About the RV

Yellowstone, Gulfstream 2004
Yellowstone, Gulfstream 2004


Our RV is a 2004 35ft Gulf Stream Yellowstone XL. We went with one this size as we felt that it was the smallest one in which we would be comfortable living in full-time. It’s a size I’ve read that is good for full-timers. This particular model also has a good amount of storage room which was very important. There is actually enough that we still have some room available. There is also a nice large awning that expands our living area outside by providing some rain and sun protection. We have a large outdoor mat to put down as “flooring” and a folding rocking chair and folding recliner. You can find some very nice folding chairs!

It has triple slide-outs, two opposing slides in the living area and one in the bedroom. The opposing slides in the living area really makes it feel like a real room, it’s amazing the difference the slides make. It has a U-shaped galley at the end which reminds me of a sailboat. The bathroom and shower are separate which I think is a better way to handle it although the bathroom is quite small.

We’ve had two 100 watt solar panels and a MPPT controller added to allow us to boondock for more than a day or two. I bought a remote monitor for the panels also so we can easily track what state the batteries are in and how much juice the panels are putting out. I also switched the batteries to two 220 amp 6v batteries which involved cutting out the piece of metal that previously went between the batteries with an angle grinder. They have been great.

We also have a 60 gallon fresh water tank, two 20 gallon grey water tanks and a 40 gallon black tank providing us with a decent amount of tankage. We also have two 30 pound propane tanks to run the stove, hot water heater, and refrigerator. The hot water heater and refrigerator are both dual fuel so when we have electric hookup they run on that rather then the propane. We’ve got an antenna to give us our television fix, so far we’ve been able to get quite a few stations with it.

I’ll add more details later. If you have any questions about it, fire away. I like talking about RV gear almost as much as I like to discuss backpacking gear, lol.




12 thoughts on “About the RV”

    1. Great, glad you found it. Once we have some decent Internet again well be getting a few post up from our past few stops (it is real rural on the way to Big Bend National Park). I hope ya’ll enjoy your travels too.

  1. Just found you guys from a post on reddit. We have a 2002 32 foot 5th wheel that we are planning on going full time in very soon. For now we go out for vacations (10 days or more) or weekends at least every 3 weeks. I have 2 160 watt panels on our roof with 3 more portable 160’s stored underneath. The inside of our unit looks so close to yours it is uncanny even though we only have 2 slides. We like to go out in the woods with nothing but us and the 5th, dry camping. I just subscribed. Ask me any technical questions you want. I have spent many hours making our 5th better than it was from the factory.

    1. So far we’ve been real happy with the choice we made, the layout is very comfortable. Honestly I’m basically just as comfortable here as I was in my house. We only have two 100w solar panels but that’s been enough for us. We run our fridge on propane when boondocking, with all those panels do you run yours on 110? We also added a ventless heater so we can keep it as warm as we like without running the batteries down. With those two things and a small inverter we can boondock for a over a week no problem. We strongly prefer being in the woods over a campground, plus it’s free. How can you beat that?

      I finally feel like I’ve got the basics down. It was tough never having rved or towed anything and then immediately moving aboard and driving across the country but we couldn’t be happier. I messed up a few things up but nothing dangerous or too costly, lol. I’m not much of a handyman but I’ve even been doing most of the work recently. Besides the solar and heater is there anything you think would make a big difference in comfort? While we were in Seattle I added a wifi antenna and am considering a tankless hot water heater when we get to Tuscon.

      Thanks for reading and hopefully we’ll see you out there!

  2. We run our fridge on propane also and we have 2 30 gallon tanks like you do. It seems to last forever. We also carry 2 20 gallon tanks to run my Yamaha propane generator when we need the air conditioner (We are in Florida). We have a small Weber grill and a Primos 2 burner camp stove that we prefer to use when the weather is nice outside. They run on the 1 pound green bomb tanks.

