"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Monday, June 16, 2008

But I Thought You Wanted a Bus...

But I Thought You Wanted a Bus...

I still want a bus. But I'm not ready for one.

When I first looked into the RVing life, I gravitated towards the class C models. While smaller, their layout made more sense to me: I could use the back bedroom as my study and sleep in the over head cab, giving me more floor space for daily use. But I began to hear horror stories of carrying capacity on class Cs, so I started to look at class As, which sort of automatically led me to look at buses.

Soon as I started to shop for a bus, I began to feel very uncomfortable with my plans. I finally accepted that I was trying to learn too much in too little time. I just did not have the time nor knowledge to learn what I needed to learn about bus conversions to buy smartly. Also, the amount of choice in Canada left to be desired. I had no idea what I was looking for and fishing in a very small pool of candidates. It was a recipe for disaster.

Later, when I'm properly retired and have years of RVing under my belt, I can get the bus of my dreams. For my current plans, a bus just adds too many variables.

So, I went back to looking at class As. Originally, I had budgeted a lot for my rig, but I knew I had to scale that plan down when I decided to give up full-time work for at least a year. The rigs within my new budget were older. Through research and inference, I began to realise that a lot of these older rigs really didn't have all that much more carrying capacity than does a class C. Why buy a 35' or 40' rig when a smaller one would actually give me more usable space?

I test drove a 40' rig and doing so showed me that I didn't have to fear driving such a behemoth. I could now look at smaller rigs for reasons other than 'I'm scared to drive a class A!!!' The more I researched class Cs, the more I liked them. Their smaller size is better suited to the sort of RVing I want to do and will be easier to heat in winter.

So, it was a question now of finding the perfect match of manufacturer, length, floor plan, and the all important carrying capacity.

Figuring out my optimal floor plan didn't take long. I want a rear twin bed model. I could use one bed as a sofa and replace the other one with a desk. Once I'd settled on this floor plan, I seriously narrowed down my options for the other three requirements.

I Googled, searched discussion forums, read, read, read, and did a ton of math. I made some phone calls, read some more, and perused the for sale ads.

Finally, I found two local RVs matching all four criteria.

One is a Glendale Royal Classic, 31'. The other is a Winnibago Winnie Minnie, 28'. Both are roughly the same age and the same price. The Royal Classic is a high end, luxury model. The Winnie Minnie is in the same league.

One of them is just about as perfect as I could ever have dreamt of, factoring in some compromise, and offers almost twice the carrying capacity as the average class C its size. I didn't believe the math, so I ran it by a few other people. It checked out. It's a gorgeous coach, twelve years old and still looks brand new, with a layout that would give me the illusion of having no less than six rooms. Solar panels, inverters, and the very tow bar I want to buy are also negotiable as a package deal. If the inspection checks out, and I have no doubt it will, this coach will be confirmed as being a gift from the gods.

I went from 'thinking about full-timing' to 'shopping for a rig' in a very short amount of time. I've had to take a crash course in everything from calculating RV weight to 12V electricity 101. The amount of research I did and the questions I asked (some of them probably sounding idiotic to those in the know) really helped me figure out exactly what I need for my current project. It's not what I want; I would love to head up the 417 in a gorgeous Prévost conversion, but it's what makes sense for me at this time of my life and for the type of full-timing I plan to do in the next year or two.

So, which did I choose, the Royal Classic or the Minnie Winnie? All in good time, faithful readers, all in good time. :-D


Cedar said...

Cedar here, still holding her breath and hanging on every word,... I vote for the Minnie Winnie,... with a name like that how can you resist? heehee...

Raven said...

There are so many steps between 'finding the perfect RV' and 'owning the perfect RV.' One of these steps is 'playing phone tag with the mechanic.'