Everglades Isle Motorcoach Resort

Booking out past January 2019 is proving to be a bit challenging. For our final month in Florida, we are still deciding between three motorcoach resorts: Pelican Lake Motorcoach Resort, MotorCoach Resort St. Lucie West and Everglades Isle Motorcoach Resort.

We are waitlisted at Pelican Lake and MotorCoach Resort St. Lucie West. Not because they are sold out this early. It is because they are not ready to accept any new bookings. We’ve been told that there won’t be any issues booking us into these resorts however we wanted to make sure that we had our first few months in Florida confirmed.

Everglades Isle was able to take a booking and we reserved a site with them from January 5, 2019 to February 1, 2019. A waterfront site, site number 15. We might change our mind however we do like the resort and its location.

Everglades is a Class A restricted resort where coaches need to be ten years or younger and in excellent condition although I suspect that they would allow older coaches provided they are in excellent condition.

Large pads topped with brick pavers. Even the roads in the park are topped with brick pavers. Free cable at site, free WiFi at site, full hookups with 100 amp service. And some nice amenities at the clubhouse.

Andy, the Gadget Guru, did up a full review at his website which you can find here.

This is his short video on a tour of the park:

We now have our first three months planned out although we are still debating the drive down to Florida from Canada. We are intending to take 5 days for the drive down. One approach is to take two long days and hang out at the Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort November 2, 3 and 4th and then leave early on the 5th to arrive at Myakka River Motorcoach Resort. Another approach would be to take a far more leisurely drive and not spend more than 5 hours a day on the road and try our chances at whatever RV park might be handy in that range.

Hilton Head looks nice though.

More to come on the plans for the journey out from Florida over to California.

All this planning does take my mind off the bitter cold temperatures we are still experiencing here in Canada.

Riverbend Motorcoach Resort

For our second month south, we will be moving from Myakka River Motorcoach Resort to Riverbend Motorcoach Resort. Riverbend is located in Labelle Florida and it is only an hour or so drive from Myakka.

We will be checking in on Wednesday, December 5th, Lorraine’s birthday. We are there for one month departing January 4th, 2019.

Here is a satellite view of the property. From this perspective, the place looks huge with 315 sites.

Our lot, should it hold, is located at the top right of the property. Here it is from a closer angle.

It is a pull-in site facing the water. Lots of shoulder room on that site.

50 amp service and, hooray, Internet service (DSL) to the coach for $30 per month — only available for stays of one month or longer.

Shifting into the peak season sees a pretty steep increase in monthly pricing. We have spoken to a number of Class A parks in Florida and they have all told us the same thing: they pack things out in the first three months of the year. The market is clearly willing to pay.

Canadian dollar is dropping these days so our first year out is going to be a bit more expensive than originally planned. I just hope the loonie doesn’t crater to 65 cents or so.

I remember going into the states many years back when our dollar was basically a peso. Not much fun.

I found this video about Riverbend. No sound but it does provide some excellent visuals of the property.

We will be spending one more month in Florida and it looks like we may not have a confirmation for the next park for a few weeks yet. We are on some waitlists as some of the properties determine which lots are available to rent. We have been working through a list of 8 motorcoach resorts. Some really nice properties to consider.

And then we make our booking for our stay in Indio, California.

Where will we stop on our travels from Canada to Florida and from Florida to California and then back to Canada?

Still figuring that one out.

Outdoorsy

I do not see any scenario where we would offer our coach up for rent. We have way too much money invested in our coach and it is a surprisingly complex machine to operate safely. That said, if we had a trailer that sat unused most of the time, we might consider being part of Outdoorsy.

Outdoorsy is a sharing economy technology startup. It connects owners of RVs with potential renters. If you are interested in renting an RV at a certain location, you can jump on their site and see if there are any available RVs, everything from trailers to motorcoaches.

Outdoorsy just raised $25 million in Series B funding from several venture capital firms.

Here is part of their press release:

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Outdoorsy, the world’s fastest-growing outdoor recreation marketplace, powering road trips and recreational vehicle (RV) adventures, today announced it has raised $25M USD in Series B funding led by Aviva Ventures and Altos Ventures. Aviva and Altos are joined by existing investors Tandem Capital and Autotech Ventures. The Series B funding will be used to expand the company’s sales and marketing efforts, broaden its geographic footprint and grow its engineering and product teams.

Outdoorsy is tapping into a new consumer travel trend and building a third lodging category with mobile rooms. Users are able to go where home-sharing sites and hotels cannot go, reaching more places than ever before.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in San Francisco, Outdoorsy is turning the travel industry on its head, having booked over 263,000 days in the last year alone and generated nearly a hundred million dollars through the platform. The company hosts the largest bookable inventory of RVs worldwide online and is rapidly expanding its global fleet towards its goal of mobilizing the more than 17M idle RVs around the world.

“More than 12 percent of American households own a recreational vehicle, yet rarely use it,” said Jeff Cavins, co-founder and CEO of Outdoorsy. “At the same time, more than 35Mconsumers try to rent a recreational vehicle in America each year with no luck. With Outdoorsy, we leveraged this global, cross-cultural phenomenon of RV travel, especially among Millennials, and brought this multi-billion dollar RV industry online and into the sharing economy.”

Millennials now make up 38 percent of all recreational vehicle usage in North America as part of the larger trend of experiential travel and the desire to have unique experiences. With 40 percent of its user base being under the age of 40, 17 years younger than the industry average, Outdoorsy is tapping into this new consumer travel trend and building a third lodging category with mobile rooms. Users are able to go where home-sharing sites and hotels cannot go, reaching more places than ever before.

