Sunday, January 31, 2016

Welcome to the RV show

Yesterday we went to our first RV show. RV and boat show, actually... In other words, one enormous room stuffed with speed boats, pontoon boats, bus-like RVs the size of jetliners, more trailers than I could count, and slide-outs as far as the eye could see.

And people. So many people. Until yesterday, I didn't know going to RV and boat shows was a thing. I figured we'd be three of maybe a few dozen people, but as it turns out, a lot of people are interested in boating and RVing. The sea of humanity combined with the fluorescent lighting was a recipe for a panic attack, but I was on a mission - a mission to figure out what kind of unit we wanted - and so I kept the panic at bay long enough to make the admission fee worthwhile.

The goal was definitely NOT to find and purchase an RV. Even the smallest units here were tens of thousands of dollars. (Excuse me while I stop to laugh.)

Oh you know... Pocket change.

No, the goal was just to see what kind of features and layouts we like so that when we're ready to buy our USED RV, we'll know how to narrow the search.

What we learned:

1. Many RVs are larger than our current house. Also much cleaner and better decorated. Fewer Legos on the floor, too.

I will never live in anything that looks this nice.

2. Many RVs are fancier and have more square footage than a New York City apartment (actually, this was not my observation; it was what one of my NYC friends said when she saw my photos on Facebook).

3. Before the show, we'd determined that our ideal RV will be a class C. Class C RVs have bunks over the cabs, and they don't look like buses. The show confirmed that this will be the best choice for us, at least for our initial foray into nomadic life. The class C's we looked at and liked the best had several features that are musts for us:
  • A bunk for me and my husband, and a bunk area for my son, with doors or curtains for privacy. 
  • A bathroom accessible from the main part of the RV so that my son doesn't need to wake us up in the middle of the night to get to the facilities.
  • A spacious table area. I'm planning to homeschool my son, so we're going to need a spot where we can spread out if we're working inside.
  • Storage, storage, storage.
  • Total length of less than 30 feet.
One of our favorite RVs from the show

4. Our region has more RV dealers than we'd realized. Although we're open to purchasing the right used RV from anywhere in the region, it would be nice to purchase one from within the immediate area. I don't want to travel 200 miles away to check out an RV only to discover that it looks nothing like the pictures on eBay.

5. RV dealers are way less pushy than I'd expected. I get anxious when salespeople follow me around and ask if I have any questions. That didn't happen here. We were able to look around at our leisure. Or maybe what was really going on was that the dealers were taking one look at us and thinking, "Nope. They are definitely not buying anything today."

All in all, it was a good learning experience, one that will inform our research over the next few months as we save, save, save.

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