Our Setup Episode 1 – A Tour of our RV after Living on the Road for 3 Years
After 3 years of living full time in our rig, we’ve had several request to go into more detail about our RV and our setup so here it is!
Once we started looking into the idea of filming our setup we realized there was quite a bit to tell and much more than we could cram into a single blog post. Looks like its time for a series!
This is “Our Setup” – The Series
This will be the start of a serious of post/vlogs where we talk about our setup, the features and benefits, and if we regret any of our choices. We encourage you to make comments and recommendations on any topics you would like to know/ learn more about, as the topics we will cover will be highly focused on what you want to hear more about. Now on to the good stuff..
Our Rig – “The Black Pearl”
This is our 45ft Enterga Aspire Motorhome that we’ve lived in full time for 3 years. It is a Class A diesel pusher with 4 slides. We purchased our coach from Motorhome Specialists in Alvarado, TX. After a year of researching several different, types, styles and RV set-ups we decided on the Entegra Aspire 44B even though it was a bit out of our price range. The layout was what we were looking for, a coach that had the durability and function to live and work in full time, while having a floor plan that resembled a traditional home setup for a couple. Even though it was 30% over our budget, once we experienced the Entegra’s quiet ride and superior insulation for ourselves, we couldn’t go back to looking at gas coaches in our budget. Make sure to subscribe as we’ll be posting detailed videos on our Entegra, the 2 year bumper-to-bumper warranty and all manner of our experiences.
Our “Towed” Toad
For all of our non RV’ers a TOAD, also know as a “Dinghy” is a small vehicle being towed behind a large RV. Our Toad is a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (4 door), Rubicon edition. We’ve owned the jeep long before we decided to RV full time, but it turned out to be a great 4-down flat-tow vehicle. The Jeep’s off-road heritage actually lends itself really well to being towed. It has no steering lock (yup none) and does not require anything special to tow it with all 4 wheels on the ground. To tow we use a Blue Ox Alpha Tow Bar . We outfitted the Jeep with a Blue Ox Base Plate that allows our rig to be towed easily as well as a Air Force One Tow Braking System to ensure our vehicle meets all applicable laws for tow vehicle braking. More on the tow setup later!
Motorcycle & Motorcycle Lift
Our 2010 BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycle also comes along with us. We have a motorcycle lift on the back of our coach that allows us to carry the bike and the Jeep behind that. We’ve done videos on our motorcycle lift setup which can be found here and we will also post subsequent articles on this shortly!
Diesel pushers are expensive which is a huge draw back but they can carry a lot of weight as a nice trade off to their price. Pass-through storage and tons of clearance mean you can take it all! Check out our post on “How much stuff can fit under A diesel Pusher” to learn more.
We’ve added 10 160 watt solar panels made by Grape Solar to the roof of our bus and 6 Lifeline 300 amp hour batteries to store all that solar power. We have two 80 amp Outback Solar Flex Max Charge Controllers that convert the solar energy into 12 volts for our batteries and we are very happy with the setup. We utilized the factory solar wiring in our setup which has certain drawbacks that added to the overall cost of our setup (but meant we didn’t have to run huge battery cables down from the room). We will be posting future videos on our solar setup, in the meantime make sure to check out our video on adding cheap solar to your RV.
Come on In! (Entry)
The driving area, which is very important during travel days tends to be a waste of space when you are parked. To maximize the use of our front door area Erik crated a steering wheel table (video). We use this table and area as place where we put our mail/paperwork and leave our shoes to keep the rest of the RV clean. Above the steering wheel is a cabinet that we converted into a charging station for all of our blogging gear. And above the passenger seat is the control center. Where we have the solar controller, batter monitors and other major controls for the RV.
Lets Get to Work
We still work and not just on this blog, we both have full-time jobs. Erik works in technology and Kala in human resources. We converted the Entegra’s integrated dining room areas into a desk area for Erik. For the most part we left the setup as-is but we removed the supplied dinning chairs and replaced them with an office chair. We installed a printer in the under-cabinet and put a monitor, phone, headset and docking station near the window. Stay tuned for a full post on our work setup coming soon!
Kala will either sit on the couch or use the passenger chair for her office. This nifty table from Camping World allows Kala’s desk to double as a coffee table and is also used quite a bit for eating dinner.
Beside having to stagger some work calls, this desk set up works well as it convert our living space into a traveling office during working hours.
We’ve added a Canary Internet Security Camera that keeps an eye on our bus when we are away. The Canary security device allows us to monitor via video from our cell phone and also provides us with information about temperature, humidity and air quality. You need reliable, unlimited data cellular internet in order to use a system like this, but more on that later as we’ll be providing a complete write up of our connectivity in future videos posting shortly.
Our kitchen has a residential refrigerator, convention microwave, 2 propane burners and a ton of storage space. Our rig came with drawers inside each of the cabinets. We tracked down these shelves which are celled “Rev-a-shelf” and think they would make a great addition to any RV providing your cabinets are deep enough.
The only real issue we have encountered in our kitchen has been the kitchen faucet which we replaced twice under warranty. The RV grade faucets don’t seem to be durable enough to handle full-time use so we upgraded our faucet to a touch-less residential grade faucet made by Moen. This one has worked great for us so far, and we love that it is motion sense letting you easily turn on the water when you have dirty hands.
Our 2015 Entegra came with a Sleep Number bed. While the Sleep Number was very comfortable and gave us more flexibility for firmness control, it also proved difficult when traveling at elevation. The bed would change firmness when the coach changed altitude and many folks have reported popping their mattress when climbing mountain passes. To prevent that from happening we replaced our mattress with a Tempurpedic and have been happy every since. There is quite a bit of bedroom storage in our RV and we think its plenty for two people. With seven drawers in the vanity, three large & deep cabinets above the the bed and storage under the bed we’ve got plenty of places to put things. That said, during our 3 years on the road we’ve figured out a bunch of organization and space saving tips.
Links for Items Featured in This Article
- Blue Ox Alpha Tow Bar
- Blue Ox Baseplate for Jeep Wrangler JK
- Air Force One Tow Braking System
- Rev-A-Shelf Pull Out Shelves on Amazon
- Moen Motionsense Faucet
- Canary Internet Security Camera
Thanks for Coming Over!
Thanks so much for coming on a tour of our home. We hope you enjoyed learning about our setup, and hope you stay tuned for future videos that go into much more depth on a variety of topics on all things mobile. Make sure to comment below on what you’d like to see us cover in future videos and see you on the road!