As our other newsletter article makes clear, safely caring for your motorhome in the winter is vital to the vehicle’s well-being. This winterization process addresses the damages that might occur when temperatures dip below freezing. For those who plan on winterizing, Advanced RV has prepared a winterization checklist to help you with the endeavor. For the motorhome owners desiring a more convenient solution, this article will discuss storing vehicles with ARV in Cleveland. At our facility, RVs are safely shielded from the cold and can be upfit with new technologies as they await the spring.

Cleveland Winter motorhome storage class b rv luxury motorhome

The new Advanced RV facility has plenty of room for winter motorhome storage

The most practical benefit to storing a motorhome at our Cleveland facility is the opportunity for upfit improvements. For instance, many owners choose to upgrade to one of our Quiet AC Units. Instead of seeing winter as a hinderance to their travels, they use the downtime to make enhancements to their vehicles’ comfort and usability. Similarly, other owners service their battery systems or swap their tires for new ones. Motorhomes not built by Advanced RV can find significant improvements through E&P Leveling Systems and VB Air Suspension – components we endorse and implement into the majority of our designs. With these upfits, the motorhome is not idly waiting for winter to pass. Instead, the vehicle rests and reloads – poised to reignite its adventures in the spring.

Quiet Air Conditioning AC Units for luxury motorhome

A shipment of Quiet AC Units awaits installation. AC upgrades are one of our most popular upfits because they help make winter motorhome storage productive towards spring travel.

Regardless of the winterization strategy, it is imperative that a motorhome’s waste systems, water pumps, tires, and batteries are prepared for the cold. If these procedures are ignored, the motorhome will undergo serious damage as the fluids inside freeze, expand, and rupture piping. Do-it-yourself winterization will reliably prevent these issues, but the advantages of storing the RV in a heated environment must be considered. At a facility like ours, the motorhome’s exterior won’t have to endure the harsh winter elements. We wash the vehicle, top off its fluids, and ensure the battery is warm and plugged in. The motorhome returns in the spring looking fresh and operating at its best.

While ARV has offered winter storage for many years, this the company’s first winter in our new building. The 85,000 square foot facility is warm, secure, and offers plenty of space for your beloved motorhome. Plus, due to Cleveland’s geographic position, delivery to our location is a flexible process. Shipping an RV here is simple, but since almost 60% of the US population lives within a day’s drive of Ohio, driving here yourself is viable as well.

If you’re interested in learning more about motorhome storage, call us at 440-283-0405 and we’d be happy to talk.

class b rv

An abundance of warm weather has made for a great year of travel. Nonetheless, it is time to begin preparing your RV for the harmful freezing temperatures that loom ahead. In this article we’ll discuss why winterizing your motorhome is important. Plus, we’ll provide you with a downloadable checklist that details how you can ensure your vehicle successfully survives the cold.

Advanced RV Eowyn custom motorhome winter snow

“Eowyn” strikes a pose in the snow.

Winterizing an RV prevents the damage that occurs when temperatures dip below freezing. These low temperatures cause liquids to freeze and expand with enough force to rupture crucial systems within your RV. Indoor faucets, toilet valves, water pumps, and the macerator are all areas of concern. Advanced RV’s recent interior plumbing developments help to mitigate the problem, but extended storage leaves every motorhome susceptible to freeze damage.

“This type of damage is hard to reverse,” says Frank Kolasinski, a service specialist at Advanced RV, “Once it’s done, it’s done. You’ll have to spend a considerable amount of money to get you back where you were yesterday.”

class b rv luxury custom motorhome liberty advanced rv

“Liberty” enjoys the winter scenery.

We’ve created an RV winterization checklist to help account for each step of the process. The checklist includes instructions for winterizing your water pumps, sewage systems, batteries, and tires. We suggest you print the list out or bookmark this page to return to later. “If in doubt, I would always err on the side of caution,” Frank adds, “We’ve worked hard to make the process as easy as possible. We’ve placed winterization valves in convenient locations, and reversing the procedure is as simple as running water through the system.”

Advanced RV custom motorhome ice storm

“Escape” couldn’t escape an ice storm, but the motorhome continued to run smoothly in the cold.

