Small Motorhome Shopping Series
Welcome to the ninth episode of “The RVing Life Show”, where I interview Mike Boyink of Ditching Suburbia. We talk about small motorhome van life, downsizing, and tips for those considering purchasing a new or used Class B.
NOTE *** This week we had a slight technical challenge and so both our guest and our host are not on the screen at the same time. Enjoy the change and we are already all fixed up for the next show!
- Who Class B’s are meant for [00:06:00]
- The frustrations of a fifth wheel and other big rigs [00:07:00]
- The story and value of DitchingSubrurbia [00:08:00]
- Conversations with your spouse on downsizing [00:11:00]
- The real reason why we all go RVing [00:024:00]
- Customizations you can make to your Class B [00:026:00]
- Tips for those considering a new or used Class B(or any small motor home) [00:33:00]
Do you have a question you’d like to have answered about the RV shopping process or the experience of buying an RV? In the comments section ask your question…
Links and Resources
- Small Motorhomes For Sale
- Shop Class B Motorhomes
- FREE RV Buyer’s Worksheet – Get a grip on the RV buying process … get organized … your wants, needs, towing, REAL costs, and more!
- Road Ready Checklist – Leave your driveway with confidence. Don’t leave anything you need behind. A FREE downloadable resource you can use each and every time before you head out on your next adventure.
- “How To Buy a Class B Motorhome for Undder $10K” – A helpful guide written by the Boyink’s for those looking for a budget-friendly Class B.
Be Our Guest
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We are currently looking for current RV shoppers and owners to share their shopping and ownership valuable tips and strategies viewers can implement in their own RV buyer’s journey. Click here to apply today!
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Intro: Welcome to another episode of The RVing Life Chats, bringing the best of RV and RVing gear shopping tips to you directly from the mouths of experienced, been-there-done-that RVers. Today’s show is sponsored by RVingPlanet.com. And now here’s your host Kevin Wallenbeck.
Kevin: Welcome to another episode of the RVing Life. We have with us today Michael Boyink. He’s a husband and father and they’ve been traveling in a 5th wheel. But recently they’ve downsized to a class B. And as you know here on the show today, Michael, you’re here to talk about that whole small RV, small motor home living. So yeah, man, we’re excited to have you on. So welcome.
Michael: Thanks. Good to be here.
Kevin: Yeah. You guys also have, and we’ll talk about it a little bit later in the show, you guys also have a blog site called Ditching Suburbia. And why don’t you just give us a quick three-minute, two-minute synopsis, kind of like where you’re coming from, what you’re doing, where you are now, and then we’ll kind of get into the whole transition from 5th wheel to small motor home for folks.
Michael: So where we’re kind of from Ditching Suburbia wise?
Kevin: Yeah. For yourself too. Just give everybody an update kind of where you’re at, what you’re doing.
Michael: Yeah, so we’re … you can see behind me I’m outdoors. I’m in a Michigan State Park, Algonac State Park. It was easier to do this than try to cram us into the class B. And it’s a beautiful day outside too. So we’re back in our home area of Michigan. We came back to the Midwest to drop my daughter off at a farm, she’s staying at a farm for the summer.
Michael: And that was only like three hours from home territory so we kind of booked it up. So we’ve been catching up on chiropractors and doctors and haircuts and all the stuff that comes when you come back home. And then we’ve got a few projects to do on the class B that we bought too and I’ve got an uncle here who’s got a shop and all the tools, so we’ll go in mood stock with him and get some projects done too with him. So after that we’re booking it out to Colorado to visit some friends out there that we actually met on the road.
Kevin: That is awesome. So you guys have been full time RVers. On the road for how long since 2010, is that right?
Michael: Yeah, so six and a half going on seven years.
Kevin: Okay, and since that time when you guys started and you got into RVing, kind of we know that you’re in a class B now, we’re going to definitely want to talk about the transition. But kind of give people some back stories a little bit on types of RVs you’ve had, what you pulled them with. I think it’d be very helpful for them to kind of get it some build your credibility. For goodness sake you’re sitting in the woods. I mean, you know.
