Mary in Pennsylvania - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-17-2017, 06:26 PM   #1
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Name: Mary
Trailer: Currently shopping
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Post Mary in Pennsylvania

Hi, I'm Mary. I'm a full time freelance writer in my mid-50s, seriously considering fulltiming starting at the beginning of 2019. Figure that gives me time to locate, buy and customize the right rig, learn more about the full-timing lifestyle and do massive downsizing so I can head out on the road free and clear. I've never RVed even once in my life, and more than one friend and family member thinks I'm nuts. But I've always been curious, never been less encumbered or had less to lose, and I'm not getting any younger. If I do it, I'll be traveling with my little blind cat, Idgie, and boondocking as much as possible. I can work anywhere I have a good Internet connection. I've been researching for two months now, and it appears to me that FGRVs are the way to go for light weight that's still strong and well insulated. My TV will be a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, so I can tow 3,500 lbs. Would greatly appreciate any and all advice for a true newbie. Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:43 AM   #2
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Welcome to FGRV, Mary!

I would encourage you to peruse the threads in the full-timing section here and do additional online research. There are many issues involved in full-timing, some of which would never occur to anyone with a permanent address. None are insurmountable, but you want to know what you're getting into.

Most molded fiberglass trailers are not very well insulated, and those that are are pretty heavy. It's not a big problem if you move to follow mild weather.

A 3500 pound tow rating pretty much limits you to a 16' or smaller trailer. Note that molded fiberglass trailers use the older convention of total length to designate models, so a 16' trailer has a 13' cabin. So, 3500# doesn't give you a lot of living space. Again, it's workable- people have full-timed in 13' trailers- but not for everyone.

Personally, I would recommend some shorter trips before you let go of your zip code for good. There's a learning curve to RV operation and maintenance.

How about starting with a visit to one of the molded fiberglass "egg" rallies? It's a good exposure to many makes and models. Bring a tent, rent an RV, or just schedule a day visit.

Best wishes!
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:10 AM   #3
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Name: Jack L
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Welcome Mary. This forum is one very good place to get information, and there are many other sources that might be of help to you.

Sisters on the Fly
Escapees RV Club (not associated with Escape brand fiberglass Trailers)

There are MANY other organizations. Some focus on boondocking, and some are exclusively for single people.Have fun.
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:26 AM   #4
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Trailer: Was A-Liner now 13f Scamp
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thoughts

glad to have you here Mary I would start out with say a 13f which is really a 10f but for one person more than good. For one who has never done this before it will be a big undertaking to just start out with no experience. The 13f for a start will be much easier on you in learning all the aspects of camping.

Keep your stuff for now we have gone out for a month at a time but always glad to get back home. Not saying this full time wont work for you but I would certainly go easy in this transition!

We all have our dreams but this is a major decision in our life!

good luck


bob
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:40 AM   #5
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Hi Mary. It sounds like a wonderful adventure! We have had our camper for one year and had virtually no prior experience. I'd estimate we have taken 15 trips. We learn something new everytime.
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Old 11-18-2017, 10:50 AM   #6
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Hello Mary, Welcome. I would reiterate some advice, like make sure you spend time in models. Rallies are good for that. You need to be in the frame of mind that you want to live out of a small RV, not in it. Of course travelling with the seasons is a key. Two other points: Become familiar with CLAM screen rooms as a relatively inexpensive outdoor living room. They are known for ease of set up.
Finally, there are very informative YouTube videos on fulltiming. Check out Keep Your Daydream, with Marc & Trish from Scottsdale. Their family situation is different, but they set out as novices, and are well produced, and we'll spoken. You will find others, such as The Russos, and their conversion van.
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Old 11-18-2017, 11:10 AM   #7
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Hi Mary,

Below is a book review by a couple that decided to live on a boat that had never done it before. A lot of their lessons apply to your situation. I have camped out of tents all my adult life and bought my first Trillium trailer in the 70's but have never lived in one full-time although I have done it for 4 or 5 months in Florida/Texas/Mexico in winter.

here are some valuable lessons:

Who's Paying?

Excerpted from Renee D. Petrillo's book A Sail of Two Idiots.

In 2006 the boat market was still doing pretty well, if you were a seller. An extremely used 35-foot catamaran (about the smallest one ever made) was going for around $125,000 and up vs. similar- sized brand-new basic factory/production monohulls going for around $80,000. Yes, a single hull would have been much cheaper, but we didn’t want one.

How will you pay for your boat? There are lots of ways: inheritance, stocks, savings, loans, gifts, banks, hold ups. We sold our house.

In order to come up with how much boat we could afford, we valued our home and took the worst-case scenario (or what we thought was the worst-case scenario-the lesson is coming).

Although we figured we could probably sell the house for enough to pay off a boat, there would be very little left over to actually sell it. We decided to use part of the house proceeds to put down a down payment on the boat (20 percent is standard) and then obtain a no-qualify loan to cover the rest. The remaining home profit would go into a money market fund, which we figured could have us sailing for up to four years.

The numbers looked like this: Sell the house for $340,000. After the commission and loan pay-off, we’d have $199,000. If we put 20 percent down on, say a $125,000 boat, we’d have about $174,000 for our money market fund. That money would cover the cost of our living (boat payments, insurance, food, fun, and boat repairs-that last one should have been listed first). If we figured on spending $50,000 annually on these items, we could expect to be on the sea for three to four years, which seemed reasonable enough. We figured that when we sold the boat at the end of that time, the proceeds would cover the boat and everything would even out. You have to admit it was a good plan (a four letter word), and it sort of happened like that. Sort off.

