I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while. Life has been having its way with us. But, we really wanted to share our BIG NEWS.
This week we held hands and jumped off the cliff. We travelled to Van City in St. Louis and ordered our new RV, a Leisure Travel Van Unity FX. The experience is so new that we can still hear the wind rushing past our ears. With luck we’ll land comfortably in our ultra-leather seats in about eight months. But, until we do we are well aware that the work has truly begun. So, why did we make this choice? Glad you asked.
We first became aware of Leisure Travel Vans in 2017. The pangs of dissatisfaction had become too much and we decided to start actively looking at RV’s. I had seen videos for Pleasureway on YouTube, a Canadian manufacturer of Class B and Class C RV’s, and we both liked the idea of a smaller vehicle. That led us to a dealer outside of Atlanta and a half day introductory education in RV’s. The first thing we learned is that a Class B is REALLY small. Neither of us liked the idea of a wet bath. Imagine hosing down your bathroom every time you shower. Yeah, it was a hard limit. If we were only using it to camp, then it might be fine, but as a way of life it wasn’t going to work for us.
The next step up is a small class C, or what they call a B+. Still built on a van chassis, it has more space, a dry bathroom and a bit more room. Definitely more liveable in the long term. It was quite an education but, what we came away with is that Canadians know how to build a high quality RV. We also spent time looking at the Class A RV’s…just in case. Class As are what most people think of when they think of an RV. They look like a bus from the outside and the interiors run the gamut from basic to over-the-top luxury. Some look like a house on the inside with residential refrigerators, dishwashers and washers and dryers. We were dazzled by the amount of wood molding and the size of the upholstered furniture and came close to giving up the idea of small and nimble in favor of a big rolling house.
Then Carolyn made an accidental discovery. One night on YouTube, she came across a video by a Canadian company neither of us knew anything about. Leisure Travel Van is located in Winkler, Manitoba and they build RV’s on a van chassis with interiors full of clean lines where everything is multifunctional. No over the top moulding, which was just off-putting. The style was an ocean away from everything else we had seen up to that point. Literally. They are much more akin to European motorhomes is their style and versatility and, being fans of clean lines, we fell in love. Hard. Our challenge, though, was to see one in person. We visited Van City in Saint Louis (the closest dealer) and came to learn that they’re sold as fast as they’re built. It is incredibly rare to see one on a dealer lot. They are also very hard to find used and their rarity means they hold their value incredibly well.
To see one in person we travelled to Tampa for the Florida RV Show. Over the course of two days we got to see every model of Leisure Travel Van in person and to make another round of the Class A’s we had looked at just to be sure about our choice. It was also our first time being immersed in the RV world, you can read about our experience here. We came home feeling a bit like Superman at that moment when he has to put his glasses back on and be Clark Kent, again. We were sure of our path forward but it was time to go back to our present reality.
We also came home from Tampa with a lot of questions that were difficult to get answered in the hustle and bustle of a giant RV show. We wrote them down as they occurred to us over the next five months, then made a second visit to Van City to get answers. What we didn’t expect was to meet temptation, but we arrived during Van City’s Anniversary celebration, part of which was having a brand new Leisure Travel Van Wonder rear twin bed prototype available to tour. We wrote about it here. It was REALLY tempting to change our minds about the RV we wanted but we managed to stay on track. Despite being busy that day, the sales rep and the factory rep took a lot of time to answer every one of our questions. I can’t thank them both enough for being so generous with their time.
This past Friday we visited again to place our order. There were spontaneous giggles and maybe some foot stomping and hand clapping during the five hour drive. We arrived at Van City just after lunch time and headed triumphantly to the door, feeling like Luke and Han Solo getting their medals at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope. We reached for the door…and found out everyone was at an RV show about a half hour away! So, we got back into the car and drove a half hour to the show, parked and found ourselves wandering in a sea of travel trailers. It took some time to find the crew from Van City, but, once we did, we sat under a tent to fill out the papers and hand over a check. It was really anticlimactic. We wandered around and looking at trailers we were never going to buy.
So what did we order? The Unity is based on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis. It’s twenty-five feet one inch long and it has two living areas inside. It features a larger-than-queen-size murphy bed, a full bath and a decent kitchen with a sink, two-burner stove and a convection/microwave oven. The interior woodwork is Chesnut Cherry, the kitchen and bathroom countertops are white corian and the upholstery is a light off-white called ‘Fog”. The interior manages to be both bright and warm and it feels far more spacious than its length suggests. Pictures and more details will be coming. Oh boy, will they be coming!
Later that night we celebrated with a visit to Insomnia Cookies on Washington Avenue, a hole-in-the-wall place that sells warm cookies, milk and ice cream. They also make ice cream sandwiches out of the cookies and ice cream and they deliver. Until 3AM! While I was inside ordering, Carolyn found herself parked behind the delivery driver. She has never been so tempted to mug someone in her life. We got a six pack of cookies and two pints of low-fat milk. Yes, low-fat because we know how to party!
We are back at home. We still have a lot of down-sizing to do, and a lot of work on the house. There are many, many decisions to be made, some of them incredibly difficult. We will still give ourselves time to dream about the future, but for now, we’ve put our Clark Kent glasses back on, hung up our capes and returned to our normal lives.