Living in 373 Sq Ft

I first wrote this page in 2011. At the time we had just purchased Journey a 32′ Winnebago Journey DL.  We enjoyed and kept her until 7, April, 2014 when we traded out of our 32 footer, into a Holiday Rambler Ambassador.  Our new home is 40′ with 4 slides.   The most recent changes will always be at the front if this article.  

April 2014
Coming to terms with changes in our lifestyle

We didn’t plan on living quite the way things have turned out.  Much of our retirement plan remains unchanged but we are realizing that we will probably always spend more time INDOORS than many RV’ers.  We like the comfort of the INSIDE of the coach.

2014040213242529We had some issues with Journey (see below) about usability. I spend more time on my ‘puter than our plan allowed for. We were living in the first 8 feet of the coach and not using the rest of the coach very much.

We also made mistakes by thinking TOO spartan.  Making those fine distinctions between nice-to-have and need-to-have resulted in not allowing ourselves enough convenience and comfort.  Little things that ended up meaning a lot.

We weren’t looking for a new home

In the spring of ’14 we decided to visit the Springfield OR RV show.  We knew nothing of the local RV dealers; we had been seeing a lot of RV’s in this state and we wanted to see what might be available that we might not have seen.  The show was interesting but a bust — we went, we looked, we returned home with no excitement.

But we got the itch…

And I started looking online at local dealers.  What I found was special — to us.  There aren’t a lot of rear office coaches.  In fact, there are very few of them.  But there was one here — only  70 miles from us.  So, into the car we went — and what we found — was just what we never knew we wanted.

Considering that this is our home — I’m sure there will be plenty of changes and updates along the way — so stay tuned for this Unscripted Life with Peter & Peggy

2011:  BEFORE Our Journey

To us, her “model” name describes her beautifully: Journey.

I hate cold, Peggy loves being outdoors.  After a few months of retirement-soul-searching we plunked down part of our nest egg in order to live our dreams.  We could not afford both a brick and mortar home, as well as an RV so whether we wander for a year, or ten, or until we kick the bucket we’re out here to live — not simply to vacation.

We started by looking at much smaller RV’s than the one we ended up buying….

The inimitable Roadtrek 190

Like this Roadtrek 190.  This is a vehicle that my dad turned me onto years ago. (His dream always had been to RV around the country — I guess I inherited some of his genes. For sure, I am living HIS dream as well as my own.  Mom, however, like the comfort of her motel rooms and would have none of it.

I took Peggy to see one of these small conversions thinking that it was more than she would be interested in and she surprised me.  The more we talked the more it sounded like maybe instead of just buying a van in which it would be easier to visit wildlife refuges and hang around longer for early morning and evening images, that maybe we should think about a more permanent change to our lifestyle.

The second step in our process was to look at something a little larger.  The 190’s were barely tall enough for me to stand upright.  We checked out several of these Sprinter Van conversions…. the Roadtrek and several others.  Now this was living in style — well, in a CRAMPED style.  But we might have bought one of them had it not been for one big problem — my camera gear.  There was no way we could bring on-board both our living necessities AND my camera gear. Another possibility down the tubes…..

Coachman FreelanderSo we tried looking at Class C motorhomes; units like this Freelander.  They were all very nice but the camera gear issue plagued us and the gross vehicle capacity was quite limited as well — to say nothing of my being afraid of that long overhang in the back.  I have always done some un-improved road roaming and the chances to get stuck were simply too overwhelming.

I should add that at this point we were convinced (read that as: “Peggy was bound and determined”) not to tow anything behind the RV.  She was adamant that she would not want to do that.  So we were looking for something that would go-everwhere-do-everything.  We gradually realized no such vehicle existed.  There might be one for someone else, but not for our needs.

All of which eventually brought us to consideration of the dreaded Class A motorhome….

These are the ones many people think of when they think “motor home”  and they CAN be big enough to BE a home.  Ranging from 32′ to 45′ in length, many are equipped with motorized slideout rooms and all the amenities of home — in compact form.  In fact, new models are fancier than any brick and mortar home we ever lived in!

