The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled

It’s been one week since I opened the trailer door on full-time RVing.

My water ran out today, so that’s another think to figure out how to do.

As with most things on the “rig” (not used to calling my home and tow-vehicle a “rig” it’s a little twitch-worthy for me) it’s not hard, just a lot to navigate.

I thought my propane tanks were already empty, pulled up to a place and found that they were practically full.

With the water, I have been trying to fill the drinking water with tap water from the bath house, or other similar source, so really it’s just washing dishes that has tapped me out. After filling the water, soon I’ll get to the grey and black tanks. All for another day.

I purchased my RV in mid-April, along with a truck for towing purposes.

I was struggling with Denver, where to live, who to live with, how long I was ultimately going to stay. I did take a look at RVs last year, going to the RV show in January of 2016. Boy, young people going full-time are not the prime audience for the manufacturers, and it shows. (Someone could make a killing with just one layout for the new set of entrepreneurs who work from home.) There were no layouts for a desk or flexible work areas.

I quickly thought that a large slide out where a love seat and table seating would be optimal. You could remove the pre-installed furniture and add a long desk.

At the beginning of April, I had a few lovely options for housing, but there was something holding me back. I couldn’t make a choice and time was ticking. My friend Liz, simply said, “What about the RV?”

Well, what about the RV, dang it?

My personal motivations for the house on wheels include “seeing all the things.” I am shifting my life plan to create art, and what a better way to be in the places that inspire me, and create my work right there. I have a fondness for the National Parks, state parks, beautiful landscapes. My hit list includes Glacier, Yosemite, Canadian Rockies and Acadia. (This is scratching the surface.)

The RV happens to also count as a second home for me, and there are the business/accounting aspects of purchasing the vehicle for business.

So within a week of talking to Liz, I had my mind set on this 22 foot trade-in coming in to Lazy Days in Loveland. I knew it was coming in on a Saturday so I got in my car, late in the afternoon to check it out. Darn it if it wasn’t already sold by the time I got there.

It turns out that I didn’t like it any way. Just like any home you walk into, and you just know it’s a “No.”

So John, my salesman and I walked around the lot and we popped out head into another RV.

That was the one. I walked in and it had the large single slide out in the living area, but also had a large back window. If there was a written check list, that would have been a close second behind the large slide out.

I don’t understand the lack of windows on some of these RVs. I mean – if you’re parking in the middle of this beautiful place, don’t you want to look at it?

So many block off the view with a bathroom back there.

I did pop my head into a few other models, but ultimately put a deposit on the Heartland, North Trail 26LRSS, a 26 foot long tow-behind travel trailer.

She’s got added insulation for the winter months, and great stability when parked. Other perks that I had no idea were a thing, power jack (rather than hand cranking), and a few added features the previous owner installed. Still trying to figure out the TV set-up.

After putting the deposit down, it was time to find a vehicle that would tow her home. I was thinking a Nissan Armada, or a Toyota 4Runner. I was thinking that the SUV would be easier with the pets, and storing craft fair booth stuff.

Well, the 4Runner doesn’t pull that much weight. Armadas, I couldn’t find a used one that fit my needs. There was a good looking Expedition at a local Ford dealer, a 2006 with life 30k miles on it. Hello.

Of course it was being sold when I called them. But in talking with my salesman, he was telling me about a few trucks on the lot. I decided to drive on over.

I ended up looking at a Nissan Titan, which could have filled the bill. No frills. Then we looked at a 2010 Ford F-150 that was a tad bit more moola, but had a lot of perks, including a better towing package. (Not to mention heated seats.) I figured I have no freaking clue what I am doing, I might as well make the investment for my peace of mind and safety with this pursuit. She’s big.

I picked the truck up on a Thursday, and went to get the trailer on a Friday.

Other installations included side rails on the truck, a cap on the back for enclosed storage, and a battery array and portable solar panels for the RV. Tomorrow I’m getting a roof rack for the kayak, and we should be complete (for now)!

Upon picking up the RV at Lazy Days, they gave me an hour and a half walk through on how to use it. I wish everything was taped, and tried to take the best notes as possible.

I also had a driving lesson. Backing up is a real struggle. I practiced back in Denver in the high school parking lot. Thought I had the hang of it…

I was still living in my house in Denver, and was going to park it in the driveway while I packed up the final things. That didn’t work out as planned, and the RV stated in the street. I was a little worried about ticketing, but my neighbor who works for DPD said not to sweat it, that the cops have better things to do than go and measure the length of trailers. You are fine parking for 2 weeks in 20 feet or less.

At least it was close by to either put stuff in the RV, or the truck to drive over to the storage unit. In the beginning, I tried to be methodical about where to put everything. In the end, I was putting bags and boxes anywhere.

I did end up taking out my love seat. RV furniture is pretty tricky. It had a slide out drawer for storage in the bottom, and the top of the couch flipped down and included a built in air mattress for an additional bed.

I thought that it was narrow enough to come out in one piece. I was off by an inch. I had this couch hanging out part ways and it was stuck. I was nervous that I screwed myself over big time, she wasn’t going back in. Thank goodness she gave way, and angled it back inside to figure out what screws to remove. Only two screws, in the end, held on the back and the two pieces were out in 10 minutes, opening up a ton of space.

Some of the North Trails have lovely flexible seating around the kitchen table – a newer trend using fold up kitchen chairs, I unfortunately have the banquet seating. I do get it, there’s storage under there, and in some circumstances, the table can lower and can be made into more sleeping areas. I am planning to take out the one middle banquet seat, in favor of adding in an ikea seat or two. One that can move outside if need be.

The mattress is a regular queen, trailer mattresses are 6 inches shorter. It was tricky getting it in there, and it’s slightly awkward putting on sheets, but I didn’t have to purchase a new mattress. Getting sheets on is an effort in patience and creativity.

The tent is in the “basement” (what I call the storage underneath), and anyone is welcome to visit.

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