    We also have a small catalytic heater and lots of blankets, jackets, etc. We just went 10 days at Mammoth caves, KY. We got very worried about filling our grey, galley, and black tank and I did have to add 10 gallons to our fresh water tank. I have messed up a bunch of things but they mostly needed to be fixed because it is 2002 RV. Luckily we got one that was very well built for its time so it has been worth repairing all the little stuff that has gone wrong. (Our 1st night in it we woke up to a flooded living room at 4:00 AM!). Learned a lot about plumbing after that. Always use a water pressure reducer when camping with city water available. We have 2 inverters, a 600 watt unit for entertainment and a 2000 watt unit for big things like wife’s hair dryer, wife’s coffee maker, wife’s smoothie blender.
    Depending upon how you have access to internet, the best thing I got was a WeBoost cellular amplifier. https://store.weboost.com/products/drive-4gx We can now almost always get a signal anywhere for voice, text, and data. One of the other things iI did was build a Raspberry Pi computer and set it up with Kodi which is a media program. It runs off of 5 volts and less than 1 amp. It has 4 USB ports, gigabit Ethernet, and an HDMI output. We got a 32 inch Samsung TV and plug the Pi into it with movies or TV on a USB stick and voila, something to watch and put us to sleep at night.
    We also carry a 60 gallon water bladder and a spare water pump so we can refill our fresh water tank without having to leave our campsite. Just fill it up in the bed of the truck and take the water back to the 5th wheel and pump it into the tank. I am also working on a similar dump solution with a 60 gallon polypropylene tank and a ‘macerator’ so that we can dump into the tanks in the bed of the truck, go to town, dump, then fill bladder with water, go back to camp and not have to move the trailer. We figure we can extend our stay anywhere from 14 days to 21 from our previous record of 10 days.
    I’ve also done a bunch of stuff like relamping the trailer with LED’s, bought a $15 indoor/outdoor temperature gauge, rewire electrics so that I can run different circuits on generator/inverter/solar with just a switch. And I put a rear camera on the trailer so I can see what’s behind me!

    And a big plus for comfort. We bought a $250 memory foam/gel queen mattress from Wal Mart and it has been great! We like sleeping in the 5th better than at home.
    Sorry about rambling but nice wordpress you got going here and I actually subscribed to have links to the free sites you mention for camping, then I saw you have almost the same truck and trailer we do.
    Look at Campendium if you are always looking for good free sites too.


  3. Yea, the generator we have is only enough to run the battery charger. If we find ourselves wanting to boondock where it’s too warm I’ll have to think about upgrading that. Ours seems to have been fairly well built for the time also, certainly not high end but not low end either. Seems to have been built with longer term use in mind.

    We haven’t had any trouble filling up the tanks but I did recently have to add some water to it. However I think that may be because my water pump is dying. What type of pump do you use for transferring water into your tank? I have a hand pump but it takes forever, I need something 12v. I’m interested in getting some bladders like that also. I think then it might be possible to boondock while my wife works also rather than only while we’re traveling.

    We’ve mostly been relying on our mobile data for internet. One of those boosters would be nice but so far I wouldn’t say it’s a necessity. I run my business by email but I only need to check it every day or two. Even if we’re staying in a place without coverage we usual are going into town/sightseeing so I can take care of it then. That’s definitely something I’ll be interested down the line though.

    We just have a chromecast for when we have wifi and a smart tv when were not. I have a 2tb portable drive I can plug into the tv and I have all kinds of videos stored on it to watch. All the things you can do with a raspberry pie is amazing, I’ll have to check out Kodi. I always wanted to set one up as an emulation station.

    I’ve also got the supplies to convert my lights to LED, now I just need to do it.

    I’ll be sure to check out Campendium, I can always use more resources.

  4. Hey, sorry to be so late in a reply. Work is very busy. I have 2 new employees to manage, train, and make sure they do not cause more problems than they solve!. Anyway, Debbie and I are in the Florida Keys at Curry Hammock SP going kayaking tomorrow around Marathon.

