Perhaps I should take a moment to comment on the journey that has so far landed me here.

I’d been inspired by a small quiet road in the Sierras in those moments when the trees seem to speak aloud. I’d parked, touched by the glances of hidden animals and the sound of afar off water cascading into thirsty niches. I wanted to stay, to spend the night or the week simply listening and watching so I began to search. . . two years later I purchased my 1996 Dodge Freedom Wide Class B 19′ self-contained Leisure Travel. I had twice inspected and rejected this vehicle, certain I could find what I truly wanted, a compact, economical go-anywhere (affordable!) camper that could sleep 4 or in pinch at least 3. It would be off-road capable and enable me to be independent of the built environment and allow me the freedom and comfort to roam in the panoply from highrise city to desolate wilderness. Something like this would have been my dream: The Earthroamer or a Tiger

In the beginning I knew nothing. I didn’t know motorhomes were a type of RV and that not all RVs are self-contained or that they come in different classes. I didn’t know that what I wanted was in short supply and high demand and that my dream vehicle was at the top of the line. I didn’t know that the NADA guides–the RV version of Kelly Blue Book–was only going to frustrate me. I started to back-down on what I wanted, adjusting, capitulating and probably doing a lot of whining. Salesmen took me under their wing explaining the facts: as the economy collapsed home-dwellers were drawn to the RV — it was mobile, comfortable, and to some, offered the lure of exploration and salvation from failure. Small requires precision craftsmanship, that means you pay more, add that to the history of RV travel on the West Coast with big roads, long distances and cheap gas creating the demand for spacious RVs–gas guzzlers with room for the whole family and all their toys. The global picture changes; empty-nesters and solo singles, the new class of vagabonds, the lost and the adventurous sharing the frustration with the rising pump and the fear of ruining the family vacation has turned ‘little and economical’ into precious and expensive.

Nevertheless I was shocked by how much people wanted for their little Class B’s and smaller Class C’s. I fell victim to false advertising, scammers and the peculiar vacuity of a broadening and empty search. Was I willing to travel across the country to look at what the advertiser promised was just the prize for me? Did I believe the endless promises and pleas that I should spend twice my budget, three times my budget for far less than my dream?

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