(ANTIETAM, Md.-dr-feelgoods.com) Before Dana Ebersole and her husband Keith Trumble viewed episodes of the television show Going RV that featured smaller RVs, they thought that recreational vehicle ownership was out of their reach.
“Once you get researching, you find out there are so many options,” said Ebersole. “We were looking for something that would help us de-stress.” The couple, who both work full time and frequently care for her aging mother, wanted a place to get away from it all, even if only for a few days at a time.
Last weekend they backed their brand new 19-foot expandable Flagstaff Shamrock hybrid travel trailer into their first RV camp site along a river near the Battlefield of Antietam in Maryland, where they relaxed away from the cares of home.
“We thought that RVing would let us unplug from everything, because if we’re home we’re planning what we need to do,” said Ebersole. “It sounded like the perfect match for us.”
But RVing overnight in the woods wasn’t an overnight decision for the couple, who took a year to research their RV options before making a purchase. They settled on the Shamrock only after exploring a wide variety of recreational vehicles, from large Class A motorhomes to smaller travel trailers. But with an almost overwhelming number of vehicles and trailers to choose from, how did they narrow down the field?
“We decided to look for an RV that our vehicle could tow, said Trumble. “Once we figured out what we could tow, then that limited us down, and we figured out what amenities we wanted in an RV.”
They each had a top priority. Ebersole knew she did not want a wet bath, so they opted for an RV where the shower is enclosed and separated from the toilet.
“And my goal was a black tank flush,” added Trumble. A black tank flush helps to ensure the complete emptying of the solid waste tank, known as the black tank.
After a year of research, the couple settled on a hybrid since it allows them to “have more interior space and still be able to sleep 6 people,” according to Trumble. The Flagstaff Shamrock 19 is an expandable travel trailer that starts out at a 19 feet but expands to accommodate a fold-out 60 x 80-inch beds on each end.
Since their research showed that some state parks won’t allow trailers over 25 feet in length, they liked that the Shamrock 19 would afford them the opportunity to camp at smaller sites without sacrificing sleeping space.
They like that the Shamrock 19 offers a dinette that converts to sleep space and a comfortable sofa, affording them the opportunity to pull in the bunk beds, sleep in the enclosed trailer, and “turtle” in the event of rainy weather.
The couple opted to pass on an oven in order to benefit from increased cabinet space. Ebesole takes organization and storage seriously, a must for the conscientious camper.
She likes the fact that there’s enough room on the counter for a coffee maker and that the enclosed burners provide a flat working area. When cooking inside, she prefers to use her crock pot or electric skillet instead of the propane cook top.
“From research that we did, which included YouTube, internet, bloggers, Pinterest, and magazines, this suited us for our first one,” she said. They feel that buying a first RV is a lot like purchasing a first home. It’s bought with the intent of eventually moving up in ownership.
The couple, who has barely broken in the Shamrock, is already scouting their next RV.
“Buy one, then decide what’s really important to you,” she said. The couple plans to own the Shamrock for two years before trading up to another RV, and plan to hold on to their second RV for about 10 years.
On Saturday, they ventured a short distance from their Maryland campground to an RV dealership in West Virginia, where they swapped RV stories and insights with another couple around the center island of an upscale Lance trailer.
For now, they are pleased with their first purchase and enamored with the freedom to hit the road that it provides, as well as the stress relief that follows.
“We fell in love with the fact that camping was so relaxing,” said Ebersole.