Send a photo of your RV and a 150- to 200-word description of it, how and where you use it, and what you like or don’t like about it, to Diane(at)RVtravel.com. Be sure to include your name(s) and hometown, or if you’re a full-timer. (These are posted in the order received.)
The RVs of RVtravel.com readers and how they use them
Issue 61; Posted August 27, 2016
From Alex and Sandy (and Mishka, the cat), Bonney Lake, Washington
We bought our new 2015 Class C Forest River Solera built on a Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis because it is reliable, easily maneuvered and economical. Only 24 feet long with one slide, it’s surprisingly roomy. Though it’s very comfortable right out of the box, we added highly desirable upgrades such as gas shock absorbers, stiffer rear sway bar and an on-board surge suppressor to protect on-board electronics. We couldn’t believe how the Solera eased in and out of restaurant parking spots meant for pickups and cars. We use it for local events and festivals in the Northwest during the summer and escape the cold and rain by touring the Southwest during the winter months.
We chose the 2009 Smart Car because of its 1,700 lb. weight and automatic transmission which doesn’t require modifications for towing. Aesthetically, its color matches the graphics on our Solera, as does the “swoosh” steel cabin reinforcement. It gets around 40 mpg at our destination and only drops the RV’s mileage by 1 or 2 mpg when towing. It’s fun to drive, quite safe, surprisingly roomy inside and starts many inquisitive chats at campgrounds. Used, low-mileage Smarties are plentiful and inexpensive and are truly the perfect tow for two!
From Susan (and Mizz Bizzy) Gottfried, Central Florida
This is Music with her toad, Fergus, a Honda Element. Music is a 36-foot 2005 Gulf Stream Independence. I bought her in 2011 and live in her full time with my dog, Bizzy. I stay put in Central Florida for about a year, then I travel around the country for five to eight months at a time — until I run out of gas and campground money. I do take short (less than 300 miles) trips during my “saving for the next big trip” times.
We’ve definitely had our moments, but I have never regretted selling my S&B [sticks-and-bricks] and becoming a vagabond. I am a big proponent of “The Rule of Twos”: I leave two hours after peak rush hour. I always stop for a good get-out-and-walk-around break after two hours of driving. I try to keep my travel distance near 200 miles — or at least under 300 — in a day. I stop for the night two hours before peak rush hour. For every two one-night stays, I stay for two nights and relax for a day. It keeps the travel times pleasant and relaxed.
Music’s name comes from the Crosby, Stills and Nash song “Southern Cross”: “I’ve got my ship, and all her flags are a’flyin’. She’s all that I have left, and Music is her name.” Fergus is named after the nice guy I bought him from.
From Mike and Diana Sherman, Full-timers from Auburn, California
We have a 40-foot 2005 Dutchmen Grand Junction fifth wheel with four slides, bedroom in the rear, living room up front. We tow it with a 2000 Ford F-350 dually with 7.3 diesel, 6-speed manual transmission and an engine brake. It has an extended cab — the dog gets the back seat.
Having been full-timing now for only five months, we have learned a lot. After 30 years of RVing, we finally reached retirement and jumped at the opportunity to sell our home and belongings and go see America full time.
Choosing the right retirement “housing” was difficult. We settled on the concept of a truck and 5th wheel for maximum usable living space and having a vehicle to drive after setting up our campsite. After a couple of months of shopping, we found what we thought was the perfect unit. Our thinking at the time was we need space — storage and living space — since it would be our permanent home for the foreseeable future. So we went big — 40 foot long with four slideouts. … We discovered almost immediately we perhaps bought too big.
We have had to alter our perceptions based on the reality of our decisions that cannot be reversed. However, we are not discouraged — it just provides us with challenges and other opportunities to overcome our choices. We love the truck and new home, so we adjust.
In the meantime, we are fortunate to be in a position to camp host for the State of California, on the coast, and not deal with miles and miles of traveling at this juncture. We will have a few months at the ocean to sit and enjoy. This will enable us to lay out a new strategy for our eventual adventure of seeing America because we still have every intention of going here and there — we just have to have a better plan than expected.