At some point in every full-timer’s travels, there comes a time when you believe your current rig just isn’t working for your lifestyle. Whether that means you need to replace, downsize or get a bigger RV, the conundrum of replacing your full-time RV rig is something almost everyone faces.
We lived in our 2007 24′ Arctic Fox fifth wheel for seven years. When we bought it right off the lot, we never expected to live it in so long. But as we fell in love with the lifestyle and found new ways to work and make money as full-timers, our tough-as-nails little Northwood rig started to get a bit crowded. My jewelry business was demanding more workspace and the more times Jim got kicked off the dining table so I could pound metal, the more his back ached from working online while sitting on the tiny sofa. It was time for a change.
Finding our replacement rig didn’t take long. We love fifth wheels and Northwood’s Arctic Fox line is a rugged, four-season RV that withstands the kind of off-road boondocking abuse we shell out, so a second Northwood was a no-brainer. Some web surfing helped us locate a slightly larger, used 2010 27′ Arctic Fox fifth wheel with a rear bunkhouse that would make a perfect office / work bench. We carefully reviewed all of the features then put our good faith deposit down over the phone, sight unseen. It was a huge leap of faith, but since we were workamping six days a week in Western Colorado and the rig was in northern Wyoming, that was the only way we could secure this hard-to-find model until our job ended Labor Day. The dealer was kind enough to guarantee us a generous trade-in allowance and held it for two months before we could get there.
Picking up our new home was scarier and more nerve-wracking than I thought it would be. Overall the rig was fine. We definitely got lucky; this one-owner rig was in immaculate condition, just as described and at first glance it was perfect. However, upon closer inspection a number of tiny little flaws made me nervous. A bent scissor jack here, a small plastic crack in the skylight framework, a bathroom that was smaller than our previous one – they all added up, and although the dealer was fixing everything on our punch list before we signed off on the paperwork, I recalled how easy it was to buy a brand new rig.
With Northwood’s reputation for producing quality rigs, we felt 100% confident about everything within those fiberglass walls. In seven years, very little needed repairing and what did wasn’t a reflection of Northwood’s craftsmanship. However, we have since seen what could go wrong with RVs as our full-timing friends experienced everything from leaky roofs to refrigerator fires. As we stood there looking at our lovely new-to-us, debt-free RV, I saw a big question mark hovering overhead. These unknowns will weigh heavy on my mind as we begin another snowbird migration.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.