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How Our Hunt for a RV Started

1997 Cougar 19

One day on Cathy’s way home from work in January of 2018, she passed this used 19’ 1997-ish Cougar trailer just a few blocks from our house. We both got excited about possibly upgrading from tent camping to having a rolling bed and a place to put all our camping gear rather than cramming everything with a shoehorn into our Volvo wagon! For $1,200, the Cougar needed a lot of work. Our plan was to completely gut it, put on a new roof and then only put a bed and a countertop in her. So, Ken jumped on YouTube to see how to go about replacing the roof and what else he may have to do. A few days later the Cougar was sold but our quest for a RV had just begun. We found so many YouTube channels about fixing RVs and RV travel that we became hooked on the idea of traveling cross country!! Months passed as we continued our research. We realized we will need something bigger than just a rolling bed and that's when we were struck with Airstream fever!

Airstream Tommy Bahama 27

Who can deny the sexy appeal, the retro rounded curves of a shiny aluminum Airstream!! The only thing we needed to decide was the size (length) and if we wanted front bed with rear living area or rear bed with front living area. Size Does Matter… if you want to easily get into National and State campgrounds, but that will be the subject of a separate blog post one day. By now we decided we wanted to go RVing Full-Time, which for us means we would have to sell our house. There was no doubt that we were going to buy used. As you may have guessed, Airstreams are expensive and like all RVs they depreciate once you roll them off the lot. Though Airstreams tend to hold their value after the initial loss of the first couple of years.

At this point, we have only been researching online and hadn’t even contacted a RV dealer or seen an Airstream up close. The summer of 2018 was rapidly winding down. That’s when we found out about the September Hershey RV show in Hershey PA. We booked a hotel, bought our three day passes and just a few weeks later we took the five-hour drive to Hershey. The first two days of the show we basically only looked at Airstreams and attended a few RV seminars. If you didn’t know, the Hershey RV show is the “America’s Largest RV Show” with over 1,400 RVs. At the end of day two at the Hershey RV show, we decided to look at some Grand Design RVs that we heard from our research make good RVs. We walked into a few trailers as we made our way through the crowds of people, till we walked into a small 5th wheel that could be pulled with a half-ton pickup and everything changed… again!!

DRV 2017 38

Day three at Hershey we toured 5th wheel after 5th wheel including some toy haulers. We shifted gears to researching 5th wheels now… Why you ask?! Living space, storage space and Most Important, a larger bedroom and king bed with the east-west facing bed on a slide that we can easily walk around!! Also, with this style of RV have washer & dryer hookups. Truthfully, we don’t need a ton of living space. Since we enjoy being outside next to the Campfire, so a love seat and dinette would be fine for the rainy days. After all, we love camping because it gets us outside, where we can enjoy the simple things in life while watching nature at work!

After months and months of research we found that not all RVs are made the same… in fact many RVs are pumped out to meet the high demand for RVs and are very poorly made. This is why we are now only looking at high-end 5th wheels that have thicker walls, thicker insulation, dual-pane windows, full body paint, stronger frames & axles, smoother suspension, hydraulic disc brakes and hydraulic auto leveling system. Why hydraulic leveling system you ask…. Because I really don’t want to get down on my hands and knees every time we pack up to head out on our Campfire Journeys for the next 20 years!!

So yeah… from a $1,200 trailer to a used $75,000 5th wheel RV and a $40,000 Diesel Dually truck to pull it!!!

Posted by Ken Main

I’m a jack of all trades and a master of a few. Son of a WWII Navy Vet. I started working with my father in his construction business when I was 12. I was a class A+ automotive technician for over 25 years and I raced my Camaros. I’m an adrenaline junky. I love going beyond the edge of my abilities. I’ll take anything apart and fix it. I’ll face a rock cliff and climb it, free solo style, then go find the hiking trail and continue!!
All this adrenaline NEEDS FOOD…. I learned to cook when I was pulling on my Mom’s & Grandma’s apron and I still love to cook & bake today...… and eat!!

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