View Full Version : Anyone Done Extended (year or two) in a TM?

04-20-2005, 10:12 AM
We have admired the Trailmanor for many years yet not had one. We have had 3 soft-sided pop-ups, 2 motorhomes, a 24 foot Lt TT and now a fifth-wheel. We find size very limiting and the fifth-wheel is just cumbersome and dull with lots of wasted space that hauling around with the cost of gas and tow vehicles does take away from the whole experience. We like "camping" not hibernating inside and RV. We would be doing an extended stay for a year or two anyway. Has anyone done this? We aren't real "thing" oriented and we gave away the microwave a few months ago because it didn't earn its space, big space too. All units have their good & bad points. We would tow with a large van which we carry a cooler and porta-potty so that would overcome not having access to the trailer while on the road. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,Cathy

04-20-2005, 10:29 AM
Wow! Sounds like fun. And with the extra space in the van, you two (I assume 2) might well have a ball.

Our longest stay in our TM was 6 weeks, and it was getting a little cramped by then. But we were set up for "travelling", not "living", and things are a little different. We also had a dog and cat, and they were getting underfoot. And we didn't have any extra space in the tow vehicle. And I admit it, we are kind of "thing" oriented. With these things changed, it might very well work.

Weather will probably be important. On a couple other trips, we found ourselves in snow country - in one case snowed in for three days. This was less fun. Things got claustrophobic pretty fast, there were plumbing annoyances, condensation and ice loading got to be a problem, and we were burning propane pretty fast to keep warm. My suggestion (for me anyway) would be to avoid this situation.

Where are you going? If you set out with a year in mind, are you then committed to staying a year? Or can you bail out after (say) 8 months if the charm wears off?


04-20-2005, 08:51 PM
My husband and I have a son who is 18 years old and has Down syndrome (mentally-disabled) and we have a 13 and 1/2 year old dog for however long. We have been in a TT and FW in freezing, snowing, hurricane, monsoons, etc. so are familiar with how "special" the weather can make a trip. We spent 5 and 1/2 months in our Coleman folding trailer in the Tucson, AZ area in the summer a few years ago while house hunting there. We like the tent trailers but security is just too big of issue these days. We still tent camp from time to time but eventually probably won't be able to get up from the ground once we get down there. We don't start any plan without an exit plan. We are wanting to buy a new trailer but with the Trailmanor running high I'm not sure we would do that. We are in the early stages of planning but plan to take up something new by the end of summer. We have been a lot of places but there are still so many places left to see. I have been to AK but my husband hasn't and the River Walk in San Antonio, my home state of Michigan and on and on. We were very happy to find this forum and are slowly working our way through most of the previous posts. Thanks for your response, Cathy

04-21-2005, 03:16 PM
We don't full-time but we do spend 3-5 months every year in our RV (first a 27' Alpenlite 5th wheel and now our TM2619) and my answer to your question would depend on the % of time you'll spend on the road versus the time you'll be set-up in one place. The advantages of a TM while actually being used are greatest for maneuvering in tight places, frequent movement and highway travel. They diminish rapidly with extended stays. The fact that we can fold it up and put it in our garage when we return home is also a significant consideration.

While the TM remains our first choice for our current lifestyle it would be near the bottom as our only home (just above a stolen grocery cart :-)). The small fridge, lack of storage and "different" bathroom configuration are not things I would want to live with permantly. there is a place for big 5th-wheels and IMO full timing is one of them. That's just my $0.02 so YMMV.

04-22-2005, 08:09 AM
We own a 2619 TM and have spent up to 61/2 weeks in it for one extended trip. However, we know a couple who have lived in a 3124KS for about 2 years. The last time I talked to them (about 6 months ago) they were still happy with their choice. The winter in the Texas Rio Grande Valley at Edinburg, then they travel during the summer to cooler places. They have done some "work camping" during the summer, but were not completely satisfied with that experience.

04-22-2005, 11:12 AM

That's good to know. We spend Jan & Feb each year in an RV park in Alamo which is only a few miles from Edinburg and I don't recall seeing another TM in the area. Our TM is like a magnet there and we get frequent people stopping by who are dreading pulling or driving their "behemoths" back north and are thinking about downsizing. Most think they are looking at something that will cost less than $10K new however so I don't think we've sold any.

I can see how normal folks who just need street clothes might get by in a TM full-time but we bike, hike and jog and the clothing and equipment we take along for the variety of weather and conditions we see on our trips is a major consideration for us. I might mention that we also do self-contained bicycle touring on our tandem (maybe San Diego to St Augustine this fall) so we "DO" know how to travel light.

