Choosing Bessie: The Perfect Class C RV (for now)

We decided we wanted an RV.  But what kind?  Since we were inexperienced with just about every aspect of RVing, we rolled up our sleeves and began our research.  For months, we traveled to RV lots, read classifieds, visited State Parks all over Ohio, and watched YouTube endlessly.  Finally, we had a sense of what we were looking for and narrowed down the myriad of RV options to a travel trailer or a motorhome.  In the end, we chose a Class C motorhome.  Here’s why…

Being newbies to the entire RV experience, we decided to test the waters with a used, smaller RV.   We were very focused on finding something that would allow us to try RVing safely and comfortably, but in a way that wouldn’t break the bank… err… credit union.

Reasons Why We Chose Bessie- Our Class C RV:

  • A Class C RV was the perfect mid-size solution for our needs.
  • We mostly planned to use the RV for regional weekend travel, so thought we could sacrifice a little on the living space.  Plus, we planned to spend a lot of time enjoying the great outdoors.
  • We can all sleep comfortably. Ted and I have a bedroom with a queen-sized bed.  The kids sleep in the overhead cabin and on the converted dinette.
  • The kitchen is functional.  It has a double sink, an L-shaped counter, a microwave and a three-burner stove, storage cabinets and a nice-sized refrigerator.  All said, this is pretty impressive for a 28 ft. camper.  
  • It has SLIDES!  Two of them!  They only widen the space a few feet, but they make a HUGE difference in the livability inside of the RV.

More Reasons Why We Chose A Class C RV (An Exclusive Peek)
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  • I can drive the RV pretty well.  It was a little bumpy at the beginning, but it’s gotten better with practice and with doing a bit of research.  It’s comparable to driving a really awkward SUV.
  • Our RV meets city zoning requirements for parking in our driveway.  Plus I can drive it in and back it out.
  • We can take the RV anywhere, including camping at all state parks, we can weave in and out of city traffic (though it’s not my favorite thing to do), and hang out in the parking lot at the beach.
  • At the time of purchase, Bessie was 10 years old, which was about as old as I was willing to go for a vehicle that we drive, making the RV more affordable.
  • Our RV had the right combination of being very well cared for, with low miles and new tires, and had most of the amenities we were seeking.
  • Bessie was in good shape.  After a pre-purchase inspection and two post-purchase service appointments, we felt comfortable the RV was mechanically and physically sound.
  • After lots of negotiation about our budget, my husband and I also agreed on a  plan of how often we would use the RV to justify the cost.  If we weren’t able to use it twice a month because of busy schedules or a lack of interest, we promised to be honest with each other and sell it. For us, this reduced the risk of purchasing a luxury item without knowledge of whether it would fit into our long-term lifestyle.

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We were ecstatic when we finally found Bessie on Craig’s List.  We bought her from a private owner (Tom) who reluctantly had to sell her because of health issues.  Tom was so very patient with us, taking the time to give us an “orientation” of the RV.  We recorded it and uploaded it to YouTube for future reference!   We watched the part about opening and closing the awning about 50 times trying to figure out how to use the darn thing.

Bessie is a great size for us now, but I can also make the case for something bigger.  When we are all together for long periods of time in the RV, it can feel pretty tight.  So far, the only regret I have is that we don’t have a comfortable seating area.  We have one barrel chair and a dinette that converts to a bed.  I wish we had room for a couple of recliners.   Maybe someday…

Please comment below and share the size of your RV? Does it work for you?  Is there something you wish you could change?

 

More Observations:

 

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14 Comments

  • Reply chrishughes February 6, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    We love Bessie, but I catch myself looking longingly at RVs with more living areas.

