I’ve wrestled for a while now with what kind of vehicle to drive Zack & Zoe around the Perimeter of the lower 48 states.
Letting Go of Old Ideas
For so many years, I pictured myself trekking in a classic VW bus. Or even a little car loaded with tent and camp stove. But that was long ago, and pre-dog.
Now I’m 50 years old with two big dogs. Requirements have changed. A good dog vehicle will have room for Zack & Zoe to stretch out. I need to work on my computer without getting it wet, melted or smashed. And I want a toilet. (Just saying.)
Anyway, I struggled over the vehicle decision because that cute little smartly-packed car just wasn’t going to work anymore.
I finally decided:
I’m going to buy an RV.
But Why an RV, by Golly?
First, the Trip Facts
- Many a back road
I’ll be driving the dogs about 10,000 miles of highways and back ways, not interstates. The vehicle must be reliable as well as comfortable for the long haul.
- 12-plus weeks
We’ll be on the move for 12-plus weeks, not staying in any one place long.
- Temperature control for dogs
It’s mandatory that the vehicle won’t get hot (or too cold) when I leave Zack & Zoe in it for short periods. I can’t realistically travel solo without doing so.
- Healthy Eating
I’ve made healthy eating a priority on this trip: I need kitchen options to make it work.
Opinions Leading to “RV”
Hotels every night? Not for that many nights.
Finding and changing hotels nightly on our week-long coast trip worked well. But I felt that if we constantly change lodgings for any more than a week, it becomes a bit of a hassle, is stressful for the dogs, and limits options on where we’ll stop each night.
Tent or car camping every night? Uh, not this time.
Setting up and breaking camp over and over is more work than I want to take on, and uncomfortable in bad weather. And there’s not enough room for us in the van for sleeping with beds, stuff, cooler, laptop ( and toilet.)
Hotel/Camp Combo? Not this journey.
At first glance this seemed reasonable: drive my van and camp when I can, hotel when I want. But, quite frankly, I think it would be too wearing, on both the dogs and me. I want our journey to be more about discovering, less about proving endurance and strength.
That heat issue.
Actually, the issue of whether or not I can keep the car cool enough for dogs in hot weather is the big overriding issue that leads to needing something other than a car or van. There are some products that might make it possible, but combined with the lodging issues, I’ve come to believe …
Our long dog trip needs a camper / RV.
Rent vs. Buy
I investigated renting an RV. But for the length of time and distance we’re going, it turns out I could very well buy then later sell an RV for a $ loss of about the same as the price of renting one! Plus:
- I won’t have to worry if my dogs decide to scratch out someone else’s window screens (or chew on the glove compartment door because I accidentally left a peanut M&M in it.)
- We won’t have to commit to a trip-complete date.
- We very well may want to keep trekking after the Perimeter is done!
But What Kind of Camper / RV?
Boy oh boy, vehicle decision-making clearly isn’t over. There are all sorts of camper RVs. And I have to learn about all of them. But, for now, I’m happy with my decision to buy a camper/RV. I really think the Zack & Zoe dogs will be more comfortable, too.
I’m open to suggestions and opinions.