So, like I said, we planned to buy a new camper NEXT year, in 2017. But in January, we went to the Boat and RV show at the fairgrounds. After camping for 2 years we know better now what we really want, and what we DON’T. Although we did not go in with high expectations, we found a few models that we just kept thinking about.
The RV dealer kept the Show pricing going for a few weeks, and we made a few trips over. We kept coming back to two models in particular, and the more we looked at them (on the coldest, windiest day of the year) the more we just fell in love with one in particular.
It was by a maker we had never heard of – Grand Design.Our model is an Imagine 2800BH. Apparently Grand Design used to only make toy haulers, but expanded to travel trailers. We just loved everything about it, nowhere did we have to settle. It gave us more than we expected everywhere, and with the Show discount we saved about $10,000.
So after we brought it home, we got our old camper to sell and posted it. To refresh your memory:
We posted it on Craigslist for what we had in it, and immediately had multiple offers. The very first couple who looked at it drove off with it. From the time I posted it until it was off our property was 2 hours! So, out with the old, in with the new! We camped 19 times in three years and travelled 1,685 miles with our old camper. It was a perfect starter camper for us.
We leapt forward 36 years in RV technology in one bound! We had to learn how to operate everything. Also, our new camper required a weight distribution hitch with sway bars, which we never had before, so that had a learning curve.
An unexpected problem reared its head early on. Our old camper was 25 feet long.Our new one is 30′ bow to stern, 32′ with the tongue, so it didn’t fit in the same spot in the driveway. We decided to add more gravel and expand our driveway beside our pole barn. That way it is out of the way, and we can keep it plugged in to shore power. Here is our driveway before:
40 tons of gravel. Looks great, right? Small problem. Instead of delivering crushed limestone gravel, which is sharp, oddly shaped, and locks together like puzzle pieces; they delivered 80,000 pounds of round river rock. So now, instead of a flat hard surface to drive on, my entire 200 foot driveway was like loose marbles. When you WALKED on it you sank in up to your ankles! Forget trying to back a camper up it, uphill! At first I got the camper stuck sideways in the driveway blocking the garage and the truck stuck in the yard, buried in the mud up to the axles.
Eventually we got the camper straight and the truck unstuck, but the best we could do is put the camper halfway up the driveway straight and drive around it:
Eventually, little by little the driveway has compacted down and firmed up. This past weekend I managed to get it halfway beside the pole barn before the truck bogged down in the loose stone. Eventually I hope to rent a plate compactor and spread some lime dust and pack it all down really well. In the mean-time, it is workable.
So, now we started personalizing the camper and making little improvements. From simple decoration:
To more practical concerns:
We usually camp with our small dog, Tessie. We don’t want her claws to snag the screen door so we added this panel. I am going to replace it soon with clear plexiglas cut to the proper size:mods
And mundane mods: A place to hang a broom, something to keep stuff in place while traveling:
I have also began some more functional modifications, but more on those later. Now we are ready to camp for the first time in 2016, and in April, we did!
NEXT: First time camping in the new camper.