We’ve realized a couple things since on the road the last month.
#1. The road is really rough on a trailer. We thought it would not be any tougher than the seas we had experienced on our sailing adventure. We were incorrect. The vibration from the road does amazing (AMAZING) things and pot holes are from hell.
#2. If you are a do-it-yourself-er and you think you can do work at most campgrounds you are incorrect or in our experience at least. Marinas seem to expect you to work on a boat. Campgrounds do not.
#3. You don’t know how your family is going to find their groove until doing it. Any hypothesis before hand is really just that, an educated guess. And the only thing that comes to matter is how it works when it works.
#4. Turns out stopping in Westmoreland TN traveling from Pipestone, MN to Shenandoah Valley, VA only adds 3 hours.
So with these things in mind, and coming up with a few minor repairs to be made we headed to Nick’s folks on our way east. “Maybe we are using the wrong tool for the job . . .” I said as we had gone to bed with some systems non-functioning and arranging items as we needed to each night to go to bed. It was not roughing it by any stretch. We were comfortable, but just not efficient in the way it turns out we like to travel.
The parks we have hit so far are relatively small compared to some we will see out west. We are in, spend a day or two exploring, get the JR Ranger badges for the kids and off to the next spot. To get all 47 (now 46) parks available to us by the end of next July, we need to keep a pretty steady pace – if this continues to be our goal. Things just evolve while doing vs the plans you make. And, it turns out, we really don’t mind the Wal-docking (staying – for free – in a Walmart parking lot).
Big questions started to arise: Would something newer fit our travel needs better? Were we just frustrated with a few easily fixable things? Did we just need to make a few changes to our current situation? How much would a newer trailer cost? Did something even exist that met our needs and wants?
With all this in our minds we rolled into Tennessee and got to work. Nick fixed the systems that ailed us and finished a few other projects. Then we decided to just go look. Research was never a bad thing, and we had been completely set on the fixer airstream before and had never looked at anything else. So we set off on a rapid fire RV lot search in southern KY and middle TN while the kids enjoyed time with their grandparents. Each lot we visited offered something that could work – much lighter, not as expensive (as previously thought) and new/newer. Four bikes – check, beds for four – check, storage-check, systems for our style of efficient travel – check. Hmm . . .
Then we found it. The new travel trailer that seemed to meet all of our needs: efficient storage (which turns out is not so easy to find!), bedding accommodations for a family of four without fully converting something, outside storage for four bikes, length no longer than our current trailer’s 25 ft (the new trailer is actually 24 ft), a sink in the bathroom (yes, many have a toilet and a shower but no sink – only sink is in the kitchen), and fully loaded with gear, water, etc. probably saving us about 3000 lbs for towing.
So we went for it. Winterized and covered the airstream, parking it at Nick’s folks and set to continue our adventure in our slightly used (like 4 times!) 2018 Rockwood Mini-Lite (24 ft.). [Here is a link for the newest model – ours is last years but similar] So far, (a bout of a killer cold for Nick and I and the Smoky Mountains in the rain) we are supper happy and glad we made the change. The new trailer doesn’t have near the retro coolness of the airstream, but does have many comforts, set up, and amenities to make up for it. We will decide what to do with both travel trailers when we return home after our trip.
If you are enjoying our journey and the blog/Instagram page (#gusandusontheroad), please share our story. We love to hear from all of you and also help anyone else who may be toying with a similar idea.