And nope, the Dodge ProMaster chassis is not flat towable.
And our bus conversion really isn’t meant for towing much of anything – we weren’t comfortable with something too much heavier than the MINI due to the airplane like design of the GM 4106.
After getting the bus to its homebase in Arizona, we knew there would be limited miles that we’d need to move both the bus and our vehicle in the future. We would be southwest based during our bus-seasons.
So flat towing became less of a priority in selecting our next vehicle. We could easily convoy the two when we wanted both with us.
Which opened the door to… anything.
While we fantasized about a Telsa as our daily driver off our boat and bus, we decided that a van conversion would be practical as a shuttle craft across country. No more quick repositioning with hotel says in pet friendly rooms.
So, how has convoying two RVs been?
First, a quick video recap:
Advantages of Convoying
We’ve now done about 1500 miles of convoying the bus and van. Chris drives the bus, and me the van.
The first major trip from Austin to Benson this past fall was much quicker than we planned, but circumstances necessitated it so Chris could attend his grandma’s funeral.
850 miles in 3 days.
And then we had a round trip out to Quartzsite and Lake Havasu City (which will be more our typical winter convoys going forward) for the Xscapers events – 350 miles each way.
And it’s gone much better than we ever anticipated.
Here’s some of things we love about convoying:
- Alone Time. We get some alone time which is great for folks who generally spend 24/7 together in a small space. It’s kinda fun to meet back up for a lunch date or overnight together after the day apart.
- Musical Choice. We can listen to whatever we want to – podcasts, music or silence. And at whatever sound level we like.
Keeping Driving Skills Sharp. I love driving our boat, and do so more than half the time. But I actually dislike driving vehicles – so Chris usually defaults to most our miles. The van is pretty easy to drive and forcing myself to drive more is a good thing.
- Social Media. It’s easier to get photos and videos of our vehicles in motion.
- Tax Advantage. Because we have an established tax home base (bus or boat) – we can actually write off some of our van expenses when traveling to events and/or doing mobile internet testing. This is much more questionable when traveling in your tax home base. (Please consult with your tax advisor for further information.)
Disadvantages of Convoying
Here’s some of things we have to adapt to from our normal style:
- Planning. We have to plan our routes in advance a bit more – we won’t have a navigator on board to do in-route re-routing. We use our phones and/or walk-talkies to communicate – but we find just planning frequent stops at most rest areas is great to check-in, sync our routing and stretch our legs.
Re-fueling. The bus and van have very different re-fueling needs. While the van has the best fuel economy of all our vessels at 15-18 MPG gas, it only has a 24 gallon tank. The bus gets about 7.5 MPG diesel but has 140 gallons on board. Which means the van needs much more frequent fuel stops. When traveling in places where gas stations can be 50-100 miles apart – this does require a bit of extra thinking.
- Extra Fuel Cost. And of course there’s the extra fuel cost of moving two vehicles. The van’s superior fuel economy does help. Between gas being cheaper than diesel, and getting more than double the MPG, it’s not that much of a hit. But it is a hit – but at least we get to write off some of those van miles (see above).
- Off-Duty. We’re used to the non-driver being able to work some while underway. When we’re both driving, we’re both not working. Thankfully, we have any amazing staff at the Mobile Internet Resource Center – and they’re awesome at keeping on top of things for us. And it’s really taught us to trust in them more – and has actually enabled us to take more time away from the keyboard in general so far this year (thanks team!).
Overall, having two RVs has been pretty darn awesome. Besides the convoying we’ve found some other advantages:
- We travel with a guest house. It’s super cool to have friends and family able to visit us, and put them up in a completely self contained guest house. My mom actually got to have her very first night in an RV when she came to visit us!
Satellite Office. While we have a sweet dual desk setup in our bus conversion (which has been oh so nice to be back to!) – we also have a sweet setup in the van. Having separate office spaces has been super handy – especially when Chris needs to do signal testing, or I am doing video production.
- Mobile Hotspot. We are currently testing out the Pepwave MAX Transit Duo router sent to us by MobileMustHave.com with several different antenna combinations (that’s our work life). It’s been super handy to keep the testing isolated and installed on the van. But keeping the van close to the bus as our ‘mobile hotspot’ with the best internet connection we currently have setup.
- No Campground Concerns… yet. We were concerned if we’d have a problem technically parking two RVs on one campsite. But so far, as long as we’re clear the van is our daily driver and not being used as an RV – every campground we’ve stopped at has been completely cool. In fact, one reason we selected a van conversion as our second RV was because the bylaws at the SKP Saguaro Co-Op park specifically allow a Class-B used as a daily driver to be parked on our lot in addition to our primary RV.
But of course the biggest struggle is for Kiki.
She has to decide each day which house and human she is riding with.
And she honestly seems to love all three of our vessels.
She’s truly an awesome nomadic cat.
Real Time Update:
We have now stored our bus at our co-op park in Arizona until later this year, and have just arrived by van to the RVillage Rally in Live Oak, FL after a way too quick 2000 mile trip across country.
We’re looking forward to an amazing event, some time with family next week and then returning to our boat by the first of March!