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What to buy for road trip

Mercedes has joined AIRSTREAM and created one of the best (in my opinion) conversion vans ever. It costs approx 125 grand, but if they are using all the house money, retirement, etc they will be able to afford one. Also, check into “used” vans in this catagory----It has a BATHROOM!!! Most important for women!!! also, a kitchen and room to sleep 4 comfortably. Good luck and have a safe and great time!!! thx, linda burridge Brighton CO

I will try to keep this information in mind, just in case I ever want to buy a conversion van.

Is this an advertisement, or are you just telling us how happy you are with your MB/Airstream van?

I have ansolutely no idea what this is in regard to. Would you be so kind as to enlighten me?

This is NOT an advertisement—I saw this van/rv thing in Scottsdale in January while attending the Barrett-Jackson Auto auction and wanted one to replace the Rv we now use to take to the race track----unfortunately I could not convince myself to spend that much money—but it was very nice. No carpet in the back so easy clean up for young children and it can be slept in, cooked in, bathed in etc. I liked that it was shorter than our RV and used less gasoline and size wize could fit into the national parks----but that price was just way out there for me. But when I win the lotto—ha ha thx, lindab

the Mercedes conversion van is sometimes re-badged as a dodge and my be cheaper if bought as one.

That makes two of us MB!

That is why my initial response to…what seems to be one more “stream of consciousness” post, was a promise to keep the information in mind if I ever want to buy a conversion van.

Since that post does not ask a question and it seems to relate to nothing else, I questioned whether this was an attempt to get some free advertising.

Today’s Car Talk had a woman who was looking to buy a car to travel around the country for a year in. My best guess is this is in reference to that.

But, at 125 grand, one could buy a nice sized brand new RV and have much more inside I believe.

Oh, agreed. In fact, for 125k, you could stay in a hotel every night for a year and still have about 80k left. The Mercedes is completely impractical. However, some people seemed confused as to the purpose of this post, and seeing as the OP has yet to clarify, I thought I’d chime in with my theory.

You do not have to buy new. Winnebago has built a class C with a Mercedes diesel for several years that gets about 15-17 mpg. I imagine that other manufacturers have similar units. What the cost for a years journey would be depends on many things, but the RV has several overwhelming advantages. Your own clean always available bathroom. Your own bed with no chance of bedbugs. A place for the kids and adults to nap at any time. A refrigerator keeping the snacks handy and saving the leftovers from the restaurant meal from the night before. Storage for the kids toys, not much maybe but more then in a small car. I haven’t traveled by RV for many years but some of the most pleasant meals I ever had were when we stopped at a scenic viewpoint and had our fresh tasty food as we looked at the beauty around us. John Huseth

Ray & Tom’s slipshod answer to this question provoked me to register and comment on a program for the first time. It was a cityslicker response from people who had never experienced the many varied joys of life on this side of the Mississippi, especially at the higher elevations. The advice to stay in hotel/motel rooms was shameful and a guaranteed way to miss the magic and eclecticism especially if confined to chain hotel choices. Worse, road warriors need to be able to cook and have refrigeration (not the mini units in hotels). Especially with young kids, a bathroom is also essential. This rules out cars, passenger vans and many campers.

One option is the world of self-propelled RVs which has it’s own limitations including being confined mostly to overnight facilities that cater to these types of travelers, not being able to access a lot of roads including downtowns, mountain passes and idyllic off the road locales. These limitations are often overcome by towing a small car behind the RV. But there is a much better solution for a young couple with young kids, a hankering for adventure/romance and a year on their hands.

My recommendation is to buy a 3/4 ton pick-up truck with four wheel drive, two full seats and a big engine. (Toyota and Ford are, by far, the best brands.) Then buy a luxurious 5th wheel or regular hitch trailer. Buy a brand like Airstream that holds its value and has a reputation for quality. If you buy a huge trailer, you might want to consider a truck with dual-tires on the rear axle though these vehicles are harder to maneuver and park in crowded cities and backcountry roads. The trucks I suggest have a world of storage and are great for short trips with kids by themselves. This way you can leave the RV at a park and then take off for a day trip or a three day excursion and have the best of both worlds. There is no reason to buy a new unmotorized RV (it’s dicier with self-ropelled RVs). It will be easy to find a unit that has been meticulously maintained and that has everything you need. A secondhand truck can also save a lot of money. Look for ones on ebay and similar sites that are for sale by owner (ideally the original owner) and that have not been subjected to a lot of work. You can find trucks that have been babied and perfectly maintained.

Have a great time. I had the good fortune to escape the east coast by thumb at the age of 16 and haven’t left the west since. That was 45 years ago.