After deciding that the RV travel life was the life for me, it was time to scope out the perfect home on wheels. In this day and age, there are unlimited options to choose from such as travel trailers, tiny homes, vans.... you name it! Each offers different things that the other might not have.
At first, my thought was to build my own tiny home. However, my decision was swayed when looking at realistic labour and material cost of building the home. I am but one small human and my help (dad because this was pre-Grant) was unwilling to assist me to take on such a massive of a project.
So that's when I started frequenting RV shows. If you have never been to one I highly suggest you go! Find one near you here. You can find some great deals here on brand new campers with unbelievable warranties.
At the RV shows, can find every manufactured travel home and all the cool gadgets that go along with them at the shows. That's when I started obsessing over fifth-wheels.
What Camper is Right for Our Lifestyle?
At first, I was thinking a 33-36 foot fifth-wheel would be perfect for me. I could still have the four-season weather rating that you desperately need if you're living in it full time and washer/dryer hookups.
However, when Grant came into the picture, we decided we could use a little more space for the two of us. Together, Grant and I made a "must-have" and an "it would be cool if" list and started our search.
Once we felt confident we had gained enough knowledge and saved enough money, we came up with a plan. And everyone knows once you have a plan literally nothing will go wrong. Nothing.
Our plan was to buy an older camper and have it paid off before hitting the road full-time! Sounds great, right? Yea, well that's not what happened...
Used campers can be wonderful! The previous owner would have theoretically hauled them and figured out all their flaws. You see every new camper "shifts" and needs some minor repairs to get them just right. Break them in, if you will.
However, during search with our smaller budget, we were left only with campers that were a little too far gone. I'm talking holes in floors, cabinet doors hanging off, something died in the freezer and nobody bothered to clean it, rotten and rusted frames. [Insert camper disaster here] and these campers had it.
With the deadline of our lease-end getting nearer and nearer I started to panic a bit on the inside. Ok, on the outside too. You caught me!
Our Brilliant Plan Started to Change
Post-Dallas-panic, we decided to amend our original plan.
We threw some extra cash in the spending pot which unfortunately meant we would have to postpone going out on the road full-time. Better than being homeless though, right? Plus we had time to dip our toes into camper living before diving in headfirst.
With our new budget in mind, we went back to square one hoping to find our home a little easier this time. Again, we were wrong. (I see a trend here.)
Expanding the budget only traded in our previous problem of broken campers to finding the perfect camper, driving hours to look at them, and it sells 10 minutes before we get there. If only I hadn't stopped to help that turtle cross the road. But seriously, everyone should do that. Save the turtles, right?! I'm getting off track... Back to shopping!
After what seemed like weeks of barely missing sales on potential homes I found myself talking to the universe, "Why Universe? We did all the right things, our lease is almost up, we need to find a home. Please don't make me move back in with my parents!"
As soon as the universe finished laughing at me, I found an ad for a 2015 Sanibel by Prime Time 3701 fifth-wheel for sale.
This one had all the bells and whistle; residential fridge, kitchen in the back, washer/dryer hookups, king bed, big shower (for a camper), and a fireplace! Jackpot!
I immediately called about it. Once I verified it was available, I told the dealership I was coming and made them promise not to sell it before I could make the drive WITH stops to help the turtles. I headed west on the hour drive into the hill country to take a look at our potential home.
Upon arrival and seeing the camper, I could hardly contain my excitement; it was perfect! It checked every box on our list of "must-haves." It even checked all the boxes on our list of "it would be cool ifs!"
I had to have it. But I also had to keep my cool. Plus it would be Grant's home too so he needed to see it before we took the leap and threw down the cash.
Knowing that he would be home soon I asked if they would hold it for me for a couple of days which thank the lucky stars they did. Grant came home, we made the hour drive together and put down a deposit. Next step was the inspection!
I highly recommend you have an inspection done by a professional if you are going to buy a used camper. There are many things that could be broken out of sight that can get expensive.
We Interrupt This Story to Bring You the Inspiration for our Camper's Name
We named our camper while having it inspected.
Of course, you get deep into each nook and cranny which is where we found her. The biggest, most beautiful Black Widow spider. Grant and I instantly agreed that if everything worked out and we bought this camper we would name it the Black Widow in honour of the most beautiful spider that lived there before we did.
Yes, I'm a weirdo that thinks spiders are cool. All nature is beautiful, even those that could potentially kill you.
Que Champagne Bottle Pop
After almost a month of waiting on the bank and inspection to be complete, we finally got the thumbs up that the camper was in great shape!
We were able to finish the sale and get her moved 3 days before our lease ended, just in the knick of time to transition to being full-time campers. With all the stress of shopping, I'm so glad we pick this camper. It truly is perfect for us and we are excited to share it with you!
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