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Author Topic: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...  (Read 3133 times)

AFWife81

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Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« on: August 10, 2010, 12:50:45 AM »
Hey everyone!

My husband is in the Air Force, and we have been debating fulltiming in a TT (not yet purchased) for at most: 20 years (retirement, when we *think* we plan on settling on a farm in some unknown place); at least: whenever we PCS (move).  My goal is 20 years.  :)  With the up and moving every few years, it just seems way too logical NOT to.  Oh what I'd give to not have to go through another UHaul rental/TLF stay with kenneling dogs!

Talking my husband into this is a pretty big issue.  Not that he doesn't WANT to do it, just he doesn't want to screw us over financially.  We have 2 young kids (working on making it 3 within a year or two), 2 dogs, and a cat.  His current point of debate is he wants to know just how long a normal TT would hold up to this circus.  The actual amount of traveling will depend on his deployment rates, as in, when he's home, we will be on the base's campground, and when he's deployed, I may head to friends and family to keep the kids' minds off Daddy being gone.  How long do people usually go between upgrading to a new TT when not constantly traveling in it?  Also, what are the best options for fulltiming that have a quad bunk room? 

Any other helpful hints on what to consider in this situation?   Thanks!

Megan

Clay L

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Re: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2010, 07:04:17 AM »
One thing you might want to consider is being stationed in a place where the winter is cold. TTs are not noted for being comfortable in cold weather and it can take a lot to keep water pipes and waste hoses/fittings from freezing.
Clay (WA5NMR), Lee (Wife), Katie & Kelli (cats), Sali (toy poodle)
Settled down after full timing for eleven years and snowbirding for one year in a 2004 Winnebago 35N Sightseer, Workhorse W 20 Chassis. Honda toad

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2010, 08:00:17 AM »
A lot depends on the family. I've seen a gang run a stick house into the ground in a few months, while others have little impact.  Service life of a trailer in continuous use? The better brands should last 10-20 years with reasonable maintenance. Cheaper ones will need furnishings and cabinetry in 5-8 years, I think.

Plenty of itinerant families do live in RVs - we see construction workers and communications maintenance families in them all the time. It's cramped quarters for a larger family - no separate bedrooms, no privacy for Mon & Dad, small kitchen and only one bathroom. You notice it especially in cold or rainy weather when the kids are inside.

Clay's caution about cold climates is another major consideration.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

AFWife81

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Re: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2010, 09:37:18 AM »
As it was very late, and I was headed to bed, I forgot to state a few things.

My kids are 3 and 1.  Privacy hasn't been in my vocabulary for years.

We're stationed in ND right now.  The only reason we're not currently living in one is because of -40 weather.  What's the coldest that's comfortable, though?

We'd live mostly on the base campgrounds, and most of my friends/family live a short hop to bases (convenient, no?), so we can stay there when we go a-visiting.

I can't do mechanical/engineering work...yet... but I can do just about anything else, and I'm willing to learn what I don't know (my husband can do minimal electrical work... except we tend to not let him).  I've debated even building one from scratch, but don't see the time becoming available in the near future, which is when he's up for his next position.  Maybe I'll just keep the plans for when he falls in love with it, and we can build it when we retire.

Seeing as we live in ND now, we're used to being cooped up for months with the kids.  Since they're so young, we're not used to letting them out of our sight, anyway.  I'm not too sure trailer size will affect too much.

Seeing as we will move all the time anyway, homeschool was already a consideration.  Not so necessary for the actual living on base part, but would be for the traveling during deployment parts.

Also, any hints on what a good tow vehicle for a family would be?  We were talking about getting a pickup, a 5th wheel (that was the husband's idea), and then caravaning with the second car when moving, but if it was just me going to family, the kids wouldn't all fit in a pickup, so I wouldn't be able to go.  Would a Yukon do a good enough job of towing?

tworootless

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Re: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2010, 12:25:50 PM »
As you said; Wait until retirement. Cold zones are not a good chioce for most RV's to be in.  The noise of an RV furnace pumping heat 24/7 would drive most folks nuts.

AFWife81

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Re: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2010, 12:48:19 PM »
Only my building plans will be held off til retirement.  Not my RV fulltiming plans. 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2010, 03:34:12 PM »
We are coming across negative and that is not my intent. Just want you to have eyes wide open to the reality of it.  We have RV skiers that spend several weeks a year in places like Aspen. Cold all day and colder yet at night. Use lots and lots of propane to heat (think in terms of a 20# BBQ bottle every day) as well as electric space heaters. And that's with a top of the line RV. Most do not do well much below +15 and zero is difficult at best. But if set up semi-permanent, you can enclose the underneath to keep out cold winds, put extra insulation in ceiling vents and skylights, etc.

Are you sure the base Famcamps allow long term stays? I've been told that most do not, but visitors probably have different rules than active duty base personnel. And  friendly NCO can work wonders regardless.

On the plus side, you have your own home, don't have to pack the furniture to move, far less hassle to find housing at the new base, and Uncle Sam covers most of the basic expense with the housing allowance.  And the neighbors in a campground are usually instant friends - it's a community of its own.  I agree, getting an RV seems like a no-brainer.  I'd be looking for a mid-upper grade unit that would last longer and have better grade everything throughout. Shop used rather than new, but used means it is harder to get the floor plan that best suits you. Consider a big toyhauler - it may have a loft bedroom for the kiddies and the "toy" area doubles as storage and playroom.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

AFWife81

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Re: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2010, 10:35:38 PM »
I'm used to the negative, its ok.  You're allowed to be 'different' when you're on your own, but you have to 'settle down' when you have kids.  Or at least that's what my mom keeps saying every time the idea is brought up again. 

