RVing in today's changing world - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-17-2009, 01:12 PM   #1
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Recognizing the diversity among members of this forum, (our commonality being our love for cute little FG trailers! ) I know this topic won’t be for everyone. But for those who might be like-minded, I have been thinking about what life on the road with a FGRV means in today’s changing world and economy, whether full-timing or out-and-back travelers like us.

In a recent conversation with Reace at Escape he mentioned their main market is today’s retiree who is interested in making a smaller footprint. The rising popularity of FGRVs and the success of newer companies such as Oliver, EggCamper, and Escape is due to an aging population who wants comfort, but also a modest and economical way to hit the road, enjoying travel and nature.

My husband is not retired and I became unemployed due to health issues, so we do not fit the retiree profile, but we do fit the aging ‘small footprint’ group. Purchasing a larger trailer (for more comfort) seems antithetical to our simple rural lifestyle due to lower gas mileage and being locked into having a certain size tow vehicle. This purchase, though necessary in personal ways, caused a bit of a ‘crisis of values’, especially as I prepare to say good-bye to our modest older Burro tomorrow. I’ve been looking at ways in which we will still live our values while traveling in our ‘fancy’ Escape.

For one, we’ve always maintain the same lifestyle on the road - we don’t eat on paper plates (we don’t at home, why on the road?); on short trips we keep and bring home to compost kitchen waste (not feasible on long trips); we always divide and recycle, there are places to recycle in route, or we arrive home with a collection of cans and paper. We are strong believers in ‘shop local’ and support your neighbors – our own income dependent on the local company where my husband works. Having worked for a chamber of commerce I know the struggles of small businesses in small towns, when traveling we shop in small local stores – we are the guests of communities we want to see thrive and survive. Many small out-of-the-way towns where we all camp are having the greatest difficulties (we know, we live in one!). Like many on this forum we plan to get a solar panel for our higher energy use Escape (the Burro was a tent on wheels!).

There are other ways life on the road reflects our values and lifestyle at home, there are always some compromises to be made. I’d love to hear from others who think about what it means to be an RVer in our more green conscious, post-consumer society.

Penney
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Old 04-17-2009, 02:30 PM   #2
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I think it means evaluating what I take with me -- if I haven't used it on the last 3 or 4 outings, it can very likely be jettisoned in the future.

I think it means conserving the campground's resources just like we might do at home, or even more -- turn off the A/C when the camper is vacant, take reasonable-length showers, don't use a bunch of electricity just because "we paid for it".

I think it means always leaving your site cleaner than you found it, not only for environmental impact, but also to lighten the load and expenses of the park maintenance people.

I think it means using biodegradable cleaners exclusively.

I think it means using non-formaldehyde, biodegradable blackwater tank treatment, whether in the tank or in the porta-potty.

I think it means running gasoline/diesel engines as little as possible while camped.

I think it means providing yourself enough light to navigate your site, but not enough to navigate the neighbor's site.

I think it means not using petroleum as a fire-starter, and keeping the fire reasonable in size.

I think it means reporting running toilets and dripping faucets to the park management, so it can be repaired.

Just a partial list...
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Old 04-17-2009, 02:42 PM   #3
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Great list Paul! We do all those, but when things are just part of the routine it's hard to remember them all and make a list for others to ponder. I hope there will be more responses to this topic.
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Old 04-17-2009, 04:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Recognizing the diversity among members of this forum, (our commonality being our love for cute little FG trailers! ) I know this topic won't be for everyone. But for those who might be like-minded, I have been thinking about what life on the road with a FGRV means in today's changing world and economy, whether full-timing or out-and-back travelers like us.

In a recent conversation with Reace at Escape he mentioned their main market is today's retiree who is interested in making a smaller footprint. The rising popularity of FGRVs and the success of newer companies such as Oliver, EggCamper, and Escape is due to an aging population who wants comfort, but also a modest and economical way to hit the road, enjoying travel and nature.

. . .
Finding a way to travel while keeping our carbon footprint smaller was one of the things I kept in mind when we bought our not-so-little Scamp 5er and Ford Ranger TV, so here are some things I thought about before, as, and since we bought our trailer.

First I wanted to think about our carbon footprint if we were to fly somewhere for our vacation. Would there be a CO2 savings if we drove?

I thought it would. Jet liners are notorious consumers of jet fuel and the resultant carbon emissions. Airline flight emits about .61 pounds of CO2 per passenger mile, gasoline creates 19.6 pounds of CO2 for every gallon burned. When you consider that my wife and I travel together, we create 1.22 pounds of CO2 per mile traveled. Doing the math, that would mean that that in order to have a smaller footprint when pulling our trailer we'd need to get 16.1 mpg or better. (19.6 lbs CO2 emissions per gallon of gasoline / 1.22 pounds CO2 per air mile my wife and I fly = 16.1 miles / gallon.)

