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Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living
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What up, fam?

Okay, so we are looking at moving into either a motorhome or RV in the next year. My wife has remote work and the kids are young and we want to spend as much time with them as possible. I would quit my job and look for adjunct teaching online and part time so that I could homeschool the girls and take care of the day to day while the wife, bread winner, continues to do her job. The girls will be 8 & 6 and we also have a dog. So something that will sleep all of us in separate "rooms" would be great. A bunk bed situation for the girls would be ideal, thought they can share a bed and be happy. We also want something that is going to be able to store our bikes and internally. We have simply invested too much into our bikes to store them on the outside why the elements and thieves can get to them.

I have been looing extensively at what is available out there from toy haulers, to 5th wheels, to motorhomes. With the trailers we will likely need to buy a dually truck to tow the rig as our KIA Sorento doesn't have the towing capacity to do the job. Not a major issue for us as we don't mind buying a new vehicle. We also have a nice amount of equity in our current home which will next us six figures when we sell. So our budget for a trailer is pretty reasonable and we will continue to have a six figure plus income coming in annually.

Here are a couple of travel trailers I was looking at. But they don't seem to have space for the bikes.

https://coachmenrv.com/...aparral/373MBRB/3876

https://coachmenrv.com/...rral-lite/274BH/5091\

Here is a toy hauler that has an electric bed that comes down that the kids could use. but that's not really a great living space for privacy.

https://forestriverinc.com/...oy-haulers/wolf-pack

For a dually truck we would probably just buy something used and are not brand loyal.

The motorhomes seem to have the least amount of storage space bet they would allow us to keep the current car and put it in tow. But they you have insurance on the car, the motorhome, and the car trailer. It seems to be the far more expensive option.

We are flexible people and we don't need perfection to be happy.

If you have any experience with this, and I know a lot of you at least have RV's as I see them at races all the time, I would love to hear your thoughts.

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2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, in St. George, Utah, USA on 17 - 18 September 2021 |--| IRONMAN LAKE PLACID 2021 |--| EAGLEMAN 70.3 2021
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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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If I'm reading your post correctly your "must have" requirements are separate living quarters for you and the kids, inside storage for bikes and be a "full time" rig.


Without making some compromises that's going to be a hard rig to find. In my searching over the years I haven't found one to be honest. Toy haulers make for great weekend or vacation rigs but as you've discovered not really great for full timing as they don't have a true second bedroom.

Awhile back I came across a family that had similar requirements (Youtube video, I think). They solved the puzzle by getting a diesel pusher motorhome (with bunkbeds for the kids) and then flat towing a 4 door Jeep Wrangler. The had two bikes on a rack on the Jeep and then 2 more expensive looking bikes inside the Jeep with front wheels off. If Ic an find that video again, I'll link to it later.
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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [logella] [ In reply to ]
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now that is a real possibility. Stash the nice bikes inside and use our current bike rack for the cheaper bikes that the kids have. The rack does hack a locking tether already built in.

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2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, in St. George, Utah, USA on 17 - 18 September 2021 |--| IRONMAN LAKE PLACID 2021 |--| EAGLEMAN 70.3 2021
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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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I guess you'll be staying at RV parks and moving with the seasons?

What is it about an RV that appeals to you vs a house?

I think your best bet is a good quality used toy hauler, and do a little customization of the "toy" area to suit your needs. This one you linked for instance looks good to me. You can make the toy area a bedroom for the girls plus a garage for the bikes with plenty of room.
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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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We have a Thor Outlaw 37LS that we are very happy with. We lived in it full time for about a year and a half (starting when our boy was 2.5 yo), plus use it for traveling around the country. There are other models that could be better for you, depending on how many kids you have and what you are looking to do (e.g. another mid-bedroom).

My situation - I have a wife, just-turned 5yo boy, and dog that we travel with. I work remotely, and we have DirecTV in it (it's not camping without satellite TV!) to keep everyone sane. It is good for boondocking also, as it has a built-in 5KW generator, 100 gallon water tank, etc. We have gone up to a week without hookups, mostly because the gray water gets filled up.

The Outlaw has a garage that we put motorcycles and bikes into (including my road bike on a trainer), a drop-down bunk above the driver's seat, a loft area for me and my wife, and plenty of storage underneath. We tow our FJ cruiser behind us. Our model has a propane fridge, but some have residential refrigerators. We like pulling the FJ instead of having a pick-up and pulling a 5th wheel because we aren't too interested in driving a pick-up truck around when we reach our destination. 5th wheels tend to have a little more room, but you can't access anything while driving either (like the fridge or bathroom).

I am a huge fan of the toy hauler. We only use our garage for bikes, motorcycles, and laundry. I has benches that can be converted into a bed, but we like to keep our bikes inside to avoid any theft. Also, as mentioned before I keep my road bike on a trainer in there so I can train (yes, I've even done it while the wife was driving...). My son was sleeping on his 'RV bed' (portable toddler bed) for a long time but graduated to the drop-down bunk on our last trip.

