Has your range vent flap broken on your travel trailer? This walkthrough will show you how to come up with a better fix than just buying another flapper.
I’m going to be focusing my YouTube channel on our full-time RV journey. If you’re interested in this, and looking forward to seeing this content, please leave a comment below sharing what topics you’d like to see covered in a channel like this.
I’m looking forward to sharing a taste of the full-time RV life with you!
I hope you’ll enjoy this video tour of our 2015 Escape 19 as much as I enjoyed putting it together. It’s been a long while since I’ve made videos for YouTube regularly, and I’m really looking forward to getting back into that habit again.
We set out to go on our first ‘real’ camping trip since we bought our Escape 19 trailer. With a full 20 gallon fresh water tank, full 6 gallon water heater, empty gray and black tanks, and a 150-watt solar panel with 232 amp-hours of dual 6V battery storage, we were ready to take an actual vacation!
Chaco Canyon Dirt Road Towing Trailer
There was a dirt road that led out to the park that many online reviewers would have you think is nearly impossible to get over. About 80% of it was as tightly packed as asphalt, and only for the last 3 miles did we have to go 10mph. Just go out when the weather is good, and you’ll be fine.
Our trailer looked so insignificant, sitting in front of the butte next to the welcome center – but even more insignificant in our absolutely gorgeous camping site.
There was a fresh water hose at the welcome center to fill up our fresh tank, as well as a sewer dump station (and non-potable hose) at the campground to empty the gray/black tanks.
We didn’t need any extra water, staying out there for 4 days and 3 nights. Upon seeing how much water we had left when we got home, we probably could have gone 2 more nights and days without needing a water refill.
The views were absolutely stunning in the canyon.
The view out our back window was also quite nice.
So was the view out our front window.
A four-mile round-trip hike took us to one of the non-excavated houses. The craftsmanship was incredible, not even taking into account that it is 900 years old.
The Bichon fluff-ball got a bit tired on the long hike, but he was still loving it.
What was so incredible was just how quiet it was out there. Definitely a fantastic place to relax and regroup.
We got up to about 90 watts at max sun power during the day, which was enough to keep us charged to run the propane furnace overnight, as well as the electric blankets for 30 minutes (off of the inverter) before going to sleep. We didn’t run out of battery during our whole trip. 🙂
Although we felt very strange being uninvited to this sacred land by the people who built it, the ruins were absolutely gorgeous, and we felt honored to be able to look inside them.
The glyphs were also quite awe-inspiring.
At a Dark Sky Certified campground, I couldn’t leave without getting a couple 60-second exposure shots of the night sky. Next time, I’ll drop it down to 45 seconds, and we’ll go when the moon isn’t so bright, so we can hopefully see the gases of the Milky Way.
Always go exploring.
So we’ve been living in our fiberglass travel trailer for about 4 months now, and I’ve definitely been here long enough to have some “first” impressions of full-time RV living. Let’s go!
Cross-Country Drive and Pickup
We picked up our Escape Trailer in Chilliwack, BC, Canada. We drove up from San Antonio to BC in about 5 days. I booked all the hotel stays on the way up with a boatload of Marriott points I accumulated for free with some manufactured spend on the Marriott Visa card.
The people at Escape were fantastic, and although we were contacted by someone before getting our trailer – stating that we might run into problems – we have yet to run into any serious problems with this fantastic fiberglass RV.
We spent the first week in our trailer at a KOA campground in Washington very near to the Escape headquarters – just in case anything went wrong with the trailer. We were starting a journey back to Texas for the most unfortunate reason of all…
Registering the Trailer
Switching to a full-time RV status requires choosing a residence state, of which you can pick South Dakota, Texas, or Florida. Florida sucks, so it’s out. South Dakota… well, here’s why we picked Texas.
Whatever state you pick for full-time residence, you must establish “professional communication” with some one / company/companies in the county where you’ll have your driver’s license, to set your domicile. Since we already lived in Texas, it was a simple as skipping all that and just changing the address on our licenses. Domicile chosen.
After going all the way to El Paso, TX to get our registration stuff done, we headed up to one of our favorite states – New Mexico. We found a great park that we figured we could stay at for a while, while cooling down from all the initial travel. We settled in, and then started to really learn more about our new fiberglass egg.
