9/24/19: We had another catastrophic failure with the RV. (Hydraulic system and living room slide.) Nothing exploded, nothing caught fire, and nobody got hurt. Two RV Guys (Father & Son) spent nearly 8 hours getting the living room slide back into the RV so I could safely drive it. Absolutely gut-wrenching and heart-breaking is the only way to describe it. I was deeply emotionally invested in our 2004 Winnebago Adventurer 33V. For a time I seriously thought we'd just stop RVing altogether. When the intense dissapointment faded a bit I thought about how much we like Florida State Parks, how much we like hiking in Florida State Parks, and how much Bailey likes Florida State Parks and hiking. We can't just quit.

I've already put too much money into this RV and I'm just not willing to spend more money on it. After we get rid of this POS we're going to look at some Tow Vehicles and TTs (Travel Trailers). I won't be looking at 5th Wheels and I'll never consider another Class A.
I'll be looking at a slightly used TT... But a brand new TT isn't out of the question. I'll be avoiding Camping World like it was a toxic dump site, which it may very well be... (Psst, this is a secret: Gander Outdoors (including Gander RV) is actually Camping World...)
I started looking at SUVs mainly because I like them more than PickUp trucks. I quickly discovered that (all other things being equal, including cost) you can get significantly more towing capacity from a Pick'emUp than from an SUV. And I also quickly discovered that good old classic power still rules. V8s beat 6-cylinders for towing, period.


So, Step One in this process was a quick evaluation of Pickup Trucks. Americans love pickup trucks, it's like a religion. Most Americans are either Dodge, Chevy or Ford. Whichever one you are that's the flag you salute. It lasts a lifetime. I'm a Ford Guy, been a Ford Guy my whole life. So, it didn't take long at all to decide on a new 2019 Ford F-150 SuperCab STX:
WOW! What an awesome tow vehicle! Full towing package included (I still need a WDH (Weight Distribution Hitch)).
This pick'em-up has Pro Trailer Tow Package w/101A. (I have no idea what that means...)
Pro Trailer Backup Assist (automagically back up the truck and trailer for you, I'll believe that when I see it).
Auxiliary Transmission Oil Cooler.
Engine Oil Cooler.
Class IV Trailer Hitch Receiver.
Upgraded Front Stabilizer Bar.
Maximum Conventional Towing Capabilities of 10,200 lbs. to about 13,000 lbs. Realistic towing capacity around 9,000 lbs. I'll want a cushion to account for gear on the RV and payload in the truck so I'll be backing that down to around 7,500 lbs.
Power? Really massive power! Engine: 5.0L Ti-VCT V8. It can easily tow just about every small to medium-sized TT (Travel Trailer) out there.
2019 Ford F-150 Owner's Manual (Online).
While we're looking at TTs I'll be junking up the F-150 with accessories...






Junking up my truck...
(Mouse over or tap the thumbnail for the larger picture...)

Low-profile antenna
looks better.
For tying down stuff.
For loose stuff.
Nicer armrest.
Grille Badge!
For dog hairs...
Because... America!
Pedestrian bumper.
Keep the sticky
parts off the truck.
Rugged Floor mats.
Cover your hole.
Aerodynamic.
Hitch step.
Slowly lowers tailgate.
Wheel well covers.
Tow Mirrors.
The truck looks great, runs great, drives great! After some random driving around (to get past the Break-in Period) I'm getting very close to 15mpg.

Time to go Trailer Shopping...


Now we need to go buy a Travel Trailer. Where do you start? We start on the internet and we start slow.



There are a gazillion different types of Trailers! Gotta narrow it down. Gotta narrow it down a lot. We watched (literally) hundreds of walkthrough videos. We started figuring out what we like, what we think we need, what we must have and what we would rather not have.

It's very important to remember that there are certain realities that really are pretty much written in stone. For example, if you buy a trailer with a queen-size bed it's never going to become a king-size bed without ridiculous modifications. If the trailer has a bedroom in the front and a bathroom in the rear you will be walking through the entire trailer, back and forth, every single time you go to the bathroom. Along those same lines, if you buy a trailer wired for 30amp it would be prohibitively expensive to re-wire that trailer for 50amp. (If you need two roof-mounted ACs then you need to be wired for 50amp to run them both at the same time.) Lastly, if you buy a pre-owned trailer there are going to be certain things, features, that are built in that can't realistically be removed. Examples would be an outdoor kitchen or an outdoor entertainment center. We'll probably never use an outdoor kitchen or an outdoor entertainment canter.

So we became very familiar with manufacturer's models and floorplans, we made our soft list of Must Have's, and only then did we set out to visit dealerships and meet with salespeople.


