I (Bill) have traveled my whole life. My Dad was in the military for 28 years and then I spent 13 years in as well. I was born in Europe and did half of my growing up over there. I still travel abroad quite a bit as a result of my current employment. And while I’ve lived in many States in this country and ventured to even more of them via business and pleasure, there’s still a lot more I’d like to see.
Susan’s love of travel has also involved some far-away places requiring air-travel. But her preference, by far, is for the highways and byways of North America. Having lived on both the left and right coasts, she’s done her share of solo travel across these United States. Now we make the trips together.
We got the first itch for an RV back in 2011 and after letting it work on us for a short bit, we started the shopping. And by “we”, I really mean “I”. Susan left it pretty much up to me to weed through the thicket of RV variations. Her only preference was for me to not spend much money. Although Susan nor I could barely spell RV at the time, she’s the more conservative one and as a result was a bit more trepidatious. And in terms of not spending much on the purchase, you’ll see that I totally blew that idea clean out of the water.
Would we shop for a pop-up? A travel trailer? Or perhaps a fifth wheel? Well, I wanted more than I thought a pop-up would offer but couldn’t afford a fifth wheel. You see, if I purchased a fifth wheel, then I’d have to also buy a pick-up truck to pull it. And THAT would be WAY more than I wanted to spend. So, a trailer it would be, especially seeing that I already had a 19 year old GMC Suburban that I had pulled my loaded up 10,000 pound car trailer with for years. I should’ve paid much more attention to an RVer-friend that showed concern in the Suburban’s ability to pull a heavier trailer but I kept falling back to my experience with that heavy car trailer towing.
The problem with the ol’ Suburban that would later come to bear is that it had an even older [transplanted] hitch from my earlier, older, Suburban. My logic was this: I’ve been towing 10,000 pounds for years so that will be my weight-cutoff when shopping for my next [RV] trailer. Again, what was I thinking – bad mistake. But, it could’ve been much worse as you’ll see. And by the way, Susan (remember the conservative one?) would’ve been just peachy with the pop-up.
Anyway, at first we…oops…“I”, was calling private owners of travel trailers but quickly realized I wasn’t liking what was available. Personally, with more research came an increasing desire to shop through a dealer – a place that knew much more than I about RVs and at least I felt a little more trust in. So I quickly moved onto dealers of used trailers. Then I found myself wanting different features here and there which led me right into the proverbial arms of new trailers, all the while keeping Susan in the loop of course. THEN, that stepped up to ordering a trailer with exactly what we wanted. Of course, at this point, Susan was very proactive with the ordering and purchasing of our new special-order 9,000 pound 35 foot trailer.
We waited six weeks for the trailer to be built. And after the excitement of picking it up, we readied the new trailer and the Suburban for our first-ever venture into the world of RV camping. Seeing as how my personal belief was that if you’re not digging your own toilet in the woods, then you’re not really camping, I had to make a mental shift. My new [toilet] philosophy is that there are two kinds of camping: one where you dig your own toilet, and one where you bring your own toilet.
We hit the road and drove to our very first overnight stop in an RV-welcoming, and very popular, store parking lot. Halfway through the night we were awakened by a couple of inebriated gentlemen (and I use this term loosely) walking away from our camper. As I went outside, they drove off leaving me to discover a less than desirable demonstration of body art on our trailer’s side. Luckily all was easily rinsed off with water and we were on our less-than-merry way, having now checked off our first night as an RV venturer. My thoughts immediately went to, “Is this what it’s like to be an RVer?”
As we continued our first RV venture, two stops and 700 miles later, the hitch finally had enough and sheared in half. That old Suburban finally showed its age. Again my thoughts gravitated to, “is this what it’s like to be an RVer?” Luckily the speed was very slow and the damages minimal. Further inspection revealed a hitch that was heavily rusted deep into its metal, making it very weak indeed.
We ended up selling that old Suburban (minus the hitch) and, after much research, bought a Ford F350 (Single Rear Wheel). It had no trouble at all pulling the trailer. Lesson learned here: Start with the right equipment!
Well as far as the trailer was concerned, it ended up spending more time back at the dealership undergoing warranty repairs after every other trip than it was providing us with recreation. These issues began the day after we picked it up and continued to just before we traded it (and the truck) in for our next big upgrade.
We decided that there were some limitations with a trailer that we wanted to move beyond. So, it was from that perspective that we began exploring the idea of moving on to a fifth wheel or a motorhome. We got really close to purchasing a new fifth wheel but what kept nagging at me was the unsettling thought that many of the issues we had with the trailer would still prevail with the ‘wheel. A prime example is our two furry-family members, namely our cats Henry and Emily, occupying the very limited space of the truck’s cab. Other considerations were the limited storage space in our particular trailer not to mention our necessity for many pit stops on any given trip.
So, we took a quantum leap into the world of motorhome ownership (well, us and the bank) which, so far, has been virtually trouble-free. We continue our very blended ventures across this land seeking a variety of parks to visit, people to meet, and experiences to further enhance our lives. And via this website, maybe we can even enhance your life a little.
Our interests vary from those small out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere parks to those right-in-the-middle-of-everything parks that would take you weeks to partake in all of its area’s attractions. It really is just whatever mood happens to strike us for a given trip.
In the midst of it all came this website and the desire to offer a quality site that you trust and wish to be a part of – one to share your successes and disappointments while sharing the roads across North America. We aspire to become one of your go-to resources for your RV questions, comments, or suggestions.
Oh, and those thoughts I had about if this is what it’s like to be an RVer? Well, I’m happy to report I’ve learned that our less-than-positive experiences are not what it’s like at all. We barely return from one trip before we’re ready to plan our next! In fact my biggest regret is in not purchasing an RV much sooner in life, especially while my children were growing up.
The only thing that has us looking forward to my retirement is for us to have more time to explore The RV Venturer in us!