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Barkfamily

Looking to full time while keeping our jobs

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Hello all,

 

Me, my husband, our two dogs, and our two cats are looking to full time RV. We would be the commuting type though because we need to keep our jobs. Our home has been a lot like in the movie "the money pit". We are so tired of it. We are considering getting the repairs done and sell our home as we have a bad taste in our mouths from this home, our first home. We have looked at so many RV parks and some look okay. It looks like our savings would almost triple.

 

My questions are this:

 

Is it safe to leave your RV (in our case a travel trailer) unattended several days a week for about 6-8 hours while we work? I worry about the safety of RV parks.

 

Also, leaving my animals when we are at work?

 

We would definitely take advantage of the opportunity to travel but mostly we would stay put due to our jobs.

 

What do y'all think?

Edited by Barkfamily

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Find a RV park in a safe neighborhood and you won't have a problem. Always...including while traveling... check your surroundings. As a rule RV parks are very safe. Not everyone leaves all day so there will be 'eyes' around. Also, many vacationers go out siteseeing for 6-8 hours so there's no difference.

 

As for as the dogs... RV parks have different rules. Check them out first. If your dogs are barkers then you'll probably have issues with your neighbors and also the RV park.

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An RV can be a "money pit" if you get one with problems. Don't just trade one money pit for another.

 

As far as the RV Parks and leaving for hours at a time. Lots of people living full time in a RV Park do just that. I would guess it depends on the RV park.

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Many people to leave for hours at a time, but be aware that many parks do have a limit as to the amount of time you can stay parked there, so it is possible you would have to change parks once in awhile. Depends on where you are at. Are you in an area where it would be appropriate to stay in an rv in the winter? It's very expensive to heat an rv in the cold.

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What city are you located in? Where ever you are, there is most likely someone here who can recommend a good and safe park. We full timed for four years before we retired in Austin, TX. We stayed in the same RV park the entire time. We worked 10 hours per day and so were away an average of 11 - 12 hours per day. We never had a problem.

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The Dallas Fort Worth area. There are a lot of parks to choose from, but many have a rule for no dogs over 20 pounds. Our dogs are larger than that so it has limited us some. However, yes! If anyone has recommendations for the DFW area for RV parks it would help a lot!

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Dallas gets cold for RVs. You'll have to protect it in some ways from the temperatures and heating it with propane will be very expensive. You'll also have a very high electric bill in summer as it gets hot there. RVs aren't insulated like a home is. It's doable but think it through carefully.

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My concern would be the animals locked in an RV during the summer heat.

What happens if the power goes out or the AC system stops working?

What do full timers that travel with pets do to protect them when out sight seeing all day?

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Look at it realistically. Living in an RV is not as cheap as you think. Those of us that full-time do it because we travel. Not because it's cheaper. Relocating to a smaller or more affordable house or mobile home would probably be cheaper in the long run. A house will most likely appreciate some. An RV Will depreciate, alot.

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Reading this website is a good start for all your questions. You should start this process just by starting to read a lot of rv websites like this one and www.rv.net, www.Irv2.com. Read the reviews for rv parks on www.rvparkreviews.com, just for information. There is no such thing as the "perfect rv", that's why they make so many models. There are entry level models, mid level models and high end. You can spend $5k to $500k. Start educating yourself on what the difference is between towables and driveables. Look at new models at dealers near you, then look at used ones on www.rvtrader.com. You might also rent a couple just to know what it's like to spend time in one. We rented 2 class c's and a class a before we bought a 5th wheel. We can't decide what may be best for you.

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Driveables like to be driven. If you will mostly stay put you will probably be better off with a towable. To me, your situation sounds more like moving into a mobile home would work best since you are really just looking for cheaper rent. We lived in a mobile home in Mineral Wells for a couple of years back in the 60s but the lack of insulation meant we did run our A/C much of the summer so it wasn't as cheap as we hoped.

 

Linda Sand

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The Dallas Fort Worth area. There are a lot of parks to choose from, but many have a rule for no dogs over 20 pounds. Our dogs are larger than that so it has limited us some. However, yes! If anyone has recommendations for the DFW area for RV parks it would help a lot!

 

I think that's so bass akwards...small dogs are generally known for barking more and worse than bigger dogs. I could understand limiting to maybe 80lbs for all the labs and other "normal sized" dogs in the world!

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as to pets,

when the weather is Really Hot, we DON'T leave our cat all day. My test is if he could survive if we lost power. If the answer is no, then we don't leave him. RVs heat up a lot faster than houses, although not as fast as cars.

Since we are retired an move a lot, we are rarely in a situation that is that hot. We worry less about cold- he has fur :)

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You'll find that making friends in an RV park just comes naturally from the first minute you arrive, whether it's a short or long stay park. I'll bet pennies to dollars that you would find a neighbor who you can leave your cell phone number with that can call you in case of emergency or power outage. Even the office personnel might do it if you ask. Check with the power company when you locate. Most of them have apps today that will notify you of a power outage. My power company sends me a text and the app notifies me. As far as security goes, get yourself a pin lock if you get a 5th wheel, hitch lock for a bumper pull. I have a friend that uses a boot as well.

