I thought I would introduce myself since I just joined iRV2.com a few of weeks ago.
While we're not new to RVs, my wife and I have been out of RVing for the past 10 - 15 yrs while our kids were older teenagers and had somewhat lost the interest in camping for a bit due to boy and girl friends.
We decided to sell our old 27' Fleetwood Wilderness trailer and put a pool in the back yard to help encourage our kids to have their friends come to our house rather than going to friends we may not really know. It seemed to work fairly well for us and we had minimal issues with our daughter and son over their teenage years.
So now our kids are both grown, on their own for the past four or five years and we decided it was time to get back into RVing. We have been looking at Class-A motor homes for many years and thinking some day... Well, that someday finally arrived on February 14th, 2014 when we purchased our first Class-A motor home.
As we signed the papers for it at our local RV dealer I told my wife this is the most expensive valentines gift I've ever given her.
We now are proud owners of a Class-A 2014 Coachman Encounter 36BH. After having a travel trailer for most of our married lives, this was a huge step for us. We started out camping with our first RV being a used tent camper and then moved to a 17' travel trailer which we had for a number of years before upgrading to our 27' Wilderness. Now going to a Class-A is like a dream come true. (I'm sure my dad is smiling down on us because he always wanted a Class-A but could only talk mom into getting a Class-C)
So we finally picked it up from the dealer this past Friday, 03/14/14, after having them order some additions for the coach such as a satellite dish, second awning for the curb side slide out to extend our usable awning area when parked, antenna booster for over the air broadcasts, valve extensions for the duals, etc. (For some reason the valve extensions for the 22.5" wheels took the longest to get and actually the extensions weren't the issue but the inserts to support the extensions so they didn't have to drill supporting brackets in the aluminum wheels. The dealer seemed to have issues with Ford and Coachman getting them the correct part number for the Alcoa wheels so they could order the right rubber grommet to fit into the wheel holes. According to what I was told it was finger pointing on both sides since Ford sells the chassis and Coachman modifies the chassis to have what it wants on it to make it look nice.)
So now we have the coach in storage waiting on the snow to melt so we can do our first checkout weekend trip with it. I'm hoping in the next few weeks the snow in Northern IL will finally completely melt off so we can hit one of the local state parks to test everything out.
We have three yellow Labrador retrievers and three rescued cats who will all be joining us on our trips. I'm sure they will enjoy being able to move around while we travel rather than being confined to just the back of our SUV when pulling our old trailers.
There's lots to learn about this new unit and recall from our past camping but I'm hoping it will be like riding a bike and come right back to me. I know the new stuff specific to the motor home may take a bit but I'm sure it won't be too hard. The unit has three slides on it as well as the electric roll out awning which will be nice. The hardest part will be locating state campgrounds which have the shore power to handle 50 AMP service, but if needed I know we can survive on 30 AMP.
After our checkout trips we've planned a long trip in May to southern Utah. The main thing I'm concerned with are the passes through the Rocky's. If I recall correctly, back to my days when I was a kid traveling as a family in my dad's Suburban pulling a 1973 24' Holiday Traveler trailer, the passes in the Rocky mountains could get enough snow to close them for a time and that was in July. I'm a bit worried going in early May we could end up with those issues going through the passes with our Class-A. I'm sure things have changed since back in the early to mid 70's and I'm hoping they do a better job of keeping the roads under control but thought I would mention it just in case someone has a good resource, other than the states DOT, on what to expect for the different interstates and state highways going from Denver, CO to Southern UT/Northern AZ.
I figured we would watch the weather closely and if needed take the southern route running through New Mexico and skirting the southern foothills but it will add some time and miles on our vacation.
We've planned for a two week vacation but I'd rather not use most of one week just in driving to and from home to southern UT.
I very much enjoy the postings I've been reading in the iRV2.com forums. There is a wealth of knowledge out there and I've already found it very valuable!