1-year review with Bailey the 5th wheel

1 Year of RV Living Review
We found two more to look at if we spent the night and headed home the next day. Since we were already 10 hours from home, we might as well look at them, now. Little did we know that in this spur of the moment decision we would end up buying our new home!

The New Year has always been a time of reflection for Don and I.  This year we’ve decided to share it with all of you. 2018 marks the start of our 5th wheel living, full-time adventure with Bailey (the name of our 5th wheel). We had a lot of ‘firsts’ in 2018, including the idea of documenting every step of our Adventures In RV Life!

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The Fall of 2017 we began to toy with the idea of Don leaving his stressful store manager job. Read more about our decision to full-time HERE.  By January 2018 we took the leap – saying “YES” – change needed to happen!

The change we settled on was to live in an RV full time, travel and work. However, we did not know much about RV’s, so we dove into research with every moment of our free time. This included answering the hard questions of what layout was best for us? Could we get inside if the slides were in on travel day? What size did we need to stay around to allow us into older RV parks and National Parks RV sites?  What was the weight we need to be under for our truck? How much stuff could we keep and not overload the trailer? We will answer these questions and more in future blogs.


After careful thought and lots of research, we found a handful of 5th wheels that would meet our needs. Surprisingly there were only two-floor plans we seemed to gravitate to.  On paper is one thing, so we set out to go look at some RVs in person. However, there wasn’t much available in the small ski resort town we lived in. Our next step was to hit the internet to find specific models and travel to go look inside them.

Thankfully a 7hr drive would allow us to see a couple of our options.  The first one we looked at did not meet our needs. The next was better but too heavy for our towing comfort. We found two more to look at if we spent the night and headed home the next day.  Since we were already 10 hours from home, we might as well look at them, now. Little did we know that in this spur of the moment decision we would end up buying our new home! On Jan 31st we bought Bailey –  our Bayhill 320rs by Evergreen. Read more about that adventure HERE.


March 2nd through the 5th was our moving sale that resembled more of an estate sale.  So much so we had tried to sell the contents of the home as a bundle deal, so to speak.   To learn more about our sale, click HERE.


March 13th we were able to go pick up Bailey!  ‘She’ had been at Camping World since January because our pick-up date was set for Feb 17th. Then a slide out broke (in their possession) that took them 4-weeks to fix!  This puts us in a jam because we had already given our notice at work and house rental. We were already in an empty home sleeping on an air mattress.  The delay meant we would not have the 5th wheel at our home to load the remaining belongings. It also meant that we would have to rely on the pictures we had taken to figure out storage space and decide on those ‘what if’ items.  We have a blog HERE on our buying experience with Camping World.


On our route from southern Idaho to Washington with our new home in tow, through sketchy weather, our truck decided to give us a ‘Check Engine’ light.  Between this and the dealership taking so long for us to get on the road, we had to spend our first night looking for a place to sleep (with no power to run the furnace… Burr).  You can read more about our first night HERE.


By March 16th we had moved into Bailey on family property where they had set up 50amp power and water for us.  The only thing we lacked was a dumpsite, which the next-door neighbor already had for his RV. This allowed for a less stressful time in figuring out the issue with the truck, as well as staying in town to be with friends and family we had not seen in years.

March 23rd was our first time dumping the tanks.  That was a little bit of a complicated procedure only because we needed to haul our new ‘blue tote’ down the street to the neighbor’s dump area.  However, after a year of it, the tote dumping process is easier. One dump day we had a mishap, find our humorous story HERE.


We continued to buy all those miscellaneous items that you never think of when purchasing an RV, but need to be able to function correctly.   Coming soon we will have a list posted to help you be better prepared than we were.

Our first interior project was on May 28th to paint the fridge with chalkboard paint and magnetic base paint.  It was super fun and came out well, so click HERE (coming soon) to learn more.