 

-Rich

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Thank you all! My husband has been looking into generators and using a device that will kick in if the power goes out. He said he has found a few. This would add a safety measure for our pets. Anyone ever heard of such devices before and if they are reliable?

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Also, yes we are looking to lower our monthly costs. However, we are also looking forward to having so much more freedom. We can literally move our home. We are talking about visiting state parks on most weekends. We love that we would have the option to move our home to change our scenery. We also think it will be a good experience for us to learn to live simply.

 

A mobile home would not be a good fit for us.

 

Thank you everyone! :)

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Watch out for the noise level from a generator. You cannot use a construction type generator, your neighbors will not be happy and neither will the park. You will need to get a quiet generator, Honda or Yamaha and big enough to run the AC, I think you are talking $$$$$ here.

 

Does where you live now have a lot of power failures that you are concerned about them? As someone suggested, see if there is an app from the power company that will notify you of an outage.

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I think that's so bass akwards...small dogs are generally known for barking more and worse than bigger dogs. I could understand limiting to maybe 80lbs for all the labs and other "normal sized" dogs in the world!

Backward or not, it happens to be the way the world is.

Thank you all! My husband has been looking into generators and using a device that will kick in if the power goes out. He said he has found a few. This would add a safety measure for our pets. Anyone ever heard of such devices before and if they are reliable?

Thus far I have not seen such a device made for an RV. They are available for a stick house but are not cheap and require special connection such that the outside power source is isolated before the generator power is supplied. When you get into the $million plus class A rigs they do have auto-start generator sets in them but I have never seen one in or made for a more common RV. The home type units are not only expensive but they are also very large and heavy. Since an RV has designed weight limits, you are probably not going to find that a good answer to your concerns.

 

To be honest, I really don't see the big problem. We had a power vent fan in our RV that was thermostat controlled and which would open the vent & turn on if the the temperature were to rise to above it's set point, which we kept at 78°. Since most pets are OK when outside in typical weather as long as they have shade and water, our vent was all of the insurance we felt was critical. Of course, we also limited the length of time that our pets were left alone, and that was less time than it had been when in a stick house while we were at work.

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With the dog issue.. there are a lot more considerations than just small vs larger dog barking issues. If your dogs where to somehow get off leash most folks feel much more threatened being approached by a larger dog than small. Providing exercise areas for larger breeds... larger messes left by inconsiderate owners... the potential for a "playful" larger breed doing harm to a neighbors smaller dog... digging damage, etc. Not to mention that most of what are considered as "aggressive" breeds are larger. Limiting the size also limits what breeds are allowed.

 

The bottom line for a CG is customer satisfaction for ALL customers.

 

Just a word of caution.. even if you're dogs are not typically "barkers" or aggressive in a home setting doesn't mean they won't become so in a CG/park setting. Typically you'll be much closer to your neighbors with people passing within their view much closer than they may be accustomed to.. less insulation in an RV will make outside noises more pronounced for your animals.. the constant change of smells, sounds, and other animal scents invading their "territory" may be unnerving for them.. other "barkers" in the CG may have a domino affect and cause your dogs to respond in kind.

 

The auto switching/start genny issue.. I agree with Kirk. While some auto start systems are available, size, weight and cost issues don't make them practical for a typical trailer/5th wheel.

 

Just in general.. I think what you are proposing is doable, but I don't know if cashing out of home ownership headaches or $ savings as the motivating factors will have the end result you might expect. Ie., with home ownership you may spend more monthly, but are investing a portion of your income in yourselves with a return. With an RV you may spend less monthly, but every $ you spend will never see a return. Kind of like switching from a "money pit" into a "bottomless pit". ;)

 

RV ownership comes with it's own set of headaches and, in all honesty, requires more regular maintenance than a stick and bricks. RV'ing 'can' be done inexpensively, but from my observations, requires more of a personal commitment and control to spend less more than just the lifestyle itself.

 

If I were in your shoes.. and if travel wasn't "the" key motivating factor.. still a full-time dual household income family... I would "take my licks" and lessons learned on the house and downsize into something more affordable that I could continue to build some amount of equity in.

Edited by Yarome

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Auto Generator start is not new and it's not limited to expensive RVs. They cost approx. $150-$250. Here is some talk about them

https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/28298859/print/true.cfm

 

If you already have a built in electric start generator (like an Onan) of sufficient size to run an AirCon and it is hardwired into an interior control panel then you can probably get away with adding an auto/start kit for somewhere in the $200-$500 range. Not too shabby!

 

If you don't already have a $3000-$7000 built in generator with an electric start, a compartment (and cargo capacity) large enough to accommodate, at least, a 200lb piece of equipment (that's for the "baby" genset not including fuel), a good working knowledge of electronics, or ability to install your own exhaust and other subsequent systems... you're looking at quite a pretty penny that makes that type of system impractical in most TT's or small 5er's just to keep the dogs cool in the possible event CG power was to fail. ;)

 

I don't want to put words into Kirk's mouth.. but I think what he might have meant was that factory installed temp controlled auto start systems are generally not seen in anything but the most expensive/top of the line rigs.

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