Earlier this year, we sold our family RV with the hopes of finding a better fit for our family of six. Making couches into beds and breaking down the dining table nightly gets old when you are living on the road for long periods of time and the kids want to be able to have a space to call their own. So we said goodbye to our 2002 Travel Supreme and embarked on the journey to find the perfect fit for our family.
Shopping for an RV is a big investment, so we didn’t take the decision lightly. We had some wish list items, and of course mine were different from my husband’s so we had to find something that met all of our criteria. His wish list included:
- Diesel engine with enough power that he could keep at an even speed up the mountains AND tow his truck behind us
- Tank capacity that was high enough that we could be self-sustainable for 2-3 days without needing to hook up to water or dump our tanks
- Exterior full body paint
- Aluminum wheels
- 2000 watt inverter so we could have power without running the generator
Now, don’t get me wrong. I wanted some of those things, too, I just wasn’t sure I was willing to pay the price for it all. Especially after looking at some gas engine coaches and seeing how much more you can get for your money (the same RV with a diesel engine vs a gas engine will run you about 30% more on average). But it’s more than just power, there is also the safety benefit of air brakes with a diesel and the air ride, which is what makes the trip quiet and comfortable instead of bouncy and jarring like driving a big truck. I just didn’t want to sacrifice interior. This was my wish list:
- Updated interior. Our Travel Supreme had a remodeled interior with cherry real wood cabinetry, ceramic tile floors and solid surface counters with a neutral color palette. We put upgrades into it ourselves, like changing out the old TVs with new flat panel ones and removing all the brass hardware and fixtures for updated stainless and bronze. I wanted our new coach to a least be as nice and wasn’t sure I was in the mood to tackle an RV remodel.
- Storage. I need to be able to pack clothing for the six of us for all climates (usually we travel so far that we range from needing heavy jackets to swimsuits in the same trip!). Then there are toys and entertainment items that the kids need, camera equipment, gear for our outdoor activities like hiking backpacks and beach toys…
- Bunk beds. This is our main reason for upgrading – we wanted the kids to have their own “bedrooms,” but RVs with bunk beds are harder to find. The RV market tends to be predominantly retirees, and empty nesters with no kids in tow. The younger crowd with kids will usually opt for a class C model, and although we considered that as well, with the length of time we like to be gone and the amount of “dry” camping we do (no electric or water hook ups and off the grid) we knew the class C would not work for us. The tanks are small and they do not offer the amount of storage we would need.
- Larger fridge and pantry. It’s easier and more cost efficient to make a big Costco trip and stock up on meats and pantry items before traveling, rather than make tons of grocery trips during vacation. Our family can EAT and we like to cook dinner as much as we can while we are traveling, so being stocked up is important. That just leaves produce and milk and bread that needs to be replenished frequently during our travels, and our favorite way to do that is to hit up local farmers markets while we are in new places.
So we spent our evenings scouring rvtrader.com and local RV dealers, hunting for that RV that just spoke to our family. We spent weekends touring our finds, usually disappointed to see (or smell) that they just didn’t look as nice as they did in pictures.
We spent full days at RV shows, walking through unit after unit. We would find the perfect interior, but the engine would be less than we were hoping for. Then we would find the perfect motorhome mechanically, but we would be needing to replace furniture from the interior and hire out a cabinet maker to build bunk beds into it. Then the clouds parted and the sun shined down on that magic one…okay, not really. It was the rainiest day we had had all year and we were in rain jackets with umbrellas and still soaked at an outdoor RV show. But in the case of the right place, at the right time, we discovered that there was a deeply discounted 2017 unit that had all of our wishlist items on it, and we knew it was time to make the plunge! We haven’t even seen it in person yet, as it is still in Tucson, but we walked through it’s twin, and we are super excited to be done with the searching and onto the trip planning!
Here is a photo of what our new home on wheels will look like (photo taken from Motor Home Specialist in Texas). Ours is this exact unit, minus the washer/dryer, which is an add-on that we will put in ourselves.
So excited to take this baby on the road this summer for our biggest trip yet! And I can’t wait to blog about every minute of it so our friends and family can feel like they are traveling right along with us! Until then, you will find me immersed in mapquest and rvparkreviews.com planning every step of our summer on the road!