What’s your RV Name?

You’re driving along and as you are passing or behind an RV, whether it be a motorhome, 5th wheel or travel trailer, you might notice it has a decal showing a funny name or catchy phrase with some funny looking social media icons under it.  You wonder, ‘hmmm, I thought only boats and ships are named’.

At sea, naming vessels was a way to communicate with each other.  This was done way before radio communication even existed.  It was a misnomer for a sailor (or pirate!!) to put his long glass up to his eye and read the name of a ship on her stern to determine whether it’s friend or foe.  Tradition has carried itself through centuries to modern day.  Seagoing vessels were typically named after important females; either historical or personal, hence why they are referred to as ‘she’.  

Well, seemingly, the tradition has gone hard aground and traipsed over to the RV community…

Today, it’s common to drive into a campground or RV park to see what some RV’s and Campers are named.  Some names are personified like ‘Rosie’ or ‘Georgie’ however, some have really catchy titles or phrases…like ours…Always On Liberty!  And yes, we have those funny looking social media icons under it too!

Originally, when we first started our RV endeavors, we were dry-docked at a local state park campground waiting for our home to sell.  We moved all of what belongings we wished to stow into our RV.  There were many a campfire when Captain Dan and I would chat over a bourbon on the rocks or a glass of vino.  One of the topics was, especially both of us coming from maritime backgrounds, ‘what were we to name OUR land yacht’?

It didn’t take long for ‘Liberty’ to come rolling off our tongues like mermaids singing.  It sounded cool and hip…liberating, actually.  It’s another word for freedom and that’s exactly what we were about to embark on.  So, instantly, our ‘then’ Heartland Cyclone Toyhauler took on the persona of Lady Liberty…but not in the same fashion as the tall green lady in New York Harbor.  Our ‘Liberty’ was personal.  She was now our new life blood.  In the Maritimes, ships were identified as M/V meaning ‘motor vessel’ or S/V meaning ‘sailing vessel’, so, we deamed our land yacht “RV Liberty”…RV meaning ‘road vessel’.  We were excited and eager to set up our Facebook page and blog and away we went.  We finally had our road name and now our identity.


We quickly learned ‘RV Liberty’ dot com website was taken by *gasp*…ANOTHER ‘supposed’ RVer, even though our RV Liberty Facebook page was already set up and we were stylin’ with the big boys and girls in them big boxy homes on wheels with their own cool names.  We were perplexed what to do next.  I mean, we were already known however, we were like a ship out of water without a paddle.  Back to more campfires.  More bourbon on ice.  More vino.  And then it hit us!  

‘Always On Liberty’ *mermaids singing*

…because we ARE always on liberty.  See, in the Coast Guard and the Navy, ‘Liberty’ is another word for ‘time off’ aside from taking leave.  Oftentimes, they were for several hours up to a four day weekend.  In our tenures, there always seemed to be a guy who was ‘always on liberty’ and never at work.  We loathed those guys; we so wanted to be them.  So there ya have it, now you know and knowing’s half the…oh, whatever!  It makes for a good belly-up-to-the-bar story at least.

So, let’s fast forward a few years.  We’ve noticed quite a few of our RV friends have their names on the backs of their rigs too!  What’s funny, is we will pass each other on the roads and know exactly who they are.  

In 2016, while we were at Fort Sam Houston Army Post FamCamp in San Antonio, I was trottin’ around the campground (sort of exercising) when I noticed a very familiar ‘blue honey wagon’ (portable crap tank…see picture!) attached to the ladder on the back of a certain 5th wheel.  I kept thinking to myself every time I passed it, ‘I know these people, I’ve seen their photos on social media.  I recognize that Bighorn with that infamous blue crap tank’.  And then it hit me; Emily and Tim Rohrer from OwnLessDoMore whom we’ve connected with vaguely on Facebook.  We instantly got to know each other and that connection grew stronger (something to do with understanding military family life?)  Since that day, we’ve met several times on the road (psssst, they keep following us!!! LOL).  They have somewhat added to their bold “identifier” showcasing their own road name that’s decal’d on their Bighorn’s upper transom.  Oh yes, and that blue shitter tank, is still there but it matches perfectly with their www.OwnLessDoMore.US decal. Oh!  They too have a blog.  Now that we’ve become ‘RV Besties’, I can get away with sharing this story.  Check their daily posts on their OwnLessDoMore.US Facebook page.  They are awesome RV peeps to hang with.  Oh, and she always has wine (or something stronger) for our “RV Sister Time” while we roll our eyes and watch Tim and Captain Dan talk RV tech gibberish over cables, wires, batteries, and…more power.  It’s like we have our own version of Tim the Toolman on Home Improvement.

