Adventures RV Tips

How It All Began, Pt. 2

Ford 6.4L Super Duty Truck
Our Ford 6.4L Super Duty Truck

I started researching trucks. Living in Tennessee, we’re not short on friends who have all kinds of truck advice. My idea was to buy a truck that would pull whatever RV we wanted to buy. I didn’t want the truck to be my limiting factor, even if we decided on something light that an F-150 would pull. I read forum after forum, post after post. I narrowed it down to an F-250 made between 2000 and the first half of 2003 to get the 7.3L Diesel. I did a ton of window shopping on eBay,, etc. At this point, we’re paying off other things and setting some money aside so a truck purchase wasn’t urgent. I could wait for the best deal.

About a year went by and I hadn’t bought a truck yet. Turns out Charlie wasn’t too keen on living in an RV. WHAT?! Our idea of living in an RV was fading. We talked, she was afraid of what people would think, she quickly got over that and the idea of having an RV was back on.

We both started window shopping online for RV’s. We initially set a budget of $15,000 for the RV and $15,000 for the truck. We looked at picture after picture online. Finally, we went to Camping World to put our hands on an RV. We really liked what we saw. We just had to find the right one for us. We weren’t tied to the idea of getting a fifth wheel or travel trailer so if we found one or the other that fit our budget and our needs, we would be fine. We did look at motorhomes, and a good used one starts around $40,000. My thoughts were that if we did this and didn’t like it, we’re stuck with a $40,000 vehicle. If we bought a truck and a trailer, and didn’t like it, we could still drive the truck and go camping on the weekends or something.

2011 Ice Storm... Too Cold for Us.. TIme to Move On
2011 Ice Storm… Too Cold for Us.. Time to Move On

Time passed another winter came. The temp outside was 8 degrees one day. 8 degrees?!?! It was all our heater could do to keep the house at 65. These cold snaps were enough for me and Charlie so we stepped up or game and decided that would be our last winter in Pigeon Forge.

Summer of 2012 came and we were RV shopping. We found the camper we wanted. Finally. One we both agreed on. It’s a Zinger ZT32QB. A 32′ travel trailer. A litle longer than I wanted, but because it’s got an office in the back, I’ll deal with it when towing/backing, etc. Guess what? We don’t have a truck yet so the dealership made it part of the deal to tow it to storage for us at no cost. We did go over budget on the camper by $5,000.


It cost us $20k, but is brand new and has a 2 year warranty. In my opinion, it was worth going over budget to get a new camper that had exactly what we wanted/needed.

Guess what? It’s now time to start truck shopping. The 7.3L diesel that I wanted had gone up in price because of the reliability and demand. More truck research told me to stay away from any Ford with the 6.0L diesel. So, I filtered results to show 2008 F-250s with the 6.4L diesel. I found one after about a month at a Ford dealership in Knoxville. At the time a 2003 7.3L would’ve cost somewhere around $19k. I got my 2008 6.4L diesel, 2 wheel drive extended cab long wheel base for $22,800. Again, over budget, but conditions had changed and getting a truck that’s 5 years newer, lower mileage (60,000 and on a diesel, that’s nothing), and a 3 year warranty was worth it to me.

our belongings
All of our possessions at the time of our move into the RV..

What were we going to do with our house? Rent it out, let it sit empty, or furnish it to become an overnight rental. Long story short, a previous neighbor called me out of the blue wanting to move back to Pigeon Forge and asked if I knew of any places to rent. Wow….things are falling in place. She ended up signing a 2 year lease. It couldn’t have worked out better. She wanted stability and we knew she would take care of our place.

Prior to finding a truck we were making things happen with the household items we wanted to purge. We donated a TON of stuff to animal rescue places for them to sell to raise money to help their dogs. We sold other stuff, donated more stuff, etc. We went through our things more and more to find out what we really didn’t need.

It was SUPER LIBERATING to get rid of stuff we didn’t need or use. We’re down to bare bones right now and it’s nice. Very few extras. We have about 10 containers stored in our basement of family heirlooms/memorabilia that we choose to keep and then about  500 lbs of cargo in the camper including clothes, our computer equipment, food, and other necessary things.

That’s it.

That’s all we’ve got.

It’s awesome!


By Brian Gilbert

Prior to August 28th, 2012 we had never spent the night in a camper or RV. Now we're full timers and have never looked back. If you've ever dreamed of doing the RV thing, do it. It's much easier than I ever imagined. The only thing I regret so far is not doing it sooner.

4 replies on “How It All Began, Pt. 2”

Excellent! I admit I did wonder how all this came about, but did not want to be nosy. So now I know. I think it is wonderful and am glad you decided to take the plunge. I will enjoy traveling vicariously with you both.

I plan on retiring (again) in a couple years and have been discussing doing the same thing. I will be watching and learning. Hope you guys have a safe and happy journey and hope to learn a lot about life on the road from you!

Bill, from seeing the pics of camp scuzzi, I thought you were already a full time RVer. Your pics have been part of my inspiration. We’ll definitely keep sharing info.

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