The Route South

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Whatever have we done?!

I'm not saying we were bored, but after being on the boat mostly full-time since 2006 and since we have traveled the Intracoastal Waterway ten times, we wanted to spice up our lives. So we visited the huge RV show in Tampa. There must be thousands of RVs there, from small pop-ups to multimillion dollar monster buses. Surely there is something there for everyone. Even for us.

Our discussion took place over a year.  It started out as a small pop-up camper that we could use to explore Maine for a month in the summer.  That was vetoed by Cindy but she thought a travel trailer would give us more amenities (think shiny aluminum Airstream).  That was voted down by Randy...couldn't even imagine towing that through the mountains.  We thought a small Class C (van chassis) might fill the bill.  But the more we talked about it the more we realized that we wanted to do more than a month in Maine.  Our criteria was:
  1. A comfortable place to sit at the end of the day.
  2. A comfortable queen bed with access on three sides for those late-night trips to the head.
  3. A decent shower.
  4. Adequate storage.
  5. We don't think we are cut out to be RV resort people.  We want to "anchor out".  That means adequate fuel, water, battery(with an inverter), propane, black and gray water tankage.
  6. Most importantly, we want access to as many of the State and National Parks and forests as possible.  Get too big means getting shut out.  A 30 footer will fit in a 40' site.  A 40 footer in a 30' site...not so much.
When we visited the Winnebago display we hit pay dirt.  We found a 30' Class A that met all of our needs...the Winnebago Sightseer 30A.  Purpose-built chassis (Ford F53) with a 362HP V-10 gas engine.  But we didn't want to buy a new model.  Like cars and boats, RVs take a huge depreciation hit the first year...one we weren't willing to pay.  The problem is that this particular model has only been made for two years.  People just aren't trading them in yet - too new.  We only found two 2012 models in the country.  One was in upstate NY.  The other was just outside of Boston.  After some discussion with Camping World in Cocoa, FL, and with assurance from their counterparts in Mass that the coach was "mint", we gave them a deposit.  They drove it to Florida in the middle of the worst blizzard is recent history!  It arrived on the Friday before the SuperBowl and we drove up to take a look on Saturday.  It was everything we had hoped it would be and we closed immediately!
We bought an RV!

On our "shake-down cruise" to Ocala National Forest.
We aren't giving up on Morning Star.  Our plan is to spend a few months in the Bahamas and then store the boat for the summer.  We will be heading to Maine, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island for the summer, then drift back south in the fall.

But as we like to say, "Our plans are written in water!"