When our children were younger family vacations were camping trips. We would travel from our home in Florida to the Smoky Mountains or the Blue Ridge Parkway and places in between. We would load the minivan with camping gear and head out to “enjoy the great outdoors”. Each year we looked forward to those two weeks in the summer where we could enjoy cooler temperatures and a different topography from the flat, sandy state of Florida. We started out with a tent. Our first time camping in a tent was a laughable adventure that will be better left to another post but suffice it to say we gained experience and as time passed we moved up to a pop up camper and then to a hybrid pull behind trailer.
It was a lot of work going on this type of vacation, but despite the labor the memories we have camping with our children made it all worthwhile. The nights under the stars roasting marshmallows for s’mores, listening to katydids and telling stories are priceless memories. Wading in a cool rocky stream or hiking to a spectacular mountain vista are the kind of experiences that become ingrained within our mind. I believe in my heart that this was the best way we could spend our time as a family together.
Grammi and I would often say that one day after the children were grown we would get a camper and travel the country. We’ve talked about it so much that our friends and family started to doubt us. The discussion has heated up over the past couple of years. Last year I thought we were ready. I bought a new pickup truck. It’s a Ford F250 4×4 with the 6.7 diesel with the idea it would be plenty of truck for what ever we decide to pull. I went to the Tampa RV super show and picked out a Jayco 5th wheel under 30 feet and was all set to hitch it up and bring it home. But when grammi saw what I picked out she was less than enthusiastic. So I dropped back and punted.
Grammi spent the past year or so perusing the classified pages looking for a slightly used RV that checked most the boxes for us. Turns out that’s not an easy task. We started repeating the salesman’s words we heard all too often, “there is no perfect camper and compromises will have to be made”. Maybe so, but I was not going to sacrifice certain things. Things like a big shower, comfortable seating arrangement across from the television, counter space, under 25 feet for a travel trailer or under 30 feet for a fifth wheel, accessibility with the slides closed. We knew floor plans where out there that hit most of those requirements but we slowly started to realize that we weren’t going to find it in the “slightly used” market.
So on a recent Sunday afternoon we set out to visit the local camper dealers. We are lucky that the area we live in has some of the biggest dealers in the country. We’ve done this before. In fact, so many times that I imagine that when they enter our name into their computer system a big red flag flashes ” tire kicker, don’t waste your time”. Our third dealership of the day was Lazydays RV. There we met Shane. He treated us like it was our first time there and showed us several campers. We found one that we really liked as it checked the boxes. But it was getting late and it was past closing time so a price quote would have to wait.
So Monday morning, after several back and forth text messages and a couple phone calls with Shane, a deal was made. We will be going back to the dealer later in the week to take delivery. It has not totally sunk in yet but we are the excited new owners of a Grand Design Imagine XLS22RBE.