So, You Want a camper?

Hank the Tank

October 9, 2017

I did it! I booked my first camping site… I am going to the Florida Keys in January, where it is warm(er) and sunny. Minor detail, I do not yet have the 40 ft. camper I registered for my stay! HAHA. I did however make an offer on said camper, its just slow negotiations to this point.

But let me back up; let me tell you about who I am and what this crazy adventure is about. My name is Lindsey, I am a Physician Assistant, Air Force spouse and mother of two strong-willed little boys. (I am not sure where they get their “saucy” attitudes from…) Life was going well and for once it felt predictable. Tino, my air force hubby, and I were working normal day-to-day schedules. Tino is an instructor pilot at the United States Air Force Academy, USAFA, and I am working in a family practice position in Colorado Springs. Apparently I was complaining a lot and not happy with my current day-to-day dealings in family medicine through May and June because Tino let me know. Next came several months of back and forth on whether or not I should resign from my position. In mid July finally did it: I put in my +2 months notice. My last day would be September 29, 2017. The longest 6-8 weeks of my life followed… I was so close to breaking free from my job, and yet so far!

About 2 weeks from my last day of work, when I was just laying down to sleep after a long day at work, Tino said the dreaded words “ We need to talk.”   I immediately woke up and responded, “Wait! Don’t say anything. Are you sure I need to hear this?” [We had had some “deployment scares” earlier in the year and it was stressful and the back and forth painful. I had told him from then on not to tell me anything anymore until I needed to know and it was certain.] He shook his head yes, and told me he was being deployed to Iraq for 6 months leaving in January.

This was met with lots of emotions and an inner dialogue took place:
“Okay, at least I quit my job so I can do this alone with less stress,”

“Wait, what IS your job going to be?”

“Hold up, I am about to be stuck inside for the worst 6 months of weather in Colorado…”

“No, I do not want to do this, I am outta here [Colorado].”

I began to consider my options… where did I want to go, if I didn’t want to stay in Colorado Springs? I was running from the cold, so why not run all the way down to Florida? Of course, as soon as I decided we were headed down south, Hurricane Irma began stirring up trouble in the Caribbean. Something clicked. I don’t want to just “run down to Florida,” I want to travel the country. I want my kids and I to see the sites and have fun things to do while Tino is away in Iraq and I am losing sleep.   We had been to a large RV dealer earlier in the summer after a fun camping trip and discovered that there are some really cool toys out there. You can spend all your $$ if you wanted to on these different RVs, fifth-wheels and travel trailers, or the monster Class A motorhomes! Wow.   So here I am several months later, considering buying one, I had NO idea which one, and would I need to buy a truck to pull it or a small car to drag behind something?

I did research, hours and hours of research. I did find several blogs about people who do this – have “extended stays” in their campers and travel the country. (Saying that you are “living in your camper” is taboo and not allowed. So that’s not what we do, the politically correct phrase is to say that you’re on an “extended stay” J.) But in my research, I found that there is currently not a whole lot of information out there about this lifestyle. And yet… I was hooked! Yep, I am doing this.

So fast forward to last weekend: I am done working, but unemployment doesn’t really feel good yet. There is SO much to do now that I’ve decided to take the plunge. Luck would have it, that my neighbor informed me of a camper showing happening that very weekend…in my city! Cool, rearrange the whole Saturday, cause we are going. Do I care that we have hockey practice for 2 boys, 2 soccer games that we also coach, a flag football game and a cross-country meet this weekend? Nope. Going.

Generally, I am between Class C motorhomes and fifth-wheels still, but am not opposed to a good travel trailer. If you know campers, this means I have no idea what I really want, but I know I want one– I’m a female after all! – that I am going to have an extended stay in this thing I buy and I need it within the next 2 months. (Today, I know I need it in about 2 weeks?!?! But I will get to that…)

I ended up falling in-love with a +40 ft 5th wheel mid berth bunkhouse and a +35ft Class C. I also like a huge toy hauler. Great. Options again. After stewing on these for 24 hours I decide the Toy hauler is just to big and I will not feel comfortable driving it across the country, and back? The class C is nice, really cool, but not a lot of living space for the 3 of us long term, and what do I do with it in July after this adventure ends? Guess I narrowed it down. -Enter more wishy-washy behavior. By this time the hubby is saying things like “whatever you want”, “you have to make the decision” and is trying to be supportive but is not being helpful in making my decision. Haha.   BTW I haven’t said this, but he thinks this plan is amazing and is totally on-board. Really, he is amazing. Sunday I feel I have made the decision. 5th wheel. I really like the wood plank vinyl flooring, the room for the boys and the open living space in the back. Did I mention the kitchen island and full size fridge? Yes, I want this one. We do our Internet search for the camper and cannot find it. Great. Its gone, did they sell it at the show? Ugh, I should have made an offer then. I love this camper. Now I am back to finding the one I want and getting it here. Closest one is in Kansas, 5 hour drive. Fine. How do I pick up? I cannot focus and task Tino with finding me a truck.   Our cars are not equipped for pulling these things. I make a plan, buy a truck, buy the hitch, buy a camper. I search local camping dealers, I am back to trying to find something closer and reaffirm my desire to do this and that the layout is what I want.

Monday morning, I set out on my plan. Tino has sent me a link to 3 local trucks to go test drive. Ugh, car buying – isn’t that the man’s job? I start driving in circles and am panicking. I do not know where I am going. I cannot decide where to go first, I pull into a big box store parking lot where people are made famous for what they are wearing, or not wearing. I am texting Tino about my freak-out and near tears when he calls! Oh, thank you God. He proceeds to calm me down and says, “just pick one. It doesn’t matter.” So off to the camper place I go. It is freezing, raining, a great day to walk through some campers without heat or power. I am at a rival company to the camper I fell in love with, but they have a model with the same layout. I do not like it as much, but it is everything I need for this trip. Confirmation received. Off to test drive trucks.

To be continued…

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