Fear of Not Sleeping on the Road

One of my fears in starting the RV life with my partner, Shane, was about sleep. I’m a very sensitive sleeper, having finally conquered decades of world class-level insomnia. At home, we have the luxury of sleeping in separate bedrooms from time to time. Though our Unity FX is sumptuous, what about the close quarters, the different locations and sounds at night, or the opposite – the often extreme quiet at night? How would I make peace with these ever changing night time taunts so as to be rested enough to enjoy our daytime RV adventures?

Being able to sleep (and having a place to work on our laptops) were the two main reasons we selected the UnityFX configuration. At 5’6”, the rear lounge seating area is large enough to make an escape bed for me. Knowing I had some place to go if I were restless, served as an important mental insurance factor, aka mind game.

Our first night in the Leisure Travel Van was in Minnesota, at a rest area on I-94. We made a classic newbie mistake of planning too much driving on the same day as picking up our new van, after receiving our orientation (awesome experience!) and departing Winkler to pass through U.S. Customs. Oh, and finding dinner, too. At 11 pm, common sense prevailed and we pulled into the Lake Latoka Rest Area on I-94 () eastbound to create our first home on the road.

I imagine the insomniacs reading this are now thinking: jeez, I bet you didn’t get any sleep that night, parked next to idling semis and the steady stream of interstate traffic!

To which I happily reply, not true. Perhaps it was exhaustion combined with frayed nerves – they are powerful sleep inducers for sure. So I’m not sure if it’s more accurately described as “falling asleep” or “passing out,” but nonetheless we entered into that “smooth, dark wave” of sleep, as poet Margaret Atwood describes.

It’s odd, but I felt like this was the perfect first night. “If I can sleep here, I can sleep anywhere!” became irrefutable logic to me. It was the first data I collected on the road, and since I liked it, I decided to give it as much force of reality as possible. (Caveat: I’m a veteran optimist. I seek data to confirm my desired outcomes and world view.)

Over the next several weeks on the road, we moved locations on average every 3-5 nights. Our lodging landing pads included:

Over the two summer months, on and off the road, I learned more about RV sleeping. Mostly I learned that the RV life presents an altogether alternate universe. Comparing my habits at home with my habits on the road was an apples to reindeer situation. So many things are different; it makes no sense to try to set up one to be like the other.

The most positive experience was being close to nature every day. Even at the interstate rest area, we walked outside to the main building to use the facilities. (Saving our water!) Mostly we aimed for parks with hikes, lakes, and scenery and each delivered in its own personal ways. Looking out at the vistas from our LTV kitchen, dining under the awning, doing yoga on a pad next to the RV, starting each day with a walk or swim or both – how does it get any better than this? We continue to find out!

Being in nature is a hot topic these days for promoting mental and physical health; lucky for us scientists have studied the physiological and psychological reactions to both greenery as well as natural environments. Many are familiar with that exhilarating form of exhaustion that comes from spending a day outside, as if all that extra breathing has both invigorated us and also washed away unnecessary crap we keep rehashing in our minds. I’ll add that our almost king-sized bed and cozy down comforter are a sleeper’s best friends!

My favorite photos from our first summer in the LTV are these ones taken at sunrise at Lake Pueblo, Colorado. Credit goes to my partner, Shane Robinson, though. He was the one who crawled out of bed with his camera to capture this extraordinary color and drama!

As he did so, I was resting peacefully, while sleep’s “smooth, dark wave” washed over me.

The Unity Flex

A Flexible Living Space

The Unity FX’s magic is in the Leisure Lounge System. Completely customizable for every living occasion, the Leisure Lounge can transform into any arrangement (couch, lounge, chaise, and dinette), while a second living space in the rear offers even more options for relaxing and entertaining with a residential-style sectional sofa with an integrated ottoman that makes a perfect foot-rest, coffee table, or work desk. Better yet, the clever three-stop bathroom door – gives you more floor space where you need it and less where you don’t.

At night, the FX transforms again, this time into a massive 68” x 76” Murphy Bed with an all-new completely adjustable headrest for reading, watching a movie on the optional 28-inch LED TV, or just thinking about the next day’s journey. And for a hot shower after a long drive, the Unity FX features an optional German-built, Truma AquaGo Comfort Plus on-demand 60K BTU hot-water system, the most powerful water heater available on the market.

The new interior package features Italian-designed, matte-finish upper cabinet doors with soft-close technology, while its scratch resistant, anti-fingerprint and anti-bacterial surface combines clever design with functionality. And with white Corian® countertops, indirect LED lighting and a choice of three solid-wood cabinet options, quality European style and modern luxury combine to meet you on the road ahead.

Available in four exterior colours — Euro Sport, White Suede, Silver and the new Ice Silver — the FX is built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 chassis and is powered by the fuel-efficient 3.0L V6 BlueTEC Turbo Diesel engine with 188 HP and 325 ft-lb of torque. With an estimated 16-19 MPG, the Unity FX packs plenty of punch without sacrificing fuel economy.

The Unity FX starts at $126,750 USD. Delivery to dealers will commence in February 2016. RVers can view and experience Unity Flex at the upcoming Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, January 13-17, 2016.

Watch a guided walkthrough video and take a virtual tour at