It is hard to believe it is already November! It would seem to appear that 2018 has flown by and now the leaves on the trees are finally starting to turn those beautiful hues of orange, reds, yellows letting me know fall is finally arriving here in Greenville, SC. On my morning commute I travel 385 North and it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, I always see campers on the highway. I see anything from motor homes to truck campers to fifth wheels to travel trailers. I can’t lie, I always get excited just a little bit when I see these campers on the road as it makes me think back to the days when I was camping as a young kid.
In the early 1990’s, My family had a Fleet wood Terry Travel Trailer. You might remember that it had a burgundy and light blue stripe on the exterior frame. It wasn’t a fancy over the top camper but it was a front bedroom and it had the rear bunkhouse in it. It was perfect for a family of four considering it didn’t have any slide outs. It had the top bunk and the bottom bunk and then your bathroom was kind of in that little corner right there next to the bunks. Me and my younger sister always fought over who got which bunk and normally I always won the top bunk, well because I was older and much taller. To this day, I’ll never forget the bathroom as it was so small and cramped. There was no way two people were going to be in the bathroom at the same time, much less two children. Anyways, I remember as a kid my mom and dad packing the camper up and on the weekends we would always head down to the North Carolina coast. We were a middle class family and vacations were rare but our parents knew how much we loved the beach and truthfully there was so many activities at the campgrounds so it was never a boring vacation.
The North Carolina coast was certainly one of my childhood favorite destinations growing up. I’ve personally visited several of the North Carolina lighthouses including; Cape Hatteras, Bodie Island, Currituck and Ocracoke. I haven’t seen Bald Head Island, Oak Island or Cape Lookout yet but I am working on making plans to visit those lighthouses soon enough. When I was much younger, I’d like to think that I’ve explored quite a bit of the North Carolina coast. The Wright Brothers Museum, taking a ferry to Ocracoke Island, touring the lighthouses are all things I would highly recommend if you visit the North Carolina coast.
Needless to say though, it’s fascinating when you think about camping. The possibilities and destinations truly are endless. Whether you find yourself like me at the coast or perhaps in the mountains doing a little tent camping, enjoying fishing and hiking trails, the places we choose to go all tell a unique story. So I always love wondering when I see these RV’s on the highway who could it be? Is it a family with kids or an older retired couple, or simply someone riding solo?Then I can’t help but to wonder why they chose that RV. Was it the length? The slide outs? The floor plan? Was it because you could only haul so much dry weight? The reasons why one family buys one camper versus another family buying a complete different style really are fascinating. Maybe it wasn’t none of what I just mentioned, but it was due to a budget. There are so many reasons why we all buy different kinds. That’s why we see so many different floor plans. Granted there are similarities in campers but if they were all built exactly the same with the exact same floor plan, it wouldn’t be exciting. Would you agree?
This past weekend, I was checking my emails and received several from dealerships advertising 2018 Closeout. The Closeout emails are my favorite! It’s time for the new models to introduce themselves and for us to be impressed, amazed, shocked with. Out of curiosity, I clicked on one of the emails and started browsing through the prices as I’m a budget RV shopper and the prices weren’t bad but still out of my price range. I was looking at Camper’s Inn and I was positively blown away by all the new campers. That feeling of, “It’s Christmas Morning, let’s run downstairs and open presents and wake mom and dad” slapped me right in the face. There were so many brands that I’ve never heard of and then of course brands I’ve known and seen for years. I’m not saying that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but the price differences do speak volume. I just couldn’t even begin to tell you all the brands but there was one that caught my attention and really blew me out of the water.
The 2019 Palomino Columbus Compass 374 BHC. Folks, I have to tell you when it comes to floor plans that’s something I’m really particular about especially if you’re somebody like me that has kids and pets. A unique floor plan really has to catch my attention and within the last few years, the bunkhouse models have been a lot more impressive. Please understand, I’m in no way endorsing the dealership or the camper itself this is merely my opinion.
In my opinion this fifth wheel is perfect if you’re looking for full time living or simply traveling and you have a large family. The Palomino Columbus Compass has four slide outs. You’ll find a slide out in the bunkhouse, your kitchen and entertainment center is one slide out, your queen bed has the slide out and then your sofa along with kitchen table is in another slide out. A huge full size refrigerator plus an island in the kitchen with dual sinks! This model even has two bathrooms, one half bath right next to the bunkhouse bedroom and then of course your full bathroom upstairs near the main queen bedroom.
So what caught my attention? The bunkhouse design was very impressive. I like seeing these RV manufacturer’s maximize storage. You have two bunks on the back wall of the RV, with the top bunk having built in bed rails for safety and also cabinet space above you for storage. The lower bunk has two huge built in drawers underneath the bed. The slide out in the bunkhouse has a top bunk and a sofa which pulls out into a bed as well. You will also find a wall mounted TV in the bunkhouse. It has a little dresser and plenty of cabinet space built in. When I was browsing and came across this floor plan I immediately fell in love. Now seeing it in person compared to viewing pictures can be a big difference but I hope to make a trip out to the dealership to get a better look at this design.
