One of the good things about unexpectedly shopping for a second RV is that we now have a little experience under our belts.  Traveling around in Penelope, we’ve noticed a few things that are mildly annoying.  Not the kind of things that, on their own would cause us to replace her, but definitely the kind that irritate in the moment.  For instance:

  1.  We were careful to make sure the bed was queen-sized and that we could walk around it (which is just easier than crawling over each other, because Lord knows I am not sleeping through the night without a bathroom visit, and MW typically gets up first in the morning).  There are night stands on both sides, too, but what bothers us (me more than MW) is the bench in front of the night stand that is created by the outside pass-through storage compartment.  It makes it a bit tough to make up the bed, especially after knee replacement surgery (and in a unit this small, we have to make it up every day or go crazy with the cluttered feel).
  2. Our microwave is mounted too high.  As we are towing, the plate unseats from the knob in the bottom, making it unusable until you put it back in place.  Problem is, I’m too short to see it, so I have to wait for MW to fix it for me.  That is okay if MW is with me, but what if I’m alone?  Do I really need to get a step stool for a travel trailer?  Ugh!
  3. The couch is SERIOUSLY terrible to us.  Because of the size of the unit, it is a little loveseat style with a short seat length and a low back.  It is also pleather, and at first we were sliding out of it when we tried to get comfortable to watch TV.  So we bought a storage ottoman.  Putting our feet up helps with the sliding, but doesn’t change the overall discomfort.
  4. Penelope, bless her heart, is very sensitive to the cold.  That is our fault.  We just didn’t really think through traveling in colder weather.  Then, on the big trip, we were forced to go further south than planned to avoid temps in the low 20s in Colorado.  Neither of us like being a slave to the forecast, so it will be nice to not worry about it quite so much with a four-season RV.
  5. The thermostat is analog and has a huge range between where it goes off after reaching “temperature” and where it comes back on again.  I think this may be helped somewhat with a digital thermostat.  We had talked about installing one, but now the issue will be resolved with the new unit.

If you are thinking about an RV purchase of your own, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Consider renting/borrowing an RV for a trip to see what it is really like.  Having a little time under your belt might help you with the next suggestion.
  2. Really fine-tune your lists of must haves, like to haves, and don’t wants.  The more you have these fleshed out and stick to them, the better your choice will match your lifestyle.  To help you do this, read some of the forums and talk to people you know who use an RV.  Their insight may help you think about things you otherwise wouldn’t.
  3. Give a lot of thought to how you will use the unit.  Are you just going to take it on summer trips for short periods of time?  Are you planning any cold weather use?  Are you going to be a full-timer?  The answers to these questions will help hone those lists, too.
  4. Remember that some things are easily fixed, especially if you are handy.  In our case we solved several things that we didn’t like fairly quickly such as the plastic toilet and the lack of cabinet shelves and shoe storage.  We would also change out the thermostat and try to figure out the furniture situation if we were keeping her.  The other items we would be stuck with, though.
  5. Don’t let the frills sway you.  Quality, design, and the usefulness of the floorpan are more important than a heated mattress, fancy lights, and gimmicks.

As for us, we now have an opportunity to correct the things we don’t like as we search for Petunia.  We’ve taken into account what we have learned and made a better list of must-haves, like to haves, and absolutely don’t wants.  We’ve looked at a lot of different brands and models.  We’ve scoured lists of options, and done a factory tour.  It is almost time to take the leap.

Stay tuned for the next step.  Change is good!


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