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Do We Call It Quits…


We finally arrived home and shipped the truck and trailer to repair shops.  The truck was a total champ but when we were driving through Las Vegas in 100+ weather down a steep grade, a car swerved and stopped in front of us and we had to stop.  The brakes were already hot we had to do an evasive maneuver.  The brakes haven’t been the same since and we want them checked along with a complete look over the engine.

My mom always told me to invest in high quality items.  For the most part, I listen to her.  Our trailer is one of the times I didn’t listen.  Oh, it’s not that I didn’t want high quality, it’s that I couldn’t afford high quality for a non-essential item.

This is biting me now.

Halfway through the trip, the overhead interior lights started flickering.  At the end of the trip, most lights refused to turn on.  Fortunately, we had a few clip lamps that held us over until we got home.  The bathroom sink started leaking.  The shower started leaking.  The bearings need to be repacked.  While we can do some of the repairs ourselves, some will need to be left to the professionals.

We expect the truck and trailer repairs to be $1,000…each.  I think I just coughed up a liver. *sobs*

When all is said and done after repairs, we’ll have $2,000 left in our fall travel account.  It won’t be enough for the next trip.  My husband has a couple jobs that will cover the expected expenses (we’re far more experienced at what to expect at this point) but we all know it’s the unexpected ones that hurt.  We are traveling in winter across cold states.  We are staying as far south as possible but that doesn’t mean it will be 70 and sunny.  If we get to freezing, we can’t stay in the trailer with the kids.  Remember the conversation about quality?  Yeah, poor quality trailers don’t have good insulation.  We have family along the way that can provide shelter but there is always a chance we’ll get caught in a freak storm and have to move to a hotel for a few nights.

We’ve spent hours in the truck traveling and my husband and I used that time to have long conversations about whether we should continue forward into another trip or not.  Our plan was to drive to Florida and up the coast to South Carolina.  We’d drop the trailer at the home of a relative fly home to stay for a couple months, fly back, then head north up the rest of the east coast in the spring when weather calmed.  On paper, it’s an easy choice.  Heck no.  But this trip turned out to be so much more than we hoped.  It was a chance to escape from our home, escape the struggles with our parents, and learn so much about this beautiful country.  It has been such a pleasure getting to know people along the way.  After the dairy farm visit, I find myself yelling ‘We don’t pay nearly enough for milk!  Those dairy farmers deserve more!’ at the grocery store.  We learned about farming.  About growing.  About butchers.  About national parks.  Those experiences are special.  Unexpected.  I also started to learn that I’m less rooted to my home than I thought and I’d like to know if that feeling is real or just a side effect of being in gorgeous parts of the country in the late summer and early fall.  It put moving back onto the table which was quite a surprise.

We still have a few weeks to make a final call but for now, we’re planning to go.  It means we are going to take money from the truck replacement fund if needed.  We are ahead of schedule in our savings and it may mean delaying the purchase of a replacement for 6 months to a year.  We don’t have debt, we won’t acquire new debt, and we won’t touch our emergency fund.  It was one of those decisions we thought long and hard over but for now, it seems right.


  • Reply Angie |

    Just to put it a different way. You’re gonna start blowing through your savings for a family vacation?

    If it’s right for you, go for it. But just realize that you’re jeopardizing your future security that you worked so hard to build up. Are you prepared for that risk and the uneasiness that goes with it? Using your truck replacement savings, to fund a vacation, seems particularly unwise. Especially since the truck will be at the end of its life once you return.

    I know this won’t change your decision. But I hope you think through all the consequences. You really shouldn’t have been surprised with 2k of repairs after such a trip. And it’s not because you didn’t buy a high quality trailer. Travel trailers aren’t meant to be lived in full time. Wheel bearings should be checked and replaced annually.

  • Reply Shanna |

    I think one thing to consider in all this is if your friends/family members that you are factoring in staying with if needed actually are comfortable hosting a family that has been traveling all over during a pandemic. I would not. So you may want to make sure your budget can cover all hotel stays. I do think your trip is amazing and super worth it for you and your kids. But that being said, it is a pandemic and there is a lot to consider in that regard as to flying, etc. And what would happen if one of you got sick, or all of you did. Is there an option to sell this trailer and buy a better one to keep hotels out of the equation?

  • Reply Jen |

    It sounds like your plans rely heavily on the generosity of others. If you cannot afford this trip while 100% paying your own way WITHOUT diving into emergency savings, you should not do it.

  • Reply Cynthia |

    I’ve wanted an RV for awhile now, but this type of situation is what’s really holding me back. An acquaintance of mine recently bought a brand new, top of the line, over $90k RV and when they got it home from the dealer they immediately found at least 10 items needing repair. At the end of the day, can you afford it and is the experience worth the cost.

  • Reply Drmaddog |

    As tempting as it might be, I would say pass. As others have said, using savings meant for something else instead for a vacation is risky. If you get out there and have some major breakdown or something like that, it could end up a lot worse. Use your memories from this trip to spur you on to save for the next.

  • Reply Julene M McGregor |

    I guess I’m the same type of person you are. This type of opportunity isn’t always available and I’d go for sure. The things your kids are learning and experiencing will be life changing and nothing that you can teach. You could involve them more in the budgeting if you wanted and have them help plan the routes, stays, etc. a bit. They could look at the weather and help make the plan. That said, I would make sure you have some backup plans, including a good RV heater, emergency supplies in case you get caught in a storm and then go. I would not rely on family, unless there is family that thinks just like you and feels the exact same about the current circumstances because that could get really tricky with relationships. I can’t wait to hear what you decide – whatever it is has to be right for you!

So, what do you think ?