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The Tape Measure to your RV Dreams

| Updated Jan 7, 2017

I'm far from being a RV salesman. But sometimes, as Jennifer and I meet with folks around North America, we feel like ambassadors for the RV Lifestyle.

We also like to push people off fences… fences of indecision.

So it was during our visit yesterday to Sunshine State RVs in Gainesville, FL  We were there to meet Sales Manager Nick Schmidt, who, as Roadtrek's newest dealer and one of the newest sponsors of our podcast, invited us to stop by the next time we were in Florida. So that we did. Sunshine State RV probably sells more used Class B RVs than any other business anywhere and, besides checking the place out, I wanted to interview Nick for the podcast about what shoppers need to know before buying a used RV.

You can hear Nick's interview about that on next week's podcast (which will be Episode 121.

While there, we did a Facebook Live report. You can see it below.

But we also got a chance to meet with a bunch of folks who read this blog or listen to the podcast and came to meet us. That's where the ambassador part comes in. There were people there from New York, Georgia and, of course, Florida. Most had heard me talk about the dealership with Nick on the podcast and came to see their large inventory of used Class Bs.

Jennifer gave tours of our Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL. One woman sat in our rig with Jennifer for almost 45 minutes as her husband and I looked at the various models on display. Jennifer answered questions about things like washing your hair on the road, when we use paper plates and when ceramic plates, how many place settings you need, where the bedding is stored.

Her husband and I talked about time. How the older you get, the faster it goes. He worked hard all his life, built a very successful construction consulting business, almost watched it disappear in the Great Recession os the 90's and then, with lots more hard work, built it back to the point where he was just able to sell it. Now he wants a Class B and he wants to jump in with both feet, seeing as much as he can.

He's 78 and on a fence.

So I told him Jim Hammill's tape measure parable. Put your fingers on a tape measure at the one inch mark and go to 78 inches. That span represents your life, how much has passed. Now, with one finger holding the 78 inch mark, ask yourself how long you think you'll live. 90?95? Whatever, put a finger on your other hand on that mark, though there's no guarantee you'll have those years. But say you do live that long. Of those 90 or 95 years, how long do you think you'll be strong and healthy enough to travel. 85? 87?

Look at the tape measure between 78 and the number you settled on for the upper limits of your health.

That's how much time is left, I told him.

You don't have a lot of time to waste thinking about buying an RV and making your dreams come true.

Listening in as I shared that story was a younger guy who came to meet us from his home near Orlando. He's also a fence sitter and maybe in his early 40's. He dreams of doing a lot of boondocking, of playing golf as he travels and using a Class B RV as his main vehicle even when home.  He was planning to get off that fence and buy within a year or two.  But he ran his own tape measure numbers in his head as he heard me telling the story.

“Maybe I don't have all that much time to wait, either.” he said.

“Look,” I said to both of the shoppers, “here's my question: What is the worst thing that could happen to you? You follow your dream and decide it isn't what you wanted, or you suddenly get sick and can't travel any more. So then you sell the RV. These things hold their value so much that you won't be out that much. There's not a major down side here.”

I love a story Nick Schmidt told.

Seems Nick once had a customer who came in and bought a Class B and immediately took off on his adventure. “For six months he and his wife traveled the country,” said Nick. “They put 10,000 miles on it. I don't even think they changed the oil or washed it. One day, six months after I sold it to him, he shows up in the lot here. Says ‘that's it… I'm done.' He says he did and saw everything on their bucket list and had the time of their life. He asked me what I'd give him to buy it back. I wrote him a check right then and he left smiling saying it was the best investment he ever made.”

We all laughed as Nick shared his story.

But that's the thing about this RV life. It's a dream so many of us have. Its a dream that can come true.

It has for Jennifer and me.

And I bet it will for these two guys as well.

Before we left, I took my drone out from our Roadtrek and shot a very short video that shows the large inventory of Class B RVs at Sunshine State RVs.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2017-01-07

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.

One Response to “The Tape Measure to your RV Dreams”

January 09, 2017at12:21 pm, Kathy Nagy said:

Hello! Just discovered your blog this wkend as I was planning my next adventure. Have signed up! Enjoyed your post today. Besides the tape measure analogy (re: aging and living the RV dream), I remembered what I heard years ago and is soooo true: Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!

PS, I just retired in Oct. of last year, bought an Aliner and hit the road. Love it! While I love solo adventuring, I, also, love my little home bungalow in Michigan (Grand Rapids). Can’t think of selling it….just yet. Also thoroughly enjoyed your post, under bucket list travels, on our great MI UP!!!

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