Michael: Yes, so I grew up in an RVing house. So I was trying to think the other night how many RVs my parents have had and I’ve lost count. Because they started actually with a clam shell car top carrier on top of our Volkswagen Bug and they went from all that all the way up to a class A and they just want to do some pushers. So I’ve been around RVs since I was a kid. By the time I was 16 I think I’ve been in 40 states. We took a couple months and 6-week long trips up to Colorado. So a lot of history there and that’s kind of how we’ve fell into the RVing lifestyle as a family as I had that past to draw on.
So personally I have owned, I think this is our 4th RV. Our first one was a class C; we bought that one when we were young married. We quickly called it the disaster mobile. It was a textbook case and not to buy a used RV, a lot of work. Yeah, we did a lot of work on that one and just kind of resold it just to get out of it. So that was more of a camping rig that was not our full-timing rig.
When we decided to hit the road full time it was puzzle because as soon as you talk to salespeople about, “Hey, we’re going to do this for a year.” They want to sell you the biggest thing they got on their lot – five slides, and triple axel and all that. But I wanted to be nimble. I wanted this to be small. So we actually … we put parameters around our trip, we said, “We’re just going to do this for a year. So what can we live in for a year? How small can we live for a year?”
So our first trailer was a 30 foot 5th wheel. It was just big enough to have a couple little coffin bunks around the corner, and my kids were 12 and 13 at the time. We were in that for three and a half years. So the one trip didn’t end up one year.
And that was a great rig. It fit us well, and then about three and a half years into traveling we noticed there were just a few things that needed to be repaired and my kids had grown like six to eight inches each. They just sprung up. They couldn’t put their clothes on back in the bunk house because it kind of step up and came down, so they didn’t have room to even change their clothes.
So we decided to buy another 5th wheel. So we went up to a 34 footer with two slides. We bought that one new. That’s the only RV we ever bought new. And we had a great experience buying new. We have very little trouble with it and we just sold that three weeks ago, I think it’s about maybe just come up on a month to get into the class B, so yup, little 5th wheel, bigger 5th wheel.
And then out of that the class B, because what happened in that time frame was my oldest moved out and he’s living on his own now. So we’re down to a three something. And then my daughter is now 18 turning 19 and wanted to kind of start getting her independence as well. So without the two kids around we just really wanted to try being really small and really nimble.
Kevin: So important here, you’ve transitioned from a 5th wheel to a small, to a class B. And your kids are not traveling with you anymore? Or they are or not?
Michael: Right, my daughter was with us for the first week. So we bought the rig in Florida, drove it to Texas, took the transition in Texas and then headed to Illinois. So she was with us for that time and we were tight, we made it worked, she kind of slept across the front seats, because she’s adult size, it’s not like we’re fitting a three-year old somewhere.
Kevin: That’s right.
Michael: So we made it work for a week, but it was tight. So now yes, it’s just my wife and I.
Kevin: Yeah, so it’s very important, right? I mean, someone looking for a class B, comfortably most people who buy them are two people, right?
Michael: Yeah, there are some floor plans. I know the road tracks have a seat system that folds down into some smaller beds. So you’ve got up to eight or nine-year olds, you could probably squeeze yourself into one for camping. I’m not sure I would ever see that being too successful as a full time rig.
Kevin: Yeah, yeah, that’d be tough. So you had all these experiences, you just said your parents just bought a big … a diesel pusher, big class A, so obviously just conversations and having experience there too. So someone … I mean, what was the thought process you’re going through of going … obviously your kids are moving on, right?
Kevin: They’re enjoying their own life. But that’s still a big change from a 34 foot 5th wheel, and what were you pulling it with, what was your tow vehicle?
Michael: A Chevy Crew Cab 3/4 ton truck.
Kevin: Yeah, so that was a big truck too. And so now you’re going this class B, like what was the thought process and some of the conversations that you and your wife had kind of early on the process?
