Wednesday, April 12, 2017

We Sold the Trailer

We sold our travel trailer last Thursday.

Donna and I bought our first trailer, a folding camper (often called a "pop up") when our daughter was young, and we dragged that thing all over the place. Every opportunity -- weekends, spring break, summer vacation -- you could find us in a state park somewhere having a ball. Before that, we camped in a tent, so the camper was a big step up.

Since those days, Donna and I graduated to larger self-contained rigs, and we've enjoyed them all. Initially, we used the trailers as a way to get away on weekends or any other time. We used the rigs as an escape from work. We were always active outdoors then, and we would hike, bike, float rivers, and do all the other activities possible at our state parks. I never considered our rigs for anything other than a short-term vacation.

But I just don't enjoy those brief outings anymore. The last 3 trips we took -- which were about 2 weeks long each -- were just not fun for me. I think our passions and interests have changed over the years. Today, I'd rather throw a bag in a car and just use hotels. I've never enjoyed towing, and I certainly don't care for all the maintenance that any RV requires. And though some people think it is cheaper to travel via an RV, it isn't, at least not once you look at the total cost of ownership.

So, are we done with the RV lifestyle? Probably so -- at least, I hope so. However, there is one scenario where I can see us getting another RV. In our last 2 rigs, we took 2 long trips. In our Rockwood, we traveled for 8 months, and in our Coachmen, we traveled for 6 months. I like living that way. There is a great freedom to full-timing. I like not being tied to a place or schedule, and I like being able to move somewhere else at short notice. But if we ever elected to do this, we would get a bigger rig, probably a fifth wheel. I would want to be comfortable if we lived that way.

You might wonder why we just don't take off for 6 months in our current trailer and keep our house. Frankly, we just can't afford that. When you do that, you are basically supporting 2 households. Even if you are not living in a brick-and-mortar home, there are still expenses on that home, such as utility bills, insurance, HOA fees, and so on.

So, are we done traveling? Absolutely not. In fact, we have a nice little trip planned around our anniversary, and then a longer trip is in the works for the fall. No, we'll keep traveling. To be honest, though, I enjoy where we live so much that traveling doesn't interest me as much as it once did. But we like to go somewhere almost every month, so I can see us taking short 2 or 3 night trips each month to places within 300 miles or so of San Angelo, such as our recent trip to New Braunfels (see "Short Trip to New Braunfels").

But you never know. As I've said before, Donna and I have a gypsy spirit, so we may wake up one day, buy a big rig, sell the house, and head on down the road to points unknown.


  1. I'm not sure how well you remember me, but we used to work together just before you retired. I strayed from following your blog a while back and took part of this morning to catch up on some of your entries. My wife and I have owned three trailers in the last several years, and have over time moved from a low-end 26' bumper pull to a high end 39' fifth wheel. We bought our latest trailer with full-time living in mind, but so far that dream has not come to fruition. We still maintain our house, or as you mentioned here, two households. Big rigs have a lot of costs involved between the proper tow vehicle and an expensive trailer, but making the move from a travel trailer to a fifth wheel is a huge improvement in almost every imaginable way except perhaps maneuverability - limiting you to larger campsites. I never felt entire comfortable towing a large travel trailer with a half-ton truck, and hook-up/ disconnect with a WDH was time consuming and tedious. With the way a fiver handles and hydraulic rams on the trailer, the entire experience has changed. I no longer dread towing, and disconnecting takes under a minute. I know you're not in the market for a new rig right now, but if you ever are, feel free to reach out to me. We've learned a lot over the past few rigs and it would be a pleasure to discuss it all with you.

    In the next few years we're hoping to start spending half of each year in the RV as "snow birds". The Texas summers are brutally hot and the winters up north are brutally cold -- we can have the best of both worlds. You can usually find RV spots in most areas of the country for between three and five hundred dollars a month, plus electricity. The costs drop significantly once you commit to more than a few days, and that makes full-time living sustainable on most budgets. Just food for thought! Hope all is well.

  2. Yes, I remember you, James. I was impressed with your intelligence in your field. I recall when Steve and I interviewed you.

    I'm glad you are enjoying the RV lifestyle. You can travel even cheaper if you give boondocking a chance. There are several blogs you can follow of boondockers, such as Boondork ( and RV Sue and Her Canine Crew ( They make use of solar panels and spend lots of time on BLM lands. If we ever RV again, we will install some source of alternative energy in order to take advantage of BLM lands as well as areas of great beauty that simply do not have hookups.

    Good to hear from you. Enjoy your travels.

  3. Thanks. I've moved on from there, and now work from home and have a flexible schedule, allowing me to have a fairly migratory lifestyle as long as I can maintain connectivity to the Internet.

    We occasionally boondock, but usually for quick overnight trips only. We installed an Onan generator and keep enough fuel to run the AC for 24h in hot Texas summers. The 12v system with a pair of batteries will support us overnight if we're not trying to use climate control. I'd love to add solar in the future, but currently that isn't a priority due to the genset. I added soundproofing to the generator compartment and you can now stand right next to it and have a conversation at normal volume, making it barely audible to neighbors at most sites, if audible at all. I'll definitely check out those blogs, especially looking for ideas of where to stay when venturing outside of the home state.

    It sounds like everything is going well for you, take care.

  4. This sounds like the perfect lifestyle for someone with your technical and mechanical skills. I'm glad to hear that you are doing this while you are young. Most of us wait until we are older, and it is more difficult then.

    Happy Trails!