We're getting a new RV.
Two of them.
We go into lots of detail in Episode 390 of the RV Podcast, the video version of which appears below.
An audio version is available on your favorite podcast app – Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, etc. – or you can hear it right now in the audio player below.
Why are we getting two new RVs?
As we explain in the podcast, these are unusual times. Higher fuel prices have us staying longer in various places. Campgrounds are increasingly more difficult to find openings. And inflation makes life on the road ever more expensive.
Those are some of the reasons we decided to buy our own land in Tennessee and to develop it into a private RV retreat for ourselves and our invited friends. We hope to do the same thing in Michigan later this year. And, yes, in our crazy dreams, we might even like another lot or RV land somewhere else so we can always be sure to have a spot where we can stay anytime and for as long as we want.
Those plans, which we are really excited about, are the driving force for our decision to purchase one of our new RVs!
Our Future RV Plans include the purchase of a 32-foot long Keystone Arcadia 5th Wheel!
In just a few weeks, we will purchase a Keystone Arcadia 3250RL 5th wheel. We first saw this beautiful unit at the Tampa RV Show in January. You can see how excited we were about it in the video we did touring the Arcadia 3250.
Honestly, a fifth wheel was the last thing on our mind when we went to the show.
In our many years of RVing, we've had a travel trailer, a pop-up camper, several Class B campervans, and two Class C motorhomes. We've loved every one of them. But we never even thought about a 5th wheel.
Until we saw the Arcadia 3250 RL. We were instantly smitten by the decor, the innovative way it was constructed, the massive solar and Dragonfly lithium batteries for off the grid capabilities, and the fact that one of the Arcadia models was named the RV of the Year for 2022 by RV Business out of hundreds of RVs they reviewed at the Hershey RV show last fall.
“Holy smokes,” said Jennifer's reaction to seeing the Arcadia 3250RL at Tampa. “Now I see why 5th wheels are so popular.”
We talked about it a lot. Pictured it on our property in Tennesee. In Michigan. On a cross-country trip we hope to take this summer.
So we ordered one.
On Monday of this week, it went into production at the Keystone factory in Goshen, IN. We hope to take possession by the end of this month.
We'll have lots more to show you when that happens.
But that takes us to RV number two.
Our future RV Plans also include a 2023 Leisure Travel Vans Unity FX
We can now report that a year and a half ago, we were penciled in to purchase a new Leisure Travel Vans Unity FX. Because of the Covid shutdowns and parts supplies, the lead time to get a new motorhome from Leisure Travel Vans is about two years.
We haven't publicly announced that because of all the uncertainty in the industry. We didn't want to announce it until we had a strong indication of when it would be built.
But we have now been told that we can expect to pick our unit up this fall. Pretty close to two years since we placed our order.
Right now, we own a 2020 Leisure Travel Fans Wonder RTB (for Rear Twin Bed) model. We like it a lot. We will sell it at the end of the summer, though, to go back to the Unity FX.
That's right. We said, “go back.”
That's because our first Class C motorhome was a 2019 Unity FX, on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis.
Why did we sell and get the Wonder in the first place? We wrote a very long explanation of that at the time – CLICK HERE TO READ – but in general, we wanted to be familiar with the Ford Transit chassis, which the Wonder is built on and what has become a very popular motorhome chassis. Plus, we wanted to experience a gas engine. And to round it out, the rear bed model of the Wonder has a huge garage for lots and lots of storage.
The Wonder has been and still is a fabulous ride for us. But in the two years we've had it we have found we didn't need that extra storage as much as we thought. And that extra garage in the rear twin model comes at a cost: Towing capacity. The wonder can't tow another vehicle.
And over the 10 years of RVing, we've been doing on a half to 3/4 time basis, we've gotten tired of breaking camp every time we wanted to go exploring. The Sprinter chassis on the Unity FX will let us tow a car.
The season of RVing we are now in has us vowing to stay in one place longer.
For most of the past 10 years, we've rarely stayed anywhere more than a night or two. There was so much to see that we were always on the move from one attraction or national park to another. Now, we want to go back to many places we've visited and explore them in-depth.
We think the freedom of towing a car with the Unity and then using the car to explore will make it easier for us to get out and maneuver our way around various locations as we continue to research for our series of RV travel guides. Plus it will be easier to take a car into town or go shopping.
How will we use two RVs?
