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From Camping in a Van to Camping in a Travel Trailer (aka Caravan or RV) | New Adventures Await

Posted on August 1, 2023

In 2022 I was fortunate enough to have travelled across most of Canada and I did it in a 2001 VW Eurovan that I called “Moose”. If you’ve been here before, you’re probably well aware of that adventure as I drove from Toronto, to Vancouver, up to the Arctic Circle, and back home to Toronto again. If you want to read that tale, click here and scroll back to the beginning.

Camping and sleeping in the van was good, but it was a bit cramped. Moose was also showing it’s age and it had served it’s purpose. It was also time for something more reliable and the opportunity arose to get one of my dream vehicles…a Jeep Wrangler 4dr. I’ve wanted one since I was in highschool and I always wanted to get into offroading. But this presented a problem…now I would be sleeping in the Jeep while camping. Now before you say “What about a tent?” That’s not really a solution either. I’ve done my time in tents (even in tiny hooches while in the Infantry), and now at my age, combined with some physical limitations, crawling in and out of a tent isn’t any better than sleeping in the Jeep. At least I can start the Jeep at night to warm up on those chilly evenings.

I’ve always loved the idea of a motorhome, perhaps a Class-C, but then I would have to insure and maintain two vehicles, and those things aren’t cheep. Even used ones are a crazy amount of money since the RV market exploded due to the Covid-19 spike in demand.

The RV market has been growing rapidly year over year for the last 10 years due to the Boomers looking to travel more in their retirement, and due to the tech savvy Millennials who like to travel and are able to work remotely. Then Covid-19 came along and locked down the planet. No more travel of any kind. By land, sea, or air…it all just stopped.

So as soon as the restrictions for ground travel between cities eased and camp sites reopened, there was a huge spike in demand for RV’s of all shapes and sizes. It’s really all that people could do for vacations…go camping. Now that the Covid restrictions are all but over…the demand for RV’s is still high. I guess people discovered something that I’ve known all my life…camping is awesome.

Since I’ve always wanted an RV of some sort, and since camping in a tent, or in the Jeep is rather difficult, and even painful, it was time to make it happen. Let the shopping begin and ohh what a pain that was. I was originally just looking at the used market but they were still so expensive. If it was a reasonable price, then it was either really old, or it was in rough shape. I was also limited to ones with a GVWR of less than 3500pds (ideally less) because that’s the max tow rating of my Jeep.

I’ll spare you the boring details of shopping around, financing traps, and the shifty sales people and dealerships. Eventually though, I came upon Bella Vista RV and spotted some tear-drop style travel trailers in their lot as I was driving by. These caught my attention big time. I knew right away that they would be light enough for me to tow with my Jeep. After looking around at the various models, I went in to talk to a sales person. I was happy with the conversation and decided to discuss terms on a new Braxton Creek Bushwhacker Plus 17FD. It’s more than I wanted to spend but I really wasn’t happy with anything I had seen after months of searching. This one was new but still reasonably priced (considering the inflated market). I was introduced to their finance guy and we worked out some details but it was a big purchase and I needed to think it over. Over the next several days and several messages back and forth a deal was made.

I’m now the proud owner of a new travel trailer.

My first trip was for an RC race weekend, and this would be the shake-down trip for some bigger trips to come soon after. It went great! Everything in the RV worked perfectly except for the screen door which doesn’t seem to have been installed properly. No surprise there really. RV’s in every price range, from $10k to $1m, all suffer from shotty workmanship. The industry needs a serious kick in the ass. A friend of mine had purchased a new motorhome a few years ago for over $230k; he barely used it and after just a handful of trips, several of the systems and features stopped working (slide out, fridge, plumbing, and electrical problems). Hopefully I will be spared any major issues with a simple travel trailer that doesn’t have any slides or other complicated systems. I’m sure some issues will pop up though.

For now though, It’s already allowed me to get a good nights sleep while camping, provide AC to spare me from stifling heat, shelter from torrential rain storms, and a comfortable place to watch movies on my laptop…and that was all in the first weekend.

I’m going to enjoy every minute of my new travel trailer.

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