Is there an “ideal” DP?
For this post, I hope you will all indulge me as I depart from my perspective as an impartial observer, and offer some opinions. Linda and I have, for several years, RV’ed in a 40 ft. diesel pusher. Our personal opinion is that this is a wonderful way to travel and to camp. Our coach has every amenity we could ask for and we are very comfortable living in it for long periods of time. Having said that, we also believe there is room for improvement. With that in mind, we set out at the RVIA show last year in December, to find the perfect DP. As we looked around, we noted features we would like to have and wondered why some things were done. These observations varied from, “hmmm, wonder why that is like that”, to “WHY would anyone even think of doing that!!”, and everything in between. Some of these observations are based on our personal experience, and others derive from comments made by fellow campers. Here is what we came up with, not in any particular order.
First, it is nice to see that most motorhome manufacturers are finally beginning to realize that LCD type televisions are made for motorhomes. These TVs are lighter in weight, take up less space, use less energy, and offer great pictures. What amazes me is that it has take until the 2010 model year to accomplish this realization. However, it has happened. Actually, the advantages of LCD TVs is so great, it should be an automatic decision for RVers to convert their older coaches over to LCD TVs, if for no other reason than to save fuel by not hauling around that 50 lb. anchor.
LCDs have opened up floorplans to some extent. In times past, the TV went over the dash. It was that simple. Where else would you find enough extra room to put the monster? Install that head knocker up there where everyone can get a stiff neck watching it. Well today that has changed. Many floorplans now feature what is known as a “midship” TV, meaning the TV is mounted towards the rear of the salon or living room, and is also down at a more traditional height, giving motorhomes a much more homey feel. However, as with anything else, there is a right way and a wrong way to implement this. Two things stand out in our minds. One is that if you mount a TV midship, put it there so you can watch the TV with the slide pulled in. This is not an impossible situation as demonstrated by some manufacturers such as Winnebago, Monaco and Jayco. Others just mount it so that it is covered by the slide and thus totally useless to the passengers while traveling, or the occupants when stopping overnight at a Walmart or Flying J. Two really makes me scratch my head. I’ve always felt that the TV over the dash was a terrible location, used only as a last resort. But old habits die hard and some manufacturers who have a perfectly good TV mounted midship insist on putting a second TV over the dash! Why? I don’t know. Maybe they feel that if we are foolish enough to buy their product we deserve to get our heads knocked everytime we walk in the door. Suggestion to manufacturers: Lose the TV over the dash and make the midship TV viewable with the slide in.
The next innovation that is taking the industry by storm is known as “full wall slideout”. The progression of slide rooms has been from one to two to four, and now to this. With the addition of slides we were able to add floorspace, and become creative with floorplans. Some floorplans were truly convenient and very liveable. Others you really have to wonder about. However, the more motorhomes I see with full wall slides, the more I am convinced that this thing is just a gimmick. If you think about it, a four slide motorhome has slide space added to the living room, kitchen, and bedroom. Where does the full wall slide add to this? In reality, the only additional room you get is a wider hallway. Truthfully, you need a hallway anyway, so why all the extra weight, and mechanism just to make the hallway wider? I really do not see the attraction. It is almost like the emporer’s new clothes and if you don’t see the advantage, shame on you. Show me a floor plan using a full wall slide that actually uses the extra space for something useful and maybe then I will become a believer.
In our next post we will continue to exploreatures features we want in our ideal motorhom.