Friday, August 10, 2018

WE DOWNSIZED TO A CLASS C MOTORHOME: Easier Traveling in the US & Mexico

Our First Camping Trip in Our 28' Class C Motorhome

It Fits Fine in National Forest Service Campground Sites
     Trading our motorhome in and downsizing was a rather spur-of-the-moment decision. We weren’t planning to move from our Class A to a Class C motorhome. But sometimes things happen for a reason.
Our Southwind 32V with 2 Bikes on the Back in Mazatlan
     When we crossed the border in our Southwind motorhome this year, leaving Mexico to visit our family in the US, we had a big decision to make: should we stop at the little booth to have our 10-year RV temporary import permit removed from the windshield? The permit was still valid in Mexico for another eight years. But we debated about what would happen if we were in an accident in the US that wrecked the RV. We would have to pay to have the rig towed to the border to return the permit to the Mexican government. It wasn’t worth the risk. After all, the 10-year permit for a motorhome only costs about $60. We could just purchase a new one when we return in four months.
Our Southwind with the Permit Sticker on the Windshield

     Also, what if we decided to sell the large Class A motorhome? We would have to first drive it back into Mexico, return to the little booth where they remove the import permit sticker from the windshield, then drive it back north to sell it. It just wasn’t worth the chance. Though we weren’t thinking about selling at the time, who knows when we would change our minds. About seven years ago, we went through the fiasco of selling a motorhome with the 10-year permit sticker left on the windshield. Jon’s name was on that permit, so he is no longer eligible to import any vehicle into Mexico. Not. Worth. It.
Squeezing the Southwind into a National Forest Site
     As it turns out, we did decide to sell our Southwind 32V motorhome. The idea started in July when we squeezed the Class A into a National Forest Service campsite, all 33 feet of it, plus another two feet for the bikes on the back. It was a very tight fit and especially nerve-wracking when we put out the bedroom slide, inching it out slowly to ensure we didn’t clip the trunk of the nearest old-growth tree. There was no way we could put out living room slide as the rig was surrounded by pine and fir trees.
Barely Room to Open the Bedroom Slide
     We wanted to be able to get into national parks and National Forest Service campgrounds, where they often limit RV length to 30 feet. We’ve wanted to camp at Crater Lake National Park for the past five years, but the Southwind length exceeded their limit. We love dry camping in national forest parks, partly because they are so beautiful and peaceful, we can have a campfire, and we love the great nightly discounted rate of only $10 to $12 with our Senior Pass. A smaller Class C rig would sure make this easier.
Jon Enjoys Barbecuing Hot-dogs Over the Campfire 
     Other reasons factored into this rather sudden decision to downsize our RV, including the fact that we had put 50,000 miles on the Southwind in the past five years, driving it on our 2014 tour of mainland Mexico and traveling back and forth to the US five times. But mainly, we wanted a rig that was easier to drive. Jon is 68 years old now and I’m 62—we’re getting to the age where driving a Class A feels like wrestling a bus down the road in a windstorm. This was the year for us to downsize.
Parking at Mom's House--Too big to Park Off-Street
     For the past two years, we have occasionally window-shopped online and at RV dealerships, half-heartedly thinking about downsizing. But this year when we walked into this 2009 28-foot Regency Triple e GT28DB, we felt like it was the motorhome we could make our new travel home. When we test-drove it, it felt like driving a large pickup truck, much more relaxing. But, boy, was it going to take a lot of downsizing!   
We Were Impressed with the Quality of this Class C RV
     Our Regency RV is a Class C is about 2 feet lower in height, which eliminates the large basement storage compartments that the Southwind has. It is also five feet shorter than the Southwind 32V. The Regency Triple e GT28DB is Canadian-manufactured, so when they call it 28 feet, that's actually 28 feet bumper to bumper. It has at least five feet less living space inside, so it lacks the hall closet, pantry, couch/bed and quite a few cabinets and drawers that the Southwind has. 
     We've had to get rid of quite a few things to downsize into this RV, but who needs a toaster and a blender in a motorhome anyway? And, really, why did I still have a full-size vacuum cleaner? The hardest things to part with were the propane barbecue and the ladder. They just won't fit in the small outside storage spaces of a Class C motorhome. Maybe it's time for a George Foreman Grill.
Another Garage Sale? Sell More Stuff!

     Another garage sale? We thought we were finished with selling excess stuff! Our son, Bleu, was very helpful with the Craig’s List ads and setting up the impromptu yard sale. This was just another step in simplifying our lives.
     We decided the bikes had to go, too. We'd been hauling them and the fancy bike-rack on the Southwind to México and back for three years and only ridden them twice. We tend to walk most of the time, ride the bus when we’re going longer distances, or take a taxi if needed, so it was obvious we didn’t really need bicycles any longer. Taking the bikes off the back makes our new rig feel a lot shorter—much easier around town.
No Bikes on the Back Makes this RV Clean and Compact
     The Southwind was a great home while we were full-time RVers for a year, touring México and the United States. But now that we have purchased a small home in Sayulita, Nayarit, México, where we live eight months of the year, our smaller Class C motorhome will be more comfortable for the 2400-mile drive from Oregon to México. We'll also enjoy our cozy little rig on long weekends when we visit Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, Roca Azul, and other fun places we discover in México.    
We Were All Smiles When We Purchased Our 2009 Regency
The Walk-Around Queen Bed Was a Requirement for Us
Sewer & Water Connections in Smaller Compartments
     When we started moving into the 2009 Regency, we found a few treasures left behind by the previous owners that generated smiles and laughter. We discovered we had at least two common loves—our passion for dachshunds as companions and our enjoyment of wine. These gifts were sure signs that this Class C RV had found the right new owners.

Bella, Our Dachshund Security, an Early Warning Alarm
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6 comments:

  1. Terry, you neglected to mention that our new motorhome has a diesel engine which gets 17 mpg at 55 mph, versus 7+ mpg with our Class A. As we drive around 7,000 miles during our "summer vacation" in Mexico and the Western US each year, this saves us significant money. Our "new" rig is actually a 2009 model, but with only 8,500 miles on the odometer, and has been parked inside its whole life. This Canadian built rig was built with much higher degree of quality workmanship than we have experienced in our three previous motorhomes. Also,much care and thoughtfulness were put into the design of this rig. What a deal for us!

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    1. You are right, Jon. The diesel engine is going to be a big plus in our 2400-mile drive home to Sayulita. Driving our motorhome through the US and Mexico is sure more fun than flying--we see and experience so many things along the way. We made a good decision to keep RVing! Thanks for reading my blog article.
      Terry

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  2. Enjoyed your new RV story. Hope you enjoy it as much as your 32' motorhome. MOM

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    1. Thanks, Mom. So far, we really enjoy it. It takes some adjusting to get used to the smaller living space and storage, but the ease of driving it more than makes up for the lack of space.
      Terry

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  3. I've enjoyed reading about your adventures! You've given me new ideas about traveling and retiring in Mx! Thanks!!!!

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  4. So many more natural settings available to you in this smaller RV. Good decision, it's beautiful!

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