Some RV owners circumvent the winterization process by storing their motorhomes in tropical climates or in heated garages. Many Advanced RV partners store their motorhomes at our Cleveland facility. Here, their RVs are kept in a temperature-controlled building and can undergo maintenance or be fitted with upgrades. “People like this option because it’s hassle free,” says Frank, “As an added bonus, their RV returns in the spring with some features it didn’t have beforehand.” Typically, people who select this option want to avoid making winterization precautions and foresee upgrading, for example, to a quiet air conditioning unit. That way, when warm temperatures return, their motorhome can hit the road without missing a step.

To learn more about systems installed in an Advanced RV, click here.

Johnston's Cranberry Marsh

A 9-day road trip in the Advanced-RV Giddy Up takes Andrew and Katharine from Advanced-RV headquarters near Cleveland, OH, along the shore of Lake Erie, and into Canada. Follow along in Part 6 of our 7-part series, as the couple travels north in search of cranberries.

With our course headed to Muskoka Lakes Cranberry Marsh, we flew around CA-407 and onto CA-400 North at highway speeds. Somewhere north of Barrie (near Craigshurst, I think), Andrew needed a break and saw a sign for a chocolate store at the next exit. (Such a smart man!) Clearly, a higher power was at work. We pulled over and stopped at a small, delightful chocolate store and small factory all in one. The young lady making chocolates in the area that consumed most of the building came out into the small store to serve us. Beautiful solid, butter crème, and Ice Wine chocolates were among the choices.

With our chocolate fix in hand, we wandered up the two-lane Penetanguishene Road and then, through the small town of Vasey, before joining back with CA-400 and getting quite close to the Georgian Bay off of Lake Huron—which means we hit three of the five Great Lakes, just missing Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

We filled-up Giddy Up with more diesel as we left CA-400 and found our way to Cranberry Road, and finally to Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh and Muskoka Lakes Winery. Wow! This place is set up very well – trails, shop, and the Cranberry Marsh. We popped into the store to let them know we were here and check our parking. We booked our 3:00 p.m. bog to bottle tour, grabbed a bottle of cranberry-apple cider and went back to Giddy Up for lunch.Cranberries

The tour was very informative—I’ll never look at a can of cranberry jelly the same way! We learned many impressive things about the lifecycle of a cranberry, how they grow and how they are harvested. We were impressed by Johnston’s use of bees for the pollination process and ducks to help keep the algae down in the bog for natural pest control. Johnston’s also recently added wild blueberries to their farm for various blueberry products, including a cranberry-blueberry wine, which was very good.

The original founders were a man, who picked up several hundred acres of natural bog for $500 in the late 1950s, and his wife, who dug the farm out of the forest, sold cranberries and products, and played in a jazz band to help raise four kids.

We tasted five cranberry wines and enjoyed the white cranberry wine the most; we bought a bottle for dinner. The farm has several nature/walking trails with good signage and self-guided narratives. We took one of the longer ones through the forest and around the new and original bogs. In the winter, they recently added an ice trail for skaters—keeping it smooth with a Cranboni!

Cranboni

While bears and other animals will not eat cranberries, the addition of the blueberries and honeybees has added interest for the bears. We went by the electrified fenced-in area where the bees are kept. Apparently, the bears have figured out how to disconnect the battery—so, fortifications for the bees continue to be a challenge.

We had a nice evening snugly watching the sunset on the bog from the warm inside of Giddy Up. The temperature dropped to 40 degrees, with the occasional wind gust. We discovered a side benefit of using the convection oven to cook our dinner (ham and cheese quiche) was that it, too, helped warm the inside of Giddy Up. The white cranberry wine paired well with the quiche and sugar snap peas—a nice way to camp at a cranberry bog.

Muskoka Winery

To learn more about Giddy Up, click here.

To learn more about renting an ARV, click here.

Radio Days Interior

Behind every ARV van is a client with a vision and a team of craftspeople breathing life into it. It’s this relationship that makes our motor homes truly custom. It’s this trust that allows space for creativity and innovation to flourish. It’s what makes an RV a home.

Greg, owner of Radio Days, recently visited Advanced RV with a few projects in mind for our cabinetry shop, including a new cup holder and storage for underneath his bed. His instructions were simple: make it functional, and make it beautiful.