Michael: So the biggest frustration with the 5th wheel is you can’t be spontaneous on moving days or it’s really hard to be. So if we’re trucking down the road … and one of the reasons we wanted to travel was just to encounter those random cool things that you’re not planning on. But with the 5th wheel on tow like even just you’d pass a road side fruit stand and you’ve got like 30 stuck and see and evaluate – is there parking, can I get around the back of it, can I turn around, if I shoot pass can I stop fast enough. And by the time you even try to do that thought process it’s just easier to keep going.
So we skipped past a lot of things on the road sides that we just really wanted to stop and be able to see. And then so that was one issue, I don’t know, it’s just … we didn’t stay in many like national forest campgrounds, or stay at wildlife areas, just those more remote places. So we wanted to be smaller just to be able to get into those things.
Now the big thing with a 5th wheel is you’re 12 and a half feet tall. So when you’re in states that have a three canopy, those national forest access roads they’re not going to be trimming things low enough for you. So you’re not going to drag a 5th wheel down those roads. With a class B I think we’re 8 and a half feet tall. So it’s a whole different ball game height wise.
And then the other thing that we’re looking at doing now that my kids are out is … we’re all ready through our site Ditching Suburbia that you mentioned, we kind of consult families that want to get into the full time RVing lifestyle. So we have this notion not only to have a good name for it yet, but we see ourselves like parking in someone’s driveway, a family wants to get on the road, we’ll come park in your driveway, feed us and we’ll just pitch in and do whatever you need us to do.
We’ll help you do a garage sale, we’ll help you shop RVs, we’ll help you plan home school curriculum. We’ll do all that stuff, just give us a place to park and food to eat and we’ll just come alongside and kind of help get you through that process. So a rig small enough that we could do that right in the driveway not have to find like a local campground and then be traveling back and forth. So it’s another goal. We haven’t done it yet. It’s just an idea we’ve been kicking around and want to try at some point.
Kevin: Like gives a whole new meaning to AirBnb. Have you come up with a name with it yet? Like has anyone actually coined a term for that yet?
Michael: We’ve been calling it Ditching Enabling. So we’ll be enablers in a good way, right, because it’s kind of coaching, but the coaching word has gotten so overused anymore that I don’t even like the sound of it. So no I don’t have a great name for it. And is there a business there? I don’t know. I don’t know if we care if there’s a business. We just really have a heart for families that want to get out on the road with their kids and do that.
Kevin: That’s awesome.
Michael: And we really want helping them through that process. So if it saves us campground fees and we get some free meals out of it, that maybe enough, we’ll build community and build relationships while we’re doing it.
Kevin: Yeah. I know that you’re on the Westside of the State of Michigan right now. I’m on kind of the middle of the state, so like if you do the whole, just right in the camera like the whole, right? And you’re over here. Well, we have a 30-amp hook up right out front. We had a guest on our show awhile ago, Greg Gerber; I think you know him, RV Dealer Report. And he actually interviewed me for a separate, on his podcast last year or two years ago for a separate thing completely.
And he actually came and he has a podcast studio setup on his RV. And he just stayed in the night in my driveway. So although I’ll have to get with him because he did not pitch in, man. Yeah, like I was getting my garden going. Man, I still have to use that next time. But you guys awesome, anytime over here, man.
Kevin: Yeah, very cool. So what were some of the conversations that you guys had between you and your wife if you don’t mind sharing? As you were going through this process of downsizing, what were some of the concerns?
Michael: Amount of space, and not just the amount of space but what will we have to give up to fit into this thing. And so I just wrote a blog post this morning about this, like we knew … with the first RV we knew what our focus was for getting on the road, we have kids, we were home schoolers, we wanted to do road schooling, we wanted to show them America and visit historical places rather than just talk about them in textbooks.
And then with our second rig, well, that wasn’t really a downsize but we still … our continued focus is as our kids grew up was what do they need, like they got older, they’re older teens now. We bought a seasonal campsite up in Fremont, Michigan a couple of summers. And one of the reasons we did that was so that they could get summer jobs and get a little experience, put on a resume. So we still had a good focus for our travels during that phase.
