Unity for Us, Stories for Many, with Our Leisure Travel Van
A shiny, sleek, silver 2022 Unity Murphy Bed graces us with its presence for our travels around North America as of February 2023. It’s a step up for us for space and comfort.
Since 2014 and just before the pandemic, worldwide travel has been central to our lives, living out of one suitcase apiece with two small carry-on bags. We’re travel content creators and need flexible, easy-to-use modes of travel for our work. Our LTV is the solution to our North American travel demands.
But ownership of our LTV was almost not to be.
Patience on the Road to Perfection
For some, the road to ownership of an RV can be a long, serpentine journey where life decisions that span decades impede action. Careers, family, and money can constrain our time and ability to make choices and commitments. We are among those who put off buying an RV for decades because of these constraints.
Constraints aside, our consistent assessment has been that RV offerings were too large or too small for our needs. Large class-A motorhomes and pickup trucks with trailers are just too long, and we need the ability to move in and out of places that would allow a pickup truck. Class B and C motorhomes were also off-putting—they were too large or too small for our needs, and none offered the versatility we sought for RV travel.
What do we mean by versatility? We wanted something to engage the continent’s roads where RV size, capabilities, and features are complements and not constraints. We were also looking for a full-size standup shower, no wet shower and toilet area, a queen or larger bed, and comfortable driver and passenger seats. A visit by our friends Phil and Peggy in their 2020 Wonder stands as our introduction to this spectacular RV. The variety of designs and builds showcases the LTV as the first RV to meet our needs for North American travel. But to find an LTV during the COVID pandemic was challenging, and a three-year waiting list for new builds meant no near-term satisfaction.
Serendipity: They Who Hesitate Are Lost
Fast-forward to January 2023. A casual visit to a new RV dealership near our home in coastal Georgia to look at Airstreams led to a question by the owner, “What are you looking for?” We replied, “An LTV—but they’re hard to get.” His response? “I think I just got a cancellation on an order—let me check.” Within 15 minutes, we found our 2022 Unity. The features were all we would have ordered for a build, and the best news is that we would not wait three years to get our coach. We put down our deposit immediately and did not sign a non-refundable deposit waiver popular with many dealers today.
The following three weeks were a whirlwind of tasks to complete our buy. The coach arrived at the dealer less than three weeks after our deposit, and we might have our LTV in less than four weeks!
We scrambled to research the LTV forums for information; bought items owners would recommend; and set up the financial, insurance, and administrative solutions; we also joined several RV associations. The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) partners were central to our finding the best insurance and useful internet service solutions on short notice. We would take possession of our coach in mid-February 2023—about three weeks from the date of our deposit.
The day before delivery, the dealer reports an error code light from the Mercedes chassis would cause a delay. The problem? A faulty SCR valve—part of the diesel exhaust system and a typical problem for a diesel vehicle given present-day emission control systems. Mercedes fixed the problem quickly, but the journey to get the coach to the dealer and back set back our delivery for about a week. What was our rush to get the coach? A deadline to attend a travel journalists conference in the Dallas-Fort Worth area was before us, and we wanted to go in our LTV.
Our friends Phil and Peggy stopped by after we took possession of our coach and graciously helped us prepare for our maiden voyage. Their contributions to those little tidbits of information a new owner needs to know that only another LTV owner would know were invaluable. Weary the night before our departure, we were ready for our first trip.
New Adventures on Story Road–FDR State Park, Georgia
We took off from the Georgia coast in early March for the F.D. Roosevelt State Park, near former President Roosevelt’s summer home in Warm Springs, Georgia. The Georgia State Parks are iconic, and this park is no exception. The campsites at the edge of a serene lake lead to hiking trails through quiet forests chock full of wildlife–a perfect setting to unwind and reconnect with nature and oneself. Our site was an electric/water hookup near a restroom/shower/laundry facility. The cost? $38 per night + tax. For those over 65 years, there is a discount on this rate.
Weary from our day-long drive trying to vary the engine RPMs for the break-in period, we were happy to set up camp for the night and try out the Murphy Bed. The seven-inch thick mattress was welcome. With windows open to let in the cool mountain air for the night, we were off to sleep after watching the news on our pop-up coach TV. Yes, we had a cellular connection at the park to make our first-night stay, in some ways, just like home.
