Sunday, October 14, 2007

The RV Show

Yesterday Joe and I went to the RV Show. Every spring and every fall, several hundred RVs fill the NJ Convention and Expo Center in Edison, and we have gone to every show for the past 3 years. The first time we went, we didn't have Mo yet, and we were looking for a used RV which we could afford. Given our extremely modest budget, we didn't have too many choices. We found Mo on the Internet, at a dealer in Pennsylvania.

After living with Mo for 3 years now, we've come to several conclusions. The most important one seems to be that Mo really has virtually everything we want, and we love the floorplan. It seems amazing to me that we found something so perfect when we were essentially flying blind. It's true that at the time we bought Mo, I was thinking that a 24' long RV would be perfect; but several people on suggested that having more space is better, and that there isn't much difference in 27' vs. 24' when it comes to handling and practicality. 27 feet seems to be a bit more common, and that is what we ended up with.

Now, after living in Mo for an entire month, travelling on all kinds of terrain, and staying in all kinds of campgrounds, it seems that there is very little a new RV would offer us. The main thing, of course, is that a newer vehicle would simply have fewer mechanical problems--or at least that IS the assumption! I've heard stories about the lack of quality control in new vehicles, but I still think we'd have fewer problems with a younger RV.

That being said, however, there are only a few things lacking in Mo which I would like to have. A quieter generator would be nice--our old Onan raises a racket when we need to turn it on. But on the flip side, we seldom DO turn it on! I personally would like automatic levellers--only because it would be faster and easier to leave our campsite to explore, and then return, without having to level the RV anew each time. Joe feels this is not much of a problem, though, and I must admit, he is very proficient at figuring out how many levelling blocks we need on each side. We almost always were level within 5 minutes. And a new RV would, presumably, have cab air conditioning that works! Did I happen to mention last month that we had no AC while we were driving? Well, we managed without much problem--electric fans cooled us quite adequately when we needed it, and the house AC works once we are docked.

What else might we want? New trims on the interior--new style blinds, or less faded upholstery, or a fancier shower? None of those are worth going into debt for. New C-class RVs tend to have a lot more "basement" storage--now THAT would be nice. But they almost all seem to have a lot less interior storage, for some reason! And all in all, we had plenty of room inside Mo for everything we needed for an entire month.

Lastly, there is the issue of "house" repairs-- not the engine, but things related to the living functions of the RV. Joe has several times (including twice on our trip) had to fix sudden leaks in the water hoses which come from the fresh water tank. It is a relatively quick fix which required us to go overnight with no water pump. But no big deal--we "flushed" by pouring water into the toilet from a jug, and otherwise managed temporarily without the pump. The window shade pull came off... we put it back on. There are a few other small items which Joe has tinkered with over the years... mostly he enjoys it and gets great satisfaction from being able to fix both engine and interior problems. As I said back in August, RV repair is his new hobby--what's wrong with that? (The new engines are so much more complex and computerized that, given a breakdown, there's no hope he could rescue us without outside help.)

So, for the time being, we don't see a big advantage in going into debt for a new RV. We weren't much tempted, and Mo will continue to be our "vacation home on wheels" for a while longer. We are looking forward to taking off for a long weekend soon!