Nature

“If You Really, REALLY Love Each Other…” How to Handle Space When Fulltiming in a Roadtrek

lovebirdsThat’s my standard answer when people ask how we can possibly fulltime in a Roadtrek Class B campervan for three years, going on four now – I tell them it’s only possible because we really, REALLY love each other. Now that’s a true statement, and Sharon is a treasure beyond price, but there are also practical steps you can take to maximize comfort and personal space, just in case love has occasional difficulty conquering all.

Our main rule, which helps the most, is that only one person can move at a time. The other has to remain seated or in bed or wherever they are to allow the moving person to get around easily. Our aisle width is enough for people to squeeze by each other if needed, but it’s just a whole lot easier to give one of us at a time the benefit of unobstructed access to all cabinets and appliances, so that they can get done whatever it is they’re doing. We aren’t in a big hurry – we’re retired.

One of the earphone jacks, on the pillar between the front and side doors.
One of the earphone jacks, on the pillar between the front and side doors.

The second rule is earphones. Unless we’re both watching or listening to the same program, we use earphones for single-interest TV, satellite radio, and internet audio.  This allows the other person to concentrate on whatever they’re doing, whether it’s my fascinating baseball games or Sharon’s frivolous house hunters TV programs.  How does this work, you may wonder, without creating a huge tangle of wires? That’s one of the problems I worked on during the extensive modifications I made to our Roadtrek before we hit the road.

In place of the plastic enclosure for the rear speakers above the rear doors, I have my fancy audio switchig system, along with fan controls, three porch light switches, and many other mysterious devices.
In place of the plastic enclosure for the rear speakers above the rear doors, I have my fancy audio switching system, speaker and fan controls, three porch light switches, and many other mysterious devices.

I engineered a fancy multi-media sound system which has earphone jacks in various locations so you can select one of six inputs (TV, front or back docks for the internet radio, regular radio, Blu-Ray player, or either laptop) and have the sound come out either of two sets of speakers, or out one of the three earphone jacks. I can sit up front and listen to the TV in the back on my headphones, while Sharon’s in the back with hers listening to the satellite radio, which is physically up front with me. The trick is to be able to have the sound come out anywhere you want it to. My Roadtrek is an older pre-surround sound model, so I could design this from scratch. The woofer is in that unusable space down at the end of the side cabinet, beside the air conditioner.

The two speakers in the rear have alternat speakers in the front corner of the bed area, and we can switch the sound around to any wall. Note our art gallery, lower left.
The two speakers in the rear have alternate speakers in the front corners of the bed area, and we can switch the sound around to any wall. Note our art gallery, lower left. Delft tiles resist damage – and this one matches our color scheme.

We have a 190 Popular with an armoire, so there are only two seating positions up front. When we’re both inside, I’m usually in the spun-around passenger seat up front facing the rear of the vehicle and playing on my computer, and Sharon’s in the permanent fullsize bed in back, reading, watching TV, or listening to the satellite radio. Sometimes we swap positions when I’m watching a ballgame, or sometimes I just swing the TV around and watch from up front. The sound system makes it easy.

A Roadtrek’s not like a house or Class A, anyway. You don’t drive somewhere and sit in your unit day and night. We use our Roadtrek more like tent campers who sleep in their tent and spend their waking time outdoors. We have a hammock, table and chairs for outdoor furniture, and set up an outside area when we alight for a multi-day stay. Fiona the Fearless Kitty also has a strong preference for the outdoors, so one of us is frequently outside, attending to her needs. Usually it’s me. Fiona and I explore the area, look for birds and rodents, sniff everything in sight, and aggravate any nearby dogs.  It’s what we do ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sharon likes beach walks and strolls along any trails in the area. Each of us meander off as it pleases us (except Fiona, who needs supervision and occasional backup for fights she starts), which helps to pass the time.

A final way to avoid getting in each others’ way is to have one person do all the cooking and dish washing – there’s just not enough space in the galley area to have two people trying to operate there. Sharon helpfully suggested that if I performed these tasks myself, then she wouldn’t be cluttering up the area with her presence, but instead could remain on the bed or front chair and assist in such chores as food sampling while the meal preparation was ongoing, providing essential quality control for the cooking process. She also handles the onerous burden of menu planning duties. As I said, she’s a treasure beyond price – where would I find another woman who could come up with such brilliant solutions to our space utilization challenges? I’m a lucky man.

