I’m at the end of a month long drive across North America and back. It’s time to have a go at the RV/motorhome crowd after being stuck behind these monkeys for hours on end. The woman who got out of her truck/trailer combo near Creemore on the weekend, blocking half the pumps and causing a line just shrugged and said, “they’ll have to wait.” It’s that kind of thinking that seems to typify the RV owner’s outlook. The Germans renting them to drive across Vancouver Island to Tofino on the very twisty and rough Highway 4 also seemed particularly adept at getting in front of you and then stopping, but then they’re driving large, awkward, unfamiliar vehicles in a foreign country on difficult roads.
|After following around Nomad Explorers and Freedom Masters for
weeks on end, I’ve got some more realistic suggestions for RV names.
|Mid-thirties MPG, quick in the
mountains, effortless on the plains,
our Buick Encore was a comfortable
and efficient way to see the
continent. That’s a geothermal
vent in Yellowstone making the
steam, not the Buick.
Ignoring the hundreds of thousands of dollars I’d have had to pour into a motorhome or trailer and truck to pull it, the cost of us doing this same trip using a recreational (and I use the term lightly) vehicle would have been stratospheric. Ferry fees for a motorhome/RV onto and off Vancouver Island are six times what we paid, costing you well north of six hundred bucks for each crossing.
Averaging mid-thirties miles per gallon in our little SUV, we spent well under a thousand bucks in gas carrying three adult sized people and their luggage comfortably. An 8mpg (typical) RV would have cost us more than seven grand just in gasoline!!! We paid about five grand in hotels over the month on the road, some of that included a house rental. Our hotel and gas costs were less than gas alone in an RV. Had the three ferry trips been with the take-all-your-shit-with-you RV variety we would have been looking at a two grand ferry bill instead of the less than three hundred we paid.
I would have enjoyed a bit more space, and I’ve often wondered how big a vehicle I’d need to bring a motorbike along on a big family road trip, but with Honda Ridgelines and other efficient crew cab trucks getting high twenties in gas mileage, and modern, large utility vans getting up there too, there are agile, non-road blocking options that let me still get close to 30mpg while bringing a bike along, and I don’t have to live like a refugee while using them.
The idea of a reasonably sized vehicle to move people ends for me in the realm of a minivan. The thought of a hyper efficient human mover appeals though. VW is looking a few years down the road at re-producing a futuristic version of its mini-bus. That’s as far down the RV lifestyle path as I dare to tread. What VW is doing looks a bit sci-fi and improbable, but an efficient hybrid people mover that could carry a bike? I’m in.