The road to vagabond living: “Choosing the right rig”

At first I’m crazy for Class Cs.

Note:  This post is how I arrive at the decision to purchase a travel trailer.  My reasoning may not make much sense to you and may be erroneous, but there you have it.  Nothing written here should be taken as derogatory of other types of rigs.  Different strokes for different folks.  This is an account of how I found the right rig for me and my crew.

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Sunrise at our camp near Congress, Arizona

My role model, Tioga George, has a Class C. 

Every day I read about his wonderful life and at the center of it all is his beloved Tioga.  I envision myself and my dogs living in a Class C and soon I begin to question whether it’s the best rig for us.

Do I want to climb up a ladder to go to bed? 

What about Bridget and Spike?  Do I carry them up there, too?  Will I like having to drive my home everywhere?  What happens when I leave a campsite on public lands?  How do I hold our site?  Will I decide not to explore back roads or go to out-of-the-way places because my mode of transportation is big?  Will the Class C take us to a vet clinic fast in an emergency?  What about fuel efficiency?

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“Keep an eye out for snakes, Bridge.” “No, YOU keep an eye out for snakes.”

I move on to other types of rigs.

Immediately I cross Class As off my list. 

Very pretty, luxurious, expensive.  Class As don’t appeal to me.  I can’t envision driving one. Maybe because I once was a bus driver?  I don’t know.  Good thing, because I can’t afford a classy Class A!

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The sandy lane is easy on paws. Mesquite trees are a light, spring green.

I take a look at Class Bs.

Hmm…  easy to maneuver, go anywhere, stylish…   I look at the prices of Roadtreks and other vehicles of that class.  Gee, that’s a lot of money for a limited amount of space.  Will I feel like I’m at home in a Class B?

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We come upon several bee hives, a few shown here.

What about a van?

I could be happy living in a van for a road trip.  I could make one work for full-time living.  They’re great for stealth camping, good maneuverability, go pretty much anywhere, and not necessarily expensive to purchase and relatively inexpensive to maintain and run.  On the down side . . .  Finding one equipped the way I want it for full-time living is not going to be easy.  I don’t have the skills or the ambition to remodel a van, and it’s not really what I want anyway.

What about a truck camper?

The lack of storage space bothers me.  (In hindsight, now that I’ve full-timed a couple years, truck campers have risen on my personal rating scale.)  Truck campers seem inadequate for me and two dogs.

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Bridget and I walk up a small hill that gives a view of a huge wash. Spike decides to wait for us at the base. The overcast sky makes photos difficult.

That leaves a travel trailer.

(I don’t like the way fifth wheels look so I don’t consider them.  Aesthetics are important to me.)

One Saturday I drive a few hours to an RV dealer.  Travel trailers are on sale.  The salesman opens up a 28-footer.  Well, this is nice.  I sit on the couch and look from one end to the other.  Too big.  It’s the shortest one he’s got.  I go home.

I browse travel trailers online.  I read classifieds for used trailers.  I read comments on forums.  A common remark is “Make sure you look for hidden leaks when shopping for a travel trailer.”

Huh?  Leaks?

By this time I’m convinced I want a travel trailer.  I’ll need lots of storage space and I can get that with the tow vehicle.  I want the freedom to drive off in a regular vehicle, leaving my home behind.  I want to return to my home, not return to a vacant spot with my home.  Irrational, illogical, but, hey, that’s the way I think.  I want to purchase a travel trailer that I can live in for a very long time, and I don’t want leaks!

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The view from the hill

Online I stumble upon fiberglass travel trailers.

Oh boy, now yer talkin.’  Small, lightweight, not too costly, and no roof seams for leaks to form!  This looks good!  

(I’m skipping the time I spent looking for the perfect used trailer.)

I narrow my choices down to an Oliver, a Casita, or a Scamp.

The Oliver factory is in Tennessee and I’m in Georgia.  I’ll drive up there and tour the factory!  I’m very excited as the Oliver is a quality product.  Well, a few days before my planned excursion, the Oliver factory discontinues sales of travel trailers due to the economy going into the toilet.  Dang!  Oh well, they are kind of pricey for me anyway . . .

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This BLM land is drier than I remember from previous visits. It looks over-grazed.

Now it’s between a Casita or a Scamp.

Here’s where logistics comes into play.  Scamps are manufactured in Minnesota.  Other fiberglass eggs are manufactured too far away.

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Spike drinks from the collapsible bowl.

Casitas are in Texas.  Halfway between Georgia and Texas is my sister’s home in Mississippi.

Of course, there are many reasons why I choose Casita, but the logistics of picking up the trailer point me in their direction.

The Casita website intrigues me.  I read blogs of Casita owners.  This could be it!

I contact the Casita factory and express my interest.

Shortly thereafter I receive a color brochure, specs sheet and price list.  I wear that little brochure to tatters studying the photos of the Patriot, Freedom, Spirit, and Liberty models.  The Patriot is only 13-feet so that’s out.  The Freedom has two swivel, captains chairs.  I hate swivel captains chairs.

Well, maybe the Spirit model . . .

spirit-schematicFirst thing I notice is it has a two-seat dinette.  Hmm . . . very cute.  (I’m always suspicious of cuteness.)  Why do I need two seats?  Why do I need a dinette, for that matter?  I’ll probably eat outside most of the time. 

I read on forums that some Spirit owners remove the center partition (located at the back of the seat next to bed).  That’s a pain.  I don’t want to remodel anything.  I notice the stove is next to the bed.  I don’t want to cook next to my bed.

(If the print on diagrams is too small, press the ctrl key and click the + key to enlarge.)

I take a close look at the Liberty.

liberty-schematicAn “open” plan, can be put in several different bed configurations, no partition, cooking is away from the bed, I can watch the stove from outside the door, it has two seats that could easily be replaced with something else, like a storage cabinet, three different-sized tables to choose from,  . . .  Flexibility,  I like it!

I place the order.

It’s November.  I won’t retire until the following June.  Turns out I have to wait until August — ten months after I placed the order —  to see a Casita for the first time!

In the next installment of “The Road to Vagabond Living,”  I’ll discuss the options I choose for my home.

rvsue

THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING AMAZON FROM MY BLOG!

It’s thoughtful of you to do so.  Here is a sample of recent purchases:

FitFlop Women’s Lunetta Thong Sandal
Coleman Road Trip Grill LXE
Dr.Ohhira’s Probiotics Original Formula
Melissa & Doug Pasture Pals
LogicMark Guardian Alert 911
Weber Q Griddle

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161 Responses to The road to vagabond living: “Choosing the right rig”

  1. Ladybug says:

    Love the sunset! But then, I’m always partial to the pink/purple ones.

    Was wondering, would you might giving some of the reasons you’re looking more favorable on the truck campers? I have to admit I have no desire for a fifth-wheel, even though I used to drive a semi. I think those are the preferred unit for full-timers who don’t want the Class A. But not me!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ladybug,

      Actually that photo is a sunrise!

      I forgot all about fifth wheels! I inserted a line about them in the paragraph about travel trailers. I never considered a fifth wheel simply because I don’t like their shape. Silly, I know.

      When I was going through the process of figuring out the best rig for us, I hadn’t seen a lot of truck campers. Over the past two years I’ve seen a few really nice ones… Arctic Fox and BigFoot, I think, not sure if I’m remembering correctly. Anyway… truck campers can go a lot of places and can camp in tight spots. I’m happy that I have a travel trailer. But I now see the reason some people like truck campers.

      • DesertGinger says:

        Are you talking about the camper shells that fit into the bed of a pickup? Wouldn’t you be back in the same situation of having to give up your campsite if you left for the day to shop, or whatever?

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Exactly.

          I’m not saying I want a truck camper. I’m saying that I think more highly of them now because they can fit in tight spaces and go to a lot of places and some of them are roomier than older models.

          No, I don’t like leaving a great boondock empty in order to go to the store.