This past January (2017), we meandered our way over to Quartzsite, Arizona from Yuma for an XScapers Convergence.  So, we pull into what seemingly was a good site on the vast craggy desert.  Low and behold, who did we park near?  Julie and Marc Bennett of RVLove!  I instantly recognized their motorhome.  Up until then, we had only conversed and networked with them also through social media. (Pssssst they’re sort of ‘famous’!)  Anyhow, their road name was beaming from the top of their motorhome windshield.  I won’t share how they decided on their RV road name; that’s their own story but it is quite humorous.  Since meeting at the Q, we’ve become good friends with this Aussie/American couple, helped with a video or two and met a couple times for dinner. Marc and Julie, though on the same time path as ourselves, have been instrumental to our future success as bloggers.  Today, they have their own online RV Success School for those yearning to hit the road as RVers.  Check out their RVLove YouTube Channel.

Just recently, while we were parked at a campground in Elkhart, Indiana, I step out of our truck to do something and I noticed the stern of a gleaming Airstream across the roadway from us.  They too, had a decal on the back of their silver bullet Our Someday Is Now.  Now, I’ve never met these people in my life; in person or online.  I get bold and log onto Facebook liking their page and then messaging them ‘pssssst, we see you…we’re right behind you!’  Quickly, I receive a response back, ‘OMG, it’s Always On Liberty!’  We arranged to meet later that day and instantly became friends.  We invited Nancy and Paul over to relax in our air conditioned Landmark.  Oh and their adorable Corgis, Macy and Jake, stole our hearts! You can keep up with their daily activities on their Facebook page Our Someday Is Now Facebook page.

Lastly, a week ago in Elkhart, Indiana, I was pacing-to-the-80’s (that whole ‘exercising sorta thing’) and stopped dead in my tracks at a particular campsite.  While catching my breath, I stumbled closer to their Nissan SUV because I recognized their road name decals…Drive Dive Devour!  It was just only two weeks prior that I spoke to them on the phone about their visit to Kentucky since we were so familiar with the area (they were organizing an Xscapers convergence).  Again, this fun couple we’ve only corresponded with through Facebook and following their blog. 

Finally, I grab my sweaty nerve up, making myself look a little more presentable, I stuff my stray hairs under my redneck ballcap, push my movie star sunglasses up on the bridge of my nose and courageously knock on their door.  A big bearded dude came to the door and I said, ‘hey Brandon, how’s it going’?  He had NO IDEA giving me the who-the-heck-are-you look until I said “Dude! Always On Liberty?  Lisa?  Dan?”  Becoming instant friends, we had a couple of our own private convergences while they were in town.  

BTW, don’t let Brandon’s size fool ya!  He’s a really nice guy and very knowledgeable about ‘everything RVing’!  And Kerensa is cuter than cute and knows her way around RVing as well!  They have a Facebook following on their page ‘RV to Freedom’ helping young and old learn about RVing and how to live in an RV.

Those are just a few that we’ve met on the road by recognizing their ‘road names’ from their blogs or social media.  It’s awesome putting faces with names and end up sharing our life stories and future plans.  We then become ‘RV Family’. It’s a fun way to identify and be identified on the road, in campsites or on social media.  So, when you get your own RV or camper, what are you going to name her?

Next time you’re rolling down the road or highway and you see our RVs with our road names, look all of us up!  Give us a shoutout on our Instagrams and Facebooks!  We all love hearing from our followers…and fans!  Oh, but please, don’t text and drive.  We can certainly wait to hear from you when you’re high and dry. 

If you are interested in getting your own decals made at great prices, check out these RVers, Mark and Linda Comer, who do this in their own RV!  We met them at the Heartland Owners Club North American Rally as they were vendors. We also had decals made for Captain America too. Tell them Always On Liberty sent ya!

Web:    www.vinylyourway.com
Email:  mrcomer2000@yahoo.com

Our First Quartzsite Experience

In January of 2017, we boondocked in Quartzsite, Arizona with the Escapees Xscapers. Sadly, the weather was just plain snotty, cold, windy and rainy.  It reminded us of pre-winter days in New England.  Supposedly, we’ve heard that sort of weather is not typical that time of the year, but I digress.

