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Harks_723

Future fulltimers - millenial edition

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Hello All,

I've been lurking around gathering information and it's been great help thus far, but I figured I'd get on to introduce myself.

My name is Patrick, I'm 28 and living just outside of Philadelphia, PA. For the past year or so my longtime girlfriend and I have entertained the idea of calling it quits on our normal day-to-day jobs and going full-time for a year or so. I'm an outdoorsman by nature, and we both love to travel, but aside from specific vacations we haven't seen enough of our beautiful country. We would love to take time before marriage, children, and a mortgage to travel unencumbered. Kind of a reverse retirement plan if you will. Obviously outside the norm, but it seems more and more people my age are taking the plunge and doing something like this. I may just have a few screws loose.

I'm lucky enough to have made a great living the past 5 years working in sales. While the money may be great, I'm fulfilling my 'millennial' stereotype by wanting to chase life experience more than doing the same thing year after year. This field is not my passion and the long hours and high stress leave me staring out the windows some days thinking about 'what could be'...

My partner (girlfriend) recently completed a degree in integrative nutrition as a health coach and is currently building her clientele base so that she can work from the road (Skype, phone, etc). The rough estimate is this will help to offset the money going out the door during our journey. That said, I'll have a years worth of expenses (estimated) saved up to cover just in case.

The gameplan is to be on the road by August of 2017, spend some time in Maine with family and then follow the fall/warm weather down the eastern seaboard and winter in the southern USA, proceeding west to do the reverse south-to-north loop in spring/summer of 2018.

SO onto the good stuff, the 'WHAT':

An elected complication that I have is my 3yro 150lb Irish Wolfhound "Dublin" will be joining us, so we're keeping in mind needing a little more space for him.

I've upgraded to a Chevy 2500 Duramax right after Christmas as the TV. I've got a passion for riding motocross that I want to continue while we're traveling the country. I looked at the traditional toyhaulers for a while and finally settled on the Keystone Outback 324CG.  We would like to be as self-sufficient as possible having the ability to boondock and minimalist camp as much as pulling into a site with hookups.

The biggest thing I'm looking for advice on is this - taking the plunge on buying a new trailer or looking hard for a used one?  Really what are the pros and cons of the 'lightly used' versus a new trailer?

My idea is to minimize my initial investment. If I can buy a new trailer for low or no money down, and use the money I would've otherwise put as downpayment to finance the payments on the road that makes more sense to me versus throwing the cash out. If I can find a nice one that's a few years old from a dealership, even without a factory warranty, I'd think that would be best. I'm curious though how the people on this forum would comment, seeing as you've all bought and sold more trailers than I ever will.

If you've read this far I appreciate it!  I'll be sure to write shorter replies moving forward. Any constructive comments/ questions are most appreciated!

Best,

Patrick

1614122_10205946892899333_1571507454415532240_o.jpg

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Welcome. As a slightly-older-than-you but younger than most of the RVing type folks I would also recommend checking out cheaperrvliving.com...there's a lot of younger folks over there that are of a similar mindset to you and I.

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First, let me say welcome to the Escapee forums! While our membership today is a majority of retired folks, there are numerous members who work and make their living while traveling and there are a growing number of young families joining Escapees as part of the X-scapers group that is pointed to the younger RV owners. This forum is shared by all and we do have some of the youger folks contributing, but probably not as much as we retired because retirees don't have jobs to take up our time. :)

You can save a great deal of money buy choosing to buy a used RV but the catch is to know for sure that you are getting a good one. If you do that, I strongly suggest that you have it professionally inspected or get a mobile RV tech to check if over for you, just to insure that you do not buy someone els's headache. When an RV is traded or sold early in it's life, there is usually a good reason and sometimes that reason is a history of problems. It is also important that you choose one of the better quality RVs, particularly when used.

You might just be surprised to know how many there are who are seeking to travel while employed, as the ability to earn a living remotely is growing and probably will continue to do so. Escapees was started by some folks who worked in the construction trades and followed their jobs around the country. Thanks to the internet, cell phones, and all of the modern communications tools, I expect to see more people doing what you want with every passing year. We are very happy to have you join us and we will do all possible to assit you and to support you as you move into the world of life on the road.

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My advice would be to get a good used trailer rather than a new one.  We are kind of a rare exception among full-timers in that, after 10 years, we are still living in the same little travel trailer we started with.  Nearly all of the other full-timers we know have had two or more rigs over a shorter number of years.  It seems like nearly every one of them starts out doing a bunch of research, buying the rig they are sure is just right, and then a little later deciding they really need something different to meet their needs or desires.  Trading RVs is generally very costly and the newer the rig, or the more costly the rig, the more you will likely lose with each trade or sale.

Also, since you already have your TV pay very close attention to the fully loaded gross weight of the trailer you purchase and also the fully loaded tongue or hitch weight vs. the several specifications of your truck's towing capacity (trailer weight, combined weight, hitch weight etc.).   Special caution is needed when purchasing a trailer.  From personal experience I know that the weights on a trailer's spec. sheet can be very significantly different than the actual measured weights.  If I ever purchase another trailer I'll insist on having measured weights before any money changes hands.

I hope you find this life style to be as great as we have.

---ron

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I'll make you a good deal on this one:  Link

It's mine for the last 8 years.  Great little inexpensive toy hauler for a young couple...

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Wow, thank you all for the great pointers and warm welcome! I appreciate it.

 

Regarding the used RV inspections - is there a specific outfit that people have used to do this? I'm currently looking at a trailer in Ohio (about 7 hours from me) so taking a 'peek' isn't an easy option. I'll admit, even if it was don't I have the expertise to spot problems that someone who's been around RV's for years probably would.

