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Old 06-18-2009, 03:14 PM
 
45 posts, read 141,632 times
Reputation: 25

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Well, I have to say, this thread has given me the warm fuzzies! My husband and I aren't quite ready yet, but in about 5 years that's exactly what we are going to do. We have even thought of working as waiter/waitress at resorts all over the U.S. We have an acre of sand at the foot of the Baja of Mexico and we are planning on living there about 6-7 months of the year and in the U.S. the rest of the time.

So on to another subject - I would like to get a vote - 5th wheel or trailer? I am leaning toward a 5th wheel if I am going to be driving and I hope I will, I wouldn't want my SDB to do all the driving.

And to add - I'm glad my husband and I both like the same things...I can't imagine being with someone who doesn't like what I like - and what I like is him and he likes me. That's the best way.
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Monroe, Louisiana
887 posts, read 2,614,193 times
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Haha. My wife can't stand the site of any bugs, grass, dirt, etc. I've tried to take her fishing.. "This is sooo boring.." etc. but whatever, I love her.
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,174 posts, read 16,533,244 times
Reputation: 13380
bajagirl,

My vote would be for a 5th wheel. Smaller trailers have the advantage that they can be towed by smaller tow vehicles, even Suburbans and the like, but when you decide to full-time, it's time to put away the toys and get a tow vehicle suited for your RV -- for a BIG RV. Fifth-wheels are generally larger and have more storage space, pull better, and make for a shorter overall "rig". You'll also have a much larger selection from which to choose, since it's what most full-time RVers want.

Some full-timers prefer the "smaller" 5ers, 30-35 feet, and others insist on the biggest available -- 36-40 feet with lots of slide-outs. In my opinion, the small ones are only good because they'll fit more small forest service and national park sites. We enjoy boondocking, so we'll pick the smallest 5er that fits us, but that'll be in the neighborhood of 36 feet. Our current home is downsized from when we had kids, but even it's in the 2,000 sq. ft. range, and the biggest camper allowed on the highways is only 400 sq. ft. No matter how large you go, you're going to be squished. We don't want to over-do it to the point where we're wanting a house again.

Big 5ers also need big towing rigs. I'm thinking F450 4x4, but I don't plan to decide until we have the camper we want. Some get by with 3/4-ton pickups, some go for the retired big rig Volvos, and most get something in between. There's lots to decide, but we'll definitely choose some kind of 5th wheel.
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Cambridge, Nebraska
137 posts, read 543,971 times
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Hitting the road full time sounds great to a lot of folks... until they hit the road full time. My wife and I full timed for 5 years and loved it, but I'd say we were not typical full timers, and full timing isn't for everyone.

Our full time life involved maybe 50 days in 5 years in an actual RV park. In each case, we were staying in a park because it was handy to people we were visiting, or we were on the road on our way somewhere and staying in a Wal-Mart parking lot or similar for free didn't sound good. We set up our motorhome (Class A) with solar, and satellite TV and internet and lived like kings off the grid to our way of thinking. We boondocked on national forest and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and followed the rules for how long you can stay in one place. By the way, you can typically stay on federal public lands 2 weeks without having to move... there are exceptions.

Full time RVing isn't necessarily cheap. If you have to work, you will likely need to pay for RV park space rent. When you move, your 1/2 ton pickup will likely get much worse fuel mileage towing a RV. Getting gas, and dealing with dump stations and water fill stations may not be your cup of tea either.

RV parks vary widely in what they offer, cost, and clientelle. Some parks require vehicles not be over a certain age, and others require guests to be above a certain age. Pets are allowed in most parks, so watch your step as our experience found a LOT of pet owners don't clean up after their pets.

Public campgrounds such as state, county, and city parks often have RV hookups, but not always. You may find that your camping trip isn't so fun if you are used to hookups and there are none. Some people never get the hang of conserving their resources so holding tanks fill up in short order or the fresh water tank runs dry faster than necessary.

No matter what RV you get, if you can't change a tire on the rig... get a road service program that will send somebody out to change the flat for you, or tow your vehicle to town if you break down. Traveling through unfamiliar territory and finding needed services can be daunting.

If you just love to visit and meet other people, you will likely find RVing is a good fit for you. RV folks have a wide variety of backrounds and you will have little trouble finding a conversation partner. On the other hand, if you don't like OP (other people) that much, you may not like RV parks too much.