So, what actually IS and WHERE is this place called “Quartzsite”?

Quartzsite is the Rock Capital of the World but to us RVers, its the Mecca west of the Mississippi where RVers make at least a once in a lifetime pilgrimage to. Quartzsite is located about 18 miles east of the Colorado River at the junction of US 95 and I 10 in southern Arizona.  

For the first two months of each year, this town blows up with popularity. Its famous Rock/Gem Show and Swap Meet as well as the RV Show are the town’s claim to fame. Its notoriety has grown to epic proportions as does its population from 4000+ residents to an estimated million visitors… (I’m just quoting what we’ve heard from area residents). It has become known for the largest gathering of RV’s in the whole world. We equate this to a bike week for motorcycles but for longer and with more people.

Now, if you happened upon Quartzsite during these two months, you’d see hundreds…no…thousands…no…make that tens of thousands of every possible kind of camper and RV known peppering the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) desert land ‘boondocking’ everywhere.  

You’d think we (RVers) had lost our marbles because, why would anyone buy a hundred(s) thousand dollar home-on-wheels with all the amenities to go live it up in the dry dirty desert?  Well, that question remains; we all do it for different reasons.  

 Quartzsite is an annual meeting place for some and a pilgrimage for others.  Some do it to get away from the daily grind to party it up while other more adventurous crowd goes hiking, dirt biking, or ATV riding. The usuals though, go rock shopping, RV shopping, and converge with big groups, etc.  

One thing we’ve learned; there is no right or wrong at the Q.

Captain America pulling our Landmark Liberty
 to our boondocking site near Dome Rock at the Q

Okay then, what IS ‘boondocking’?  

Also known as dispersed camping, dry camping or living off the grid, its when people, who live in homes on wheels or fabric houses go out and park in the middle of nowhere to live with limited or no amenities or hookups. That whole ‘let freedom ring’ thing. And, because its on BLM land, we really do it for free (up to 14 days per BLM).  There are no campground or utility fees unless you opt for one of the local campgrounds or RV parks.  

For us, our first Quartzsite experience was actually the perfect time to get away from the television because of the upcoming Presidential Innauguration. We had talked about trying this whole boondocking thing before and what better time than to start where there are amenities should we fail miserably at it.

So, being this was our first ‘long term’ boondocking adventure (more than 2 days at a time), this was a genuine learning experience.  

Owning our Landmark 365 fifth wheel with a residential refrigerator, convection oven, induction cooktop, keurig coffee maker, and other electricity suckers surely presented some huge power challenges. With a little ingenuity, patience and nerve, we got ourselves through.  

We called our friends…

A couple days after our arrival, we contacted our Heartland RV friends, Emily and Tim of OwnLessDoMore, who weren’t very far away and asked them to join us. They too, were new boondockers, so we did this whole experimentation gig together. Tim and Captain Dan worked on figuring out our dry-camping electrical power while Emily and I either relaxed, blogged or attended an Xscaper member-presentation or two…or bitched about having no electrical power.

Oh, about that ‘electrical power’…

Our coach was equipped with a 1000 watt inverter (because we have a residential refrigerator). Our battery bank lasted only about six hours which meant we needed to run our generator a few times a day to charge two batteries to keep running off that inverter. As we’ve shared in a previous blog posting, our Wen Generators have been our saving grace to allow us to boondock and going off the grid. 

But we also had to run the generator at meal times because, like I mentioned above, our coach is ‘all electric’ (convection oven and induction cooktop). We had to monitor our electric usage and not have it running all day or night. 

We also needed to run one of the generators during the night to supply power to a CPAP machine that requires humidification for one of us so that presented a whole other added issue.  

Since, Dan installed a 12volt DC outlet close to the bed so we could plug in the CPAP to feed off of the battery bank so we don’t have to run a genny during sleeping hours. 

Sounds simple, right?

To do that though, meant we had to beef up our battery bank from two 12volt house batteries to four 6volt house batteries when we got back to Texas in the next months.  We figured approximate cost for that mod would amount to a cool grand ($1000). We estimated that would enable us to run on battery power from 18-24 hours barring use of the convection oven, induction cooktop, and both AC’s. (Note: at the time of writing this, we don’t have solid data yet).

Though we enjoy owning a full electric coach, our issue of cooking while not tethered to an electrical source meant we needed to fire up at least one of the generators just to boil water.  Seriously???

