I am a reluctant motor home owner – I admit it.
When I offered to buy my wife a diamond ring for our fortieth wedding anniversary last year, imagine my surprise when she responded, “I’d rather have a motor home.” Now, she had been talking about getting one for a few years, and I had pooh-poohed the idea. But, since becoming dog owners a few years prior, we had travelled extensively with our dog, who had become a fine travelling companion. So much so that we were reluctant to travel without her. So, I started thinking about the idea of the three of us on the road….having recently read the John Steinbeck book, “Travels with Charly”, the concept appealed to me…
I finally gave in to evaluating motor home ownership. Early on, we decided we wanted to be able to drive it almost anywhere, without towing anything, so we quickly narrowed the choices down to a Class B type. The size also appealed to us. But I still thought it was possible I would not like it, or my dog wouldn’t like it, or even my wife might not like the experience! So we had to rent one and try the lifestyle out before we bought one. A quick search of the internet promptly produced the more well-known manufacturers, but a more thorough search surfaced a company named Advanced RV. I thought, “with a name like that, it HAS to be good!” Or at least worth looking at. And it certainly was.
The website was very informative, and filled with useful information and short videos. A phone call with Mike followed, and we discussed the rental program with him. But we live in Vail, Colorado, and Advanced RV was in Ohio! The thought of going to Ohio to rent an RV didn’t appeal, but it so happened that Mike was in the process of relocating an existing rental vehicle (Pebbles) out to the west coast for marketing purposes. And the timing was just right – he would have an associate of his drive it out to Vail, and we would take a ten day trip in it and drop it off in Laguna Nigel, California.
We live in a wonderful spot for a motor home – if you draw a ten hour drive’s radius around Vail, Colorado, there are countless numbers of incredible places to visit. But most suffer from a lack of a decent, nearby hotel in which to stay. Having our own luxurious home-away-from-home would be an ideal way of seeing the west. So we took a leisurely trip west that took us through Moab, Utah, to some of the great National Parks in the state (Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Zion), as well as some spectacular Utah State Parks – Kodachrome Basin, for example. In fact, we prefer state parks now, since they generally have more lenient policies on dogs than our National Parks.
We did stop in a Las Vegas hotel for a couple of nights to celebrate our wedding anniversary, but it was great to get back on Pebbles and finish the drive to California. By the time we arrived there, all three of us were sold on the experience!
Once we placed an order for a vehicle, a critical step was to design the interior around our needs, and Advanced RV really shines when it comes to tailoring a vehicle to the way you want to travel. For example, we would do much of our travelling in the fall of the year. So it had to be well-insulated, as we begin to get nights that are freezing starting in October. Also, we are foodies and wine snobs(!), so we had to have a “wine cellar” on board, as well as the ability to prepare/heat up fairly elaborate meals to which we’d become accustomed. And, it being fall and sunset by dinnertime, most of our meals would be consumed inside, so we had to have a dining room set-up that was comfortable for us. And that also means a good sound system to play soft jazz as we eat, like we do at home in Vail. All of these requirements – and more – were seamlessly taken care of by the Advanced RV team.
When we finally took possession of our motor home in late September of this year, we made three trips – including the one back to Vail from Ohio. All told, we put on 6,500 miles, and we had a blast! We have since found a heated garage in which to store our RV for the winter. We usually spend the month of April in Carmel, California, so our next big trip will be to drive out to the west coast this coming spring. And, next fall, we are already planning a three or four week trip to Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.
So, even though I was reluctant at first, Amy (my wife), Molly (our labradoodle) and I are extremely happy I didn’t buy that diamond ring after all! We truly love the motor home experience, and the folks at Advanced RV are always available to answer questions for “newbies” (which we still are), and provide any support when needed. We couldn’t be more delighted with our purchase.