In any case, feel free to reach out to chat or if you have any questions!

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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [MonkeyClaw] [ In reply to ]
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MonkeyClaw wrote:
We have a Thor Outlaw 37LS that we are very happy with. We lived in it full time for about a year and a half (starting when our boy was 2.5 yo), plus use it for traveling around the country. There are other models that could be better for you, depending on how many kids you have and what you are looking to do (e.g. another mid-bedroom).


My situation - I have a wife, just-turned 5yo boy, and dog that we travel with. I work remotely, and we have DirecTV in it (it's not camping without satellite TV!) to keep everyone sane. It is good for boondocking also, as it has a built-in 5KW generator, 100 gallon water tank, etc. We have gone up to a week without hookups, mostly because the gray water gets filled up.

The Outlaw has a garage that we put motorcycles and bikes into (including my road bike on a trainer), a drop-down bunk above the driver's seat, a loft area for me and my wife, and plenty of storage underneath. We tow our FJ cruiser behind us. Our model has a propane fridge, but some have residential refrigerators. We like pulling the FJ instead of having a pick-up and pulling a 5th wheel because we aren't too interested in driving a pick-up truck around when we reach our destination. 5th wheels tend to have a little more room, but you can't access anything while driving either (like the fridge or bathroom).

I am a huge fan of the toy hauler. We only use our garage for bikes, motorcycles, and laundry. I has benches that can be converted into a bed, but we like to keep our bikes inside to avoid any theft. Also, as mentioned before I keep my road bike on a trainer in there so I can train (yes, I've even done it while the wife was driving...). My son was sleeping on his 'RV bed' (portable toddler bed) for a long time but graduated to the drop-down bunk on our last trip.

In any case, feel free to reach out to chat or if you have any questions!



Wow, that's some legit experience right there.

To answer the prior posters question about why this is appealing -- its multifaceted:
  • I want to spend more time with my girls and we cannot afford our current lifestyle and have me not working.
  • There is a lot of the country that we want to see.
  • We live in the city and the taxes are hosing us. We can save a lot by "living" at my in-laws house for taxation purposes.
  • We have made some pretty solid equity in our home and are thinking the next year will be a great time to cash in. Especially if we get a vaccine that is working widely
  • My wife has a job where she works remote and makes some good coin. Its enough to get us through while saving with solid benefits. I have an advanced degree in business (not an MBA, a quantitative MS. Think finance and stats with a sprinkling of accounting.) and can teach adjunct with it. I would just need to land some work and do it in my spare time and that would really round out our income.
  • I am burned out from working in the banking industry for the last decade and from doing school for 7 year.
  • I just want to enjoy my kids while I have them. I do not think that is something anyone ever regrets.

Okay, back to your comments. I like the idea of keeping our current vehicle and towing it around. Its mostly paid for and it does the job well. How warm does the garage stay? If the girls are going to be staying in there and making it their room I want it to be cozy.

I also saw this 5th wheel that incorporates a loft. Under the loft is an office space that my wife can setup in. I had not seen this design before.

https://forestriverinc.com/...k-edition/35LFT/4919

My other concern is gas mileage. Everything I am seeing is that a truck and 5th gets double or triple that mileage that an RV is going to get.

I know that I will need a big dually to do the jobs and my HOA in the city doesn't currently allow them. 4 wheels and 3/4 ton pickups or less are what are allowed to be parked in our HOA parking area. I am going to ask for an amendment to that.

This is pretty complicated. Houses are so figured out. Being nomadic is harder.

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2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, in St. George, Utah, USA on 17 - 18 September 2021 |--| IRONMAN LAKE PLACID 2021 |--| EAGLEMAN 70.3 2021
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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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Not all cars can be towed behind an RV. Even my FJ needed some modifications to allows it. FWD vehicles can be towed on a dolly, but then you need to do something with the dolly when at your destination. RWD vehicles usually require some sort of drive shaft disconnect, which is what I had to install. It wasn't difficult and I've towed the FJ across the country E-W and N-S several times.

Gas mileage - I get around 8 MPG when towing. I doubt you'll find a pick-up towing a 5th wheel that does any better than 12, and that would be a small 5th wheel. It's basic aerodynamics - no matter how pretty, your frontal area is basically a big block moving through the air and this is what destroys the gas mileage. Then when pulling up hills, same thing except now it's weight. If someone says they are getting 15+ MPG towing a 16K pound 5th wheel, I call BS. It takes a certain amount of power to pull a certain frontal area through the air or weight up a hill, just like on a bike. While some vehicles are more efficient than others, when it comes to towing there isn't that much of a difference.

