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When a Roadtrek finds you, embrace it

| Updated Oct 17, 2016

By Ari B. Adler

When Jessi and I purchased our new-to-us 2008 Roadtrek 190 Popular nearly one year ago, it was a large financial decision that in hindsight seems like a bit of an impulse buy. I had spent many months researching RVs. I knew it was time to move up from our small, pop-up tent trailer if it meant being able to camp earlier and later in the year during Pure Michigan’s unpredictable weather patterns. And I knew Jessi would be on board because we both like to get out and enjoy nature and the many activities available in Michigan, including hiking, biking and beaching.

The biggest question was how big? We knew we wanted something that would fit us comfortably but also adjust well to our active lifestyle. We eventually decided a Class B was probably the best choice all around but finding the one we wanted at a price we could (sort of) afford was going to be the challenge.

When we were at a Roadtreking outing in the Porcupine Mountains recently, a fellow Roadtreker made a comment that really hit home for me: “They (Roadtreks) find you, you don’t find them.” I had often read in my research about Class Bs, and Roadtreks in particular, that if you find one that has the options and the layout you like, you should grab it before someone else does because the resale speed is quite remarkable.

That’s how our purchase of the Roadtrek ended up being a bit of an impulse buy. We visited a dealership with the intention of driving some small Class Cs and Class Bs to help narrow down our eventual decision on what might work best for us overall. While at the dealership, we discovered that a 2008 190 Popular had been traded in days earlier by a couple from Missouri. It was one of three on the lot, with the other two being a 2006 and a 2007.

We looked at all three, but chose to test drive the 2008. We were sold. Not just because of the way it drove, but because of the way it found us. It had the options we had in mind, plus it had 4-wheel drive, which was an unusual bonus and perfect for a couple who both drive Jeep Wranglers and enjoy going well off the beaten path into the woods.

Plus, it had been driven a lot but well cared for. It had some great personal upgrades, such as a sliding baskets built into the kitchen shelves and small eyelets with carabiners throughout to — it turns out — hold camera equipment in place while traveling. Since Jessi is an avid photographer, that seemed to be just one more sign that this Roadtrek had found us. Before we left the dealership, we had negotiated a price and started the paperwork to bring the RT home.

Jessi and Ari at the January 2016 Roadtreking event in Tahquamenon Falls, MI, the first trip they took in their Roadtrek.

I mentioned the Porcupines trip earlier and one of the great perks of that trip was that we finally got to meet Larry and Marilyn, the previous owners of “Geraldine II.” We had made contact with them via the Roadtreking Facebook group, which was great because we were able to get some operational and maintenance questions answered in our early days of ownership. But we had never met Larry and Marilyn in person until nearly a year after they had traded Geraldine II for Geraldine III (a 2016 210 Popular).It was wonderful to meet them, to hear their stories, and to see how they have settled into their new rig. Marilyn mentioned that it was so good to see us getting started on our new adventure in a Class B when we are still young. We do tend to be one of the younger couples at Roadtrek events but age is irrelevant when you’re part of a large extended family, so everyone always feels welcome regardless of age or background. We even have folks driving Advance RVs and Sportsmobiles — and towing Airstream trailers — who all feel welcome. Because while Roadtreking seems centered around Roadtreks, it really is about the lifestyle of getting out there to enjoy all life has to offer.

Jessi and daughter Kenzie enjoying a roadside picnic in the Badlands of South Dakota during the big trek to Yellowstone that they took with Ari in July.

Which brings me back to our impulse buy of the Roadtrek. Are there days when I wonder if it was the right thing to do? Sure, and it’s mostly around the 2nd of each month when our loan payment is due! But the rest of the month, I look out the front window of our sticks and bricks home to see the Roadtrek waiting to go on another adventure. And I long for the time when we can do more than just a long weekend, a planned vacation or volunteering for an out-of-town work assignment because I know I can spend time in the Roadtrek.

A representation of a “perfect campsite” for Ari and Jessi — a boondocking location off the beaten path in the Manistee National Forest in Michigan.

Life is an adventure. Small house, big yard. Home is where you park it. Those are good sayings. But perhaps the best saying I’ve heard more lately is, “You just never know.” It’s so true. You just never know when something might affect your personal health. You just never know when something might affect the health of a family member that could prevent you from traveling very far from home. But you also just never know when a Roadtrek might find you. And if it does, don’t turn away. Embrace that vehicle and don’t just live, but be alive. It’s not enough to just plan for “some day.” My goal is to turn some day into every day as soon as possible. Because life shouldn’t be about being alive. It should be about living. And if that requires a few impulse buys along the way, then c’est la vie. That’s life!

Mike Wendland

Published on 2016-10-17

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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