04-22-2005, 08:13 PM
Interesting topic. We are considering a trip to the Mission, Texas area for a month next February. My cousin from New Brunswick stays there every winter. We are a bit leary leaving Atikokan and travelling on the winter roads, at least until we get far enough south out of the snow belt. We would like to know more about this area. Numerous Atikokanites got to the Brownsville and surrounding area..
3023 TM 2004
2003 Montana AWD

04-22-2005, 10:08 PM
They fly U.S., Canadian and Texas flags side by side in our Rio Grand Valley RV park so I'm sure you'll feel at home if you can make it through the snow. It's flat citrus/farm country and generally dry and warm. They had their first white Christmas on record this past year (2-4") and it was their first snow in 90 years. Many parents let their kids stay up all night knowing the snow would be gone soon after the sun came up the next day.

Locals are generally friendly and considerate of the retirees who flood the area every winter. There are flea markets, potlucks, bingo, card playing, quilting groups, computer clubs, square dances musical presentations, art shows and many other things seniors pick and choose from to stay busy. Our park adds pool tables, shuffleboard, horseshoes, a swimming pool, jacuzi and exercise room to the mix. Fishing, golfing and birding are also big there. We don't do a lot of those things but still stay busy laying our foundation of bike training miles to start the year and visiting with my 97 yr old Dad who lives there.

The only negative that comes to mind (assuming you didn't gag on the list of activities above) is that Texas doesn't enforce it's mandatory insurance laws and there are a lot of uninsured motorists in the area. You'll want to make sure your car insurance covers that situation.

04-23-2005, 11:48 AM
It seems to me that you left out the biggie. The government has issued a travel advisory for the Mexician border because of the kidnappings and drug wars from Del Rio down to the gulf.

04-23-2005, 12:33 PM
Good point, that had slipped my mind. Although most do, we seldom cross the border as there is nothing in the tourist oriented border towns that interests us. I still have a sickening mental picture of the dolled-up, young-girl prostitute that approached me the last time we were there. I looked around and what must have been her middle-aged owner and a local police officer were smiling at my obvious discomfort. Friends tell me I won't experience that these days but I don't intend to find out.

Many people cross the border by car or RV and continue into the interior without incident and tourist traffic to the border towns is down only slightly. We left the Valley before spring break so I don't know how the American college students reacted to the warning. The purchase of special insurance for vehicle travel beyond the border towns is mandatory. They will also jail you and keep you there for years if you try to sneak a gun in.

Bus tours originating in the U.S. and organized RV group tours are a good way to go. I've never heard of a problem with those.

04-27-2005, 10:19 AM
We can't help but wonder with three people if we wouldn't go broke buying toilet chemicals. Right now we use a natural one called "Sea-Zyme" because we don't like all the chemicals. This one issue has us rethinking how practical a TM would be for an extended stay. All the toilets smell no matter what anyone says in my opinion. If you store human waste in a plastic container, well... but could this be more of a problem than your standard RV toilet. Thanks for all the replies and pms, Cathy

04-27-2005, 11:40 AM
Cathy/Brookside -

RE the toilet, toilet smell, and toilet chemicals:

This board has seen A LOT of discussion on this topic over the years. One point that has been made repeatedly is that toilet deodorant chemicals that are "less chemical" don't do as good a job at keeping down the smell. Another is that skimping on chemical (using only half a bottle) is not adequate. Another is that sometimes people object to the "toilet smell", but what they are really objecting to is the smell of the toilet chemical - some people don't mind it, some people hate it. In each case, you have choices, and as my Dad used to say, "you pays your money and you takes your choice". But one way or another, I think most people would agree that HAVING a toilet may smell different from NOT HAVING a toilet. You have to find your own best solution.

The smell (whichever one is of concern) comes from the fact that there is a tank of mixed chemical and waste below the throat of the toilet, and air can waft from the top of that tank and into the bathroom. If that is really bothersome (and it is to some people) the solution would seem to be to make sure air can't rise into the bathroom.

How to do this? Well, one way is to reverse the air flow, so that room air is constantly drawn DOWN through the tank, and exhausted outside. You don't need a hurricane - a very small but steady air flow downward through the throat should be all that it takes. At least two members have taken steps to do exactly that. In each case, the approach was to use a small fan to draw air DOWN into the toilet bowl, and push it outside.

DancinCampers added a small piece of pipe to move air from the tank area into the under-tub area, where the TM's bathroom vent fan expels it through the floor. Quite a simple fix, and I imagine very effective. If there are disadvantages, they are problably that the vent fan is a bit loud, and it takes too much power to use constantly when dry camping. Read about it at

TandemKids got a little more elaborate, with a through-wall vent. My guess is that it, too, is quite effective, is quieter, and if the fan is carefully chosen uses less power. You'll need to page down through a multipage thread to see his approach and pictures.

So anyway, I guess my point is that there are lots of approaches. Choose one! Let us know what works for you! The fact that there is a toilet in your camper shouldn't be seen as a drawback, or prevent you from enjoying it.