Endurance Factor - Fiberglass RV

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Old 02-13-2007, 10:47 AM   #1
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Okay, here we go. This is not your ordinary question and it should cause a lot of humorous responses but we need to know. My long term lady friend and I are planning marriage in several months and we intend to take a six month honeymoon by traveling the country. Our plans are to buy a 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe with all the bells and whistles at a cost close to $20K and finace it over 3 years. We considered keeping our apartment but decided that when the one year lease expires we will place all we have in storage and travel for a full six months in a trailer that is not much different in size than a standard motel room. We get along fine in our two bdrm apartment and I get along fine alone in a tent, a submarine (retired Navy) and even a space capsule if I had to.
What experiences have others had in long term compatibilities/incompatibilities with their significant other in such close confinement? I'm sure a 25' RV would ease much of the pressure by simply going to another room but a 17 footer does not have another room unless I want to sit in the head until things normalize. NOT!
We are quite compatible but even that breaks down in confined environments; both NASA and the Navy have done extensive studies on this subject and crews are selected accordingly. Neither of us drink so getting plastered to ease the pain is not a solution. I guess what I'm asking is what is the endurance record for two people, no kids, living under such conditions. Go for it. Be kind, we are senior citizens!

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Old 02-13-2007, 11:08 AM   #2
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Well, with the awning out and some lawn chairs around a fire pit, you do have some extra usable space for those time-out moments. I don't have a lot of useful experience (I travel with my dogs and can lock them up in the car ).

I'll be watching this thread with interest though - where is the 'munching popcorn and watching' emoticon when I need it! I know we have a lot of couples that travel here - they must have some great stories . . .

Anne H and Fay Wray, the cat | Portland, OR
en Plein Air (2016 19' Escape; 2016 Honda Pilot )
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Old 02-13-2007, 11:15 AM   #3
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Those are some great plans, Rick! I'm not sure that anyone can answer that for you though... it's entirely between the two of you and how well you interact.

Having full-timed in a '70 Airstream Safari 23' for just shy of a year though, I'll tell you that I wouldn't attempt it, living single, in less than a 25' trailer again for an extended period much less with a partner. I was pretty frugal and didn't pack-rat much "stuff", but that extra couple of feet makes a huge difference in move-around room. A 25' isn't significantly more difficult to drag around than a 17', and is just about the perfect compromise between interior room and trailerability.

For me, a 17' is a great weekender, and maybe for a couple of weeks max, but I wouldn't do it any longer than that. That said, I know there are folks out there who do spend significantly longer periods in a 17' or smaller.

Perhaps buying a smaller, less expensive trailer and using it for some extended weekends might give you a little better feel about what it's all about before you jump in with both feet. You can pick up 16' Scamps and Casitas pretty reasonably, and you're almost assured of getting your investment back when you go to sell and buy your brand new whateveritmightbe trailer.

Good luck!

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Old 02-13-2007, 11:42 AM   #4
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We (man, 6'2", woman, 5'4", boy 5'2" and dog 75 lbs) spent 5 1/2 months in a very nice pop-up, 22 months in a 24 foot travel trailer and 22 months in a 30 foot fifth-wheel with a slide and are now in a house hunting a used fiberglass RV for weekends/vacations. People that have camped previously always do better when taking on a long term RVing situation, as well as, people who love the outdoors if in a smaller unit and a hobby (some don't take a lot of space) really add to those days when you can't get out. I have read that several couples are snowbirding/full-timing in tent campers. It comes down to how motivated you are to make it work.
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Old 02-13-2007, 02:07 PM   #5
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I think this is a great question, and it may have been touched on in the past, but it could use some more discussion I would bet.

My wife and I are also of retirement age, and we have had the Burro for almost 7 years, with cross-country trips lasting for a month at a time. It is easier, I think, to travel to explore the country for that amount of time than to primarily stay put in one place.

Maybe the really important thing here is to try it out for a while to see how the compatibility situation is. If you have a viable backup plan to abort the traveling if unforeseen problems come up that would be an advantage.

We found that being confined to the trailer was less of a problem than we had anticipated, in fact it worked out great. Can't wait to do it again.

Some things really are a must and need to be worked out ahead of time. 1) Comfortable and adequately sized beds (usually with modifications to the stock mattresses or cushions). 2) A bathroom that works and is large enough to be conveniently used. 3) We tow with a Honda Odyssey and the storage room is a big plus. 4) Hobbies should not need an excessive amount of space (our range from quilting to photography to music). 5) Have a backup plan to deal with snoring. 6) Allow for the almost inevitable shakedown time necessary to get used to the trailer and deal with the most pressing modifications. Doing some things on the road without access to tools can be a pain.
7) There will be times when the rain is coming down sideways for longer than you'd like and that may test your tolerance and ingenuity. Think ahead on that one, and 8) Be prepared for the fact that there could develop significant differences in your personal approaches to living in such a small space and this should be expected and dealt with fairly.

The real answers to dealing with this lies within you both, not in the kind or size of trailer you choose. We came from tent camping and renting popups to the enormous luxury of a wide-body Burro, so we had the advantage of appreciating the improvement rather than kvetching about how this was such a step down from a mega motor home. I'd look on it as an adventure!
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Old 02-13-2007, 02:32 PM   #6
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As my wife always says, first you have to like each other.
Get a cheap fast to put up screen room like from Walmart and voila! another 12 X 12 room.

