I know, I know, it has been a very long time since I posted..it has been a very long spring. So since I last posted, just about everything has changed. Our plans were to take the little Vistabule trailer and do a long road trip, likely to Alaska. However, we had also been discussing moving to a class B motor home, a van based RV. Something with as bathroom which would allow us more places to stop along the roadside and would be a bit more agile than towing a trailer. While this discussion was going on, someone posted on the Vistabule Facebook page inquiring if anyone had a trailer for sale as the wait was long enough to push delivery off to the fall, after camping season. So we posted our little trailer and within a couple of days she had a new home in Connecticut and we got what we originally paid for her. . , amazing world, this world of the internet. So we started looking at Class B motorhomes and started getting a bit smarter about these things and test drove and walked through and on and on... as you well know I easily become obsessive. So, about two weeks ago we took possession of a Leisure Travel Van Unity UMB24 - and although she is not new, we are in heaven. We found her in Pennsylvania, in an internet search. We had narrowed our search down to a couple of manufactures with Leisure Travel Vans at the top of the list, but knowing we couldn’t possibly afford one. Well, we did fall in love with the quality and amenity that this motorhome provides. Leisure classifies it as a Class B+ because the sides are pushed out a few inches making it wider than a standard Class B van, the state however classifies it as a Class C. There are a lot of stories about taking delivery on the van as the salesperson we had at the dealership was, well, a salesperson. So once the paper was signed he just kind of moved on and customer service was the farthest thing from his mind. The dealership might well be a great dealership, the general manager was a great guy and Ron the mechanic was a fountain of useful knowledge. However our total experience was less than what we had hoped for. We were told that the process would take an hour or so… we were there for two days! Lots of long stories that I may recount one day, but I can already feel my blood pressure starting to spike, so I will move on.
Our first night (end of day one at the dealership) was at a local vineyard about 5 miles form the dealership. We had joined a group called Harvest Host which is a network of vineyards an farms and museums and golf courses where RV folks can stay for the night for free.. so we did a wine tasting and slept well. The next day we had to go back to the dealership, arriving there at 10:30 in the morning and didn’t get back on the road until almost 5 pm… We had a great ride home once we got out on the road. We stopped at a family campground along the way and everything worked just fine. The campground was in Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania, Colonial Woods Campground, a family campground complete with lots of kids and dogs. All in all a nice place and a good stop along the route. From there we headed further North and stoped at Bear Mountain Gap in New York. A great state park along the Hudson Rived. We hiked a bit and Harper the travel dog had a good walk. We wandered through Connecticut back to Rhode Island and home. A very nice ride.
So since we made it back home I began maintenance on the van, just to make sure everything is in good order. I put on four new rear tires (it has dual rear wheels), oil change, brakes belts and filters and we are attempting to install a new stereo system that does the Apple CarPlay. I say attempting because, as of the writing of this, the local stereo company has installed no less than three systems, of two different brands all with no good results. Our van has side cameras that look back down the side of the van. They turn on when you are signaling a turn or lane change. The GPS can’t handle this…and goes wonky, putting us several hundred yards ahead and as much as a block to the left…??? What the heck is that? So, I am taking it back to the shop once again tomorrow and see if they can isolate the signal.. I am sure that they can get it to work, they are great guys and have left me feeling quite confident, even though my system keeps trying to get me lost. So we have also been busy scrubbing and fitting things into their proper cabinets, reading manuals and practicing backing up. Carol had her first run the other day and drove like a pro, it really is easy to drive but it feels really big.
In the photo above you can see that we have a U-lounge which is quite comfortable even for a couple of larger folks like us. (Harper fits just about anywhere) Behind Carol is the Murphy bed all folded up. Then the galley is next. The galley had a nice large deep sink and a two burner propane stove and lots of nice storage, a great refrigerator and a convection microwave and a great pull out pantry. At the far end you can see the bathroom sink and dual vanities. There is a huge shower to the right with the toilet next to it. The shower has its’ own skylight. We have a large hanging closet and nice drawers..at this point we think plenty of room for everything.In the counter across from where Carol is sitting is a ‘pop-up’ flatscreen TV and an antenna on the roof - in our driveway we get over 50 stations! And she has a generator, a furnace and air conditioning and fans and all the wood is real cherry. We think she is beautiful. . . As far as the mechanical bit go, well, it’s a Mercedes Sprinter, diesel, very comfy and on the way home from Pennsylvania we averages 16.5 MPG so as these things go, that’s pretty darned good.
We have named her ‘The Doodle’ and dubbed our puppy, Harper, the Doodle Dog. And we plan on doing a lot of doodling this summer, across the USA and back. Around the 17th of this month we (Carol, Me, Grandson Ben and Harper) are heading West - off to see the Great Serpent Mound, visit Mark Twain in Hannibal and walk in the foot steps of Lewis and Clark, climb some of the pointy bits in Colorado and visit Mesa Verde and climb over lots of rocks in Utah before heading north toward Portland and visit our son Jason. Ben will be flying home from there and Carol and I will be heading down to coast for a Leisure Travel Van Rally in Napa/Sonoma, where we will meet other Leisure Travel Van Owners and swap stories - I am sure we will have some by then. From there, who knows, maybe back North and through Canada or South following the coast and then East across the deserts. Hmmm, deserts in August…hmmmmm, so stay tuned and follow us along the road and if you think we are getting close, let us know and we will swing by and say hello.