Country Coaches Are Well Made Motorhomes

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We have owned our 2002 Country Coach Affinity for just under 5 years now.  We have added about 30,000 miles.  In my opinion our Country Coach is a well made and good performing motorhome.  Is it better than the other motorhomes out there?  I don’t know, but will say that it is by far the best of the motorhomes that I have owned or rented.  I will list a few reasons why I am of this opinion.

Full Recreational set up.

  1. I enjoy driving it.  It took me a little while to get used to the size, but after doing that I find that I look forward to time behind the wheel.  It is steady on the road even in wind or big trucks passing you.  It goes up or down big hills and mountains with ease, and does not overheat.  On good roads it is almost silent at highway speed.
  2. It is beautiful inside and out.  First class materials are used everywhere.  High quality leather upholstery.  Beautiful carpet and floors.  Custom Corian countertops.  Top end fixtures, lights, shower, faucets, wood, wood finish, paint, clear coat.  And so on.  Our clear coat is starting to have some problems on the curved part of the roof.  But the paint itself is amazingly color fast after 12 years in the sun.
  3. Top Quality mechanical and electrical.  CAT C12 motor that has plenty of power and seems to be very reliable.  Wires are all laid out carefully and are marked.  Two heating systems.  Diesel aqua hot type and roof heat pumps.  Two hot water heating systems.  Diesel boiler and electric heat.  Built in surge protector and water filter.  Basement doors hung with piano hinges for precision and durability.  Well made slide out trays in basement.  All electric coach with dual inverters and all AGM batteries.  All brass yacht type catches on cabinets.  Very well insulated.  R20 roof and dual pane windows.
  4. The high opinion of most owners and motorhome owners.  Many times the opinions of people at large means something.  In this case the almost uniform high opinion of others of the Country Coach product concurs with mine.

Campground Mt Shasta

Is our Country Coach perfect, no.  I have things fixed all the time.  But when you use something like this you always have a list of things needing attention.

If I were to buy another motorhome today I would first look for a Country Coach.  I am happy with my decision to buy five years ago.

Public Campgrounds VS Private (Commercial) Campgrounds

Emegrant Lake Oregon

Many want views like this from their campgrounds.  So do we.  This is a very nice public campground in Ashland OR.  It is called Emigrant Lake CG.  Not only do you get great views like this, but it is also fully equipped with full hookups and 50 amp power.  It is also 100% full.  Even though it is away from all road noise there are lots of activities here like jet skiing, fairly noisy dogs, and lots of kids.  And noisy neighbors very close to us sitting outside playing loud music.  Don’t get me wrong, for me this is a 8 out of 10 park.  Off season this is likely a 9 out of 10 park.  If there was wifi I would rate 1 point higher. Wifi in my opinion is a basic utility these days needed by almost everyone.  There is good 4G Verizon.

SP train from 50's

The previous couple of nights we stayed at a private park located in the Cal Expo area of downtown Sacramento CA.  That park was right near the wonderful Old Town Sacramento Railroad Museum where I took the above picture.  They even let my wife and I into the museum for free because I volunteer for CA State Parks.  The Cal Expo RV park had either asphalt or gravel/dirt spaces.  Their utilities were also complete with good 50 amp power.  A very nice fenced in dog park.  Plus wifi free that actually worked well.  Good 4G Verizon.  This was a noisy park due to freeway noise and moderate train noise.  The cost was about the same as the public campground.

Old Town Sacramento
Old Town Sacramento

Close to the Cal Expo park was shopping and eating in a great old refurbished Sacramento as it was in the 1800’s.  Both these parks cost about the same.  How would I rate this park.  Harder to do because I don’t like noise.  Because of the bare gavel and no site development at all besides utilities I am going to rate it a 7-8.  7 if you don’t like freeway noise and 8 if you don’t mind.  This park was about 60% full.

Bakersfield RV Resort
Bakersfield RV Resort

The above image is from the resort’s web site.  A couple nights before we stayed for a couple of nights at the Bakersfield RV Resort. This is one case where the word resort is true.  This is one of the best private parks amenity wise I have ever stayed at.  Very spacious sites with some grass.  Good wifi.  Very nice pool and hot tube.  Clean bathrooms and showers.  Very friendly staff.  Free DVD’s from lobby.  A good restaurant.  Not great but good food.  The freeway was a couple blocks away but you could definitely hear it.  We also noticed lots of police-ambulance noises.  This park is a 10.  It made staying in a town that is definitely not a 10 pretty good.  I did not love the noise, but the facility is so nice I am still going to rate a 10.

