Recent Posts

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 10
HomeAway, VRBO, and AirBnB / Trip to Italy, Turkey, and Greece
« Last post by RonLeavitt on May 18, 2015, 11:10:57 AM »
Our Retirement Celebration is upon us!

We're headed off on a one month trip to Europe next month.  We'll be staying a week in Rome and Istanbul, taking a two week Seabourn Greek Island Cruise, and staying a week in Venice and Florence.  Ellen has traveled extensively in Italy and she is excited to be going back and to show me some of her favorite places.  I've traveled by train through northern Italy stopping in Milan on the way to southern Germany.

In the past we had used travel agents to arrange hotel accommodations.  This trip we have booked through  I looked into AirBnb, but I did not like their full payment up front policy.  Based on the pictures, the map location, and email chains with the owners; we should have very comfortable if modest flats close to the city centers. 

I have long wanted to sail the Greek Islands in my own skiff or sailboat.  For now a comfortable and elegant cruise will do nicely. Ellen and I prefer to be spontaneous in our travels and love the freedom to pick and chose what we want to do once we have arrived.   We are not schedule driven people; our plans are always flexible.  Now a cruise is quite different.  The ports of call are fixed, the Seaborn shore excursions are fixed, arrival and departure times at each port of call are fixed.  Worse, we had to book our excursions ahead of time to be sure to get a spot. A 4x4 tour of one of the islands had just one spot open.  We had to go on a waiting list for the second seat!

Still we expect the cruise to be one of our most memorable.

I'll post more detailed information about our homeaway bookings and the cruise soon.

General Travel Discussion / What happens when you're not on top of SMF
« Last post by RonLeavitt on May 12, 2015, 10:14:37 AM »
Wow, what a bunch of crazy trash posts appeared on this forum.  I'm a retired software professional, but I'm new to WordPress and Simple Machines Forum.  As I learn how to filter out the garbage, this forum will become more useful to other travel enthusiasts.  As I'm recently retired and have not done all that much travelling, this forum is necessarily sparse.  I'll be adding what I can over time and hope that others will follow suite.

Recreational Vehicles / Re: chosing an RV
« Last post by RonLeavitt on May 11, 2015, 06:56:19 PM »
In 2014 I started looking into RVs and as stated above settled on the Winnebago View 24J built on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis with a 3 liter diesel Mercedes engine.
I went back and forth between a used 2013 or even 2008 and getting a new one.  There are a few advantages the 2015 has over prior years: it is a full 1.5 feet longer with a larger oval second sink, it has a much larger kitchen window, and it has canvas wrap on the cabinets.  The canvas wrap makes the interior look much lighter than the prior all wood cabinets.  It's much more "euro" in appearance.

For those reasons I chose to look for a new 2015 just around the time the 2016s hit the market, around September 2015.  So we put a plan in place to purchase an RV in the fall of this year.

Even so, I recorded the best deals I found nation wide and every week researched the market for better deals.   Last February a used 2015 View 24J came on the market for $89,950.  It had 100 miles over the delivery miles.  This was a deal but I was not sure I could sell my wife on an early purchase.  Fortunately she recognized the opportunity (or perhaps that this was something I really wanted to do).  The Crowley RV salesman, Tony Virello, suggested we don't wait if we are interested.  So there was interest,  we sent a modest down payment to him right away and made arrangements to fly to Connecticut in February.

Tony was a man of few words.  The technician who gave us an informative tour of the vehicle was great.  It took 2 or 3 hours to thoroughly explain the ins and outs of the View.  This is our first RV and there was quite a bit to absorb.  With the insurance, payment, and temporary registration in place, we drove off in our "new" 2015 Winnebago View.

It is amazing how a person faces their best and worse self when doing something brand new.  It couples confidence and uncertainty.  The confidence evident in flying across the country to get the RV, and the uncertainty of, now what the crap do I do with this thing: propane fills? Diesel gasoline?? Campground reservations and availability?? Tire pressure?? And just exactly how does this thing work??

First thing I recommend to anyone purchasing an RV for the first time:  video record the technician as he/she explains how the RV works.  My wife video taped Dave's explanation and though the video is often pointed who knows where (photography not videography is  Ellen's strong suite), the audio was perfect.  At least twice in our journey across America I referenced that video.  After a while the controls and how the appliances draw power becomes obvious and second nature.  For the first week that audio tape was great to have.

I figure the first, very brief owner paid for 100% of the depreciation for the first year.  The family had a medical emergency and had to sell quickly.  I'm glad both that we could help liquidate their RV "investment" and that Crowley RV gave us such a good deal.

I will describe our cross country trip in our new and very unfamiliar RV in another topic.  We found some very beautiful campgrounds on our way home as we avoided a very rough winter with a cold front that dropped down from Canada and forced us to drive down the east coast and all the way to rt. 10 west to Joshua Tree then north home.

We have the View with the over cab  bed.  Ellen would prefer a profile, but it is what it is.  I think any family with young children would benefit from the over cab bed and it provides a bunch of storage.  It sure looks funny from outside, but it's great inside.
Recreational Vehicles / Re: chosing an RV
« Last post by RonLeavitt on January 11, 2014, 12:28:13 PM »
I am leaning toward a Winnebago View 24J.  It's a 24' class C RV that sleeps 6.  It is small enough to be manageable. I do not need a large rig, there is very little to carry with us and my ego at this point doesn't need stroking.  I don't have to be the biggest, baddest, or most expensive rig in the RV park.  Nor do I need to talk RV types/options/pricing.  The RV is a tool; I just want a very reliable tool.

A "Winnebago"?  What baggage that name carries.  "Old fart's" transportation.  Still and RV by any other name is still a winnebago.  And there's a reason Winnebago is synonymous with RV.  They're well built and reliable (a gross generalization).

There are so many brand of RVs to chose from, it's a crap shoot.  It is a bit like window manufacturers in California.  There are hundreds of them, but only a hand full have high quality glass, frames, and construction.  Often you get what you pay for, but sometimes not.  So the research begins.

Anyone have an opinion of the Winnebago View 24J?  I'm thinking 2008 or 2010 with the 3 liter Diesel.  I'll probably be towing a small 4x4 (suzuki/subaru).
Recreational Vehicles / chosing an RV
« Last post by RonLeavitt on November 23, 2013, 05:20:18 PM »
With retirement less than two years off, my mind wanders to travelling this great country of ours. The most efficient method appears to be an  RV.  Drive to a beautiful spot, park, and live for a few days then move on. Sounds idyllic.

But the choices: Class A, B, or C.  Personally I think I'd prefer a smaller rig, a sprinter van perhaps, then the class B look good, but the Class A can be more comfortable inside.

I am a scientist/engineer and I enjoy researching alternatives before making any choice.  I have two YEARS to select an RV which means plenty of research and give and take, some short term rentals, and driving impressions.  This will be fun for me and I look forward to seasoned RV'ers comments and contributions to the discussion to follow.

I've visited a number of websites selling RVs and found that a single RV may be listed on a number of sites.  I've also found that there's a class B+ model that interests me.  I'll post more about my leanings in the next few days. 

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 10