Trading in the Minivan for a Truck

I have always had a not so favorable impression of truck ownership.

In retrospect, I profiled.

Those huge, fuel guzzling, polluting, road hogs, just showing off, was what I thought of truck owners. Although I made exceptions with my narrow mindedness to respect those that had working trucks (i.e.-farmers, horse trailers, mechanics,…). As long as they did not have a shiny new paint job, fancy aftermarket rims, lifted suspension or truck nuts, I was okay….

Well, humility is a funny thing to gain at any time in your life. For me, I was today years old when I realized what all the buzz is about trucks.

I was a reluctant purchaser. I didn’t want (nor could I afford) to buy a Class A motor home. Although I looked hard, I couldn’t find anything that could pull a 10,000 lb trailer that wasn’t a truck.

Side note: I really don’t want to start a debate with those that have modified their Honda Civics to pull 12,000 lbs across country and have scaled the Himalayas pulling a 38′ travel trailer with the fresh water tank full. Modifications can and are done to make Tahoes, Escalades, Yukons and other SUVs capable of hauling big weight. I allow for that. I just know our experience level did not allow for us to do it. If you have, you are amazing. I respect and honor you. You’re better than us. I digress.

So, after much fretting and gnashing of teeth, I jumped into the truck market. Well, I dabbled and played on the internet to try to just kind of get into the truck market. It didn’t work. We ended up full in on the truck with a Ram 2500, Cummins Diesel, Mega Cab with an integrated towing package. The dealer said it is the first time he has ever traded in a Mini van for a diesel truck. Our truck is a monster and I love it. There are a million practical reasons why my logic got us into this unicorn of a truck (most of them around safety, legroom and towing capacity), but in the end, I think it is going to be very hard to go back to a regular car.

The only shortcoming I can see so far is every time I get into the driver seat I hear Krusty the Clown singing in my head. Canyonero…..


Truck nut free since at least 2003. (If it rhymes it has to be good.)


Hi! We’re happy to see you!

We are the Tepe family. We are originally from Ohio. Our family consists of my husband (Ben), myself (Sarah), our two boys, and a retired greyhound.

My husband and I are both in our early 40’s, with our boys in middle and junior high. We currently live in a 2, 369 square foot house. Ben has been wanting to downsize for awhile (he hates the yard work and all the trees that we have to keep cutting down).

We also had a few people close to us suddenly and unexpectedly pass away over the last several years. It made us want to grab this opportunity to give lasting memories to the kids while we still could. I certainly don’t feel old, but I have to stretch before I get out of bed and sometimes I snap, crackle, and pop walking up the stairs!

There is so much of this country that we haven’t seen. When we started talking about this idea last year, everyone wrote down where they wanted to go and we made our route using everyone’s ideas. We decided to head North and West first to try to get to the National Parks early in the season and then travel to stay in warm weather, while also missing some of the hurricane season down south.

We made a timeline of what needed to happen to make this work and also when we wanted to go to the places on our list.

Phase 1: We used a large laminated map (yay for Costco!) and a dry erase marker to plan our route.

Phase 2: The first big/expensive/integral part of our plan was to find a truck that could handle almost anything. However, it also needed to have good leg room in the backseat for the boys. We ended up getting a diesel Ram to make sure we had enough oomph in the mountains while towing. A few months later we added a cap to the truck to make the bed space more usable.

Phase 3: We then got the kids signed up for public online school. That has been a whole experience in and of itself.

Phase 4: We began cleaning out the extra stuff from the house and started getting it ready to list with a realtor. We rented a storage locker to store any items that we might want when we come back.

Phase 5: We spoke to a realtor about listing the house.

Phase 6: Planned to sell the house and leave in June for the trip! Everything is going pretty smoothly and more or less on time!

…Wait a minute…

Unexpected delay: COVID-19 hit and our plans got delayed. Out of all the possibilities we thought of (not finding the right truck or trailer, school, work not letting Ben go remote, money, etc.), a “once in a hundred years” global pandemic was not even close to being on our list. We have been lucky and have been able to social distance and work from home. We have managed to reroute to stay on course for most of our trip, but will be missing Washington, Oregon, Yosemite, and northern/middle California. I was really disappointed about all the sites we would miss: rail cars through the Redwoods, Alcatraz (this one was on everyone’s list to see), San Francisco… But I guess it will give us something to look forward to for another trip.

Although we are still social distancing as much as possible and wearing our masks when out, we were finally able to find our travel trailer. Our trip is on again, modified and delayed, but on again. We are now scrambling to finish getting the house up for sale and to reschedule the earlier parks.

This is going to be our trip’s story. I hope you enjoy it.


P.S. We will probably both be writing blog posts. We will try to sign them so you know who is writing them. There will probably also be a delay, at least in the beginning, on when things happen in real life and when the post goes out. We are juggling downsizing to a tiny home, getting our house ready to sell, and setting up the RV. I will try to write these as they happen, or at least jot notes down and finish later, but they probably won’t go up right way.

Posted in: Newbie Tips

Sleeping In The Trailer For The First Time (June 6)

It’s home! The travel trailer is in the driveway for now. We are making adjustments to the kids’ bunk room to make it more usable for when school starts. Beginning Tuesday we have reservations at a campground for a month before we start this whole traveling journey. The month is to give us time to get the house ready for listing and to also give us practice with all things RV before we actually begin our trip.

It’s been a busy couple of days. We got a desk installed on one wall and made some storage modifications under the dinette seats. I got the TPMS sensors placed on the trailer (the truck has it’s own tire pressure gauge) and the monitors for the trailer back up camera and the TPMS set up.

ANYWAY, back to the title of the post. The boys were so excited about the new camper (we have had it for a whole 2 days at this point) and that their room was close to being ready. They wanted to sleep in there tonight, even though it was almost 90 today (it’s supposed to get down to 60 tonight)! So armed with a flashlight, Ben’s cell phone, and some fans, they are sleeping in their new room tonight. I am sleeping in the house where it is air conditioned.

The Next Day

I checked on the boys before I went to sleep last night and they were still up around midnight. They slept in this morning and I went in to find two curled up blanket lumps in their beds. And an apple juice bottle on the floor. Except…we don’t have any apple juice. Yup, you may have guessed it. Nick had drank so much water that he had to pee during the night and the RV was not hooked up to water. He used his empty water bottle. Not a horrible solution, but it was laying on it’s side when I found it. Luckily the cap was on well and no leaks were had. (Note: I did correct the bottle position before taking the picture because I didn’t want pee all over my new RV floor!)

NOTE: The water bottle trick actually came in handy again when we had to boondock. When all the slides are in, the boys can’t get to the bathroom without exiting the RV and going through the master bedroom. You know, when I was younger and pre-kids, I don’t think I would ever have thought “Hey, do you have an empty water bottle for the night?”


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