With some sadness and a slight relief, I watched my beautiful 40’ Foretravel diesel pusher motorcoach roll off over the horizon toward its new home. I wasn’t expecting the mixture of melancholy and unbalance that I was feeling after owning that coach for many years. But there was no getting around the fact that selling the coach was the right thing for me to do at this juncture. It was time to downsize.
A few hours later, the blues gave way to a sense of hopeful excitement as I forged ahead with downsizing research, choices, and decisions. I had been inching toward this moment for months, as I wrote in a previous article on downsizing. Today was the start of a new adventure.
Finding the right RV to downsize to
After a couple of weeks, I had chosen and then rejected many smaller RV options and compiled a short list. Then I winnowed down further once I confronted some realities of today’s RV industry that I had only considered in the abstract earlier, namely that there is a shortage of RVs!
There is a shortage of RVs because RV manufacturers cannot build them fast enough to satisfy the current demand. The tight RV seller’s market and concomitantly high prices, and dealer price rigidity resulted in my crossing several highly desirable RVs off my list.
A towable it is!
I had decided on a new towable and spent days calling and messaging dealers, only to realize that I was setting myself up for either (1) a long wait for delivery, or (2) buyer’s remorse for paying too much for the RV in an inflationary market. As a diversion from what was becoming a frustrating search process, I hit the “reset” button on my search to include some designs and brands that I had previously dismissed as either too small, not readily available, or otherwise unsuitable. I included some “fiberglass shell” trailers in my survey. I was drawn down this avenue of inquiry by happening upon an ad for the Oliver Travel Trailers. Due to demand, plus very high build quality, the Oliver is expensive and scarce—buyers are waiting eight months to a year for a new one. That’s how I discovered Casita Travel Trailers. Like the Oliver, the Casita, too, has a cult-like following, and there is high demand, resulting in long waits for delivery.
Consider a used RV to downsize
As I pondered all this, it occurred to me that I had not adequately considered the used market. Upon doing so, I found that most of the small number of Casita Spirit or Freedom models available on the market were hundreds if not thousands of miles away, predominantly in the south and along the East Coast. I found a suitable preowned Casita a few hundred miles away and arranged to travel to it. On the morning of the trip, I checked my Casita Facebook pages and websites, and during the night, a Casita, ten years newer than the one I was going to see, was listed for sale less than two miles away! I canceled my trip, contacted the seller, arranged to inspect the travel trailer, and bought it.
Well, for better or worse, I was downsizing.
My new home is radically different than my old one. It is maybe 200 sq. feet inside. Its design made it feel a little bigger than that, but it is certainly nothing like my cavernous Foretravel—that motor coach was so big, it had two (yes, two) icemakers. This tiny house has no ice maker and, to my surprise, is also short a gas oven in the range. Yikes! There is a microwave, but no convection oven! The massive oak cabinets, cupboards, overhead storage bins, and basement cargo bays were gone. Basement deep freeze, gone! Dual furnaces and air conditioners—gone! Gone, too, were the auxiliary air compressor and the 7.5kw diesel generator. I now have four storage cabinets about the size of a standard Kleenex box. It was a shock at first. And yes, I did, briefly, question my sanity. But I put that aside with the realization that this is downsizing.
The adventure begins…
Since acquiring the mini-RV, I have stayed busy organizing the camper, making it my home, and preparing it for the road. I am excited about what this downsize represents, e.g., far fewer systems, engines, appliances, and gear to maintain. I’ve replaced both main tires plus the spare for a hundred dollars less than each one of the six Foretravel motorcoach tires cost. I can now plan to stay in the hundreds of parks here in the West maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and Army Corps of Engineers. Most of these terrific campgrounds in the remote areas of Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon are limited to RVs of 35 feet. The boondocking possibilities, strictly limited to asphalt-covered spots easily accessible by main highways, are now virtually unlimited.
Next week we embark on this next great adventure into the wild, and I will report from the road.