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Friday October 18th 2019

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RV or Hotel A Beach Trip?

If you want to take a trip up the California Coast, you can RV or Hotel it, so which will it be?

After some funding came in for a documentary, I landed a couple of critical interviews. I realized quickly that I would be on the road for six or seven days unless I got some more funding to rent an airplane.

At the same time I needed to visit my in-laws since my mother in law just had her second knee replaced and was immobile.  I also needed to visit the parents of my high school best friend who recently chose to leave us behind.  My trip just grew from seven to 10 days.

The Hotel Plan Along The CA Coast.

Using a hotel website that allowed cancellations, I started booking hotels that would allow me to bring my dog. She no longer works on TV and just goes with me everywhere. Unfortunately, none of the hotels were really close to where I needed to be each day.  This also meant that I would have to unload and reload all of my stuff at every stop. Think about it, camera gear, clothes and dog, unloading and reloading once or twice every day. No Thank you.

The RV Option

While I was out walking miss Chloe, I noticed that my neighbors had a very cool Class C RV for sale at a very good price. With the idea that I would get more of these interviews the idea of buying a nice used RV started looking good.

I have to caveat this by saying that for many years we rented a Class A (read big ass cool) RV for “roughing it” during 24 hours of LeMons races, and we kind of liked the idea of just loading up once for each big trip.  The Class C was just small enough to give me pause. I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy yet, so I rented one.

I looked all around for a rental. After thinking I found the deal, I learned that if you get a small RV you really need to know exactly what you want.  The big Class A’s have way more than two people need and really don’t leave you wanting for much.  The Class C looks like all the same stuff in a smaller package.  It isn’t.

A Good Nights Sleep Matters.

The single most important thing I can tell you if you are deciding between an RV or Hotel is that the bed is the thing.   The second most important thing is blocking the light and sound.  A cheap hotel and a cheap RV have a couple of things in common. They both have bad beds and don’t block light or sound well.

CoolToys 2019 Wranger JL Snow Test
RV or Hotel and SUV?

To make matters worse the RV we rented had just returned from Burning Man.  If you have ever been to Burning Man you know the sand out there is like sheetrock dust and gets in everything.  The owners agent tried to clean the RV, but we still woke up the next morning looking like lightly tanned ghosts.  If I took a selfie, 99% of the people would believe I went to Burning Man. If you know me, you know I won’t go now since it has been overrun by bougie people who just want to say they went and brought their chef. I mean really this was a Mercedes RV, at Burning Man? It is just wrong.

Rentals Have “Their Dirt”

Thankfully I have friends in the RV business so I stopped by for a favor. They removed four pounds of dust from the interior and washed a sea of tan from the AC unit on the roof.  

Day two was a little better but the bed just didn’t cut it.  After seven days I was in need a a good bed and sucked up the cost of a great hotel.

Day eight we were in a campground next to a nice couple that had a unit one smaller than ours.  He was well over six feet and she was looking me eye to eye in flip flops.  I am 5’11”.  I finally asked how they can sleep in that little RV.  They said they ordered it with a custom bed.  They agreed, if the bed is wrong the experience is terrible.

What I learned is that if you are going to buy an RV, rent the exact same model first and make sure it works for you.  Since I found small campsites and hotels are much easier to find than Class A sized campsites, my future is stuck between a nice Class C RV or a very nice GT car.  The CruToys Jeep is great for a few days but the roof whistle and road noise are fatiguing after about three days of road tripping. Matt LeBlanc may be right, a Bently GT is the perfect road trip car. Maybe he’ll stop by CoolToysTV.com now that he isn’t on Top Gear.

SUV, RV or GT?

It isn’t like we have a shortage of vehicles to play with at Beach Street News. Our parent company owns several shows and we have a nice stable to choose from. One of our favorite SUV’s is the Jag F-Pace. The F-Pace is a great road car but doesn’t carry enough luggage for long working trips like this one.  Chloe loves the Orvis Dog Bed in the F-pace way better than the WeatherTech in CruToys Jeep JK.

The new Land Rover Discovery and Defender also look like strong contenders.  Even though Matt LeBlanc says the Bentley GT is the best, the $250,000 price difference between the Land Rovers and the Bentley makes me think I might try one of the Land Rovers first. Are you reading this Land Rover?

The Long Road Ahead

Each of us travel differently, and I admit after 20 years on the road with the US military and another 15 on the road with the airline business, I am not a fan of any hotel that doesn’t start with Four or end with Carlton.  Clearly the same is true of my RV experience.  When I started pondering the question to buy or rent an RV or just hotel it, I didn’t expect to be promoting the hotel option.

The folks at AirStream tell me they have a Class C that will rock my socks off for my next photo-video adventure.  If they drop it at my door, I’ll let you know how it goes.  Until then, I am voting for a Class A motor coach or a first class SUV or GT car to hit the road.  For now, I’ll just take the CruToys Jeep JL and a surfboard around the corner to the beach.

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