The lure of the open road is hard to resist especially when you take the dog along … and sometimes that’s challenging when you can’t leave him alone in the hotel room and head to the museum.
Clearly, more museums need to be dog friendly.
Until that happens, I’m entertaining romantic notions of road tripping with my dog Victor (and maybe cats Daisy and Sally) across North American in a camper van: Stopping at easy to use campsites, national, provincial and state parks and maybe a Walmart parking lot or two (or not), eating dinner on a fold out chair under an awning, and viewing the interstate from the slow lane.
I’m visualizing something smaller than an RV, easier to drive and navigate city streets, if necessary, but still big enough to be self-contained and comfortable. Read: has a shower and bathroom.
Full disclosure: I’ve never slept in a camper van. But why would that stop me?
So, curious to see what’s out there (and how much it costs) I headed to the Toronto RV Show at the Congress Centre last weekend. (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada hosts another Feburary 2 to 4, 2018). ‘Tis the season for getting good deals on summer toys, apparently.
Initially, I thought I want something all-in-one that I could jump in and drive – but trailers started to look sexier and potentially more affordable. However, that would mean a new much bigger car….. hmm.
Here’s what caught the eye of an RV novice:
What I call ‘camper vans’ are actually Class B Motorhomes such as those produced by Pleasure Ways. These are slightly bigger to drive than I expected, but have snazzy interiors including bathrooms with showers over the toilet and awnings outside. They also have a higher price than I realized – $80,00 to $115,000 depending on ‘bells and whistles,’ as the salesman said. But they’re drive and go option.
Then there are the mini-RVs, or Class C motor homes with the classic extra ‘bunk’ over the driver’s seat, like the Orion by Coachmen. I loved the hotel room look of the inside. The bathroom with separate shower and sink would make the whole experience more comfortable. Plus, no need to put the bed away each day. However, prices started at $95,000, gas consumption would be high and they’re challenging to navigate. (I think).
I admit I fell in love with the retro looks of two trailers: one in either blue or red (red, definitely red) called The Throwback that had me at black and white tiled floors, 50s diner-style dinette seating and a price point of $20,000 or less. However, the bathroom hand shower over the toilet would take some getting used to and I’d need a towing car at least the size of an SUV. (I don’t have one).
Gulf Streams are sexy. There, I said it. And that company’s retro Vintage Cruiser trailer (the smaller version) for $24,000 had both comfort and visual appeal. The bathroom was a little better than the Throwback, but the trailer door opened into the bed area instead of the dinette seating, which seemed weird.
Silver Airstream trailers had me feeling the ‘Beam Me Up’ vibe. Sleek looking with a small bathroom, a kitchen that looked out the front ‘space ship’ window and circular sitting area, it just felt cool. However the bed is a bunk over the table and would have to be made up each day. With a price point of almost $50,000, you’re paying for style … and then there’s that car thing again.
Driving my self-contained unit cross-country like a wanderlust consumed turtle is just an idea at the moment … or maybe a fantasy. I’m visualizing slower but longer trips, less time spent on the road between stops, thoughtful evenings eating from a small electric barbeque and having a place to safely leave Victor when necessary.
Plugged in, the sales reps tell me, air can still circulate through all these units for those times when I have to leave the dog ‘at home.’ Briefly, of course. Maybe we can even do the shore-to-shore ‘dog expo’ circuit across Canada one summer.
But first, I have to figure out how to buy, drive, set up and participate in the RV ‘lifestyle.’ It’s likely a huge learning curve .. and big investment.
What do you think? Motor home? Camper Van? Or Trailer? I’m open to any advice.
Of course, if I can’t afford the real thing, there’s always the toy version from Amazon.ca (affiliate link). Can’t wait to see who gets me this for my birthday…