With a little trial and error we’ve found our dream home, and all because of Max!
Well, that may be a little bit of an exaggeration but not all that far from the truth. In this post, I’ll share our journey from the RV we started out in to the one we live in now. It took a whole lot of research, some honest communication and a spark of kismet, but we now have an RV home that fits just right. I’ll explain why we chose the Raptor and all the reasons it fit our lifestyle so well.
Our current home is a 2020 Keystone Raptor 351, a 39 foot fifth wheel toy hauler, pulled by a 2019 Ford F350 super cab, short bed.
But, let me explain how we got here…
We changed our lives back in the spring of 2018. I retired early, to run away with the love of my life, Mr. RR. I left the rental house in town and he left the small cabin in the woods. We packed up what belongings we’d need, ourselves, and my little 8 lb. shih poo, Lola. We left Max with a friend and we were off … Full Timing Here We Come!!!!!!
We started out in a 2003 Fleetwood Flair 30 foot Motorhome w/Jeep in tow
We originally left Max, my 90+ lb. German Shepherd, with a friend and took off in our 2003 Fleetwood Flair 30 foot Motorhome with a jeep in tow. However, after several months on the road we returned for Max. Life just wasn’t quite the same without him.
Max thought he was the perfect co-pilot in the Motorhome but the pilot didn’t agree. Max was thrilled to have a couch of his own but we didn’t quite see it that way. We all agreed on one thing though, Max included, getting from one end of the motorhome to the other involved a bit of planning, coordination and at times some acrobatics. There just wasn’t enough room for the three of us to move around without running into one another or stepping on poor little Lola.
The motorhome had been easy and comfortable but there just wasn’t enough room for all of us.
Then we moved up to a 2011 Keystone Montana 326RLT 35 foot fifth wheel trailer pulled with our 1995 Ford F250 & more room for Max
We shopped around and found a previously owned 35 foot Keystone Montana Mountaineer 326RLT in great shape. It had a lot of storage area inside and in the basement. The floorplan was very open and roomy with a clear separation between the living spaces. We purchased a 100 watt Relion briefcase style solar panel and remodeled the interior.
However, it didn’t take long to realize that our 1995 Ford F250 just wasn’t robust enough. So, we committed to a work camper position for a year (6 months in Tucson & 6 months in Montana) to pay for a more powerful truck. It was the spring of 2019 and Mr. RR was set on getting a short bedded, super cab, 4×4, F350 diesel. It turned out they didn’t make too many like that in that year. With help from Ford, we were able to locate the truck we wanted at a dealership in Sacramento. As South Dakota residents, we had to take possession of the truck outside of California in order to avoid paying California sales tax. We picked up the truck in Reno, Nevada at the onset of our work camper position in the March of that year.
Unfortunately, we found that the Montana fifth wheel still wasn’t quite big enough for all of us, not to mention the hair. Anyone who’s owned one knows that German Shepherds should have been called German Shedders. Oh the hair; on the floor, on the furniture, on our socks and in our meals! Something just had to be done.
Now we have our forever home! A 2020 Keystone Raptor 351 39 foot fifth wheel toy hauler and Max has his own room! Well, sort of…
So, we researched and searched. We wanted a toy hauler with plans to purchase a “toy” in the future. It couldn’t be too long and Don wanted only two axles, not three. Fortunately, in 2020, it became easier to find toy haulers with 2 axles. Because we enjoy staying in National Parks, we also didn’t want to go over 40 feet in length.
When we started shopping, we gave every manufacturer a chance. We fell in love with the Momentums by Grand Design, but when we really got serious, we found that the Keystone was the most livable and well made. Besides, we had first hand experience with Keystone by way of the Montana. We were looking for a specific Keystone model in late 2020 but as COVID spiked so did trailer sales. While at a dealer in Rocklin, California one day, we took a look at the Raptor 351, even though our hearts were set on a different model. We’d found it!
The Raptor 351 is one of the rare models of toy haulers that does not have a living room couch directly across from the kitchen. There is more of a separation between kitchen and living room in this model that as full timers we felt was important.
This was a barely used 2020 Keystone Raptor 351 39 foot fifth wheel toy hauler. It has an 11 foot garage and the ramp can be used as a fenced in patio. It came with a generator and roof mounted solar panel. I was apprehensive about the small kitchen but it turns out that it is the most intuitive kitchen I’ve ever worked in! I just love the 18 cf refrigerator, maybe one of the biggest I’ve owned! And the modern farmhouse design with the sliding barn door on the bathroom is beautiful.
We love it! And so does Max – with his very own garage and fenced in patio. This is a great set-up for us!
However, after a while it seemed a waste to have a toy hauler without a toy. So after more research on trail side by sides, we found one that would fit in our 11 foot garage with room to spare, as well as between the wheel wells of our short pickup bed. We drove to Las Cruces, NM and brought home a 2020 Polaris RZR 900, Fox Edition, Trail Size, side by side. Max is thrilled.
For more information on the Keystone Raptor 351, click here.
2020 Polaris RZR 900, Fox Edition, Trail size, side by side
For more information on the Polaris RZR 900, Fox Edition, click here.
- 2019 Ford F350, super cab, short bed
- 2020 39′ Keystone Raptor Toy Hauler, with 11′ garage
- 2020 Polaris RZR Trail Edition side by side
- 2 people, 2 dogs, and 2 gravel bikes
So, is this the ideal set-up? Heck no. Everyone has their own specific circumstances and needs. This just happens to meet ours, currently. Stay tuned for the next iteration.
When? What? Where?
Well, that’s part of the journey, part of the joy and mystery of life on the road.
To read more about our story click here to read “Getting to know me…“