We realized when we got into the B like we don’t really have a focus. Like with the kids out and they’re not the focus anymore, what’s our reason for traveling? What’s that focus going to be? Because the challenge with a class B is you don’t have room for options. You got to pick one. And so I’d link to the City Slickers team where Curly talks about the one thing, keep the one thing, the one thing, and Billy Crystal says, “What’s the one thing?” He’s like, “That’s what you have to figure out.”
And that’s what we got to do. Are we going to be bikers or are we going to be kayakers or are we going to be hikers? What’s kind of our root cause or root reason for traveling? Because actually when we bought the class B I had a cargo trailer on reserve, so we were going to buy the class B and we’re going to pick up little 5×6 cargo trailer, big enough to hold bikes and kayaks and all that stuff with us. And then we started driving the beat around and went, “Man, this is really nice. You just whip in and park.” Like I don’t even think about an exit path, I don’t think about having a backup trailer up. I don’t have to park on the way out skirts at Walmart, I can just park with the rest of the cars.
Yeah, so the minute you had the trailer that all changes again. Now I can’t do that. So it almost defeated the whole reason for wanting to be that small, like if I got to tow a trailer I might as well buy a bigger RV and just put the stuff in the RV and not have to suffer the thing I’ve got to deal with. So we went through this process of what would it take to not need the trailer. And for us that was picking the one thing, what’s our one thing going to be.
So we chose hiking, so our next year we’re just going to focus on where can we go find great hiking. And one of the reasons for that is one of the kids just didn’t enjoy hiking, so we haven’t done that much of it as a family.
Kevin: Enough, dad. No more hiking.
Michael: Yeah, it was kind of like we’re just … there’s no … it’s just we’re going out and back, there’s no reason for a walk. So yeah, so now it’s just the two of us. We just want to become better hikers. We’re not going to be hardcore true hiker, Appalachian trail sorts. But I’d like to be able to do 10 or 12 miles at least and put a solid day of it then.
Kevin: That’s fantastic exercise too.
Kevin: Yeah, can’t beat that. So we’re camping at just a local campground here, actually just 45 … it’s sounds so silly to say, like you’ve been on the road full time and traveled all over the country and for me and my family we mostly travel local. We’ve gone out to like the Adirondack Mountains and New York, Lancaster, Hershey, Pennsylvania, that four or five weeks at the time a few years ago over a couple of summers. But this summer we’re looking for a couple week trip again. But we do a lot of weekend stuff. And usually I got Thursday to Monday, Thursday to Tuesday. I do not like leaving the campground on Sunday. It is the worst experience ever.
Michael: Isn’t it great watching everybody leave?
Kevin: So and that’s the thing, right? If you come in on Thursday no one … hardly anyone watches you set up. And then if you leave Monday then you’re doing something else while everybody’s lined up at the dump station on the way out. But as we’re camping at local campground, last summer or the summer before, and there was two couple. It was two class Bs, like the nice … I want to say a Pleasure Way RoadTrek is what they were, but probably RoadTreks, they’re silver, so I’m pretty sure they were probably RoadTrek. But I think Pleasure Way has a silver one now too.
But anyway they came in and they had the bikes on the back, the nice bicycles on the back. And there’s two of them. So I stopped … while they were there that weekend I kind of waited for them to show up to their campsite because they were gone a lot. But I went and talk to them and they were just a couple, two couples that the guys worked together. The guys or the wives. I don’t know.
Anyway, husbands and wives together. And their kids empty nesters, kind of like yourself and that’s what they did on weekends. And used their long … they take vacations, Fridays and Mondays and they would go find bike trailers, hiking trails, stuff like that. And the class B for them too was an excellent way to do that, right? Quick in and out, not a lot of like what you’re saying.
Yeah, because you’re not going to be flying on the high way like you mentioned that whole fruit stand idea. And I have not traveled anywhere near, not even a miniscule of what you’ve done. And I know just taking my travel trailer trying to find a grocery store to hit before you hit the campground.
