December 15, 2014

The Arctic Fox

"The Arctic Fox is an incredibly hardy animal that can survive frigid Arctic temperatures as low as -58° F (-50C). Arctic Foxes have beautiful white, blue-gray coats that act as a very effective winter camouflage. The natural hues allow the fox to blend into any landscape."
National Geographic

On December 12, 2014, exactly 2 months after we ordered our Arctic Fox 25P, we received these photos from a very cool representative at Northwood Manufacturing. Our new trailer is slowly working its way through each production station.

These select photos, all of our chosen model and floorplan, highlight different phases of completion while on the production line. Although there is no way to determine which one of these units is the one we ordered, this line is quite special...for it will be the final time Northwood Manufacturing will produce the Arctic Fox 25P floorplan.

The below photo shows the stand up shower, framing for the fridge and the frame of the storage box below the queen bed.

This next photo is of another angle showing the under bed storage frame on the left, the enclosed shower and bathroom and the kitchen counter located in the rear of the trailer.

In this photo, more of the kitchen has been completed and some structural walls. The fridge frame on the left, completed counter, double sink, range, oven and cabinets and drawers. The small booth dinette is also almost complete. 

This driver's side photo shows the booth and kitchen. The 
"big hole" is for the sofa bed slide out. By the way reservations 
for that sofa bed have been submitted for a multitude of dates 
so they will need to be chosen by the "lottery" due to the huge number of requests.

Here is the what the completed slide out room looks like.

Almost complete...but you can get an idea of what our Arctic 
Fox 25P will look like when all dressed up with the new graphics, colors and front cap design for 2015

Pretty exciting, huh? Our own Arctic our eyes the best 
4-season trailer built. We look forward to testing it's ruggedness in those off the grid "hidey-holes" or in harsh and extreme weather. Although we prefer fair weather conditions, we are confident we will be snug as a bug if Mother Nature chooses to offer us a test.

But in the meantime, we must wait until Northwood Manufacturing finishes our rig with our chosen interior color scheme and upgraded options. Once the trailer is out of production, the manufacturer will complete a thorough Pre-Delivery Inspectionn (PDI) prior to shipment to our dealer. Once our dealer takes possession of the trailer, they complete their own final PDI and then install the additional after market options that we requested. Until that day, we will enjoy the holidays with family. 

Now readers...after looking at this small sampling of photos, would you be able to find the space for everything you need for a minimum of 6 months of full time travel living? It is not easy to change a lifetime of formed behaviors, in fact very hard to do, especially when you include egos and desires whispering deep within your mind..."you will need me, pleaseeeee take me". Fortunately we've had great mentors to help us along the way and look forward to meeting others out there who will no doubt teach us even more. Fellow Nomads, based on all your experience, we would love to see your most most important suggestions or tips toward long-term RV living by responding in the comment Section at the end of this post.

P.S.  Since the very first time I had the opportunity to experience living full time on the road, my mantra has been...Simplify, Prioritize and Downsize. Heck, the less I have, the less I have to dust. And over the years when I became WE, Imkelina had the same mindset. And for those that know us...we do walk our talk!
"Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how 
uncomplicated and happy your life can become."  
Paramahansa Yogananda

At Waypoint 35°33'03.60"N 121°05'11.40"W…holding pattern.

September 30, 2014

There's Always Tomorrow...

"But there's always tomorrow to start over again
Things will never stay the same
The only one sure thing is change
Thats why there's always tomorrow"
Gloria Estefan 1991

Gee, was December 29th, 2009 that we posted a farewell to our beloved Country Coach Allure. I read our last entry and realized those words have manifested into reality.

"What will be next for the BlaNics? Well...creating more memories of course! No doubt that we will again seek out those country roads, explore some of the myriad number of unique natural wonderlands and make time to wear down more tread on those hiking shoes.
And hopefully along the way, the winds will again draw to us more of those unique vagabonds...the storytellers of life...our mentors, wizards and witches...who we will will also embrace as members of our family. As of this posting, were again retracing the steps that eventually led us to acquiring our amazing motorhome. We plan on downsizing to a rig with the agility and size to seek out those hard to get sites in our National Parks and State Parks that tantalize us, but also possess the durability to travel the unpaved and isolated roads of the BLM Lands."