So, anytime I needed to use any appliance that produced heat or excessive power draw (i.e. Keurig, induction cooktop, convection oven, etc.), both generators needed to be paralleled to power the higher wattage appliances. *sigh*  

Sooooooo, that beautiful and super-convenient Keurig coffee maker I loved so much became a huge inconvenient pain in the behind! In fact, as I have learned, Keurigs are the worst energy hogs!  Additionally, anything that has a heating element of some sort replicates.

So, we had to look at plan B; pre-making our coffee when both generators were on and storing the hot coffee in our thermos.

Well, Plan B didn’t work as well as we wished as the coffee in the thermos didn’t really keep them hot-hot until the following morning (24 hours).  So we moved onto Plan C; a French Coffee Press that Emily lent us.  Well, that made the most awesome coffee but it sure took a ton of water to clean, which then, we entered into a whole other issue; water conservation!

So, those are just a few things we learned on how to survive out there in the Arizona desert in our ‘all electric luxury’ 5th wheel. 

Now, about this whole DESERT living… 

The desert around Quartzsite is not the pictoral desert of beautiful, rolling hills of sand dunes you’ve seen in magazines.  The Arizona Desert is actually craggy and rocky with small mountains and ridges with tons of washes where torrential rain water collects in rocky trenches. What may look flat from a distance is actually deep trenches and troughs. Oh, and when it rains, you best not be anywhere near them as they flood quickly which is one of the reasons why ‘we’ parked up on high ground.

There are Saguaros Cactus, Chollas, Prickly Pear Cactus and Barrel Cactus along with small Mesquites and Junipers peppering the landscape.  Its scruffy and quite ugly actually which leads to the question ‘why would anyone really want to go there?’ 

Well, as they say, ‘when in Rome, do as Romans do’ and we did just that. We, as RVers, went to Quartzsite because it was just the thing RVers do…at least once.

On a good note, despite the cold, wet and windy weather we experienced, Quartzsite boasts awesome scrappy terrain full of single track and double track trails; the perfect playground for Jeeps, dirt bikes, ATVs & RZRs. Being ADV riders, we took full advantage and rode through the washes and trails; as solos or with other fellow adventure riding Xscapers. 

Lisa being her rebel self
Captain Dan at the base of Dome Rock
Our Xscaper ADVer group is ready to roll

So, there you have it.  Now you know what Quartzsite or ‘the Q’ is all about and our ‘First Quartzsite Experience’. We learned a lot. We failed at some and succeeded at others but we came out alive knowing what we need to do to prepare ourselves for next year.

WEN 56200i 2000 Watt Generator – Product Review

In late 2016, we purchased
WEN 56200i 2000 watt generators for our
Heartland Landmark 365.  We planned to use these for limited dry camping
(boondocking) and for emergency situations.  These portable generators are
2000 watt inverter generators that can be run in parallel to provide up to 4000
watts and approximately 30 amps.  We purchased them from Amazon along
with a parallel kit for a total cost of less than a cool grand.  

Liberty’s Lisa posing with our new power sources.

Description borrowed from WEN’s website:

WEN 2000 Watt Inverter Generator Item: 56200i
– Extremely quiet operation is comparable to the sound of a normal conversation according to the US Department of Health and Human Services
– EPA III and CARB Compliant 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts
– Great for campgrounds, construction sites, tailgates and power outages
– Produces clean power to safely operate and prevent damage to sensitive electronics such as smart phones, tablets, televisions and computers
– Includes two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle and one 5V USB port
Remember when you had clean and efficient portable power? The WEN 2,000 Watt Inverter Generator produces clean energy free of voltage spikes and drops. The WEN 2,000 Watt Inverter Generator produces clean energy free of voltage spikes and drops. Designed to mirror a pure sine wave, this generator limits total harmonic distortion to under 0.3 percent at no load and under 1.2 percent at full load, making it safe enough to run laptops, cellphones, monitors, tablets and other vulnerable electronics. Generate 2000 surge watts and 1600 rated watts of power. Our 79.7 cc 4-stroke OHV engine operates at an extremely quiet 51 decibels, quieter than a window air conditioner or the average conversation. This limits its invasiveness while hunting, camping, tailgating and restoring back-up power. The lightweight design makes for easy portability while the ultra-efficient one-gallon tank provides over 6 hours of half-load run time. 
This fully-packed panel comes equipped with two three-prong 120V receptacles, one 12V DC receptacle and one 5V USB port. Maximize fuel economy by engaging the WEN 2000 Watt Inverter Generator’s Eco Mode. This feature allows the generator’s motor to automatically adjust its fuel consumption as items are plugged and unplugged from the panel, preventing the usage of unnecessary gasoline. Need more energy? Easily link up two generators using a parallel kit (sold separately) in order to share wattage amongst multiple units. Low-oil and low-fuel automatic shutdown with indication lights along with overload protection safeguard both your generator and your electronics from damage. And because this is a WEN Product, your inverter generator comes backed by a 2-year warranty, a nationwide network of skilled service technicians and a friendly customer helpline. Remember when your generator powered your electronics safely and quietly? Remember WEN.
Each weighs approximately 50 pounds and has one gallon gas tanks.

