There are just so many choices of RVs out there that at times I feel myself getting overwhelmed. Everyone tells me I’m in that exciting stage of things right now — the dreaming and research stage. And I agree, it’s definitely fun. But I seem to be changing my mind from month to month as to what I want. However, I think I have narrowed it down a bit by making one decision: I do NOT want to drive some huge, honking truck like a Yukon Denali or other. I just don’t feel comfortable driving such a large vehicle. Not to mention the gas that it would use on a daily basis. So…wanting to drive (at the largest end) a mid-size SUV like the Nissan xTerra helps me to narrow things down. (Very good if you are decision-impaired like me to have at least one decision sort of taken out of your own hands.)
A week and a half ago, I took a comp day from work so I could drive around to RV dealers. There is one RV dealer in all of New England who carries an expandable trailer called the Trail Manor, and they are on Cape Cod, about 90 minutes away from me. So that was the first place I went, thinking this could be the perfect solution for me. It’s lightweight (even the 2619 model has a dry weight of 2300 lbs), and doesn’t cause you to use more than one extra gallon per gas per 100 miles (or so they say.) Because it’s an expandable trailer, you can have one that is 19-20 feet when rolled down, and 26 feet of living space when opened up. Great for me and all the furballs, right?? Well, maybe.
In a Trail Manor, I kind of feel like I’m camping. My friend, Dan, of WanderDano fame of YouTube, asked me if I thought that was a good thing or a bad thing, and I said both. At the same dealer, I checked out a more traditional travel trailer and was amazed at how much more permanent it felt. And I seemed to be drawn to that. Plus, there seemed to be a lot more storage, and many more electrical outlets. Granted, I’m not going to use every electrical appliance I own all at the same time, but unless I was missing something, I only counted four in the Trail Manor. The smallest model, the 2417, didn’t have a plug in the bathroom (what could they be thinking?) but the other models did. I’m a girl. I might need to have a plug in the bathroom, you know? 🙂 That, and I have to admit, storage is a big thing to me. From all that I have read, whatever storage you have in an RV, you never have enough. And, I honestly didn’t see a whole lot of storage capacity in the 2417. The larger models, the 2619 and 2720, I could picture maybe having enough room for all my stuff. (You have to remember, it’s not just my stuff, but that of the furballs I will be taking on this new life with me. For having such little bodies, the stuff you need to take care of them can really add up over time. Not that I am complaining, trust me, I’m not!)
So, the feeling of camping I mentioned? I like the idea of camping, but I also like the idea of permanence, even if it’s just what I am living in and carting around with me, at the same time. I thought about it, and I realized, my life is going to change in so many ways next year. I won’t have the same 9-5 job to go to every day. I won’t be living in this part of the country. If I do seasonal work, my surroundings are going to change every few months. And I’ve always needed a bit of security in my life. Ok, maybe more so than most. That’s why the whole idea of changing my life is so exciting and at the same time, terrifying, to me.
The folks at the McD RV dealership were very nice and didn’t hover over me the whole time I was sitting in the RVs, trying to picture myself in them, long term. Not so much at the other places I went to. From there, it was on to Camping World of Berkeley, where I was disappointed that most of the travel trailers were locked. Yep, I’m assuming that they, and most dealers, do this so you have to go ask a salesperson for help. And I didn’t want that that day – I just wanted to look inside, see the setups, see how stable or not-so-stable they felt as I stood in them. I was able to get into one trailer at Camping World, and really liked what I saw. Then I found out it was over 5000 pounds, dry-weight, so I high tailed it out of that one! No use falling in love with something you’re not gonna marry, right?
So my trip to Camping World took all of, oh, 25 minutes, and that included my trip to the ladies’ room upon arrival to change out of some of my layers. (The weather is fickle in New England, a day can start out cold and warm up like you wouldn’t believe, even at the end of September.) I then went to a place called Campers Inn, where I was able to get into one, count it, one, travel trailer. And with my friend Dan’s help, I realized it was not even on their website, so I had no idea of how much it cost. Every single other trailer was locked, and even though some of the employees saw me, no one even bothered to ask if I wanted or needed help. So, that was another quick visit.
I then went to Bradford RV, which was just a few miles down the road. Again, the same thing. Everything locked. Except that this time, the salesperson saw me try to open the door to an ultra-lite (by Forest River) and came out to greet me. He asked me a few questions, and some look that I can’t describe came over his face (albeit briefly) once he asked if my budget was under 10K, and I said yes. I think at this point, he thought he was being generous in showing me two different RVs, one a 16 foot model and one a 17 foot model, the cheapest of which was 12K, brand-new. He hovered the entire time, so I probably spent all of ten minutes there. He checked over the inventory of their other location to see if they had any used RVs in my price range, but no such luck.
