One year ago this month, Tom and I made some big changes in our life together. We bought a small house and traded in the New Horizons 5th Wheel and big truck for a 26′ Coachman Leprechaun Class C. One year later, I thought you might be interested in hearing how we are feeling about those changes.
We love our house. In fact, it was hard to leave when it was time to come to North Dakota. But the house seems to be doing fine in our absence. Our neighbor is doing a great job of looking after it. John and Jackie stopped by the other day to do some weeding and check it out. They said everything looked good. Having a mortgage, utilities, and property taxes again after seven years without means we don’t save as much, but we are doing okay with that.
I can’t say I love the Leprechaun as much as I love the house. We have now been living in it full-time for two months and I am adjusting. You can get used to just about everything, even living in 200 square feet of space. Our old RV had 350 square feet, and that 150 square feet makes quite a difference in the way our “home” feels. Tom can’t walk through the “living room” if I am sitting on the couch with my legs stretched out on the ottoman. The kitchen is as small as a kitchen can be and still have the basics. I can’t shave my legs in the shower because the shower isn’t big enough to sit or bend over. Changing the sheets on the bed is an aerobic workout.
The thing that bothers me the most is the seating. I can’t find a comfortable place to sit. Our 5th Wheel had recliners and a regular sofa. The Leprechaun has the driver and passenger seat which spin around and an RV jackknife sofa. In the 5th Wheel I had a regular dining room chair and a folding desk chair. In the Leprechaun we have dinette seating. Although it doesn’t bother Tom, I can’t sit in any of it for more than an hour without my back hurting. The advantage to this is that I can’t be a couch potato. Every hour I have to get up and walk around until my back stops hurting. I’m not sure why the sofa and dinette bother me so much. No lumbar support? Not enough padding?
We bought this RV because it would be more nimble for travel, but it isn’t as comfortable for full-time living. Because of Covid-19, we didn’t do any traveling between last fall and this summer, so we haven’t been able to enjoy the advantages of the smaller RV. Tom did enjoy driving it out here more than he liked driving the 5th wheel, but we still towed the Prius behind us. We are planning on doing lots of travel next summer and hope to take full advantage of the smaller size then.
On the plus side, the Leprechaun has plenty of storage space as long as we are careful about what we bring with us. I haven’t wished that we had any more storage and I don’t miss anything that we left behind. The tiny cabinets in the kitchen hold all the things that I need. The clothes closet holds most of the clothes that we need. I’m not sure I could store all the clothes I might need for four seasons of weather, but I have enough room for three.
It is also easy to clean the RV and the tiny size encourages us to keep things put away. Everything has its one and only place, if we can just remember where that place is. It takes us 10 minutes to clean everything.
The Leprechaun is not a top-of-the-line RV. That, of course, means that it didn’t cost a top-of-the-line price. It also means that when something goes wrong, Tom is more likely to be able to fix it. For instance, so far we have had three water lines that leaked. Tom was able to get to all of them and fix them. We have some things we would like to upgrade (seating!) but we can make those changes over time. Because Coachman is such a common brand, there are lots of options for places that can work on it.
There are times I miss the 5th Wheel. It felt like home and I loved living in it. I miss being really comfortable in a small space. But the Leprechaun is a comfortable enough place to live when when we are on the road. And now we have a house, so the RV doesn’t have to be our one-and-only place to live. The Coachman will be more suited to future plans we have so living in it for three months at a time is okay.
One year in and I’m doing fine. The house is great. The Leprechaun is not perfect, but it is what we chose, and I can live with that.