I've found that I can get 16-17 mpg while pulling our trailer by keeping my driving speed to about 60 mph. In other words, pulling a trailer to our destination puts out roughly the same amount of CO2 as flying there.

The next question is how large a footprint do we create once we get where we're going? I don't have hard figures for that, but I find it very hard to believe that keeping the small space inside my trailer warm (or cool) consumes more energy or has a larger carbon footprint than the heating (and cooling) of a much larger hotel room and its attached spaces (hallways, lobby, etc.). My trailer's heating and cooling footprint becomes smaller still when you consider that we only heat and cool the trailer when we're home, where hotel rooms and their attached spaces are temperature controlled 7x24. When we are home our energy efficient all-LED lighting uses a small fraction of what a single 40 watt light bulb does . . . the light in the hall outside a hotel room door uses more, and it's left on all day.

As I thought my carbon footprint through I was only able to come up with one place where my carbon footprint was enlarged: the CO2 emissions from my Ford Ranger vs that of a rental car. At 19mpg, our Ranger doesn't get as good a gas mileage as a smaller car does. If there is an increase in our carbon footprint, that would be where it happens.
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Old 04-17-2009, 06:09 PM   #5
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Hi Penney,
Your post is so timely for me. I'm struggling with the same priciples. I too compost, recycle, and actually get an odd little kick out of generating the least amt of garbage possible (ie chosing less packaging, no paper/plastic cutlery, plates or leftover containers.) Supporting local business is so important too, as you can personally attest. I've also given up eating animal products. And although my decision was based more on compassion, (after seeing a few of THOSE videos I just couldn't do it anymore) it's also a much greener way to eat. Soon there will be plenty of fresh farmstand produce available. Yum!
Geez. I wish you lived nearby. I could ride my bike over and we could chat about it.

Anyways, I digressed.....Currently I'm trying to decide on a 17' vs 19' Escape. It's just me and my two greyhounds most of the time. My boyfriend joins me occassionally. With all the great mileage vehicles available now, I feel guilty getting a less fuel efficient car for more RV than I need. If I can be comfortable fulltiming in a 17', I can get a more fuel efficient car, than if I needed to haul a 19'.
Thanks for this post. It's a good topic.
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Old 04-17-2009, 06:51 PM   #6
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There are other ways life on the road reflects our values and lifestyle at home, [b]there are always some compromises to be made. Id love to hear from others who think about what it means to be an RVer in our more green conscious, post-consumer society.
Could "Post-Consumer" also relate to "Pre-Owned"?
My Fiber Stream just turned 31 years old. Like me, it does show it's age. There is a word for that:
[b]Patina
Pat"ina\, n. [It., fr. L.]
(Fine Arts) The color or incrustation which age gives to [b]works of art.
Most often associated with Copper, as in the skin of the Statue Of Liberty.
I have an ingrained fondness for items with "patina". If you're lucky, they don't have to be heavily mortgaged to come under your stewardship. My trailer has it, as does most of it's features... Such as my still functioning Cathode-Ray-Tube Television with Built-in Video Cassette Recorder. I only had to add a discrete digital tuner. I will wait to acquire a replacement for it until it ceases to function, thus keeping it out of the E-waste stream until absolutely necessary. And I do not buy Videocassettes; people give them away for free! And when I'm done with them, I have a free lending library lined up willing to take them.
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Old 04-17-2009, 08:39 PM   #7
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Hi: All... My favorite travel axiom is "Take only pictures...Leave only footprints". This is one reason that Emily P. Pk. loves Bolerama.( 11th. year this year I think???) When were gone there are only tire tracks in the grass!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 04-18-2009, 07:24 PM   #8
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Could "Post-Consumer" also relate to "Pre-Owned"?
You make a delightful point, have always loved that word 'patina'.

I think this forum is full of folks who value and appreciate things with 'patina', thank goodness or there'd be a lot of old FGRVs out in pastures collecting moss. In general I think most FGRVers are folks who like to keep a small foot print, after all there is nothing smaller to tow and live in on the road (comfortably that is!) than an egg! It's also a group of folks who enjoy using, re-using, finding clever ways to improvise and enjoy the simple things of life. I especially admire the full-timers who have honed life to basic necessities and pleasures.
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Old 04-18-2009, 11:05 PM   #9
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Hi Penny,

I have been off a week on business catching this post when I came back, I really like it, the comments I have seen fit us as well. We also try to keep the "stuff" down to the needed, much of it with dual purposes, we keep other stuff running rather than buy new too. We did trade in the Buick for a small car this year but the Nissan truck will get a new engine when the time comes, we staycation more now, this helped us in finding spots we otherwise would have missed. The trailer is stripped naked presently going thru its 3rd incarnation. Its now 39 years old, that old trailer along with ourselves are in need of a rebuild...Well the trailer will get it.

