RV Life

And a Truck to Pull It

January 16, 2016

We decided to buy a fifth wheel and then we needed a truck to pull it.

We wanted something that would outlast our fifth wheel. Our plan is to use Keystone for at least a couple years, but we wanted the flexibility to upgrade in the future. We want our truck to last much longer than two years and give us the flexibility to upgrade our camper.

We looked at half-tons and three-quarter tons mostly. One-ton trucks were too much for us and we wouldn’t be towing a 40 foot fifth wheel anytime soon.

I eliminated the half ton trucks because I wanted something with too much power, not just enough to handle Keystone. Soon, I was between the Ford F250 Powerstroke Diesel and the Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel. Talking to a Ford owner and a few Ram owners straightened me up quick. The Ram owners all swore by their trucks. One of my friends was on his third Ram 2500 Diesel, and he was in the market for a new one in the next few months.

The Ford F250 owner said “just stay away from the 2011 model. My dad had one of those and the engine was nothing but problems.” Yikes. I’ll stay away for now.

Why Diesel?

Torque and fuel efficiency. With our new truck, we’re getting about 13 miles to the gallon pulling Keystone on the highway. My Ford Explorer barely got that towing nothing but our groceries in the backseat.

The only issue was the price of the Ram diesel. They seemed to be a few thousand more than the comparable F250s. And I couldn’t find used Ram diesels anywhere!


We had a budget in mind when we began and we took our truck budget to the limit. We put a solid down payment on the truck, but still got out a car loan through my credit union. Getting into more debt while trying to get out of debt isn’t a good move, but I justified it by saying this truck will be part of our home. Giving up our $1,400 a month apartment and we can easily afford the car payment.

We’ll see if getting the car loan ends up being a very poor choice on our debt-free quest.

Finding Rammy

Super clever name, I know. I set up email alerts on Cars.com and waited in the weeds. I had to expand our search out to 500 miles because our criteria was so specific. Ram 2500 diesel with under 50,000 miles on it. 2013. Integrated trailer brake controller and a crew cab. At any one time, there were literally only 8 for sale within 500 miles. And each one sold within a week.

After waiting a couple months, we decided to pull the trigger on a beautiful white one only 60 miles away. We got in the car to go check it out first thing the next morning. As we’re driving down, I decide to call and make sure it was still available. It was posted last night and didn’t even have pictures up yet. Turns out an hour before I called, a guy from New York state called and put a deposit on it, sight unseen. Mandy and I pulled over at a Wendy’s for a snack and then made a U-turn. White’s not our color anyway.

A week later, a black one popped up in Wisconsin. I’d never been to Wisconsin and was one click away from buying a plane ticket to go pick it up. It was perfect, that is until I got the Carfax report. It had been in an accident. It was a good deal, but I didn’t want to go down that road.

Enter the silver fox. A few days later, we got an alert for a silver one in North Carolina. It was in perfect shape, had only 20,000 miles, and was accident free. Mandy and I had a pow-wow to make the decision. I called within 15 minutes and put a deposit on the truck.

We drove down the next day, took it for a test drive, and picked it up to drive it home. It was a 6 hour drive, so we plopped down in a hotel to rest our eyes before the long trip home.

And it ended up being an eventful one!

Our First Rest Stop

Mandy was driving our Explorer home and I was driving the truck, naturally. We pulled over at a rest stop to fill up the diesel and DEF. I had to figure out what DEF was in the first place 🙂

We were fueling the truck and we saw a semi in the rest area. Mandy and I both looked over at the same time and saw a tiny little monkey thing trying to jump into the semi truck from underneath. A few tries later, we saw it jump up into the engine compartment of the semi. It was a kitten!

Mandy ran over to alert the semi truck driver. He kindly got out and opened up the engine compartment. There, snuggled against the warm engine block, was a tiny black cat. Mandy picked him up and I don’t think she’s put him down since.

This picture sums up our entire trip. Sexy truck, the gorgeous scenery of the Blue Ridge mountains, and our new hitchhiker.

He rode home in Mandy’s Explorer and we stopped at a Walmart to feed him. He was a thin little guy, weighing in at only half a pound! He ate like a machine and chewed a hole in Mandy’s sweater that had a drip of food on it. The whole time, Mandy was saying how we were going to find him a home and find him loving parents.

I knew better though. I knew he had already found a family, but I went along with it to humor her.

Mandy and Grizzly at the vet

We took him to the vet as soon as we got home and found out he was perfectly healthy, other than being underweight and carrying fleas. A couple meals and baths later, he was on his way to becoming a regular part of our family. Even Mandy admitted to herself that we were keeping this little guy.

We named him Grizzly because he looked like a little bear cub crawling under that semi and for Grizzly Adams, the mountain man. We found him in the mountains of Virginia. Griz completed our goal to become a modern day Noah’s arc. Two dogs and two cats.

Except the dogs are both girls and the cats are both boys. Eh, close enough.

So we left to pick up a truck and came back with an extra family member. Grizzly wasn’t in our plans, but he’s been a blessing. All of our other pets love him, most of the time. He’s a bit playful at night, which our older cat doesn’t have much patience for. He’ll grow up someday, and maybe we will too.

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