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How I Chose My Roadtrek and Other Musings

RT in the VA Woods
RT in the VA Woods

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.image

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.

    Jim & his Beemer
    Jim & his Beemer

  • 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.

Janet telling her  sister about her just bought cute RT
Janet telling her sister about her just bought cute RT

23 thoughts on “How I Chose My Roadtrek and Other Musings”

  1. Roger Fethkenher

    Janet,,,Thank you for your post,,,To what extent can you customise a RT Agile,,,,The how to chose the right is great,,,We would use the Agile for trips of two to five days and use it as a second mode of transportation,,,
    R.Fethkenher

    1. I have to admit that I don’t remember this part of the process clearly. If you go on the Roadtrek web site, pick the model you are interested in, and there will be a link that says customize. I read some web sites where people went to the factory and were able to customize further. Some of the B Classes you could customize more than others.

  2. listen to your gut is right. i too got the idea and did all the internet research, and was pretty well set on a used Chevy Roadtrek before i started looking. i went to the RT dealership so many times to look at theirs that i began to be ashamed to show up there. and you’re also right- when you find your RT, you’ll know immediately. it just feels right.

  3. Janet:Been following Mikes Roadtreking blog since he started im a armchair rver always loved the roadtreks.Was surprised to see someone in my area welcome im sure youll like it,i live about 20 mins from North Beach.Enjoy so sorry for your lost god bless.Bob

    1. Thank you Bob. I have enjoyed my visit very much. Yesterday, was a perfect day. Good weather. Good company. Beautiful places. It made me wish that I had brought my kayak with me. I love the Chesapeake Bay.. I love the town.
      Thankyou for acknowledging Jim’s death. I appreciate your time and your caring.

  4. Great post, Janet. You offer a unique perspective, & special insight into the grieving process. Continued safe travels, & processing. We’re right with you!

  5. Janet,

    Thank you for reintroducing me to my front yard. We live in western Maryland and grew up in Baltimore. The Chesapeake really is a gem and the summer is special.

    Thank you too for walking me through the process of RV selection. When our kids were small, we had travel trailers but now we think the convenience of a small coach is calling us. We’ll be off to the Hershey RV Show in a month or so and start firming up some decisions.

    I’m sorry Jim isn’t enjoying the country on the back roads with you but I think he’d approve. The Beemer is a back road machine too. Somehow, I think Jim is smiling somewhere just like he is in the Beemer.

    Blessings,

    Bill

  6. I am envious of your choice….all we could afford was a 1999 RT Popular, and feel blessed to have Artie in my life. However, repairs are seriously eating into the travel budget. Hopefully, there are still many trips left.
    Enjoy your travels, and keep the updates coming.
    Maybe I will win the lottery, and then RT is the only one for me…

  7. mallory harling

    Janet- I too am considering a RTAgile but curious why u didn’t pursue the ERA (bit longer but less expensive although warrenty not as long as RT’s) ?

    1. I feel that the Roadtrek has a roomier feel to it. That is my personal opinion. Some of it might have been the layout, though I don’t clearly remember. I may not want the size but I want the feeling of spaciousness if I can get it.

  8. Jan –
    I have just found you on line – really like the concerns you address. I am just retired, dream of traveling a year with my water color brushs… have traveled much of the US, but there’s so much more on those back roads! My problem is my budget; considering renting for a couple months after my little house is sold. Price of gas & mileage are a concern. Will continue to check on you! happy trails!

    1. I think there are advantages to both. I chose the diesel because I get better mileage and I liked how it handled. There are tradeoffs to both. What it comes down to is personal choice. I know that doesn’t help making a decision but there is my input.

  9. Thank you Janet. As I am sure you can tell, I have a lot to learn. Is yours all electric by any chance? I have seen a roadtrek that is all electric and that appeals to me but still have a lot to check out. Also the open feeling is probably more important than size for me also.
    We did have a riaelta for a short time and I loved the size and loved to drive it but the bathroom set up was difficult and I really didn’t like dealing with the generator.
    Thanks for your input. Smiles!

    1. My RT is not all electric. I do have a generator but have used it very seldom. Even at friends homes I have shore power. The Agile BR is not big. It is not a problem for me. I actually considered a Rialta but I was looking for smaller and more compact. I love my RT.

  10. Would like a bigger one 29 feet would be perfect! Dog and Cat need space when your going to be on the road for months at a time!

  11. Janet – your comment from the dealer about the Roadtrek being a luxury item was very useful to me. Thanks!!!

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