          • Sidewinder Pen says:

            I really enjoyed reading through your reasoning. I used to have a 13′ “egg” (before leaving home), and it was neat. I did like “coming home” to it… come around the corner and there it would be, waiting just like a little cabin. I always liked the Liberty layout on the Casita (my car then could only tow a 13-footer though).

            For more extensive travel, I always liked the idea of a single-unit rig, like a Class B or small C, but I thought about downsides: My “egg” was 30 years old and still going strong. I could just get a new/different tow vehicle and basically keep using it forever. I like that feeling, especially after I get something set up to my liking (the trailer, that is). With a B or C they eventually get “too old” for most folks (minus dedicated classics fans). If you want a new engine/drive train/safety profile…. you have to get a whole new rig. The other thing I really like about the trailer/van set up is the massive storage you have in the van, plus being able to have the solar panel on it.

            All that said, I decided to drag a boat around for awhile, so a trailer was out (I have no desire to double tow!) and a B/C was in. I have been thinking about getting a screen tent to set up to make an “outdoor space,” and do double duty as a place holder for longer term camps. ‘Course that’s another thing to store, worry about, etc.

            I recently came into a toad (tow car) for a three-week stretch and I can see why people have them (and/or you have your PTV). It IS nice to run to town and not have to put everything away in the living space, and to come home to …. home waiting for me. So I could also see a B or C with a small toad for a similar effect to what you have (losing the massive storage, gaining fuel efficiency, “gaining” a second engine).

            It’s fascinating to see all the ways that people solve the “problem” of what rig is best for them. Especially some of the more unusual setups.

            Speaking of which, maybe the “impostor” seen buying coffee at Starbucks is a rig I have seen around Arizona: At first I thought “RV Sue!” as I drove into a boondock and saw a white Chevy van towing a Casita. But then I realized there was no solar panel on the van, so knew it was not you.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Interesting, Pen! I’m enjoying people telling their reasoning behind their choices.

  2. John K - Mobile, AL says:

    truck campers have come a long way, but seems to me if you are going that route, you might as well go Class B or C. yep, they can be removed from the truck, but it isn’t all that easy from what I remember. We went through the same decision tree that Sue did and came to the same conclusion. Fiberglass travel trailer for us. Unfortunately, we don’t think the Casita would be big enough. Too bad as the price sure is nice!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, John,

      You’re getting a quality trailer with the Oliver and those extra feet in length will make a big difference for two people.

      • Sidewinder Pen says:

        An Oliver… swoon! One thing on the truck camper: They are fairly easy to come by (the truck part) with four-wheel-drive. You can get B’s (vans) or C’s with it, but they are much rarer; so that may be one big reason for folks who choose truck campers. Also, one truck camper (taken care of) can last through several iterations of truck, for those who like to keep things longer (but like to modernize the truck from time to time).

    • Marsha in MI says:

      John – I answered your solar question on Sue’s last blog entry (posted March 29). Sorry I didn’t see your question sooner.

      You’re getting an Oliver? Jealous.

  3. rvsueandcrew says:

    Hi, Betsy in E Texas,

    Great hearing from you! Yes, the Casita is easy to tow (like it isn’t there!) and I’ve found the BLT easy to back up and to make U-turns (like when I forget to pump gas I’ve paid for).

  4. mockturtle says:

    The main reason I don’t want a truck camper is that I can’t drive away [from a situation] without getting out of the camper and into the truck. For a solo female traveler, I consider this important. But the beds are great–easy to climb into, roomy, etc. I don’t sleep in my Class C cabover bed but rather on the pull-out sofa. My dog sleeps in his bed right next to mine.

    While I have a Born Free 24′ right now [and sometimes tow a Honda CR-V], I’m planning to order a Tiger CX 4X4 and won’t need to tow anything. 🙂 I’m excited!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, mockturtle,

      I think you’ve probably read my feelings about the “without getting out of the camper” reasoning. Complete fallacy in my book. I’ve never come across that situation. Of course, I always want to shoot down anything that makes women seem like they have to act like prey, so don’t take me seriously. Haha!

      Born Frees are primo! I don’t understand.. What is a Tiger CX?

      LATER…. I looked them up… sweet! I saw a vintage model at the laundromat at Ajo a few years ago . . .

      Tiger CX

    • Ed says:

      If I had the $114,000 base price for a Bengal CX 4×4 I would be excited also. I would even be excited to have your 24′ Born Free but could not find a used one of those that I could afford.
      It is good that you will not have a toad so you can drive away [from a situation] without getting out of the Bengal CX. Now if ‘a situation’ should occur and the toad is disconnected you have to drive away and leave it – much better.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        I’m sorry, guys, but what is this “situation?” Has anyone every had a “situation” occur? I’ve read plenty of people worrying about it, but no one reporting it.

        Choosing a rig because of an imaginary threat is hard for me to understand.

        • mockturtle says:

          That’s good, Sue, that you’ve never had any situations. Hope that remains the case. 🙂

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Well, who knows. Maybe I’ll be mugged on my way into the store. Can’t live my life cowering inside my rig!

            • Ed says:

              Sue, Sue, Sue you are an outlander in the current culture of the United States that demands ‘total security’.
              Most of the people in this country can not live the way you do because of their fears. Playing upon those fears and creating even more is what successful politicians now use to get elected. It is also a great marketing tool to sell more ‘stuff’ to keep everyone safe.
              Don’t try to understand, just ignore all the attempts to instil fear in your life and continue to live the way you have been living!

        • Cinandjules says:

          It’s that OMG I need to “bug out” cuz I’m a woman theory! That doesn’t exist!

          Ya know the saying goes…if you can’t run with the big dogs …stay on the porch!

          • mockturtle says:

            I am sorry if I struck a nerve with some of you. It so happens that I have experienced an assault. While I do NOT consider myself a ‘victim’, nor ‘prey’, I am more alert and better prepared perhaps than most because of the experience. It does not stop me from boondocking or hiking alone.

            Again, I am very glad for those of you who have never been through that particular nightmare and sincerely hope you never are.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              mockturtle . . . I’m sorry you experienced a crime against you and I’m sorry if it seemed I was making light of assaults. That wasn’t my intent.

              Unfortunately bad things can happen anywhere to anyone and all of us have to go places where those things can happen… simply crossing a parking lot, for instance. The type of rig doesn’t have anything to do with reducing the likelihood of it happening.

              Again, I apologize. I didn’t mean to belittle. I’m glad that you haven’t let that experience keep you from boondocking or hiking alone!

              BTW… Comments are not going where they’re supposed to, don’t know why! This should be a reply and your comment stays at the bottom. I didn’t do that.

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              I don’t mean to speak for you, Sue, but this phenomenon is one that “gets” me, too, and I imagine your reaction might have been along the lines of mine. For me, it’s not one specific woman choosing a B/C based on her own experience (such as you have, mockturtle – that rocks and glad you are out rolling!), but rather the “common knowledge” or prescription for all women. Such as the often heard, “I wouldn’t let my sister travel in anything but a B/C, because women need to be able to get away quickly.” THAT drives me nuts (as most of those “all women” types of things do), even though I have a B/C myself! So it’s not the specific, but the generalization that bugs me (and then any danger to men seems to be ignored, and they are not “supposed” to get any certain type of rig).

              Again, glad you are out rolling, mockturtle. And a Tiger… sweet! You must be super excited about it.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Thank you, Pen! You explained my attitude exactly! I hate those generalizations that further condition women to hold back, to be timid, to worry and fret, to be dependent on a man, to fear the unknown, to never know true independence in body and spirit. It’s a travesty!

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              NOTE TO READERS: To see the most recent comments, look above mockturtle’s comment. For some strange reason that particular thread jumped to the end and stays there.

            • Cinandjules says:

              My impression was the “situation” was from a male’s perspective.

              I hope I didn’t offend you..if I did I apologize.

              Cindy

            • Mary (MN) says:

              mockturtle,

              I withdraw my suggestion that you not boon dock.

