Author Topic: LookBeforeYouLive: RVing Across The Country  (Read 3029 times)

Offline LookBeforeYouLive

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Re: Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2015, 10:25:31 PM »
What are you using to build your trip map?

I use the Google Maps Engine.

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Re: Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2015, 11:28:47 PM »
I hope that answers your question, please reply if not!
Yes, it does, thank you!
It sounds fairly similar to my type of planning, though mine is on a MUCH smaller scale (and probably not quite as organized.) While you're planning around seasons, I'm usually planning around shabbosim. :)
I usually decide where we're gonna spend Shabbos, pick the main attractions we want to see/do along the way then build a general itinerary based on that. So far all my trips have been by car, but as soon as I saw your blog I pretty much decided that next trip needs to be with a trailer, and not with the kind of crazy rushed itineraries I've been doing lately...
(you can see a couple here and here.)

One thing I've been wondering for a while, don't you --or probably more importantly your kids-- get lonely/bored being out on your own all this time? I know you meet up with family and friends from time to time and make friends along the way, but I can't imagine that compares to regularly being around kids your age. I know I can't see myself (well, more like the rest of my family) doing something like this for more than a month, maybe two months max. That's probably the biggest thing stopping me from picking up right now and doing what you're doing.

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Re: Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2015, 11:33:35 PM »
I thought they don't let you go to the water when you get there?

ETA: Oh, I see you did that on the official tour.
To clarify, IINM, the problem is not that "they don't let you in the water," rather the only to get close enough to get in the water is by taking an official tour.

Offline LookBeforeYouLive

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Re: Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2015, 02:16:25 PM »
To clarify, IINM, the problem is not that "they don't let you in the water," rather the only to get close enough to get in the water is by taking an official tour.

Right, the strip of land from the "beach" inland for a few miles leased by the oil companies, so it is in a sense private property. Allow a few days for them to run their security check before your tour.

I was irritated to have to pay to get to the Arctic, but our tour guide was very knowledgeable about wildlife, the function of the various oil facilities and machinery we passed, local native hunting techniques, etc., so that made the expense less painful.

Offline LookBeforeYouLive

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Re: Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2015, 04:25:47 PM »
Yes, it does, thank you!
It sounds fairly similar to my type of planning, though mine is on a MUCH smaller scale (and probably not quite as organized.) While you're planning around seasons, I'm usually planning around shabbosim. :)
I usually decide where we're gonna spend Shabbos, pick the main attractions we want to see/do along the way then build a general itinerary based on that. So far all my trips have been by car, but as soon as I saw your blog I pretty much decided that next trip needs to be with a trailer, and not with the kind of crazy rushed itineraries I've been doing lately...
(you can see a couple here and here.)


Those car trips do sounds grueling. The nice thing about having an RV is that you can do Shabbos on your own, so you don't necessarily always have to be in a town.

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One thing I've been wondering for a while, don't you --or probably more importantly your kids-- get lonely/bored being out on your own all this time? I know you meet up with family and friends from time to time and make friends along the way, but I can't imagine that compares to regularly being around kids your age. I know I can't see myself (well, more like the rest of my family) doing something like this for more than a month, maybe two months max. That's probably the biggest thing stopping me from picking up right now and doing what you're doing.

Well we do a good bit of home school, so there isn't really time to be bored. When not it in class, they ride their bikes or scooters, or read or build structures in the desert out of rocks.

My son sometimes misses his friends, so he will call them or do a video conference with them. Neither me nor my wife are particularly social, so it's OK for us too.

You could always try it and see how it goes, just go back home if the family gets sick of it.

Offline LookBeforeYouLive

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Re: Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2015, 03:11:29 PM »
Thought I'd share answers to questions I received via PM:

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I have a couple of questions (while dreaming if this could become a reality for me) that I was hoping that you can help me out on:

1) What line of work were you and your wife in that allowed you to take 3 week RV trips in the past? I imagine that I would need to do short trips to make sure my family enjoy's them. My job though would probably allow me to do 1-2 weeks max at a time and that is assuming that I save up all my vacation.