At this point, it was somewhere around 3:30ish, so I decided to go to one more RV dealer before heading for home. My zipcar was due back at 7, and I needed to give myself a good buffer of time to get back to Boston with the rush hour traffic. (Yes, rush hour begins around 3:30 in these here parts, and yes, in case you are wondering, it does suck. Big time. Part of why I am looking to move from the big city!)
Finally, there was a dealer willing to talk to me as if I had a brain in my head, in Plainville, MA. He spent a lot of time with me discussing hitches, amps, 12v batteries, etc. (And when I wanted to take pics inside of a trailer, he said “you don’t need me in this picture, I’ll get out of your way!”) I went to this dealer because I knew they carried the R-Pod and I really wanted to see what they looked like on the inside. It’s one thing to see the pictures but another completely to see them in person. We talked for a while about them, and how I wanted a smaller travel trailer but that the R-Pod was definitely out of my price range.
So he showed me a 2000 Fleetwood Mallard 19N (click here for some stock photos of the same model) that was 19 feet long, and I really liked most of what I saw. It was a bit dated, but I expected that (designs on the mirrored front of the cabinets over the bed). It didn’t have a sink in the bathroom, which I admit, I want. I don’t like the idea of having to leave the bathroom to wash my hands in the kitchen sink, or to brush my teeth in the kitchen sink, all the time. That’s just me. But other than that, I liked it. And the price was right–$5,950, and they would be willing to store it for free for me until April. So…why didn’t I jump at it?? The weight. Its dry weight was already 3897 lbs, and with full tow capacity, the dealer estimated it would be about 5600 lbs. Meaning I’d need a vehicle with at least 6000 lbs towing capacity, and honestly, I’m not comfortable with having an engine working so hard. So, when push came to shove, and Dan helped me with my pro/con list and talking over my priorities (he let me come to all my own conclusions), I decided to not go for this one. The right one will come to me, he keeps assuring me. I believe him. I’ve just got to get better at the patience thing. As in, getting some….the only thing stopping me from going out and buying an RV right now, is: where do I put it?? 🙂
I have to admit…I’m really loving the idea of a molded fiberglass travel trailer like a Casita or a Scamp these days…yes, I know they are smaller, but they are lightweight, and there’s no unfolding to do, and they’re white on the inside (white is a big thing to me, I hate the look of all wood, especially dark wood.) Whenever I sit inside of a travel trailer, I try to imagine where each of my animals would feel most comfortable, and where I would put the litterbox(es), so that I wouldn’t trip over them. My friend Dan suggested I take a bunch of stuffed animals with me and throw them all over the place to get an idea of what it would be like with all the furballs. He may just be onto something, LOL.
I have to admit, every time I go to look at RVs, it’s like another part of the dream is becoming real, slowly, oh, so slowly…I’m getting there…
I know that some of you out there are RVers, so I’d love to hear your thoughts (and even if you’re not RVers, please feel free to comment.)
As always, if you’ve liked this post, please hit like or subscribe! 🙂
19 thoughts on “So many choices of RVs!!”
Sounds exciting! That’s funny about the no outlet in the bathroom. We live in England, and there are no outlets in the bathroom (because of the higher voltage here, supposedly is the reason). It’s such a pain though! Oh, to be a spoiled American again! LOL.
Really?? Oh wow, that is too funny. I was like “ok, now how does this work? I kind of guess at what I look like while drying my hair?!” (which is actually not the end of the world, I just thought it was kind of funny.)
You need to find a BIG RV show, many to look at and the show deals.
Oh Rob, now you’re speaking my language! I went to the RV show in Boston in January and well….let’s just say I came prepared. Had my lunch with me and everything and spent many hours there. My friends who came in with me got worn out and ended up leaving before me when they could see how excited I was, running around from one to another like a kid in a candy store. Thing is, I’ve always read that the deals you get at the shows really aren’t all that great. And I also know I can’t afford something brand new, since I also need a tow vehicle too.
They all take trades & how many are they going to sell in January or February in the northeast? Get some ‘idea’ of what you want & look look look. Ask questions & if the sales people are from somewhere familiar/not too far ask them about what they have used. Tell them what you want and ask them if they have one …. While you’re doing this watch craigslist, maybe what you want will come up? Craigslist is also a good place to note (& copy down) the info for those people who move RVs for people, you may end up needing that number.