              I think you are very brave to do so and are an example to all women on how to endure that nightmare and not let it stop you from following your dream.

              Your comment about being prepared and alert is very good advice.
              Mary

            • mockturtle says:

              Thank you, Mary. I daresay I’ve been RVing, hiking, camping and kayaking solo far longer than most of you. A wimp I am not. It would seem that I can’t express my opinion on my choice of RVs without an uproar if it doesn’t pass a litmus test. 🙁

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              mockturtle,

              I don’t know if you saw my previous comment (since for some reason this part of the comments seems to have gone whacko in the ordering process), but I think what some of us are/were responding to, was the constant (and it is!) refrain about what rigs “women should get,” when there is no corresponding “should” for men choosing rigs. Oftentimes fear/threats are used to “help” a woman decide, and in our culture, my opinion is that we (women) don’t really need such messages (because the message has been pounded in to the point of over-saturation already, not because safety and situational awareness are not important for everyone).

              I always enjoy reading about why an individual chose the rig he or she did, and I bet most others here do too. I hope you will continue to post your opinions. In this case I think they just got mixed up with the all-too-common generalizations.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              mockturtle . . .

              No one meant to be hurtful. There is no uproar against you. Everyone has expressed sincere regret that their comments came across as criticizing you, your choice of rig, or your reasons for choosing that rig. We were thinking in terms of the statements and assumptions toward women in general. Not knowing your experience, we were hurtful. Again, our apologies.

              When writing in an open venue such as this, it’s difficult to anticipate the ramifications of our words. I was insensitive not to think of those women, such as yourself, who have suffered trauma in the past. My mind was wrapped around my pet peeve — women being treated as lesser individuals than men.

              Please accept all the apologies made here. I’d hate to lose you.

            • mockturtle says:

              Both of my last posts [of an abashed and conciliatory type] showed up in entirely the wrong place. Hope you all can read this: I am sorry I got upset. I should not have. —your sister on the road.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I explained why the comments are out of order and it appeared further up! Exasperating! I guess I’d better make another post. 🙂

            • Cinandjules says:

              Sorry! 🙁

              This is so informative and interesting… Hate to see it end

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I know what you mean. It’s a wonder we don’t bust the comment section to smithereens with all our yakking. I don’t think the designers intended comments to be such a busy place! It’s great. I love it.

            • mockturtle says:

              You have more comments to your blog than do all the other blogs I’ve ever read, put together. 🙂

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Y’all make me proud! 🙂

            • Mary (MN) says:

              mockturtle, I am a wimp, I bought into the fear mongers hook, line and sinker. I am afraid to do much of anything, which is why I said I thought you were brave. I was reacting to what I preceived as more fear monkering instead of your stating your reasons for your choice of vehicles. I was wrong and I am so sorry. Some day I hope to get enough courage back to venture out, for now I stay close to my sticks and bricks.

    • Mary (MN) says:

      mockturtle, You would be able to drive away from a ‘situation’ only if you are in the camper at the time, so you couldn’t be out for a walk, couldn’t explore, take pictures, couldn’t even sit in a chair outside. You would also have to assume that the bad people or the bears didn’t disable your camper so it couldn’t be driven. Maybe boondocking isn’t for you – just a thought.

      • Gayle says:

        The only “situation” I’ve heard of is my friends, a retired couple, who were napping at a turnout. A motorcycle gang pulled off the road and started to circle around and around their rig and yell. So, he did crawl up to the driver’s seat and pull away.

  5. It is/was a GREAT choice. Your analysis was ‘dead on’.

  6. DesertGinger says:

    One of these days I will get the rhythm right and be first!

  7. mister Ed says:

    Accident
    MsTioga runs off the Interstate
    On Saturday, March 15th, close to noon, MsTioga and I were driving on Interstate #5, a bit south of Bakersfield, California. Suddenly we were in a field to the right of the Interstate. I had no clue how I had arrived stopped in that field!

    I saw a man running up the shoulder of the Interstate. He climbed over the field’s fence and came to my aid where I was sitting in MsTioga’s driver’s seat. To his questions, I told him that I was OK, just a bit dizzy. “What happened to me?”, I asked.

    The man told me that he had been following me. Suddenly, MsTioga began fishtailing, then headed off the Interstate to the field where she was now sitting.

    Ambulance to the hospital
    Soon an ambulance arrived, and put me into a gurney. Then carried me across the field to the Interstate and put me into the ambulance. We drove to the Emergency Room of San Joaquin Community Hospital in Bakersfield.

    Soon it was discovered that I had an irregular heart beat. While the top half of my heart beat at about 60 beats/minute, the bottom chamber beat in the 30 beats/minute range. The doctor told me that the irregular heart beat likely caused me to pass out.
    Posted by Tioga George at 3/15/2014 11:30:00 AM No comments:

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh my gosh, what a terrible thing! He could’ve been killed!

      Thanks, Mister Ed, for printing the story here. I heard from a reader, Barbara, that George recently underwent open heart surgery and is recovering.

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        How fortunate that he didn’t hit anyone or roll the RV. Scary stuff… Glad to hear that he is doing OK.

  8. Ginny says:

    Tioga Geo. just posted – drove off the road.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Ginny… I’ll go look!

      • Gayle says:

        My friend RVs with her husband and he needed bypass surgery. They literally pulled off the highway at a hospital, found a doctor, checked in and he got his bypass surgery. She stayed in the RV on the hospital parking lot and cooked him so permissible meals. You know what the sign says: GAS, FOOD, BYPASS, NEXT EXIT!

  9. Cinandjules says:

    When it rains it pours!

    Thoughts and prayers for Tioga George.

  10. DeAnne in TN says:

    Interesting how truck campers have “risen in your personal scale.” You would still have to pack up camp to go get groceries, right? Personally, for me, I like the travel trailer because you can leave it and come back. And storage in the PTV is important. Just musing; that makes your blog great–it makes the wheels turn and the reader evaluate their own list of do’s, don’ts and must haves. For two years now I have gone back and forth, but I know that my decision will be what’s best for me. Thanks for your insight, Sue.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, DeAnne. Yes, there still is the disadvantage of having to leave a campsite as if abandoned when you go somewhere in a truck camper. I was just pointing out that they’ve improved in design.

      • Gayle says:

        Maybe it’s just us, but we noticed when on the highway, that truck campers weren’t as popular as fifth wheels, which were in the majority. Truck campers have slides now. Very neat.

        • Gayle says:

          I mean slide, as in pop-out, where the dining booth is, not slide and in slide the camper in and out.

  11. Brian says:

    “Small is the new big.”
    Thanks for taking the time Sue to share your thought process on this matter and so many other things.

    Your posting about your house in GA and the LAWN really hit home with me and the wife.
    Thanks Sue!

    Fellow Casita owners Brian and Carolyn

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Brian and Carolyn,

      I chuckled at the LAWN hitting home with you both. Mowing lawn is no way to spend retirement!

  12. mk stuck in NE GA for now says:

    Wonderful post! Like you I’ve traveled the road along the decision tree. I’ve gone back and forth between a truck camper and a TT. A truck camper can be “left” but it sound like a real PIA and I’m used to hitching and un-hitching trailers (sailboats and horse trailers of varied lengths). I at one time I had a 5th wheel horse trailer and HATED it so I knew that would be out and on top of that they are HUGE. Unlike you, I don’t care for much heat, anything over about 65 and I’m not a happy camper so I want to spend as much time as I can each year in the NW so I chose the Nash 17k as it is a 4 season built for boondocking it gives me more time up north. I love the layout and mega storage plus if repairs are needed good chance I’ll be near somewhere that do them as they are mfg’d in OR, but from what I’ve read on their forum they are reliable and used rarely comes on the market unless someone is “moving up”. I’ve also almost decided on an F250 this time vs an F150, however, by the time I buy that could change as they’ve really beefed up the F150’s compared to my 16 year old one. Now all I have to do is a. get rid of more stuff and b. sell the farm (everyone speak to their spirits about the real estate market please) so I can join the open road crowd.

