About Us

We decided to leave it all behind and go on the adventure of a lifetime!
Aaron, 30, and Amy, 27, met and were married in Flagstaff, AZ on June 14, 2003. They both lived in Flagstaff for approximately the last eight years. Their fellow travelers are Khorrah and Skylos. Khorrah is a nine-year-old sheppard/husky/wolf mix. Aaron has had her nearly her entire life. She is very well behaved and extremely loyal. Skylos is two and was found in the street in front of their Flagstaff home on Paradise Rd. His name is Greek for dog and was chosen in part due to Amy’s study of archaeology in Athens, Greece. Skylos is a ball of fire and our best guess as to his breed is that he is a pure bred mutt, the best kind. Their chariot is a 2000 24-foot Class C Fleetwood motor home to which Aaron has done major alterations. On the back of the RV is a Yamaha TW200 enduro, a combination motorcycle for street and dirt.

In Flagstaff Aaron was a financial advisor at the Babb Financial Group as well as a real estate investor before real estate, like day trading, became the craze. Amy worked in the administrative office of the Grand Canyon Railway and graduated from NAU with a degree in Anthropology in the sub-field of Archaeology.

Our RV

Fleetwood makes our 2000 24-foot RV. It is on an E-350 chassis with a V-10 gas engine. We chose this model because it was the smallest RV we could find that still had an actual bed. We have a small, yet full, kitchen with a sink, stove, cook top, refrigerator, freezer, and microwave (which serves as a great place to store breads). The bathroom has another sink, a toilet, and shower. We have a table with bench seating for four, which can be turned into a very small bed. There was a queen-sized bed over the cab, which is now used for storage. There is an A/C, furnace, and water heater. We have added a number of things both inside and out.

Exterior:

1) We converted the engine to run on propane as well as gas. We did this for a number of reasons.
a. It gave us an additional 400-mile range.
b. It is significantly better on the engine as well as the environment.
c. Most importantly it is cheaper. Gas in Mexico, at the moment, is about 2.50 per gallon and propane is about 1.50 per gallon. Fuel economy and power have gone virtually unchanged.
2) We removed our “grey water” tank in order to make room for the additional propane tanks. The sinks and shower that flowed into the grey tank were re-routed to drain through a standard grey garden hose. The additional propane can also be used to run appliances such as the refrigerator and furnace (not of much use in the tropics).
3) On the front I commissioned a massive bumper which has storage for things like tow chains, jumper cables, ratchet straps, etc. It also houses a 16,500 Lb Warn winch. There is also a brush guard with halogen lights and two full sized spare tires already mounted on steel rims.
4) With the very generous help of Mike Hernandez, I welded a storage compartment for six storage boxes on the back of the RV. Our motorcycle rides on top as well as other items such as camping chairs, table, BBQ grill, and other misc. items.
5) SOLAR SYSTEM – This is an absolute must if you plan on doing any long term dry camping. Our system was purchased at Northern Arizona Wind and Sun. They no longer install, however it is my opinion that this is a system better done on your own. The reason for learning to install your own system is so that you can fix it if there is a problem. Our system consists of the following:
a. Three 120 watt solar panels (KC120) from Kyocera
i. Each panel produces 12 volts and up two 7.3 amps per hour.
b. MX80 Charge controller from Outback
i. This brings the power in at 36 volts (panels run in series for lower amps and smaller cable but produces higher voltage.) and converts back to 12 volts. On a good sunny day I produce app. 42 volts and 25 amps per hour (more efficient in this configuration)
c. VFX2000 Outback sealed inverter.
i. Takes the 12 volts DC and converts to 110-120 AC
ii. Acts as a charger when plugged in to shore power or with generator running
iii. Also acts as a surge protector for faulty power outside of the US or Canada
iv. Due to the non-grounded power you should bring a cable capable of being attached to the chassis and run to a grounded source ie. Water line or stake in ground.
d. Six 6 volt deep cycle batteries
i. Batteries are run as pairs of two in series to achieve three 12-volt sets. You will get more amps out of the same space and weight this way. I opted for AGM gel batteries. These are more expensive but will give you longer life with more amps and never require maintenance.
e. Tri-metric 2020 for monitoring system voltage, amps, and percentage.
i. You will need a shunt in line on your negative side in order to monitor the system.
f. Finally, a large fuse on the positive side between the batteries and the inverter. I use a 400-amp fuse.

I added additional circuits to the system with a simple electrical box from any local hardware or electrical supplier. For incoming 110 AC power (RV park or generator) I have three breakers. One is the power that electrifies the panel (the 110 from the park or gen.). The second supplies power to the inverter to charge the batteries. The third powers the AC and is very important. The inverter is not powerful enough to run your AC, in addition your batteries would drain very quickly. By separating the AC in this manner you avoid the possibility of accidentally turning it on (dogs?). It will only come on if you have shore power.
I am well aware that this seems very intimidating. When possible and to the best of my ability, I would be happy to give advice or assistance. There are multiple resources for learning the systems involved with solar power. I was fortunate enough to have some good friends at Niles Radio who helped me to better understand the system.