Our first thing to do was add oil and fuel to each generator and start them up to cycle the fluids through.
.37 quarts of 30W oil
1 gallon of 87 octane gasoline.
Each brand new generator took
about three pulls to start.  We let them both run at variable speeds for
about an hour and before hooking them to Liberty.

Paralleling the Wen generators using the Wen 56421 kit.
and providing full power to Liberty.

The generators were able
to provide power for Liberty’s residential refrigerator, battery
charger, lights and one 15000 BTU air conditioner with no problems.
 We only ran them for thirty minutes the first time. In the future, we
plan on conducting more evaluations to determine fuel consumption rate and
decide on what electrical appliances and devices we can power.  Liberty
has an Electrical Management System (EMS) on board that will shed power to the
desired appliances.  Liberty’s monthly maintenance plan includes
exercising the generators for two hours every month to keep them active and to
keep fresh fuel in them.  In the meantime, their light weight and small
size allow them to be stored in Liberty’s forward compartment.

After using the WEN generators for over 100 hours we are happy to report
on their success and reliability.  We have used the units in multiple
dry camping situations and one time at a campground that lost power for 14
hours.  The generators have been run for over 24 hours several times
with no adverse issues.  Ours averaged about 10 ½ hours of run time
on one gallon of gasoline.  We changed the oil in both generators
after 50 hours of use.  The oil change was straight forward and easy
to do.

Portable generators are
available from many different manufacturers and sales outlets
today.  They may not be for everybody depending on your situation,
but we have found them to be less expensive than installed systems and equally
reliable.  They have taken the anxiety out of dry camping with our
residential refrigerator and have allowed us to keep our batteries fully
charged while we contemplate if solar panels will be installed on Liberty in
the future.

Blog Post written by
Captain Dan

Disclaimer:  This review reflects only our
opinion of usage.  Though we receive commission via Amazon sales, we were not compensated in any way by WEN to publish
this review.  We will not be held liable for mishaps and/or misuse of any kind.  These opinions and review is our own.

Looking Back…Why We Traded for a Different RV

Referring to our most recent blog post before this one brings up the question of how we came to deciding what to buy for our our “home on wheels”.

Once upon a time, (three years ago) when we originally set out on our quest for the perfect RV, we were looking to buy an affordable pre-owned Motorhome and a small trailer for our two Harley’s in tow. We chose that because that’s what we thought ‘RVing was’; looking like famous people in fancy graphic bus-type campers.  

Now, for a moment, close your eyes and picture this….

Wait…no…don’t do that because you’ll need your eyes to read.  so, let’s start over…

Our dream was visions of us trekking across our beautiful country in comfortable seats barefoot, in our pajama pants and tees, with the Captain driving while I (sipping my coffee of course) and our two fuzzy-headed resident mousers lounging on the big padded dash looking through the big windshield at mountains ahead of us.  we are lip singing to Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” while I am taking photo after photo of what’s before us.  Sounds so romantic, doesn’t it?  I mean, THIS is what RVing ‘looked like’ to us.

But hold on, not so fast!  Lets go back to the beginning…’our’ beginning.

A few weeks after deciding we wanted to become ‘full-time RVers’, I was on ‘girlfriend vacation’ to see my BFF in St. Pete’s area of Florida that January which just so happened to be the same time as the RV Super Show in Tampa. HA!  Mere coincidence? *giggle snort*  Shhh, don’t tell the Captain that was purely by design according to my travel plans.

