I am obsessed. I spend hours every day looking at trailers online.

It’s why my children aren’t fed and the laundry isn’t done, and why I am behind on my graduate course and my paid work.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t spend near this much time thinking about the “real” house we bought 10 years ago.

Our must haves are pretty simple – a separate sleeping space for each kid, a “master” bedroom and a living area large enough for all of us to sit down at the same time.

But the options are endless. Trailers today are much different than the one I remember having when I was a kid. That trailer, which my parents and I lived in off and on for several years, had a fold-down dinette with a bunk above it. There was a small kitchen and another small dinette, and a tiny bathroom.

That was it.

But today’s trailers, much like today’s suburban houses, have morphed into mini-palaces chock full of amenities.

Some of these are nicer than any home I’ve ever lived in. Solid cherry cabinets?  Never had them. Granite countertops? Once, on a kitchen island. Stainless steel appliances? In my dreams.

I’ve searched dealer websites online, read reviews, joined forums and subscribed to Trailer Life magazine, all in an effort to wade through the choices.

Family and friends and friends of family and friends are weighing in, too.

My sister sent us an RV catalog she got in the mail.

My niece Michelle and her husband took it upon themselves to observe the RVs they saw on the highway during a couple of recent road trips. She posted a mini-review of what they saw on Facebook. In the comments section, a friend of hers chimed in and said “We lived in our camper for 1 year, it is not too bad when there is only 2 people and a small dog.”

Sadly, we have four people and a small cat.

My cousin Nancy asked a friend of hers who has a fifth wheel to send me some information. She had some good tips, and mentioned a really nice rig that costs upwards of $500,000.

Sadly, we are not wealthy people.

Mark is in Florida this week and he took a few hours to walk through the lot at Lazy Days, a mega RV dealer near Tampa.

It was the first foray into an actual dealer for either of us since we came up with our plan last summer to travel the country after he retires.

He called to tell me about the different travel trailers, fifth wheelers and motor homes he’d seen with a multitude of floor plans and options. He found a couple he really liked and was glad he went to look.

We compared notes on what he saw in person and what I have found online. We clarified some points in our heads, but didn’t come to any decision on what we should buy.

That’s OK. We’ve got a couple of months before the purchase has to be made.

Despite all the window dressing, at their heart an “RV” of any size is still a camper. They shake when you walk around inside. All have small living areas. Storage space is varied but not ample for a family of four and all our gear. Bathrooms are tiny. Closets are nonexistent.

Mark’s takeaway from his first day of RV shopping?

“This is going to take a lot of compromises.”

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