“RVs are the perfect gateway experiences for consumers, and the rising demand for campervan and RV travel was a growing trend in which we wanted to invest. Moving this market to an on-demand, online sharing economy was a logical way for us to participate in this new travel market,” said Anthony Lee, Managing Director at Altos Ventures.

“Every on-demand agency in the recreational vehicle market needs to be using Outdoorsy and its pro tools across their operations,” continued Lee. “Outdoorsy built the first solution that definitively shows the world’s largest enterprises down to the at home operator, that they can list and rent safely, while enjoying peace of mind and economic benefits that were never before possible.”

To create this on-demand marketplace, Outdoorsy utilizes state-of-the-art technology. In its first year in market, it introduced Wheelbase, a free, cloud-based and fully-insured RV fleet and rental management application for any business operating from three to 3,000 units. It also built, distributed and parallelized computation and real-time analytics engines to monitor and report on useful real time data, which promises users privacy and security.

“Our marketplace didn’t exist just a few years ago,” says Ryan Quinn, co-founder and head of software development. “The platform is a game-changer in this industry and ensures that our users can enjoy ease of use and peace of mind with every interaction.”

Launching A New Line Of Luxury

Jayco unveiled a new “luxury” coach at the Tampa RV SuperShow. Here is some of the press release information:

The Jayco Embark luxury coach is designed to meet consumer demand for a premium, more accessible package for younger RV buyers, as well as customers looking to drive a smaller coach, while remaining on the premium motorhome foundation. Spartan’s premium chassis features an independent front suspension with Bilstein shocks, providing the 37-foot coach with best-in-class ride and handling; it also features better serviceability, and Spartan’s extensive service and support network.

The Embark Class A Diesel luxury motorhome features:

  • Three eye-catching premium exterior paint choices
  • Choice of two stunning interior décors
  • Galley kitchen galley complete with residential refrigerator with ice maker and water dispenser, induction cooktop, 1.5 cu. ft. convection microwave oven, solid-surface countertops and stainless steel sink
  • Versatouch Lyra command center with App
  • Entertainment system including a 50-inch LED HDTV with a sound bar in the living room and a 32-inch LED HDTV in the bedroom
  • Exterior 39-inch LED HDTV
  • Industry-leading manufacturer’s limited 2-year warranty and 24-hour roadside protection plan

The Spartan K1 360 chassis features:

  • Industry first Cummins B-series engine packaged chassis with an Independent Front Suspension
  • Bilstein 46mm shocks which provide consistent ride tuning
  • Easier serviceability with Spartan’s exclusive side-mounted service center
  • 10,000 lb. towing capacity
  • Raised rail design for frame strength and basement storage
  • Rear-mounted radiator and charge air cooler, parallel air flow system with low-profile radiator with clutch to minimize noise and dust kick-up

This is Spartan’s first foray into the Cummins B-series diesel market segment and an indication that the red hot RV market sees room for an entry level diesel pusher with some upscale pricing.

Specs and features here.

I configured the 37MB model with the following options:

  • Canadian Standard (not sure what that is but being a Canadian I thought, “what the heck, eh?”)
  • Customer Value Package which includes an 8kW diesel generation, 2,000 watt inverter, 15,000 BTU air conditioner with heat pump (2), automatic leveling jacks, backup and sideview cameras, power awning, solar shades and a couple of other minor items. (Not sure why you would order a coach without most of these items.)
  • Central Vac
  • Theatre Seating
  • Winegard Satellite Dish
  • WiFi Extender
  • Slideout Storage Tray
  • Solar Prep
  • Washer/Dryer

This is the floorplan:

And this is an interior shot from their website.

Add it all up and the coach lists for $300,000 USD or about $380,000 CAD. Assuming a 25% discount off MSRP and adding in taxes and dealer prep, this coach is roughly $325,000 CAD. Seems a bit high for younger RV buyers. North of $300,000 and you can find some wonderful lightly used models albeit with a larger chassis.

And it doesn’t look all that great in the photo gallery. Seating, finishes and cabinetry don’t cry out luxury to me.

Seems like a lot for a little coach.

It would be interesting to see how it drives on the Spartan chassis. And perhaps it does fit a certain customer segment.

Either that or there is so much demand that price and value aren’t all that meaningful in the market right now. Build something as cheap as possible and sell it for as much as possible.

Tampa RV Supershow

I still haven’t been to the Tampa RV Supershow. Perhaps next year depending on our travels south.

According to RV news, the show achieved record attendance levels:

The Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) enjoyed a record attendance of more than 73,000 participants at its five-day 2018 Florida RV Supershow last week.

“We experienced the perfect storm of pent-up demand, record stock market levels, low interest rates, stable gas prices and five beautiful days of weather,” said FRVTA Marketing Director David Kelly.

The Supershow’s theme was “Wherever You Roam, You’re Always at Home,” reflecting the reality that RV users can bring hunting, fishing, and camping equipment in addition to anything else their traveling companions want, and even if they move on to a new location, everything is still with them. One of the highlights was a new seminar, “RVing 101- Everything You Need to Know,” which was aimed at first-time RV buyers and tried to answer all basic consumer questions. The seminar was so popular that more chairs had to be added to the seminar area after the first session.

“We feel that the Supershow reflects the attitudes of the RV consumers nationwide as so many attendees come from all over the country,” Kelly said. “If the Supershow is any indication, the industry is on pace to set more records again this year.”

Hopefully the Goldilocks economy continues to roll along for a few more years. And hopefully there will be some sites available as all of these first-time RV buyers hit the road. We are planning to book way ahead of our travel plans just to make sure we have a good spot.