On departure from the park, we checked in with staff, bought an annual pass ($20 for seniors), and had a credit back to our credit card as a senior discount for registration.
The Road to Texas on and off the Beaten Path
With our first overnight stay out of the way, we were off for Vicksburg, Mississippi. An overnight stay at a nearby commercial campground led us to Natchez, Mississippi, the following day for a look-see to assess whether a return visit would be in order.
Yes, our LTV met our expectations. One can easily do a look-see in an LTV—a central reason for our purchase. The LTV will fit in spots that accommodate a long-bed pickup truck, and many pickup trucks park along the streets of the United States. Lunch at the Natchez Brewing Company was a delight—a tasty local-style brewery pizza with a large Greek farmers-like salad. We’ll go back, and next time we’ll stay at the first-rate River Town RV campground just across the Mississippi River from Natchez at Vidalia, Louisiana.
RV Windfall at Poverty Point Reservoir State Park
Back on the road to Texas, we could not resist the opportunity to backtrack to stay at the 5-star Poverty Point Reservoir State Park in Louisiana. With scenic campsites, hiking trails, and a rich Native American history, this park is a must-visit destination for RVers. A section of iconic cottages on stilts juts out over the crystal-clear azure waters of the lake in this park, a significant waterway in and of itself. The campsites are level and as clean as a whistle. Hookups with water are available, and an easy-to-access dump station on level ground awaits RVers on departure at the campsite area exit.
Bigger Everything in the Dallas–Fort Worth Area
It may seem counterintuitive to subject an LTV to big-city traffic. Yet, with its smooth handling and easy maneuverability, our coach cut through the dense Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) traffic like a knife through butter. Our travel around town near our conference hotel at Irving was also a breeze. Our LTV fits nicely into the standard parking spaces at our conference hotel parking lot at the Texican Court Hotel. Our gracious hosts, the City of Irving, presented a delicious slice of all that was and is Irving and Texas for our group of travel content creators by linking Texan icons with the hi-tech modernity of Irving. Stetson hats; a bull Longhorn whose horns were wider than the length of his body; a foodie tour of diners, dives, and drive-ins; the Toyota Music Factory; and a cruise in authentic Italian Gondolas in a canal under the bridge of locks were all part of the scene.
Our adventures as travel writers are even more rewarding than ever with our LTV. Instead of living out of one suitcase as we did for our overseas jaunts, we now travel in style and comfort to and from our destinations with all our gear charged and ready for work. If we need a change of clothes, a bathroom, or a nap between our tasks, our LTV provides the refuge we need.
The weather in the DFW area was hot during the day and cold at night during our visit. Our coach was at rest at the curb on a public street in front of the home of one of our children during our visit. High winds pummel the DFW area at night, but the EQ leveling system on the coach ensured reliable stabilization against the strong Texan plains winds that sweep across the area frequently.
With our whirlwind visit to Texas behind us, we set out for our farm in Arkansas. Two Buc-ees were along our route, but we didn’t stop. Our queries at other Buc-ees and Internet searches reveal a 20% biodiesel mix in their fuel. Since our coach is new and in the midst of a break-in period, we opted for a Shell station on our way out of the area.
On the Farm in Arkansas
We find the LTV is an ideal rig to boondock in rural areas. For many among us, Harvest Hosts provide this opportunity. For us, a family farm in rural Arkansas was the perfect spot to boondock on our return trip. With careful maneuvering to avoid low-lying branches and power lines, we got the coach level on irregular concrete slabs in the driveway of a relative’s home using our EQ leveler system. We recommend the EQ system for the LTV; it reduces motion in the rig during stays and keeps the refrigerator level to maintain power when the coach is stationary. Yes, some view the EQ as “just one more thing to break down,” but what a difference it makes while it works.
Stops in rural areas do not always mean a complete departure from civilization. A quick trip with family members to the town of McGehee allowed us to snap a photo of the town mural, an artwork by local artist Erin Ashcroft, and there are great places to eat in the Arkansas countryside. For dinner, a stop at Hoots BBQ led to an order of fresh Gulf oysters on the half shell.