Before escaping the cold Kentucky winter, Captain Dan and I sat down to figure out how much we wanted to spend.  Seriously, we had no idea what we were doing or how/where to start and how much one of those things cost but we knew we wanted one of those fancy dancy motorhomes.   *cynical laugh*  We collectively agreed on the $35-40K range; thinking that was at least a good starting point and while it was a considerable chunk of change, if we found out weeks or months later that this wasn’t for us, we only stood to loose a portion. 

Once I got down to the Sunshine state, I started our search a couple days before the RV show with that price range in mind.  I went to the big dog RV stores; the ones that sell both, new and pre-owned.  Boy, if I wasn’t flustered before I got there, I certainly was after I left. No…it was more like a reality slap-in-the-face wake up call!  Now, I’m not saying they aren’t out there but certainly, not where I was looking!  $35-40 for a pre-owned motorhome was completely unrealistic for our standards.  After viewing approximately twenty-five coaches, I sadly called the Captain telling him of my disappointments…”smelled like dog piss, very worn and dated cabinetry and furniture, weather etched headlights, oxydized chrome, broken this, smelly that”…you get the picture.  We agreed to sit on this a few days and to just go enjoy my vacation until the RV show in Tampa.

Well, here’s the skinny. If you have a budget of what I pronounced in our former paragraph, not only will you be as flustered and disappointed as us, you’ll be to the point of wanting to go in an alligator infested pond and be eaten alive.  Its like going into a Harley Davidson dealership and seeing all the ‘ooooooh shiny things’ and then seeing what you can afford waaaay in the back corner; the rat rod bike dripping oil, duct tape holding the seat together and paint scrapes as if it were in a NASCAR race hitting the wall multiple times.  

Let that sink in a moment…

Mothership of RV’s Motorhome

A couple days later, our friends Al and Kat accompanied me to the RV show.  The first mistake I made was upon arrival was, which is I guess, by strategic marketing design, going inside the big MOTHERSHIPS of RV’s in the main entrance hangar.  You know, the ones with perfectly laid red carpets leading to their doors, live mini palm trees with VIP bar height tables and signs at the doors ‘please remove your shoes before entering’.  They’re the ones with the flashy million or more dollar price tags!  Anyway, I went in only one; it was all I could take…marble tile floors, granite countertops, high end this and that with more lights than the Las Vegas strip.  Our laughingly skinny budget just wasn’t going to do here; time to move on.  All I kept thinking is ‘this is how the beautiful people play’.   Al and Kat decided to split off to go on their own shopping venture; looking at 5th wheels (they were same age as us looking for weekend or week vacation RV’s with the grandkids) as I was more interested in looking  at affordable Motorhomes.

A couple hours later and a couple twenty motorhome viewings, I came upon one with a floor plan I just absolutely fallen head over heals over.  I instantly daydreamed as I sat in the driver’s seat behind that big windshield.  Within a few minutes, the no-pressure salesman wrote up a quote that I thought was a heck of a deal; what you call an out-the-door ‘show price’ of $105,000.  Let that sink in a minute.  One hundred and five thousand dollars for a ‘camper’…er…RV. I mean, it was only sixty thousand more than our agreed budget.  I was hoping he wouldn’t notice.  So I texted Captain Dan a photo of it, inside and out with the out-the-door price.  This Motorhome had a fireplace, luxurious leather furniture, stainless appliances, beautiful graphics, etc. Quickly though, he squashed my daydream like an unwanted spider.  Here, I searched until I found what I thought could be doable (I did the math in my head); remembering that were were selling it all to trade for this lifestyle of full-time RV’ing.  His text burned my eyes to tears, ‘We agreed on $35-40k’, remember?  So, I sarcastically recanted back, ‘so, let me get this straight…we are selling our almost $300k home and all its contents to go live in $35-40K RV that was going to be our HOME.  Immediately, that hit a marital hot spot, then….silence. We both were…angry and upset. *heavy sigh*  So, I went on with my day, shoulders slumped in disappointment and just meandered about the outdoor expo area waiting to meet up with our friends to head back to their hotel room and I back to my best friend’s home.

Meanwhile, no text exchanges after that….for two whole days. (in our 30 year marriage, we’ve never done that!)

Because we weren’t able to stay angry at each other for any longer, we each finally swallowed our humble pie and chatted on the phone for nearly an hour.  He then, completely turned the tables with another idea.  All the while I was stewing those two days of marital silence (and still dreaming of that big windshield), he was busy researching the RV Trader for some other options.  He was now looking at Toyhauler 5th wheels.  I was like, “what the heck is a ‘toyhauler’ and 5th wheel and dude, now we need a truck!”  So, the Captain suggested that I visit a dealer to go look at a few.  After visiting a big RV dealership in Tampa with my best friend in tow, I was starting to come around even though I still wanted the big windshield…and to sip my coffee in my pajama pants while going down the road.

