|Our third year at the Ward's in Dale and something has changed|
During our two years of wandering we kept track of our experiences along with those of other full-timers. We witnessed all manner of RV's that folks like us had chosen for their road abodes. Travel trailers similar to ours, fifth wheels, and motor coaches seemed to be the predominant groupings, each with their own subset of variations. Many pluses and minuses to consider. We kept track of our likes and dislikes.
|Parking this year at the Ward's "Snug-Inn" was challenging|
Once we concluded to continue our wheeled wandering, the decision then became in what kind of an RV would we continue? Our current trailer, despite a few shortcomings, really was fine. But if we were to continue we also realized a bit more space would be welcome along with more creature comforts. This was after all, our home. Still, whatever we chose had to allow us to remain mobile enough to access the more out of the way destinations we've come to appreciate.
When it came down to it, the decision about what RV style to choose from wasn't all that complicated. A large Class A motor home would be, well, too large. Besides being high maintenance and overly expensive, they would require towing a second vehicle for transportation wherever we parked. The same held true for the smaller Class C motor homes. The latest travel trailers on the market did not offer floor plans that felt comfortable so we opted for what many full-timers use, a fifth wheel.
|New GMC parked at Marge's home (Carol's sister)|
Suffice to say there were no lack of opinions among our RVing friends as to which breed to choose. On our way back to WI from TX we stopped in Tucson, AZ for a month (subject of a future blog post). We used part of our time in Tucson to visit truck dealers, an enlightening adventure. As with our RVing friends, sales people also had their opinions as to which brand would best serve our needs. Balanced against industry reports, truck magazine reviews and our personal inspections, we settled on a GMC 2500HD which we purchased at Quebedeaux GMC/Buick (great customer service!). Step one of our three step process was accomplished. After matching our KZ's hitch system to the GMC and acquiring enough 'break-in miles' we headed back to WI with an eye to buying a fifth wheel.
As much as we respected and trusted the terrific customer service we had received at Kings Campers in Wausau, where we had purchased our KZ Spree, sadly, they did not handle the Carriage brand, the company we had eventually chosen. In our search for a reputable Carriage dealer our good friends and neighbors from TX, Gayle and Harvey, suggested the small family owned Keepers RV Center in Mankato, MN where they had recently purchased their new Carriage Cameo. We targeted Mankato on our way back to WI where we pleasantly discovered the folks at Keepers to be most agreeable. As luck would have it they had in stock the very Carriage Cameo model (34SB3) we sought with most of the options we wanted in stock. We placed a down payment to hold the RV. Step two now complete, we continued on to WI to run our plan past our financial advisers to ensure we were not overstepping our financial resources.
|Our KZ Spree and new Cameo 35SB3|
|desk with electric fireplace|
|recliners and larger rear windows|
|sleeper sofa and coffee table|
Storage in the living areas is also improved. The raised bedroom, now part of a slide out, has a large closet for all our hanging clothes now located in one place. There's a six-drawer dresser. The bed, now a full-sized queen, offers more space to walk around along with easier mattress access for making the bed (always a struggle in the KZ). Two more nearby closets boast space for laundry, linens and cleaning supplies. The bathroom, also raised, is now a separate room (in the KZ we had to walk through it to get to the bedroom). While smaller it still offers plenty of storage space.
|view toward dining area|
|view from dining area|
|hallway to upper level and bedroom (bathroom door immediate right)|
|bathroom cabinets and shower|
The Cameo has more outside surface area to clean but the attached roof ladder makes for easier roof access. Its window design does not allow for windows to open as fully (horizontally side-to-side) as the KZ did but the design allows for more opportunities to leave them open when it rains.
Currently we're parked at Todd and Cindy Ward's home in Dale, WI. Our third visit in as many years. Centrally located to friends, family and all the other appointments we have, the Ward's are most gracious hosts. Cindy's dad, Lyle, added a 30amp plug so we could run our air conditioner (although this spring has been cooler than normal).
We anticipate that with this new setup we should have a another five years on the road (health willing) before we will have to decide if we wish to continue. In the meantime we look forward to more grand adventures in a space more suited to our lifestyle.
"How dull it is to pause, to make an end, to rust unburnished, not to shine in use!"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses"