I was up up and at ‘em at first light and in line to enter the 2009 Early Bird RV Show in Abbotsford at 10:11AM this morning. Game plan was to spend two hours poking around and visiting various rigs, do some shopping, have lunch, revisit some exhibits, and then catch the 2PM seminar on travel to the Northwest Territories. The day went according to plan.
Since there was a lot of ground to cover, I decide to stick to visiting class As and Cs and leave curiosity visits of Bs, trailers, 5ers, toy haulers, and campers to the end.
The first thing that struck me is how unimpressed I was by the offerings. I toured class As worth a quarter of a million dollars and couldn’t believe that they have particle board doors and cheap RV-style faucets, not to mention cramped bathrooms and no oven. The class Cs weren’t much better; there was nothing that could be considered an ‘upgrade’ to Miranda. Except one. Of course there had to be one.
I didn’t even have to enter this rig to start getting shivers down my spine. It looked exactly like what I’d envisioned my next motorhome would, with a chocolate brown base paint and sandy accents. Touring it made me realise that I could have my ‘dream rig’ for at least a third of the price of a bus conversion. It’s a Jayco Seneca HD 36MS. This coach is a diesel class C.
I’d looked at diesel class Cs last summer, but there just weren’t that many on the market then and even a used one was cost prohibitive. The 2009 Jayco Seneca isn’t cheap, but I could easily see myself being able to afford a gently used one in two or three years. This model I looked at was a long term, full-timer’s home, complete with two bathrooms (ensuite plus powder room), huge kitchen, and a couple of places to set up a home office. It has slides, something that is a bad idea on a gas class C, but a non-issue on a diesel model because the carrying capacity for this unit is a whopping 3,000lbs and towing capacity is 15,000lbs. It is fully winterized and is a 50 amp rig.
While I was touring it, a salesman came up to me and I asked him about some specs such as the CCC and we started to chat. I told him that this was the only rig in the whole show that had even remotely impressed me. He replied that I must be an RV owner then (something that surprised everyone I talked to today) and I acquiesced. He complimented me on doing such a great job with buying my first rig. We had the following conversation (paraphrased, of course):
Him: So, what do you have?
Me: A Glendale Royal Classic.
Him: That’s what I used to sell until they stopped making them!
Me: (yeah, right)
Him: It’s no wonder you’re not impressed with anything else! Let me guess, you have the 31′ model? Computer desk set up in the back bedroom and you sleep in the cab? (question based on my asking him earlier if the Jayco Seneca was available without the over cab entertainment centre)
Him. Oak floors, oak cabinet doors, solid room doors, normal proportioned bathroom, house-style faucets… Geeze, the next guy who’s going to try to sell you an RV is going to have met his match.
Me: (holy cow, this guy actually was telling the truth)
Him: Do you have the puke green or the purple interior?
Me (laughing): Puke green. Purple was the year after.
I gladly took his brochure and card (who knows, hell could freeze over tonight and cause me to buy a lottery ticket which could wind up a winner!), then went off to shop at the mini Camping World-style store set up near the entrance. I had my wish list with prices on it, so I knew it wouldn’t take long to determine if the prices at the RV show were inflated or not. To give you an idea of what prices were like, I got my Dri-Z-Air AND a huge jug of crystals for less than the price of one Dri-Z-Air at Canadian Tire! I also picked up a rollable cutting mat and a step stool, as well as other small kitchen sundries.
Lunch was also very good and very reasonably priced. It was nice to sit for about a half hour and catch the tale end of a seminar on sustainable RVing.
After lunch, I sated my curiosity by touring campers, class Bs and one really impressive toy hauler that would make me reconsider my love of motorhomes! The unit is a full home with a garage in the back. The garage actually looks like a garage and is accessed from the kitchen like a garage. I saw some other models where the rear of the unit could be converted to garage-like space by moving bunks and rolling a special floor covering, but this was the only unit that had a dedicated garage. Very cool! I found the campers had really neat bathrooms where the shower was the bathroom itself. I guess you can’t leave anything on a counter in one of those!
The seminar on NWT travel was disappointing since the facilitator wasn’t a skilled public speaker, the content was too general, and there really wasn’t anything about RVing per se. I still got an idea of some places to visit and how I should structure my summer (be in the Yukon by the end of May, work all of June, travel all of July, and start heading back south in August).
Finally, I discovered at a booth that there is such a thing as an RV Technician Apprentice Programme!!! I’m going to do quite a bit of research on this because it could be the key to full-timing freedom… even if it would mean spending next winter in the Okanagan again (cue in music from ‘The Shining’).
So, in short, a very nice, full day at a great and affordable RV show, and lots to mull over as I continue to accept the fact that I am truly in this for the long haul.Share on Facebook