Our Must Have's:
50 amp. electric service. We live and RV in Florida so we need two ACs and that means we must have 50 amp service. I also run a small dehumidifier most of the time.
2 roof-mounted ACs. 15,000BTUs each. The smaller roof-mounted ACs, 13,500 BTUs, are an industry gimmick. You always want more heating and more cooling than you think you'll need.
King-size bed. We might have to settle for a real queen-size bed. We managed okay with the full queen bed in our Winnebago Adventurer, plus a dog, but not a single night passed that we didn't wish it was a king bed.
So-called Farm-style kitchen sink. (One large sink, not 2 smaller sinks.)
Line of sight TV to Couch/Recliner.
We really like the generic floorplan called Rear Living (RL). These usually have an island in the kitchen, which we also really like. They also usually come with so-called theatre seating (recliners) facing the TV and a separate couch.
Very much prefer a slightly used travel trailer over a factory-new trailer because I'd rather not have to eat the huge depreciation and it would be nice to have the kinks and bugs fixed prior to dragging this thing all over Florida.




But there's one more thing we have to do:



Now we can go Travel Trailer shopping...


Where do we start? We visited a smallish dealership nearby. Got our feet wet, got some practice abusing a salesperson. Then we visited a medium-sized dealership. More practice. Then? Why not start with the best, the very best, the absolute top of the heap, the largest RV dealer with the largest inventory on the entire freaking planet?

So we collected all our notes and off we went...

And we looked at a bunch of rigs, and we asked a bunch of question, and we carefully inspected a bunch of rigs. And then magic happened...


We decided on a 2020 Grand Design Imagine 2970RL...


2020 Grand Design Imagine 2970RL...

We got all of our soft Must Haves except a King-sized bed. (They just don't offer one.) Most importantly we got it pre-wired for 50amp and two ACs. With 2 ACs and a 25,000 BTU Furnace we can go RVing all year long in Florida.
We did not have to accept stuff we don't want and will never use (such as an outdoor kitchen or an outdoor TV).
Unfortunately it comes with some very cheap Chinese-made tires. They are included in the Grand Design warrany but I'm going to have to keep an eye on them... (I'd really prefer Goodyear Endurance tires.)
I was prepared to buy the actual model we looked at on the spot, unfortunately it came with free standing Table & Chairs instead of the traditional Booth Dinette. I think the free-standing Table & Chairs is a dumb idea, and the traditional Booth Dinette is, well, traditional. So we have to wait a few weeks for delivery because they need to pull the rig off the assembly line and intall the Booth Dinette. We'll be using that time looking for a pair of table lamps, some throw rugs, an ottoman for the couch, and sorting through all the stuff we took off the old Winnebago...
2020 Grand Design Imagine Brochure.

And now...


And now...


Delivery. Sometime around the end of November, 2019.
Install Anti-Sway Weight Distribution Hitch. I studied several of these things. I liked the Anderson WDH but eventually decided on the Equal-i-zer. (American made, lifetime warranty, 70-year old company, voted best performing sway control & weight distribution hitch in America, seven years in a row. What's not to like?)
14K.
The GDI is prewired for a Furrion Wireless Rear View Camera, I had one on the Winnebago Adventurer and I'm going to want one on this trailer. I didn't find it all that useful when backing into a campsite, that's what a spotter is for. But it's nice to know who's behind me when I'm driving and how close they are. I'm also seriously thinking about having Slide Toppers installed.
Practice hitching and unhitching. It's not as simple as it sounds, I'll need supervised practice. But I did purchase a Secret Weapon:
Practice towing and backing up. Definitely not as simple as it sounds, I'll need to run our new trailer up and down the Interstate a few times, and practice backing it into a campsite at the dealer's location. My spotters, (Kathy and Bailey), also need practice.
Spend a night or two at LazyDays, fully hooked up, testing absolutely every-damn-thing.




Welcome to our website. Nobody just runs out and buys an RV and everything is pretty flowers and little birdies. You have to learn a lot of stuff. You have to learn a lot of stuff before, during, and after you buy an RV. So we make note of much of that here because we've learned a lot along the way, we're still learning as we go, and we've learned a lot from other RVers on the Internets and that YouTube-thang.

But let's be honest, too much of what goes around the Internet and Youtube is boring and waay too much is self-serving. We'll try not to be boring and we aren't selling or even representing anything.

We like it simple: We drive around Florida in our RV with our dog visiting State and National parks and campgrounds, enjoying nature trails and hiking. That's it...


Our Dog

(Recently Updated)
Our RV

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Our RV
Gear

(Recently Updated)
Our RV
Upgrades

(Recently Updated)


Our Adventures

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Our YouTube Channel

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Our YouTube Channel Videos
(Without Youtube overhead...)

(Recently Updated)


Email Steve
Email Kathy





(Recently Updated)
(Some stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else...)


Our 1ST Road Trip!
We needed to weigh our RV. Partly because I was getting nervous about adding all our gear and also because I wanted to drive this beautiful beast. It had NOTHING to do with the fact that the nearest weigh station had a Cinnabon right there.
We have plenty of load capacity remaining! Gotta get more stuff!


Special thanks to some folks we found especially entertaining, especially informative, or both. Please visit their websites and enjoy their YouTube Channels.










We hope you enjoy our website.