Welcome to the fleet, little buddy!

Do get ahold of yourself. This is not a birth announcement.

Nor is it a puppy announcement.

We’ve added something else to the family, and although it means we do in fact now own more, we can travel for part of the year with less, and there’s kind of a sweet little coincidence thrown in too.

It’s a lot less.
Like less-than-half less.

But first… my existential crisis

Own more, do more? Oy vey. Let me type through it.

We wanted this, it feels right, and we’re confident with the decision — which was a good two years in the making.

But I don’t know how to sit with “owning more” yet, and I feel like the more I try to justify it, the more it sounds like I’m making excuses.

So indulge me while I examine things with my head tilted and one eye squinched.

Even with the contents of our storage unit considered, we still own significantly less than we did before we downsized to our first RV in 2015 — from a 2900sf 4br 2.5ba house with a 2-car garage, a shed, 3 vehicles, all those sets of sheets and towels, 4 people’s worth of shoes and clothing, formal living and dining areas, multiple desks and dressers, and walk-in closets containing all the we-might-need-these-somedays.

At present, we own one vehicle. As for our “houses,” the 5th wheel offers up about 350 square feet of living space, and the truck camper… maybe 150? All the furniture came with (and stays with) them, and we can travel with only one of these boogers at a time.

Well, then.

No name change is forthcoming. Own Less Do More stays.

So why did we do it?

We’d started talking about it maybe a year after we traded in our old 5th wheel and moved into this Mobile Suites in 2018.

It’s really big, y’all. There are places we can’t take it because of its size. And at great risk of making the poor thing feel fat-shamed, we really thought we’d be happier if we had a more svelte companion.

A lot of places we’d like to go are remote, petite, or require travel along roads that are unsuitable for 60 feet and 10 tires worth of moving mayhem. Plus, we’ve got our eyes on RVing to Alaska in 2023, and although we know folks who’ve done it in large rigs, we’d prefer something more stealthy and streamlined, so that we have a wider selection of places to stay, minimal need to book sites in advance (we hope), and far less worry about banging the thing up a bit in the name of adventure (we hope again).

In a truck camper, we can squeeze in just about anywhere, and scratches and dents on an 8-year-old previously owned unit become the start of a good campfire story.

However, we aren’t ready to give up the comfort of using the 5th wheel as our home, nor are we ready to return to sticks-and-bricks living, so we think of the truck camper as our mobile summer cabin. Our plan is to take off for about 5 months of travel in it this April, so that we can get the feel for a season of use in the Lower 48 before we try schlepping up to Alaska next year.

Plus, we helped Tim’s folks do this same thing just a few months ago, and that definitely stoked the fire. We did first ask if we could borrow their truck camper for Alaska 2023, but those two actively traveling seniors weren’t yet ready or willing to relinquish the rights. They might still be using it themselves, and we quite honestly hope that’s the case, so we bought our own.

This is the one Tim’s folks bought (the in-law suite?).
Joke: Just how old does Tim have to be before his father will let him borrow his toys?
Apparently 55 is still too young.

Got some specs?

Of course we do.

It’s a 2013 Lance 1050S, and I’ve taken the liberty of adding a column for our 5th wheel’s stats, so you can appreciate the differences.

Truck Camper5th wheel
Length19′ 8″40′ 6″
Height during travel11′ 8″ 13′ 6″
Dry weight3,030 lbs17,000 lbs
Mattress size60″ x 74″ (RV queen)72″ x 80″ (RV king)
No. slides14
Fresh tank30 gal100 gal
Grey tank27 gal75 gal
Black tank22 gal50 gal

There are more specs here, an actual brochure here, and I’m not going to give you a video walk-through because this dude has already done that in one like ours, and as a salesperson, he got paid to do it. Ours lacks the slide topper and the drop-down bunk over the dinette. Other than that? Samesies.

This is confusing af. How’s this gonna work, Em?

We are in the right place at the right time with the right friends.

