Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Finding A New Rig - Complete Frustration


As retirement nears, I continue to search for our next part-time rig. We won't be fulltimers at least not in the short term. Home is home here in Mexico and we all need a piece of land. I'm thinking that we will use the place in Allende as an rv parking spot between trips, home so to say. Construction sounds fun and all that but I think it is just too soon to even give it thought. We have kicked around home building plans and it would be a small 850 sq foot home, probably made from brick, sheet rock interior and heavy insulation, and a nice clay tile roof. Not big on space but big on amenities.

Remember we are boondockers. Getting into small places is our game and we have some pretty good luck with an SUV and our small 18ft Shadow Cruiser. But the over all length can be the size of a small motorhome.

We have owned two Trailmanors and low-profile trailering will soon be all the rage. We loved the TM so much we grew into the 3326 which is 33ft long opened with a dinette and a king size bed to boot. But again, way too big for what we do. I'm not sure a TM would hold up under our conditions for travel. The two we had did pretty well but were never used in Mexico.

So here is a sampling of what I have in mind. Quite a few photos but any feedback via comments or email would be appreciated. Please keep in mind we are small people and used to a small space. We have no intention in the near future of pulling a 40 ft fifth wheel although I would really dig it (can I still say that!).

Chalet XL Model with dormer. These models set up in less than three minutes. Chalet seems to have a better quality record than their counterpart Aliner. The standard Chalet A Frame sets up in 3o seconds and I have done it. Low profile, light, and within the constraints of our current length requirements.

Next is the Trailmanor 2619. This model is 19 ft long closed, well within our current measurements. When open it sports two beds, a dinette, a full kitchen, and a hard-sided bath. Yes, we know all about the recycling toilet and it worked well for us. We found the TM to be really roomy. One reason I like this unit is that beds are on the opposite ends and I am an early riser. So I can get up and don't bother you know who at the other end of the trailer. I have already contacted TM as they used to make the unit with a cabinet air. If they would do it as a custom job, one I could do myself too, it would add bonus points as I hate the droning and sound of a roof air.

Shadow Cruiser makes a 21ft unit, just three feet longer than our current model with a walkaround bed. This is a real plus. It could be custom into a twin bed model. It also comes with a sofa slide and we would order it with many options but without the awning and the roof air conditioner. Our practical on hands experience tells us a small window unit runs quieter and more efficiently.

Last but not least is the first rv we ever used. We rented this model in California many moons ago and it was a real hit. I liked the motorhome idea and the compactness of it even better. It has twin beds, a functional bathroom that worked for us for over a week. We also took it to the beach, the snow in the mountains as well as the desert. It worked well in all temps and had a built in generator. The plus about this is the overall lenght is just 22 ft. It is a Volkswagon V6 and although VW dealers in the U.S. were not willing to work on it under warranty here in Mexico any dealer or mechanic would be happy to do so. What is the downside? We would need a small toad or we would have to get use to picking up and taking the Rialta with us whenever we choose to go somewhere. And when we boondock we do that a lot. We lock up the Shadow Cruiser and take off for other destinations. It has always been a favorite though.


  1. First Choice:
    VW Motorhome with lightweight toad. Reason: if you want to go somewhere really tight, you can unhook the toad and continue on driving both. Or take the VW MH to where you wish and rent a car locally.

    Shadow Cruiser. Reason: Can travel to almost everything First choice can and you can unhook once you settle into a location.

    No third as I to not care for the pop up type of trailer. Fine as a camper on the back of a pickup.

  2. How about build your own!http://vandwelleruk.co.uk/links.aspx

  3. Had a chance to see a little bigger version of the VW Winnebago in Tucson today. IT WAS COOL! Lv'd it.

  4. I lived on a houseboat, and I had a pop up and I also had a Hornet 28 ft w/2 slide outs. But I gotta say I like the chalet. It is light, serves your needs and you can go somewhere and get settled in and still have vehicle to travel in. I do like the Van type camper, it seems easier when you go somewhere, you can park it on a street and rest for the night if you have to. Good Luck Looking and that is the fun part of it!

  5. We've been pretty happy with a large truck camper. A slideout and a bed you can sit up in make them seem quite spacious. They're relatively easy to maneuver as long as you keep in mind that they tend to be about 12' tall.

    You can drop the camper if you're going to be in an area for a while, but we just haul a 50cc moped on the front bumper for getting around. You can also get the truck in a diesel/4x4 model which is hard to find in most RV's.

    Good luck.