    • Reply Bill Miller February 7, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      I have looked at your Post sevearl times,, Find it very interesting,, and if I was looking forward to that type of vacationing would be so happy to have found your Post.. It has a lot of great detail accuratley pointed out that should help anyone interested in your findings…

      Then comes along an old codger,, been there, done that… Most of my life involved in some sort of transportation,, But never in a Camper Coach,, I have driven,, horses,, station wagons,, cars,, Pleasure boats,, warships,, steam locomotives,, diezele? Engines,, street cars,, city buses, school busses and Highway Coaches… I will say your description on wind and vacuum effects to be so accurate….

      Your Posting also brought back many memories in comparing your Camper with my Cabin Cruiser,, a 1936 30′ Chris Craft.. I at the time had no use for highway Campers. Actually to day I still would not prefer it.. I liked being out on the water preping meals in the galley or a good restaurant nearby to a marina, though the food and preping it was similer..

      Your wind and vacuum was always a thought to go to sleep by when I was out of town doing a turnaround.. My evaluation always came out the same… If Highways were to be confined to large tubes so as not to loose the scenery,, traffic going in the same direction would no longer fight the friction of nature,,, the elemnts would always be outsde with salt finding no purpose.. skins on cars would last years longer as would road surface and bridges…

      I also thought about the number of people you mentioned (4) in your camper against the number in a bus in my day (32) and the mega bus of today (70)… then the thought of the number in your immediete area in other vehicles.. Not to mention what your vehicles body is made of and what is in your cabinets for cooking fuel… My Class instuctor at Greyhound put it this way.. If you were to look down at traffic from the Terminal Tower and be ale to spot your coach in that auto traffic I am sure you would think you look like an elephant in a cabbage patch… As drivers on the road with that elephant at your hands,,, you will fail at teaching the world your driving habits….. With no word spell check i refuse to type any more erroers lol lucky you…. so you asked for a kitten and got a Noas Ark…lol

      • Reply chrishughes February 8, 2015 at 8:04 am

        Funny, I thought about a boat, but they really do seem like a lot of work. And as much as I love the water, a boat is super limited as to when it can be used (during very warm weather only). In contrast, a motorhome can be used for half the year and parked right by the water to enjoy a similar view, without the restrictions and extra work.

        • Reply Bill Miller February 8, 2015 at 10:06 am

          Actually,, all that work was part of boating.. Being stationed on a man of war was no different and part of being the life of a sailor.. Sweep, Swab,, Chip,, Paint.. All depends on were the heart is.. I know boating is as many seasons a boater wants to have as boating is very versatile..

          All depending on what you can afford to do or want to do.. boat can be trailered to other locations and used like a motor home on the way… Secured in a boat yard or drive can be time to enjoy making her look more salty with rope braid on rails and the helm… I have written about me,, What I like in the outdoor life… I couldn’t afford what I would likebut talking about it part of being there……..

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  • Reply The GORGE-OUS Gorge & Watkins Glen State Park, NY – CU On The Road March 1, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    […] we finally parked, we opened Bessie’s slides for the first time in about 2 1/2 days and we all breathed a big, happy sigh of relief.  We got […]

  • Reply Kathy Parker March 9, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Our first foray into camping was a pop-up. That didn’t last long. I needed a bathroom. Lol. We then moved to a very small ( 17 ft ) 5 th wheel. It was great, but when our second child was born, we ran out of space. We then purchased a Coachman class C. Loved that rig! Stable, fairly nimble even at 26 feet. But my husband always wanted bigger and better. So goodby to the C and hello to the Southwind class A. I hated it! Poorly made, hosts of problems… I breathed a huge sigh of relief when we traded that for our van. Yes we purchased the Roadtrek new in 2000. I loved that rig. Small,slept 3 ( our son was an adult and gone ). Last year my husband Chris, our old fat beagle and I went cross country in it. Absolutely no problems ( some funny stories though ) I felt a little like a clown car occasionally.

  • Reply Kathy Parker March 9, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Btw, we’re in Millville Pa. Not too far from the wineries…

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  • Reply The GORGE-OUS Gorge & Watkins Glen State Park, New York – CU On The Road April 2, 2015 at 7:39 am

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