Lesson 1: Own Up

Was this a good idea? With hindsight, I can now say that I wish we had paid for the boat outright, which would have prevented our obsessing about keeping up its resale value (and obsess we did). Living free of rent/mortgage/debt would have been much more liberating. Had we bought the boat for cash, we could have lived on it while working another year or two to come up with some spending and maintenance money. We also might have worked out the kinks and maybe even learned how to sail while we accumulated more cash. Of course, then I wouldn’t have had a book to write.

For more lessons based on her real-world experiences cruising the Caribbean, written in her own humorous, self-effacing manner, purchase Renee D. Petrillo's book A Sail of Two Idiots.
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Old 11-18-2017, 02:07 PM   #8
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Name: carolyn
Trailer: 2005 casita sd
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full time RVing help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildheart61 View Post
Hi, I'm Mary. I'm a full time freelance writer in my mid-50s, seriously considering fulltiming starting at the beginning of 2019. Figure that gives me time to locate, buy and customize the right rig, learn more about the full-timing lifestyle and do massive downsizing so I can head out on the road free and clear. I've never RVed even once in my life, and more than one friend and family member thinks I'm nuts. But I've always been curious, never been less encumbered or had less to lose, and I'm not getting any younger. If I do it, I'll be traveling with my little blind cat, Idgie, and boondocking as much as possible. I can work anywhere I have a good Internet connection. I've been researching for two months now, and it appears to me that FGRVs are the way to go for light weight that's still strong and well insulated. My TV will be a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport, so I can tow 3,500 lbs. Would greatly appreciate any and all advice for a true newbie. Thanks!
Check out Carolyn'sRVlife, cheap RV living and adventurevanman, for help on full time lifestyle while working.(he is just starting a van build using his 5 year lifestyle to build a new van to suit him. Bexcatherder travels in a 13' casita. All are mostly in the warmer west. Also Nomadland by Jessica Bruder who followed nomads for 3 years and wrote a very informative book.
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Old 11-18-2017, 05:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildheart61 View Post
Hi, I'm Mary. I'm a full time freelance writer in my mid-50s, seriously considering fulltiming starting at the beginning of 2019.
<snip>
Would greatly appreciate any and all advice for a true newbie. Thanks!
Hi Mary,

Welcome to the forum!

Well, the beginning of 2019 is just about one year away, so it sounds like you might have quite a bit to do before then. I guess my advice would be to make yourself knowledgeable in the things you need to know to be successful as you define it.

If you'd like to learn about travel trailers, this forum and many others have lots of information posted in various threads. Most of the information is just sort of heaped about like a giant rummage sale, so it takes a lot of perusing to accumulate knowledge. There are also a lot of contradictory opinions posted, which makes the information more difficult to parse.

There are also books on the subject; maybe your library has some. There are also many blogs by people who have taken a similar path. Some people forgo any home or vehicle at all and simply carry a couple of pieces of luggage and travel the world. I've seen individuals and couples who have been travelling for over five years with nothing more than carry-on luggage. It's all in the realm of possibility.

While there are certainly people who have walked (or driven!) away from their former life and thrived with hardly a backwards glance, I suspect that's rare. It's usually difficult for any of us to adequately fathom something we haven't personally experienced. You know yourself best. My suggestion is to learn what you can by reading and gaining from the experiences of others, while also taking steps to increase your personal experience.

If you can rent before you buy, if you can travel before you dispose of all the trappings of your present life, that would give you the flexibility to learn and adapt and decide. I wish you well in your venture.
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:17 PM   #10
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Most here are big fans of fiberglass RVs for long lasting durability, fewer leaks, light weights and aerodynamic designs to name a few. They are highly towable.
I do recommend renting before buying, but in many areas it is difficult to rent egg style trailers.
No matter, a big part of renting has to do with becoming familiar with living out of a small trailer. You can do that in a similar size and layout trailer. The layout and equipment need not be identical.
It may help decide if you want a bath/shower or not. It may help decide many other things like refrigerator size, and the need for AC or a furnace. For fulltiming, more likely. All these items add to weight. Do you want to plug in, or boondock? What about solar? I could go on, but the more boxes you can check now, the better.
It's no sin to attend an RV show. But the quality of many stick built RVs is sinful.
Here's a letter:
My letter to an RV industry association leader - RV Travel
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:52 PM   #11
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We have met several single women that were full timing. They all had small motor homes. None towed a vehicle behind it.
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Old 11-19-2017, 07:54 AM   #12
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That's a good point, Bob. My mother has RV'd solo for 30+ years since my father died, always in a small motorhome. Not a full-timer, but several months at a time. She did not want to deal with towing.

On the other hand, there are a number of single female full-timers who have posted on this forum with towables. Hitching and unhitching, driving and backing a towable can be learned by anyone, male or female.

If you tend to move around a lot, a motorhome makes sense, but if you settle in one spot for a week or more at a time, a trailer makes more sense. It's a nuisance to break camp to make a grocery run. Overall costs for a motorhome are higher, especially compared to a small molded fiberglass trailer.
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:55 AM   #13
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Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
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In the campground where we spent the winter a few years there was a single lady in her 80's that had a small class A motor home. Almost every day she would unhook her utilities and drive a couple miles out to the beach. Finally age caught up with her and she could no longer do the drive down from New Jersey to Georgia, so had to give it up. Saw another lady rip the A/C unit off the roof of her class C motorhome on a low tree limb, so the lesson for new RV owners is: don't forget it's higher than your car.
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Old 11-19-2017, 09:43 AM   #14
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On balance, I favor trailers, for not having to haul your shelter around with you, and being able to maintain camp. But it is hard to overlook the safety aspect of being able to climb behind the wheel of a motorhome and drive out of potential trouble.
Then there's resale. Almost weekly someone is selling a well preserved 40 year old trailer here. That doesn't happen as much with motorhomes, where ever they are sold.
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