    Thanks so much for your continuing story about “how you got there”.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Your decision-making sounds good, mk. You know what you like (cool) and you’re remembering that when making decisions. Good luck choosing the truck!

      And also selling the farm!

    • Badger says:

      mk stuck in NE GA for now

      I guess I’m going down the same “decision tree” that you are. I was very interested in the Nash but now I’m leaning towards a Escape 17 which is also insulated and would allow a smaller tow vehicle. Just wondering if you considered this option?

      • mk stuck in NE GA for now says:

        Yes I did look at the Escape but it just doesn’t have in insulation the Nash does and it’s MFG’d in Oregon where I hope to spend a lot of time. The Nash also has lot’s of storage, double axle and was built specifically for boondocking with large holding tanks. Plus I love the layout.

  13. I think in the future, if I ever decide to pull something with my van, it will be a Casita. I’m sold, Sue! And if I have a partner someday, I think this would be a great choice…that is, if they’re minimalist enough too.

    I was amazed after downsizing for about 4 years that I could FINALLY fit my life in a van! I chose the van because of the stealth value, mpg and the simplicity of upkeep and maintenance (well, I rely on mechanics and help at RTR) for my first mobile home. Also, I like to be able to leave a site within a few minutes notice, like if my neighbors are too irritating or for whatever reason. I can pack up and go within about 10 minutes if I’m rushing.

    Plus, it was the only vehicle I could afford. I found it on Bob’s Cheap RV forum too. I didn’t pay a thing for it LOL, as I ended up traded my 2007 Malibu for it back in January ’13. What a deal I got too because it was already partially converted, came with a Maxx Air fan, Cobra inverter with house battery system hooked up to the van battery (with an on/off switch for charging), a twin bed built in and was partially insulated. My Dad and I finished the rest of the conversion by raising the bed, finishing the insulation (I did that myself), putting in plastic cabinets and sealing off the insulation with Luan plywood. It’s rustic in appearance on the inside, but I love it! It’s so comfortable for the dog and I. But, like you say, different strokes for different folks. This works for my needs this season on life.

    I hear you Sue, though, on not wanting to convert a van. It can be a lot of work (from scratch), but certainly easier than my original plan – building a tiny house on wheels! Boy are those thing pricey and not meant to be moved around every two weeks.

    It’s fascinating reading your journey!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      And it’s fascinating reading your journey, too! I love how everything came together for you… the trade for the van, you and your dad fixing it up, the results suiting you and your dog perfectly. And you didn’t pay out the ying-yang to get yourself on the road. Great job, girl!

  14. Cinandjules says:

    Isn’t that weird………..your post starts off with your role model Tioga George has a class C. Then the news flash re: his accident. Got side tracked and had to read the post over again…I WAS first (just kidding) now I’m 99th.

    Okay then….

    Beautiful sunrise…love the pic of the crew walking side by side!

    The way you came to the decision was very practical. I really liked the layout of the Winnebago Rialta FD but not the pullout telescopic shower. So we got a Class “C”….well that wasn’t it either. They say hindsight is 20/20…travel trailers are the way to go! So much more “freedom” so to speak, than all the others.

    I wouldn’t want to cook near the bed either. Yuck! I can’t believe you pulled the trigger without seeing one in person. I would have to make sure…you know who’s rear end would fit in the bathroom. (True story …shhh she’s deeply engrossed in her logic problem book)

    The choices have been narrowed down to a Casita Freedom Deluxe, if they can flip flop the stove or an Escape 17B.

    I’m chomping at the bit waiting to hear the rest of the story. My role model has a travel trailer. Every night, while settling into bed, I think about your life as a vagabond….how neat it would be!

    Have a great night! Hugs to the crew!

    PS. AO is out of her mind! I think she’s trying to figure out what she can get away with! Cinandjules’ animal control….we HAVE no control!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Cinandjules,

      “trying to figure out what she can get away with”… Sounds like the canine equivalent to the terrible twos. You must get control! I didn’t, and look what I have to put up with.

      Yeah, I’ve always been slow making decisions because I’m so careful with every dollar. This was the one time when I had to make a decision “sight unseen” or drive all the way to Texas and back. (Casita would’ve made arrangements for me to look at somebody else’s Casita but I didn’t want to do that.) When I got to the factory I didn’t want to look at a Spirit because I was afraid I’d regret my decision to buy the Liberty. Jon urged me on and fortunately I knew right away that I’d chosen the right rig for me and the crew.

  15. Jane Onken says:

    Hey Sue,
    My best wishes go to Tioga George, too…will check his blog. I decided on a tt then a Casita in pretty much the same way you did. The other I was smitten with though was the Escape until I saw the price difference. Next I decided on the style and put my nose to the classifieds until I found one. Since getting it in Oct., I’ve, naturally, been researching tvs. Owning/driving a truck has never appealed to me, but it seemed the best option. That is until I checked the mpg different Casita owners get–13–15. Wow, 13 is what you said you get and I could have all that space a van offers for storage! Now I’m thinking vans and am happy with the idea. It’s interesting how we all follow a similar path to arrive at what works best.
    Glad to see Spike looking like he’s getting along fine now.
    Illinois Jane

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jane,

      I never considered an Escape because they are manufactured so far away from Georgia (Canada, I think? or is it Oregon?) Anyway . . .

      I couldn’t get a used Casita, being a single person working fulltime. They’re grabbed too quickly. One would be listed on a Thursday afternoon, I’d call after work and find someone had put a deposit on it, sight unseen.

      You can’t beat a van for space. I was fortunate to find one with “barn” doors. (I don’t like sliding doors) I found the PTV at a place that buys up fleets of vans for resale. A huge lot full of vans! That made shopping easy.

      Good luck finding the Perfect Tow Vehicle!

      • Jane Onken says:

        Yah, I hadn’t figured out how I would get an Escape. (Canada) Re my ’98 Casita, it was 8PM when I saw the ad and called at 8:10. It was a first to see one listed nearby and in my Mother’s home town even (she loved to camp and I took it as a great sign). I went up the next AM and bought it. When I asked if he’d take less, he said no, considering all the interest he was getting. I understand completely how it would have been hard for you to get a used one!
        What’s the name of the place in Ga. where you got your van? With the road salt used here and rust problems, I’ve toyed with the idea of going elsewhere to buy. Thanks for the luck. No doubt, I’ll need it!
        Il Jane

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Jane,

          The PTV came from Wade’s Used Vans, Tucker, GA (a suburb of Atlanta). The contact info and inventory can be seen at their website.

          I see that they have some box vans also in case any readers are interested in fashioning themselves a stealth camper.

  16. weather says:

    Said a prayer for Tioga George,and everyone in this rv /blog community.
    Beautiful sunrise!Thanks for telling what considerations mattered to you in choosing the BLT. I’m smiling about”don’t like the way fifth wheels look,so I don’t consider them”.
    When I bought my jeep,it was after months of poring over sales magazines,lots and the internet,driving four states away to get the exact year,model,features and color I wanted,because function,yes,and looks matter!
    The rv consideration process for me included remembering the differences in living- in apartments,townhouses,mobile home,single and two family houses I’d bought.What stood out – large/small spaces, owned/rented weren’t key.When I had the perception of autonomy without deprivation everything else could be taken in stride.
    Having clarity about that, the path’s choices fall in line …

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi weather,

      You know how realtors talk about “curb appeal.” They know that how a house looks from the curb is important because people have an emotional reaction when they approach a house. I need a positive emotional response when I see my rig. Fifth wheels don’t do that for me, whereas my “egg” makes me smile.

      I think it’s very telling when one sees how happy and content people are who live full-time in a van, a truck camper, or other tiny space.

