Sunday, March 13, 2011


Friday, we purchased the Roadtrek 190 Popular. The decision was 18 months in the making and very late Thursday night I turned to my good wife and said, "Are we crazy buying this thing?" I actually did not get the answer that I expected to get. I thought that I would get a quick and encouraging "not at all". What I got was a pause and a long talk followed. After a couple of trips to the calculator and another examination of our finances, along with a review of all of the positives that this would bring us - most of this from her, we went to sleep still with the intention of making the trip to Pennsylvania that morning with our check book in hand. Now, this is the second most expensive thing that either of us have ever purchased with our house being first. It is not an decision to be made lightly. Of course, there must be a loan to make this possible. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous - still am - about the whole thing.

The trip for us is often a big part of the adventure and the two hundred mile trip to the dealer was no exception. I had checked weather reports for both home and Pennsylvania for three days. There was a large rain storm on Thursday and there were flood watches for many parts of New Jersey. The route that we usually take to this area of Pennsylvania only marginally touched the areas of concern and I figured that if there was a problem my recently purchased GPS with "traffic" routing would take us around any problems that might be ahead. Let me say now that I should have left the GPS turned off.

The route we were directed on started us off as usual. One mistake that I made was that I did not review the route before we started. We crossed the bridge into New Jersey and could comfortably gone one of two ways - on the New Jersey Turnpike or up to Route 78 both of which we have driven on many times. As we approached the entrance ramp to the turnpike I expected it to tell us to move to the right to go that way. It didn't. So it would be Route 78 - that was fine too. A little further along it started to tell me to move to the left and was directing me off the large interstate that we were on. The route it was sending us to, my wife was quick to point out, was not a major road but a road with traffic lights, etc. Thinking that it was sending me around some of the problems that I was concerned we might encounter, I obeyed the command and turned off the road where directed. Silly me, I should have turned around right away and gotten back on the interstate.

The route that the GPS was following when looked at on a paper map would look to be a better way to go. It is a diagonal into Pennsylvania through New Jersey that most likely would be quicker were it not for the fact that it is a series of roads through towns, traffic stops, traffic circles, and one lane roads. And all with speed limits below 45 miles per hour. The GPS also could not know that these roads would more than have its share of drivers who had some need to drive significantly slower than the speed limit, especially where the roads went down to one lane. Not to mention, that the route was taking us right through the towns with flood warnings and along the edge of rivers that were cresting and rising from the heavy rain that was overflowing the banks. Had we never been to the area of Pennsylvania that we were heading for and had we followed this same route - we might have considered one of those other dealers. Even with the GPS we had a few wrong turns and, of course, there was a bit of exciting language coming from me along the way. We did eventually get there but with the excitement and anxiety of what we were about to do, we could have used a more calming trip.

We went into the dealer and looked for the sales manager. The new salesman who we only know through our email contacts back and forth was not going to be there. We knew in advance that we would be dealing with the sales manager who we had met the first time that we visited the dealership and also had made given us the price quote. We encountered a salesman who asked if he could help us and we asked for the sales manager. He looked toward where he should be and he was not there. He would find him for us.

Right there was a Roadtrek 190 Versatile amongst the trailers and pop ups. We were told that the sales manager would be back to his desk in a few minutes so we went over to the Roadtrek and went inside.

Each time I go into a Roadtrek I am struck by how small it actually is inside - and each time this is a surprise to me. For some reason, I remember it being larger or at least seeming larger. It really is small - though the Versatile with its arrangement of four seats in the front with everything condensed toward the back is smaller toward the rear and gives a tighter feeling. Hmm, I thought. It was still not too late to change my mind... No, I realized that once it was mind I could make it my own - and like any new place that one moves into, it will take time to get used to. The sales manager came looking for us and told us that he was finishing with another customer and perhaps we should meet with the business manager about the finance application. He went off to get him and we went back inside the Roadtrek.

We opened the bathroom cabinet doors and looked inside. Hmm, smaller than I remembered. Sufficient for its purpose, though. I opened storage cabinets. We looked for the electrical outlets that we had not thought to look for before. There were two near the bed, two in the cabinet where the television and DVD player connect. I know that there are people who full time in one of these. For us it will be a place to sleep while touring at all of the places that we love to go to and some new places that would not have been possible before. The excitement started to grow.

The business manager found us inside and we got out and accompanied him to his desk. We had filled in the paperwork at home and brought it with us. He entered everything into his computer and sent it into the bank. There did not seem to be any problem. He told us that in an hour he would have a rate for us.

We were now ready for the moment of truth and the sales manager was waiting. We went over to his desk. It all seemed to happen very quickly. There was nothing really to discuss. We went through some small talk - I found out that the original salesman was alive and well - good - and that he was selling furniture now instead of RVs. We looked over the sales agreement and my wife wrote a check for a down payment. We both signed on the lines - owner and co-owner. And it was done. The actually process took all of two minutes.

The Roadtrek will be ordered now by the dealer and it will come from Roadtrek in about six weeks. Just in time for the warm weather (I hope) and a chance to test it out for a day in Pennsylvania at a campground in Lancaster so that if there we find any problems are get confused by anything we can easily go back to the dealer the next day for adjustments.

Before we left the dealership we went through his RV store - the first one we ever really had a chance to look around in and saw all types of things to buy. We did not buy anything. We left and headed to some of our Pennsylvania haunts and spent the rest of the day. We had a good dinner and headed back to home late - by way of our usual and comfortable route.

So it is now done. We own a Roadtrek - at least we will own a Roadtrek when it is delivered. I must say that my excitement is well mixed with anxiety. And the next morning I awoke with a lot of questions that I started to worry about - which my wife had answers for when I told her later.

While we are waiting for delivery in the next six weeks I will write a few more articles and fill you all in on some of the details.


  1. Take a deep breath and you'll be OK, Robert. Remember, the first 100 years are the hardest.

  2. My wife and I can SO identify with your purchase and what I hope is faux buyer's remorse......We are picking up our B tomorrow, 4/30, and we are excited as well as nervous about the same question....."Are we crazy for buying this thing?"

    Like you, we had some time between signing the paperwork and pick-up, which was only five weeks but seemed like five months !

  3. Congratulations on your new B! We picked up ours this week. We thought all was going smoothly until we were left on our own that night at a campground. My article next week will detail the delivery. And then after that the next two weeks will be about our first night at the campground and the next day. If you have a good salesman do the walk through demo you will be fine. I wish we had one!