dogs' and cat's back and forth. But just one more thing to do when we move. OTOH, every time I see one with the bunks I realize how perfect that area would be for pets. And I also prefer the feel of a travel trailer inside.
As far as hauling a car with a motor home vs. hauling a travel trailer with a van, I don't know which would be more economical and which would be easier/more stable on the road. Those are things I still need to learn.
As far as features: I love to cook and bake, so while I understand a full-size kitchen is out of the question, I do want to have at least a little bit of counter space and a "real" oven. I also don't like the booth-type kitchen tables, whether they are U-shaped or not. I'd prefer a couple of swivel chairs with the kitchen table between. (I'm guessing we could modify?) I also don't care about having a couch, but would prefer chairs - preferably recliners. In a travel trailer, we could maybe have both, but if I have to choose, I'll take chairs over a couch. A decent-sized shower is another must-have feature; when I'm showering I want to be able to move, not bump into the walls or stick to the shower curtain every time I raise my arms. And we will need space for keyboards. I plan to only have 1 by that time, and Pete will probably have 1, plus he has a QChord...so we need a place to store these, and to play music. We have a music room in our home but our living room will have to double as a music room when we're on the road.
Internet is an absolute must. Whether we have a satellite or an unlimited air card or whatever...we have to have reliable internet. Satellite TV is optional, as there is plenty of content on the 'net to watch on our television, connected to a computer or cell phone. But technology will continue to evolve in the next few years, so this isn't something I will worry too much about right now.
As for the size, at the only camper show we've attended so far we decided that something in the 28-32' range would suit us well. It would depend more on how the space is laid out than on how much actual space there is. A 32' travel trailer feels really big; a 28' class C feels kind of tight. Slides make a BIG difference also - a travel trailer with slides can feel really spacious and homey!
Gas vs. deisel (class C)? No clue, haven't looked into it that much.
This describes the very early stages of what we like now. That may change in the next few years, with more experience on the road and with possibly different circumstances, but we have to start somewhere! :)