That 5th looks great! They can have a lot of room and be very comfortable! Verify that you'll need a dually - often times you can get away with a regular pickup. I'm not well versed enough to say either way, although I've seen some big 5th wheels towed by non-dually pickups. There are some 'dually snobs' out there that think every truck needs to be a dually, but remember you'll be driving this around exploring, shopping, etc.

Another thing to consider when talking about going full time is how you want to live. Do you plan on staying in campgrounds most of the time or do you want to wild camp (boondock)? We do a mix of both. I prefer to boondock because it's free and it is usually less crowded. Campgrounds can be packed, and they also cost $$. A lot of campgrounds give weekly and monthly discounts, and there are clubs you can join for discounted or even free camping (Elks Lodge). State and national parks are also great and a lot cheaper. Just factor these costs in when you are figuring out living expenses.

When traveling, we tend to overnight in parking lots. We used to stay in campgrounds, but with the cost and hassle, we eventually gave in and decided parking lots were better for how we travel. We also joined Harvests Hosts, which allows free overnights at participating farms, orchards, golf courses, etc. We've really enjoyed these when we stay.

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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [MonkeyClaw] [ In reply to ]
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Again, great information throughout your commentary.

I would love to be able to get away with a SRW F250 or the like. My HOA would have no beef with it and if it can get the job done, that would be awesome.

We are not against staying in parking lots or joining clubs. We just want to travel the country, visit friends and family, and see some awesome shit!

If I can get away with buying the truck now and paying it down over the next year...that would be amazing. I do think a trailer is going to give us the space that we need to do what we want.

https://news.pickuptrucks.com/...%20Duty%20can%20tow.

A truck like this sounds like it would do the job if we dropped in the power stroke. I am just wondering if that lowers the payload capacity too much to accommodate. The hauling towing would be find...but that payload capacity matters too.

____________________________________________________________________________________________
2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, in St. George, Utah, USA on 17 - 18 September 2021 |--| IRONMAN LAKE PLACID 2021 |--| EAGLEMAN 70.3 2021
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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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LifeTri wrote:
To answer the prior posters question about why this is appealing -- its multifaceted:
  • There is a lot of the country that we want to see.

This is the only thing in the list that seems to lead to an RV. The rest is easily found by just moving somewhere else, or even renting summer and winter homes. And then you could take trips/vacations to see things.

Living in a big RV and camping in RV parks isn't that cheap. Search indicates $500-900/mo space rent is typical if you park long term. And unlike a home, an RV is a rapidly depreciating asset. There are plenty of nice places in the US where the COL is not expensive. I live in one. Paid $160k for a 1700 sq ft house in 2012. Even if I sold it for what I paid, the cost of owning it would work out to <$700/mo.

Just wondering if your family has tried living in a confined space like this long term? If not, you could be in for a surprise...

About the mpgs of a truck+5th wheel vs an RV; really 2-3x different? Where did you see that? I think you might be violating the laws of physics; comparable size/weight rigs should be pretty close.
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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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We are ex triathletes. Both 3 x KQ.

When we lived in Canada we spent 4 months a year in the US over winter, heading to train in the sun in San Diego with a truck and trailer. We did that for 5 years. We loved it so much we sold everything and decided to drive around the world in our truck camper.

We have been on the road three years. Canada - US - Mexico - Belize - Guatemala - El Salvador - Honduras - Costa Rica - Nicaragua - Panama - Colombia. We have been in Colombia for almost a year during COVID.

We both work on the road as digital nomads. Mainly using cell data ... we use around 50 - 70Gb a month. Thankfully a lot cheaper down here :)

Check out thisbigroadtrip.com for our website or for images - instagram.com/thisbigroadtrip

We have a RAM 3500 single rear wheel (we do a lot of off road and a dually is not a great idea) and an XPCamper expedition camper.

If you have any questions about living and training in a trailer, working on the road ..... or going further afield. Feel free to shout.

https://www.pbandjcoaching.com
https://www.thisbigroadtrip.com
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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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I'm enjoying this post as this is my retirement plan 8 years down the road. I currently have a 26 foot Travel Trailer that I use for long weekends and I try to do one destination IM race per year. Last year was Beautiful Mont Tremblant and the drive and destination were great. My Dream is a 5th wheel when I retire. But as others have added its nice to have a RV when your on the road so the rest of the family can use the bathroom and make a meal when driving but how much of the time are you planning on driving is the question that leads me back to the 5th wheel.

As for Bike storage I would recommend keeping the cheaper bikes outside ( I use a Jack-It on the front of the trailer) and configure a space inside for the more expensive rides. Maybe taking a wheel and seat post off depending on how often you use that Bike.

Happy RV/Trailer shopping!
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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [JayPeeWhy] [ In reply to ]
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Wow, you are really do it. I love the webpage.