Life on a farm at night provides a different audio experience for those trying to sleep in RVs. Roosters compete with one another for vocal dominance all night long—so much for the notion they crow only at dawn. Coyotes howl, guard dogs howl back, and bark, foxes scream, and a resident donkey brays from time to time with sharp hooves ready, daring the resident wolf population to stalk the goats. At dawn, it’s hard to stay asleep. The roosters prance underneath our LTV to crow endlessly.
Jekyll Island, Georgia—Our Favorite Anytime Getaway with Our LTV
Georgia. The mere utterance of the name invokes images of the Deep South and Savannah, with its antebellum homes, wrought iron gates, cobblestone streets, Spanish moss, and lush green scenery. However, there’s more—much more.
Many of us traverse the 110-some-odd miles of I-95 spanning the South Carolina and Florida borders at one time or another without seeing the Georgia coast. Yet the curious venturing only minutes down a coastal road less traveled off the interstate will discover historic sites, folksy rural restaurants, and barrier islands, some accessible only by boat. The Georgia coast is home to 11 major barrier islands (depending on how the counter includes islands in the count), and it is our home along the Atlantic Coast. For us, the best quiet beach getaway all year long on the Atlantic coast is Jekyll Island. If we’re not traveling during the Christmas holiday, you might find us walking on the beach during the day in 85-degree weather on Jekyll. Or, you might find us at night soaking up the island’s annual 12 days of Christmas light tour.
Jekyll is easily accessible with an RV and hosts a noteworthy campground on the island’s north end facing St. Simons Island. Plus, getting around Jekyll in an LTV is a breeze as both the island and the coach are compact. The island is home to various ecosystems, including salt marshes, maritime forests, and beach dunes, all teeming with wildlife like sea turtles, dolphins, and shorebirds.
A must-visit site is The Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where efforts are underway to preserve the rarest sea turtles that roam the waters of the Atlantic. But Jekyll offers more than just natural beauty. Its historic district boasts stunning mansions from the days of the island’s heyday as a winter retreat for the wealthy of the turn-of-the-century industrial-age families, as well as shops, restaurants, and local art galleries. Other than the beach, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, from kayaking and fishing to biking and golfing.
The Leisure Travel Van Value Proposition
We love our Leisure Travel Van and view it as the ultimate travel companion for an RV life and our travel work. Its versatile design and compact size make it the perfect RV for those who want to travel in style and comfort without sacrificing mobility. Our LTV is a platform from which we can discover new and exciting travel stories for our readers at RoverTreks.com and other publications. We love that our LTV comes with all the amenities we need for a comfortable and enjoyable life on the road, from a fully functional kitchen to a cozy sleeping area, and with various floor plans, buyers can pick a model that fits their unique travel needs.
The LTV addresses our “must-haves,” as cited earlier, and it is a superior experience to living out of one suitcase. The LTV owner base is more akin to family than a group of disparate customers. An active, happy customer base on Facebook matters in owners’ lives. This group is critical to owner satisfaction, can be a vital source of information, and complements LTV customer support. Concerning customer support, prompt, common sense support by LTV is obvious and central to owner satisfaction. A phone call, email, or message for help sent via their website, generates a positive, helpful response from someone at LTV within 24 hours during regular business hours. Who can ask for more than that?
But what sets the LTV apart from the competition is its versatility. These RVs can easily navigate narrow roads or tight parking spots, making them perfect for exploring cities or national parks. As those who experience the RV life know, the subtle, less apparent outcomes of RV life that are not as easy to quantify do matter. RV travel can and usually occurs slower, translating into a less harried, more enjoyable travel experience, and then there are those calm, quiet, crisp, cool mountain night air nights that ensure a tranquil and full night’s sleep at a campsite, away from the everyday hustle and bustle we experience in our brick and mortar homes. For us, our LTV makes our journeys so much easier.
We plan to travel throughout North America for three to five years in our LTV, and we look forward to meeting our LTV colleagues on the road or at events.