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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Ummm...So we bought a Motorhome! ...Now What?


Initial thoughts:
A few months back, my husband and I had a wild-hair idea. We started talking about the idea of renting a Motorhome to take the kiddos on a road trip. They haven't experienced road tripping much. The farthest we have ever traveled in a car together is a 6 hour trip to Boise, Idaho. We usually fly wherever we go because my husband is an airline pilot, and we travel non-rev/standby (free or cheap.) That's how we all flew to Paris a few years ago.

Road tripping...just isn't something we've done much of.

Bringing the kids in on the process:
We weren't sure how the kids would go for the idea, but when we told them what we were thinking, they FREAKED OUT (in a good way.) My daughter Sydney, wouldn't stop talking about it. Every day she would wake up and say, "are we going to plan our trip?" When can I start packing? etc. etc.

The kids started throwing out suggestions of where we could go, or where we should go. Yellowstone, California, Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Moab, Oregon coast, Washington coast, Texas to visit cousins, and lots of other cool ideas. In fact, the more ideas suggested, the more places I wanted to go, and was having a hard time narrowing it down to one trip.

Gathering Info:
We talked to a few motorhome-savvy friends and asked them thoughts about renting a motorhome. It's not cheap to do, and we wanted to make sure that we were making a good decision. After all, we could just fly somewhere, rent a car, and stay in hotels--but in the end...we just wanted the experience of "home on the road."

One of our friends, who sells used motorhomes, suggested that we buy one; then sell it in a few years after we were done "adventuring." It was a crazy thought, as we had just joked the week before, "who buys a motorhome when you can rent...imagine having to take care of a second home." Well, that brief thought of sanity went in, and then fleeted quickly.

Shopping:
We started casually "browsing" our local online classified source: KSL.com. (Waaaay better than Craigslist, thanks to our local TV station who provides this service! Thanks, KSL!!!) There were tons of motorhomes to look at.

We browsed a few RV lots in Draper/Sandy area, and another small one in American Fork. We looked at a few other used ones. At the lot in AF, we came across an incredibly reasonably priced Coachman Mirada 35DS entry-level Class-A that fit our family's needs. It had bunk beds (for our two little ones), a walk around queen (for Jon and I), a sleeper sofa (for our emerging-teen son), and a dinette that folds into a queen--that we will never have to break down into a bed. It was near perfect for us...not too old 2007, maintained well, and gas powered which made it much more affordable that the super sweet diesel class A's (that just wasn't in our budget.)
The buying process:
So we got it. Little did we know that the process was a like a combination of buying a home and a car. I should have seen that coming. Did you know that motorhome owners paid property tax on their motorhome? Did you know that interest on a motorhome is tax deductible because it is virtually a house payment? We didn't. We are oh so green to this! Lots to learn...lots to learn...

The BIG 35 foot Surprise:
So we parked the big thing right in front of the house, so the kids would see it when they came home from school that day. That was fun! My little Sydney cried happy tears and did a squeal better than any I've ever heard on Christmas morning. Colin, couldn't wipe the grin off of his face...and well...Talon, who had had a bad day at school, let's just say it took him a little longer to get into the excited mode...but he got there...eventually.

Where to stash 35 feet of Big awesomeness...
The neighbors haven't complained yet...it sat in front of our house for 4 days...as we cleaned it, and prepped it for it's first trip. Eventually, we got it tucked into it's new home, on the side of our house, behind the double gate. We never, in a million years, thought that we'd make use of the "RV parking" that our house happened to come with. It's a miracle that Jonathan and I are still speaking after the stressful nail-biting scenario of me directing him back between the house and the fence. Missing the roofline of the house and not bashing any fences (most importantly, not landing in the neighbor's pool), and not running over anything important during the process. Go us! Looks like we may need someone to come pour a little cement for us and cut our curb out on the side to make getting it in there an easier process so it can be a straight shot back instead of the winding process that it was. Man...I almost had a heart attack at 41, it was beating so fast! (my hands sweat just thinking about it!)

Another realization...outfitting it: 
Basically, buying stuff for an RV, is like setting up a small apartment. We made a trip to IKEA the first night (in the motorhome no less...LOL...because the kids wanted a ride) and stocked it with a few things. We've been on Amazon.com keeping them in business the last few weeks...as we realized there are so many RV specific things we can't live without--more about that later.

Decorating it:
Honestly, that's a thought for another day. All I can say...is that so many RV interiors are in poor bland taste. This one fits that bill...but at least it wasn't attacked by mauve and powder blue...my nemesis color combo. I hope to make some cozy quilts for it, and dress it up a bit to give it some of our family's style. It may be a while before I can get to that.

If you want to see an AWESOME series of articles on redoing an RV...check out Carina Gardner's blog. I can only dream of doing something like this to mine. (minus the sweet aqua and white polka dotted exterior. That fit's her cute retro trailer waaaaay better than it would ever fit my huge 35 foot beast. I love the cute-ness she worked into her Glamper, but there are just certain things you couldn't get away with when we are talking a 35 foot length...polka dots is just one of them.)

Speaking of Carina's Glamper...if you are local here in Utah, and you want to see it in real life...and meet some fun designers...please come visit us on "Carina's Glamper Tour!" Click here for details. 

Family Bonding:
This has been (and continues to be) a fun project for our family, as we need something to do together that would help us escape work. With Jon gone more than half the week, and me working from home, it can get pretty crazy around here. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE my work...but the problem is that I love it almost too much most days. Here's the thing though, I LOVE my family more, (way more!) and need to show that in the quality time I spend with them. My kiddos won't be little forever. I'm already reaching to stop the clock!

This was a great idea!

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