View from our apartment in Pogradec, Albania with the mountains of North Macedonia in the background.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Pogradec, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Shkoder, Albania on May 19th!

Friday, February 26, 2021

Getting our new motorhome ready

Of course we have resigned ourselves to the fact that we won't actually get to use our new motorhome for another couple of months (or more!), but that doesn't mean there aren't things going on in the background getting it ready for us.

While it's been sitting on the lot in Germany waiting for us since it arrived there in late November, we are now close enough to being able to use it that we don't want to leave things to the last minute. So we have authorized the dealership to go ahead with getting it ready for us.

Had we been able to order the unit to our specifications, most of these things would have already been installed while still at the factory. But the unit we bought was ordered as a stock unit for the dealership, so it arrived without the changes we wanted . So the following items are being installed at the dealership workshop. (All costs include parts, installation, and taxes).

Oven

It comes from the factory with a 3 burner stovetop, but we need to have a gas oven. So we are having one installed at a cost of €590 ($905 CAD, $716 USD). We used the gas oven a lot in Sherman, and we would not own a motorhome without a proper gas oven. We also learned while in Australia that we used the oven a lot simply as a source of heat. Not sure that will be the case with this new rig because the European motorhomes have a much more efficient furnace heating system. But either way, a proper oven is an option that we want.

Three burner cooktop, as it comes from the factory.

What our new oven will look like.

Solar Panels

We rarely stay in campgrounds, and we would not own a motorhome without it being self sufficient for electricity. So solar panels and enough battery power are an absolute necessity for us. Unfortunately, the dealer installation is not cheap.

The price is €890 ($1,363 CAD, $1,080 USD) for a single 100 watt panel. This is for everything you need including the charge controller. However we have decided to spend even more money! We have decided to go with the 200 watt option for €1,190 ($1,822 CAD, $1,443 USD).

Installation is a big part of the cost, however that's a lot of money for 200 watts. You can now buy 100 watt panels in the U.S. for under $100 each. They may be more expensive in Europe, but it's a minor part of the cost either way.

Normally, I would do the install myself and save a bunch of money. But keeping in mind that we would arrive without access to any tools, or any place to do the job, it seems like a big hassle to take that on myself. Also, it's a brand new unit and I would simply rather have the dealer do the job. And, we want to be able to arrive and just go... without worrying about getting further work done.

Batteries

We've asked for the upgraded battery package that is another €260 ($400 CAD, $315 USD). We learned when we had that borrowed European unit in Spain that batteries are more expensive in Europe than they are in the U.S.. When we had that single battery replaced back then it was €222 ($321 CAD, $240 USD). Also, because the battery storage is indoors, you can't use wet cell batteries without a venting system of some kind, so these are sealed AGM batteries.

Radio and CD Player

The units don't come with any sort of sound system, and there is a big variety of options in this regard. We've decided to go with the basic AM/FM/CD player radio at €150 ($230 CAD, $182 USD).

Bike Rack

This is another expensive option. The rack is made specifically for the rig since it mounts directly on the back panel. So of course it's not cheap. Installed, the cost is €430 ($660 CAD, $522 USD).

The way our bike rack will look.

And that should do it. All of this will bring the total cost of the rig up to about €55,320 ($84,800 CAD, $67,100 USD) which is still less than I am seeing new units advertised for at other dealers.

They also have an optional starter set package that includes cutlery, dishes, outdoor chairs and table, waterhose, electrical cables, gas bottles, etc., for €699 ($1,070 CAD, $850 USD) but we prefer to choose our own stuff from a wider selection so will be buying all of that stuff separately as we get started.

And of course there is a huge list of items that we need to buy once we are there, but at least this way when we arrive, we should be able to take off immediately and not worry about getting major stuff done.

Can't wait... we miss the motorhome lifestyle!

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29 comments:

  1. I bet you do miss the motorhome lifestlye! And can't wait to get your new RV! Although you seem very adjusted to the AirBnB style of travel, I'm sure you miss being in your own things -- bed, kitchen, etc. Your new RV looks very smart ... and its price is amazingly low! Looking forward to 'seeing' more of it later!

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    1. We sure do! It is so nice to have your own house traveling with you all the time but we are doing just fine the way we are traveling at the moment but having the motorhome is just that much better.

      Yes, the price really is amazing especially when you compare it to American motorhomes and the quality is so much better too, in our opinion.

      Fingers crossed that we won't have to wait too much longer before we manage to make our way to Germany to pick it up. :-)

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  2. I think you have made a wise decision in having these options added by the dealer. We also would not be without an oven in our RV. I think I would like the design of that cooktop, it has a nice prep area in front of it that will also be helpful for doing the dishes. Love the new RV!

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    1. We think so too, plus the fact that it will be done professionally so it will look so much better and we have no doubt that the additions will help with the resale valve when it comes time to sell the unit in a few years time.

      The kitchen space/counter space is so much better than what we had in our old North American motorhome. I am looking forward to cooking in it. :-)

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  3. How will that compare to Sherman's battery and solar capacities? Might be nice if there's a portable solar plugin point for a portable panel to supplement the roof panels when forced to park in partial/shaded locations and better catch morning/evening sun. Do they offer a lithium battery upgrade?

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    1. Sherman had 4 batteries and 240 watts of solar. Once we installed LED lights in Sherman, the 4 batteries was a bit overkill. The new motorhome will have 2 batteries and 200 watts of solar.

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    2. We actually don't have any use for a portable solar panel. We had one in Australia and it was a pain. Also, I'm not yet sold on the value of lithium batteries. Yes, I understand the benefits, bit can't justify the cost. Also, they seem to be a bit finicky with regards to charging.