6) We added an extra 42-gallon water tanking giving us a total capacity of 85 gallons. Thus far this has been of questionable importance. I am certain that it will be of greater importance, as we get further south into more remote areas.
7) Back up camera – www.rvcams.com (?)
a. Makes backing up infinitely easier.
8) An awning is essential and I would suggest not cutting costs here. Get a quality awning! We also purchased a screen room for our awning which has, to date, not been used on our trip.
9) SUSPENSION – if you add even half of the items that we have you may want to consider at least some of theses additions.
a. Airbags – not the kind on the steering wheel. Airbags help lift the RV as well as soften and stabilize the ride.
b. Shocks – we added brand new Bilstein shocks which helped with the ride as we purchased our RV used and it already had close to 70K miles.
c. Steering stabilizer – We noticed difficulty driving in windy conditions or when large semi trucks passed at high speed. This was by far the best thing that we could do for stabilization. It is also supposed to help in the case of a blowout. When we are passed now you can let go of the steering wheel and the RV continues on course!
d. Leaf springs and front coil – We have added a considerable weight to our RV. We estimate that between the additional propane tanks, front bumper and winch (130 lbs. on its own), rear storage, motorcycle, solar system (batteries are 64lbs. each (we have six) plus other equipment), extra water tank, etc. we have added an additional 3000lbs. or more.
i. We added three additional leaf springs as well as having our existing springs re-arched (puts the factory bend back into them)
ii. We replaced the front coil with the largest available. It is very thick and picks up an additional 500lbs. above the originals.
e. All of this helps the RV to ride higher than it did originally while handling better.
10) Auxiliary shower – A common item on higher end RVs. We purchased ours at Camping World and installed it in just a few hours. It is very nice when coming back from the beach. A side note to this is that, as any sailor will tell you, when you get out of the ocean all that you need to feel clean is a towel and not fresh water. The “sticky” feeling form having been in the salt water is simply the water drying and leaving the salt residue on your skin. If you towel off immediately after leaving the ocean you get the majority of the salt off and you will feel clean.
11) If you are going to carry a gas grill with you (the type that takes the little green bottles) than I suggest adding a valve to your coach propane tank so that you eliminate the need for the green canisters. We simply run a hose (included in the kit from Camping World) from the main tank to the grill.
12) Locking cap for your gas tank – This is self-explanatory. If it isn’t you may want to reconsider leaving home. If you are bound and determined than ask and I will explain this in greater detail.
13) Another handy item is the “Fantastic” (again from Camping World). This is a replacement ceiling vent fan that is thermostatically controlled. There is an option for one controlled by humidity (rain) however we learned that in humid environments it could turn itself off due to humidity in the air. Not good in a hot and humid climate.
14) Finally I built a roof rack (welded) for a two person Kayak. It is mounted on top of the RV and is fairly easy, with two people, to put up and take off. As far as toys go I would have, in hindsight, taken an inflatable like a zodiac and an 8-10 hp gas motor. I am quite certain that I could have put these on the roof instead of the kayak, which might have also allowed for an additional solar panel.

In addition to these modifications are some preventative items. We scraped all of the existing calking from around the windows and re-applied with an RV specific window sealant. We also replaced all of the screens with a more durable material (specifically for pets). I am certain that I have forgotten about something minor but I suppose in comparison it is of little significance.

Interior:
Most of our interior modifications were cosmetic, however there a are a few notable exceptions. I will list the functional changes first followed by those that are primarily cosmetic.

1) Water filter – We follow the FDA recommendations of super chlorination. We purchased the CX300 from Camping world along with three replacement filters (CRX300). This is a complete installation kit including test strips and chlorine dispenser. The FDA recommends a chlorine mixture of ten parts per million for safe (kills bacteria and viruses) drinking water. The filter than filters out chlorine along with any particles down to .03 microns (very small). This kit includes a dispenser, which is easily mounted on the counter top (over the sink). We drink directly from the countertop dispenser and are happy to say that after three months in Mexico have had no issues.
2) We installed three (two in the bathroom and one above the dinette) vanities in the RV. These are the standard bathroom type that can be purchased from any hardware store for about twenty dollars. The one above the dinette is used for our drinking glasses and the two in the bathroom provide much needed storage for items such as medicine, hygiene items, etc.
3) Car alarm with motion sensor – We had a toggle switch mounted on the space above the driver’s knees. The switch allows us to turn the motion sensor on or off. If the dogs are in the RV we set alarm for vibration or open door only. If the dogs are with us than the motion detector is set and will arm if someone were to climb in through the window.
4) We also removed the little swivel chair from the corner as it was a huge waste of space. In its place we were able to place two large “action packers” ( a storage container from Rubbermaid, hailed for their durability). On top of these are two large dog beds from Sams Club. End result, we have added storage and still a nice place to sit (mainly for the dogs)
5) Miscellaneous convenience items – Mounted a knife block to the counter, installed an extra outlet closer to the counter (blender has a short cord and “boat drinks” are a must), accordion style shower curtain to replace original curtain, a swivel TV mount above the bed for our laptop which serves as our DVD player for the occasional movie, replaced blinds with a vinyl material for some light transfer and less noise, flip up additional cutting board on the side of counter (CW).

We also replaced the linoleum (not recommended) as the original was not only tasteless but also quite dingy. We painted inside directly over the, again tasteless, wallpaper. The paint consists of two very bright colors, after all we are going to the tropics (the colors are an aqua blue and lime green)