J & K are fellow RVers, they’ve got acreage near our home base of San Antonio, and we’ve been staying on the property since early November. They’re letting us leave one unit here while we travel in the other.

Plus, J is every bit as much of a handy fixit guy as Tim, if not more so, and he’s got a tractor.

Why is that important? Okay, well, when we’re using the 5th wheel, we’ve got a big-ass hitch in the bed of the truck, plus bed-wide boxes full of tools, and a 65-gallon auxiliary fuel tank. All of that heavy stuff has to come out in order to slide the truck camper in, and then be put in again when we’re ready to switch back. So twice a year, we’ll take advantage of tractor-assisted switcheroos and an assortment of outbuildings in which to leave whatever ain’t ridin’ with us.

We pay for the privilege by helping out with projects on the property, and we’re also trying to convince J to accept something more valuable than an occasional family-size bag of peanut M&Ms for this stupid convenient option he’s given us. This would be tremendously more difficult for us without his generosity, and although we could do it without him, we probably wouldn’t.

Number of pairs of jeans I own: 2
Number of RVs we own: also 2
I am now afraid to buy more jeans.

Do they have names?

Not really, but we’re trying.

In homage to the largest and smallest states in the continental US, we’d like to go with Tex for the 5th wheel, and Road Island (misspelling intentional) for the truck camper, but neither of us is doing very well with the mental gymnastics.

The big one is usually “the house” or “the RV,” the truck camper is usually “the camper,” and if we’re inside one, then the other is simply, “the other one.”

What about that coincidence you were talking about?

When we were in San Antonio back in May of 2021, Tim and I spent a couple of days helping with clean-up efforts at an Escapees RV park near here, after it was walloped by severe storms with record-breaking hail and tornado-force winds. Almost all the RVs and vehicles on the lot were totaled, forcing this senior population to start over. I wrote about those emotional, sad, yet hopeful days here.

On December 30 of 2021, while in the San Antonio area once again, and shopping-but-not-shopping like we tend to do, Tim texted me a link to the craigslist ad for this camper. 

I looked at the first photo and could tell immediately where it was: that very RV park.

The owners — who we determined we had not met while we were helping with the clean-up in May, but wow, would that have made an even better story — had bought it in Dallas, after the storms, to live in for a few months until they could obtain a new 5th wheel to replace their totaled one. 

We spent about an hour checking it out the next day (no odors, no stains, spotless fridge and oven!), went out to lunch to talk it over, and texted the owner an offer from the table. He came up a little, but said he’d throw in a bunch of accessories that we might want/need, so we settled on his counter-offer and got approved for a loan that afternoon.

New adventures, coming soon

And that’s about as much as I can tell you without actually having lived or traveled in Road Island, which means I can’t yet say how awesome — or awful? — it is to cut our living space, storage space, and amenities by more than half. That’s coming up when we get back from our 2-month trip to Mexico. (If you missed that news, I included it in our previous blog post. We’re flying!)

Over the past two weeks, Tim’s been tackling caulking, wiring, and other fixits to get the camper ready to go, and I’ve been taking care of transferring and procuring interior items. We’ll have time to spend a night or two onboard to test all the systems before we leave for Mexico on Feb. 1, and we’ll move into it fully when we return at the end of March. We’ll then give ourselves an additional 2-3 weeks to take care of any issues before we roll out of Texas for the season.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got packing to do, but at least the bathing suit decision is easy. I’ve only got one of those.

WheRVe we been? Our travels, 4th quarter 2021

December sunset on our friend’s property near Boerne, TX, our current home

As the sun sets on this year, we are looking toward a 2022 in which we will not be full-time RVers.

Eyebrows down. It’s really not as dramatic as all that.

We’re not coming off the road; we’re just exploring it via alternate means for a couple of months, and I’ll get to that in the “Where to next” section, I promise. No clickbait here — just a little suspense.

Let’s start like we usually do, with a map of our travels since the last quarterly update.