    Water pump, we bought a Shurflo Revolution (~$70 on Amazon), it is a standard pump in RV’s, trailers, etc. They run on 12 volts and can be rebuilt so you don’t need to buy a new one. Our 5th wheel had one for the water system, so having one to transfer (they are potable water rated) meant that we would have a backup if needed. Redundancy, yeah! We bought a 60 gallon Aquatank II to go with the pump and rigged a fresh water hose to easily transfer. Here is a link http://www.bayteccontainers.com/60galwaterbag.html#gsc.tab=0 . They offer discounts and coupons if you look around their site. This way we can put the bladder in the back of the pickup, fill up as needed, drive back to 5th and pump the water into the tank easily. It does work well and I can store the bladder, pump and hose in a small laptop bag for storage.
    I see you guys are at Bryce. Debbie and I did a trip that started in Vegas, went to Zion, then Bryce and then onto the North rim of the Grand Canyon. After that we went to Toroweap. A 50 mile drive down a rutted road to a beautiful overlook of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. You can walk/creep up to the edge of the canyon with no guard rails and look over. It is a long way down but it is oh so beautiful!

    Anyway, I am enjoying following you guys and hope to meet some day.

    Chuck & Debbie

    1. No problem, it took me a couple days to get back to you also, we didn’t have decent internet. I was actually going to change out my water pump because it’s been acting up but I’ll definitely just keep it for transferring water. Do you just have some alligator clips to hook it to the batteries then? Our posts are actually about a week back right now, we just made it to Tuscon two days ago. Victoria starts her assignment on Monday so we’ll be parked till christmas. We staying at Far Horizons RV resort and it’s really amazing, the club house is like something you’d see in a high end hotel and it’s right in the middle of town. Not to mention the people have been incredibly friendly. It’s lucky Victoria is a nurse otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to stay, 55+ and all that. Personally I like to stay well away from edges, lol, but heights don’t bother Victoria. Some of the trails in southern Utah/northern Arizona are just death defying.

      I’m glad your enjoying and it would be great to meet when our paths cross.

  5. Heres a link to the pump I mentioned. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E5H0B8A?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage. It’s ~$60.00 right now. I built a 12 volt port near the water fill spout but I also have the option of alligator clips just in case.
    Victoria is a nurse? Cool, what a way to work/live on the road. A 3 to 6 month assignment and then a 3 to 6 month trip. My wife’s mom was a nurse, great profession that you can take anywhere.
    When we bought our 5th we got a trial membership to a high end RV Resort and tried it. Yes, it is interesting to see where the million dollar rigs go but we prefer the outdoors, hiking, kayaking, biking.
    Speaking of heights, have you been to Zion National Park? Besides hiking up the Narrows, did you or would you hike Angels Landing? http://www.hikespeak.com/trails/angels-landing-hike-zion/. Scared the sh*t out of us but now we are going back and doing it. Ummm, shortly.


    PS One of your posts mentioned Jacksonville, did you mean Jacksonville, FL?

    1. You can’t beat that price!

      Yup, she actually does short term crisis nursing so the assignments are only 8 to 10 weeks. Then we travel for the same amount of time. It’s been really awesome so far. It certainly is a great career, I think if more people knew how great it is they might not have such a shortage everywhere.

      Yea we prefer to be out in the great outdoors but when she’s on assignment we have to stay in parks, so might as stay at a nice one, lol. I’m thinking in the right area and with those bladders we might not have to though.

      Actually that was the last Park we went to before coming to Tuscon, our next article will be about it. We hiked the narrows but there is no way in hell I’d hike angels landing, lol. At first I thought I might give it a go, then I was the picture of it and heard a few people talking about it. I would have been another one off the side,lol. Victoria might have given it a go though if we had been there another day. Good luck and take some pictures 😉

      Yea, I was raised in Savannah Georgia but I lived in Jacksonville the past 8 years or so. Are you familiar with it?

  6. Been to Crooked River SP a lot. We live in South Florida just North of Fort Lauderdale.
    Debbie says she will go up Angels landing next time we are there. If we play our cards right we could meet and let Debbie and Victoria go together while we hang out and do something sane!

    1. That’s cool, I’ve been to a lot of the state parks in the area but that’s one I haven’t been to. That sounds like a plan to me! I heard some parts are so narrow that just one person can barely fit 😱

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