Libbys on the Loose:2 Humans. 2 Great Danes. 1 RV.: Moving on: The Next RV - "Betty"

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Moving on: The Next RV - "Betty"

When we purchased our 36RLQ  Holiday Rambler Presidential, it was, at the time, what we needed in terms of space, storage, etc.  Having two giant dogs, we wanted to make the transition from 2000+ square feet to 400sqft as seamless as possible.  36 feet was also a good size because it's right at maximum length for most National Parks (the parks usually max out at 35', but you can always say it's a 35 - just up to you to get maneuvered around!).  There are a number of things that came into play with our setup.

First, the cost of our pull vehicle.  A 2014 Dodge Ram 3500 4x4 Mega Cab Limited.  What all those things mean are cost, cost, cost!  Even though the costs were higher than we would like to be, we had the peace of mind in knowing that we were covered under warranty (when we bought the truck, it was bumper-to-bumper until 36k miles) until 100k miles for the powertrain (engine, trans, drivetrain-related).  This was a big deal for us as we had issues with our previous truck that ended up costing us thousands of dollars in repairs.  Being that it was our only vehicle, reliability was a huge factor.

Second was our trailer.  While we loved the space, storage, and high ceilings inside of the fifth wheel, it's ended up being less than ideal in terms of size.  There are many places that we simply could not get to with a rig of that size.  The length, height and weight limited our ability to get into many camping and boondocking spots.   The amount of storage in the trailer was more than ample for our needs.  Almost daily, we find that there are many things that we simply don't use and don't need anymore.  The standing rule is that if we haven't used something in (at least) the past six months, it no longer has a home in the RV.  This just makes good sense.  The minimalist lifestyle we've chosen dictates that we hold needs over wants, with a few exceptions :)
Beauty and the Beast

The third and final reason is the combination of the truck and the trailer.  If either one is down for repairs, upgrades, etc, we're pretty much in a spot.  If we don't have a pull vehicle, we can't move our home.  If we don't have our home, we're relegated to a hotel (fun finding affordable ones when you have two giant dogs!), AirBNB, tent, or crashing with friends/family.  None of these are ideal when you're used to being in your 'home' full time.  So we had to come up with a solution.
The third wheel - something like a Toyota Sunrader

We thought about a smaller fifth wheel, an Airstream, or a class A.  Each class of RV has its own pros and cons that can be as individual as the people making the choice.

"Betty"

 Although we weren't 100% sure what setup we wanted to go with, we knew we had to start looking and pricing brands/models and making a plan to 'move'. After reading hundreds of forums and articles, talking with countless  owners (read: old-timers), and good old Googling we narrowed it down to a class a for our next adventure.  Of all the brands out there, we found five known for especially for their quality of build and longevity:  Foretravel, Country Coach, Beaver, Tiffin, and Monaco.  We knew we wanted a diesel engine, limited to no slides, and we also didn't want newer.  We specifically looked for rigs built in the late 90's to early 2000's as these seemed to be the best combination of power / build quality / longevity / durability.  It didn't take long to find one we fell in love with.

After doing extensive online research and searching/scouring the country, we found a few we were interested in but would have to go to Texas, Arizona, or Oregon.   Fortunately, we found one at  Dick Gore's RV World in Jacksonville, Florida.  On the way returning to Florida from Colorado in early April, we made a stop and viewed (what is now) our 2001 Country Coach Magna - "Betty".  At 40', she's slightly longer than our 5th wheel, but overall about 100 sq ft less because we now have one 12" slide vs four 36" slides.  In addition, with our planned toad (Toad = Towed Vehicle), we will be decreasing our overall length by about 6 ft.  While this doesn't sound like a lot, we are gaining even more in versatility as our toad will be a fully capable 4x4 SUV.



Similar to what we plan to have as a "toad"
So you may be wondering (based on earlier in this post) how we're going to handle if Betty goes in for service or how we will get to those desired camping and boondocking spots we've had our eye on.  We are also planning to get a class C class thats under 21' in the future.  While we will have three vehicles, the class C will stay in storage while the class A and toad will be our primary travel vehicles. We really wanted to go shorter than Betty's length, but ours and our dog's full time comfort is a priority and the floor plan offerings with our requirements didn't align. The class C will also be equipped to tow the toad giving us complete flexibility depending on what we want to do and where we are.  Since we mostly live day-by-day meeting any opportunities that come our way, we think we will find that this combination is the best of each world.
Time will tell! :)







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