If you total them all up, we walked up into, down out of, all around, and peered under about 100 different RV’s and coaches.  This is a major purchase and we wanted to insure that we made a sound and considered decisions.   When we finished our search we happened to be in Forest City Iowa,  at Lichtsinn Motors.  We realized that of all the units we’d looked at that there had been only three we liked.  After some confused references to our notes (It’s hard to look at RV’s AND make notes at the same time)  we further realized that all three of the RV’s we liked had been (essentially) the same model.  Winnebago and Itasca are built on the same assembly line and all three of the coaches we liked were either Itasca Horizons or Winnebago Journeys.  A few minor differences aside we were sitting next to a 32 foot Winne Journey Diesel pusher coach that we really liked, at a price we liked and we decided to buy it.

Our Journey DL diesel pusher

So, here she is, our Journey She’s a 2002 unit with 48,000 miles on her.  At  32’9″ long, she’s the shortest of the Journey line, and with a Cummins 300 hp diesel she’s got power without being a fuel hog.  We’ll see how we do on fuel consumption but we’re as light as we can get and short enough to get into places I want to go — so we’re happy with our choice.

From the Driver’s side

From the Passenger’s side

Amidship looking fore

Amidship looking aft

A cozy bathroom

She’ equipped with an Onan Diesel generator for when we need added power, and 50 amp electric plug ins for when we have access to “shore power”  (which is to say if we are in a campground or RV park)

She’s new-to-us, meaning there will be repairs and maintenance to be done — but after the initial replacement of the three house batteries (which we anticipated) she’s been pretty reliable.  We’ve only got about 1000 miles on her thus far — we took her out for a shakedown cruise after purchase.  But until the house is sold our wings are clipped and we’ll be sticking close to the school. [update 18 months later — we’ve put about 4,000 miles on her]

There she is.  And we love her.


And love her we did for 2 1/2 years.





  1. Hello Peter and Peg,
    I found your wonderful blog when you replied to ‘Five Miles To Go’ and I thought your advice to them was terrific.
    I was looking around at your different pages (Peg your poetry is lovely–Congratulations on selling the house–Was it a real ‘Schoolhouse’? I admit I haven’t read enough of your blog yet where my question has probably already been answered).
    We are at the beginning of our Quest to becoming Fulltimers and I really like the way you have organized your blog. I’m really looking forward to delving into the RV Maintenance page.
    I suppose it is safe to assume all of the lovely photos are yours Peter.
    Safe Journey’s with Journey!
    Best Regards,
    -k- of k&p Catalano
    We’d Love it if you Followed along on our Quest!!!
    ‘♩♬♪♪♫♩Wouldn’t you like to be a PIBBER too?♩♬♪♪♫♩’


    1. Thanks for the roses!

      Yeah — it WAS a real schoolhouse. 1923, 6 room school that later got converted to School Board offices. With 6500 sq ft it was a bear to sell — not exactly your ‘starter home’ for a young couple!!!!

      We loved the place but when we decided to retire a bit earlier than we anticipated we realized we’d have to shed the building sooner or later and when RV’ing became our obvious choice for how to spend our best-next years selling it sooner rather than later was the obvious choice.

      I think that the important thing to remember is that there is no ‘right way’ to RV. All sorts of people will rush to give you advice and some of them will be offended of you don’t agree with but what’s ‘right’ is what works for you. Some are always on the go. there’s one couple who bought a new 1/4 million dollar coach and in the first 4 months of their fulltiming they crossed the country 4 (that’s a good 12,000 miles) times but spent most of their time in family driveways — to use their word, “mooch-docking” instead of boondocking. We usually go someplace — spend 2 weeks there and then move down the road — but not a lot — and stay THERE for a couple weeks. Our original plan for June through mid-September had us putting less that 800 miles on the coach. We’ve trimmed some of that now that we are going to camp host here at Highland Ridge because another camp host cancelled.

      Whatever works for you is what you want to do. So, have fun!


      1. Thank You Peter!
        Regardless of what type of vehicle we end up in, I know we will enjoy it and the freedom it will give us. Surprisingly, I find that I am enjoying this preliminary journey of getting our life in order. When you look at the obstacles we have to overcome, most might think I’m crazy for making such a statement. All the plotting, planning and execution of a move has always brought me tremendous satisfaction. I think I thrive on it. Raised military and then spending over 20 years as a military spouse, I have moved over 30 times whereas my partner (the ‘p’ in k&p) has spent his entire life, since he was eight, in the town in which we currently reside. That in itself is going to make things VERY interesting.
        Be Safe and my best to Peg!