Michael: I mean, it’s doable. I mean, we obviously, we did it for six and a half years. I’m a fair handed back in a trailer by this point too, I’m not certainly not scared of it. I’ve always had trailers. But I didn’t realize how much energy that took until we’re in the B like I’m not … like when you’re pulling on a 5th wheel you got to look at in 3D, you got to look left and right but also up all the time, because you’re always afraid of hitting those branches and I don’t worry about that anymore. Now we just pull and we just go. And it’s so much less stress to drive around.
Kevin: That’s awesome. So what are some of the … you talked about some of the challenges, space and stuff. So how did you guys accommodate that? How did you just … I mean, did you just have like a Craigslist big garage sales? I mean, sold everything in your RV or like how did that work?
Michael: So we got … we were really lucky. We rented an accounting park outside of San Antonio. And (a) they didn’t charge us extra to have the class B there, I was worried like we’d have to rent another site, because we had about two weeks of overlap where we had multiple, class B and the 5th wheel. And what happened was that park on Easter Weekend it had this huge grassy area that looks like a mile loop and then all inside of that was grass. And they opened up all of that for ten campers and the families in that area, there were like 2,000 people in there, their Easter Weekend.
Huge thing, like football games and egg toasts and just … it was a big, that’s a big long standing position. So we just put stuff out in the bending table, free, just take it. And it all disappeared over the course of that weekend. We got rid of so much stuff. Yeah, it saved us. Because there wasn’t a local good will, it would have been kind of a drive to go drop anything off at a donation center.
But I also sold a few things. I didn’t mind if I had some stuff out for sale, because I had like bikes and my aluminum ladder and a little blue buddy. Just a bunch of bigger stuff we were hoping to get a little money out of. And we sold a lot of that stuff as well. So yeah, I think … I know we walked a few things to the dumpster like this is good yet, I really wish someone could have taken it, but we don’t have room for it and we got to go so off it goes. But for the most part it all got given away.
Kevin: Yeah, wow. So that’s … I mean, basically you just give stuff away then?
Michael: I sold a few pieces, yup. I sold some things that I thought were worth a trouble. But I hate selling stuff, like the whole Craigslist or I tried Facebook Marketplace as well, and between the people trying to lowball you and something. You got to figure out what you want it for and then double your price to the person in the line, because the first thing they’re going to do is offer you half of what you’re asking. So it’s a stupid game, and then no shows and everything else.
So yeah, we’ve sold a fair number of things, but at the end it was just … like we had a nice inflatable kayak and all the vest and a little cart made to go with it and we just gave it away to friends. It was more fun to give it away than it was the hassle of trying to get 200 bucks out of it or whatever.
Kevin: Yeah, so now you’ve been in your class B how long now?
Michael: I think it’s been just over three weeks.
Kevin: Okay. So it’s over three weeks, so really a short period of time. Is there anything … being transparent, right? And I mean, you have been. Is there anything you miss, truly miss about a bigger, being in a bigger RV versus a smaller RV?
Michael: I’m being better than my wife is. She just this morning said, “I miss being comfortable.” The funny thing is one of the while we said like one of the reasons we were getting into the class B was to intentionally make ourselves uncomfortable again, because we were far too comfortable in the 5th wheel. We had our lost our adventurous spirit. We had comfy furniture and hot coffee and cool music and good internet and they’re just not so much reason to go outside.
So that was definitely a goal to getting into the B. But we’re still in the transitioning period. We’re still figuring out where everything fits, we’re still organizing stuff, like I’ve done a lot of work, it’s a lot better than it was three weeks ago. But it’s still a hassle to do dishes because there just isn’t any counter space really. And so yeah, it’s just … there’s still a few bugs that we’re working out. We get a little water leak we just found so we got to figure out what that’s all about. So there’s that.
There is the comfy seats. Like the front chair spin around like most Bs do. And they’re pretty comfortable, but they’re not as comfortable as they were. But I don’t … like I don’t miss any of the stuff that we got rid of. I don’t miss that yet. I know it’s still kind of fresh yet too, like we’re in one vehicle now where we used to have … where we used to go stuff the trailer and then run off of the truck to do grocery shopping, we’re all in the one thing now.
