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Old 05-18-2017, 11:13 AM   #1
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Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu , Colorado
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Want to become full-timers next year

So, this is the story:

I was injured in military service (Canadian, though i have served with US and UK troops for a few years in Afghanistan) and am forced to medically retire. My wife and I have decided it may be the perfect opportunity to take a year or two off work to travel North America (with our 2 dogs and maybe a cat? I'm trying to convince her the cat is a bad idea and that we should leave then at her moms..). I'm 35 and she is 30, for point of reference.

I would ideally like to to both coasts (as far north as Alaska and maybe further south than just the US), with some trips towards the interior to see anything interesting that we want to see.

I've been wondering what size trailer we should buy, and what size pickup goes with what, and for any tips and tricks. I presently have a 5.7l Tundra, but as I know that it's quite the consumer of fuel, Im thinking of moving towards a Chevy (maybe even 2500) for the year or two on the road. I guess size of the truck goes with size of the trailer... any advice?

On the trailer side, we are currently thinking that we will aim for a 30' classic with a queen size bed. I'm thinking bigger may keep us more sane over the long term, but I'm also cognassent that bigger will cost more in gas and be more difficult to park, etc...? I thought 23 may do the trick, but I also think this may be too small... are there any must have features? As we plan on essentially living in it for 2 years, are there some better in colder climates than others?

We are thinking buying second hand is best? We want to purchase something that won't lost too much value over the 2 years we are likely to own it, and recoup most of our down payment when we sell. I'm not sure back to what year I'm willing to go, and this is why I need some advice. Is newer better? Does it matter? Where is the sweet spot for buying and reselling in terms of age?

Does anyone have experience travelling North America with pets? I imagine dogs are pretty common but cats?

Well, thats all i have for now, hopefully it will generate some discussion that will give us all the info we could want thanks in advance for any advice!
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Old 05-18-2017, 11:17 AM   #2
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Thank you for your service.

Maggie
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Old 05-18-2017, 11:23 AM   #3
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2007 22' International CCD
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We travel with 2-3 people and up to 5 dogs in a 2007 International CCD 23' AS. It's tight, but doable.

I tow with a Toyota Tacoma, but plan to upsize to a Tundra eventually. I can easily get the rig into darn near anywhere...

We carry 1-2 dog crates to control the pups in the truck as well as in the AS. It's important to acclimate the dogs to travel before you actually travel. Our rescues are all used to riding in the truck and staying in the Airstream. All my dogs are smallish--the biggest is a 22 pound Tibetan Terrier, but he just loves to travel. The other three are under 18 pounds each. Can't imagine traveling with a cat in addition to this mob, but we're not cat people...

Two key things I've learned. Maintain the same food as the dogs get at home, and have them drink bottled water for safety. Nothing worse than a pup with an upset tummy--they tend to vomit all out of proportion to their size...gallons, it seems. So we keep them on a strictly controlled diet.

The International has tank heaters and sufficient heat to do nicely in 20-28 degree weather if you have power and plenty of propane aboard. No Airstream is really decent in worse conditions...
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Old 05-18-2017, 01:01 PM   #4
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Old 05-18-2017, 07:35 PM   #5
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Take the cat for a ride in your truck.
Remember. It is easy to walk a dog on a leash. Is your cat leash trained?
What about the location of the litter box?
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:57 AM   #6
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Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu , Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
Take the cat for a ride in your truck.
Remember. It is easy to walk a dog on a leash. Is your cat leash trained?
What about the location of the litter box?


Oh trust me, I completely agree. Good arguments for me to reinforce with, thanks!
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
We travel with 2-3 people and up to 5 dogs in a 2007 International CCD 23' AS. It's tight, but doable.

I tow with a Toyota Tacoma, but plan to upsize to a Tundra eventually. I can easily get the rig into darn near anywhere...

