RV Life: From the Stone Age to the Space Age
My wife and I come to Fort Myers, Florida every winter from Britain (we are transatlantic snowbirds) and for the last two years we have been looking in Britain and Europe for a replacement motorhome to our ageing IVECO motorhome. We traveled all over Britain last summer looking at seven separate motorhomes and none even came close to what we were looking for.
At present in Britain we have a 1991 IVECO (10,000 lb GVW) rear wheel drive motorhome which we modified and built into a de-mountable unit for the rear of the IVECO chassis cab we have. We have used it on vacations to Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Spain three times, and many many times to France, but, like us, it is starting to show its age!
We went to the La Mesa RV show at Germain Arena just off the I-75 south of Fort Myers on November 23/24/25th 2012 and it was at that show we found what we were looking for, it checked every box, and even boxes we hadn't thought of! It was a Mercedes Sprinter (11000 lb chassis) with an American quality Winnebago/Itasca body, just the right length at 24.5 ft to use on European roads.
We came away from the RV show very impressed, but uncommitted and found that there were two Mercedes Winnebago motorhomes staying in our park, after talking at length to both owners we found that they were both extremely pleased with their purchases (a Winnebago View and an Itasca Navion) both on Mercedes Sprinter chassis, they both said they were getting diesel mileages of 17+ MPG - quite impressive!
We decided to visit La Mesa RV Center situated just off I-75 exit 139 on Kelly Tractor Drive, once there we went for a test drive in a 2013 Itasca Navion powered by a 3 litre V6 turbo diesel and we were hooked! We signed there and then, (29th November) now we had to figure out how to get the money from Britain, to our bank account in the USA! Surprisingly it didn't take that long and the pre-delivery inspection was done on the 11th December and we were the proud owners of our dream motorhome on the 12th!
We will enjoy using it in Florida this winter and have decided to put it into undercover storage for the summer and travel back to the USA in early October and leisurely spend three months travelling from Florida to the west coast of the USA (California) this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to see the southern and western states of the USA, then back to Fort Myers for Christmas.
In April/May we intend to travel up the east coast of the USA and perhaps into eastern Canada and ship the motorhome from an east coast port, to Britain ready for many trips to Europe.
The amount of attention it has received so far in just over one week of use in Fort Myers leads us to believe we can make serious money in Europe charging 50c per tour of the inside (joke)!