Picking the Right RV – Part 1

Hey Aspiring RVers,

Todd Wilson

I’m in the midst of my second RV renovation on the same RV. The first reno was eight years ago when I brought it home after buying it sight unseen on eBay (1,000 miles away). Man, that was a red letter day. I was so pumped and excited as I pulled into the driveway behind the wheel of our new big rig with a big air horn.

I gave it a good blast and all the kids and my wife came running to meet me. I was like a school kid showing off his new bike with a big sissy bar. My wife saw the 15-year-old interior and began to cry. “What’s wrong?” I asked, baffled by her lack of excitement.

“It’s dark, ugly, and filthy,” she said, “and I can’t ride around for months at a time in that.”

“Yeah, but it drives great…and it’s got a loud horn,” I countered.

Well, that was the start of the first reno. We gutted the thing, changing the wall colors, floor covering, sleeping configuration, and recovering all the furniture. Man, when it was done, it looked factory-finished.

Now, eight years later, the seats are threadbare and have stuffing poking through, the flooring is filthy, and it’s in need of another makeover. So the seats have been removed and taken to a reupholsterer and boxes of vinyl flooring sit out as samples. It’s going to be a lot of work…but I’m hopeful.

That’s the thing about RVing, you don’t have to buy new to get something good. In fact, there are so many price points out there from brand new units that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to an old 1975 Winnebago that costs a couple thousand.

Here’s the thing: new doesn’t equal problem-free. And new RVs lose their value quicker than a 1990’s Beanie Baby. That’s why we’ve bought older units. The price is right and if we decide to sell, we won’t take a huge hit.

Plus, it’s just plain fun to fix them up and add our own special touches. And talk about a homeschooling opportunity? My son Abe (15) removed all the seats, and he’ll help me rebuild, paint, and reinstall.

The best lesson will be that he won’t be afraid to do it himself one day for his family. He may not have a lot of money to buy a new rig, but he will have the confidence to tackle any RV project…because he learned it from his dad.

Well, next time we’ll talk about different RV options.

Until then… swing wide and keep your eye on your tail,


You can find out more about Todd, Debbie, his eight children, their RV, and ministry at www.familymanweb.com

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