Immediately after visiting the state fair, we set off to reconnoiter RVs. The Hubs has been hot on the trail of the “perfect” RV since we bailed on our rental and Quebec beluga trip in July. His exhaustive research yielded a pretty good idea of what we might want to purchase. He also discovered that between two Syracuse dealerships we could see most of those he thought we should investigate more closely.
After 35 years, let’s just say I know this man. Before we made the first stop, we had a little chat. Just for the record.
Me: “We aren’t buying anything today. Agreed? You sometimes get excited and make a spontaneous purchases. Just want to be sure we’re on the same page.”
He: “Well, I might have purchased a couple JetSkis without talking with you. [Umm, yeah. Case in point!] But no, I would not purchase on this scale without discussion.”
Me: “Whew, that’s a relief. We’re just not ready.”
Even if all the stars aligned on make, model and price, I knew we were not ready to buy. We had nowhere to store it, for one thing. No time to use it, for another. We’d be foolish to burn through 6 or 8 months of warranty while we completed other obligations. It’s all too easy to become caught up in the possibilities and excitement of this new adventure. Prudence must prevail!
Buying an RV must be kind of like buying a boat. We didn’t know so many options existed until we started shopping. Then we could hardly imagine doing without this or that. The more we looked the more we liked. Outdoor kitchens, pass-through storage, comfy recliners, solid surface countertops, entertainment centers inside and out, external showers… the list of comforts and conveniences continues.
Prices were much better than we’d anticipated, dealers eager to sell late in the season. One rig stood out by the time we’d concluded our excursion. Admittedly, there were a few niggling concerns. Even so, it’s hard not to get sucked in. Ever so glad we’d had that little chat in advance, eh?
We’d been up since 4 o’clock and on the run all day. We were tired, hungry and had a couple hours yet to drive and … seriously, what? Did he just say what I think he said? My brain stalled out as the Hubs threw a low-ball offer on the table. He couldn’t resist one last bid on the one unit that seemed perfect. I was ever so grateful the sales manager declined!
By the time we hit the highway I was able to close my gaping jaw. I lost no time reminding the Hubs of our “agreement.”
Me: “I cannot believe you just did exactly what we discussed not doing!”
He: “You were sitting right there. You were all over it. I assumed you were in!”
A little bit more research revealed we likely a dodged bullet! Nonetheless, we both contacted the RV bug on that initial foray. It seemed almost providential that a couple weeks later the largest RV show in the land was scheduled in Hershey, Pennsylvania. We cleared our calendars for a fast-track from the farm to a show built for dreamers.
Upon admission to RV wonderland you are a mere step or two away from an alternate reality and life of leisure. Resisting the urge to purchase here would be only more difficult; dealers and manufacturers collaborate for rock-bottom, show-only pricing. There were acres and acres of RVs, hundreds of eager sales staff, dozens of vendors selling after-market and customized products, and a test drive lot for those who take the plunge!
We’d mapped dealers and manufacturers of highest priority in advance for a strategic strike on site. We hit the show late on the afternoon it opened. Great timing, as it turned out. Sales staff were fresh and friendly. Attendance was light so we could move in and out of units with ease. We hit all of those on our list and discovered a few more in the process. It was overwhelming and exciting and exhausting.
The show was not unlike the fair, with food trucks and promotional give-aways left and right. Golf-cart taxis provided free rides to and from the parking lot for weary shoppers. There was even more to explore inside the arena. State tourism agencies and RV park representatives promote advantages and amenities. Independent retailers hawk a wide variety of wares, from bamboo pillows to bicycles, RFID pouches to cookware.
The following morning we had a few hours to finalize impressions before driving home. Within a couple hours, my brain was fully saturated. I sat down like a stubborn mule. I was done. The Hubs, with his incredible capacity for detail, poked around a bit longer. Finally he said we should leave, conceding he might do something “stupid” otherwise. We passed a steady stream of dreamers flowing through the admission gates by the time we hit the road, homeward bound.
Our chids couldn’t believe we returned empty-handed. I’m proud to say we did — except for Hershey chocolate :=) But we’d accomplished our objectives so it was time and money well spent. After touring dozens of rigs and spending hours in discussion on larger and lesser details, we’ve narrowed to two manufacturers and models that fit our current budget and future plans. We developed a great contact at a dealership near Buffalo. We’ve yet to ferret out the right deal. Rest assured, the Hubs is on it.