By Machelle James
The last article we left off with us having a massive leak in our RV’s roof. Well, it is worse than we thought, with leaks from the cap all the way to the back. We have queen beds in the back, on the HappiJac system, and the beds have been in the UP position for months. We dropped the beds to remove the bedding and all the pillows, the mattress and sleeping bags were soaked through.
This was quite a shock as we knew there was a leak, not a waterfall in there! I was crushed. This is where our children spent most of their childhood when we traveled, and it was ruined. We must have camped in Glamis, Buttercup and Gorden’s Well about a year altogether over the years. We had a sandrail (an off-road motor vehicle for traveling in sand) back then and this was one of the few RV’s that could hold it.
That time camping isn’t even including the numerous trips to the White Mountains for 10 years. We truly used our RV. I can say we honestly got our money’s worth, and made many happy memories in the process.
Time to replace our beloved RV
We knew our beloved 2006 Fleetwood Toybox was on her last legs, as she is old and weathered. So we did what anyone else would do in our situation. We put out a call to action to our friends to see who had what for sale and what brands to look at and those to stay away from.
The response was overwhelming and super-informative. The newer RVs have all these switches, auto levelers, slide outs, automatic awnings, closets, storage, half-baths and all the things we never knew we needed! I was pretty determined to find a toyhauler with the Arctic Package, as I knew we would have to travel during our off months. That means winter.
I remember looking for property in our old RV, in winter, in the mountains of Arizona. We stayed at a local RV park for the weekend, with full hookups. I will say that camping in a 3-season RV, even with electric, is not sufficient to be in when it is 20° outside. The bedroom was the only place that heat would work. Trying to cook dinner, or even sit on the couch, was MISERABLE. I had to boil water just to make steam to keep my face from freezing, and I’m pretty sure I cried ice cubes. I vowed to never again camp in the winter unless we had a 4-season camper.
Searching for our new RV
OK, back to the new RV search. I reached out to a new friend who knows a TON about toy haulers, as he has had several makes and models. His suggestion was to stick with a Heartland, as they are well-built. Well, lo and behold, he just happened to have a 2022 that was only used a handful of times. He read our plea on Facebook and said he isn’t married to the RV, just to his wife!
It seems this guy has a wonderful connection of RV dealers and they are literally begging him to get the latest and greatest RVs to promote to the public. He has had four different Heartland models and a few others that I won’t mention as they fell apart on him. But in all reality, he has influence and he is honest about the RVs he’s had. He is looking forward to trying out a brand-new model from Grand Design.
What we got
We had a conversation. He knew our daughter Jenna needed a safe place to sleep with AC and her own bathroom for privacy. He knew AJ is a Veteran, and that we are small business owners. It was a match for both of us and we made a deal! We purchased an upgraded Heartland Gravity 3610 with 3 A/C’s. It has a 13-foot garage for Jenna to sleep in, as well as to hold our Can Am. It has every upgrade you can imagine. We truly don’t even know how to use it yet.
It is parked in an empty RV site right now. We’re attempting to get it loaded with new sheets, blankets, pillows, etc., in between guests and chores. That really isn’t working out well right now, as we are so busy every day. We would like to sleep in for a night or two and practice using the switches and all the stuff we don’t know about yet. It is on our list for this weekend, as we have company coming into town and they will be sleeping in it! We will have a report for you next time to see if we love it as much as we think we do! Thanks for all the help we have had in making this decision. We appreciate your advice and feedback.
Thank You for following our Campground Journey and See You in the Trees!
And please leave a comment!
AJ, Machelle and Jenna
Read previous articles here.
Machelle James and her husband, AJ, built, from the ground up, a 15-acre RV park in Heber-Overgaard, Arizona, in the beautiful White Mountains 140 miles from Phoenix. Follow them at their website, or on Facebook @ AJ’s Getaway RV Park, or on Instagram at ajsgetawayrvpark.