Another thought from my side was that trailers 2+ years old with problems would've already had the 'kink's worked out of them. This sounds a bit naive as I type it but the logic is, if it was a 'lemon' that the owner would've gotten rid of it much sooner. As opposed to a trailer 5+ years old that is much cheaper but who knows what it's been through. That said, I've read the horror stories about buying a new RV only to have it become a money pit of repairs/fixes - it all seems like a risk you run when making the decision to follow this lifestyle.

 

In reference to the comments about working from the road - my SO's job will allow her to make a basic income on the road. I 'challenged' her with the idea that if we truly love living this way, our task will be to extend the funds set aside at the outset for as long as possible. The flip side of that (although I personally doubt we'll come to this) is that if we get on the road and it's not what we expected, we'll have dollars to fall back on - again I don't think this will be the case, however our experience in this type of travel is limited. From what I read you can prepare until you're blue in the face and chances are that it'll go right out the window after a month or two.

I've got a spreadsheet that I've modeled after some of the expense reports others on the forum have been kind enough to put up. I know expenses are one of those things that will vary greatly from person to person, but I'm setting aside $50k for the year. Again, that's as if we put our feet up and sat back for a year 'vacation' which neither of us are really after, the intent is to creatively work from to road to 'stem the tide' but only time will tell how successful that will end up being.

Thanks again for the pointers! There will be boatloads more questions as we continue to get closer.

Best,

Patrick

 

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If you really want to be self sufficient and be able to "boondock"  you need to have a way to generate power (either a generator or solar with a decent battery bank and an inverter).  I prefer the latter, but I have both because there will be times when there isn't enough sun to make up for energy use with solar.

If one or both of you is going to be working from the road, this will add to your power requirements.  It will also require some type of internet connectivity.  There are many ways to accomplish this, but it is most efficiently done with cellular based systems.  Many people use hot spots and cell phones to provide connectivity and have cell boosters to extend their range.  The most successful setups also use multiple cell carriers to maximize coverage (usually ATT and Verizon in some combination).

You also need to look at the water storage (both fresh and waste) capacities of your RV.  If you plan for it, you can go a long time on a little water but it will require some sacrifices.  There are ways to extend stays by hauling water in collapsible tanks and waste totes back and forth to the RV, but you will need to decide how willing you are to do this or whether you would rather have larger tanks in the beginning.

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Thanks for the pointers Chad. My intention is to outfit the trailer with enough solar to run everything except the AC, and put enough storage on that we can boondock effectively. I've seen an number of blogging sites of families that have gone the solar route and I'm confident I can put something together, I just haven't gone down the path just yet of 'making a list'. My focus has been on finding the right TT at this point.

I missed out on a nice used unit in MN a month or so ago for (what I can determine) was a good price. I've found another one (http://www.tacrv.com/2015-keystone-outback-324cg-used-toy-hauler-oh-i2071066) and am having a third-party inspection done by a gentlemen from Criterion RV Inspections, LLC. I can't get out there in time and I want to someone other than the seller give me their opinion. The seller seemed like an honest individual and gave me a rating on the trailer of '9 out of 10' when he did the walkthrough... as the saying goes, 'I might've been born at night, but not last night' and so I'm having someone else throw their eyes and hands on it. Negotiated OTD price right now is $26k, which seems to be around what I've seen for similar models. HOWEVER, NADA guides have avg retail at $19500! Not sure how much stock I should put into this after scouring the market, but that's quite a jump from where I'm in talks with.

We'll see where it goes. Again, any feedback is most appreciated.

 

Best,

Patrick

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There are several ways to get your potential RV inspected. Do a google search for RV inspectors in your area and if you don't find one, look for a mobile RV tech and ask them about doing an inspection for you. Most of them are happy to do this and it is a growing business. With a trailer the majority of experienced RV techs would be able to pretty much check out the entire rig, while a motorized RV might also need a mechanic to go over it. Either way, expect to pay the tech for his time and a good inspection will take a couple of hours or possibly more.  There are also several good lists on the internet that might help you to do some of it yourself.

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On ‎3‎/‎16‎/‎2017 at 9:18 AM, Harks_723 said:

I've got a spreadsheet that I've modeled after some of the expense reports others on the forum have been kind enough to put up. I know expenses are one of those things that will vary greatly from person to person, but I'm setting aside $50k for the year. Again, that's as if we put our feet up and sat back for a year 'vacation' which neither of us are really after, the intent is to creatively work from to road to 'stem the tide' but only time will tell how successful that will end up being.

 

With $50k budgeted you'll be very comfortable!  Some do it on less and some need lots more.

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Harkins_2015 Outback Report - Roof sealant pics1.pdfSo I don't know if this is the proper place to post this, but the inspection came back all good EXCEPT for some problems with the sealant around the roof vents. It seems that there are holes and debris in the sealant. Which leads me to believe this is not factory installed sealant, so why did the previous owner reseal it?

There was no indication of roof leaks interior to the unit but I'm cautious.

Not having enough experience in this so I'm reaching out for comments.

 

 

Thank you,

Patrick

Harkins_2015 Outback Report - Roof sealant pics1.pdf

Edited by Harks_723

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its hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks like the previous owner put a new vent in (they tend to get brittle and crack over time) and then didn't do a very good job of sealing around the new vent.  It is pretty easy to seal up around the vent and if the inspector didn't find any evidence of water intrusion in that area, I wouldn't worry about it.  I would pull the old dicor (sealant) off and replace with new sealant if I purchased the trailer, but it is a relatively easy DIY project.

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