Archive for the 'rv shopping' Category

Baja: Getting Ready

November 6th, 2014

This is part one of our trip to Baja.

After three plus years of wanting to sell the camper (it was way too big for our lifestyle), we finally put our backs into it and got it done. Yeehaw!

The camper's final days.


With that (4 hours) behind us, we were free to move about the country again. I knew that our friends were heading down to Baja California, Mexico in just under two weeks, so we decided to crash their caravan. That’s right 10 days to get everything in order and drive from Florida to San Diego. Go!

We had just spent the last few months getting the van expedition ready (huge thanks to Shawn and my folks) so the only vehicle related prep we had to do was get Mexican auto insurance. That part was so easy. We signed up over the internet and printed the paper work out at a truck stop in route. It cost about $500 for 6mo. There are also plans for half that amount. We weren’t going to the mainland, so importation paperwork wasn’t necessary.

Ready to go!


It took us about five days to make the trip from across the country. Once there, we proceed to get our ducks in a row for our journey south into Baja.

This being my first time camping in another country (Canada doesn’t count), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Everything the media feeds us about Mexico sure puts the place in a bad light. So in a moment of paranoia, I opened a travel account with my bank. I considered it a disposable account that I could move small amounts of cash into as needed. They gave me an on the spot, temporary debit card. My bank offers these accounts without minimum balances or fees for up to 90 days. There are no fees or penalties to close it.

I got my bills set up on auto pay so that things would churn along without me. I wish that I had thought to put some of my accounts on hold. It would have saved me $100s.There’s no reason to pay for services I’m not using.

We have a lot of things that we didn’t feel needed to come south with us, so we rented storage bay near the border to store it until our stateside return. It’s $45/mo and the first month was free.

To be on the safe side, I got the required health certificate for the dogs. You are supposed to have one dated no earlier than 10 days before your border crossing. In order to get one, all you need is proof of current rabies vaccination and a healthy dog… oh and cash  I got our certs at the animal clinic in El Centro. They charged around $75 for Snowden’s booster shot and health certificates for both dogs. Much better than the $100 per dog the other vets were quoting.

The rest of our stateside time was spent shopping to fill up all of the space we made, by putting things in storage, with food and toiletpaper. I guess I just subconsciously assumed that, since I’d never seen TP in any of the Mexican bathrooms I’d been in, the whole country must be devoid of it. Oh and I bought tortillas… really?!? Haha I’m not quite sure what I was thinking.


Truck Hunting

October 3rd, 2007

Well, I still haven’t found my dream truck. As our time frame gets smaller, I am opening up to more vehicles. I do not think that I am going to find the exact combo that I want anymore. At least not anytime soon. So, it is settled. I will purchase a less than perfect truck soon. I am mostly ok with that. Except well, now I have a new standard for the perfect truck. Sadly, the prospects seem grim for it as well. Why is it so hard to find a manual transmission?! I love driving one and do not want anything else. It looks like I am going to have to assimilate into the automatic world because searching for one is a kin to searching for buried treasure with only 1/4 of a map. Its making me a bit frustrated tonight. I guess it can’t all be fun all of the time…. Hopefully the car gods will hear my prayers for my new “Perfect Truck”. Its a 1999-2003 F350 DRW, Crew Cab, 4×4, MANUAL! 6speed with decent mileage. Shesh.. its such a tiny request. Time to get back to praying. Now where’d I put that dead chicken…..

It’s Official!

September 2nd, 2007

Yesterday, we put down a deposit on the camper. We added and removed a handful of things that should really optimize the overall comfort for two people.

  • No oven. Really, how often are we going to be baking cookies? A stove is plenty and Jenn wants to play with a solar oven anyway. Maybe we’ll pick up a small grill to go with the thermal cooker. We get a large cabinet where the oven would be.
  • No dinette seating. We opted for the couch instead. This should be more comfortable for general lounging. There is still a table we can set up in front of the couch, although I think we will probably build our own articulating desktops.
  • Wet bath. A lot of people don’t like wet baths. They do, however, provide a lot more room to move around by combining your toilet and shower space. Additionally, we get a very large wardrobe next to the bathroom by saving space. The only real downside in our mind is that the ‘bathroom storage’ is limited to what will fit in a medicine cabinet. But with all the extra storage we gain outside of the bathroom and the increased space to shower properly, it’s a net win.
  • Full wall wardrobe in the cabover. This was a bit more difficult decision. It cost us a nice window, but the extra storage space is considerable. For long-term living, storage is one of our most important concerns. Besides, the window on the driver side is a wide escape hatch instead of a narrow, divided window.
  • No skylight in the kitchen. The benefit of the skylight really seemed questionable to us as we stood in the unit on the lot. It added some light, but only in a limited area. It is one more potential leak and one more place to introduce heat and cold. We save a few bucks by getting rid of it as well.
  • No generator. The standard generator burns LP gas inefficiently, is rather noisy and costs about $3k. We can pickup a quiet, efficient gasoline unit for around $800. It won’t make quite as much juice and we can’t push a button to start it, but overall I prefer this route.
  • 7K BTU air conditioner. Hopefully, this will put an end to my search for the perfect AC unit. It’s a bit higher wattage than I’d like, but I’m more comfortable with it’s ability to cool the camper. Sadly, we actually had to pay more for a 7k unit than if we had gone up to a 13.5K unit. However, with this unit, we should have no problem running it on our downsized generator.
  • Thermal pane windows. They really charge a premium for these, but if we’re going to be in the cold weather, it’s thermal pane or storm windows. And just where are we going to store those storm windows when we’re not using them?

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A little update

August 27th, 2007

We haven’t posted in a bit, so I figured it was about time to at least make a note of what’s been going on. The last few weeks have been a little hectic as we’ve been trying to integrate with the server team from the company we merged with. In addition to that, we’ve been tied up on the weekends visiting with some friends out of town and going to Hunter Safety classes.

The good news is we are both 100% legal to hunt and are possibly less likely to shoot each other with bow and arrow, shotguns, rifles or black powder firearms. The bad news is we have jobs for the foreseeable future instead of a 6 month severance package.

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The hunt continues

August 11th, 2007

Today, we had a great time searching all over the state for the elusive truck camper. We were lucky as we were actually able to observe multiple herds in the same day. First, we traveled West. Here we found a nice sized herd. We were quite amazed to find the Host breed mingling with both the Arctic Fox and the Adventurer. These three also allowed a couple of others to graze the same area. It was quite an interesting grouping, and we were glad to have the finally opportunity to examine so many of them.

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