We carry 1-2 dog crates to control the pups in the truck as well as in the AS. It's important to acclimate the dogs to travel before you actually travel. Our rescues are all used to riding in the truck and staying in the Airstream. All my dogs are smallish--the biggest is a 22 pound Tibetan Terrier, but he just loves to travel. The other three are under 18 pounds each. Can't imagine traveling with a cat in addition to this mob, but we're not cat people...

Two key things I've learned. Maintain the same food as the dogs get at home, and have them drink bottled water for safety. Nothing worse than a pup with an upset tummy--they tend to vomit all out of proportion to their size...gallons, it seems. So we keep them on a strictly controlled diet.

The International has tank heaters and sufficient heat to do nicely in 20-28 degree weather if you have power and plenty of propane aboard. No Airstream is really decent in worse conditions...


Can I ask you why you're looking to upsize pickups? I'm wondering if, like, a bigger engine will be worth it over the long term... i.e. Bigger engines consume less gas to pull loads as they don't work as hard as lower engines... so, would a 2500 be even better than my 5.7L tundra? Gas wise...?

Our dogs are both 50lbs for point of reference, and they both travel very well. They are both rescued, and we often bring them with is for 2-4hr car rides, so I don't think they'll mind travelling. Big check in the cartes and food, my wife studied in animal science and agriculture, so we have a bit more knowledge than average... not experte though, so reminders are always appreciated

When you bought, did you buy used? How many years did you use your trailer and what do you think you would sell it for today? I'm trying to get a feel for what the depreciation looks like....?
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:04 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lily&Me View Post
Thank you for your service.



Maggie


It was my honour, while it was possible. I didn't really see myself doing anything else, unfortunately it didn't work out as well as it did in my plans
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:15 AM   #9
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2008 23' International
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Depends how you like to travel, if you like national parks, smaller is better, our 23 foot gets into most parks, a 30 would limit you to newer parks and commercial spots. As for climate, out airstream does not to well when temperatures fall below freezing. It is doable with slightly below freezing at dawn if (and only if) you have shore power to power the furnace - don't count on batteries to run your furnace ever, as the batteries cool, their output drops and you end up miserable and risking freezing pipes. Dogs do not do well in National Parks, they should not be left alone and are not allowed on most trails, so that means you may be staying at more commercial sites anyway. Lots of great things in the interior of the country, especially in the central states in the summer, please don't overlook northern Arizona, Utah and Colorado as well as the Dakotas. So much to see
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:46 AM   #10
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We are in our 5th month of a one year tour of US. We are in 2015 Flying Cloud 23FB. (Got it used, with a year left on warrantee.)
A lot of lessons learned.
I think the choice on trailer is first decision. Sanity is critical. There are many advantages to AS. Still, you have to know that you can full time in that size.
After settling on size, then you can adjust other variables as needed -- IMHO.
We are pretty sure we'll be out after one year, so stay in touch.
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:01 PM   #11
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Woodinville , Washington
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Thank you for your service, & my condolences for your disability.

My sweetie & I & our Great Dane (ie, large!) have put 25K miles on our FC 27 FB in the last 11 months, fortunately, without incident (re truck, trailer, people, or dog). If we were travelling with kids or guests, we'd probably want a 30, for the extra dinette/bed area, but for the two of us & our woofer, the 27 seems ideal. We began looking at the 23, but soon shifted up for more space to the 25, which is a very popular model --- a good compromise between length & space. But after spending some time in the 27, with its north/south bed (which is easier to make & also to get out of in the middle of the night) & its added features and space in the galley, we got the 27, which has been ideal for us. If I had to do it all over, I would get neither longer nor shorter. So far, we have not been hampered by its length in parks etc. If we're assigned a short space, we unhook & park the truck elsewhere, usually by the side or in front (crossways) of the trailer.