Get a good guess on ‘how much weight’ you will need to deal with (all those RVs at the show have data plates) and look for what you want to tow it with. Trailer Life Tow guides are a help.
Keep in mind you are talking about towing your home, everything changes. Don’t expect the modern high mileage you see today, that goes with a stationary home.
Enjoy the hunt!
Hi Robb, yep, I have definitely found the towing guides online. It’s why I saw what size truck I would need to pull that Fleetwood Mallard and that made the decision for me. And yes, now when I go back to the show this year, I am going to pay much more attention to the weights of each of the “micro lites.” Last time, I think I focused more on layouts and what I wanted in a trailer. I definitely watch Craigslist too, as well as rvtrader, and the casita forums, fiberglass rv websites. etc.
The Boston show in in January… hang in there!
Terri – I’m with you, I wanted light, which is why I chose the Scamp. I love it, though it’s small. I don’t even come close to full-timing, so it’s perfect for me and Sam the Wonder Pup for a few weeks at a time, but you’ll need something bigger, I’m guessing. Keep looking, and it will hit you when you see it. Can’t wait to see what you end up with!
Deonne, if I end up with a fiberglass RV, yes, it would likely be a bit bigger than yours, just because of the storage and the number of pets. I would be fine in a little 13 footer, but they would probably want to scratch my eyes out while I slept. If it were just me and little Osito, a 13 footer would do us just fine. I love how you can pull yours with a regular car!! Thank you for the words of encouragement.
Terri – I understand you’d want something a little bigger having multiple pets. And remember that if you get an SUV like my Pilot, you can also organize the back to store stuff you don’t use every day. I keep extra outerwear, water, the tank drainage kit, etc. back there and only have what I use all the time in Sadie.
Yep, Deonne, that is my plan. I need a vehicle where I can put one cat and dog in the front with me, two cats in the middle, and two cats in the back. That way, they can be out of their carriers but still safe (I plan on getting barriers to put in between the middle seat and back area. I do love the simpleness of the 13 footers, though. I love how you named her! I’m totally going to do that with mine too.
Good post Terri !! There was a Casita for sale about 20 miles from where I live. They were asking $12,000 for it and it was a ’97 model. They are good and lightweight and, in my opinion, way overpriced. I’ve been talkin to my friend Wander Dano and I think I’m leaning more towards the setup he has mainly because I want to be as mobile as possible when I start driving those steep grade mountain highways with the hairpin turns and to be able to get to the backroads where all the good camping is, plus I wouldn’t have to unhitch everytime I wanted to move. Bad thing about pulling a trailer is it really limits your parking choices. However, I am also “decision-impaired” and will probably change my mind. The house ain’t selling so I guess I’ve got plenty of time to ponder. Haha!
Hi Gary, why thank you! Well, it sounds like that particular Casita was probably overpriced. I’ve seen them for less online, and I’m definitely not budgeting that much for mine, I’m sure of that! I can understand the lure of the class B. But with five cats, and the dog, it’s just not enough room. Plus, I don’t plan on moving around all the time, week to week. I’m so sorry the housing situation is not working out too well…
Yep, pets will definately be a factor for you. I won’t have any so my situation will be different. Any luck on the scooter yet?
Nope, and I don’t expect to sell it at this point until the spring. I got one offer on it, and it was for less than half of what I was asking for, so none, really. I didn’t know you also knew Dan! 🙂
Hi, Terri–my first stop at your blog. I loved this post and I know what you mean about wanting the right camper. I started with a tent and then moved to a 15-ft Scamp and then upgraded that to a 17 ft Coachmen Apex about 3 years ago, which I just love (I don’t think they make them any more). My favorite thing about the Apex is not only the light interior (WHY do they put so much dark wood in campers???) but the gigantic back window and large window over the couch. But no sink or outlet in the bathroom. I tow it with my not-4WD Nissan Xterra with ease.
I’ll be back to your blog and look forward to following your search for an RV!
Hi Peggy, thank you for commenting! I don’t think they make the Apex anymore either, I’ve never seen them! That’s great you found one with a light interior though – the rest of them I just find depressing! Good to know what you can tow with the Xterra. 🙂
Awesome post Terri !! I started my 2017 camping . Went to Earl Rowe last week . Heading to Sibbald Point this upcoming week. Are you going to Sibbald anytime? Really nice park. Great campsites.
Hi Anthony, I”m actually living in Albuquerque now! Thank you so much for reading my blog and commenting. Are you living full time in an RV?