Monday, June 19, 2023

Can You Live In That Thing?

Yes and no.

I should mention the big reveal that although I own a three bedroom, two bath house, my wife is a hoarder and my house is completely full of stuff. That's my personal baseline.

Keystone Cougar 25RDS

Here's the Yes part:

I enjoy spending time in the RV. There is nothing lacking that I miss from home. Well, I very much miss my friends. I wouldn't have a table to game on. Full time RV life is not great for regular meetings of your D&D group, although you could roll into town and make it work occasionally.

My bed is more comfortable than my bed at home and I sleep very well, despite the room being somewhat claustrophobic. I've added a queen sized mattress from Brooklyn Bedding and I would likely move back to a king, if I were full time (especially with an adult companion). When I get home, I'm replacing my bed with one of these. I need fans in the bedroom, like really need them, or I'll feel like I'm in a coffin. But with the fans running, it's fine. 

My kitchen space is ample and I bought real kitchen ware to use in it, rather than cheap plastic camping gear. It feels like a second home. The propane oven is terrible, but the stove is great. One day I'll learn how to cook a pizza in that oven, but a propane stove is just superior to even my home natural gas stove. BTUs for days. I've got a microwave, a 12 volt refrigerator that's a but wonky, but works reliably, other than temperature distribution. There is just enough kitchen storage space.

My recliners are where I spend most of my waking time when inside. It's in a slide out making the living space seem extra large. I have a "fireplace" that's lovely when it's cold and a TV with a Chromecast connected. Starlink for Internet should work again, when I get a new cable. Starlink is not quite broadband. It's fast when it works, but it's not reliable for high speed gaming.

My ace in the hole is a tricked out electrical system with solar and lithium batteries. I spent $10K on parts to build this system with a friend. It allows me to go off grid for a couple days using air conditioning, or until I run out of water, if I don't use air con. The reality is I fill my blank tank before I use up the water. This system could make it affordable to travel full time without having to spend a fortune in US RV parks. I could dry camp, visit Harvest Host sites (free spaces at farms and golf courses), or the side of the road.

There's a very large dinette where my son is living, either sleeping or set up to play video games. His gear takes up most of the enormous table. 

Here's the No part:

The trailer works exceeding well for me, but not for my son. He's 18, so I'm not sure how many more trips he'll be going on, but the daily setup and tear down of the dinette is tedious. He's told me he's not interested in future long trips like this with this set up. 

I'm considering re-doing the dinette here in Mexico and changing it to a bunk bed up top and a desk below. It turns out I really don't need a dinette. The second option would be to get a different trailer, a couple feet longer, with a bunk bed set up and separate dinette. That's not going to happen because I'm heavily invested in this one.

The RV is just a bit small. It's a little too cramped for full time living, and I chose this size so I could travel in Mexico, where the roads and RV parks are tight. Anything larger would be a huge problem. If I decided to hit the road full time in the US, I would likely buy a larger fifth wheel, with multiple slide outs and a more residential feel. The fifth wheels I've seen in Mexico are parked in their forever homes and never hit the road. 

I might opt for a big Class A, maybe a used 20 year old one when they were bullet proof. But I'm just day dreaming at that point.

I have to be honest and say I'm not completely sold on RV life, so the thought of a different RV isn't much on my mind.

Finally, full time implies life on the road or life in an RV park. Life on the road can be exhausting and it's not for everyone. I'll have a full report in a few more months. Life in an RV park is a budget move and seems like a conciliation prize. At that point I would rather buy a modest house here in Mexico. Part of this trip is scouting locations.

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