For someone like me, this would be an ideal floor plan. The bunk unit allows ample space for my son to have his play area or also have additional family members come stay with me. My second favorite part was the kitchen island. I love the dual sinks and the fact the faucet has the drop down which makes cleaning the sink or even doing dishes so much easier! I love to cook and having plenty of counter space is a big deal for me. The island just allows for so much more storage and do it yourself ideas. You can put up command strips and add your cooking utensils on the sides of the island or add small shelving to store spices or other dry goods if need be. Maximizing kitchen space is really fun as there are so many possibilities with that added island. You could even hang pots and pans from the side of it truthfully!
So I’d like to chat for a moment as to why you buy the camper that you do. For example, my mom and dad have a Keystone Passport. Their campers is about 35 foot and includes two slides outs. My parents bought their travel trailer with the bunk house floor plan. You might be wondering, why would my parents who obviously have grown adults buy a bunk unit? Well as I’ve mentioned the reasons for buying a camper are fascinating. A bunkhouse truly doesn’t only have to be for “kids”. Truthfully I think of a bunkhouse as family friendly. My mom and dad love to travel and when they go down to the beach, a lot of their friends and family including me like to go down and see them for the weekend. Well instead of having to pay somewhere between $100-$300 a night to stay in a hotel, my folks are the type that’ll say just come on down and stay in the bunk unit. The bunk unit is convenient as it allows my parents to have their space in the front of the RV and for me and my son to have our space in the back of the RV. The downside to their bunk unit is it doesn’t have an actual door, it just has a fabric curtain that you slide across which I don’t like but at least it’s better than nothing!
It makes financial sense as it saves me money on hotel costs, plus it works out perfectly because my parents do have a bunch of grandchildren and they love seeing their grand kids. It really boils down to being able to enjoy family time. Folks, the old saying is true, like mother like daughter, as me and her both agree she doesn’t have adequate counter space. In her RV, you have a small area right between the sink and the stove and that in my opinion was a poorly designed concept. You don’t have enough space to really prep or set anything out truthfully. You need to rely on your dining room table to do everything. While she makes it work, she has also realized that if she ever does upgrade a bigger kitchen is one thing she does want.
Well I’d like to share a little history on myself. I am no stranger to the RV lifestyle. I have lived in two fifth wheels on a full time basis. I lived in a 1999 Coachmen Royal 285 RK which was a 31 footer, rear kitchen RV. It had one slide out which contained the couch and had a small half open wall and your kitchen table on the same slide out. It had tons of kitchen cabinets which I enjoyed and a little more counter space as it was a rear kitchen RV.
Due to unforeseen circumstances we upgraded to a 2003 Keystone Montana 3575RL. This was a 37 footer, rear living RV with three slide outs. One slide out was in the bedroom and then you had 2 adjacent slide outs downstairs. One was a slide out for a couch and the second slide out contained the dining room and a huge built in desk. So if you need a good laugh, let me share this with you. Do you remember the Sony 3 tier stereo that could play 5 Cd’s in it? Well it had that for part of the entertainment center along with a 32 inch yes big box television. I have got to laugh on this for a moment; I know nowadays we’ve got flat screen televisions and honestly I’m glad. It didn’t matter if you had a 18 inch box TV or 40 inch box TV, no matter what those televisions were so heavy! So hey, I can’t really complain that with technology we have made it easier on a lot of conveniences.
I was actually a full time RV’er until disaster struck our 2003 Keystone Montana in early 2016. That’s a story for another day as to why I’m no longer living the Full Time Lifestyle but we will cross that conversation topic another day.
The RV life is a huge passion of mine and I’d love to hear your stories, adventures, downfalls and even your questions and comments. So please feel free to email me anytime or message me on Facebook. My email address is: [email protected]
Lastly, I’d like to take a moment and explain all the great things we at Red Rover Camping are doing! On our website, red rover camping we provide you over 19,000 campground listings! Yes, we are always adding more daily!
Our website is free to use and you can create a simple account so that way you can leave reviews easily and also save any campgrounds you like as you are browsing through our large and growing collection. In our search bar, type in a campground name or if you’re just looking for a specific area to know what campgrounds are around, we can fetch that for you. Once you click on the specific campground our “Red Rover” will bring you all kinds of information on the campground listing. If you choose to leave a review, don’t be afraid to be honest. If it was a terrible experience, we’d like to know why. We truly want to feel your frustration or disappointment. If it was a great experience, we want to feel your excitement in your review. You can even add pictures to highlight the good or bad you experienced.
Well folks, I have just one last announcement to make. We now have our very own radio show! We will be having new podcasts aired on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm. Be sure to follow Red Rover Radio as you never know what your radio host will be discussing!