Amazingly, five years have just flashed by. There have been a few "carpe diem exclamation points" over that time which seemingly has created an illusion that 2009 was but yesterday...or maybe as I "gracefully" age, events are blending into one long experience.

And just as was on our minds back in 2009, it appears that the moment we ended our days of full time motorhome living, I slowly and with reservation, dreamed that someday we would do this all over again. Yes, we would have a different plan, a broader outlook and a wider quadrant of exploration and adventure. So over the course of 5 years, even while navigating our lives through daily living, past some pesky roadblocks and a few adventure trips, we slowly positioned ourselves to make some real choices.

But no wasting time here. We conducted a qualitative exploration of new and different modes of RV living. We knew we wanted to explore many of those hard to get outdoor treasures; so another diesel pusher was off the list. Our imagination took us to living in a Class B to a Class C motorhome, then to a Truck Camper and finally to a small Travel Trailer. And the one big change in our life, influencing any decision, was to make sure it had enough space for our 4-legged kid...Sydney.

So began the conscientious task of researching every manufacturer in each class, their ratings and reviews. Who builds the best rig, which has the highest customer satisfaction level and what manufacturer offers the highest resale value? We went to huge RV Shows to view each class, floor plans and the quality of construction from each manufacturer. But our biggest take away proved to be what would not work and what manufacturer we would never own.

After a lot of consideration and thought...decision changes and reversals...we decided. A mid-size travel trailer would be the right rig to fit all our needs. Small enough to take into length limited campgrounds, sturdy enough to hold a huge amount of weight and offer enough floor space for Sydney and that order. Choosing the manufacturer was easy. One company stood head and shoulders above all others and built trailers that match our lifestyle and outdoor niche. We chose Northwest Manufacturing of La Grande, Oregon and their renowned Arctic Fox line.

Imkelina was now responsible for choosing the box. We began walking thru different floor plans, touching, opening doors, cabinets, visualizing, measuring and then doing it all over again. Once we determined a length that would fit our aggressive plans to explore those hard to find, off the grid treasures, she was able to magnify her research for a floorplan that would make habitation with me tolerable.

Even though we never walked through an actual model or had the opportunity to drool on it's floor, we decided on an Arctic Fox 25P. The trailer has the length for full time living, awesome holding capacity for boondocking, but short enough to get us into the most remote National Forest Service Campgrounds. 

We then provided the next logical piece to the puzzle...we researched and purchased the best "stallion" with the biggest cojones to pull that rig. The Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 Crew Cab with a powerful Cummins Turbo Diesel Engine was our champion. It has a towing capacity of 17,060 lbs. 
A vacation trip to the Eastern Sierras, driving up and down mountain roads, proved to us that it's gas mileage was also awesome...we average 22 mpg combined. And by adding a matching SnugTop over the bed, we had more sheltered space for gear.

There are not that many Arctic Fox dealers in the U.S., let alone the west, but we researched them all. We had conversations with a half dozen dealers, even visited a couple offering them the opportunity to sell us. But in the end, we chose a dealer that had the best reputation, demonstrated honesty and transparency and possessed more knowledge about their products than us…they are Thunder RV in La Grande, Oregon. And no coincidence they are just down the road from the Northwest Manufacturing…they sell only their full line.

So on September 12th, 2014...surrounded by our dear friends and boondocking mentors, Dick and Melinda, we initiated our lifetime pass toward experiences, adventures and wonderment. We placed our order with Thunder RV and added every possible upgrade to enhance the comfort of the rig and prolong our boondocking capability. It was an exciting day and the memories of those years since our first post on BlaNics Waypoints provided us many reasons to celebrate. Now our patience would be tested, for it will be over three months before our Arctic Fox reaches the production line. Then we must wait an additional three months before we can pick it up and tow our new trailer back to Cambria. "Manifest your Dreams" is not an illusion!

At Waypoint 35°33'03.60"N 121°05'11.40"W…holding pattern.