Two of the most important things we need to do before we can travel full-time: buy an RV and buy something to tow it with. As we could really use a new car now, we decided to start shopping around.
Given that we don’t actually have an RV yet, we have several options. Our main vehicle requirement is that it needs to be able to seat all six humans safely and still have room for the dog and the cats. We ruled out a Class A and a Class C motorhome because we don’t feel that they’re safe enough for passengers riding buckled into the couches or dinettes. We also don’t feel comfortable letting our pets ride in a fifth wheel or travel trailer while we’re moving either – partly because of what would happen in a crash, and partly because I don’t want to terrify them. We also want a vehicle with the max tow rating because even though we will probably buy an RV on the smaller side for now, we’d hope to upgrade eventually and it’d be nice to be able to keep our vehicle if we want.
So we’re looking at a Ford Excursion or possibly a Suburban, in which case we’d only be able to tow a travel trailer. We’re also open to the idea of getting a truck with a regular cab (ie, not crew cab) and keeping my current car as well. The benefit of that plan is that we’d be able to tow more, weight wise, we’d be able to get a fifth wheel if we wanted, and we’d also be able to transport some gear in/on my car. The downside is that we’d have to pay for double the gas, maintenance costs, and insurance, and some campgrounds can’t accommodate second vehicles. So we’re open to either an Excursion or a truck, it just depends on what we find, budget, etc.
We found a truck we wanted to check out in Sanford, which is a good hour away. We called ahead of time to make sure that it was still available and ask a few questions about its condition (it’s older and got a lot of miles). Everything sounded good so we piled the kids in the car and drove up there.. only to have them tell us when we get there that there’s a very strong smell of diesel when running. That wasn’t going to suit us.. but the dealership was on a road full of other dealerships, so we drove around a bit while checking other dealers’ websites to see if they had anything suitable. They didn’t.
We high-tailed it home because 15 minutes from our house is a Ford dealership that had an Excursion for sale. When we got there, the sales guy looked it up on his computer for us and said something like, “Oh, well, let me go talk to the guys about this, I don’t know if it’s even available for retail because of its age.” It definitely sounded like a move to get us into a newer, more expensive vehicle. Well, imagine his surprise when we locate the vehicle and as soon as we step outside to see it, another family who’s looking at it exclaims, “We’re going to make an offer on it!” very possessively.
It wasn’t really as dramatic as us missing the perfect vehicle by minutes – the truck would have suited our needs but we would have preferred a different configuration – and the family who was purchasing it had actually come earlier in the day to put a deposit down, too, and had just come back to make their final decision. So it was more like we missed a decent vehicle by several hours. Still frustrating, though!
There are a few other Excursions in the area, though all are at least an hour away. Hopefully they’ll still be available next weekend when we can go see them!