With the Arcadia 5th Wheel, we do plan a couple of long cross-country trips this year. But we also want to use it as a sort of “cottage on wheels” on our Tennessee and Michigan land and perhaps another location or two that we plan to use for extended stays.
The Unity FX will be our main travel vehicle.
And we'll also use it as guest quarters next to the Arcadia 5th wheel for other family members who will be visiting our RV land.
There's one more big-ticket item we still need for our future RV plans
It's a truck to tow the 5er.
And these days, thanks to the profiteering and price gouging of truck dealers, believe me when I say it's a big-ticket item.
So big, in fact, I think it's a scandal. We'll dig into that, in detail, on next week's podcast.
But not to leave you hanging let me say that we got our truck. But as we explain the process next week I think you'll be surprised at what we discovered as we shopped for the truck.
Our Future RV Plans reflect our commitment to the RV Lifestyle
As you can see, we're deeply invested in this lifestyle. As we begin our 10th year, we're probably even more excited about what's to come.
We'll have lots more to say about our future RV plans and we'll take you with us as we pick up our new RVs, equip and accessorize them, and learn all the ins and outs of towing a 5th wheel with a truck and towing a car with a motorhome.
Stay tuned. We pick up the Arcadia in just a few short weeks!
Mike and Jennifer's Favorite Places in Florida – all 3 ebooks!
We RVers may wander far and wide but it’s true for most of us that we end up with some favorite “Go-To” places – places that draw us back again and again.
Florida is one of those places for us. And we know it is for many RVers looking to get away and explore during the winter.
That's why we've created three guides, covering Florida's Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and the Keys.
Each of these guides is a seven-day guided exploration of one of the coasts. And each stop is a curated view of the best things that we’ve enjoyed on this trip and want you to experience.
Altogether these guides are over 300 pages of content!
FAQ's about Florida Gulf Coast beaches of interest to RVers
What is the weather like along Florida's Gulf Coast?
The weather along Florida's Gulf Coast can vary depending on the time of year and the specific location. In general, the area experiences hot, humid summers and mild, pleasant winters.
The Panhandle region can be quite cool in January. It is seldom below freezing, but daytime highs are typically in the 50s. It warms up about 10 degrees each month.
You can also generally add about 10 degrees for every 150 miles you travel south down the Florida peninsula.
By the time you hit Naples, daytime highs in January are in the comfortable 70s.
Are there any websites that can help me get a reservation for a Florida beach campground?
One of the best resources we can recommend is called Campnab. This service monitors parks for cancelations and sends you an alert when an opening matches your criteria. That said, it isn’t magic. The app doesn’t create availabilities.
The service works – but it is not free.
Campnab offers two ways to use the service. The first is individual pay-per-use scans. These watch for vacancies at a specific park for a specific date. These work well if you know exactly when and where you intend to camp. Pay-per-use scans cost $10 – $20, depending on how frequently you want them to check availability.
The second way to use the service is through a membership. These typically run monthly and are tailored to those who camp more frequently or are looking to maximize their chance of finding a site. Membership allows you to scan multiple parks and/or dates simultaneously. With memberships, you pay a monthly recurring fee ($10, $20, $30, or $50), depending on your needs.
Are there places in Florida where you can literally camp on the beach for free?
Not many. And they are very pricey. If you want to sleep directly on the sand in an RV, you'll have to stay at a developed commercial campground like Camp Gulf on the Emerald Coast or an RV resort like Big Pine Key Resort in the keys. Some state parks like the Gamble Rogers State Memorial Recreation Area in the Atlantic Coast or Bahia Honda State Park in the keys or Fort Desto State Park near St. Petersburg have beachside sites, too.
But are there free, unrestricted RV beach camping spots in Florida?
Sorry, none that I know of that would work for RVs.
There is unrestricted camping on wild beaches on a couple of islands, but you need a boat to get there, and it is for tent camping only. If you want to sleep directly on the sand, there is Anclote Key offshore Tarpon Springs, and Shell Key in Pinellas County. Another favorite is Keewaydin Island between Naples and Marco Island but that area remains pretty devasted from Hurricane Ian.
Did Hurricane Ian destroy many beach campgrounds on the Gulf Coast?
While it severely damaged almost two dozen RV parks and campgrounds, about 8-10 campgrounds in the Naples-Ft. Myers area were completely destroyed. Most of the damaged campgrounds have been repaired and reopened.
Check with the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds if you have questions or concerns.