While we’ve only been full time on the road since 2010, we’ve had quite the progression of RV’s leading up to our full time lifestyle. We have owned and traveled in a 1985 VW Camper, a 2009 30ft Damon Avanti and a 2010 32ft Monaco Vesta. Now here we are with a rear engine 2014 33ft Fleetwood Excursion 33D.

Meet Roy, our new home on wheels for 2014.

Roy is a test unit that we are leasing from Fleetwood.  If you want to know how we ended up with Roy, read this:  Our Next Adventure

Why the name Roy?

We really struggled with what to name this new beast of an RV.  The bold black and gold swirls on the outside, the dark black leather on the inside…it’s comfortable and feels oddly familiar (like a bachelor pad, maybe?).  We kept trying to put our finger on exactly what embodied this new environment.  We thought of a modern day RV version of Sanford and Sons or maybe if National Lampoon and the Griswold’s were to do Vegas again in an RV.  But none of it was quite right.  Then we started thinking about an old man…a feisty, flirty and a slightly flashy old man.  One that acts like he is still 25, only dates women under 25 and enjoys the finer things in life.  That’s when it hit us.  THIS RV IS GRANDPA ROY!  No wonder it felt so familiar, it’s the motor industry’s version of Jason’s Grandpa Roy!  Now of course we do realize most of you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Grandpa Roy.  So you’ll just have to take our word for it when we tell you, he’s a gambling man who is always ready for an adventure.

We’re eco-conscious people and let’s face it, traveling in an RV doesn’t seem like the most eco-friendly way to go.

But just like the old saying goes, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover…well you can’t judge an RV on mpg’s alone.  It’s all about the details and of course the mods, mods, mods!  Now, some of these details and mods are just as much about keeping us comfortable and working while on the road as they are about keeping our carbon footprint down.

Factory details that make a nice difference:

  • air ride suspension – cushy ride
  • 2 slides – it’s nice to spread out
  • LED lights – 90% more efficient over halogen bulbs
  • washer/dryer combo – makes doing laundry a cinch
  • 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter – keeps our gadgets safe from damage
  • 6 gallon hot water tank – why heat more water than you need
  • whole house carbon based water filtration – every extra bit helps
  • central vacuum system – one less bulky item to store/buy
  • auto gen start – just in case we forget to turn off a big draw appliance
  • heated and sealed basement compartments – makes winter camping much easier

Mods and add on’s that make life on and off the cord better:

Composting Toilet

Separates the pee from the poo and turns waste into compost! Uses no water, no chemicals and we use Coco COIR because it’s more sustainable than Peat Moss.  The big bonus is no more black tank and extended boondocking!

Water

We have two goals with the investment in our RV water system: Create pure healthy drinking water from any available source that tastes so good we never have to purchase bottled water, AND reduce the flow so we can conserve water every day.

  • 45 PSI Water Regulator – Reduces water flow into fresh water tank to conserve water and reduce extreme pressure when connected to a standard water hose faucet. This is the one we’ve had for 5 years: Camco 40055 Brass Water Pressure Regulator If I was to upgrade I’d buy this one for a little bit more money: Valterra Brass Adjustable Water Regulator
  • On The Go Portable Water Softener – Improves taste and odor, lengthens the life of appliances, prevents rust and scale buildup by reducing Calcium and other impurities in water. Here’s the link to ours: On the GO Portable Water Softener
  • Tabletop Water Distiller – Heats water into vapor then condenses steam back into water to create clean healthy drinking water from any clear water source (ocean, pond, streams, lakes…). H2o Labs 100SS Water Distiller and
  • Faucet Aerators and showerhead – All help to reduce water consumption for everyday use.  Stay tuned for how to videos soon! Here are the links to ours: Oxygenics Evolution Shower Head and Neoperl Faucet Aerator 1.0 gpm
  • Soda Maker – Instead of purchasing typical sodas or even the natural/organic variety we make our own. We use our on-board organic herb garden plus fruits from the market to make simple tasty beverages with zero wasted plastic bottles. SodaStream Source

Solar

  • Go Power’ing the RV – On our last RV we had a killer solar set up and we’ve just added the newest technology in flex panels to the roof (03/2014).  Lightweight, flexible, more powerful, and way more aerodynamic than the standard glass panels.  Here’s exactly what we had installed: Go Power 100 WATT FLEXIBLE SOLAR KIT and 4 Go Power 100 Watt Flexible Solar Panel
  • We also have a GoPower Portable 120 Watt Panel with 45ft of cable which allows us to follow the sun for max solar input. Go Power! 120W Portable Solar
  • Sun Oven – Cooking with the sun keeps the heat out of the RV and requires no electricity or gas, just a sunny day! All American Sun Oven
  • All things USB – Solio makes a rad collection of solar lights and mini solar chargers perfect for hiking, in the car or carrying in your hand/man bag. This keeps our cell phones, cameras, tablets, etc. charged on the go. These are also perfect for over seas travel. You don’t have to worry about power adapters or burning up your gear if you bring your own power with you! Solio Classic2 Solar Charger
  • Solar Shower – a five gallon solar heated bladder with a shower nozzle. Perfect for rinsing off after a hike or washing dishes outside. Seattle Sports Camp Shower

Staying connected on the road – Phone, Internet, and Free Wi-Fi 

  • Mobile 4G Vehicle Cellular Signal Booster Kit – This set up gives us a major boost on our cell signal as well as our mobile 4g data!
  • WiFiRanger Sky + Go2  for Free Wi-Fi – These little devices strengthen any accessible WiFi signal while providing built-in firewall security between us and others on the public WiFi.
  • Wilson Sleek 4G for Phone/Data in toad – This booster provides a strong reliable signal in weak-signal areas, reducing lost connections and speeding data rates.
  • Click here for more on each of these devices.

A good toad

Our convertible Smart Car is eco friendly and great MPG(about 40); 85% recyclable and 95% reclaimable.  We have the RoadMaster Sterling All-Terrain non binding tow bar and the BrakeMaster breaking system. That about sums it up.  Do you have an RV mod that made your travels better or questions about our new home?  If so, drop us a note in the comment box below.

Our Other Top RV Upgrades

  • Replaced the stock vent fan with MaxxFan Deluxe Smoke Lid. A must upgrade for us since Nikki cannot reach the fan knob to open it (the MaxxFan has a remote) and the auto setting that opens the vent and adjusts the fan speed based on temperature is a lifesaver for the kitties.
  • Covered the bathroom vent with a Maxxair Fan/Mate Black Vent CoverThis vent cover allows us to keep the vent open during rain storms and while driving down the road.

We’ll keep this page updated as we continue to live with our #FleetwoodRoy and as we find new upgrades and add-ons to share. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.