      • weather says:

        You smiling when you see the egg is a great picture.The tiniest home I’ve had did that for me,too.Choices are telling,the jeep
        looks as tough as I am and can be slept in when that’s called for.
        An” interesting” life taught me early on that acting like one has no fear often removes the need for it,so options remain available,dreams become attainable,life keeps that sway bar connected feeling,we get to reach for what holds curb appeal to us,enthusiasm,His life in us,does the world good,and besides,it’s just more fun

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Love that line…”Acting like one has no fear often removes the need for it.”

          Also your image of living life to the fullest with the sway bar on. 🙂

      • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

        While I tend to agree with you on a general dislike of those big 5th wheels, I have seen and quite like the little “baby” 5th wheel made by the Scamp company in MN. There is one parked near me right now, and they do offer more room… a larger fridge… and more storage. Your readers who are pondering may want to take a look at it as another possibility.

  17. Hotel California says:

    Wonderful juxtaposition in today’s post. Tempered by the TG news.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Hot Cal… It is odd how I posted about George at the moment he was posting for the first time in several weeks.

      I would’ve liked it better if George’s news were better. What a shock to find yourself sitting in your rig in a field off the interstate!

      • weather says:

        posting simultaneously isn’t odd,it’s providential.What better gift could he receive at that moment- than someone he’d encouraged reaching a huge circle of similar folks-, so well wishing,prayer and encouragement come flooding back to him exactly when needed?
        Crossing paths and connecting when needed are gifts -like the love notes and post cards you perceive as nature around you is filled with blossoms and birds.it’s not corny,it’s the Truth

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Here’s something to think about….

          Late yesterday I was thinking about a person I hadn’t heard from in a long time. As I sat in my camp chair I mentally composed a very persuasive email that would surely spur her to get in touch with me. I planned to type and send it later.

          Later in the evening, before I can write the email, I find a long email from her in my inbox! I check the time she sent it and it was shortly after I composed that email in my head. This is a great gift! I can send emails (energy mails) without having to type them. Haha!

          • weather says:

            Powerful times you’re having lately.Those types of experiences are awesome,something I’m sure we could take pages and hours to talk about,so significant they remain easily remembered for decades,no matter how prevalent they are in some of our lives.You really did come up with a great expression for them,energy mails,good stuff Sue.

  18. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    Lawlessness has taken over our culture. It’s not just women but all of us who are at risk. Our prisons are bursting at the seams with overpopulation. The government can’t build them fast enough to keep up with the crazyness that has taken over our country. I have been in law enforcement and since the 1960’s I have seen the beginning of a cycle that is not slowing down, but speeding up. So what to do? Women should carry an electronic zapper. Not lethal but most effective if a woman needs to defend herself. It is only prudent to be prepared. Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

    • Actually, prison populations have risen due to mandatory sentencing laws. There is now a push to remove these laws from the books. Eric Holder is a proponent of this. Here’s a cut and paste from Wikipedia on the subject.

      Violent crime was not responsible for the quadrupling of the incarcerated population in the United States from 1980 to 2003. Violent crime rates had been relatively constant or declining over those decades. The prison population was increased primarily by public policy changes causing more prison sentences and lengthening time served, e.g. through mandatory minimum sentencing, “three strikes” laws, and reductions in the availability of parole or early release. These policies were championed as protecting the public from serious and violent offenders, but instead yielded high rates of confinement for nonviolent offenders. Nearly three quarters of new admissions to state prison were convicted of nonviolent crimes. 49 percent of sentenced state inmates were held for violent offenses. Perhaps the single greatest force behind the growth of the prison population has been the national “war on drugs.” The number of incarcerated drug offenders has increased twelvefold since 1980. In 2000, 22 percent of those in federal and state prisons were convicted on drug charges. [26][27] In 2011, 55.6% of the 1,131,210 sentenced prisoners in state prisons were being held for violent crimes (this number excludes the 200,966 prisoners being held due parole violations, of which 39.6% were re-incarcerated for a subsequent violent crime).[28] Also in 2011, 3.7% of the state prison population consisted of prisoners whose highest conviction was for drug possession (again excluding those incarcerated for parole violations of which 6.0% were re-incarcerated for a subsequent act of drug possession).[28]

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I like that zapper suggestion, Joe. Trouble is, if I had one, I’d be tempted to use it on people who annoy me. Turn off that damn generator! Zap! You’re parked too close! Zap! Kill the radio, darnit! Zap! Stop laughing so hard! Zap! Get out of my campsite! Zap! I’d leave a path of prone bodies.

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      You say that it’s not just women at risk, but all of us. However in the next breath you recommend that women get a zapper. I now feel worried about the 50% at risk but without a zapper (i.e. men).

      Yeah, I’m kind of kidding, but not really. It’s not the safety or danger themselves that bug me, but rather the way we talk and think about it — one way for women and another for men.

      On another note, I worked in law enforcement for a short time, and boy, did it give me a negative view of that town. I started to feel like it was the worst place ever: Full of break-ins, bicycle thefts, violence, terrible relationship skills (more violence) etc. But in reality it was similar to many other places; it’s just that I saw it all day every day (and no-one calls the police department with good news). I suppose you could say that all towns are this “bad” and it was just a reality check; I ended up feeling like most people/places are pretty good, and I was just seeing a too-large ratio of problems to good things due to my employment.

    • Gayle says:

      Where does one buy this electronic zapper of which you speak? Amazon? Is this the “gun” that shoots a long wire? Don’t you have to be closely face to face in order to zap another person? Is it good for one zap or can the other person grab it and zap you? How about wasp spray or a big can of bear spray at one’s side while sleeping? Dog the Bounty Hunter uses bear spray. I’d love to know these things!

  19. Reine in Plano says:

    Another generalization is “if something happens to Paul (my husband) of course you’ll sell the Casita”. NOT -NOT -NOT. I have many friends including you who are female solo Casita owners, and even a couple of married ones who camp solo cause their hubbies don’t like camping (silly men are missing all the fun).

    And in the different strokes category, you hate the swivel captain’s chairs and we bought our Casita Freedom BECAUSE of the captain’s chairs. FYI for folks concerned about cooking near the bed, although the stove in the Freedom and Spirit model is next to the bed, many folks have added a swing up shelf beside the stove so it doesn’t seem as if you’re cooking next to the bed. And weather permitting, we cook outside anyway.

    Great post. I know your reasons will help others reason through their decisions and ask themselves the right questions.

    • Marsha in MI says:

      Interesting comment, Reine. My husband just asked me the other day if something happened to him, would I keep the Casita. I told him I definitely would.

      It’s interesting to hear how people make a decision on what type of RV/travel trailer they choose. We had a Scamp 13′ and finally decided the bed was way too small for two adults (we’re not big people) to sleep in, so I started doing research and came upon the Casita Liberty. A king size bed in a small travel trailer? Great! We contacted Casita and were given names of two people in our area with Casitas – a Spirit and a Liberty. When all was said and done we ended up getting the Spirit, but I think that was because the people who showed us the Liberty had the twin bed setup and it just looked like the trailer was all bed. I later saw a Liberty at a campground and it was set up with a full bed in the back and it was more appealing. But we already had our SD and we love it.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi, Marsha… The Spirit model makes a lot more sense for a couple.

        You’re right…. A Liberty set up in the twin configuration does look like a lot of bed (which is, nevertheless, very practical). I removed that look when I replaced one of the beds with storage drawers.

        Isn’t it wonderful to have a rig and love it? I’ve never had such affection for an inanimate object before the PTV and BLT! Maybe it’s because I write about them so much. . . too silly!

        I smiled reading your last line…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Reine,

      I could see when I was in your Freedom how well it suited you and Paul. I must admit it was nice and cozy to sit in the captains chair, while you sat in yours, watching you cut up food for shish-kabobs for the grill.

      I’m glad you told us how your Freedom suits you. I had an awful time putting this little post together (hence the delay!). I wanted to be straightforward about my reasons for getting a travel trailer, a Casita, and then a Liberty. The difficulty arose because explaining what I like about those three things easily can be interpreted as putting down other choices people have made. Didn’t want to do that!

      Interesting remark re quitting camping if alone. It seems like there are people who automatically think in terms of restrictions, while others automatically think in terms of possibilities.

