Frugal RVing In South States - Ebooks

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Reviewing Our Roving Acre

In the mobile world in which we now live, we have the fifth wheel, and a 2001 duelly 3500 Ram (dubbed Spirit) which we got to replaced the 4 wheel drive 3500. The duel axle and 2 wheel drive improves our ability to handle the large fifth wheel as the extra axle stabilizes the load, and the 4 wheel drive just adds to the gross weight, taking away from what you can actually carry. We are having an engine exhaust brake installed next week, and then we can confidently take on the mountain passes.

We also have a utility trailer (dubbed Peppy) for Ken's pottering in a mobile workshop, and a 2003 single axle 2500 Ram 4x4 (dubbed Smokey).

and a 3500 Ram 4x4 (Mack). 

This one originally towed the fifth wheel, but although it managed the mountains admirably, it truly was overtaxed in the pull. (One should be leary of dealerships honesty about your vehicle's ability to handle the proposed load of your trailers, especially in the prairies. If they think you are only going to traipse over the rolling hills of said terrain, they won't hesitate to over-value your capacity to haul.)

In our case, the dealership did the hitch install themselves, knowing we were taking on mountains. 

However, we have decide that of the 3 trucks, much as we love the Laramie 2500 (the red one), it can't be a back-up if anything goes wrong with the duelly. Therefore, we are keeping the 3500 Rams and selling the 2500.

Then we caught on to the idea of a camper because although we love our fifth wheel, it is 36.5 feet, and it is a bit bulky to pull into casual camping spots, or do frequent relocation. 

It is a more and more common practice among full timers, we have discovered.  (This shot is our camper, on the truck that brought it to the dealership where we bought it) It is a 1995 Explorer (The Cottage) that is 9' (plus cab overhang)

 The camper is currently enduring a last blast of winter in Bellevue Alberta at a friend's house. This was necessitated by the addition of the duelly.  We drove both the duelly and the 2500 with camper to Alberta for the licensing of the duelly, then left the camper and 2500 there before heading back.

We have also acquired  2 kayaks. Even with 2 people, having each our own boat means independant exploration. The 2 are depicted below. Mine is the one thats colour scheme is called fire (dubbed Blaze).  (The red one still wants a name.  Ken will decide after his maiden voyage). They are made by Necky, and are the Manitou Sport 11'.

We bought a couple mounting brackets called seawings. They are meant to mount on the cross braces of a roof rack, but Ken mounted them on a 6' 2x4, with a 2' 2x4 cross for stability. This way, we can mount them on the fifth wheel, the truck roof, or the camper. I put weather stripping on the footing to pad the roof of whichever carrier it is on.

Finally, we have the 2 moped style scooters for short pottering about.  These will be especially useful with the camper as it will be more convenient going out on them than it will be to either undo the hook-ups, or unload the cottage any time you want to go for groceries, propane, or just off to take in scenery.  I found a way to hitch one of the grocery carts as a trailer, and a milk crate each can carry small loads.  :-)  I did my first grocery run this morning.  I think I am going to name mine Clarice after the mule from Apple Dumpling Gang, but the jury is still out on that one.

The rack that Ken is beside can mount on the back of the fifth wheel as shown, or be mounted on a front hitch installed on the blue 3500 when out in the camper.

After looking around our pad, I have dubbed the ensemble The Roving Acre.  I think it is an appropriate title ..... wouldn't you say??

So that sums up the makings of our comings and goings.  And with that, I bid you,



  1. I have to laugh! What a setup! I was actually talking about you guys to one of my neighbours today, on the subject of how complicated the simple life can be!

    I'm not going to be much better once I get the bike and kayak rack for the toad. I'm thinking of towing a garage of my own one day. :)

  2. At least you aren't married to the truck herder. LOL
    I will miss Smokey, but as he can't double up on the 5th, it makes sense to find him a good home. It figures that his cab is the one with the most "pamper Mommy" features like dual zone climate control and what I have dubbed the "bun warmers". The other 2 are skookum in the engine department, but more sparse in the cab amenities. *sigh*