Running the Gamut

Bob Livingston

Bob Livingston, Publisher
January 4, 2013
Filed under MotorHome Blog

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In the month prior to press time for this issue, I spent a lot of time living in motorhomes. That’s fine with me; I’d rather work from a motorhome than be stuck in the office. My time evaluating coaches gave me the opportunity to compare the livability of rigs from opposite ends of the spectrum. Part of the month was spent living in a 40-foot pusher loaded with all the bells and whistles. From there I migrated to a 34-foot Class A with a floorplan I was eager to try out and then I spent time with the Leisure Travel Vans Free Spirit. Needless to say, the back-to-back-to-back experience was very insightful.

Obviously, the 40-footer left little to want. There was plenty of room to spread out, the bedroom was comfy, the bath had a luxuriously large shower, the kitchen was big enough to cook any type of meal and the living room had the space to invite over a number of guests for an evening musical jam session.

Take away some of the interior space, the solid wood cabinets, real tile floors and the higher line fixtures and a 34-foot gasser became my next abode. The three slides, one being almost a full wall, limited claustrophobia, but the décor was certainly not in the same league. The gasser didn’t have the road manners of the diesel-pusher with its intense engine torque and road-hugging weight, but the most stout Ford chassis has come a long way in taming the harsh ride, especially under a coach that is heavier and loaded properly. The coach manufacturer did a good job with fit and finish so the interior was quiet and sans the creaks and rattles experienced in the past — even on the infamous concrete highways with expansion joints.

I enjoyed my time in the 34-footer, not really missing the luxury of the 40-footer or the more-than-double price tag. I still had room to spread out and from a practical standpoint, was able to be equally as comfortable albeit the eyeball aesthetics were certainly more Spartan.

So what happens when you move into a Class B after spending time in the above coaches? Well, for one, you have to lose the “stuff,” which may not be a bad thing. There’s still a place for two to sleep, although you’ll need to cuddle, the bath provided the same amenities but with much less elbowroom, the kitchen had limited counter space, but all the necessary accouterments and the living room shared space with the bedroom.

Every square inch counts, but functionally the Class B provides the same basic conveniences. Seems like a stretch in thinking, but the Class B segment is thriving, and Class A owners looking to downsize are a big part of the movement to travel in rigs that are more fuel efficient and easier to handle.

A friend recently asked me about downsizing to a Sprinter-based Class A from his tandem-axle diesel pusher. At first I was shocked that he wanted to make such a drastic change. After all, I said, “Where are you going to store the five barbecues?” Clearly, his interest in a smaller rig is representative of a growing number of hardcore enthusiasts looking to simplify their lives.

I’m reminded of a story shared by readers traveling in a pickup camper about a couple in a Prevost-based coach who parked next to them. The motorhome owner had a major electric failure making dinner preparation impossible. The camper owner invited the couple to his humble place for dinner and they all had a great evening.

It was an eye-opener for the luxury coach owner who quickly realized that the RV lifestyle and friendship are equally as rewarding, regardless of the type and size of motorhome.

I rest my case.

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