Austin RV Show Blues: Where’s My RV?

posted in: RV Search, Tiny Home Search | 6

If you’ve been to Austin, Texas, lately, you’ll know that our traffic situation honks. I mean this both figuratively and literally. In a big way, with an air horn. We headed to the Convention

RV Show Austin
Miles and Miles of RVs… seemed like Shangri La

Center on Saturday at noon to hit the Austin RV Show. It’s SATURDAY, people, and the traffic (which should have been light) was ridiculous. However, we persevered and a 15 to 20 minute drive, turned 60 minutes ended with a parking mess. The 3M Marathon packet pickup, unbeknownst to us, was also at the convention center that day and there were thousands of runners… everywhere, and they all brought their relatives! After much circling and full parking garage signs, we finally found a spot on the street, paid the meter via the Parking App since there was an interesting character sitting himself right in front of the pay booth, and hiked to the doors.

We fought our way through a cacophony of very fit folks and entered veritable ghost town RV show hall. Compared to other shows we’ve attended in the last few years, this was empty, and there’s nothing like the sight of a cavernous room full of RVs. I was feeling good again and was ready to make my Garmin Vivofit buzz with thousands of steps. I was ready to take a thousand pictures, and  maybe even spend thousands of dollars… okay, well, maybe not that, yet. But, maybe.

We headed down the center aisle looking for Class A RVs because we’re totally focused on Diesel Pushers at this point. Nothing. Turned at the end, and went into the back area. Nothing! There were a few Class Cs sprinkled here and there, and a few gas powered Class As. NO pushers? Really? Back to the front area, along the east wall, we found one! ONE! Uno. That was it. What the actual %$@!

We left. Out. Done. Less than 30 minutes, $16 lighter. I stopped at the front desk to voice our disappointment, but don’t worry, I’m actually a super nice person in person. They were volunteers, and they were surprised when I said that there was only one Diesel Pusher that we could find. They suggested I go to the website and let them know. So, here I write. <grin>

We Switch Gears From RV Show To RV Dealers

Frustrated and disappointed, but determined to check out some RVs, we got to the car, and pulled up the traffic app to see how bad I-35 was headed to New Braunfels. My saved search on RV Trader had come up with at least 10 possible used units at a couple of different RV dealers in the small town about an hour south of Austin. With better roads heading south, than back north toward home, we set out with the audiobook on and the iPad scrolling through inventories.

Our first stop was the Evergreen RV Center where found about 20 used, big class A pushers lined up. What we like about this place is that the prices and info are on the windshields and the salesmen are driving around in golf carts, so there’s nobody up in your chili and you can go in and out of all of them without someone breathing down your neck. We’ve gotten to where we can walk a few steps in and know immediately if it’s a “definitely not” situation, usually by the smell. There were a few maybes in the really long lot. I definitely got my steps (and stairs) in. There was nothing though, that made us want to go in and talk to the sales guys.

What are we really looking for? I don’t know, but I feel like I will know when we find it. Am I crazy? We want to stay under $100,000 and have some money left to gut the thing and remodel in our own style especially because I want it to have a clean, modern, non-granny feel when we’re done! No offense to the grannies, but you remember the old English rose, mauve and powder blue? Well, you see that a lot in the used inventory. Just not my style.

The next stop at PPL was just up the road, so away we went. I couldn’t shake the stinky old motorhome smell that sticks in your nose and in your hair. I was hoping for better.

During a quick stop inside, we picked up a price sheet. The one I really wanted to see, was first. It was a 2015 Newmar Ventana. This is the make and model I’ve loved for years, and this used beauty was spotless and lovely. It was also $169,000. Not even close to our budget. So, we checked out the rest of the long row of diesel pushers. There were some possibilities, but I could not push that first one out of my mind. I mean, I wouldn’t have to do much to “remodel”… but , dang that price tag. If we were ready to pack it all up and head out tomorrow… maybe.

Here’s a quick video tour, and just know that it was close to 90 degrees, so we were sweaty. I know, it’s only February, but, this is Texas. The weather changes as quickly as my mind. Well. Almost. Enjoy.

This PPL RV place closes at 4 on Saturdays. How does that make sense? And, you know, because this is Texas, and Bryan and I can’t go anywhere without adventures happening, I almost stepped on this little snake! So, of course, I stood in the road to protect my little friend from getting squished. He was just hanging out and warming up on the tarmac. I’m a Texas girl, so I knew he was a garter snake (harmless and good) right away. He was about 18 inches long and had a checkerboard pattern. Now, just because I knew he was harmless doesn’t mean I didn’t jump and squeak when I finally touched his tail and he turned to look at me. This, as you can imagine was to the amusement of the dear hubs who always eggs me on. You know, the man from Ireland where there are NO snakes.

Say hello to my wee little friend!


What Are We Looking For In This RV?

The RV show was a complete and utter bust. However, the good news is that the trip to the two used dealers, was quite helpful. There’s a long list of questions we have to ask ourselves every time we look at these puppies. Some we’re still debating.

  • What’s the mileage?
  • How’s the layout?
  • Could we live full-time in this space without having daily throw-downs?
  • Is there a space where we could make a dedicated work space/office area?
  • How many slide outs?
  • Is there room for me to paint some big canvasses inside if it’s raining? Where could I store them?
  • Is there room for a dog or two, okay 3?
  • What’s the counter space like?
  • Is it a full sized fridge?
  • Is there solar?
  • Hot water heater? Is it an on-demand?
  • Is there a king sized bed, or room to put one in?
  • What amount of work is it going to take to make it hippie chic and mod and awesome?
  • What’s the storage space like? Room for all of our outdoor and adventure gear?
  • Bikes? Music equipment?

Well, I could go on, and on… and I will. For now, the search continues, but tonight I’m dreaming about that Newmar.

Please share!

6 Responses

    • Sarah

      Why, thank you Cathy! It’s always fun to tour the motorhomes. Thanks for stopping in!

  1. Andrea Elkins

    Hi Sarah. With the space requirements that you have (office / art studio / dogs), can you articulate why you’re looking at Class As? I’m always curious why people choose the format that they do.

    • Sarah

      Hi Andrea, Well, with the husband planning to continue to work a 9-5, we wanted a Motorhome, rather than a tow behind because even on travel days, he’ll probably be working. We’re planning to write a series on our search. BUT, with a larger 40′ class A, with 4 slides, the space really opens up. I figure that I can paint under the awning, or in the living room while he’s working. Truthfully, we’ll probably both be working computer type jobs. Another reason is that we plan to move a bunch. We’ve had many folks say that 5th wheels are great, but they’re like a cabin on wheels that you’re shaking the heck out of while you tow it. In a class A, your “home” is actually riding on a big air ride suspension. The big diesels are built to go a million miles, too. When you buy the big truck and then the big 5th wheel, you’re paying a LOT. We think this will work best. Does that help? Stay tuned for our adventures in buying.

  2. Camille

    Shopping for an RV was the most overwhelming part of transitioning to this lifestyle, so I feel your pain. Great post though and glad you’re finding the humor in the process.

    • Sarah

      Camille! Thanks for stopping by… Luckily enough, we find most everything funny/fun. The shopping part is kinda fun, but the decision part is super scary. I’ve got so many what ifs… What if we make the wrong decision? What if it’s a big fat lemon? What if we can’t stand the road once we’ve committed?