We spent the first few nights of October dry camping at a nondescript county fairgrounds complex in OR, just killing time until our next reservation.
From there, we traveled to UT, then NM, then TX, where we’ve been since Nov. 1.
RV miles traveled this quarter: about 2360  
(Map does not reflect exact routing.)

Utah/Virginia ~ October 4-14

Tim and the RV babysat each other at Hill AFB, while I flew to coastal VA for my 27th (mostly) annual girlfriends’ weekend — at which no babysitters are allowed even though there is no actual adult in charge. We eat, drink, and spend too much, don’t sleep enough, laugh until we pee, and regret nothing.

Hobbs, NM ~ October 18 to November 1

The minute registration opened for the Escapees Habitat for Humanity Hangout back in June, my fingers were on the keyboard. Two weeks of construction work for the greater good? Sign us the hell up and take our money.

There were two main projects at the affiliate in Hobbs. Not only did Hangout attendees get the home building experience that everyone pictures when they think of Habitat for Humanity, but we also helped move the ball significantly forward on renovating a recently purchased church building into their new multi-purpose headquarters (offices, meeting spaces, and a ReStore) — all of which will help further their mission and benefit the Hobbs community.

Many of us learned entirely new skills: tiling, mudding & taping, hanging drywall, reading blueprints, framing and standing up walls, and more. We also had a team of kitchen volunteers who prepared and served hearty hot lunches, the cost of which was budgeted into our Hangout fees, on most work days.

It was emotional, exhausting, and gratifying, and in addition to bonding with so many new friends, we all have an open invitation to return to Hobbs on our own, park our RVs, and raise our hammers any time we want to put in a few days or weeks of work.

Our friend, Dan, created this clever trailer-style video to capture the feel of the Hangout in one perfect minute.

Texas ~ November 1 to present

We spent a week at one of the crown jewels of the Texas State Parks system, Palo Duro Canyon, which is near Amarillo. But… the black tank valve got stuck, necessitating a multi-day, messy and expensive repair effort, leaving us with only one day to go on a hike, on which we got separated, and Tim spent an hour searching for me because I thought he’d know I’d return to the truck, but it turns out he didn’t know that at all. We are almost to the someday of “someday we’ll look back at this and laugh.”

After that, we rolled onto a friend’s ranch property near charming Boerne, TX, and other than two brief side trips, we’ve been here ever since. From here, it takes us only 40-60 minutes to get where we need to go in San Antonio to visit family, doctors and dentists, plus we get scenic views and quiet nights, with almost no traffic on our little ranch road.

We really hadn’t expected to be here this long (our original plan involved spending more of this winter boondocking in the desert), but lengthy gaps between follow-up appointments are keeping us anchored to San Antonio through January. Thankfully, the issues are merely pesky and not serious, and we’re near tons of family, friends, tacos and margaritas, so what’s not to love?

Have to admit it. That man I married looks pretty damn happy with ranch life.

And then there were the dogs

As I was reviewing photos for this post, I realized we got to give lots of ear scruffles and lap snuggles over the past three months. Here. You can meet them all too.

Where to next?

Did you think I’d forgotten that thing I said up there about not being full-time RVers in 2022? It’s true. We’re leaving the truck and RV here on the ranch and flying to Mexico for two months — at least, that is the plan unless things become utterly f*cked by the continuing pandemic, in which case I might not be writing the quarterly update I expect to write come April 1.

But if it happens, we’ll be spending February on the mainland near Guadalajara, and March on the Baja near Cabo. I’d love to tell you more, but in our typical “meh, it’ll all work out” fashion, all we’ve got locked in so far are our one-way tickets to Guadalajara on Feb. 1, which leaves me with just one thing left to say.

Hasta la vista. Maybe?


We started full-timing in August of 2015, but I didn’t think to do an annual review until the end of 2016, and it was just a listing on Facebook of places we’d visited. After that, I started using a quarterly format.