Farewell Rover

There’s a common adage in the RV community: “Buy your last RV first“. Maybe “second” will have to do, for us…

After 3.5 years and 35,000 miles, we’re doing the (almost) unthinkable: buying a new motorhome! Don’t tell Rover, although I think he’s starting to catch on with all the cleaning, photos, and fixes we’ve been working on recently. He’s been a fantastic traveling companion and has been very good to us, but he’s being replaced by a bigger, stronger, fancier model. Don’t worry Rover, we’ve found you a new family to take care of!

Rover a couple weeks ago in Kansas.

When we set out on this adventure in early 2014 (we placed our order for Rover in January of that year) we had never spent more than a few minutes in an RV before. We weren’t sure how long we’d last living and traveling full-time in a 350 sq. ft. box. We’re pretty sure our friends and family were making bets behind our backs! We pressed on, did lots of research, made plans, and ended up with what was probably the perfect RV for our adventures at the time. While everyone “in the know” said you have to buy a diesel rig, Rover had the comforts needed to keep us happy, the more reasonable price tag of a gas-powered rig, and to top it off we got a great deal on our purchase. We argued that if we ended up hating RV life, the risk was minimal… we could sell the RV for a small loss, and admit defeat.

Earlier this year, possibly because we passed our three year “nomadiversary”, Kathie and I found our discussions frequently centering around how much longer we wanted to do this (a long, long time), or if we wanted to settle down in a house (we don’t). We quickly agreed we enjoy this mobile life so much, and decided to “renew” our commitment to roaming, indefinitely!

Rover’s interior, one of many photos taken for our “For Sale” page.

We usually had, in the back of our minds, the thought that if we were still doing this (and loving it) after 5+ years we’d eventually upgrade to a diesel motorhome. We even started some preliminary research at the Tampa RV show in January of this year. When we made our decision to continue indefinitely, we started thinking about the benefits of waiting a few more years for that diesel rig vs. upgrading sooner. We got serious about planning for an upgrade in 2018… and then “why wait?” kicked into overdrive and we decided “there’s no time like the present!” We did lots of money math, researched new rigs, dealerships that provide good discounts, looked into used pricing for selling Rover, and decided we could make this work! We even made a trip to the Tiffin factory in Red Bay Alabama in early August to see the new 2018 rigs in person, look at colors and options, and discuss some customizations with the sales department. With our decision made, we placed our order for a 2018 Tiffin Phaeton 40IH! As before, we’ll be going to the factory to watch our build a few weeks from now, and we will take delivery in October. And through word-of-mouth we already have a buyer lined up for Rover! Check out his “For Sale” page to see what they’re getting!

But why upgrade in the first place? Isn’t Rover enough? In many ways it was a tough call, especially since Rover’s been 100% reliable, has never left us stranded, and has generally needed relatively minor (and expected) repairs like a water pump or roller shade. There’s no one feature of the new coach that made us take the leap, but there are a lot of individual factors that combined into a pretty compelling case! In our next few articles we’ll introduce you to our upcoming rig and walk through some of the upgrades and features we’re looking forward to the most!

Part 2 – Welcome to Diesel Town

Part 3 – Roughing It… Even More Smoothly

Tiffin Phaeton 40IH Catalog Photo

Michael Fischer

After a high-tech career spanning software development and systems administration to leading hundreds of engineers across cities and continents, I'm now slowing things down a bit. Traveling full-time in an RV with my awesome wife Kathie and our two big dogs Max and Opie, I'm now pursuing smaller personal software projects while seeing North America up close.


  1. Jay M   •  

    Love it! Congrats on the coming upgrade – can’t wait to see what customizations you put in place (built in bed for Opie??) and watch your build in progress. :-)

    And especially can’t wait to read a comparison article on life before and after the upgrade.

    • Mike   •     Author

      Thanks! We’ll definitely be making customizations over time… and writing about them all!

  2. Ed Bickford   •  

    Sounds like a smart move at the right time. Our 36UA was ordered in January this year and we went full time Beginning of May. After a few months of travel and a list of about a dozen repair items we made a trip to Red Bay for service. We spent a week there and were extremely impressed with the service. I noticed the majority of the coaches there were Phaeton’s. After talking to several Phaeton owners and going on the factory tour I began to develop Phaeton envy! Perhaps in 3 years we will be where you are.

    • Mike   •     Author

      Could be! Early on in our adventure we admittedly scoffed at the idea of something as fancy as a Phaeton, but Tiffin’s done a lot recently to pack a ton of new value into it, making it pretty appealing…

  3. John   •  

    Nice! ?