My blessings to you with your research & new adventure. Welcome to this marvelous way of recreating. After your service, you deserve it.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:47 PM   #12
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2006 16' International CCD
Albertville , Minnesota
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Full timing

We don't full time yet, but travel for a five months in a 28 foot Pendleton. We tow with a 1794 Toyota Tundra, it's so comfortable. We travel with two dogs who r in kennels in the cabin of the Tundra in kennels. The cat is in the Tundra also with a comfy cat bed, food water and dirt box. All works well. We also buy water for us and animals. I have always found great pet food stores that sell the raw food I feed my pets. Keep enough in freezer until next stop or freeze dried raw food.

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Old 05-19-2017, 05:33 PM   #13
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We tow with a Sequoia. MPG is not stellar, nor is it much worse than anyone else on the road. We get 9-12 MPG depending on which way the wind blows, and how fast I drive. You may want real-world experience before discounting your Tundra for gas mileage. Suppose your Tundra costs $1000 per year more to fill up than a Chevy. Is it worth buying another truck just to save $2000 over the next two years?

The ONLY problem we have with a 34' trailer is backing into small spaces. It is inconvenient, and we are restricted from some campsites, but we've never had to leave a campground; there's always been a large enough site for us.

On the flip side, larger trailers have larger tanks, which means we can boondock much easier than smaller trailers with lessor resources. We have skipped sites with full hookups to take basic sites with a better view.

Gas mileage difference between large trailers and small trailers is negligible.

The older the trailer, the less you pay, and the less depreciation. The condition of the trailer is more important than the age when buying used. For the price we paid, we could have bought a small brand new popup that was small, and not very big; a real little one of diminutive size for the exact same price.
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:29 PM   #14
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2017 25' Flying Cloud
Panama City , Florida
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Thank you for your service! I've been full time for the last couple months and am currently admiring the view from my dining room table. I can't get over how many windows AS's have (pic attached...could they fit anymore windows). I went with a 25FT due to the layout with the twin beds up front (nice extra outside storage). IMO, I'd look for a gently used AS with all the bugs worked out. I tried to find a used one but due to the timing of moving out of my apt lease, selling or donating most of my belongings, and reporting to my new duty station, I went with new. Can't speak from experience with traveling with pets as I don't have any.

Best of luck with your search and decision to full time. Sometimes planning can be overrated and usually gets in the way of chasing those dreams. Your parachute won't open unless you jump!

Safe travels!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FishTank View Post
So, this is the story:

I was injured in military service (Canadian, though i have served with US and UK troops for a few years in Afghanistan) and am forced to medically retire. My wife and I have decided it may be the perfect opportunity to take a year or two off work to travel North America (with our 2 dogs and maybe a cat? I'm trying to convince her the cat is a bad idea and that we should leave then at her moms..). I'm 35 and she is 30, for point of reference.

I would ideally like to to both coasts (as far north as Alaska and maybe further south than just the US), with some trips towards the interior to see anything interesting that we want to see.

I've been wondering what size trailer we should buy, and what size pickup goes with what, and for any tips and tricks. I presently have a 5.7l Tundra, but as I know that it's quite the consumer of fuel, Im thinking of moving towards a Chevy (maybe even 2500) for the year or two on the road. I guess size of the truck goes with size of the trailer... any advice?

On the trailer side, we are currently thinking that we will aim for a 30' classic with a queen size bed. I'm thinking bigger may keep us more sane over the long term, but I'm also cognassent that bigger will cost more in gas and be more difficult to park, etc...? I thought 23 may do the trick, but I also think this may be too small... are there any must have features? As we plan on essentially living in it for 2 years, are there some better in colder climates than others?

We are thinking buying second hand is best? We want to purchase something that won't lost too much value over the 2 years we are likely to own it, and recoup most of our down payment when we sell. I'm not sure back to what year I'm willing to go, and this is why I need some advice. Is newer better? Does it matter? Where is the sweet spot for buying and reselling in terms of age?

Does anyone have experience travelling North America with pets? I imagine dogs are pretty common but cats?

Well, thats all i have for now, hopefully it will generate some discussion that will give us all the info we could want thanks in advance for any advice!
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