Rob, Advanced RV’s Cabinetry Team Leader, crafted a piece that not only included a cell phone slot, wide-based cup holder, and a loose change collector–it also carried the textures and theme seen throughout the coach up into the cab area.

“It’s fun when clients come in with ideas. It’s fun to make them happy; it’s rewarding,” said Rob.

This innovation wasn’t Greg and Rob’s first collaboration, either. They began envisioning Radio Days together in July 2017. Rob asked how Greg wanted to travel, what was most important to him, what his interests were. The motor home took on a few different names and identities in the beginning, but after diving deep into these questions, it’s true personality surfaced: Radio Days.

Radio Days Interior

Greg has spent numerous years working in radio and has a penchant for art deco, which also peaked with the golden days of radio. He translated these two interests into a beautiful and unique theme for his custom motor home. Bold, geometric patterns in rich colors cover the seats and a cased-in recording disk makes up his dining table/headboard.

Greg describes his approach to building Radio Days: “I come up with and idea and I make it ARV’s problem.”

Luckily, we are in the business of problem solving.

“This is not a factory,” added Rob, “it’s a team of craftsmen. Everyone here excels at thinking critically and creatively about design and function. Nothing is cookie-cutter.”

When building Radio Days, Rob and his team created custom fine cabinetry that mimic the lines of the old school radio mounted on top of the wardrobe. “I drew on my experience working on high end homes,” Rob said about the design and woodworking. “The artistry and craftsmanship here is fine focused.”

Radio Days Drawers

Knowing that his finished coach would serve as his full-time residence, Greg wanted to make sure that it was easy to change the decor and keep the small space fresh and interesting. Armed with that vague instruction, ARV’s cabinetry team designed Radio Days’ front wardrobe so that the fabric creating the illusion of a radio speaker could be easily swapped out with something new. Greg has a picture frame on his wall that contains 8 photographs he can rotate between depending on his mood. The vintage radio mounted to his wardrobe can be replaced with a fully restored replica of his dad’s 1936 RCA that he remembers listening to Cleveland Browns’ games on as a kid.

Restored RCA Radio

“Sitting around and coming up with ideas—how about this? What If we do it that way?—that’s the fun stuff. The whole give and take process,” noted Greg. “I would tell new clients, you don’t have to know how to do it! Never once have I worried whether or not an idea was possible. If you just let your imagination run, that’s when the magic happens!”

Indeed, there is a certain magic one feels when they step inside Radio Days. Just ask Greg about any of the design elements or decor and you’ll understand why.

Although ARV provides hundreds of fabric and finish samples for you to peruse during your configuration, the possibilities don’t end there, and Greg found art deco prints for his upholstery and galley accents that he purchased on his own and had drop shipped to our facility. Not so keen on the Mercedes-Benz emblem on the front bumper of his Sprinter, Greg worked with our engineers to come up with a radio dial that would take its place.

On his coffee shelf you’ll find a metallic lizard, and on his upper cabinetry you’ll find two metallic stars–all knobs his wife had picked out for their hutch to replace the boring original hardware. Nostalgic salt and pepper shakers and a dough family sculpture made by his wife and son are mounted to the kitchen galley. A print out of his wife’s favorite quote and a sign reading “All roads lead home,” gifted from a friend, reside behind the driver’s seat.

“Customization is in the little things. And the little things are what make the van your own,” says Greg about these personal touches.

Rob adds that, “Our clients put passion into their design. They’re not just building a toy, they’re creating a home. The same things that go into making your house a home apply.”

Greg wholly embraced the design process for creating an ARV motor home from start to finish, and continues to partner with ARV’s engineers and craftspeople in thinking innovatively about improvements and ways to incorporate his personality and passions into his coach. Radio Days is truly one of a kind, even by our standards for customization.

Greg summed it up best when he told me, “I chose ARV when I decided I didn’t want an RV. That was the pivot point for me. I wanted more than an RV, I wanted a home. There is no RV that can be or do what Radio Days is and does.”