Camping folk of all sorts generally have not disappointed us, we do run into the weekender who wants to play as hard as they live, we let the paysights with the ranger police go to them, they need it...We like the far less developed spots with the roads that do not attract rigs as stout as our little one.

For several years now we have spent a couple of months in summer camping shutting the house down, "it pays for the jaunt" we realize that the retirement our grandparents had or the retirement our parents tried to have is in the past now...Today is the most important one, tomorrow is an assumption on anyone's part with no guarantee to it.

Today I lost a friend who died alone on a roof repairing an A/C unit in Phoenix at 54, his rig has not moved in the past three years, sadly today his death is my teacher, It reminds me why I put in as much effort in to camp as I do in my job, his passing affirms our decision not define ourselves as a couple by our work, really what I do after that needed necessary endeavor is what really speaks of us as a couple.

When I camp, I camp for today, not tomorrow, I love nature, I recycle, I explore together with my wife as if we were kids again new places, We keep the trailer going, It has taught us much, about much...those lessons and camps past and to come will be what we remember should we get old enough to stay home.

When my friend died I took out the pictures of a time when he was not to busy to camp, he looks truly happy in them...I will take them to the wake for his grown kids as a gift to them...I guess I will recycle the memories.

Happy Camping to all,
Safe Journeys.

Harry
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Old 04-19-2009, 12:51 AM   #10
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Harry I am so sorry to hear about your friend. There are things I might write in a PM but here I want to share with you a poem by the child poet Hilda Conkling (1910-1982) which came to mind when I read your post:

I shall becoming back to you
From seas, rivers, sunny meadows,
glens that hold secrets:
I shall come back with my hands full
Of light and flowers...
I shall bring back things I have picked up,
Traveling this road or the other,
Things found by the sea or in the pinewood.
There will be a pine-cone in my pocket,
Grains of pink sand between my fingers.
I shall tell you of a golden pheasant's
feather...
Will you know me?


It sounds there was time in your friend's life when he took the time to enjoy the joys of Nature and through his death you ponder the importance of the 'slow times' with loved ones in your own life. You won't just be reycling the memories (a lovely concept!) you will bring to life through your memories and pictures the part of him and his life that you knew. I am always touched when family members will say at a loved one's wake that they learned and appreciated so much more about their parent/child/whomever through the stories of others than they every knew. You will do that for his children.

A closing quote from Robert E. Lee "Let the tent be struck"


Warmly,
Penney
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:22 AM   #11
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I've been thinking about the 'green' side of my little Uhaul 13' lately - when I was considering a bigger rig! I spent a few months last year in my family's bigger & fancier trailers, and thought I'd have a hard time adjusting back to the Uhaul. I dreamed of slide-outs and a freezer and hot water. A funny thing happened when I pulled it out of storage, though -- I was grateful for its simplicity.

For me, living in a small trailer for a few months a year helps me in my efforts to use less energy and buy less stuff for the rest of the year. It keeps this thought in the forefront of my mind -- now WHERE is that going to go? That prevents a lot of spurious purchasing.

On the flip side, having an iPhone allows my husband to get further into the woods while maintaining contact with his colleagues at odd hours -- a normal part of his job. My small but mighty iBook lets me work in the woods, and hit the public library when I want to email something. An important part of our keeping life simple & small -- at home and in the camper -- is the technology of digitized photos, online billpaying, easy connectivity.

If we weren't in the trailer, we'd be staying in more hotels -- notorious energy suckers & water wasters.

This is a great topic - thanks for giving us an opportunity to think & post about it

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Old 04-20-2009, 10:38 PM   #12
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Many times measures taken for economic reasons also have "footprint" benefits. An example of this is that we downsized from a 20' to a much lighter 17'. Our choice is simple, travel light or stay home.

We always use paper plates. If you are dry camping, the water that you didn't use washing dishes will be there to wash your face. We prefer forests and public parks to being sandwiched between huge mutterhomes and fifth-whales in commercial RV resorts.

We are retired and that has been a lesson in "how time flys". Whether working or retired enjoy it while you can. When you are relegated to the rocking chair you will have some good memories.
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