cruise americaWe’ve got the bug.  After our test drive of the RV lifestyle, we knew that we were ready to embrace the open road with open arms for more adventure.  Renting an RV isn’t cost effective and doesn’t allow for any modifications we’d like to make for conservation and convenience.  Clearly the only choice is to purchase a motorhome.
But which class of motorhome would we want to make our home on the road?
The kids have made their choice clear.  They want the luxury bus (Class A) that costs 2-3 times as much as the house we live in and requires a special license to drive.  palazzo, thorTruth be told, Mike and I would be satisfied with such a life and I’d be happy to get the license.  The financial facts must be considered though.  A quarter million dollar motorhome just isn’t in the budget right now.
On the flip side, two adults, two kids, a dog, two cats, and a turtle, traveling in a camper van (Class B), even with a tent or pop-up canopy for extra living space, just isn’t my idea of the good life. Sure, the gas mileage would be better but traveling like sardines isn’t for us.
happy campersSo we’ve decided to start with a Class C motorhome.  The motorhome we rented was a 28′ Class C.  I found driving it quite comfortable (although somewhat harrowing through cities and storms).  It had a bedroom in the back for me and Mike, a queen sized loft bed over the cab for Sparky, and a futon style couch that converted to a queen bed for Teddy and his dog, Della.  Della has special needs.  With only one rear leg, her ability to jump is limited.  The couch is the perfect height so she can continue to sleep with Teddy on the road, just as she does at home.
The Class C provides the amenities we require like a kitchen, bathroom and electricity.  Dining out is expensive and inconvenient so the kitchen makes meals as easy as they are at home.  When you’re traveling, truck stops aren’t always convenient and, when you’re at a campground, you may be parked a good distance from the bathrooms.  Having a built in toilet & shower is worth its weight in gold.. As for electricity, you might have seen me mention it before – Mike and I will be working while on the road, and the kids will be using their Kindles and computers.  Electricity, and plenty of it, is an absolute must.  (I’ll discuss the electricity and Internet issues in an upcoming blog.)
So with that decided, our next decision is how and where to purchase.  Being self-employed, financing may not be an option.  Neither of us is keen on incurring additional debt either.  So we’ll plan to save our dollars and buy it outright with cash.  If we want it anytime soon, buying used may be the best budgetary choice.
There are plenty of people selling perfectly good motor homes in private sales but there are also plenty of people who are looking to unload a lemon.  I’ve never been keen on that sort of navigation.  If I can buy used but factory refurbished with warranties then I usually do.  (In fact, that’s how I purchased the iPad I’m writing this blog on now.). Cruise America motor homes are made by Thor (the same company that makes Class A palaces on wheels) and, though they’re used, they come with some guarantees and extended warranties can be purchased for certain systems within the RV.  As for mileage, unlike cars, RVs are built to roll on long after the initial 100,000 miles.. Cruise America will also give us a rebate on our purchase for up to $3000 in rental fees paid up to six months before the purchase.  They also have a Fly & Buy program that reimburses you for your flight to the Cruise America center where you buy your RV.  With all of that going for it, purchasing our first RV from Cruise America seems like a much safer and more logical choice than picking up something from RV Trader and lighting a candle to the Virgin Guadalupe.
That gets us to our next step:
Pay off some debt and save the cash to purchase a $20-30k used Class C RV from Cruise America.
With that decided, we can use this prep-time to consider some green options and the best approach to always having an Internet connection when we’re camping.
Stay tuned for more on that…