If you think RVing might be right for you, I'd suggest that you take a drive to your local RV park and walk around and see what goes on. Look at how the RVs are connected to water, power, and sewer and decide if you think you can make the necessary connections. Notice how close the units are parked together. I promise that some places are so tightly designed that two side by side RVs can't open their awnings because they are so close together. On the other hand, some RV parks are designed so the campers seem to be a block apart, or have scenic barriers that really make you feel like you are out in the open.

Still think RVing is for you? Rent one! There are RV rental units available in all sizes and shapes for you to get your feet wet without taking the plunge. You can rent a pull behind trailer at many places... I'm not so sure about a 5th wheel. There may be some liability issues with renting a 5er with the hitch mounted in the bed, but if you want to find out, it wouldn't be too tough finding out.

Working on the road... workcamping, is a popular idea for a lot of people. RV parks often look to exchange space rent for help around the park. You have to be careful as some park owners will try and take advantage of you. Some places don't pay cash and only offer space rent for part time work. National parks have some of the best work camping opportunities with space rent and a full time job. We volunteered for BLM and USFS for a couple years, and workcamped two years and did nothing one year. Our workcamping was for a fishing lodge in California. We got free utilities, hookup space, and $12 an hour. I hated it! I didn't like the boss one bit, but the money was pretty good and the camping location was fabulous in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Do a Google or Yahoo search for workcamping, and you will get an idea of the jobs available.

Those are just some of the things that come to mind about full time RVing. My wife and I planned on traveling for 10 years, but after only 5 on the road, we were starting to see public lands become crowded, more and more regulations associated with dispersed camping (boondocking), and we were not interested in staying in RV parks so we found a place like we would camp at and settled back down.

Would I do it again? YES!!! Just don't jump in head first.... you might find the bottom of the full time RVing pool is just under the surface for you.
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Old 06-19-2009, 08:46 AM
 
45 posts, read 141,632 times
Reputation: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by LSU Tiger Z71 View Post
Haha. My wife can't stand the site of any bugs, grass, dirt, etc. I've tried to take her fishing.. "This is sooo boring.." etc. but whatever, I love her.
LSU Tiger - You get a gold star for that one! As a fellow wife to yours may I say, I'm proud of you!

I don't like bugs....love grass.....tolerate dirt (as long as I can wash my hands when we're done). My husband calls me a trooper, I'll do most anything - except I don't handle edges of tall things well. And he does have to tell me to "SHUT UP!"
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Old 06-19-2009, 08:48 AM
 
45 posts, read 141,632 times
Reputation: 25
Off Pavement - Great information! Thanks for taking the time to share.
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:01 AM
 
45 posts, read 141,632 times
Reputation: 25
WyoNewk - Thanks for the advice. It is well taken.

I really prefer a 5th Wheel with bump outs. I get to thinking that all I really need is a bed to sleep in, a place to cook and eat. We hang outside mostly, but sometimes it is nice to get inside - not to mention when you have to get inside because of weather.

I have learned through experience. My husband is living in our tent trailer in Washington...in an RV park. May I say - never try to live in a tent trailer - it is great for a weekend camp trip. It has a bump out and is huge...but it is very small when you are trying to live in it. My husband was considering living out of it in Mexico... um, I don't think so! And I am thankful for this experience so he knows - it is too small to live in! Thank you God!
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Nashville, TN
957 posts, read 3,263,045 times
Reputation: 432
I full-timed in a 40 foot Prevost converted bus for two years. It was a lot of fun, but not as cheap as you may think. I need satellite TV and internet, so those services cost money. Maintenance costs money. Fuel costs money. You can not always find a free parking spot. I owned the bus and the house outright, so not considering house or RV payments, full-timing was cheaper than owning a house, but that's just because the bus didn't require constant maintenance, like production RV's do.

I never had any major mechanical issues with the bus fortunately, but then they are designed for over the road use. I logged just over 100K miles in 4 years (two years casual use and two years full timing) and had nothing but routine maintenance. An average RV is usually pretty well spent at 100K miles and if you haul a large trailer on a regular basis, even a one tone dually will pay the price. As someone else already mentioned, you'll want a well built trailer. Your average RV trailer will fall apart with a lot of road use.