 

 

Summer Travels in Giddy Up

In an effort to slow down the pace of their summer travels to visit family, Mark and his wife recently rented Giddy Up from ARV. Check out his review of the experience below:

Giddy Up was recently rented by a wonderful couple looking for a slower pace to their summer travels. Enjoy their rental review below:

My wife and I recently returned from a nine day trip across the Midwest in Giddy Up, one of ARV’s marvelous Class B motor homes, and the whole experience–our first time ever in a motor home–was beyond expectations! In the past, like so many other families on summer travels, we would make an annual bee-line trip visiting family, just to book-it straight back home.

This time around however we wanted the ability to take a more leisurely pace, reconnect with friends along the way and spend time making some new memories along the way.

Boy, did we ever hit the jackpot traveling in this Advanced RV! The driving experience is literally like that of a slightly extended SUV. There’s a commanding view of the road, plenty of power to cruise the back roads or interstates, and a comfort level that you’ll really come to appreciate (especially after you have to get back into your own everyday vehicle).

We had the opportunity to travel through eight states, with stops or overnights in Missouri Valley, IA / Yankton, SD / Andover, MN / Stillwater, MN /Homer & Red Wing, WI, and of course, Willoughby, OH (home of Advanced RV). All of our stops were comfortably spent without hookups to “shore power” for the appliances and air conditioning or water due to the cutting-edge technology and generous capacities ARV builds into all their coaches.

Support wise, the ARV staff was very knowledgeable and impressively customer orientated. Vicki, the ARV Rental Program Manager, handled all phases of my inquiries, training, and questions from the road with virtually instantaneous feedback.

My thanks to all for their collective efforts as a company. I highly recommend renting an ARV to anyone else curious about the RV lifestyle!

To learn more about Giddy Up, click here.

To learn more about renting an ARV, click here.

Summer Travels in Giddy Up

Alison Kraus' Prevost tour bus

Last week, Marcia and I had a business meeting at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York. Chautauqua is a wonderful community that organizes themed weeks throughout the summer with daily speakers and entertainment. We enjoyed performances by Alison Krauss and Black Violin during our time in Chautauqua.

Following the Alison Krauss concert, I hung around the venue listening to one of her band mates describe life on the road to me and a few others. It turns out, I learned, that the rock star lifestyle isn’t always glamorous. Talking about a tough schedule and a lack of comfort, he pointed to the buses and said, “Those air conditioners have two settings–loud and louder.” I turned to see five major-brand air conditioners mounted to the roof of each of their Prevost coaches.

Alison Kraus' Prevost tour bus

I wanted to share with him the great news about our new Quiet Air Conditioner–9 decibels (3x) quieter inside a coach than the other two major-brand air conditioners we tested. I wanted to tell him that our Quiet AC for tour buses and motor homes has the same cooling performance as the two higher rated low-profile, roof-mounted air conditioners like the ones on their tour buses. However, I bit my tongue and continued to simply enjoy his company and his stories. I can only hope that there will be another opportunity to share our Quiet AC for tour buses, motor homes, and trailers with this musician and others living life on the road. We can’t do much about their strenuous schedules, but I hope we can help make their lifestyle a bit more comfortable when they’re not in the spotlight.

Low-Profile Quiet AC for tour buses

To learn more about our Quiet Air Conditioner for Motor Homes–or to order yours–head to Upfitters’ Resource, our vehicle for providing well-designed, high-quality products and systems for your life on the road!

High-Quality Quiet AC Inside Coach

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Picking Up Your ARV: Part 2, The Maiden Voyage

As we mentioned in Part 1, we recommend scheduling your pick-up for a Friday through Monday (if you missed it, read Part 1 here). This way, you can have a full day of training on Friday, take the weekend to make your “Maiden Voyage” in your van, and come back on Monday with any questions you may have discovered during your short trip. Of course, you can follow this formula mid-week as well, we have just found that past customers prefer utilizing the weekend.

Northeast Ohio is central to multiple wonderful destinations within a day’s drive, though if you’re not familiar with the region, some places may not be on your radar. With the help of ARV owners who have taken their Maiden Voyage before you, we’ve created five itineraries for you to consider when you take delivery of your ARV.

waterfall at hocking hills

    1. Route to take: I-71 S to I-70 E
    2. Where to stay: Park campground
    3. Where to eat: Hocking Hills Diner
    4. What to see/do: Hiking, canoeing, fishing, and other outdoor activities are all popular choices at Hocking Hills! Visit Ash Cave, the largest and most impressive recess cave in the state of Ohio. You can also visit a winery and stop into several arts and crafts stores during your stay!