I think we could do it in our 13 ft Burro, and we may try it when I retire next year or so.
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Old 02-13-2007, 05:07 PM   #7
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We tow with a Honda Odyssey. I have found that it is versitile enough to double the living space of our rig. I have made platforms for the 2nd row seats, and can use them outside, under our awning.

We have a 3-fold futon mattress that is 48 inches wide. With the 3rd row bench folded into the floor, and the 2nd row seats outside under the awning, there is enough room to lay out the futon to make another bedwomb. We're in the process of installing curtains for privacy, but have already used this setup to provide accomodations for more than the 2 of us.

I have thought that the roof mounted DVD player might enhance this arrangement in the van.
Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
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Old 02-13-2007, 07:03 PM   #8
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I'll give you the standard answer for all new RVers and boaters -- Until you know what you need (not what you think you need or want, but what you really need), DON'T BUY NEW! Get a used rig that someone else didn't want or need and let them pay the FirstMile-FirstDay economic depreciation!

Some folks can do it in a small rig and some folks can't do it less than a full-bore Bulgemobile diesel pusher with multiple slides on both sides plus top of the line campgrounds with rec rooms, pools and hot tubs...
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Old 02-13-2007, 07:44 PM   #9
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Hmmm- - -perhaps you can find something to rent for a week or two and go on a short trip before you commit to a new one and a mini-mortage. Remember the old addage "Look before you leap". Also, this will give you an idea of what features you really want and need. And, again, if you can buy used when the time comes do so, let someone else eat the first year depreciation... Larry
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Old 02-13-2007, 08:13 PM   #10
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Great question and one that I can help you out with. Twenty five years ago my wife and I both quit our jobs, sold the house and put it all into storage. Bought a 19' mini motorhome, packed up two dogs and hit the road.

Two young kids in our early twenties (married 1 1/2 years). We were gone for almost a year. Yeah it was tight quarters thats for sure. But boy did we have fun.

You have to have a sense of humor, lots of tolerance and above all... You gotta find a way to make the outside area just as comfortable as the inside area. Take lots of walks and get away from the little home as much as you can.

It was the most incredible period of my life. I watched my wife grow from a young inexperienced girl into a woman who can take the world on. She's been doing it ever since then.

You will learn things about each other that you never would have learned any other way. Some (Very few) not so good... But all the rest will be really cool.

Now (as Dr Laura says) "go do the right thing". I envy you both. Good luck and God Bless.
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Old 02-13-2007, 09:47 PM   #11
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We aren't full timers and I'm not sure we would ever take that on in our 17' trailer. The longest trip we have taken was a little over 3 weeks.. No problems .. just need to get use to moving aside if the other wants to pass by you. In bad weather it can become confining so be prepared with reading material, or a hobby... no place to go. It's together time. We do have the awning and it's a great second area in good weather.

We have a 17' Casita - Liberty model ... we use it as twin beds during the night - in the daytime it becomes our living room with two side sofa's.. This arrangement gives us more walking area from the bathroom to the rear of the trailer... it really makes a difference for us. This model can also be uses as a double bed or king bed. We do need to make the beds up everynight, but it just takes a couple of minutes.

We also tow with our Odyssey ... we have never used the middle seats in the vehicle so this helps us with items we need, but don't want in the trailer.

I agree trying to rent a small trailer might be a good thing. Maybe try it for 4 weeks...
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Old 02-13-2007, 10:28 PM   #12
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I lived with myself in a 13 footer for nearly a month in December of last year.

It was cold out and I wasn't able to spend lots of time outside.

By the end of the 3rd week, I was about to slap myself silly

Every time I have a situation like this, I end up with a bigger trailer shortly after. Hmmmnnn.
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Old 02-14-2007, 12:10 AM   #13
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I lived with myself in a 13 footer for nearly a month in December of last year.

It was cold out and I wasn't able to spend lots of time outside.

By the end of the 3rd week, I was about to slap myself silly

Every time I have a situation like this, I end up with a bigger trailer shortly after. Hmmmnnn.
Loads of good advice especially renting first or even buying a cheaper used one. Good check list provided by Per Walthinsen. He raised an issue that I had not considered; snoring. That in itself would demand a rent before you buy. I will be towing with a Nissan Xterra, 2WD, and can make extra sleeping room by folding the rear seats down, but more likely will be used for storage. I think I will rent a pop-up tent camper for a couple of weeks from the nearby Army Outdoor Rec Facility. I have primitive tent camped extensively over the years, using two tents, without any problems. The 17' trailer is a step up and a recognition that even with an air mattress and sleeping bags tents are for the under 50 group.
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Old 02-14-2007, 12:59 AM   #14
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I love the plan! It's not all that different from Lynne's and my plans for when we retire.

My advice: go to a fiberglass RV gathering before you buy so you two have a really clear understanding of what your living space will be like and what other trailer options exist. Lynne and I went to such and it really helped clarify and make up our minds about what we wanted.

You might also consider looking at used trailers: We bought our lightly used, two-year-old 5th wheel, 2000 Ford Ranger, brake controller and hitch with installation, new truck tires, brake pads, drum resurfacing, and its 120K service and still haven't spent 20K. The catch with buying used is driving perhaps half-way across the country to look at a trailer based on an Internet picture or three and not knowing if you're coming back with one or not. (Sometimes you can find someone here who lives close and can do an initial inspection.)


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