In every marriage, each must meet in the middle to compromise.  He raised the bar on understanding I wasn’t going to live in a yard-sale rig of unknowns (happy wife, happy life), so I guess I needed to knock myself down a notch or two.  So, we collectively again, agreed a Toyhauler 5th wheel was the end-all answer.  I get the ‘new RV smell’ and he gets the mechanics part that he was comfortable dealing with.  Oh, and that he gets a big big truck to pull it with.  Win win?  I still didn’t get my big windshield but oh well. *shrugs shoulders*

Class A Motorhome Toyhauler
Now, I guess to patronize me, we did look inside a couple toyhauler motorhomes.  While they were beautiful,dollar signs kept us away.  That and after touring several models, they just didn’t do it for our needs and wants.  They all had some things in common with the 5th wheel toyhaulers; garage with ramp door, ramp door becomes party patio deck with railing, etc.  

Not quite our idea of our stateroom aka master bedroom.
Notice the floor to ceiling height
But, the galley kitchen was tiny with very limited seating and I wasn’t in favor of booth-type dining. The living room would have a steering wheel in it, and the bed was up in a loft over the garage where we couldn’t stand up in which, in itself, was a major drawback for us.  We didn’t like the idea of having to crawl into or out of bed; not with our aging backs and knees and certainly going down a ladder or tiny stairs in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom would only spell out disaster for one or both of us.  We had to remember that this wasn’t going to be a weekend or vacation RV, this was going to be our HOME that we would be living in everyday for however long our journey took us. 

Aside from those, other issues were price tag, gas engine instead of diesel (which Captain Dan is quite adamant about), and seriously, now towing a toad (extra vehicle) from a big rig like that scared the bejeevers out of me.  There were just too many issues for the both of us that had me changing my mind about the windshield size. 

So, our new plan was to trade our car in for a new big truck to pull a 5th wheel toyhauler removed all of those issues and made more sense to us.  Our decision was made.  We ordered a 2014 Heartland Cyclone 4100, and weeks later, purchased our truck.  NOTE: Taking advise from several BTDT’s on those Facebook groups, it’s important to buy your towable RV BEFORE your truck/pull vehicle.  Your pull vehicle must be fully capable to do the job; weight, engine size, and pulling and stopping what it tows sufficiently.  Our truck would double as the work horse as well as be our transportation after disconnecting (we call it ‘mooring’) so, we opted for a 2014 Ram 3500 Cummins Diesel DRW (dual rear wheel) aka a ‘Dually’.  Upon selling our everything by Thanksgiving (11 months, from the first day of shopping for our RV until the day we rolled out of Kentucky), we finally hit the road looking like this: 

Captain America pulling our 2014 Heartland Cyclone 4100
Now, if you’ve started reading our blog as of late, you’ll notice our current RV is not a Toyhauler any longer.  That’s due to us having a long hard discussion at the logistics of hauling, storing, and maintaining our shiny chrome Harley Davidson motorcycles and trying to full-time in a Toyhauler 5th wheel that was meant for weekenders or weekly here-and-theres.  Though we loved riding our Harleys, the whole logistics thing wasn’t working for us.  Long story short, we sold our Harleys.  This past December, we traded our 2014 Heartland Cyclone 4100 Toyhauler for a new 2016 Heartland Landmark 365 luxury model 5th wheel which appropriated much better living space as well as the ‘full-timer package’ for all weather; hence the labeling ‘365’.  

Captain America pulling our 2016 Heartland Landmark 365 “Liberty”
We, in the meantime through private sale, purchased a pre-owned Idaho Tote to connect to the rear of our 5th wheel.  That took a bit of work as we had to hire a professional welder to fabricate the connection points to the frame.  We kept our riding vices so we bought two pre-owned dual sport motorcycles that we just ‘ride and rinse’.

So, there’s our short and skinny.  Decisions like this are not to be made in haste.  There’s a moral to our story.  Be patient, research ’til the cows come home and believe me when I say this, ‘be SEMPER GUMBY’ (always flexible).  Oh, and before it all ends, you’ll change your mind a few times until getting it right or what you truly want.