Our first full time RV - 2005 Dodge RAM Dually
and 2005 Keystone Challenger 32TKB
When we set out to become full-time RVers we wanted to do it
inexpensively because we weren’t sure exactly how long we would
be willing to commit to the lifestyle. Our thinking was that we
could live in the trailer for a couple of years then sell, donate
or scrap it and it would have done its job . For that reason,
based on our almost 30 years of RVing experience, we choose a well
proven tow vehicle, our 2005 Dodge Ram dually with Cummins turbo
diesel combined with a
mid-priced 5th wheel trailer, our Keystone
the many opinions of people who swear that as far as towables go,
you can only full-time in a Teton or other expensive 5th
wheel. But I think we’ve proven to ourselves that people can
full-time in a far less expensive RV and still have a great time
plus save a lot of money in the process.
Back in the 60’s
I had a friend, who along with his wife and two little kids,
“full-timed” for two years in a converted ex-Railway Express
Agency truck. My buddy did all of the conversion work himself and
his parents contributed two RV style-opening windows (“we want
the grandkids to be able to see out”). My contribution to the
cause was to paint the thing “Kenworth Green” before they hit
the road. Their destination was Taos, New Mexico. Remember
this was the era of the “Summer of Love” and living out of an
old truck was considered better than cool.
They had beds for both of the kids and for
themselves, facilities for cooking and a port-a-potty. There was
no heat other than what the old truck engine could produce while
they were on the road and their water supply was carried in jugs.
One day I came
home from work to find the old REA truck sitting in the drive
beside my house and I instinctively knew that my friend’s
full-time adventure had come to an end.
Shortly thereafter they sold the truck for more than they
paid for it (try that with your high-end RV!) and moved on to
The point is,
you can basically full-time in just about anything, but people
have become spoiled
and demanding in their RV wants. Margo and I are no exception, we
like our comforts, but the adventure of living in that old truck
must have been a ball and we’d be willing to bet that it was an
adventure of a lifetime.
During the short time that we owned our Dodge
truck and Challenger 5th wheel we found them to be the
perfect combination. Weight
wise, the truck had about 20% of its towing ability left in
reserve which meant that we could fly up hills and had room to
make a few souvenir purchases without going overweight.
At our time of sale, the Dodge had
approximately 13K miles on it and had been 100% trouble free. It
was powerful, reliable and very comfortable.
Like most RVs, the Challenger had a few
minor teething problems when it was new, but it too was reliable
and comfortable. At the end of six months of full time use it felt
as though it
was just getting broken in. There were no signs of structural
problems or things falling apart and it still smelled new.
We knew that certain components like faucets
and switches were sourced to a non-full-timer level of quality, but
we figured that we would replace them with better items if and
when the time came. Fortunately,
we never had to replace anything because all items continued to
work perfectly right up to the last.
In summary, our
decision to move up to the new motor home was based more on “want”
than on “need” and we have no doubt that the Dodge/Challenger
combination was more than up to the full-time lifestyle. They will
full time RV - 2006 Monaco Knight 40DFD Motor Home
Like many others, we
had no intention of replacing our 5th wheel and went into the
dealership "just to look". Big mistake! Our
advice is to stay away from RV dealerships if you are happy with
your current rig.
This style of motor home is commonly
known as a "Class A" diesel pusher.
"Pusher" meaning that the engine is in the rear of the
coach, bus style. It had an overall length of 40'
10". Power was provided by a 330 horsepower Cummins diesel
engine developing 950 pounds of torque that was delivered
to the ground via an Allison 6 speed automatic transmission.
The floor plan featured two slide outs and was
perfect for our needs at the time. We altered the factory seating
removing the passenger side loveseat and fitting a Euro recliner
in its place. Usually it was just the two of us, and we preferred the comfort of the
recliner to the loveseat. One unique feature to the floor plan was
the bath and a half configuration. This was a nice layout
that enabled both of us to get ready at the same time. The rear bathroom
was completely separate from the bedroom and made the bedroom a
stand-alone space. The feeling was not unlike a small apartment.
Our dingy (towed
car) was a 2003 Mini Cooper S. This was Margo's commute car
before her retirement. The Mini towed well and provided us
with excellent transportation for sightseeing.
We used a Blue Ox tow bar and base
plate which was provided for us by Towing World of Wildwood,
Florida. The base plate installation is very clean and nicely
Sale - Blue
Ox Base plate. Fits 2002-2005 Mini Cooper. Contact