During the last year we've been on a quest to get started with the second chapter of our nomadic lifestyle. After talking to many folks along the way about smaller traveling rigs, and discussing our personal needs, wants, and exploring preferences, we narrowed it down to either a Sprinter-based class B van or a truck camper. I've written before about the strengths of each and the reasons we're downsizing so dramatically (here, here, and here) , so I won't repeat it. Let's just say we want to be comfortable, compact, nimble, and not tow anything.
We visited a Sportsmobile plant in Fresno California and saw Sprinter vans being turned into amazing class B travel rigs. We also visited a number of truck camper manufacturers and spent hours inside both pop-top and hardside models... to imagine living and functioning in so small a space. It was all instructive and we could have dragged out this process longer... but eventually we had to make a decision and pull the trigger. So in June we decided on a truck camper and proceeded down that path. While the Sprinter class B van was, and still is, very attractive to us, this decision hinged on price. The van would have cost much more than we were prepared to shell out.
A month of correspondence with Rex at Northstar ensued... back and forth... questions about this and that... answers... what ifs... and more. Rex tolerated us, at least it seemed that way (thanks Rex), until we finally firmed up an order and agreed on a price. The camper we ordered is a hardside unit and I'll talk more about it in a future post. If all goes well the camper should be ready about the middle of September.
Once the camper was on order we stepped up the pace of looking for a truck to mount it on. That process also took about a month while we deliberated about Ford or GM or Dodge, gas or diesel, capacities, and all that. End-of-model-year rebates made this a good time to buy a truck but the selection was somewhat limited... especially for the specific truck we were looking for. In late July we completed the deal for a Ford F-350 SRW (6.2L gas, short box, 4wd). We deliberated long and hard about the gas v. diesel decision but ended up going gas. For the trucks available that met our specs, a diesel would end up costing us almost $10k more. And while a diesel gets better fuel mileage, you can buy a lot of gas for $10k. I was also interested in keeping the cargo weight capacity as high as possible and the higher weight of a diesel engine cuts the load capacity by a few hundred pounds.
So that's where we're at. Have truck... waiting for camper... have motorhome on the market... getting our two mini-apartments ready for occupancy.. And we're both getting very excited to get it all put together and start traveling again.