    • Mike   •     Author

      Thanks! See you in a couple months…

  4. Ray   •  

    You are right very tough call, we have a 07 National Sea Breeze and have been full time for almost 7 years. The V-10 is super reliable we have over 41,000 miles on ours. I do keep looking at Diesels and at some point will probably upgrade. I will be watching to see how it works out for you. Tiffin seems to make a good motor home and you picked out a beauty…safe travels!!!

    PS fuel stops should be way easier:)

    • Mike   •     Author

      Yep, fuel stops are actually one of the improvements I wrote about in one of the follow-on blog posts (coming soon). Obviously not a reason to go diesel, but one more benefit added into the mix!

  5. Andrew Greene   •  

    Wow, cheers to a faithful companion these last 3 years and make way for the Phaeton! Can’t wait to follow the transition! Congrats Mike and Kathie

    • Mike   •     Author

      Thanks Andrew! You’ll have to stop by our campground in Reston in November and check it out…

  6. Steven   •  

    Wow, how exciting is that?! You guys will love your new big rig, ’cause you picked a good one. Can’t wait to follow your move in. Have you thought of a name for him/her yet?


    • Mike   •     Author

      Steve – we’re still working on the name… have a few ideas but nothing settled yet!

  7. Ken and Susan Simpson   •  

    Rover has been so very well loved and cared for … your new owners are very lucky to get such a beautiful coach … betting their puppy dog will appreciate Opie’s experience, too … Congratulations on the Phaeton … we will follow your travels and look forward to the announcement of Red’s new companion’s name !!!

    • Mike   •     Author

      Susan & Ken, Opie will be sure to share all his recommended spots to lay down causing people to trip and drop their food right in front of him. He’s a pro!

  8. Laura   •  

    Noooooooooo!!! Barney is gonna be inconsolable when we tell him! His hero. His idol… throwing in the towel. Sadness!!!! Oh, I’m just kidding. That’s awesome! Congratulations on the new rig and knowing you’re definitely gonna continue doing this for the foreseeable future. That is fantastic! I can’t wait to hear more about the new one!

    • Mike   •     Author

      Thanks! It’s hard to believe Barney’s only a little over a year old now, and he and Rover never did get to meet in person. Hopefully Barney and will cross paths soon…

  9. Jon   •  

    We love diesel and you are getting a great model. We are closing in on our first year of full time travel and like you did plan to re assess at about the three year point to see what we want to do going forward. Hope to meet up on the road sometime.

    • Mike   •     Author

      It’s hard to believe it’s been over three years for us. Living in the RV just seems so *normal* now! Glad you love the diesel bus… we’re getting more and more excited about the new rig!

  10. Kim Bertram   •  

    Starting our 8th year full timing next week, we have learned to never say never, always look when you have a chance, and then apply the lessons you’ve learned to fit your style. Your style changes with each new adventure and it is uniquely yours. I know you’ll be quite pleased with the results of your research! Happy trails!

    • Mike   •     Author

      Thanks Kim! Looking forward to crossing paths again and checking out your shiny new sunroof :-)

      • Kim Bertram   •  

        I’ll show you the $12 radiator cap that was responsible for a $1,000 tow, too! I have more than one battle scar! Very excited for you and Kathie taking a big step!

  11. Julia   •  

    Rover will always be your first love! What a fantastic experience that many of us have followed along with you ?. As a testament to your great relationship I am inspired to follow in your footsteps!

    Safe travels and look forward to your new adventures.


    • Mike   •     Author

      Aww, thanks Julia! We sometimes still can’t believe on this amazing adventure…

  12. Scott   •  

    This means you are no longer snails (who carry their home on their backs for life), but hermit crabs (who move into bigger homes when they’ve outgrown the ones they carried on their backs before).

    • Mike   •     Author

      And hermit crabs can move a little faster than snails too!

  13. timojhen   •  

    And yes, many of your (former!) co-workers were taking bets behind your back. Think you’ve already exceeded all of the duration numbers I remember. I lost a long time ago with my 18 month~2 year guess.

    Excited for the three of you! Moar adventure!!!

    • Mike   •     Author


  14. Nick   •  

    Congrats! Now you can fill up your tanks with the big rigs!

    • Mike   •     Author

      Heck yeah! That’ll make things a lot simpler…

  15. Pingback: Life Rebooted – Welcome to Diesel Town

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