Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Life in 145 Square Feet

Eagles Point RV Park, San Leon, Texas.

~~~Someone had asked me some questions about my rig as she is looking for a rig for herself & keeps coming back to the Coachmen Catalina Sport 220RK like I have. I wrote her a long letter about things related to my rig & what I've been looking for myself, as she's considering full timing in her future & is a foodie, so likes to cook. If I had a different lifestyle then my rig would be perfect for me. But I have dogs & cats, which make the small rig a bit crowded at times. They are my loves though & my pets aren't disposable just to make life easier. In fact, in my case, it would make life more miserable for me without their souls to share life with! So I've started looking for a bigger ClassC. Right now, I'm checking out my options as to what's out there & what I'd like to live in next. But it will be very hard for me to say goodbye to Ellie, my RV, in the future too!  So I've decided to share my letter back to her here, but I'll keep her anonymous as I think it's the right thing to do.~~~ 
**My rig all in all, is only around 145 square feet. **

Yes, mine is a 220RK, which means Rear Kitchen. For the size of this unit, it does have decent cabinet space, but I'm running short on storage space lately! But since it's only 22' long, that's part of the problem. I am amazed over the cabinet space though for the size of this rig. I've been looking at other rigs lately & so many lack closet & cabinet space. For fulltiming, closet space is kind of necessary. I show dogs, so have suits that I have to wear in the show ring, ouch, they take up space. The rest of my suits & clothes are in a box & hanging wardrobe boxes in my friends house. I need to decide what to do with those as I'm planning on leaving here in May of 2012. So that's one of my issues, I have the double wardrobe closet & two large drawers for folding clothes underneath. It has a generous pantry, which so many don't have. There's a pantry door beside the closet that one shelf holds food items. The pantry has 4 adjustable shelves. The top shelf, I have silly awning lights stored in because I'm silly enough to like those ;-) A space heater/fan that stores up there when not in use. The 2nd shelf holds a tiny crock pot for sauces And an electric skillet. I use the skillet when possible to save on propane when I can plug in for power. The next shelf contains food items, canned soups, stuff like that. Bottom shelf contains dog supplies & towels. Then there's a small long drawer under that cabinet that I store accessories in. Plugs, extension cords, bulbs, etc in.
The rear kitchen has decent cabinet space too. I don't know what you'll get in that regard to a non-rear kitchen, so check that out. But I'd imagine with a bedroom, the cabinets above the bed could hold things & you'd still have adequate cabinet space then. I have a stove, oven, vent hood with light & a double sink. I can't imagine not having the double sink like some of the new RV's lack. Some only have the one sink bowl. I also can't imagine not having the oven! Oh & I have a microwave. Some RV's have done away with the oven in lieu of a convection microwave/oven. I have no idea how to use those! So I want an oven! Most RV ovens are small inside though, so don't expect much. They do have two sizes, but I think in most ClassC's, you get the smaller one if they have one. I like my big windows on both sides of my rear kitchen. I like cooking in my RV too, but it would be easier if I didn't have so much stuff on the counter tops, but that can be moved for cooking too. The Jayco Greyhawk has a nice kitchen set up though that is to the left of the entry door generally.

My sofa is nice & long, which is something that I notice about many newer RV's are shorter sofas. My dinette is nice & long too. I've taken my table & one of the boot seats out of it, but in my case, it was for dog crates. I can always set the table back up though as it sets up on poles & use chairs on the one side if I so wished. The other bench had to stay in because it's where my converter & furnace are located. Under my sofa is my water tank, water heater & water pump.

My RV has been pretty much maintenace free, so I've liked that very much! But it also has it's issues. I did replace the converter a couple of months ago, but then, my rig is a 1996 model, so that's pretty reasonalbe that it ran that long. It was not hard to replace, so I did it myself. I had a new fridge put in last summer. That, I took to an RV center to replace. I had new tires put on it in fall of 2009. My entry step has always been "iffy". I discovered that it had been broken at one time though, not the step it's self, but the entry floor! It was not fixed properly, so it fell through one day. I had it rebuilt, but not by a RV guy, so it fell through again while at the RV shop when they were installing the fridge! So they propped it up, but it still needs rebuilt.

The generator works, I change the oil myself & I use it once a month to keep it exercised. My floors don't give & creek, which I'm glad for as many rigs seem to do that. The bathroom is small, but easy & functional. BUT because of lack of storage for my personal needs, the vacuum, a bin of cleaning supplies & my clothes hamper live in the tub too. So I take them out when I shower & dry my shower afterwards to put them all back in again.

Because mine is older, the ladder supports deterioated. I wondered why my ladder was crimping up & discovered it was because of the supports, which made the ladder weak & break. So I bought a new ladder & the RV place installed that as well. I maintain the roof myself too, which needs done yearly as far as resurfacing. But that's a matter of cleaning it & putting on a new layer of roof stuff with a paint roller. Not a hard job.

I don't have a basement, nor ducted air. I have a simple manual roof air conditioner, which is all that is needed for a rig of this size. I love the manual a/c though because if there's a power surge, it turns right back on. And always have a surge protector that you plug your rig into as well to protect the a/c & electrical system. Mine saved my A/C this summer, thank goodness!