      • Reine says:

        Sue, you may want to correct your post and delete this one but we have the FREEDOM. The Spirit is the one with bench seats where ours has captain’s chairs.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Reine…I knew that! I don’t know why I wrote Spirit… well, I know why but I don’t like to think about it. I can’t delete your most recent comment because it will mess up the other comments in this thread. Doesn’t matter… Everybody knows I’m far from perfect! Thanks for the help. I’ll fix it.

          • Reine says:

            Not a big deal. Just didn’t want anyone to be confused. We have friends who bought a Freedom and converted it to a Spirit and others who bought a Spirit and added a captain’s chair. The key for folks considering RVing is to evaluate how they camp and get the rig that works best for them.

            And for other folks, we read about Casitas and read the forums but our “new to us” Casita was the first one we actually saw – and it was six months later before we saw another one. But that didn’t keep us from enjoying it.

    • Micky from Monterey says:

      And the captain chairs in my Casita Freedom Deluxe are a plus for me because I was able to remove one (the one by the bathroom), to make a bit more room for the dogs. They are good sized Goldens, so now we have a some ‘turn around’ space. I keep a chair in a bag handy, in case another human wants to share my table. Seems to work…

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Hi, Micky . . . That does sound like a good adaptation of the Freedom floor plan to suit you and your crew. Nice!

        • Cinandjules says:

          Chalk up another good point for a FD. AO is going to be a smaller golden than SA was.

          Jules gets the chair in a bag….she know the pecking order! 🙂

          Monterey as in CA?

  20. Elizabeth says:

    Enjoying your sharing your story and how you chose the Casita!…and NEVER even got in one before buying it??? AMAZING!!

    Last night someone tried to break in our daughter’s house (Lynnwood, WA) where we are staying at the moment. Hubby figured it out this AM (heh, he does not lock one lock and locks the other, and this AM it was locked in reverse!!…plus we heard some noises…but not much…also discovered the basement door was ajar a bit and not locked (but has one of those big metal locks that slide inside each other). The house is almost empty, we are just “camping out”…they moved nearly everything already in December. Oh yea…the person/persons have a key that works. We got some more big metal posts that fit under door handles and put in place tonight and in the AM early, hubby will attempt to change out the 2 locks on the front door. Yea, tons of windows to break if they wanted to…but our car sits right next to the house in the driveway. I alerted one neighbor who runs a shelter home for elderly…someone always there and awake and people come and go a lot…so that they will pay attention. We THINK it is one of the gardeners…but not sure. So we are not fearful, but I do wish I had a dog!! No doubt the little yappy thing my daughter has, may be has done them a great favor. Pray no one bothers us…there is so little of value inside, they would be awfully disappointed…

    Thanks for update on George too.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well, that’s disconcerting, to say the least! Your incident confirms my gut feeling… One is a lot less likely to deal with criminality in a vast, unpopulated expanse than in a house in a neighborhood.

      I doubt that person will come back now that he’s seen there aren’t riches to steal. It really is very stupid to enter a home with people in it. More and more, one reads about intruders being shot by homeowners.

      Strange about the intruder re-locking the door… like he didn’t want you to know he had been inside? I immediately think of a drug-user and/or kid, desperate for cash, because there obviously isn’t much prudence or rational thought behind this person’s actions.

      Good for you for not being fearful. I’m sorry you and your husband had that happen.

  21. Az- Vicki says:

    Speaking of Tioga George, he’s in the hospital.

  22. bobg says:

    My solution to all the choice in RVs was to buy them all. Over time I’ve had every sort except a Class A. They all have pluses and minuses. Currently, like you, I have a 17 foot trailer, but it’s an old stick-and-ten. All but one of my rigs has been 1) old, and 2) used. I like variety, but I’m cheap. That about sums it up.

    Several times over the years I considered a Casita, but always came back to the fact I couldn’t stand up in them. If I’d been a little shorter, I might have just bought a new Casita back in 1989 and still be using it. They are pretty.

    Last summer I was rolling through a campground up on Boulder Mountain, just south of Torrey, Utah, and stopped to admire a nearby Casita pulled by a pickup with a camper shell. That and check a map. Then a fairly tall man came out of there, followed by 3 Labs – LARGE dogs. I expressed my astonishment as he walked by. Turns out his wife was still in the trailer. They were in their 60s, and had just gotten married!

    I allowed as how it all seemed a mite crowded. He just grinned, and said it wasn’t ideal, but they were making it work. At least some of the dogs slept in the back of the truck. One of the dogs was his. The other two and the Casita belonged to his wife. But they were all family now, all part of a set. He seemed perfectly upbeat and happy. As you might expect from a newlywed.

    Takes all kinds. Almost made me think I might be missing something. But…nahhh.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, bobg,

      I have been aware of some of your rig changes. I remember you commenting a long time ago, here on this blog, about the shower/bathroom being way too small for a man of your size. I agree! I’m 5’5″ and it’s at the minimum size for me.

      Funny about the newlyweds and their melded households fitting into a Casita! Something tells me that won’t last! Haha! (meaning the tiny camper arrangement, not the marriage)….

      There are couples who live quite well in a Casita… but with THREE large dogs? Amazing . . .

  23. Ron in TX says:

    Cabover campers are easy and quick to unload with the new electric jacks and stands,3 to seven minutes seems to be normal time. The cabover is my second choice when it comes to a choice for me TT first,I do think the cabover is the most versatile camper out there after owning just about every type of rv.
    Safety isn’t gender specific ,being prepared and being aware of your surrounding is the best defense.
    Ron

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Love your last line, Ron! So true . . .

      I appreciate you sharing your experience with truck campers. You taught me something — didn’t think about electric jacks. I can see myself, when old and decrepit and no longer trusting myself to hitch and tow, changing over to a truck camper for part-time vagabonding. (Gotta’ save up for a home base!)

      • bobg says:

        There’s lots to like about a truck camper, especially if you are okay with compact living.

        BUT… I owned one back in the ’80s, and I was never comfortable driving it. The camper weighed over 3000 lbs, and leaned over dangerously on S curves. Even at low speeds. Just too topheavy even for a dually 1 ton pickup. And unlike a class C, the weight is not distributed well, but concentrated over the rear axle. I went over Slumgullion Pass twice in the thing -Creeeaaakkk, Grooannn – and I’m still not sure how I survived.

        Since then they have gotten a bit lighter, but not much. A moderately self contained one will still overload almost anything you are likely to set it on. The barebones little pop-tops seem fine, but those are weekend fishing/camping rigs, not equipped for fulltiming.

        That’s my take. But they sell a lot of the things.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Good point, bobg. I wonder if the new ones are better balanced. I see where it would be wise to have a heavy duty truck underneath the camper, although you didn’t like the feel with your pickup. Hmm . . .

  24. Renette says:

    I had a nice laugh reading your post today because all your reasons for getting a Casita (and a Liberty) are almost the same as the reasons I got one. My husband wanted to go with a motorhome, but like you, I didn’t want to drag my home with me when we went exploring. I love my Casita and have had more fun with it than any thing else I have ever owned. the one difference between us…I don’t have any canine companions. but even that may change one day. Renette

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Renette,

      Pleased to see you here! Aren’t these fiberglass egg trailers fun? You go out for a day trip and it’s like returning to mama’s womb. Haha! It’s nice to hear readers tell me that they relate to a post. Thanks for writing.

  25. I’m struggling with this decision right now. My purpose in getting an RV for when I retire is to travel and tour with it. Not necessarily to camp out for several weeks at a time in the same place like Sue (and many other bloggers that I read) enjoy doing as part of their retirement. At least for the first couple of years, I want to be very mobile. I’ve traveled quite a bit already and always missed having the time to stop at some of those interesting smaller points of interest that you see as you travel down the highway. If I see a sign that says “Waterfall 2 miles off this exit”, so to speak, I would like to be able to pull off and visit it without worrying about towing a trailer and finding a way to maneuver and park it. So that is leading me to a (used) Class B or small C.