We are settling into the new RV full-time lifestyle we chose for ourselves.  It started off a little nerve-wracking with new sounds (sound blog HERE), learning the ins/outs of how the different systems work in/on the rig and more.


As we enjoyed the warm Summer weather and helping our family out in their yard, the heat was getting to be a bit too much for us inside the 5th wheel.   Electric was getting expensive to continue to run both AC units and a couple of fans. We found a product called Reflectix to try on the windows to help shield us from the harsh sun.  It worked amazingly well! So check out our video HERE (coming soon) on what it is.

The rest of the Fall was filled with continued learning of the small propane stove and oven.  We were avid bakers (bread, pies, cookies, etc.) in our former house and wanted to continue it in our RV.  With some practice, we were able to do just that in the small space with an unreliable heat source. With the learning curve under our belt, we are now sharing recipes monthly on the blog, so be sure to check back often! You wouldn’t want to miss recipes like our Italian Meatloaf that is transformed into a pasta dish the next day!

We also learned that one small error by hitting the wrong button could move the slide-out seal just enough for it to not lay flat.  Everything would have been fine if the rain had not come. There was enough of an opening to cause a significant waterfall inside Bailey. This prompted our expensive slide-out cover wish list to become a reality!  Check that out HERE (coming soon).


We decided to spend the winter in the Inland Northwest of Washington State…. Burr.  Winters are always snowy, cold temps in the 20s and not very many sunny days. That translates into needing electricity since solar could not keep up.  We would be in need of lots of propane for the furnace. So we began working on projects to keep the underside warm (ideally to keep our pipes from freezing). Check out our Winter Prep blog to learn more.

Sept 29th we installed a tank heating system and a tank monitoring system. The tank monitoring system we opted for is capable of monitor propane tanks, which we plan to install at a later date and provide you with a how-to video.  We will also have in-depth videos on the tank heaters and monitoring system in the future too -so keep an eye out!

The cold weather came quickly, so on Oct 14th, we built a skirt around Bailey out of R-Tech 1” foam.   It actually made a big difference in keeping the underside warmer and stopping the wind. How do we know?  We installed wireless temperature sensors in the areas we wanted to monitor from the comfort of inside. But the windows were a different issue, more HERE.


While we thought about our expensive slide-out covers, we installed over the Summer, the idea of snow weighing them down and possibly ripping made us cringe!  What could we do? Luckily we had access to an old hot tub cover that we could salvage the foam out of. The foam was thick enough to slide on top of the slide-out with the fabric of the slide out cover just above the foam.  What a perfect fit!

December 29th we had to remove snow from the top of Bailey by using a soft broom.  The 3” that fell warmed up quickly, making a huge mess (wet sloppy snow). Our slide out cover protection system (aka: old hot tub cover) worked out perfectly.  


We don’t often make New Year’s resolutions, but we do often reflect on what we want in life and how to make it happen.  For 2019 we have a few goals in mind such as minor interior remodeling, taking Bailey out for a short trip and fixing our truck.  

Thank you for reading our post and we will see you on our next Adventure!

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Melissa McElfresh

Melissa McElfresh

In 2012 I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), which made me realize life is too short and not to take simple things for granted. As an avid indoor-girl with allergies, I did not go on hikes of any sort. But, one day my Marine husband, Don, asked if I would go on a 'nature walk' with him. It was on the paved Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park. I went and was hooked, eager for our next adventure! The desire to see new places, meet new people, experience new cultures, has aided me to share with you my new adventure.

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We are sharing our adventures to not only document our full-time living in a 5th wheel but to provide others with information.  

Our extensive research involved searching for answers to these questions: how to begin this lifestyle, what RV is best to live in full-time and what jobs could we do to support our dream.  

However, we did not find a lot of answers out there that pertained to our quest.  

Quickly we realized people choose this lifestyle and their RV for many different reasons.  There is no right or wrong answer.  

We are here to provide you with another perspective.

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