First RV Roadtrek

Roadtrek : Our First RV

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If I had a dollar for every person that said that I should go RVing these pockets would be empty. Traveling by RV wasn’t a part of our thoughts when Kris and I retired. Our travel plans includes cats, hotels and touring companies. Retirement started last fall by traveling to Niagara Falls, then Italy, eventually wintering in Arizona.

Things were great and going as planned. Arizona winters allowed for year-round cycling so I would easily would surpass the 2,800 miles ridden in 2013. Then one gorgeous, sunny morning in mid January while biking near Red Mountain I had a heart attack. Funny how things can change in, well… a heartbeat.

First RV RoadtrekFortunately it was a mild heart attack much like my first two. Winter became a series of trips to doctors and cardiac rehab with orders to minimize my travel. I felt fine, but doctors only allowed for exercise during rehab sessions. It was turning me into a grumpy couch potato. The doctors grew tired of my pleading and eventually allowed for restricted, slow riding within the retirement community. I was happy to finally get out and it was during one of those slow, boring rides when I saw it. There in the park’s storage lot was a Rialta Class B RV. I thought that it looked like fun and those dang doctors might actually let me travel in something like that.

I rode by that Rialta daily, thinking similar thoughts and eventually decided to Google it. The Rialta had been discontinued in 2005! Not being discouraged, my search criteria changed to similar RV types. It was mid February when I discovered Class-B RVing and got my first glimpse of a group of fanatics praising something called a Roadtrek. I didn’t know it then, but looking back, that’s when I was hooked.

First RoadtrekI poured through everything, Roadtrek researching articles, websites and joining Class-B groups. It came time to talk it over with my wife, Kris. She is very cost conscious and lets face it, Roadtrek’s are not cheap so my hopes were not very high. Expecting an immediate “no”, she listened to my findings and I suggested that we visit a Roadtrek dealer. Kris nearly gave me another heart attack when she agreed.

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We walked through pretty much every Roadtrek model. The 170 was too small. The 210 too big. The Mercedes too expensive. We went back over the weeks as we fine-tuned what we wanted. We really liked the 190, but we really liked the permanent bathroom in the Agile. Being a techy, the E-Trek was very cool. The big factor was coming down to drivability for Kris. She wanted to be able to comfortably drive the rig in the event I would become incapacitated. Gee honey, it was just a mild heart attack!

Winter was over so we returned to Michigan and setup a a test drive at the local dealer. Kris was expecting to drive an Agile, but was surprised when I asked to drive a CS. Going first, I was instructed to drive a path that included narrow, hilly country roads, a windy interstate highway at 70 mph and some city streets. Kris went next driving the same path. Just a few minutes into her drive, there she was driving one handed looking out at the scenery as if she had been driving the rig all her life. Driving was no longer a concern.

Robert, our salesperson asked what was our dream machine if price wasn’t a consideration. That would be the CS Adventurous E-Trek with the large refrigerator.  Robert wrote an offer so good that the CS E-Trek was looking mighty good yet, we were still hesitant. Things were happening so fast, we were leaning towards taking a step back and reevaluating it fall. That’s when Jim Hammill of Roadtrek made his Easter rebate offer to anyone on the Facebook Roadtrek Group. It was just enough to get us to sign the paperwork and place our order later that week. We’ve been treking ever since.

In less than three months we went from car travels to becoming a happy camper with our first RV. What got you started?

A health followup… The doctors gave the thumbs up to go back at it so I rode in the Grand Rapids MSU Gran Fondo just six months after my heart attack. I finished 14th out of the 171 participants in my group. Not bad for an old crippled dude.


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  • Campskunk

    it was a similar process for me, just a bit longer – i decided i needed to be in a Roadtrek while i still had four more thrilling years of work staring me in the face. we made a nuisance of ourselves at the local Roadtrek dealership, and finally bought a used one from a private owner in early 2007. back then there was no Etrek package, so i spent the next three years modifying my base model 190 into the ungainly contraption it is today. when i retired, we just had huge garage sale – when we said everything had to go, we really meant it. then we hit the road fulltiming.

    • JG Van

      For us, we were lucky enough to get exactly what we wanted. So far, that hasn’t changed. I’m sure Jim H and his crew will come up with something totally awesome in the future that we will just have to have.