      2. Yikes! 30 moved? You’re braver than I am. We’ve managed only 8 moves since we married 44 years ago.

        It’s fun to see how different people approach the same task. You mention “plotting, planning, and execution” and that sounds to me like the way a military kid would have been taught to do things. I’m not sure that I (we) are as organized. 🙂

        RV’ing had not been in our long term plan. I’m a photographer and after years of making a couple extended trips to wildlife refuges each year we started out looking for something that would accommodate the long days of shooting birds — a van big enough to get us to the refuge early, a place to catch a nap during the day, and get us home late. When I started showing my wife some of the options our search changed dramatically and next thing I knew SHE wanted to go RV’ing, which was fine with me.

        I’m a reasonably organized guy but we have intentionally kept our plans lightweight and kind of downplay execution. Not only am I not keen on rigidity for the sake of my blog — and because it is primarily my own journal — I don’t want to present to readers a rigid approach to RV’ing. There are enough other bloggers out there who do that. I’m for a little more loosey goosey approach. But then I never make lists, and I never (anymore) use post-its!!!!! If I can’t remember it (I DO have a great memory) it ain’t worth doin’.

        Personally, I think that huge differences between partners is a great thing. So long as you can master (between the two of you) the art of compromise — or so long as one member of the team sees the other as the ‘star’ and them self as kind of supporting cast. Two bosses don’t usually work well when you are confined to such tight quarters!!!!!


  2. I totally understand not wanting to live a rigid RVing lifestyle…that would be defeating the purpose of choosing such a life. For us, however, until we achieve that goal, ‘Flexible Rigidity’ would be the best name for our approach. Rigid in advancement momentum but Flexible in order to deal with those issues that tend to crop up unexpectedly. Then it’s Loosey Goosey Here We Come!!!!!

    My Post-It Plan will make sense hopefully by Part 2 (possibly there will be a Part 3–still debating on the length of the current Part 2)

    It’s funny how we don’t seem to have much that needs compromising over…we are so much on the same page about so many things. It’s bizarre in a way…almost like the connection twins have…we tend to finish each other’s sentences…or act on the others thought. I’m definitely the ‘talky’ one, at least around other people, but get the two of us brainstorming and we are pretty much on equal ground.

    I’ve been checking out a couple of your links and have added some of them to our ‘Gooood Info’ page. Thank you for including them in your blog. They are incredibly helpful.
    Well…I best get back to finishing my part 2 post.
    Best Regards


  3. Hello Peter & Peg~
    I have followed your blog for sometime now. I am testing the RVing life through your site. My husband wants us to retire to this lifestyle. I am thinking about it 🙂 I nominated your blog for the WordPress Family Award because everyone should read your blog. I think it is pretty great.
    Here are the details about the award.
    Looking forward to reading more~


    1. Ellyn — I didn’t mean to ignore your gracious nomination but we ran into such a storm of activity when we started hosting that I have not had time to do justice to your nomination so I put it off until now. We move to De Soto tomorrow and I hope to have time on Wednesday to post our acceptance and all the links, etc., etc., etc..

      Thanks for reading, thanks for the nomination, and thanks for the encouragement….

      Peter & Peg


    1. Come on along for the ride. We are temporarily bivouac’ed in Florence Oregon while we give some time and labor to the Suislaw National Forest as Volunteers. The more the merrier!


  4. Wow, I never knew there was a rear office model of things! Very nice. My office is the dinette table 🙂 I’m just starting out, moved in last week. Mostly will be docked, except for some trips to keep her in trim and not get flat wheels and cranky engine.
    Thanks for stopping by my site, I look forward to reading through what y’all have done.


    1. There aren’t many rear office models; seems they aren’t all that ‘popular’ — but we love ours. That said, there are still times when I bring the laptop out to the dining room just to be part of the conversation.

      Yeah — make sure you DO keep the rig loose and limber. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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