9 thoughts on ““If You Really, REALLY Love Each Other…” How to Handle Space When Fulltiming in a Roadtrek”

  1. Cheryl Gregorie

    Love your useful, funny posts! As usual, I am in awe how you thought about your design to make everything easy!

  2. Dr Campskunk, (heavy on the Dr) you are a very lucky man!! When I pull my wife away from her rowing and social affairs I am a lucky man too. Whether it’s the boat or the camper we start having fun and she likes to watch me cook and do dishes just like Sharon. Wish I could cook and do dished more often Hi Hi! With any luck it will be Maine this fall. Thanks for putting many great thoughts in writing and sharing them with us, Bigfoot Dave

  3. Yes, the movement in our class B is what I call “A Dance!” We say, “Oh, you’re going back there, then I’ll stay on this end. The best is when one goes into the bathroom for a lengthy time (shower, makeup, nail maintenance, etc, and the other has the run of the place. It is a great time to reorganize, make bed, lay out clothes for the next day, etc. It is a time to enjoy moving about freely, and is the only time the B seems big! When my wife is getting dressed, cooking, cleaning, etc, the best location for me is outdoors. (Rainy days are a challenge!) When getting ready at the same time, I have been known to do some personal grooming (shaving, hair combing) outside at the vehicular mirror, when no neighbors are around, and it is not raining! (This is not good etiquette, however, in a public campground)
    When those thinking of down-sizing want to see our cute little Sprinter, I size them up. If they are tall or large, I strongly advise they get in there together and move around, and, step into the bathroom! I ALWAYS ask if they have a really close relationship!

    1. i forgot to mention that – apparently, there are elaborate, complex and lengthy sacred rituals that have to be performed frequently which cannot be witnessed by the unworthy (male) members of the tribe, or else it’s bad luck. for the unworthy. i spend a lot of time outside, too.

  4. I am amazed at all your modifications..your Roadtrek should eventually end up in the Smithsonian, like Julia Child’s kitchen!

  5. I love your funny post….we have a 190 Popular as well and keep it set up with twin beds, because we love the night table in between, and we can claim our own space. The drawer under the bed and the cubby over the bed (on either side of the A/C) is sole domain of who’s bed it is. Also I find it easier to get out of bed to use the potty. Cooking and dishwashing is share….I prefer him to cook most of the time, and I prefer to do the dishes—he prefers to stuff them in a pan in the cupboard to do at end of day. He does outside chores (waxing, checking oil…), and I prefer to do inside jobs. The only problem we have is that the man gets bored….he has no hobbies such as reading, and you can only stare off into space so long I guess.

  6. Fun post : )
    My wife & i are yet to retire, though we do live full time in our 38ft mobile suite as of Thanksgiving 2011. (Our adventure rig van-conversion + small fiberglass trailer can be seen at our website…just click my name). I mention the full time rig as we downsized from a 3 bedroom farmhouse on an acre of land because 1) the nest was empty, & 2) on looking back over the prior 28 years we were rarely a hug apart. It was only logical that the next _home_ could be something much cozier. Now, nearly two years into our downsized home we are so happy with the decision, AND can hardly wait to downsize once again into the van-conversion + FG trailer…our two room 34 ft articulated motor home ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. It’s encouraging to hear good stories from them that’s living the life! DH and I are both large living people, especially DH. We had the dickens of a time figuring out how to fit him into the bed and bath of our new Ranger, but determination won out. In our prior Xplorer conversion, we traveled far and long, and I got used to the small space, but not him. He now keeps talking about just using the ($$) Ranger as a traveler, not to really stay in. ๐Ÿ™ Looks like my full time dream will take awhile to come true. Still, we can have some great times pulling over in scenic spots to have a nice homemade meal made with goods acquired from local markets. Sampling local foods is one of the many pleasures of traveling the blue hi9ghways.

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