  • Lisa

    My parents owned a Roadtrek so there was never any question of what I wanted! But the day my husband agreed in purchasing one years before I thought he would made me a really happy camper!

    • JG Van

      LOL. My wife went into shock when I said I wanted an RV.

  • Debbie Duran

    I think I just met you folks, you stopped by our train station on Friday! Small world.

    • JG Van

      I’m guessing it was someone else. We were home on that Friday.

  • Janet

    Welcome. Mine was triggered by the death of my husband, Jim. I bought an SS Agile and traveled for 2 1/2 months thanking people all over the US for the support we had recieved over the past 4 years. I love my cute little trek.

    • JG Van

      I’m glad to hear that travel in your cute Agile helped in the mourning and healing process. I’m looking forward to meeting you one of these days.

  • BarbaraD

    Enjoyed your first article. We are on our third RT. First a 190 then a 210. We had 160K on our 2005 210P and were not really thinking buying a new one. Then we went to a RT rally and saw an RT 2014 CS Adventurous with the mini eTrek package ( solor with 4 batteries). We couldn’t believe the changes in the new units. We were then seriously thinking about buying the CS . . . Jim Hammill made the deal. The extra $2,000 rebate made the deal. We love our CS. Haven’t been out in it much yet because of various family commitments. Come September we will hit the road! Can’t wait.

    • JG Van

      We were planning on a 190 when we saw a CS ETrek. Wow. We were sold just like you. I’m sure you will have years of fun with it. We plan to.

  • Darlene

    When my DH decided to retire, our plans were to see as many National Parks as possible. At the time, we owned a small travel trailer, and we both agreed we did not want to pull anything all across the country. We had seen the RT’s at RV shows and thought that was the way to travel. After a list of pros and cons, we sold our TT and our second car, and made the leap into a used 190 with 40K miles on it. In 3 1/2 yrs, we put on over 60K miles and loved every mile we traveled in it. We were hooked. With many more miles to travel, we took a huge leap, and bought a new RS Adventurous. The decision was not made lightly, and was based on, hopefully, having at least 10+ years of traveling. After spending 8 weeks in our new RS, and traveling 8K miles, we could not be happier. We loved the 190, but love the RS even more. No matter which RT you chose or how old it is, you become a family member. And, no one treats their owners better then Roadtrek. Just ask one.

  • Jane Willis

    Enjoyed your story. I am not retired yet but I am currently on a 6 week sabbatical, touring in my popup camper. Love it!

    • JG Van

      A lot of non-retired have switched to a class b rv and living the dream. I’m glad you are having a great time. That after all is what its all about. :-)

  • Rick Edgar

    Enjoyed your article. I am a cyclist too who spends the winter in Mesa Az. If your in the area and want cycling companions email me. Have a 5th wheel rv that we travel in.

    • JG Van

      I’ll try and remember this post and may look you up if you don’t mind riding with a recumbent rider. I don’t know how, but my Mesa time goes by in a flash.

  • Robert Hickey

    We have had 5 Roadtreks, a 200, a 190 and three 210’s. My last 210 will probably be my last Roadtrek(RT). I had several problems with it. The two most serious happened in our 2014 210. The A/C blower would operate, but the compressor would not when temps were above 100 degrees, otherwise it would operate normally at temps below 100. I also found the generator would not charge the batteries. Took it to a RT RV Service Center who verified the condition. RT did replace the generator and Inverter/Converter at which time I found the condition still existed. Verified to the Technician who agreed. That was one year ago. I wrote letters to RT and never received a response. I spoke to the Generator and Inverter/Converter Manufacturers who verified the problem and stated it was an incapability issue between their units. If that is the case then all newer RT’s with these units should have the same issue. To clarify the issue, the batteries charge normally when the vehicles engine is running and also when hooked up to shore power, and don’t charge when the onboard generator is providing power.
    One year later I received a phone call from the Service Center stating RT is sending some software to update and correct the problem with the generator, nothing about the A/C.
    I have addressed this issue to RT websites to alert other RT owners, but they will not publish this info and only want to know the fix. Hopefully that will not be the case here.
    Until now we have always enjoyed or Roadtreks.