The CoolRVers are actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and our 5 year old German Shepherd Dog, Miss Shady Lady. We are "extended-time" travelers with a home in Cool, California. Thanks for following along with us as we travel North America in our "rolling condo", enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

RVs We Have Owned

I spend a lot of time online participating in RV-related forums.  I’m often surprised at how many people jump right into the RV lifestyle without any prior experience.  They have a dream and, surprisingly, most are making it happen!  Congratulations and I wish you all safe travels.

For us, however, our story has evolved over 42 years and 12 different RVs.  You might call us “lifelong learners”, but getting there sure has been a lot of fun!

Neither one of us had been campers growing up. So once we decided that we wanted to explore our local forests, cook and eat in the great outdoors, and sleep in a tent, we thought we had discovered living life to the fullest.  NOT.   I think that bubble burst the first night when we tried to change a very messy diaper by flashlight in a rented military canvas tent.

1st camping trip001     1st camping trip - eating002

We all obviously survived and quickly came to the conclusion that maybe having a bit more creature comforts would fit our style better.  Bring on the Porta-Potty, home-built beds, air mattresses, and a roof over our head.  Now we would be camping in luxury!

Our RVing friends will understand this statement:  “You should buy your third RV first.”  We didn’t.  We were still working and knew it would be quite awhile before we could afford a “real” RV, but we knew we wanted to be “campers”.  So we began our camping days with a 1963 GMC Carry-all truck, a mini pick-up truck and shell, and then a home-built van conversion.  Each time we upgraded we thought we were set for a life of adventure on the road.

Green Carry-All 003    Green Carry-All  beds004   Toyota with Shell005

Then we saw a 21’ American Clipper Class C motorhome with a real kitchen, bathroom, beds, AND a TV.  Had to have it!!!  That RV lasted a few years until our move to Cool American Clipper front drivers side view where, with a new home and yard work, life demanded a full size pick-up truck. So, why not sell the Class C and get a 11’ Aristocrat Cab-over Camper…. and then it was a Class B Cobra bubble van we called “The Ambulance”, followed by another 21’ Clipper.  You get the idea: we were still learning.

When I retired in 2004, we knew RVing would be our next passion so that required more research and learning.  While I was shopping online for a new, 2004 24’ rear kitchen Holiday Rambler Atlantis Class C with a slide, Luke found a very clean used 1996 22’ Itasca Spirit Class C (no slide).  Okay, we’ll give it a try.  NOT.  One trip with his mom, our German Shepherd, and all our “stuff” made us realize it wasn’t going to work.  Back to 110_1031buying the Atlantis.  1-Atlantis 24RBS



But after a 4-month cross-country trip, even the extra closets and slide couldn’t out weigh the disadvantages of not having a bedroom, personal space, and storage.

Did I mention we were lifelong learners?  If we really wanted to be on the road a lot, we were going to need something bigger yet.  The next logical step would be a Class A motorhome; but how could we ever drive something so big? Our “ah ha” moment came when we realized that the width of the Class C body and the Class A body were the same.  You drive, stay in yourPalm Desert - 005 own lane, and the rest follows.  A 2006 Monaco Monarch gas rig would be our ticket.  Well, at least for the next two years.  You see, we were still attending RV shows, visiting sales lots, and reading all those glossy RV magazines and brochures.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have one of those fancy diesel pushers with a front kitchen and a living area where the TV was actually at eye level?  Yep, found a new 2007 Itasca Horizon 40TD “repo” on our dealer’s lot and drove it home on Dec. 22, 2008. Merry Christmas, Happy Anniversary, and Happy Birthday… for the next 20 years.

Did I mention “buy your third RV first”?  So, who’s counting.  We may have been lifelong (slow) learners, fickled over what type of RV would work best for us, and, just maybe, a little addicted to RV shopping, we are very happy with our current rig.  (No, I’m not going to write “for now”.) 

There is another saying in the RV world:  “There is no perfect RV”.  It may have taken us a long time to learn this, but we have been IMAG0076having fun along the way.  We’ve put about 33,000 miles on the Horizon over the last two years, with a lot more miles to come. The wheels on our rig are about to start rolling North to Alaska and there will be lots to see out the windows of that big ol’ motorhome we call our “Condo on Wheels”. 

Stay with us as I use this blog to chronicle our travels and comment about the RV lifestyle.

NEXT:  “Doing Our Homework”


Merikay said...

I guess a 42' or 45' is about the only thing left for you to try.

Barbara & Tom said...

Great Blog. So fun to read of your life long learning. Learners make the best teachers.

Laurie and Odel said...

Too funny! You should have your own RV sales lot. :) We know a guy who bought a Class C (his first RV ever) while visiting his vet (the lot was next door). Since he didn't have a place to store it, he arranged to leave it on the dealer's lot for awhile. By the time he got back to pick it up, he decided he wanted a new Class A, gas-powered. Took a hit on the Class C, since it had been re-titled so was now "used". After his first trip in the gas-powered rig, he traded it in on a new Class A diesel. Considering all the California sales tax he paid, plus the hit he took each time he turned his new rig into a "used" rig, your advice to buy your third RV first would have saved him thousands of $$$. AND, this guy is a BANKER!

jcw3rd said...

A very enjoyable read. I think I'll visit again....8^)

Judy and Luke Rinehimer said...

JC, I accidentally erased your message before approving your posted comment. Please repost. That will teach me to check messages before my first cup of coffed. Sorry

Linda said...

Wow! You beat our record in RVs owned. Although we did buy three of them in less than three years once we started full timing. :)

E Squared and Mui said...

Looking forward to following along with the "slow learners." :-)))) We still have about two years before we can really get on the road ... in the meantime, we're living vicariously through the adventures of other RVers.

Malone said...

That was fun! I am really enjoying your blog and can't wait to read about the Alaska trip in that big baby! Are you towing a car?

Sue and Doug said...

great idea..we have had two trailers in our life..so I guess the next one should be the right one!!!