And so far that’s been okay, we’ve just provisioned up on the way to somewhere and then catch again as we leave. But I think at some point we’re going to … she’s going to want to go get groceries and I’m going to want to be working online, but I have to go with the house to go get grocery, so that’s probably going to be an issue at some point.
Kevin: Had come across all sounds and shape. So it’s interesting to listen, and I know you and I talked actually a little earlier, last week we talked a little bit. You touched on it just a little bit when you were talking there about you got real comfortable in the 5th wheel, right? So can you kind of talk about that a little bit and as far as your vision for what the class B is going to do for you guys in a little more in depth?
Michael: Yeah, we’re actually, we’re working on a blog post called the Three-Headed Sea Monster, so there’s comfort, convenience, and now I’m going to forget what the other. Comfort, convenience and, I don’t remember about the 3rd one is now. I have to go back to the blog post.
Kevin: You said it out perfect. So blog post coming from Ditching Suburbia – comfort, and next one and … the last one you got to go look at it.
Michael: Yeah, but that’s our Cs, so I just … I have this vision of a sea monster, because we nicknamed the van Sally. Sally is … it’s a female name, but it also … it’s a word that has meaning. It’s a military word, it’s you’re running an offensive attack against things that are attacking you. Or in our meaning is it’s a journey kind of down an unfamiliar path. You Sally out and go somewhere.
So we named the van Sally for that reason because it was our way to attack that three-headed sea monster – comfort, convenience, and the C which something will be named later. And so yeah, so the 5th wheel really got comfortable. It became our new normal I think is what happens. So we got really comfortable in our suburban house, everything was familiar; we were living in my home at the time where I was born and raised in. I didn’t need Google Maps to get anywhere.
Like I didn’t even know the street names for the most part, I just knew what they look like. I’ve been driving them for 30 years, it’s just that road that goes by the gas station and the bank and then hair salon.
But the 5th wheel largely gotten the same way. We just … we have lost the desire to get out and explore. I think we found ourselves returning to some campgrounds and places we’d already been too because we just said it was the easy thing to do. And we just realized that it was time to shake things up again and try to shake ourselves out of that normal rut that we had launched out of six years ago.
So with the kids being out it was kind of a good time to do that, because we’re kind of redefining who we are as a couple, we’re redefining everything already anyway, like my wife is no longer the home schooling coordinator, she’s kind of lost her job so to speak, and redefining how we interact with our now adult children so let’s just redefine how we live and how we sleep and how we make coffee and everything else.
Kevin: Why not just go all the way?
Kevin: And start over, right?
Michael: Pretty much, yes.
Kevin: I don’t know, I think sometimes there’s … I know we’re talking about RVing, right? But really the reason that you go RVing is to live life a different way, whether you’re full time or whether you go away on weekends, right? You want to get out of what is … you’ve kind of … oh, you guys have your website, like Ditching Suburbia, right?
Kevin: I mean, that aligns exactly. Tell us about that. Tell the listeners about Ditching Suburbia.
Michael: Well, yeah, and so it’s a good transition too because we’ll get included in like top RV sites. And we’ve talked about RVing, but I’m always hesitant to call us an RVing site, because the RV is just a medium, it’s just a way to do something, it’s just a mode. But people find the same … it’s a mode to certain goals, like the families that we talked with simpler living closer family, richer education, and uncommon adventures. Those are our four planks that we build all of our content around.
And those kind of interviews with the couple dozen families that they either bought an RV and hit road full time or they bought a sailboat and went sailing full time before they sold it out and just started jet setting around and running apartments in different countries. But as we talked with them they all have those four similar goals – closer family, simpler living, richer education, uncommon adventures.
And so that’s what Ditching Suburbia is about. It’s how do you find those things for your family. And RVs are just the easiest and most common way people do that. And so we end up talking about RVs a lot. And so we get a lot of RV traffic, but the main goal is not to be the best RV site out there. So we count sailing families are members of our tribe, we count those little traveling people as members of our tribe, tiny house families. Just like any way out of a traditional suburban life is kind of what we cover.
