How we selected our new home on wheels

So Ken has convinced me that the adventure is a great idea but I’m not just jumping ship.  There is a lot to consider:  Ken can work from the road and we can road school the kids but in what type of RV?  What can accommodate 5 people long-term and function for us?  Can we afford this?

We started to look for the vehicle.   We had previously looked at travel trailers thinking that would be our next step up from our tent camping.  We quickly decided this would not work for us on this adventure.  So, last fall we went up to  the Hershey RV show and did some serious exploration focused on fifth wheel trailers (the kind where part of it fits over the bed of a pickup truck).  We looked through virtually every model and spent time considering having one custom built to our specifications.  Fifth wheel trailers provide the most living space and since I’m a closet architect wanna be, it was fun to see what would be possible.  However, in the end, we couldn’t find a production one fit to our requirements and the custom rig was going to require too large of a tow vehicle (and thus was too pricey).   Somewhere we had read that trailers are best for camping, motorhomes are best for traveling and since we put our selves in the  traveling category, it was time to change gears.

Also, we kept thinking about what we liked about our trip to Yellowstone when we had rented a class C motorhome (the kind with the bed over the cab).  We really liked that we could travel in more comfort rather than having to fit into a pickup truck to go anywhere.   I kept thinking if we had to move on to the next place with Ken and the kids working they could at least do that in comfort in a motorhome while I drove.

Now we had to find one that was in our price range, had lots of storage, bunk beds and preferably another designated bed for the third child that I would not have to make and unmake every day.  I am a morning person and I need to be able to function well in my environment and not be waiting for a child to get out of bed before I can clean or work on a blog or whatever.  Plus the thought of packing up a bed every day was not appealing at all.  We were surprised to discover there are not many choices in Class A RVs (large, traditional motorhomes) with permanent beds for 5 people.  Most are designed to accommodate people using the couch bed or dinette conversion.

I urge you, if you are looking for an RV, check every cabinet, nook and cranny.  One model we considered looked like it had the same kitchen storage as other models until you opened the major cabinet under the sink and realized that the plumbing was designed poorly and most of the cabinet was unusable.  The same model had a front cabin design that made it very difficult to get into the drivers seat and in the bedroom it was impossible to walk around the queen bed.

Another factor in our decision was the restrictions on length of RVs allowed in the campgrounds.  Some state and national parks have size restrictions so we looked for one that fit into the 35 ft class most typically allowed.

Ken started researching last summer, we started seriously looking last fall and we ultimately settled on the Itasca Sunstar 35B in February.  The Sunstar provides a  queen bed for us, 2 bunks, another bunk over the cab, a bath and a half, and a decent kitchen.  We’re thrilled with our new home and have learned that everyone has different requirements and that is why there are so many choices!  I guess we’ll find out what features we really like and don’t like as the journey unfolds.


Master bedroom (aka: Ken’s office) and bath
Hallway bunks across from the half bath

What happens when I leave my husband home alone for three weeks

I have to back up a little bit.  We have lived in Atlanta, GA for the last 15 years and have traveled to the Midwest and in the Smoky Mountains as a family.  Last June Ken and I took the kids out west for a two week summer vacation.  They had never seen “real” snow-capped mountains and we couldn’t wait to show them.  We flew to Salt Lake City and rented a Class C RV and drove up through Jackson Hole, WY, The Grand Tetons and then on to Yellowstone.  We had an absolute blast!

We returned home, unpacked our ten bags of clothes and camping gear and then I drove to Chicago with our three children to see my Mom and Dad.  Great!  My Mom had said she was ready to clean out 30 years of stuff from her house so we got busy.

Needless to say, Ken is bored while we are gone.  I’m thinking he might make a big dent in the honey-do list but unbeknownst to me he was researching.

My Mom has a conversation with me before we leave.  Every couple of years she brings up the fact that she thinks we should sell our house because it requires so much work.  We should move in to something brick or already remodeled.  I was thinking, “Ken won’t move”.  He has told me over and over that he never wants to move again.  It is too much work!

So we head back to Georgia, unload all of our stuff from the car including some things from my Mom’s cleaning-out and my dear spouse says to me, “We need to have a serious talk.”  Well immediately my mind is spinning, “What is this about?”  “OK”, I say, “Let’s talk.”  “No,” he says, “We need to have uninterrupted time and I need to get everything out.”  Well, you can imagine the places my mind is going.  Alarm bells are going off but I have no idea about what.  Our marriage is great!  I’m not worried about infidelity but this is really throwing me and he won’t give me a topic. ( SIDENOTE HERE:  He keeps telling me to read a book called Crucial Conversations so I know what to say in a “Crucial Conversation.” ) Clearly he forgot what he read!!!  No hints like…Our marriage is fine!  I’m not going to die!  He could have done this better.

So we gave the kids food and TV and went to the basement to talk because at this point I couldn’t wait any more to find out what this is all about.  Well, Ken had been researching RVs for weeks when he came across a site called Full-time Families, about families who sell their homes and move into RVs for a year or much longer and Roadschool their children.

Now, I ‘m not allowed to interrupt or ask questions until he has explained his reasoning.  Many families have written that they are so happy being together and getting to spend quality time with their kids doing fun things instead of spending weekdays and weekends doing yard work, running children to different activities,  school responsibilities, housecleaning…you know what I mean.  Life is so busy that it is hard to stop and smell the roses.

It makes sense to me but when he says he thinks we should sell the house and pretty much everything in it my jaw drops.  I am officially in shock!

Our family of five hits the highway to explore America