How & Why We Chose a Leer Shell for our 2008 Dodge Ram

Storage is KEY when you live full time in any RV but especially an Airstream. We knew we needed some safe, secure and weatherproof storage in Clifford, our truck. Steve walks you through the process we took in picking out and getting our Leer Shell.


If you have any questions about our truck, or anything else about our Airstream life please let us know in the comments!

The Story of Clifford our Big Red Truck

We’ve had a few people ask us about Clifford, our 2500 red Dodge Ram, so we thought we’d tell you the story about how we decided to purchase him. Steve will walk you through our process and show you all the cool features that we didn’t even know it had (and neither did the dealer). We lucked out on our truck and couldn’t be happier. The ride is smooth for me and the girls and Steve assures me he can’t even feel the Airstream behind us. Plus he has so much fun driving the manual!

If you have any specific questions about Clifford or our decision please let us know in the comments!

Airstream DIY – Reupholstering the Window Valences

As you may have seen in Monday’s Vlog Sneak Peak, we started reupholstering the window valences in our Airstream. When we bought our 2005 Airstream Classic everything inside was original. While beige stripes might be somebodies cup of tea, they aren’t ares. So we went to a local bulk fabric warehouse and found some awesome fabric that is. We’re going for a Southwestern theme with red and turquoise as our main pops of color. I think we did pretty well! Two of the valences are now done and we just have to do 4 more. Slowly but surely we’re making Charlie, our Airstream, feel like home. Hope you enjoy the video!

Have any of you done cosmetic/decor related DIY on your Airstream, RV or even home? I’m thinking of tackling the dinette seats once the valences are done but I’m a bit daunted.

Our Airstream Home Tour

We know a lot of you have been asking to see how we live in our Airstream so we present to you, our first Home Tour! In this video we give you a brief overview of how we live both inside and outside of our tiny home. Features include our patio setup, outdoor storage, and how we use the small space we have inside.

We’re also looking for suggestions on possible places to go to get our desk and floor renovations done.  So if you know someone who does good work on Airstreams, please let us know! We will be mobile soon enough and are willing to travel for the best work.

Lastly, this was a pretty high overview for our home tour (because we didn’t want the video to be forever long). We plan to do more in-depth videos soon. As always if there is anything in particular you would like to see, please let us know! We’re always looking for ideas.

 

Airstream Condiment Storage Solution – Why Vinegar is NOT our Favorite Smell

Continuing on our random journey through our Airstream storage solutions we come to condiment storage. Unlike the bar storage in the last post we didn’t hit this storage solution out of the park on the first shot. In fact we had 2 separate moves (remember we’ve only moved a total of 5 times) where we opened the Airstream after unhitching to find a distinct vinegar smell inside. Yum! I guess vinegar isn’t the worst thing to have spill in transit but it’s not the most pleasant either. Today I’ll walk you through what now works and what we tried that didn’t quite work. Learning experiences shared somehow make them more worthwhile and seem less stupid.Continue Reading

113 Degrees in an Airstream – Keeping Cool

The past 3 days the outside temperature has been above 110º F. It’s officially summer in Southern AZ and everyone is now counting down the days until the monsoon storms help bring the temperatures back down. Our number one priority is keeping cool. We’ve both lived here in Tucson for over 7 years, so we know what a Tucson summer entails. It is never fun. You spend A LOT of time inside. This summer we have the added fun of living inside a 30ft Airstream. We understood that these few months were going to be rough when we decided to move up our plans and move into our Airstream back in April. If we can live happily in this tiny space without being able to go outside much for a couple of months we should have no issues once we start traveling, that’s for sure!

I posted on Instagram this weekend about our indoor activities given the weather and had a commenter mention moving their home away from the heat. We wish we could! I still work full-time in an office here in Tucson and will until February. Steve works from home, so I am the only thing holding us here. Me quitting early is not something we’re willing to entertain. We thought about having Steve and the girls move somewhere cooler and me finding a place to stay and work but decided we’d rather suffer together as a family then split up (aww thanks guys). So we deal with the heat. I’ve had a couple of questions regarding our methods. So here  are some of our tricks to keeping cool so far.Continue Reading

Embrace Your Passions and Join your Perfect Community

For those of you who don’t know, Steve and I met online, using eHarmony. So we’re no strangers to meeting people online who become very important to us. However all of our friendships have been made the traditional way, in person. Steve has a few friends he met while working here in Tucson. I have a few friends (mostly room-mates) from previous stages of life elsewhere and a couple of people here in Tucson who I met through work and hobbies. We love our friends and we’re sure that we’ll stay in touch and visit often once we hit the road, but we’ve already seen ourselves pulling away from some of our acquaintances or “lesser” friends here in Tucson because our lives just no longer match. People joke about losing friendships when someone has or does not have kids. I imagine having a friend give up everything they own, quit their jobs and move into an Airstream might be similar in terms of huge life changes.Continue Reading

We’re Going Camping This Weekend!