I worked as a computer programmer.  I received 4 weeks of vacation per year, which I carefully hoarded.  We didn't get sick days, so it did mean going to work sick a few times to keep all my days off so we could do our trips.  It also meant working on Chol Hamoed, which was unfortunate, though our 2012 trip was over Sukkos so that worked out.

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2) How do you finance all the costs while RVing long term? Is it from savings, rentals, business or none of your business  ;D

Our house was legally converted into a duplex a few years ago.  Rent from the house makes up most of our income.  Since we hardly ever pay for camping (see the Camping Chart menu item on the blog), our primary costs are food and fuel.  Thanks to Obamacare, we get very cheap healthcare since our income level is considered low enough to get significant aid.

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3) How do you manage with kosher food on the trips where there isn't much available? Do you simply know where all the kosher areas are and stock up in between?

Trader Joes nationwide stock chicken and ground beef!  We call ahead to make sure they have it in stock.  We can fit 16 pounds of ground beef and 20 trays of boneless chicken in our freezer, which lasts about two months for us.  Other than Shabbos, we have meat a couple times a week. 

Kraft string cheese is now kosher, which has been amazing for us.  The reality is that we have to be in a community on a monthly basis anyway, so we can stock up then.

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4) For a newbie RV family would you recommend starting out with a newer but smaller pop-up style RV or a older more substantial RV?

If you already own a fullsize SUV or Van, I would buy something like what we started the trip with, the Wildwood XLite 26XLBH.  It was $11K new, and sleeps a lot of people.  What's your family size?  That makes a big difference.

I would avoid motorhomes, as they can't be serviced everywhere.  I like to separate my engine from my house, so each can be replaced independently.

Compared to a conventional travel trailer, Fifth-Wheels are amazingly easy to tow and much easier to hitch up and disconnect.  The limited passaenger capacity of a pickup truck won't work for those with more than 3 kids.

Offline alpicone

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Re: Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2015, 09:52:49 AM »
If you already own a fullsize SUV or Van, I would buy something like what we started the trip with, the Wildwood XLite 26XLBH.  It was $11K new, and sleeps a lot of people.  What's your family size?  That makes a big difference.

I would avoid motorhomes, as they can't be serviced everywhere.  I like to separate my engine from my house, so each can be replaced independently.

Compared to a conventional travel trailer, Fifth-Wheels are amazingly easy to tow and much easier to hitch up and disconnect.  The limited passaenger capacity of a pickup truck won't work for those with more than 3 kids.

Unfortunately we don't have either. 1 minivan and 1 car. While my car has more than enough power to pull a Wildwood trailer I don't think people recommend pulling a trailer with a manual transmission or a car for that matter  ;D

So the only vehicle I have right now that could possibly tow is a Honda Odyssey which seems to be capable of towing a TrailManor, although not ideal.

How much does a trailer like the TrailManor that you had cost? Do you recommend buying an new RV over used? I have two kids ages 7 and 3 so I wouldn't want to get something that would be too small in a couple of years.

One of our current cars could always be replaced by a capable tow vehicle so I wouldn't base my decision of which RV to get on my current cars. Also knowing that I won't be using it for more than a few weeks a year, I want to figure out which type of RV makes most sense based on cost, utility, storage, etc.

Offline LookBeforeYouLive

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Re: Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2015, 11:11:47 PM »
Unfortunately we don't have either. 1 minivan and 1 car. While my car has more than enough power to pull a Wildwood trailer I don't think people recommend pulling a trailer with a manual transmission or a car for that matter  ;D

So the only vehicle I have right now that could possibly tow is a Honda Odyssey which seems to be capable of towing a TrailManor, although not ideal.

How much does a trailer like the TrailManor that you had cost? Do you recommend buying an new RV over used? I have two kids ages 7 and 3 so I wouldn't want to get something that would be too small in a couple of years.