 

waterfalls at letchworth state park new york

    1. Route to take: I-90 E to back roads
    2. Where to stay: Park campground (Note: this campground becomes quite busy during the summer months)
    3. Where to eat: Glen Iris Inn
    4. What to see/do: Nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of the East,” many of the beautiful site Letchworth has to offer are accessible without too much hiking, though there are wonderful trails as well if hiking is your thing! Whitewater rafting, kayaking, and canoeing are all options as well. And if you prefer a bird’s eye view of the park, you can enjoy a hot air balloon ride!

 

Beach at Maumee Bay State Park

    1. Route to take: I-90 W to Ohio Route 2 along the Lake Erie shoreline
    2. Where to stay: Park campground (Campsites are nicely separated from each other by foliage)
    3. Where to eat: Water’s Edge Restaurant (Part of the Maumee Bay Lodge & Conference Center)
    4. What to see/do: Ride bikes or take a leisurely walk on the paved trails along the shore and through the woods, watch the sunset over Lake Erie, or explore the boardwalk through a beautiful marsh while you are here.

 

finger lakes region new york

    1. Route to take: I-90 E, to I-86, to back roads
    2. Where to stay: Allen H. Treman State Park Campground (Trailheads are conveniently located in the campground and the location is close to the restaurants in Ithaca, numerous wineries, and the scenery of Buttermilk Falls and Taughannock Falls)
    3. Where to eat: Belhurst Castle in Geneva, NY, on the westside of Seneca Lake
    4. What to see/do: Water and wine are the blessings of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State! 11 beautiful lakes give the region its name, though it’s also known for gorges and waterfalls, its hiking, and its wineries. If the outdoors aren’t your thing, you may find interest in an art trail, history and museum trail, or even cheese trail–all available to you in the Finger Lakes Region of central New York!

 

Niagara Falls daylight

    1. Route to take: I-90 E to I-190 N
    2. Where to stay: Branches of Niagara Campground & Resort (Located on Grand Island, 15 minutes south of the Falls)
    3. Where to eat: Donatello’s Restaurant
    4. What to see/do: Niagara Falls is home to one of the 7 wonders of the world. See the magnificent Falls in the day time up close and personal by boarding the Maid of the Mist or touring the Cave of Winds. At night, head over to the Canadian side for a spectacular view of the Falls lit up in rainbow colors. Hike through the scenic terrain of the Niagara Gorge, or tour one (or more) of the 22 wineries that make up The Niagara Wine Trail.

 

Do you have any other hidden Midwest gems to add to our list? Leave us a comment and let us know your favorite spot within a few hours drive of ARV in Willoughby!

Vineyard along Lake Ontario

A 9-day road trip in the Advanced-RV Giddy Up takes Andrew and Katharine from Advanced-RV headquarters near Cleveland, OH, along the shore of Lake Erie, and into Canada. Follow along in Part 5 of our 7-part series, as the couple sees a show at the Shaw Festival Theater and stops at a vineyard along Lake Ontario’s shore.

Oban Inn

Following a lovely evening, a leisurely morning started with a continental breakfast in the Oban Inn. After breakfast, we contemplated our options for the remainder of the journey: 1) Go south and west along Lake Erie; or 2) Push farther North into Ontario to Muskoka Lakes Cranberry Marsh. Our choice (the second) meant we would spend Saturday pressing down from Ontario to, likely, a NY winery just north of Erie, PA, on Lake Erie.

 

Due to the rain, we picked up an Uber ride to the theater for the 2:00 p.m. “Me and My Gal” matinee. The Shaw Festival Theater is a lovely, intimate, modern theater with gardens behind it for pre-show and intermission breaks. Our balcony-front-row seats were great, and we were delighted with the performance. A lot of good tap-dancing, a lively cast, and good costumes and backdrops/settings made the show most enjoyable. It’s kind of a “My Fair Lady” meets “Grease” meets “Downtown Abby” show.