So Ditching Suburbia actually started as our own family travel blog. It used to be Boyinks for Adventure when there was the four of us. And then my son moved out and then Boyinks Three Adventure just didn’t have that …
Kevin: It’s hard to say it.
Michael: And Ditching Suburbia it was actually the title for a book that I’m still working on, capturing the whole deal. And just I like the title, I like the phrase. It’s two words only but it really encapsulates the whole ethos of what we’re all about. I think we all kind of agree on sububria and kind of the negative aspects of suburbia. So it was just a nice phrase.
And Google as well, the URLs are all available, and the logo came out great and the branding all kind of came out great. So we just rolled it over. We rolled over all of our travel blogs under Ditching Suburbia now. So there’s seven years, almost seven years of content there. Probably seven years, I started blogging as we were prepping, so that was … I think it was about this time of the year in 2010.
Kevin: Wow. That’s awesome. Yeah, so we’ll make sure we have some links to that below in the video show notes so people can get over there and check out your contents and learn more about that way of living for sure. But a few more questions for you. So what … you mentioned a couple of things along the way that I just want to kind of circle back around to. One was … and we hear this a lot, right? A lot of times people whether they buy a new RV or a used RV, sometimes they’re not perfect, right? They’re a hassle to use.
Kevin: So you had mentioned that, especially the class B you have now, you bought that used, right?
Kevin: What year is that and then what kind of changes have you had to make to that to fit? Maybe is it because you’re full-timing or would you have made those anyway regardless if you were going on short term adventures?
Michael: Yeah, so it’s a 1995. So we bought … we had to kind of go back to the prices where appropriate for our budget, because we want to buy it out right and not have a loan. That was one of our goals. We were still paying it off, the 34 foot 5th wheel, so we wanted to get out of that and not have a payment. So it’s a 1995. It’s based on a Dodge, full size van, and I just … I don’t know if it’s because of my age, I just have a heart for the old big three van class Bs, Chevy, Ford or Dodge. It just for some reason it just resonates with me better.
And what I love about it is it’s a 1995 but everything, all the controls from a driver’s point of view they all work like my first 1970 Dodge Dart, like the headlight switch, headlights pull in and push out like cars used to do, and the heater has a slider and buttons. You could put me in a blindfold and I could work everything within seconds. It’s a classic layout.
But it’s still new enough with airbags and fuel injection and [unclear 00:29:26], so it’s kind of … I know the 90s weren’t necessarily the most awesome years for American manufacturers, but it’s a good year as far as features and functionality go.
So the changes we’ve made, some of them I think we’d have to do either way. We’re still figuring out the sleeping situation. So it’s got the couch in the backseat that makes into a bed but it’s a double bed, and I’m 6’3″. And so it goes side to side. So the rig’s only six foot wide side to side, so in order to sleep on the double bed I had to sleep at a 45 degree angle across it. And then my wife has to kind of curl up along side of me, and she’s 5’8″, so she’s not like really tiny either.
So I didn’t make a bed extension, so the rig came with two tables, one that’s a little circular table and a rectangular table I don’t think anybody ever use, it looks perfect yet. But I managed to make that sit in the hallway and then put extra cushions on top of it. And then we can sleep a long way and not side to side in the rig. So we sleep better that way but it’s more set up and tear down every day too, so we did that for a while and now we’re back to trying to make the double bed work. And then we may go back to the bed extension again. We’ll see.
So that change I think we would have to do either way if we’re full-timing or not, because it’s just … it’s a height-size thing. Just plain and simple.
Michael: Some of the other changes like I built … we needed a place for all of our stuff to charge, so we’ve got two laptops, cell phones, tablet, and I just … I hate wires dangling everywhere.
Kevin: You didn’t have USB? No USB plug-in in 1995?