    On the other hand, I do see the value of a towable. Park it in one place and then use the Tow Vehicle to tour around in. Then move it all to the next area. Having only one motor vehicle to maintain and insure is also important . So, having a Class B or C with a toad rules that our for now. Plus I understand that with a toad, you cannot back up, another limiting factor to my desire to go anywhere. But with the Class B or C, you have to move the whole thing to run errands. I would like to think I could plan ahead to avoid most of this but life happens to change those best laid plans. Since I do not have an RV now, the cost of a used Class B or C is not that much higher than buying a Tow Vehicle and a new trailer. Like an Oliver or Escape.

    Such a quandary! I wanted to buy something this year to get used to RV’ing on weekends and vacation so that I am ready to travel in it extensively, hopefully next year. But, until I solve this dilemma, I don’t want to waste my hard earned savings on something that won’t work for me in the long run. So, I keep reading and researching. Hope I figure this out soon!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rosemary,

      I can tell you’re doing a thorough job analyzing your wants, needs, and interests, as well as the pros and cons of rigs. I’ll throw this in for what it’s worth — Those signs like “waterfall, two miles” that make you want to take a detour. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the fact that attractions, large and small, have plenty of parking and turn-around areas, at least what I’ve seen in the West.

      It might not look like it to someone who hasn’t towed a trailer, but once you have towed for a while you see parking places that weren’t evident to you before.

      For instance, when I needed to park the PTV/BLT in the small strip shopping center in order to pick up my UPS packages, I didn’t want to park across several car-sized parking slots. So I moved over to the entry/exit of the strip mall and parked along the edge so vehicles could pass by, either entering or exiting. No problem, plenty of room for everyone!

      Also, with a small trailer, making a U-turn doesn’t require as wide a space as one might assume. The turning radius doesn’t seem to be more with the BLT than without it. (Of course we’re talking about a van tow vehicle’s turning radius.) I say all this only so you can have more info to process in your decision-making.

      A Class B is a great choice for touring. Just want you to know a small trailer works well, too!

      • Thanks, Sue, that is good to know about parking with a small trailer. Also, the U-turns. I had thought that would be challenging. I’ve never towed anything which is one of the main reasons that I would like to buy earlier and have some time to learn and practice.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I hardly towed either, just a bass boat trailer many years ago. No practice necessary. You will forget the trailer is behind you!

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      Hi Rosemary,

      My choice when I was (am) on the move a lot would probably be a B or small C. First choice would be a B if you don’t feel too confined (I didn’t when I was moving a lot). Reasons I liked it were that although I’m perfectly comfortable towing, it’s always more “lighthearted” not to be towing. Being able to choose either the “RV’s and trucks and trailers” parking OR the “cars” parking at places like rest areas is nice. And with my B, there was no road I wouldn’t go down (unless it required 4-wheel-drive, would be too small for *any* vehicle to turn around on, or would be more than around a mile of backing up if I had to). The “one piece factory metal” body made me more comfortable on bouncy roads (no wondering if RV body would hold up).

      And, although I am female, I believe I would feel the same way if male, which is that I DO like a once piece unit for fast/often traveling. It is convenient to just pull over anywhere, step through, and be in my living room (with no-one the wiser). Do a bit of computing in a grocery store parking lot, make lunch at a pull off, sleep in a rest area, etc. And always ready to turn the key and go is nice when on the road. Also inclement weather is less of a hassle (again, when on the move).

      For longer term stays (like RVSue is doing), then I think the “home is waiting for me when I come back” is more of a factor, as is being able to carry more stuff (campsite accoutrements, etc.)

      With the B, I could park in any regular parking spot (17′ long). Not that having to park at the perimeter of a store lot or etc. is a big deal; but when it was my “only car” there were other types of places I’d go that didn’t always have “perimeter” parking, and for those it was nice to just be another car-sized vehicle. Also, the 16 mpg was a nice perk (not that anyone RV’s for the mileage!).

      Disadvantages of the B: May not have full headroom (depending on roof style and your height); tankage tends to be small, and there may not be a shower. There is virtually no outdoor storage (although a Stowaway swing type carrier could solve that). I have a slightly larger rig now (small C), but I still miss the B and would still choose it for faster-paced on-the-go traveling. Especially if you don’t need to travel with a lot of tools/gear/etc.

      Fun to mull it over, isn’t it? 😀

      • Pen, thank you so much for this reply. All of these thoughts have been considered by me. I’m going this weekend to look at a couple of B+ rigs. A little more room, more storage but also a little longer in length. I agree that this is the way to do the kind of touring I want but I also think at some point I will be ready for the tow/trailer setup when my active exploring days are fulfilled. It’s a good thing that these B types of rigs hold a lot of their value after the depreciation loss of the original sale.

  26. Sue,
    It’s been quite interesting reading about how you discovered your way. Have been reading your blog for almost a year now and you’re one of the very few that I just had to go back to the beginning and read all the way through. Have commented a couple of times before, but now that we are living the life, yep, living the life as of this month….finally(!!) – I had to change it to match my attempts at blogging.

    It took some time for us to find what we wanted. Wanted to stay on the smaller side so we would have access to practically anywhere we wanted to go, but enough room for 2 people and a future dog or two to live without being up each other’s hiney. We went with a 25′ TT with a truck for a tow vehicle. Like you, we wanted the storage the truck offered and to be able to travel round a bit while the home was parked. There are lots of boondocking plans in our future so we are very happy with what we chose as well.

    Thanks for all the info, pictures and just damned good advice that we have found here. Of course, the entertainment of you and those two little lovelies are why we keep coming back.

    Cheers Mate,
    Deb

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome. There’s a lot of good information to be found here, lots of thought-provoking comments, and skads of positive messages! Glad you are still with us.

      Yay for you, Deb! You’re livin’ the life! I’m happy you are pleased with your choice of rig.

  27. Very interesting discussion. As someone else noted, there are positives and negatives to basically every kind of RV. A travel trailer could certainly be hitched up and stolen if the owner had left it behind while going into town. A camper likewise – or it could mean leaving the campsite. Same for a motorhome.

    We currently have a fifth-wheel. If it were just me, I would likely either consider a camper (already have the truck for it), a Class C, or maybe a Class B (the model with the Murphy bed option if I had the money). All three options would allow me to go off the grid some, even without four-wheel drive.

    Since it won’t be just me – assuming my wife doesn’t kick me to the curb before then – we’ll go with a mid-size Class A (around 35-feet). Right now, we have it narrowed to two brands, with a time frame narrowed to late 2016 or early 2017. Not soon enough for me! 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Walt,

      It’s exciting when the field of RV choices narrows down to a few. What fun imagining yourselves living in different rigs, dreaming of how you will use it and where you will take it.

      You made me think about travel trailers and possible theft. I haven’t heard that happening, although I suppose it does, but apparently not often considering how many exist.

      When I boondock, it often means traveling on a national forest or BLM road quite a distance from the main road. This may seem like an opportune situation for thieves. However, another way to look at it… A thief would have to find the camp, break the hitch lock, hitch up, and then drive down that long road with the chance of meeting the owner on the way who just might be packin’ heat. Haha!

      Hope you will continue to drop in here, Walt. Always enjoy your comments . . .

      • I didn’t say such a theft was likely, just possible. If I had a camper and planned my food purchases accordingly, I probably wouldn’t have to leave camp until I was ready to move on.

        I think there is a right rig for every RVer. Sometimes it takes some use and learning before a person finds their “perfect” rig. Some, like you Sue, get it right on the first try. Those of us who are married sometimes have to compromise with our other half to find the perfect compromise between each person’s perfect rig.