Prepping for Travel/Arrival
Packing up the trailer and getting it ready for travel has gotten easier every single time we’ve done it. It take about 30 minutes max – less if we’re moving very quickly. It’s basically:
- Empty the tanks / put away the sewer hose
- Put up the stabilizer jacks
- Stow the water hose / power cable
- Raise the gooseneck hitch
- Attach to truck
- Attach the weight distribution hitch bars and 7-pin harness
- Check the Brake lights / blinkers
- Put things in cabinets inside and prep for travel
The way we’ve done it so far is that I’ll do the outside stuff, and Jess will do the inside stuff. We’ll probably switch that up a couple times when we move the trailer to a new location.
Not Much is Different From Normal Living
After living in an apartment for about 10 months, I have to say that not much is different when living in an RV. Sure, there’s less space to lounge around, but the main differences are that you have to empty the gray/black tanks, and that… no, that might be it!
Getting outside is much easier now than it was when we were living in a third-floor apartment. This is mainly due to the fact that we pick places to stay with excellent hiking trails nearby, so we aim to get out at least once a day.
We Won’t Make the Cover of “Hipster Monthly”
Yes, sometimes our trailer does not look perfectly immaculate on the inside.
Although we do like to keep it nice and tidy most of the time.
Costs are Relatively the Same
Our apartment was around $850/month, and that did not include water, electricity, cable internet, trash service, and how much driving we had to do to get anywhere in that shitty place we used to live.
Our current monthly rent is $650, and our trailer loan payment is $460. Our monthly rent includes water, electricity, sewer, and WiFi. Seeing it as around $1100/month can put into perspective being locked into a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment in an enormous metropolis, versus being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want.
I don’t know what the monthly will be in other places we stay, but at one of the amazing resorts we stayed at in Washington, the monthly rate was $430. Didn’t include electricity, but with a 150-watt solar panel and a 1500 watt inverter, we could generate 80% of our electricity on our own.
On top of very affordable (for us) monthly costs, our fridge and pantry are the PERFECT size for getting 2-2.5 weeks worth of groceries in one trip.
No Tiny House Decisions
I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to step into a trailer that was built by some of the most dedicated camper manufacturers on the continent. Escape trailers are absolutely better quality than even Airstreams. These have the same, if not better, parts than an Airstream.
Atwood propane/electric water heater (faster water heating than any house/hotel I’ve ever been in) and Atwood water heater – better size Dometic fridge/freezer than in most Airstreams, Samlex solar controller, 1500W inverter with a transfer switch so we get AC to all outlets when running on battery power, double pane windows – the list goes on, but the MSRP of this was equal to about $25k USD, whereas a 19′ Airstream Flying Cloud STARTS at $62k. Jesus.
This fiberglass trailer is also lighter than an aluminum Airstream, and completely sealed – which means no leaking issues, like the silver trailers are prone to.
Needless to say, I am so happy to be rid of all those tiny house decisions, and onto this amazingly built trailer with thoughtful, smart, and reliable design decisions made by someone else. Not like these pieces of pure junk.
So That’s Pretty Much It
Living in a fiberglass trailer is not very different from living in a very large space. Sure, we yearn for more stretching space every once in a while, but we can also get outside in about 2 foot steps of where we are – no matter how far into the trailer we are.
It’s really awesome to think you can simply pack up and drive to wherever you want to stay. Don’t like it? You can leave tomorrow! It’s a great feeling of freedom. We’re already thinking about what we’ll do next, but for now, we are loving the full-time RV life.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted regularly to this blog or YouTube, and here’s what’s gone on.
We moved into a travel trailer and out of Texas.
It was a very hectic journey, traveling 2,500 miles to pick up the trailer, 2,500 miles back to register it, and then another 1,000 miles to our current home. We’ll probably move every month, and we’ll continue to live the full-time travel trailer life until we want something else.
Although I do still think about the Tiny House sometimes, we’ve both really moved on mentally at this point. That stressful, exhausting, awkward chapter of our lives is over, and we’re moving on to the next. There’s no guarantee this one will last long, but it’s really fun, and we’re both enjoying the freedom of living wherever we want.
I’m getting some 4k video ready for a YouTube update soon, so stay tuned!