Start With The Best

Mark & Hilary Steves
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“I made a mistake today,” I started to tell Hilary. “I found the perfect RV for us, but there’s no way we’re going to buy this.”

To help you understand that moment, we had only started considering getting our first RV about 2 months prior. It started with Hilary’s comment one day that “we should think about getting an RV,” and that comment stuck in my mind and wouldn’t let go. We like to travel, but we also like our comforts, and we adore our two dogs, Zeus and Odin. This is why the idea of an RV began to take root. With an RV, we can take our stuff with us! We can travel in comfort! We can bring the doggies!! And we can do all that with more freedom and (hopefully) less planning than a long drive in our minivan.

Trying out the RV life

As the idea grew, we realized we needed to try out the RV life first. Luckily we had some friends that were looking to sell their 31-foot Class C and offered to let us borrow it.

Our first trip in an RV. NOTE: Not an LTV!

Would we like the RV life? We set out on a weekend trip to Paso Robles wine country, only about 2 hours north of our home, to see how RVing would work with the kinds of things we like to do – which means driving and visiting different places (in this case, wineries), versus just parking and camping.

This test run taught us two main things: we learned that we liked the idea of having an RV, but we also learned that our friends’ RV was just too big for us. We thought about going out to our local RV dealers, but decided to wait until Hilary was back from a long road trip she had planned in September. Until then, I’d just peruse the internet.

And that’s where I came across it: Leisure Travel Vans. I can’t recall what got me to the site, but the pictures looked amazing, and I was smitten.

Finding the right floorplan

The Unity Murphy Bed concept meant we didn’t have to construct a bed every night. The seating looked comfortable and the quality looked high. The outside was sharp, and the size seemed to be just right. The Unity FX floorplan was the immediate winner for us, with the easy sofa-lounger-table-bed combination, as well as the separate seating area.

It was after discovering the Unity that I told Hilary, “I made a mistake.” I couldn’t see how any other RV we could find would measure up to the perfection that was the FX. It just seemed like such a high price tag that I didn’t think we could swing it.

There also wasn’t an LTV dealer within 200 miles of us, so we made tentative plans to go to the Southern California RV show when Hilary returned from her road trip. But while on her trip, Hilary stopped in Colorado Springs. I looked online and saw that there was an LTV dealer just down the road from where she was staying!

“Why not swing by and see if they have an LTV,” I told her. “You can at least look at one, if not test drive.” And so she did.

And about an hour later, she called me at work. The good folks at VanCity RV had miraculously found a Unity FX that met our needs and specifications at their sister dealership in St. Louis. It was a brand new 2019 model. Instead of ordering one and waiting 10 months or so, we could get it now. It was time to make a decision. Joe Parisi, the salesman said it best: “Many LTV owners get their coaches as a second, third, or fourth RV. They are working their way up to the best. Why not make your third RV your first RV?”

The red carpet treatment at VanCity RV in St. Louis.

First trip in our Unity FX

So we did just that. Hilary returned home, and a couple of weeks later we flew out to St. Louis together. A bright red carpet led us to our brand new 2019 Unity FX. Four hours of excellent instruction later (remember, we’re new to RVs!), we were on the road to our home in California. What better way to break in our new RV than a 2,282-mile drive!

The first day was kind of a blur. After our orientation (and a mandatory pit stop at Walmart) we drove into the night, pulling into our first RV park in Kansas at 9:30 pm. The next morning we were back on the road early, as we needed to get through Denver by nightfall. That was our first experience in the Unity in city traffic, and while we were a bit nervous, there were no issues. Already, this RV was feeling like a car.

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park in Utah.

Our third day was our first real day to take some time to see the sights. First up was Arches National Park. What a glorious place to visit! We took the hike up to Delicate Arch and marveled at the view. The rain was kind enough to hold off until we got back to the RV, but unfortunately, we couldn’t see anything during our night at Dead Horse Point State Park due to rain and then heavy fog the next day. Still, not a bad way to spend our 19th wedding anniversary.

A great way to spend our anniversary at Dead Horse Point in Utah.
The hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.

The next day, we went back to Arches for a bit and then hit the road to Bryce Canyon National Park. For those who have never been to Bryce Canyon, we can’t recommend it highly enough – it’s probably our favorite park. The views are simply breathtaking. We parked the RV and took the shuttle bus around, which was fine and saved us having to hunt for parking spots. We walked along the rim as the view changed, and then hiked down into the hoodoos on the Navajo Loop trail. It was a busy but fantastic day.

After the wonders of Bryce, we spent the weekend in Las Vegas parked at a friend’s house (we still slept in the RV!). Then it was time to get our new rig home.

It’s been two months now with our new toy and we’ve already taken three trips in it. We went camping at Lopez Lake, and again at Morro Bay. We also went to Cambria, California, where we spent the night at the State Park after viewing the annual Christmas marketplace. This was something we’ve wanted to do for years, but we didn’t want to face the drive home at night. Now we don’t have to! All of our friends have come over to ‘oooh and aaahhh’ at our Unity – it definitely catches the eye.

Oh, and the dogs? They love it! There is plenty of room on the bed at night for all of us.

Zeus and Odin at Lopez Lake, CA. They’re right at home in our new Unity.

Final thoughts

So did we really make a mistake? Obviously not. Was it expensive? Sure, but the quality is worth it (and as it turns out, it’s really not expensive compared to other new RVs). We can drive it into town or out on the highway. We can stop at wineries or camp for the night at a lake. My only mistake? I’m still working and not fully retired yet! When that day comes, we have many longer trips that we’re itching to make. We plan to drive up the coast, as well as out east to visit family, just the four of us in our new tiny home. Until then, we’ll use it whenever we can, and we can be thankful that we started out with the best!


Mark & Hilary Steves

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