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Saturday, October 6, 2012

On The Horns Of A Dilemma

"Do not be too timid and squeamish. ... All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better." Emerson.

About this time last year we took a chance on "romance" and embarked on a new downsized RV lifestyle. The question going in flashed like Las Vegas marquees, "Is it sustainable?" Well, what is a life lived without risk, anyway? There is no romance worth a pittance without adventure and risk.

So today, in just a few hours, someone is coming over to look at our Chalet. We pulled her from our garage where she has been sleeping all summer long... popped up, and proceeded to rinse layer upon layer of Utah onto our gravel drive. Needless to say, there was a substantial red ring around the "tub" when we were done.

So why, you ask, why give her up? Why not keep the Chalet for those times and places that beckon Back-O-Beyond? That is the twenty thousand dollar question, isn't it... and you'll find the answer hiding out in the question. Based on this past summer's use (not a good amount of data, I know) we tried to project a mental x-y graph. Let's call it the Return On Investment graph, for lack of a better handle, where all the variables are accounted for, tallied, and a summed squared answer is spit into lap, standard deviations and all. We needed something to tell us if said "return" was statistically significant enough to keep Status Quo. I'm speak of variables like pleasure, use frequency, deprecation, comfort, ease of use, and long term compatibility, adventure options... just to mention a few.

We could have, but for some reason, didn't, do what we thought we would do this past summer... that is to take the Chalet and adventure into our own backyard. You want excuses? Ok, I'll give you excuses. Work, for one (which is just another way of saying "money," isn't it?). Given the fact that continued summer employment will be a necessity for, God-only-knows... how ever long it takes for the herniated real-estate market to heal enough for us to sell a house, we wonder about affordability. So we didn't take the time nor go to the effort of packing up Chalet, only to hurry back in time for work. Instead, we donned packs and simply headed out on day trips. We still experienced all the glory of going, without the hassle of camping (yes, camping does become a bit of a hassle if you must break camp in order to hurry home to jobs).  

So do we let our 2012 sit in the garage and depreciate, using it once to three times a year for short outings? Or, do we sell it, get as much of our investment back while it can be gotten... use Golden Girl like we use our house in Lovely Ouray... that is to say, as a warm, cozy and comfortable base camp from which to explore our surroundings De Jour? 

Well, that will depend on what the Chalet will bring, to some extent. If it will rip our financial hearts out, then no, we'll keep the Chalet rather than take a beating, and put it to its intended use as often as possible. Last summer may have been a fluke. Maybe we will go camping in our own backyard next year... and Back-O-Beyond, too.  Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of having two RV's, one small, one bigger. It thrills me to think, "we can go anywhere," further, deeper, higher, lighter, cheaper... to be able to choose between "roughing it" and "Motorhome-ing it." 

I've always said, one needs at least two places, one for summer; one for winter (a third place by the sea would be nice, too... if one has money). It applies to RV's as well, but not so much for seasonal reasons, but for boondocking/exploring options. My Pen Pal Claudia and her hubby Marc over at Itchy Hitch have two RV's, one big, one small; and they make use of both according to style and need. On our first sojourn we pulled a 26 foot Arctic Fox trailer behind a pickup with a pop-up camper on it so we could disconnect, leave the trailer behind and go farther. Overkill? Indulgent? Conspicuous? Maybe, but life is all about options. The fewer options I have, the more I begin to feel trapped.


  1. I too like the two RV thing. I live full-time in the big 5er. Had a cabover and now I want another to go play in. Good luck with this.

  2. gas is $5:00a gallon in califonia!! i have a casitia 16 standard, i'm a fan of small travel trailer's.i would keep it.

  3. We just sold our TT and there's no looking back. Old Blue's gonna take us places and not cramp our style too much. And for that "back of beyond" we still have our tent and backpacks. -scamp

  4. For what it's worth, I hope you sell the Chalet. Three times per year? Heck, motels would cost less than the depreciation and extra gasoline. Take the Subaru to a motel three hours away, and then drive out to the trailhead.

    Besides, why is it so important to camp in the inaccessible backwoods? Any quiet campsite is fine. Then you jump out in the morning on the mountain bike and explore the rest of the road. Why are you DRIVING roads when that just steals the thunder from a mountain bike ride?

    I really don't understand this post. You really think that part time RVers need two rigs, a pickup, and a Subaru? I have been a full timer for 15 years and still own the original rig.

  5. I hope you get the price you want and then the decision will be made for you. One of the workampers here at Mesa Verde is living in a Chalet.

  6. Gaelyn,
    Same concept as we had... a "guest" RV... a "get-away" cabin. I've always liked the idea of two RV's... not all agree, tho

    Gary G.,
    I hear you... we will lay it in the hands of Craigs List Fate. Two lookers so far... "Thinking about it."

    That works too! But alas, I've grown accustomed to my "creature comforts." Goldie is chomping at the bit... almost done with the makeover (phase one, that is). On The Road Again... counting down the days!!!

    We had that very, exact discussion, that the depreciation would more than pay for several motel trips. So we do analogize alike... to a point.

    However, our ideologies diverge at the intersection of "any quiet campsite" and the one that rocks in the Back-O-Beyond. I have personally shown you such places, and you seemed to have agreed that they were splendid at the time and place, so I don't understand your backslide into a "yawning" attitude about them. I mean, "Cuba, New Mexico?" What's next, Gallup? Florence? Desert Wells...??? just because there is a dirt road and Verizon??? Please, Give me a break!

    I think a Chalet is the perfect rig for a single! Honestly, It's perfect... easy to heat, clean, pull, pop up and down, maneuver, park, doesn't require a gas hog to pull....
    Yes, A single and their pet. Perfect.
    Thanks for commenting

  7. Hmmm... Ever'body seems to be missing something here.

    Mark requires movement and new vistas. It is Who the fella is! Stagnation to him is like a prison...

    That is not just in boondocking or traveling but in all things. He's always pokin' about, curious and wondering. Unlike others who lack the curiosity or cajones to change, Ol' Mark embraces it.

    He's like a motorhead. As soon as they're done building one car they're ready to start on the next wondering; "I wonder how THIS would work". Mark is a RVhead :)

    Ever'body stuck in the same old tired RUT... Should exercise juuuuuust a mite of introspection.... Watch Mark And wonder; "What the hell is wrong with ME!!!"

  8. I kinda like that little A-Frame. Certainly a lot more room than some of those TearDrop trailers I've seen. Tough decision with all the variables in play. Gotta figure, if you sell it, your not likely to ever have another one:((

  9. Decisions, Decisions. Great post! -Caleb

  10. CowBoy Brian,
    Wasn't it "curiosity" that killed the cat??
    But thanks for you nice comment. We'll see how it all turns out.

    Bayfield Al,
    The Chalet does seem so large inside... so many windows and a ceiling I can't even touch arms outstretched. Thanks for your comment... tough indeed.

    Tough decisions make life interesting...
    They also give you ulcers :))
    Thanks, Big Guy... Love to you in Al-Be-que!


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