Michael: No, yeah, all the cigarette lighters are now USB plugged. I built a little shelving unit. There’s this odd little space that was like a higher countertop space. It’s for the night stand maybe. Anyway, I built a little shelf there so there’s shelves for our laptops and our tablets and I ran all the power to the back of it. So it’s a charging center for everything now. So that’s how I organize.
The bathroom, we need to do a bunch of organization in. That’s probably more due to the full-timing. We’ve just … we need more hooks for toiletry bags, we need little baskets just for more of the stuff that we carry, because we probably more than that than you would have. Whoop, the clacker guys coming up on me. So yeah, some of that organization is probably more due to full-timing.
But the nice thing about the Pleasure Way and why we actually … we looked at it and we look at some Coachmens that are about the same era. And the Pleasure Way just had more cabinets. I mean I counted 21 doors or drawers in the unit. So there’s 21 places just to put stuff.
Michael: That was a lot more than the Coachmen’s had. So it was easier for us to think about full-timing in this because there were just more places to organize the stuff.
Kevin: Wow, yeah, for sure. So the clacker, the guy, is he gone, or is he? I can’t hear me.
Michael: Right, oh, okay. Maybe we’re okay then. I think he’s getting closer.
Kevin: That’s fine. We’ll deal with it if it happens, right?
Kevin: So those are the changes you have to make anyway. If someone’s looking to buy a new one, a used one, what are some thoughts you have? I mean, obviously trying to get … trying to pay for it. Right now I have a payment, that’s super important. Yeah, the class Bs, we all know they’re not cheap. I mean, that’s … they’re pretty, they can be pretty pricey, especially brand new ones, I mean, you’re look upwards of a hundred, a hundred and twenty, or even higher, right?
Kevin: So if someone’s going to go that route looking for that class B, used or new, when it comes to the shopping experience, right, the buying, any input or advice you have for someone looking to do that?
Michael: Yeah, so I actually did a whole blog post on shopping for a class B under 10 grand. So that’s on our website. That might make a good link actually for the show notes, because they are out there. You just … you have to look nationwide and you have to be willing to fly. We took a train, we took an airline flight out of Austin, we drove to them, so it was like plain streams and automobiles to get to the class B.
So the used shopping experience is … it almost became a part time job. No, it did become a part time job. It was daily looking for the ads to come out, seeing if they were closed, because they show up but they go quickly. The ones, the 10 grand and under are pretty popular. So you have to be ready to jump on one when you see one that you think you like.
I almost … I really can’t even speak to the new shopping experience, because those were so far out of our price range and we just couldn’t even look at them. But imagine like anything there’s variations in floor plans, you’ve got to figure out which one works for you, and just I’d be looking at reliability of the current platforms. Looks like everyone’s kind of moving either the Sprinter, the Pro Master, or the Ford Transit I think is the base for them.
And I know like the Pro Master is a front wheel drive rig, so you’ve got to figure out if a front wheel drive unit is going to work for you or not. This still seems weird to me. I know the old GMC classic motor homes were front wheel drive too, but it still seems weird that something that big is front wheel drive.
Kevin: Interesting. Cool, man, so just kind of starting to wrap this show up for this time anyway. I want to give you the last word. So alright, if you got someone thinking about buying a class B what’s your kind of final advice to them?
Michael: Be willing to radically focus your life and just be very intentional about how you want to live and what you’re going to do, because you don’t have room for options.
Kevin: That’s a good advice. I really liked how you and your wife have a vision for where you want to go. It doesn’t matter what the vision is, right? Everybody’s vision is different.
Kevin: Yeah, but you guys have this vision and you want to change, you’re looking forward to the next phase of your life and it’s awesome, man. So Michael, thank you so much. I very much appreciate you being on the show today. To our listeners out there, be sure to check out the resources in the show notes. And if you have a question you’d like to have answered about the RV shopping process or just take small motor homes, it’s great buying an RV, please be sure to put your question in the comments below and we’ll do our best to get those answered. And everybody, I think that wraps it up for this show. So until next time, enjoy the RVing life.
Michael: Alright, see you.