Conclusion.  Which is better, public or private parks?  In my opinion it depends entirely on the park.  I think generalizing does not work well.  As we continue to RV we are getting better at picking places to stay.  I generally use all the information available to pick places.  This includes, RVparkreviews.com, Woodalls-Good Sam ratings, Google ratings, Google maps & other maps.  In general planning out RV routes and places to stay is very laborious.  It takes me a lot of effort and work to do it.  I find if you just wing it you end up at places you don’t like well and skip attractions you want to go to.

 

Are We There Yet?

Are we there yet? could mean several things such as a location or a state of mind.  When I say it in this post I am referring to both.  Many if not most people rush through life without tasting much of it.  Not really smelling the roses.  To see what I mean, the next time you eat do it very slowly.  Chew each bite and mentally enjoy each flavor.  It is a very different experience than quickly eating fast food.  Or even good food eaten quickly.

This particular geranium was from my mom's patio.
This particular geranium was from my mom’s patio.

So how do you more thoroughly taste life?  You have to take the time to enjoy little bits of the moments of your day without being in a rush.  If you become tired, rest.  If you are are thirsty, drink.  Get off the fast track and move at your own pace.  Of course to do this you have to have the time and financial self sufficiency needed.

Coach at roadside stop

Since I was in my 20’s I have always liked campers/motorhomes.  I started renting them in my 30’s, and buying them in my 50’s.  I think I have always been attracted to them because the offer freedom.  Freedom to explore, stop, rest, and live almost anywhere.  A big one like shown in the picture is not cheap, but no where near as costly as a fixed house.  I am not even sure they are a good substitute for a fixed house forever.  But maybe they are until you “get there”.

freedom plate

Motorhomes are just tools though.  You can use them to scurry from place to place.  Stop at RV parks next to freeways.  Make most stops one night stays.  And then you are still on the fast track.  You will wear yourself out and ask questions like, “Are We There Yet”.  The answer will be no.  You have just moved into a mobile housing unit and still in the rat race.

freedom rv

Being close to this

Barbara and Frazier on a beach in OR

Not this

traffic-jam

That is how I feel.  But do keep in mind that lots of folks like crowds and buzz.  If that is you then my advice is wrong for you.  I spent many years and millions of air miles running lots of places and now I am through with that.  Time to chew longer on what you have and not spend so much time buzzing around.

 

Digital Camera Pictures Vary Between Cameras Like Film Varies

I currently have three working digital cameras.  The one in my three month old smartphone, an older Sony compact camera, and a year old Nikon DSLR a 3200.  On our recent trip to southern Utah the Nikon really surprised me how well it adjusted for mid day pictures in brilliant sun.  Normally by far the best pictures are taken early in the morning or late in the day.  My Nikon 3200 when put on the landscape icon on it’s settings dial produced really good mid day pictures.  The camera in my smartphone had a much harder time with this lighting.  I remembered my Sony compact had a landscape setting too and decided I would do a test today to see how it worked with mid day light.

 

Here is the Nikon 3200
Here is the Nikon 3200
The Sony compact
The Sony compact
And my cell phone
And my cell phone

The Nikon DSLR did by far the best job of these three.  The Sony washed out the colors in the distance a bit.  The cell phone decided to focus on the trees in mid range and then put a strange lighter border section between the mountains and the sky.  In my opinion the only acceptable picture is the Nikon one.  But lets try a test where mid day sunny skies are not a factor.

Nikon
Nikon
Motorola Cell phone
Motorola Cell phone
Sony compact
Sony compact

All of the files on the digitals are about the same size approx 2.1-2.5 mega pixels.  In this case in my opinion all three are comparable pictures.  I prefer the color on the Motorola just a bit, and the Sony second.  Which puts the Nikon in third.

Conclusion.  The Nikon benefits from good software.  It has given an acceptable picture in mid day with color that is not washed out.  The Sony compact on the other hand is about six years old and does not benefit from software advances from the last couple of years.  And then the Motorola software has the right idea, but puts a gap between the sky and mountains.  And focuses on an object not in the center of the camera.  For tough mid day bright sun shots I am amazed at how good the Nikon works.  There is no way you could get shots as good as it does unless you are a wizard at post press.  And for this inexpensive Nikon the shots that came out of the camera had the color and saturation right.  Traditionally using film to get good mid days shots called for a polarizing filter.  In my humble opinion with Fuji Velvia 50 and a polarizing filter you would get even better shots of Monument Valley.  But that is only speculation as I did not shoot Velvia when we were in Arizona a month ago.

And for close up shots of flowers in late afternoon any of the digitals I have produced good results.  In this situation any of the shots would be OK, but here I preferred the look of the cell phone camera.