Bill and Kit’s 2015 Excellent Adventure and The Legend of the Expanding RV
(Or, how I sank back into debt after many years of carefree living)
I want a recliner, or you’ll be traveling to the moon!
When we last left our befuddled duo, it was a dark and stormy night outside their small cape on the rugged but beautiful coast of Maine.
Old weather-beaten Bill and the vivacious Kit had fallen prey to a wily peddler and were on the hook for a brand new single wide and a half. This lapse in judgment forced an acquisition of a brand new towing steed chronicled in the chapter one:
A time warp to the present finds our clueless couple cohabitating in their cute little rolling plastic box as they prepare for a disorienting detour on the rocky road of life while the gentle Pacific Ocean breeze rustles the rusting remains of their retired souls and visions of camper nirvana dance about their aging brain cells to the tune of the Neil Young song, “Old Man”.
But alas, the new Silverado stallion requires tack fit for the finery it’s about to be flitting about. So off to the farrier to craft the aforementioned finely fit firmament our clueless couple trots where they select the finest tack known to man, woman, or beast which is kinda redundant doesn’t one think? Don’t answer……it’s a rhetorical (trick) question.
Enough of that foolishness…..for now.
The new tow vehicle does indeed require a special hitch in order to haul the new camper we are due to fetch very shortly. I decided to go with a model from the PullRite Corporation.
Yep…..it’s as big as it looks! It’s an auto-sliding hitch which should handle the new rig just fine. Since our truck has a standard (6 ½ foot) bed this style hitch is desirable as it automatically slides the attachment point aft in order to keep the nose-cap of the camper and the cab of the truck from making contact during extreme turning maneuvers.
Soon the big day arrived. While traveling to the dealer with our old camper in tow, we noticed a fellow RV’r on the road directly in front of us.
Even though his rig is considerably smaller than ours it does feature a washer and dryer strategically located on the roof.
As we pulled into Norm’s RV in Poway, California it marked the final time we would be towing our trusty old friend…..a bittersweet moment for sure.
However, excitement was swelling as we viewed the brand new replacement rig for the very first time.
For those that care about such things here are the details, interior photos and specifications taken from the Northwood Manufacturing website:
Arctic Fox 27-5L
Northwood Built Off-Road Chassis
Aluminum Frame Construction
Four Seasons Insulation
Heated Holding Tanks
10 Gal Gas/Elect Water Heater
Free-Standing Dining Table
10 Cubic Foot Refrigerator
15,000 BTU Air Conditioner
Two Swivel Rocker-Recliner’s
MorRyde Pin Box
Thermal Pane Tinted Windows
4 Point Power Leveling System
Dry Weight: 7,782 pounds
Net Carrying Capacity: 3,750 pounds
Length: 29 feet, 5 inches
Height: 12 feet, 6 inches
Width: 8 feet, 6 inches
Fresh Water Capacity: 82 gallons
Gray Water Capacity: Tank #1-67 gallons
Gray Water Capacity: Tank #2-35 gallons
Black Water Tank Capacity: 65 gallons
LPG Capacity: 80 gallons
So, why did we pick this particular brand and model? Well, after more than 40 years of RV ownership Kit and I had a pretty good idea of what we liked. Of course, our needs had morphed over the years…..we picked up our first camper, ironically here in San Diego, back in the year 1975.
It was a 1967 Excel travel trailer and at fifteen feet a major upgrade from out tenting days.
However touring about the country with three kids and no refrigerator or bathroom onboard is vastly different than what two retirees traveling today desire. This is our fifth camper in forty years of RV’ing and likely our last. At some point I intend to chronical our earlier touring adventures and the camping trailers that made it all possible. Yep, even back then, Kit kept meticulous records of those many trips and Kimber, Joe and Suzie have vivid memories as well. Recreating the adventures with accompanying historic photos is very doable!
We stayed with the Arctic Fox brand because our previous one had delivered such great service and the company makes a fantastic product…..they’re not fancy but they are very well built! Kit and I decided to go the fifth wheel route due to the legendary ease of towing and the desire for more room with little additional overall size. Our previous truck and 22 foot trailer had a combined length of 44 feet, 6 inches while the new truck and trailer’s length is 45 feet, 2 inches. This eight inches of additional bumper-to-bumper length enlarged the living area by 53 square feet! The increase in volume was primarily due to the fifth wheel configuration and the two slide-outs.
So with the relatively compact size, the ease of hitching and towing, and the extra storage inherent in the design, our choice is near perfect for us and our style of travel.
Of course, with most decisions there are a few compromises. The major one going from a traditional travel trailer to one pulled from a fifth wheel hitch is the inability to affix a shell over the truck bed. This corresponds to the loss of roof racks to carry a kayak…..an issue that I’m attempting to resolve. Also the hitch system reduces what can be carried in the truck bed. Life is certainly about choice, and choices have consequences.
After a walkthrough and the servicing of a few minor discrepancies, the dealer demonstrated the hitching and unhitching procedure followed by a road test. Upon returning to the sales lot I pulled some extreme steering maneuvers to verify turning clearances were adequate.
You can see in the photo above that without the sliding hitch moving the attachment point back fourteen inches, there would have been major damage to the truck and/or trailer!
Comfortable that everything checked out, the dealership then positioned old and new trailer side by side in order to facilitate transferring all our junk.
What a lot of room we have in the new unit…..however we will surely find a way to fill it up!
After a long and tiring day, Kit and I were ready to move the new camper back to our spot at Santee Lakes.
This final photo about sums it all up.
Happy Anniversary sweetheart!
And now a word from Kit: A milestone moment, for sure, when we took possession of this Fifth Wheel! This is most certainly, our last trailer purchase. After 2.5 years of “research” (many of you folks know how Bill just LOVES to research things), we finally settled on this unit. Certainly, it’s not the most luxurious or largest; however, it suits us to a “T”! The one thing I missed in our last trailer was a comfortable chair to sit in and now I have one! Actually, we both have recliners, which is nice since we can sit side by side and actually watch the news on TV! Indeed, we are coming perilously close to the mainstream RV’rs! Have no fear though; we will still be staying in National and State parks along with the occasional truck stop. The new unit is so much more comfortable, with a much larger living area. We are still in the process of arranging things to suit our needs. With all this extra space, we need to be methodical about filling it up; correctly!
Thanks Bill for all your GREAT research (even though it drove me NUTS)! Love, Kit
PS Now, you can find some new toy to start researching!