One of our current cars could always be replaced by a capable tow vehicle so I wouldn't base my decision of which RV to get on my current cars. Also knowing that I won't be using it for more than a few weeks a year, I want to figure out which type of RV makes most sense based on cost, utility, storage, etc.

Trail manors are crazy expensive, like $30K and up new. I modified our odyssey by adding a transmission radiator and transmission temperature gauge, and even then it was a stretch.

Buying used can be great, especially if you can find an older trailer that was hardly ever used. Unfortunately, I have a hang-up with used RV's (gross!), so we've only bought new.

We parked our RV in our driveway, would that be an option for you?

Offline alpicone

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Re: Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2015, 09:44:54 AM »
Trail manors are crazy expensive, like $30K and up new. I modified our odyssey by adding a transmission radiator and transmission temperature gauge, and even then it was a stretch.

Buying used can be great, especially if you can find an older trailer that was hardly ever used. Unfortunately, I have a hang-up with used RV's (gross!), so we've only bought new.

We parked our RV in our driveway, would that be an option for you?

Assuming that the prices for the TrailManor and the Wildwood were comparable (for a used model) do the benefits that the TM offer over a TT make up for it's limitations? If you needed to choose again and had the option of getting a used TM (from your parents) or a Wildwood (new) and assuming the prices are comparable, having had both, which one would you choose?

I don't have a large driveway to park an RV, but I do have a small area to the side of my driveway where I can pave and then park an RV but it would be in the front of my house.

Offline LookBeforeYouLive

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Re: Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2015, 11:12:18 AM »
Assuming that the prices for the TrailManor and the Wildwood were comparable (for a used model) do the benefits that the TM offer over a TT make up for it's limitations? If you needed to choose again and had the option of getting a used TM (from your parents) or a Wildwood (new) and assuming the prices are comparable, having had both, which one would you choose?

I don't have a large driveway to park an RV, but I do have a small area to the side of my driveway where I can pave and then park an RV but it would be in the front of my house.

The only advantage the TrailManor has its that it's lighter than conventional travel trailers, so it can be towed with smaller vehicles. The reason we bought the trail Manor initially was that in our old neighborhood, RVs could not be parked outside, and it was cheaper for us to buy a trail Manor and park it in our garage then to buy a conventional travel trailer and pay for storage.

The TrailManor can be a pain because a lot more stuff has to be put away for the folding mechanism to work, and if you want to pull over and use the bathroom or have a meal, you have to open the whole thing up and set it up.

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Re: LookBeforeYouLive: RVing Across The Country
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2015, 08:37:57 AM »

If you already own a fullsize SUV or Van, I would buy something like what we started the trip with, the Wildwood XLite 26XLBH.  It was $11K new, and sleeps a lot of people. 

Out of curiosity, do you recall the list or MSRP of the trailer that you bought. I was looking around and seems like MSRP is around $20k now. I saw some specials for $15k for new trailers but curious how much room there is to bring down the price.

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Re: LookBeforeYouLive: RVing Across The Country
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2015, 10:00:05 AM »
Out of curiosity, do you recall the list or MSRP of the trailer that you bought. I was looking around and seems like MSRP is around $20k now. I saw some specials for $15k for new trailers but curious how much room there is to bring down the price.

I don't know what MSRP was. We paid $11,800, I think. We bought it from RV Warehouse in Ohio, and I drove there to pick it up.

I think we bought it in September, maybe they're cheapest right after the summer season, or maybe that's when the new model year is about to come out so they discount the "old" units?

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Offline LookBeforeYouLive

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Re: LookBeforeYouLive: RVing Across The Country
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2016, 03:47:40 PM »
Yes indeed, a dark day. :)

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Re: LookBeforeYouLive: RVing Across The Country
« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2016, 04:08:43 PM »
I can't even imagine going back to "regular" life after something like that!