This is a guest post from Jennifer, Mike's wife. And it comes after Angie, one of this blog's regular readers, asked me to share my experiences driving our Roadtrek Type B motorhome. Mike has noted a couple of times that I dont drive it much so I've agreed to explain why.
First, let me say that I enjoy driving. Really, I do. We have a son and his family who live three hours south of Atlanta, GA and I prefer doing my share of driving rather than just sitting. That's when we take our our 2009 Honda Pilot down there. Typically, we do about two to two-and-a-half hours of driving and then switch drivers. With both of us doing two stints that way, with maybe lunch or dinner in between, we can easily cover 600 miles a day without too much of a drain on either of us.
A couple of weeks ago, we drove the entire 950 mile distance from our son's home near Albany, GA to our home in the northern Detroit suburbs in one day. No problem. In the Pilot.
When we bought our 2006 RS-Adventurous Roadtrek motorhome RV in March, I figured I'd share the driving responsibilities with Mike as well. We have lots of long trips on our list, with stories and videos to do all across North America. With two people driving, we both figured it would be a breeze.
Alas, it hasn't worked out that way.
The problem I have in driving our 2006 RS-Adventurous is on the interstates, where stiff crosswinds and the buffeting caused by passing or being passed by trucks really shakes the Roadtrek. When we drive to Georgia to visit our son and his family the winds that blow across I-75 in Ohio have made me very uncomfortable. Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia stretches of the freeway are loaded with trucks.
Thus, if we take the Roadtrek to Georgia – which Mike wants to do every time – he pretty much has to drive the entire distance. Same with all those RV trips we have to take to do our videos and news stories. As the on-the-road reporter for the Family Motor Coach Association, Mike has a lot of ground to cover over the next year and I feel guilty watching him do all the driving.
I'm fine in handling our Roadtrek on two lane state and country roads. When Mike takes his beauty photos and videos of our Roadtrek in scenic locations, I usually drive it up and down the road past him with the camera tripod on the side of the road until he gets the right shot. But handling the Roadtrek on the interstate is another matter.
On a 6,000 mile trip west this summer, Mike let me give him a break as we were driving across the state of Nebraska on I-80.
I made it just nine miles. He had to take over because the wind was blowing and a lot of noise was coming out of me. You could see the dust blowing across the road. I couldn’t believe he thought I could handle it. I think he needed a break, but the cost of listening to me wasn’t worth it. The wind, trucks, etc., don’t bother him at all. But I find it difficult to handle.
At the recent FMCA gathering in Indianapolis, we bought a stablilization system called Steer Safe that was supposed to help. But after coming out to put it on our Roadtrek, the installers said they couldn't attach it because the wheels on our 2006 Sprinter van were too small. They said it worked on later Sprinter models, just not ours.
The sales person where we bought our Roadtrek told me other people have voiced concern over the same things I was saying to him. It may be newer models with the dual wheels minimize the buffeting issue. I'm anxious to try one of the newer one, like the new RS E-Trek that Mike videotaped last week. I think the dual wheels on newer RS models would stabilize the vehicle.
I have driven a Roadtrek Popular 210 on the interstate and didn’t have any problem.
But – and here's the rub – we both love the RS and the Sprinter platform. I especially like the side mirrors on it. When I drove the 210, I missed those mirrors!
So, hopefully, I don't sound like too much of a wuss. It took me a few times to get used to the height of the RS, and the fact that there's no long hood out there. Its a big windshield and the road. I'm much more comfortable with that that I was initially.
But the buffeting on the interstates has limited my driving a lot.
Mike says he doesn't care and loves driving the RS. But I would like to be able to share the driving.
I welcome your suggestions.