I retired at the end of 2015 and spent the first seven months just enjoying myself. My wife, Joanne, didn’t retire until the beginning of August, 2016. A year and a half later, we hadn’t really changed our lives very much. I had my things to do, such as lunches and suppers with friends, playing hockey, and cycling, while Joanne had her own things to do. We didn’t really spend much more time together than we had before we retired. This wasn’t really what I had expected out of retirement, so naturally we spent a fair bit of time talking about it.
In the end, we decided that we needed to get away on vacations more often. Many of my non-retired friends think that’s a silly thing–every day is vacation when you’re retired–but that simply isn’t true. You still have a daily routine that includes chores at home, sports, leisure, and more. That all changes when you leave the home for an extended period, just like what happens on a vacation. It is, in fact, a vacation. Maybe a trailer would be just the thing for frequent vacations.
We socialize with a couple, Kelly and Joe, who have a motorhome. We had been intrigued by the idea of traveling with your own “home”. So far, we’d done a car trip to Myrtle Beach and enjoyed the experience, but the possibility of traveling with Kelly and Joe was enticing. So, we spent a couple of months considering what we wanted before we chose the RV of our dreams, a thrity-five foot Montana 3120RL fifth wheel trailer. Of course, we needed a vehicle to tow it–our Subaru Outback wasn’t suitable! So, we traded the Subaru Outback for a 2018 Ford F-350 Super Duty dual-rear-wheel pickup truck.
Choosing our RV
If you’re curious about how and why we chose what we did, and what we recommend for others looking for an RV, check out this blog post for all the details. In a nutshell, we started looking at small trailers and as we considered the longer trips we expected to take, we ended up with a trailer much larger than we started looking at.
The Montana 3120RL
The trailer we bought is very nice inside. In fact, it’s much nicer than the four-bedroom home that we bought all the way back in 1990! We haven’t seriously redecorated our home since we bought it whereas the trailer looks like a modern model home.
The floor plan is just perfect for us, even though this is the smallest trailer in the Montana line.
The manufacturer, Keystone RV, has a very nice 3D virtual tour of this trailer that let’s you see the trailer in 3D from several different standing positions. You can easily navigate to any of the positions. and it’s really nicely done. The tour is just below the floor plan on that page.
The Back Half of the Trailer
This first picture (below) shows the view inside our trailer looking to the rear. To the left you can see first the dinette, which extends quite a bit, and the power recliners that face the television across the hall. At the rear is the sofa bed. To the right is the spot for the television, which hasn’t been installed yet because the trailer hasn’t been fully prepared for us to pick it up yet. Finally, at the far right you can see the range and oven.
The picture below shows the dinette and the power recliners. The entire table extends out another eight inches or so. Also, you can see that there’s a leaf at the end of the table that also extends. With both extensions in place, the table comfortably seats four people. There are two folding chairs that match the fixed ones. They’re stored in the closet for the washer and dryer. The trailer comes with the water and electrical rough-ins for them but we haven’t opted for them so far. The power recliners face the television on the other side of the trailer.
The picture below shows the spot for the television at the far left. Next is the three-burner propane range and the propane oven. Above that is a residential convection oven. Beside that is the 18-cubic-foot refrigerator that operates on either propane or 120v electricity. To the right of the refrigerator is the pantry door. Finally, to its right is a little nook with storage above and below. The hallway to the bathroom and bedroom is to its right, but not shown in this picture.
In the “middle” of the trailer is the bathroom, shown in the two pictures below. The bathroom sink and vanity have a cabinet above it for toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving creme, razors, and so on. It’s actually quite roomy. To the left of that cabinet is the mirror, of course. In the second picture below, you can see the shower reflected in the mirror as well as the slots for the sliding shower doors at the far left.
At the front of the trailer is our bedroom. Standing outside the bathroom door and looking towards the front of the trailer, you can see our bed at the far left, the mirrored doors of our closet, and the louvered door to the rough-in for the washer and dryer (currently occupied by the two folding dinette chairs and other stuff). At the right of the picture, you can see the spot for the television up above with a window below that and our dresser at the bottom. Finally, the picture of the bed shows the bed itself as well as the window and shelf where the pillows are–there’s one opposite, too, so that you can get a nice breeze when the windows are open.
The Ford F-350 Dual Rear Wheel Truck
Once we had chosen our trailer, we had to get a vehicle to tow it. Since it was a fifth wheel trailer, we needed a pickup truck. We ended up with a 2018 Ford F-350 Crew Cab Dual Rear Wheel (dually) pickup. Why? That’s explained in our post, Choosing the RV of Our Dreams.
We had little choice about the truck once we’d chosen a Ford because they were running out of 2018 models to sell and we couldn’t wait another two weeks to get a 2019 model. We had to put 1,600 kilometers (about 1,000 miles) before we could tow our trailer with it, and we knew we were going on a trip with a couple we know well, so timing was tight. So, we were stuck with a black truck, which isn’t what we ideally wanted. But, it’s a great truck for towing the trailer. We’re really happy with it.
We started looking for a trailer back in late May. It was a lot of work to settle on the trailer we wanted, and then pick a truck to tow it. Plus, we had to be sure, as much as we could, that this was the right thing for us to do. We did all that in two months and now we’re ready to go RVing!
Note: This blog post was made available to the general public on November 13, 2019.