 

We grabbed an Uber back to the Oban Inn and Giddy Up, and from there, set the best course and speed for Legends Estate Winery just west of Lincoln, Ontario. We read and had Indian food as the rain and thunder boomed overhead. Although it was in the mid-40s outside, the rain and wind were making it feel closer to 36 degrees. Giddy Up’s Espar furnace had no problems keeping us warm as we listened to the rain and thunder go by while parked just a few hundred yards off of Lake Ontario.

Legends Estate Winery in Ontario

Waking up on the shores of Lake Ontario, we had our usual breakfast of Greek yogurt, berries, and granola – oh yes, coffee, too. We took a walk around the vineyard near us going right up to the shores of Lake Ontario. We watched a couple of vineyard workers cutting out and clearing new vine growth. They seemed to instinctually know how many new growth vines to cut out and how many to leave behind. They worked quickly and automatically – pruning and pulling out the new cuttings and piling them in between the rows. There seemed to be some old-world knowledge or training that was guiding them – suffice to say, it looked like a lot of work.

Vineyard along Lake Ontario

Since we arrived after closing, we made our obligatory stop in the wine shop before leaving and purchased a nice local varietal red. We got on the road quickly with the knowledge we had several miles to get behind us to make it to the land of the cranberries.

 

Interested in having your own adventures in Giddy Up? Click here to learn more about renting an ARV!

advanced rv

We’ve talked a lot in the past about what to expect when you visit Advanced RV, when you rent an Advanced RV, when you begin to build your dream van with Advanced RV. But what about that long-awaited moment when you see your finished motor home for the first time? When you finally get to touch it, explore it, sit in the driver’s seat? We hope you feel all the fuzzy feelings of excitement and overwhelming joy, but we know you might also feel a hint of uncertainty, especially if this is your first RV.

custom rv

Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect when you take delivery of your Advanced RV.

  1. Delivery and training typically takes 3-4 full days, and we recommend scheduling your pickup for a Friday through Monday. When you arrive, an Advanced RV team member will serve as your “personal trainer,” going over every feature in your van with you and making sure you feel ready to take to the road, but first you will receive your vehicle’s title and registration. Congrats! You are now the official owner of an Advanced RV that is all you, and all yours.class b rv for sale
  2. Beginning your training on a Friday means that you have the weekend to embark on your “Maiden Voyage.” This is your chance to head out on your own in the motorhome you designed, apply what you learned during Friday’s training, discover what questions you still have, and taste that first bite of true freedom. Our customers typically travel between 3-6 hours away from our facility in Willoughby, Ohio (don’t worry, we’ll cover where to go in Part 2). Your Advanced RV personal trainer will be available to you 24/7 should you have any urgent needs.class b rv3. Monday morning (or Day 4), after you’ve returned from your Maiden Voyage with your stories and your questions, you will reconnect with your Advanced RV personal trainer. They will continue to go over any functions and features that you feel unsure about until you are comfortable enough to begin your journey home.

A few other expectations or tips from past customers:

  • You’ll receive a User Manual to support the training you receive on Day 1. This manual covers everything from your batteries to your curtains, and is designed to serve as a helpful resource before you leave for a trip, while you’re on the road, and when you stop for the night. It’s yours, so feel free to make notes in it of any questions you come across during your Maiden Voyage.
  • You will also gain access to our Slack community. Slack is an app you can download on your phone, and we’ve created a customer support group where you can ask questions of your fellow Advanced RV owners as well as our team.
  • Many customers choose to ship items such as chairs, bikes, etc. to our facility before they arrive. That way, their gear is here and ready to be loaded into their van in case they wish to use it during their Maiden Voyage or their departure journey.

camping

  • An alternative to shipping gear before your arrival, is shopping once you get here! We can recommend several stores depending on what you are looking to purchase for your new motor home. For the outdoor enthusiasts, we can’t speak highly enough of our friends at Appalachian Outfitters, located right outside Cuyahoga Valley National Park and just 30 minutes south of the Advanced RV headquarters. In addition to the highest quality outdoor clothing and gear, they carry several compact furniture, dish/cooking, and bedding options–perfect for stowing in a Class B!
  • We may contact you ahead of your delivery and request a short interview. This is completely optional, and we’ll always ask your permission before sharing any quotes or information, but we’d love to capture a bit of your story if you are willing.
  • Expect to take a celebratory team photo with us! Our engineers and craftspeople work hard to bring your dream van to life, and you wait patiently for its completion! You’ve become part of the Advanced RV family, so why not capture that in a family photo?

van camper

Delivery days are some of our favorite days around here. We hope it’s one of your favorite days too.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll discuss places to go for your Maiden Voyage!

