Thank you to Crow’s owners for creating this article for us.
Like a small but growing number of women my age (boomer generation) I came to RVs some twelve or thirteen years ago, seeking a solution to traveling with three large German Shepherds. Not intending to live in it full-time, and wanting the flexibility of using it as a second vehicle, I decided the “B” Class was the right fit. Here was ostensibly safe, reliable transportation for a small traveling circus, at a reasonable cost, that would enhance the possibilities of extended travel for me. It would have a bed, a head (wc & showering capability) and a galley of sorts…and could be parked, I’d hoped, just about anywhere, including ‘stealth’ overnight sleeping, city streets, and the most rural and forested places with road-access.
I was both thrilled and disappointed. Thrilled to have fallen upon a real classic, the VW/Winnebago Rialta (discontinued in 2005) built on the VW Eurovan chassis with a telescoping bathroom, and skylight, 21 mpg on the road. With a feather and foam mattress topper my dogs and I could not have been any cozier. Disappointed, however because the insulation left us wanting in the colder months, and unable to keep cool with the undersized a/c during the hot summers as we travelled through the south. The ride was noisy, so it was hard to listen to books-on-tape. And the worst of it all was that repairs, from the very smallest, to the large mysterious ones, became a constant source of anxiety because VW quickly disavowed any responsibility for the vehicles once they stopped production (no one wanted to work on crawlers) and truck repair facilities didn’t want to work on VWs…so as the Rialta aged, and I travelled less and less, the breakdowns became more frequent and the fears getting on the road became prohibitive to being on the road!
Once again, determined not to give up so easily, I started looking for a replacement. I climbed in and out of the tried and true Airstream, Pleasure Way and Roadtrek models built on the Sprinter chassis I had been reading about…but each of them, with hefty price tags, has some serious setbacks. Not the least of which was dismal dealer ratings.
You drive off a lot after paying close to 200 grand for a vehicle and then what? Apparently not very much according to the various online ‘boards’ and ratings available. And my own experiences with repair work at several RV sales and service places up and down the Eastern seaboard certainly cemented those impressions.
Assuming you are a rather trusting (read naïve) individual, or handy and can do most everything yourself, you may remain undaunted by those things…but there remains these ‘other’ concerns one might have like gas or diesel? Engine size? Tires? Size of water and waste tanks? Roominess? Heat and a/c capabilities? Comfort? Bathroom functional? Storage? Well, you get the point…and making real comparisons was even tougher. I found that for the money, the vehicles couldn’t deliver what I was expecting.
Eventually, after a year or two, I cannot recall how I came upon Advanced-RV, but I seem to think I read a small article in a trade publication? Or saw something online? About a small new company that did custom Class B builds, which at the time included kennels for dogs under the sleeping berths. THAT appealed to me immediately and I looked at their website, which I must admit was difficult for me to navigate, being a technological dinosaur! Even more daunting was the technology describing the various builds…no more propane cooktops? No more generator? Lithium ion batteries? Additional alternator? Air suspension? 360 cameras? High-top with ductwork for the heat and a/c? Incomprehensible! I had to speak with a friend (an engineer) and ask about some of these things, which I discovered were indeed possible and state of the art!
I sent an inquiry on the website and made a call to the number provided to see if I could afford one of these RVs (no prices were mentioned) and was knocked out altogether when the company owner returned my call within MINUTES.
This was the beginning of what I hope and expect will be a long and enduring relationship with a company and individuals I have only great respect and admiration for…
I am currently the very proud owner of a 2016/17 build, CROW…super high-top Mercedes Benz 3500 6 cylinder 24ft custom Class B, built by Advanced RV of Willoughby, OH. You can go online at the Advanced-RV.com website and have a look, along with their other builds in the ‘Gallery’.
Imagine yourself in a vehicle that drives like an automobile! It is smooth and quiet and handles like a dream…
Imagine yourself in a first class hotel each night! One of the twin beds is articulated with a massage function, allowing me to ‘lounge’ with back and legs up, fully adjusted for my comfort after a day’s drive…outfitted with my own favorite down and linen bedding!
Imagine a bathroom, sparkling clean, and roomy enough for most if not all people… with additional space provided OUTSIDE the confines of the allotted footprint! And a porcelain toilet! With marine-quality fittings!
Imagine a galley kitchen with portable (induction) cooktops stored away until they are used, freeing up counter space! And a large refrigerator and freezer! A built-in microwave/convection oven!
Built-in coffee maker! Or perhaps you’d prefer an electric kettle? And plenty of cabinet space to store your cookware, tableware and even pantry items!
Imagine a safe, temperature-controlled environment for your animals! No more worries about the heat or the cold because the built-in systems will keep the temperature you choose and you will have the capability of checking it wherever you go whenever you are unable to bring them along (whether hiking, a museum exhibit, or dinner) to ensure their safety!
Imagine your ticket to a sane, safer way to travel. To more independence. To greater freedom.
I did. And found it all and a great deal more in the capable hands of Mike Neundorfer and all the folks at Advanced-RV. I can promise you, if these are the things you are hoping for in your own life, you will not be disappointed. Your build will only be limited by your imagination…
View our Gallery of custom Class B motor homes here: https://advanced-rv.com/gallery/