Going further afield is something that will probably have to wait. Leaving the country with our laptops would violate corporate policy.

A single rear wheel situation is ideal so that we can get the truck ahead of time and go from there. Also, knowing the roads in Central America -- WOOF. A double wide would scare the crap out of me. But so would a travel trailer on the roads through the cloud forests of Costa Rica.

The data usage information you have been able to provide is very useful. I am sure that we are going to be in that neighborhood. Can you tell me at what point your cellular data is throttled back? Ours starts at 15Gb and goes to 600kbps. Which is basically unworkable. I am not too concerned with in when traveling in the USA as there are likely to be WIFI options in the areas we would spend most of our time.

The working on the road side of the thing only concerns me. We have the wife and her situation figured out. As I stated above, I do have an advanced degree which would allow me to do adjunct work, but it doesn't pay very well. That being said, I am a bit of a hustler and jack of all trades. I've always been able to make things work, quick learner, etc. It just has to be something that I can do when I have time to do it. For the first time in my life I feel like I am having a hard time being creative with this one.

EDIT: Is your truck 4x4 or 4x2?

____________________________________________________________________________________________
2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, in St. George, Utah, USA on 17 - 18 September 2021 |--| IRONMAN LAKE PLACID 2021 |--| EAGLEMAN 70.3 2021
Last edited by: LifeTri: Sep 22, 20 6:50
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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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We did this for a year when our kids were 8 and 5. As parents, we don't regret the experience one bit and it had a major impact on our adult lives, but we are also constantly bummed 6 years later to learn how little our kids remember! I've been listening in on their introductions in online classes the past 2 weeks where they inevitably have to share a favorite vacation and they just talk about a short trip we took to Europe last year - never the ENTIRE YEAR they got to visit 30 National Parks. I'd still do it again, but in hindsight, it was so much more about us than them.

We towed a 27-ft Airstream and really enjoyed the small space. The kids had twin beds in the back, we had a queen bed up front, there was a sliding door in the middle of the trailer to divide the "rooms" and it worked wonderfully. It was actually a bit sad to adjust to living in a house again where we could go our separate ways.

I took a mountain bike and left my road and tri bikes at home. The family bikes rode in the truck bed with camper shell. We had fork mounts in the bed of the truck to keep the bikes upright, but driving over rough roads, constantly unloading and loading, there was a surprising amount of wear & tear. I'm really glad I didn't take anything nice.

http://www.extramilenutrition.com
Last edited by: greenjp: Sep 22, 20 14:27
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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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Why not set up a sprinter van with bike storage and a bedroom like Langstrom for you and the wife and tow a small travel trailer or toy hauler where you can keep more stuff and your girls can sleep. Then all have a private place to sleep and you will have the van to move about at your destinations.
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Re: Travel Rig for Triathlon and Living [LifeTri] [ In reply to ]
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I've been researching "mobile living" (for lack of a better term) for close to a year now. In my opinion, your best option is to go 5th wheel + truck. I think a toy hauler is a good idea and build bunk beds into above a "bike garage" for your kids.

For a truck, I would look at either Ford or Ram. I've test driven the F-250 and the Ram 2500. The Ram 2500 rides much nicer in my opinion. The question for you then becomes gas vs diesel. Big upcharge for diesel on either of those vehicles and you'd have to pencil out whether or not that makes sense for how much you plan on driving. Just keep in mind that it's both easier and cheaper to maintain/repair a gas engine.

Again, with all of the foregoing said, I doubt a 3/4 ton truck will be sufficient for what you want to tow.

The trucks hold their value well but the 5th wheels do not. Records were set this spring/summer in the RV industry and I suspect there will be a glut of used inventory hit the market in January/February. The world will be your Oyster.

One other poster suggested potentially just moving to a less expensive location. Along those lines, consider a city like Jacksonville Florida:
  • You can buy a new, single family home in a community like Nocatee for $350,000 (check out the amenities: bike paths, bike lanes, a budding mountain bike trail system, a six lane half olympic pool, an olympic pool next year, etc. etc.), taxes, insurance, and assessments are very low.
  • 15 minutes away from the beach
  • Great schools in St. Johns County
  • You're 20 minutes away from world-class medical (Mayo Clinic)
  • You can drive 2:30 and be in either Orlando or Savanah
  • You can drive 3:30 and be in either Tampa or Charleston
  • You can drive 5:00 and be in either Atlanta or Miami
  • International airport with cheap flights and parking ($10/day indoors next to the terminal last time I flew out of here).

Whether or not something like that would work for what you want to do with your family you would have to figure out on your own. As others have mentioned, the cost of towing and camp ground fees add up. Maybe moving to a city with a lower cost of living would allow you to travel and see the country "conventionally".


Last edited by: GreenPlease: Sep 22, 20 14:18
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