I don't really get claustrophobic, but I wasn't planning on living in my rig at the time that I bought it. Circumstances & a hurricane changed my life suddenly & I found myself, the dogs & cats living in my small rig! Then it became tiny. Then I do jewerly & crocheting, so I have supplies to tend with. I am now to the point where I want a bedroom & basement storage, but still want to keep within a ClassC. Why a C? Because they'd be easier for most mechanics to deal with when traveling. ClassA's need someone experienced with buses & those systems. And most people I know that have them seem to have break downs, so although an A would make my life easier, I think a bigger C still would work. I want a bedroom. But in my case, I want a bedroom for my dogs so I have more room in my rig for myself. I could keep my dinette then & take out the bed to arrange living quarters for the dogs better.

I fell in love with a Jayco Designer ClassC last summer, but it got sold 20 mins before I got there to put a down payment on it. Bummer! I was so bummed! It had great basement storage & a big enough bedroom for my needs.

So since I've decided to live in an RV rather than a house, I'm kind of keeping my eyes peeled for a bigger C with a bedroom & lots of storage! I don't think you should have any issues with kitchen items though since I carry dogs, crates & supplies which would weigh more than kitchen items. (& I have kitchen items too, but maybe not as much weight on those)

Another thing to note if you are looking for a C with a bedroom, & are planning on taking out the bed for office space. Lift & look under the bed to see if that's possible. Some have the water tanks & electrical panel under there. thus not making it possible to do that then.

I don't have slides, but I kind of think one would be nice in the living area now...but then you lose CCC capacity, so I don't really know...

One of the things I like about older rigs too is that some of the front seats turn around for extra seating! The newer one's don't have that option. BUT if they have basement storage, then the step down to the cab area is pretty significant too, so then the seats would not be functional to turn around. Older rigs/newer rigs, anything can happen & go out. I'd prefer to have something of this century now though ;-)

If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask & I'll try to answer you sooner! I'll go find the links to my RV so you can see it better from my blog & videos. I'll send those in another email.

Cyn Peace
We'll be friends until we are old & senile...then we'll be new friends
Then I wrote back to her again & told her this too:
You're welcome. IF I knew I'd be living in my RV when I bought it, I would have bought bigger for better space for me & the dogs. If it was just me & one dog, then mine would be perfect for me. It's all about what one needs & can live with in comfort.
Also when you look at RV's check around the windows for leaks. Any stains or soft wood is a leak. Any delamination is a leak! Check internally around ceiling seams & such for tell tale stains. Those are leaks. Leaks are bad, very bad....I've dealt with them personally & they are not fun! Rotted wood spreads like a bad disease.
I looked at some RV's today & one ClassC's overhead window was actually sunken in due to a leak. Bad news for it! Feel free to ask me any questions as they arise. I don't mind at all. :-)
Cyn Peace
We'll be friends until we are old & senile...then we'll be new friends  

****12-21-2011  One more thing to add, I forgot to mention if you are looking at ClassC's, lift the cushions & insepct the decking of the overhead bed area for tale tell signs of water damages as well. And the overhead windows, especially the big front one if the RV has one.
OK, so I've also shared my goofy tag line with ya'll as well. Heehee. If anyone has anything to add in comments please feel free to do so. This girl is looking for a ClassC, no longer than 28'.
No offense intended for those that live in other types of RV's either. I know not ALL Rv's break down, I've only shared my esperiences of those that I know of & what my personal fears of me personally thinking of a ClassA would be for myself.
~As always, be kind to your pets, clean up after them on your travels & respect your neighbor~


  1. I think all full timers would agree that there is no perfect rig and the more we live in them the more changes we would make. I too have a class C 31" Jayco Melbourne and it has two slides. It works well for me, but might not for others. All I can say would be to look and look and look and eventually you'll step into one that just fits. Good searching.
    By the way the convection oven works just like a regular oven except it cooks in half the time.

  2. I also have a Class C 23ft.1996 Winnie/Spirit I wish it had a slide. I think the slide would make a big difference. I have the back corner bed which I don't care for either but it works. Since I don't use the top bunk I have taken out the mattress and attached plastic drawers up there for added storage. I have a very small closet but it works for me. There weren't any drawers at all. My bathroom is tiny but that also works. My front seats would be able to turn if they had room. I also took out the dinette to make a sofa out of it and made a back cushion out of a single sized futon mattress. I have lots of overhead storage but the ones over the bed are kind of lost to me since I can't get on my knees. All in all its a good rig with some minor repairs I need to take care of caused by the previous owner who turned out to be quite an idiot. Oh and I do have an oven but have never used it.

  3. Thanks so much for leaving your comments John & JoJo! I really appreciate it. I plan on sending this page to the girl, so the more comments, the better! It would have been great had I had this kind of info when I was looking. But then, at the time I got mine, my needs were quite different back then from what they are now, 5 years later.

  4. TexCyn ... thanks for including the letter. There is a lot of good information there for someone looking at RV's for the first time. You and I have spoke before about different design ideas to make living with dogs a little easier. After I buy my rig, I would like to remove the bed over cabin and then mount my large tv up there plus other electronic equipment.

    Then I would have to keep the bed in back installed. Yet, it is still very tempting to remove that back bed and make it an office like I have at home and maybe put the TV in back along with computers, PS3 and the hounds.

    Good info.

  5. Thanks Bhounds. I guess you'll have a better idea of what you'll want to do when you find the right rig for your needs. One of my thoughts about the rear bedroom was take the bed out, build a platform in the space between the cabinets where the bed would have been & place a twin mattress or an airbed on the platform, leaving the rest of the bedroom for space for other things. One could make that a small day bed area or sleeping bed for night. If done right, then one could also use the bottom of the platform for storage as well.


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