We would probably be very permanent for quite awhile at a time.  We also are not ignorant enough to have our young kids in anything that's detrimental to them, so the extreme winter locations, the RV will be stored somewhere (or sold, and then repurchased when we move again), while we live in housing. 

I've never heard of any issues of staying long term when you're AD, and actually based on that base.  We do have to follow the seasonal campground dates, though.  I've also been told if I felt like drycamping through winter, no one would kick me off, so I guess it depends on who you ask.

We were planning on buying used, because we don't even buy new cars.  What's the point of losing half of its value just by leaving the dealership?  I'm also kind of a tree hugger, and used means better for the environment.  I'm having a hard time finding a suitable place to even start, though.  I really want an affordable TT with a queen (King if possible) and a quad bunk suite on the other end that won't be too difficult to add a W/D to.  Any ideas on what the best for fulltiming with those options are? 

Yes, I have looked online already, I'm just looking for more...  professional?..  opinions.  lol   We've been told we'll be here at least through winter, so we'll have time to shop for/move into the RV before we PCS next, so I plan on shopping on the net til my fingers bleed.  ND isn't known for its extensive shopping opportunities, after all.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2010, 10:14:18 AM »
Visit some RV dealers and RV shows. Look at new ones too, even though not buying them. You want to get a feel for what is available and what floor plans features will work for you. Then you know what to shop for in the used market.

If you don't tow the trailer yourself, i.e. have it professionally moved, you avoid the necessity of a large, expensive, tow vehicle for something you don't move very often.

Consider a fifth wheel (5W) as well as a travel trailer. Larger and better built trailers are more readily available as 5W than as TT(travel trailer).

Here is a list of some North Dakota RV dealers:
http://www.rvdealersnorthdakota.com/
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

AFWife81

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Re: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2010, 10:29:35 AM »
My husband wanted a 5, because he wanted the kids to rock the bed loft.  However, with what will be 3 kids in the next year or so, and 2 dogs (One of which is a full grown lab.  The other could fit in a cupholder, so he's of no issue.), we don't know of a truck in existence that would hold all of us while towing if he's not around to caravan with us.  Having a large, expensive, tow vehicle is kind of necessary, anyway.  We need a second car, and we need a car with at least 3rd row seating.  Might as well add a tow package to that.  I was already considering getting it delivered to us for the initial move-in, then buy the truck later.  It's all a matter of figuring out what the best coordination of vehicle/TT we're looking at. 

Thank you for that link.  :)

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2010, 06:02:36 PM »
It's not just the trailer tow package - we are talking a large, diesel powered vehicle to handle a 10-15,000 lb trailer. Or at least I think that's what you need. Maybe you can all squeeze into a 27 footer that weighs under 9,000 lbs? But if you can, fitting into a crew cab pick-up is no problem either.

It would help if you could lay out all your operating assumptions. You've said you would live in it instead of a house, but then said move into base housing in cold weather. You said its your only home, but would sell and re-buy if needed (expensive!) You don't seem to think crowding is a problem, but we don't know what size housing you are used to.  It was two kids, but now its going to be three.  I'm having trouble getting the parameters down straight and wonder if you've thought it through.  just what are you looking for? A couple bunks beds for  the kids and a master bedroom? How much length? Should it have a washer dryer or will you use a laundromat?  Big tv or is a 19' in the corner ok?  Place for a computer set-up? Etc. Etc. Etc. Once you can list the "must haves" and "nice to haves", the rest of the answers fall out.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

glen54737

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Re: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2010, 07:30:52 PM »
I'm traveling for work and cold weather can be trouble i was going through a 30# propane bottle every 4-6 days last Christmas in Kansas City when it was averaging 0 to -10 at night and teens during the day. I have a Rockwood with enclosed underbelly and pretty good insulation.

A tt will allow you to get a van or suv for pulling but you will be limited on size. but you will need it with the kids and animals.

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DearMissMermaid

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Re: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2010, 12:30:46 AM »
If you're up to the idea and issues, you can have tons of fun all around. When I lived,sailed, worked in the Caribbean, I met all sorts of people like you with kids, pets, and the circus, living and traveling  on small sailboats, often, not at marinas, and they were just loving the adventure of it all.   

Most all the kids were home-schooled, they had few possessions (no room!)  but they had such a cool attitude towards life, adventure, family, food and nature.

Any chance you get, go the big RV lots and look at ALL their used stuff, from Class A to travel trailers to Fifith Wheels. THere is just so much out there to choose from, and the more you look, gives you ideas of what your ulimtate "must have" list, when you are finally ready to buy.

I looked at loads of used RV's on lots, many I couldn't even afford, just so I got a feel for them.  It gave me a great education, and helped me figure out my ulimate basic desires and needs.  I was suprised at the HUGE variety of styles out there. 

Go for the adventure, sounds like you're the type to REALLY enjoy it!   ;D

Sure, the family and others may think you're nuts, but maybe they  are just secretly jealous.  Kids don't appreciate the money and junk you can buy them, but they sure remember the GOOD times!

You keep plugging away, you'll figure out how to do it.
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Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

DearMissMermaid

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Re: Putting out the Fulltiming Feelers...
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2010, 12:43:18 AM »
PS,  I forgot to mention, that a few months back, I was in a campground that had a lot of pipefitters and welders working on a nearby temporary job.  More than a few had their circus living and traveling with them, full time. All the kids I met (while out walking doggy) seemed happy enough and self-entertaining.

Several were quite boastful as they rattled off all the places they had lived while following their parent's work schedule around the country.   
http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

 

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