We’ve been enjoying catching up with family and friends and visiting old haunts in New England. Bob successfully replaced the cover to the electric cord compartment on our rig, the original of which we lost somewhere in New York. And I’ve picked up some more work (though still not a full-time job).
Other than that, we haven’t had a lot of adventures lately, unless you count walking up and down hills in the neighborhood we’ve been staying in to try to get some exercise. But, we thought it might be a good time to address some common questions about our RV lifestyle. So, here we go:
Does Lana drive?
Yes, I do drive when we’re towing Tagalong. Bob and I both took an RV driving course and found it well worth the cost as it gave us the confidence needed for driving the rig all the time. The instructor, Jordy, met us at the dealership when we picked up our rig. We wanted Jordy to drive the rig off the lot, but he wasn’t allowed to. So Bob did it, with good guidance.
Jordy sat in the passenger seat and gave us tips and advice and lots of instructions for eight hours that day and the next. We went to an empty parking lot, where he set up cones for us to weave in and out of to get used to handling the truck-trailer combination. And then, he made us do the same course in reverse, weaving in and out of the cones going backward.
So, yes, I drive, and I actually think it’s kind of fun. Gulliver was made to tow, so he handles Tagalong quite well. We just have to remember to make wide turns and to watch for low-hanging branches and wires. I haven’t backed up our rig into any parking spots yet. I’m not opposed to it, but I’d rather attempt that in a wide open space than in a tight campground.
How do you get mail and packages?
We signed up for a mail-forwarding service in South Dakota, our state of domicile. Any mail or packages sent to that address can be routed to an address of our choice.
When we need to order things from Amazon or another delivery service, we have them sent to an address we plan to visit. For example, we had a number of packages delivered to my parents’ house before we reached their area. We did the same thing before arriving at Bob’s brother’s in Massachusetts.
If we’ll be at a campground or some other venue that doesn’t accept packages, we can arrange to have them sent to an Amazon locker and pick them up there.
Do you have a washer and dryer in your fifth wheel?
Although our rig is plumbed for a washer and dryer in the bedroom closet, we opted not to cram them into that space. Instead, we use the area for clothes storage. We do laundry at friends’ and families’ when moochdocking. And, when we don’t have that option, we go to a local laundromat, which we don’t mind at all. We can wash and dry all of our laundry in two hours.
How long do you stay in one place?
That really depends. Ideally, we like to stay in one place for at least a week. But there have been a number of times we’ve stayed somewhere overnight on our way to a certain destination.
We spent two weeks In South Dakota near my parents’, a month in Michigan on my cousin’s farm, and it looks like we’ll be at Bob’s brother’s for a month (sandwiched around two weeks when Gulliver and Tagalong stay and we fly to join the B-25 tour in Montana).
Why did you decide on a fifth wheel? What is a fifth wheel anyway?
A fifth wheel is a travel trailer that connects to the towing vehicle inside the bed of the truck rather than off the back of the bumper. We chose a fifth wheel for a number of reasons. For one thing, we only have one engine to maintain.
Another factor that influenced our decision is the variety of layouts available in fifth wheels. Motorhomes have limited layout options because of their drivability. But fifth wheels come with the bedroom upstairs or in the back, the kitchen upstairs or in the middle, the living space in the back or in the front, etc. They also usually have a kitchen island, which gives them more of a homey feel.
We chose the Jayco Pinnacle 37MDQS because it’s designed for full-time living (some are designed for weekend getaways), and it includes an office, with a closing door, in the middle of the layout, right off the kitchen. A separate office topped our priority list when evaluating rigs because I wanted to be able to close the door at the end of the workday and be home.
This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.