I am wending my way up the east coast. I spent a lovely night in the woods of Virginia reacquainting myself with RT the RV. I was able to successfully set up camp with only one difficulty, trying to level it without help. Out came my orange blocks and I kept driving back and forth, changed the level and tried again. My rescuers were the very nice couple across the way. They came and helped and it was done. They even invited me to dinner. Yummy.
Sunday I drove the backroads to North Beach, MD. It was a beautiful drive through very expensive horse country. I am glad I chose to avoid the freeways when possible. I am visiting a friend I have known since high school, Joy. I love spending time with friends who, when we get together we just pick up where we left off. It is a delight. The town sits right on the west shore of the Chesapeake Bay. It was lovely spending the evening walking the boardwalk along the bay, catching up.
As I was driving I thought about my process of choosing my cute little Roadtrek. I was driving home from an appointment about 3 months after Jim, my husband, died. I drove by 2 RV dealers and saw the coolest looking B class RV sitting in the front of one of these dealerships. I u-turned it and went in. The RV I saw was the Winnebago Era. I walked inside and fell in serious like. I had always seen this mode of recreation as a passing fancy. When I saw this RV I started to give the idea of owning and traveling in a small RV serious thought.
I went home and started to research. Up came all the Internet sites. I went to every RV lot in the greater San Diego region and I started to test drive all kinds of B class RVs. At this point I did not know if I was serious about buying one. It was a lot of fun to let my mind wander at the possibilities. I went to my first RV show at the stadium and began to look around and talk to salesmen. It was almost overwhelming to see so many RVs in one place.
I eventually eliminated several of the RVs and ended up looking seriously at the 2013 Roadtrek and a used Great West. Although I loved the Great West and especially the sliding screen door, at 22 feet it felt long for me to drive and I was concerned about service. I looked up dealerships in the US and there were very few. I spoke with the factory and was guaranteed that I would find service for it. The people at Great West were terrific to work with.
I chose the RT for several reasons.
- On the Mercedes chassis, it drives and handles sweetly.
- The gas mileage was important, though I am getting less than what they said.
- I really liked the lay out. Although small, it feels roomy.
- The shorter length lets me drive with ease and parking is not hard.
- There is enough storage to fit my needs.
- When I look in the engine I understand what I am looking at. (well mostly)
- the resale value is good.
- The sales rep was someone that I knew, Dean and he was not pushy.
- Holland Motor Homes has been very good to work with. I have called them from the road and they always take time to answer my questions. They have been like this from the beginning of this process.
- they took full trade in value on my husband's beloved 2000 Beemer. One of the salesmen, Steve bought it. He and his wife Sandy are loving it. I have new friends
- When I walked inside the first time I knew it was the one. I walked in looked around and said “This is so cute”. I am still saying that today. It is OK to listen to your gut. Mine was right.
If you are beginning to consider and RV here are a few suggestions to consider.
- Keep an open mind.
- Take your time.
- Make at least 2 lists. What you like. What you don't like. I also did a “must have” list. As you research, what is important may change. Write your lists in pencil.
- Test drive many RVs. You never know what might just catch your fancy.
- Do your homework. Learn about the vehicle. Learn about the dealership.
- Consider the lay out seriously. If you have the time and money most of these RV's can be custom built just for you.What is important and you just can't live without in your RV?
- What is not acceptable in the layout? For example one B Class I looked at had the bathroom right behind the drivers seat and the seat could not swivel around without facing a wall.
- Diesel or gas?
- Don't get too caught up in all the extras, look at the basic vehicle first then you can look at all the extras. For example the vehicle I looked at with the bathroom behind the drivers seat came with all kind of extras. The man who was selling it left everything in it, outdoor folding chairs, folding table, all the utensils and more but I would have a wall right behind the drivers seat. Although tempting I let it go.
- if you want to buy used, go to Craigslist. I test drove a few this way and all were in very good condition.
- If buying through a dealership, make sure you can work with them.
- It is OK to be picky.
Dean said to me, early on in this process that owning any RV is not a necessity, it is a luxury. I would agree with that, for most people. He also told me I would know when I was ready to make a decision on buying an expensive luxury item. He was right. I am so happy with my choice.
As I write this, cardinals are tapping on my roof and the osprey are calling. It is time to get up and start my day on the Bay.
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