When we started this process, and decided to live a nomadic lifestyle for a few years, one of the first hurdles we had to jump was, what will we live in? There were many, many discussions about this. My original thoughts were to buy an old school bus and renovate it, I love skoolies! But my husband definitely liked the idea of being able to disengage from our home and leave it in one position while we take our vehicle and adventure elsewhere, and it’s a very valid point! We could have towed a car behind a school bus, but we were also concerned with when mechanical needs arose (and they will) we would actually be without our home. If the engine needed worked on, it could be pretty invasive, and this applies to class A’s and Class C’s for us too. So ultimately we decided on the fifth wheel as being the best option for us, there’s a bit more stability in towing a fifth wheel than a travel trailer, and there’s more cargo storage.
Once we decided on a fifth wheel we felt completely overwhelmed by all the options out there. We knew we wanted a used one, we knew we would do renovations and modifications to accommodate Phil’s workspace, to make things feel more like a home, and to bring the girls’ piano, but we struggled with floor-plans. We thought a bunkhouse would be the best fit, but we really could not find any with a configuration that suited us. I had been following Cortni, aka The Flipping Nomad, for quite some time and decided to reach out to her to get some consultation sessions going. That was one of the best decisions we made! Being able to share with Cortni what our family dynamics were, what our needs were, what our plans were, and what our budget was, she was really able to help direct us and guide us towards the exact fifth wheel configuration that we would need. Which ultimately we decided a toy hauler renovation would be the best bet. Because we could turn the master bedroom into the girls’ bunk room and put their piano in there, and then we could turn the toy hauler garage into our bedroom with Phil‘s workspace, and also have the added benefit of a drop down patio. Cortni also helped us know which manufacturers were the best, which slid out mechanisms we could work with and which ones we couldn’t. I cannot express how valuable those coaching sessions were to us! We were previous travel trailer owners and had even renovated one before, BUT we’d never looked at going full time in a rig, and Cortni’s experience and expertise saved us from some huge pitfalls.
After those coaching calls we literally had the fifth wheel floorplan nailed down to two rigs we were interested in. However, the Dutchman Voltage Epic 3970, from the Keystone family, ultimately won, because of some of the added features such as auto leveling, a central vacuum system, residential size fridge, food pantry, etc. Then we had to find one within the manufacturing years we wanted, within driving distance to look at, and most importantly, one that fit our budget! Our residence was in Meridian, Idaho, and every single day I searched all the ads, everywhere, trying to find us a rig. We drove a few hours to look at a few, and they just weren’t in good enough condition for us to pull the trigger on. This part of the process took months! And one day, a 2018 Dutchman Voltage Epic 3970 showed up at a local dealer in Meridian Idaho. So we loaded up the family and went to look at it. It only had one owner, an older couple without kids, and they had only taken the thing out a couple of times, and they had consigned it. It was like brand stinkin’ new. We were thrilled! We went home and prayed about it, and we asked God for a miracle on the pricing. We needed to offer the dealer way less than asking price, and in 2020, when there was hardly any inventory on used RVs, offering them thousands of dollars less possibly meant we weren’t going to get it. But we were okay with that, we fully committed to the price we were willing to pay, and we left it in God’s hands, if it was meant to be, it would be, if it was not, we then we would walk away and look for the next one. And to our utter and pure delight, they accepted our offer. So in August of 2020 we became the grateful owners of our new home on wheels, and we have lovingly named our big girl, Rhoda.