Monthly Archives: July 2017

The toad dilemma

Boys love their toys and Jeff is no exception. Our new mobile lifestyle requires a vehicle of some sort for daily running around, a motorcycle for exploring, and at least 2  mountain bikes (his and hers). So, how to transport all of that equipment behind our new motorhome?

Essentially, we have 2 options:  tow a trailer/dolly capable of holding both vehicle and motorcycle or buy a big honkin’ pick-up truck, load the motorcycle in the back, and tow the truck 4 wheels down (flat towing).

If you read the RV forums, or just see what’s out there while driving around, it’s evident that most people choose to tow 4-down rather than use a trailer or dolly. Why?  It’s easier – once you have it set up.  It’s less equipment to fool with at the campsite. The campsite may not have room for your trailer/dolly and they may charge extra to store it elsewhere. Dealing with a trailer/dolly is a multi-step process. With flat towing, you just hook up your vehicle and go.

BUT – the process of loading a very large and heavy Harley Davidson touring motorcycle into the bed of a large/tall pick-up truck scares me a bit. Even the safest ramp systems carry a risk as the driver loads or unloads on that steep slope. There are automated hoist systems in the market, but they are expensive, complicated and can fail. So my initial recommendation was to go with a dolly system that could accommodate both a motorcycle and a vehicle. Loading the motorcycle onto a low trailer is much easier and safer than onto a pick up truck. We found a trailer system that would do nicely – a Tandem Tow motorcycle/car dolly. Perfect!

Except, when we inquired about purchase a few weeks ago, we learned the factory was out of business so no more Tandem Tow trailers. Dang!  Back to the drawing board. We identified an alternate product, but it didn’t have the same features as the prior product and wouldn’t work as well for our needs.

So …. we are going to tow a big honkin’ truck 4-down with a motorcycle in the back.  The plan is to purchase a Ford F-150, equip it for flat towing,  and put a Load-all ramp system in the back to load the motorcycle.

Setting up the truck to tow is not cheap. Both the motorhome and truck need specialized equipment installed. The truck requires a tow plate, special wiring, and an auxiliary braking system. The bus has to have the tow bar and an extra air tank to supply the auxiliary braking system installed. This all runs upwards of $3-4K. You better like your tow vehicle, because changing it out requires changing most of these accoutrements. But, once outfitted, hooking and unhooking the tow vehicle can be done in a few minutes and there isn’t an extra piece of equipment to be in the way.

I’ll let you know how all of this goes!

And the mountain bikes?  They’re going on a bike rack on top of the truck.  Gotta have the toys!

And now – to catch you up! Part 2

Our house had sold, we moved into transitional housing, and were in a holding pattern. The next step was to locate and purchase a motorhome and move in!

We have been researching motorhomes for years. Our favorite ended up being the Entegra Aspire or Anthem. Entegra is a quality motorhome with tons of great features, a good value for the money, and a floor plan we like. Our plan was to wait for the 2017 model close outs in order to get the best possible deal. We watched the ads on RV Trader and waited.

A deal popped up that was too good to pass up. The only wrinkle was that the unit is based in Hammond, LA (near New Orleans). I was rather set on buying in Tampa, because that dealership offered a lot of support, time and training (including Driver Confidence training) that would be very helpful to us as first time motorhome owners. The idea of buying elsewhere  – especially so far away – and immediately driving away  was incredibly intimidating.  But, the motorhome was such a good deal that Jeff convinced me we could do it and should move forward.

We put down a deposit on a 2017 Entegra Aspire 42DEQ and will fly out to take delivery on July 25! It is the exact color scheme and layout that I dreamed of having. It is a beautiful home and I think it will suit us admirably.

We have several weeks to learn all we can via You Tube!! Because once we do the walkthrough and take delivery – we’re on our own!

Aspire 42deq

This is it!  Our new home-on-wheels!

And now – to catch you up! Part 1

So much has happened since I last posted!

The first major event was the sale of our home. I spent literally months purging, cleaning, painting and fixing before reaching out to a real estate agent. We selected the agent with the highest sales in our town. She gave us a few minor cosmetic changes recommendations, which we followed, and then moved forward to put the house on the market. The agent took a series of very professional photos and prepared the listing.

Wow wow! The listing became visible on a Thursday, and the showing schedule quickly filled up – 20 plus showing appointments  within the first week! By Wednesday we had 4 offers, 2 of which were full price! We accepted the best full price offer and closed/moved within 30 days after that.  The process went faster and smoother than we thought possible.

So, now we are in a one-bedroom apartment as transitional housing. The apartment is perfectly livable and is in a lovely complex with many amenities.  Yet – the emotional impact of moving out of my longtime home was much stronger than I expected. After I cleaned the house out for the final time, I sat down on the stairs and sobbed. Leaving that house was like ripping a part of myself away and leaving it there.  It got better, then the separation pain resurfaced several weeks later. I felt like I had been on vacation, but now it was time to go home. I wanted to go home — but it was my home no longer.  The choice to sell and leave everything behind for a life of adventure is totally my choice and this was a necessary step. But this part of the process was much harder than expected.

Then everything hit a lull again — we had moved, were settled and in a holding pattern. Until …. see Part 2!