To learn more about designing your Advanced RV, click here.

Giddy Up Tales

A 9-day road trip in the Advanced-RV Giddy Up takes Andrew and Katharine from Advanced-RV headquarters near Cleveland, OH, along the shore of Lake Erie, and into Canada. Follow along in Part 4 of our 7-part series, as the couple heads from New York into Canada.

 

Two tasks that we had to complete before leaving for Canada were topping off Giddy Up (much cheaper in NY) and emptying Giddy Up’s black and gray tanks. Tank dumping was first on the task list. I had located a Water Treatment Facility in Lockport that allows for free tank dumps. So we made the short drive through orchards to Lockport. As advertised, the staff there happily invited us to drive up to the dump-out and dump. Of course, there is a first time for everything. The facility is really optimized for commercial tank trucks – so Giddy Up’s relatively short hose required us to creatively move some of the facility’s hoses around and into the sewage pit. It was not the easiest of tasks nor the most enjoyable, but the two of us managed it without being sprayed by sewage or falling into the pit. (Thank you, Jesus! Just saying.)

 

We continued on into Canada over the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and drove North up the Niagara Parkway—following the water that Lake Erie pumps into Lake Ontario via Niagara Falls (to our south). We stopped along the Parkway at a picnic spot at the McFarland House. Built in 1800, the House is the oldest property owned by The Niagara Parks Commission. After a short walk around the park and peering down the cliffs to watch the water flowing by and filling Lake Ontario, we had a nice lunch.

Canada

Getting back onto the parkway, a short drive found us in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was still too early to check into the Oban Inn, so we decided to drive onward west along the lake to scope out our territory for the following night’s stop. Two wineries, Puddicome and Legends Estate, were on the “possible list” so we set the GPS to their locations and drove on, taking the roundabout way along the shores of the town, hugging the lake. We were rewarded—so to speak—by being stopped at a drawbridge that was up. As I consulted the car’s GPS, I noticed that the waterway in front of us connected Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. We watched a ship make its way in front of us. I was puzzled by the ship’s speed as it cleared the bridge—it slowed down while a large black cloud of exhaust came from its stacks. Given that the ship stopped, I had to assume that the exhaust was from a strong backing bell. Why had the ship stopped? The bridge came down, and we moved forward. Going over the bridge, the answer was suddenly clear—the ship was in Lock #1 of the Welland Canal—part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The ship was snugly in its lock waiting to be “pumped down” into Lake Ontario—which is better than going down the Falls in a barrel.

class b rv

We eventually got up on the Queen Elizabeth (high)Way and hit torrential rains, which continued to help us clean up Giddy Up’s front from PA bugs and tree pollen. QEW runs up to Toronto—I could not help but think about driving up there and telling the Capitals to play well tonight.

van camper

Gabriella at Legends Estate Winery was very helpful, and we decided to make the call for Thursday night at Legends. This time we took the QEW all the way into Niagara-on-the-Lake. More highway driving but quite the view driving high over the Welland Canal on the Skyway (bridge) this time. We arrived at the Oban Inn and did some creative parking in the parking lot to fit Giddy Up into a spot in the hotel’s parking lot. We checked in, took a nice walk about the golf course and the town—with lovely views over the lake and across the way to New York’s Old Fort Niagara—and got situated for the evening. Suffice to say, we enjoyed taking a (long) hot shower in a larger space.

custom rv

Dinner reservations were for 7:45, and we were seated by a window in the dining room. We were trying to figure out the changes from the last time we were here 27 years ago. Reading the history inset of the menu, we were, shockingly, provided our answer. A fire in December 1992 destroyed the old Inn. The Inn was rebuilt based on the old design, and parts of the Spa were updated/modernized a few years later. We were glad to hear that the cat that we recalled greeting us on the wooden reception desk from 1990 was not lost in the fire—but was interred on the Inn’s grounds after living a long 17-year life.

To rent Giddy Up for your next adventure, click here.

To learn more about designing your custom Advanced RV, click here.