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  4. Yikes, makes me appreciate having an older RV and backyard parking, so I can do maintenance and upgrades myself.

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    1. Yes, and we have 14 years worth of experience doing exactly that! However, it will also be nice to have something new for a change. :-)

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  5. Congratulations on having a nice new unit and having it pre tiddled to your liking! How big is this new unit? And does it look like the photo with the bike rack? You two are so much more adventurous than we ever aspire to be. Enjoy your new mobile travels!

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    1. It is just under 6 meters (19.5 feet). Yes, it looks like the one in the bike rack photo, except ours is a 2021, and I think that photo is a 2020.

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  6. Definitely higher cost in Europe but most of that cost is Labour.
    Will be interested to see their Furnace. North American Furnaces waste more heat then they produce.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. The solar panels are much higher in cost than in North America but yes, part of that cost will be the labor to install them.

      We are hoping that we won't have to use the furnace often but I am sure that we will let you know how efficient it is when that time comes.

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  7. Actually if I remember right the base cost in europe was very reasonable compared to North America. 60-70 k sticks in my mind.

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    1. Yep, the base price is €52,700 ($63,600 USD).

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  8. Oh boy, we see more armchair travels in our future!! Nice choice!! So happy for you!!💕

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    1. Oh yes, there will be lots of adventures in store once we get into the motorhome and start traveling around Europe. We are so excited now that the time is eventually getting closer. :-)

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  9. Many Ikea stores in Germany, so you should be able to find lots of your cutlery, dishes, etc. there.

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    1. Their are also lots of second hand stores where we will be able to pick stuff up at a much lower cost, although there will definitely be somethings that we will want to buy new. :-)

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  10. Yaaay! The end of the tunnel ( waiting for the new rv) is in sight! Hope everything turns out perfect as you like it! Your new unit is exactly the same size as our Pauly..19.5 ft.long.You will really enjoy how easy it is to drive around Europe, but you'll miss the spaciousness of Sherman. So happy and excited for you!

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    1. It sure is, we just have to wait for a window of opportunity to open up so we can get into Germany and pick up our motorhome, hopefully we won't have to wait too long.

      It is going to be the perfect size for Europe, that is why we choose to go smaller than bigger. I doubt that we will miss the spaciousness of Sherman, we really didn't use up much space in him, this one is just better organized and there is so much more counter space in the kitchen in this one than in Sherman. We might miss some of the extra storage space but then again, we won't have as much stuff to store either. :-)

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  11. Wow, that's great news! That will be super fun! Look forward to seeing Europe in a couple months,from the ease of my computer! Take care, Rawn

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    1. It is great news but the better news will be when they open up Germany and we are able to get in and pick up the motorhome. We are so looking forward to exploring a whole new area. :-)

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  12. Can I ask why you guys opted for a new vehicle rather than a second hand one? Just curious. How any of us choose to spend our money is our own concern, but I wondered whether it avoids some paperwork for you guys, makes registration/insurance easier maybe? Cheers, Jay

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    1. Hi Jay. Yes, it's a good question especially given our normally frugal nature!

      In doing the research, it seemed that in Europe there was not the high depreciation that we have seen take place with North American RV's. I came to the conclusion that there is not as much markup between the manufacturer and the dealer. I was looking at used units that were between 2-4 years old that had maybe 30-40,000 kms on them, and they were priced at maybe €6-10,000 less than new. For that kind of money, I simply decided it was worth getting a brand new one. If we drive it for between 2-4 years, I don't think we will take that much of hit and we have the enjoyment of driving a new vehicle that is under warranty and with only scheduled maintenance to worry about.

      And yes, it's easier. Especially if you are buying in Germany and don't understand the language. How would we shop for a used one privately? Of course quite a few Germans speak some English, but it would be easier buying at a dealership that is used to dealing with foreign buyers, and has a good reputation of not taking advantage of them. So yes, getting the registration and paperwork done will certainly be easier.

      And not as important, but still in the back of my mind... I spent 14 years regularly fixing up an older rig. I will probably miss some aspects of that, but ultimately I am looking forward to driving something new for a change!

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  13. Thanks for replying Kevin, appreciated fella. I guess through sites like mobile.de used vehicles are available through English-speaking dealers, but I've no experience of trying to go through that process, and trying to look around lots of used vans at the moment sounds very difficult.

    I don't blame you going for a new vehicle after all those years fixing up your old van, draining for anyone, respect for handling all that!

    I'm really looking forward to seeing how you guys find Europe in your new van, hopefully it won't be too long now.

    Cheers, Jay

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    1. It will be nice to drive around in something new for a change. :-)

      We are looking forward to it too! We know from our two month experience back in 2017 when we traveled around southern Spain and Portugal that we loved it and wanted to do more of Europe, so I have no doubt that we are going to enjoy this adventure immensely. We just need to be able to get into Germany to pick up the motorhome, hopefully we won't have to wait too long!

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  14. Maybe I missed this, but will you bring this rig back to North America when you are done with Europe or will you sell it there and and come back to purchase a new to you one since you sold Sherman? I know that's way off, but it just popped into my head.

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    1. Yes, you may have missed it previously either in the blog or in our comments to others asking the same question. No, we will not be bringing the motorhome back to North America when we are finished touring around Europe in it. We will sell it when we are through with it and then decide our next move. One of our thoughts on that is to buy an old Class B van that runs well but maybe doesn't look so good and drive down to the tip of South America and if it dies before we get there then we would sell it for whatever we could get for it and back fly home.

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