        Although my wife is interested in boondocking, as am I, she is interested in having some interior living space. So we’ll go with a mid-size Class A and just not go quite as far off the beaten path. That’s what we have the Jeep for. 🙂

  28. Terri From Texas says:

    I remember looking at the new lance truck campers and I thought wow!
    Then I saw the climb up to the bed. I coulda done it in my thirties or forties, but not now in my fifties! Too bad. The salesguy assured us it could be taken off the truck easily but I still think it would be a pia!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh yeah, it was a Lance that looked so good in passing. I wouldn’t like that climbing either . . .

  29. Ladybug says:

    TO ALL THOSE DESIRING CASITAS:

  30. Terri From Texas says:

    Reading about all the different rigs has been great. I started reading Wheelingit.us also recently and it gives a great perspective on traveling in a LARGE class A. I really didn’t think class A types could go very many neat places but my attitude has been changed! Thanks Sue for mentioning their blog. Between the two blogs its easy to see a clearer picture of traveling in a small trailer and a large rig.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Nina and Paul do a great job finding boondocks where they can park their big Class A. It’s a grand way to travel and live — more expensive for gas, maintenance, insurance, and repairs — but if you can afford it, well, nothing wrong with it!

      The inside of their rig is lovely. Very comfortable. I could fit the BLT in their living room!

  31. John K - Mobile, AL says:

    Just as an FYI…..Millenicom rates are going up to $89.99 for everyone effective May 1. I don’t know what the alternatives are if any. I had decided to go ahead and sign up, but now, I am not so sure.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      For everyone? Ouch!

      • John K - Mobile, AL says:

        Yep, even those who are still on the old 3G plans. Another “benefit” they have added is that you can now add 20 GB to your plan if you run out during the month. The sticky part is that there is no rollover. So, if you buy another 20 GB on the 25th of the month and don’t use all that, you lose it! Nice huh?

  32. mockturtle says:

    I’m sorry I let it bother me, Sue. It shouldn’t have. I love your blog and feel a lot of kinship with solo RVers of either gender. Hope to see you on the road some day! 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You responded honestly, no apology required. Thanks for getting back to me. I would worry!

  33. mockturtle says:

    My conciliatory response just showed up in totally the wrong order. What’s going on here? 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I think I’ve figured out why that happens. Whenever someone makes a typo in their comment, I usually open up their comment and make a correction. Well, if the comment already has a reply, when I make the correction and then delete where they told me about the error, that thread gets messed up. The original comment goes to the bottom and every reply to it goes to the bottom. It’s weird, I hate it… From now on I won’t correct typos if there are any response already posted.

      It the case of your thread, Cinandjules’ reply had an error, she mentioned it, I fixed it, deleted her mention of the error, and bingo… big mess! 🙂

  34. 2jacy says:

    Why do I love my truck camper? I’ve owned everything except a fifth wheel in the years I’ve camped alone. A TC is just so easy to live in and travel in. Drive it in city traffic, or park it where larger RVs cannot go, like some neighborhoods. Climb high mountains and it drives as fast and powerfully as the pickup truck it really is. Stealth camp and nobody notices. There is a trick to climbing safely into and out of a cabover bed. If you know how, it’s easy no matter how arthritic you may be. Generally speaking, the advantages and the disadvantages are the same – its smaller size.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Great testimony to the wonderful features of truck campers! 2jacy, you explained the benefits so well. Those are the things that appeal to me about truck campers. Thanks for writing. There are a lot of folks out there who agree with every word and love their TCs. 🙂

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      “Generally speaking, the advantages and the disadvantages are the same – its smaller size.”

      Isn’t that the truth! And you put it so succinctly. The same goes for large(r) rigs: the advantages are often the disadvantages. (For that matter, do you ever notice how your — or others’ — good points are also their bad points, when flipped around? :D)

  35. Cinandjules says:

    Seems to be okay now! Oh I forgot to thank you for diming me out! ;). I’M KIDDING!!!!

    Re post the same post! Close these comments and we can continue on!

    Wait…..are you typing a new chapter as we speak?

  36. Reine says:

    In case folks haven’t realized it, Sue’s blog isn’t just a blog. It’s a community! It’s just that since we don’t have a back yard fence to chat over, we chat on the blog.

    Amazing what all has transpired since you started the blog three years ago. Ya done good girl.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Reine. I don’t take all the credit. All these people come together here and make it great, you included. 🙂

  37. Cari in North Texas says:

    I’m really enjoying reading your story of your decision making process. I’m at the point now where you were in this post – what type of travel will I be doing? Park and stay in one spot, or travel from place to place? The answer to this will determine what type of rig I get. I think I told you at some point that I drive by the Casita factory every month when I go to Corsicana for work, and I think of you every time 🙂 I had stopped by a few years ago after I started reading your blog just to see what one looked like ‘up close and personal,’ and I liked what I saw (and the price wasn’t bad either). Now I’m closer to decision making time, so it’s time for another visit. 🙂

  38. Lee J says:

    Wow, what a bunch of wonderful comments…what kind of RV, why to choose a particular one, how to be safe, how to ….just wow!
    My idea about what I needed in an RV has changed, at one time I was pulling a horse trailer all the time to camp so I had a cab over camper, then needed more room, kids, grand kids etc..so we got a fifth wheel, it worked great, went to lots of neat places..
    Now I want small and easy to park and easy for me to hook up along…There is no way on god’s green earth that I could put the fifth wheel hitch in the truck, it has to be out most of the time because I haul feed etc in the truck bed when not hauling the trailer, and I would need big time help to lift that monster hitch into the truck bed…so…we gave the fifth wheel trailer to our son, he has need for room for the family..he just thinks we were being nice to let him have it…we let him have it all right, now HE can wrangle that thing around, lol.
    It is funny to read your reasons to get the Liberty Sue, I could have written it myself! I love my Casita Liberty, small, cozy, easy to park, plenty of room for me and my two small doggies.

    Oh, and don’t let pulling a trailer scare any of you, I onetime pulled my two horse trailer to Jack London Square for a photo shoot and I parallel parked my truck and trailer on a busy Oakland street, impressed myself!

    FYI..I used to be an EMT, six years..and the most common assults were done by people that knew each other…it was rare that stranger assult happened… it did happen and it is nasty, but you are better off worrying about one of your friends or relatives being the bad guy. Just remember let them have whatever they want and run!

  39. Hazel says:

    No RV solution is perfect but travel trailers seem to be the best compromise, IMHO. You can leave your ‘home’ all set up whether it’s in a campground or boondocking. Then you can use your tow vehicle to take you where you need to go.

    Having a VERY small trailer means that it can be pulled by a reasonably sized tow vehicle that is efficient for non-towing use. We have a hybrid that tows our Casita SD so we get terrific gas mileage all the time!

    That said, for the 2 of us, we would LOVE to have an Oliver which has more space and can be used more comfortably in all seasons. We couldn’t tow it with our hybrid though. Of course we can’t AFFORD it in the first place!!! LOL

  40. Roland says:

    We are building our own truck camper from scratch and I have followed your site a little bit. Knowing now how much work goes into building a camper I would probably have gone with a Casita. 🙂 I am 6’7″ though and we designed our camper with 8′ of headroom. I am not sure how much headroom a Casita has?

  41. Madeline says:

    Soooo many replies– where do you actually have time to read all of us!?? I love your blog. My husband and I just retired,sold a whole lotta STUFF and moved to a smaller home in the middle of the woods in Pine,Az. We tend to make BIG changes not little ones, once our mind is set! We’re looking at joining the RV world, and the Casita fits the bill for us.Would love to hear your adventures in trying to find a used one.. or did you just decide on a new one right off? Thanks for taking time to share so much with us!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Madeline,

      I’ve heard it’s nice in the Pine, AZ, area. Congratulations on finding a small home there.

      I don’t have much to report on my search for a used Casita. The search didn’t last long and mostly consisted of checking the online classifieds at the Casita forum. Once I saw how quickly they sold, I knew I’d never catch one, so I doubled my efforts to save for a new one. It’s not easy finding a used Casita in Georgia. You may have more choices from your home in Arizona. Good luck! I’m glad you’re with us and that you enjoy my blog.

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