One of the things that we are looking forward to the most in our post-retirement lives next year, is that we will be able to move our home where ever we like. We can decide what we will see when we wake up and open the Airstream door. Will it be mountains? A lake? A creek? The middle of the desert with no one within sight? Yes to all of these. While we love living in our Airstream now, and wouldn’t switch back to a sticks and bricks home, we are living a stationary life right now and wake up to the same views and chores each morning. The KOA (Kampgrounds of America) that we are staying at is actually beginning to feel like home. When we had our first move with Steve’s parents a couple of weeks ago it was amazing how just moving to another campground up the street felt like an adventure or a vacation.That got us thinking. Why not spend as many weekends as we can “camping” somewhere new? We had always planned to camp in the future but why not now? Isn’t that one of the golden rules of a happy life, to not put off for tomorrow what you can also enjoy today?Continue Reading

How Living Tiny Has Made Us Even More Frugal

When we took the plunge and decided to drastically reduce our lifestyle, buy our Airstream, and move into our tiny home, all while retiring by the end of this year we obviously had to take a hard look at our spending. With big HONKING CRAZY plans like these we didn’t have the luxury of the occasional Starbucks, Amazon movie, or vending machine candy bar. For any of you who followed our retirement blog in the early days we accounted for every cent we spent, down to the money we saved by bringing our own bags to the grocery store. We also budgeted every category and would reassess as needed. Many people would have considered us majorly frugal, perhaps even cheap though we always knew there was more we could do. While our savings goals were of the utmost important we still wanted to enjoy our lives so alcohol, books, and cigars were accounted for in the budget. Honestly I didn’t expect any of these categories to change much once we moved into the Airstream. BUT living tiny has actually made us MORE frugal and once we’re done selling our last home this month I can’t wait to update our budget spreadsheet to account for all the changes I’ve seen.

6 Ways Living Tiny Has Made Us More Frugal

  1. We don’t have a lot of room for things, so we don’t buy them.This one is obvious and we knew it going in. Obviously living in a tiny space means less room for things, and therefore many less things. What I didn’t expect is that the impulse wouldn’t even come up. Someone mentions a new fabulous thingie-mer-jigger and I don’t think “O I wish I could get that, but we don’t have room”. I just think that’s cool for them and move on. It’s like the thing is not even an option. The best I can relate it to is how I feel when there is dessert in the kitchen at work and when I go to get some it’s chocolate. I don’t like chocolate…at all (I know I’m WEIRD). What’s funny is I don’t even feel bad about not getting the dessert, I just don’t have it.
  2. Since we don’t have a lot of room for things, the things we display or use must be both functional but also beautiful to us. If we needed/wanted something in our old lives we usually only considered one of two rational for buying it. Do I need it to do something? Is it pretty and make me happy? Now we have to ask ourselves BOTH questions before making any purchases. When you have very little you have the chance to carefully curate your possessions to be both incredibly useful and meaningfully representative of your life, values, and personality. That’s a lot to ask from a salt shaker I know but it’s true that we now put a lot more thought into every purchase.IMG_1662
  3. We don’t have room for the “what if’s”, “just in case”s, or buying bulk. Have you ever been in the grocery store and saw something that while not on your list it would be good to have? The spices always got me. MMMM Chinese Five Spice? Why not! That would be fun to cook with. Meanwhile my spice drawer was full of expired exotic spices and I always used the same core 10 or so. Now I just don’t have the room for those impulses, or that giant bag of sugar that’s on sale. Buying in bulk can be great for the wallet as long as you actually use it all. Now we don’t even have the option.
  4. We spend good quality time cooking delicious meals together in our tiny kitchen or out on the grill while sitting together on the patio. While eating out is fun, the food is very seldom better than what we make at home, and the whole experience costs quite a bit. In fact while out at a fancy dinner this weekend (free to us) we discussed that while fun to get dressed up and drink cocktails we could have a very similar experience at home for A LOT CHEAPER. Though as Steve pointed out, we would still have to do the dishes.
  5. Goodbye monthly utilities. When we owned our sticks and bricks home we had the normal bills: Electricity, Gas, Water, Sewer, Garbage etc. (notice cable was not on this list). Now that we’re living full time in our Airstream we pay rent for our spot, electricity and the occasional propane bill when we run through the tanks. Water, Sewer, and Garbage are all free. So is cable (though we still don’t watch it). We’ll see how bad the electricity gets this summer but you have to remember that we are now cooling a 200 sq ft room instead of a 1500 sq ft house. Overall we’re going to come out way ahead.
  6. We’re spending less money on GAS. Now this one doesn’t directly relate to moving into our Airstream but it does relate to WHERE we decided to move it to. Steve works from home so his commute is minimal to say the least. I meanwhile have to commute into the office most days. I used to fill up the gas tank 4x a month on average for my 1 hour + in the car each workday. Now my total commute is 30 minutes and we fill up the car 2x a month. That’s a nice savings in both money and my time.

Hopefully the more time we spend in the Airstream, the less we will need and the more frugal we will become. Once we’re on the road we plan to boondock a lot and won’t even be paying those site fees or electricity. We will see how the budget progresses but so far, so good!

Moving our Tiny Home for the First Time

So if you follow us on social media (specifically Twitter or Instagram) you would have seen us moving our tiny home for the first time this past weekend. We were lucky that Steve’s parents (who were full time RVers for over a decade) volunteered to come down to Tucson and help us work through our checklists and relieve our minds.  Honestly we weren’t too worried about most of the moving process, except for hitching and unhitching the Airstream from the truck, but they caught a number of things that we either didn’t think of or weren’t doing quite right. Nothing that would have ruined our move, but things that would have been seriously annoying.

We hitched up Charlie to Clifford Friday morning and drove about 10-15 minutes down the road to another full-service campground where we unhitched and setup at our new home base. Then on Sunday morning we did it all again (this time with a much better checklist and with Steve’s parents looking on but not participating) and moved back to our original campground but to a new shady spot (just in time for our 1st forecasted 100+ degree day this weekend). While not relaxing, the weekend certainly was not stressful and in fact I think overall it was exciting. It showed we can do this and soon we WILL be doing this whenever we want. Now the hardest thing is to stay put for the rest of the year. You can be sure that on any upcoming weekend that is cool enough we will be out boondocking somewhere in Southern AZ, just because we can and now we know how.

I hope you enjoy our video montage of our move!!