If you're really serious and want to do it right, get a bus or a very well built 5th wheel and a toter rig. It will cost some money, but that's money you will be spending in maintenance on a cheap rig. You'll get your money back on a good quality rig. The money you spend to keep junk running is wasted money.
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Old 06-19-2009, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,425 posts, read 43,547,480 times
Reputation: 10329
Quote:
Originally Posted by Off Pavement View Post
Hitting the road full time sounds great to a lot of folks... until they hit the road full time. My wife and I full timed for 5 years and loved it, but I'd say we were not typical full timers, and full timing isn't for everyone.

Our full time life involved maybe 50 days in 5 years in an actual RV park. In each case, we were staying in a park because it was handy to people we were visiting, or we were on the road on our way somewhere and staying in a Wal-Mart parking lot or similar for free didn't sound good. We set up our motorhome (Class A) with solar, and satellite TV and internet and lived like kings off the grid to our way of thinking. We boondocked on national forest and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and followed the rules for how long you can stay in one place. By the way, you can typically stay on federal public lands 2 weeks without having to move... there are exceptions.

Full time RVing isn't necessarily cheap. If you have to work, you will likely need to pay for RV park space rent. When you move, your 1/2 ton pickup will likely get much worse fuel mileage towing a RV. Getting gas, and dealing with dump stations and water fill stations may not be your cup of tea either.

RV parks vary widely in what they offer, cost, and clientelle. Some parks require vehicles not be over a certain age, and others require guests to be above a certain age. Pets are allowed in most parks, so watch your step as our experience found a LOT of pet owners don't clean up after their pets.

Public campgrounds such as state, county, and city parks often have RV hookups, but not always. You may find that your camping trip isn't so fun if you are used to hookups and there are none. Some people never get the hang of conserving their resources so holding tanks fill up in short order or the fresh water tank runs dry faster than necessary.

No matter what RV you get, if you can't change a tire on the rig... get a road service program that will send somebody out to change the flat for you, or tow your vehicle to town if you break down. Traveling through unfamiliar territory and finding needed services can be daunting.

If you just love to visit and meet other people, you will likely find RVing is a good fit for you. RV folks have a wide variety of backrounds and you will have little trouble finding a conversation partner. On the other hand, if you don't like OP (other people) that much, you may not like RV parks too much.

If you think RVing might be right for you, I'd suggest that you take a drive to your local RV park and walk around and see what goes on. Look at how the RVs are connected to water, power, and sewer and decide if you think you can make the necessary connections. Notice how close the units are parked together. I promise that some places are so tightly designed that two side by side RVs can't open their awnings because they are so close together. On the other hand, some RV parks are designed so the campers seem to be a block apart, or have scenic barriers that really make you feel like you are out in the open.

Still think RVing is for you? Rent one! There are RV rental units available in all sizes and shapes for you to get your feet wet without taking the plunge. You can rent a pull behind trailer at many places... I'm not so sure about a 5th wheel. There may be some liability issues with renting a 5er with the hitch mounted in the bed, but if you want to find out, it wouldn't be too tough finding out.

Working on the road... workcamping, is a popular idea for a lot of people. RV parks often look to exchange space rent for help around the park. You have to be careful as some park owners will try and take advantage of you. Some places don't pay cash and only offer space rent for part time work. National parks have some of the best work camping opportunities with space rent and a full time job. We volunteered for BLM and USFS for a couple years, and workcamped two years and did nothing one year. Our workcamping was for a fishing lodge in California. We got free utilities, hookup space, and $12 an hour. I hated it! I didn't like the boss one bit, but the money was pretty good and the camping location was fabulous in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Do a Google or Yahoo search for workcamping, and you will get an idea of the jobs available.

Those are just some of the things that come to mind about full time RVing. My wife and I planned on traveling for 10 years, but after only 5 on the road, we were starting to see public lands become crowded, more and more regulations associated with dispersed camping (boondocking), and we were not interested in staying in RV parks so we found a place like we would camp at and settled back down.

Would I do it again? YES!!! Just don't jump in head first.... you might find the bottom of the full time RVing pool is just under the surface for you.
Great post. You covered it all. We are full time now too and settled to one RV park. I cant think of anything else to add to what you said.
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