The top photo is from our first RV trip to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta about 4 years ago. This is a spectacular event to attend in a motorhome or trailer. You are way closer to the action than if you stayed in a hotel. Often the balloons land right in the area where you are parked, there is free transport to and from the fiesta, and this is by far the least expensive way to go.
I have been RVing using motorhomes since 1980, so this is my 39th year. Like almost all travel RVing has it’s pluses and minuses. If you have not traveled this way start this year. If you are living outside North America then fly here and rent a motorhome. Many of my business associates from Europe have done this and really enjoyed themselves. It is very easy to rent an RV in the United States and you can learn to drive one easily assuming that we are talking about something shorter than 30ft. For beginners 25ft is a good starting point to rent. Huge ones like our bus take a LOT more practice to get the driving right.
This is our Country Coach Affinity and the Jeep Wrangler we tow. We have owned the bus over ten years and the Jeep for over 5. Learning to use a big bus like this takes effort, but using a small motorhome or trailer is very easy. A big rig like what we drive is expensive to maintain and buy. A small trailer or motorhome is not. If you already have a truck you are half the way to getting out of town in a trailer. If you are new to RVing rent first. My strong recommendation is to rent several times and several different types of motorhomes before you buy. I cringe when I see posted on RV forums that someone has sold their house and is buying a new $400,000 motorhome and has never been on the road in one before. What if they don’t like it? What if you buy a 40 foot bus and your style of RVing is more attuned to a mini motorhome to camp in National and State parks.
When you RV you go to places in the beautiful United States that are seldom visited by people who travel by plane or car. Like Fort Peck Montana. It is one of the most awesome scenery places I have ever been to. It is way out there in eastern Montana and I only found out about it because I got the AAA tour guide and took their recommendation to go. I did add just a bit of color to the above photo but this one is right out of the camera.
The above shot of the lake at Fort Peck is exactly how I got the photo back from the developer. I shot it with a 30+ year old Olympus OM2n and Kodak Ekar film. And North Coast Photographic in Carlsbad CA developed it. If you use film and need a reliable lab that will turn out shots like the one above use North Coast. They happily do mail order. And are fast.
One of the features of RV travel that I love is the fact that when you close the door on the rig you own or one you have rented and start off your vacation begins. That does not happen when you are flying off to some place like Italy. A year and a half ago we flew to Venice and even though American Airlines did a pretty good job it was still about 18 hours of uncomfortable. Some nit wit behind me played chess on the screen back of my head all night and so kept me awake all night. No one should call that the beginning of their vacation. When I get into our bus and take off I am in a big comfortable captain’s chair and I enjoy driving our Country Coach. I also like the fact that once we get there we have a Jeep Wrangler to drive and often go to places most cars cannot.
We have not been out in our coach since the end of last summer and I am excited to go. Of course things can happen like bad weather, bad campsite, crummy restaurant food, but we are not going far and I know the place we are going has hot mineral tubs outside so you can take a warm-hot soak and see the Milky-Way. Plus we get to take our dog, who keeps us company. See you on the road.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My first big motorhome trip was in 1980. I rented a 28′ Beaver class C motorhome and drove it from Southern California to British Columbia. 5,000 miles in total. We rented a number of additional motorhomes over the years and then bought our first one about 9 years ago. Then we moved up to our current rig in Nov 2009. My motorhome trips have always been a combination of business and pleasure. On our first trip to British Columbia I visited clients all the way up and all the way back. Our big summer trip last year we also visited clients. Motorhomes make great mobile work places and also are lots of fun to see the sights in this great, big country of ours.
Lots of people these days buy an RV and use it as their sole place to live. I have always used RVing as work/pleasure tool and have never been much motivated to get rid of our house without wheels. I would say to do that successfully you need to be able to be happy in a small space. Very small. The biggest RV is smaller than most very small apartments. I think it is very useful to be mechanically capable. Lots of things break on houses on wheels and it helps to be able to fix some of them. You need money. Fuel, big tires, repairs, insurance, living on the road is not as cheap as many think. But it is a choice that many have taken successfully.
It does give you a way to be in beauty spots for extended periods of time. But it is not the “Sunset” life. What I mean by that is RV life can tend to be a lot of parking lots with close by neighbors. The Sunset life is the life of style from Sunset magazine. I would strongly suggest that anyone thinking of selling all and moving into an RV full time do it in baby steps. Rent first or do extended vacations first. See if you like the life.
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