In the beginning

How we got involved with Cruise America

In the late 1980’s, my wife and I, with our 2 children, decided to try an RV Vacation.  We rented a 27” Class C from a local garage and spent a wonderful week in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  The trip from New Jersey was great! My 10 yr old son and his 6 yr old sister played games and colored on the dinette while my wife made sandwiches and kept me refreshed as we made our way down the New Jersey Turnpike to I-95.  8 hours and only 2 rest stops! I should have paid attention, I would have bought an RV years ago just for the convenience. The week in Virginia was great. We went to Busch Gardens, Virginia Beach, several museums and made friends at the campground.  The kids loved it and my wife & I had a really nice time. Almost 30 years later and we all still talk about the Virginia trip.  

We are now empty nesters and semi-retired.  I travel for work and had the notion that an RV might be a fun way to mix business with pleasure. Terri (my lovely wife and partner in crime) and I played with the idea for a year or so.  The thing that held us back was the cost of a new RV and the uncertainty of purchasing a used rig. I also had a few specific requirements that pretty much ruled out most of the RV’s on the market, both new & used.  For instance, I didn’t want slide-outs. I wanted to be able to park the rig , set the parking brake and go to sleep. I didn’t want the hassle of slides. The ability to climb into bed without stretching the room was important to me.  Then there was the maintenance issues of slides. A generator was another requirement. Dry camping (no hookups) was something I felt was going to be a part of the experience. I wanted to be self sufficient. I also wanted a real bed, a shower and a real toilet.  Porcelain please!  

I scoured the websites., Camping World, you name it.  Nobody had what I wanted, new or used. Then I found Cruise America.  The 28A was exactly the RV I was looking for. A full bedroom, shower and bathroom.  A well appointed kitchen, roomy dinette and a real couch! Throw in the overhead space above the cab and I was hooked.  Did I mention no slides? And a generator is standard? OMG!! This was the one. I refined my research and went looking for a used 28A.  No luck… I looked everywhere. I found a new one from Thor but there was no way I could afford something like that. And then I found it.  Cruise America retails their retired rental units.

Terri and I talked about it for a while.  A 3 year old rig with high miles verses a 13 year old rig with low miles.  Pay me now or pay me later comes to mind. I tend to have more confidence in a well maintained high mileage newer unit as opposed to an older, more sedentary unit.  Low miles isn’t always better. We decided to test the waters and rent one. A 2 week test drive. I wanted to be sure this was going to be a good fit for us. We planned a 2 week trip for late August.  There is a local Cruise America Rental Location and I will Highly recommend them. XYZ Rentals in Kenvil, New Jersey. The owners name is Marty and he is the best. Highly recommended!. We rented a 28A from him and it was a great experience.  

We picked up the RV and took it home to pack up for the trip.  So much storage room! We over packed for sure. Left the house and stopped at the local grocery store to stock up and we were on our way.  If you ignore the fact that you are in a 30 Foot Motorhome, driving it is as easy as driving a Minivan. Just be aware of the additional real estate behind you.  Seriously, it’s easy when you get used to it.  

Our first stop was Salem Massachusetts.  Winter Island Park is a MUST DO. We spent Labor Day Weekend there, right on the bay.  It was fantastic and the topic of a seperate post 🙂 From there, we went off grid and drove up to New Hampshire.  We spent a few days at my brother in-laws place. We parked near the barn. No hookups, no electric. We were self-contained and it worked out perfectly.  I needed to run the generator to make coffee in the morning, but that was it. Quite comfortable. We left there and headed up to Bar Harbor, Maine. We had reservations at a KOA on the ocean.  I must say, KOA isn’t cheap. This place was awesome. You get what you pay for. We were met by a friendly and helpful group of people. We were escorted to our site, the picnic table was moved and the site set for our convenience.  We asked for firewood when we checked in and it was delivered to our site. But wait, it gets better! Let me tell you about the Lobster Dude!! Fresh cooked Lobster Dinners at the campsite. Unreal. We didn’t want to leave. And there was a free shuttle, courtesy of LLBean, to Bar Harbor.  We had a great time. Can’t wait to go back. We left there on Thursday and stopped at another KOA on the New Hampshire border. Just an overniter, but nice. Then we headed home. I dropped the RV off Saturday Morning. That’s when we got serious.

It was an awesome vacation.  Exactly what we had hoped for.  The RV was perfect. Plenty of room and fully self contained.  We contacted Cruise America and started looking. This was going to happen.