Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Albuquerque Overnighter

We are in research and dreaming mode for our future full-time RVing life. I continue my regular reading of several dozen blogs written by full-timers. I had several conversations with Ingrid of LiveLaughRV about their current rig and her recommendations for ultimate length and type of RV. I really appreciate her willingness to answer all my questions. This is one of the great things about the RV blogosphere.

Bloggers love comments on their posts. In fact, I probably spend more time reading the comments than the actual blogs. Some RV bloggers have hundreds of comments from their readers. You learn a lot, not only about the bloggers, but the readers ask awesome questions and provide recommendations and insight to this fascinating world.

Ingrid suggested we consider taking a look at Class Cs. When Greg heard a commercial that their was a three day RV show in Albuquerque (96 miles or 1.5 hours from Los Alamos), we jumped at the chance to check it out. So, Friday night after work - we packed up our camper van and hit the road.

We drove to Chipotle for a late dinner and then headed to Sandia Casino operated by Pueblo of Sandia.

Courtesy: Sandia Casino
Sandia offers overnight RV parking in their spacious parking lot. From our spot, we had beautiful views of the lights of the valley. Many other campers were taking advantage of the free overnight spot. We planned to go in and maybe play BINGO or slots as is the custom when sleeping for free in a casino parking lot. BINGO was over for the night, so we risked a whopping $5 on penny slots. We had fun and left the building with $7 profit!

Although we have never seen a show there yet, Sandia has an awesome Kiva style outdoor venue for concerts.

Sandia Casino pool area
We walked out to the pool area and sat on lounge chairs watching the swimmers, listening to the music and enjoying the beautiful, warm night. Since we weren't "staying" at the casino's hotel - we weren't allowed to swim - but it sure was enjoyable sitting by the pool.

Our awesome camping spot at Sandia Casino

Greg and Humphrey with the valley view from the Sandia Casino parking lot

Sandia Casino view from our camping spot
We slept through the quiet night. It was warm, so we ran our battery operated fans. In the morning, we were up early and had breakfast at the Casino's Thur Shan buffet when they opened at 7 a.m.
At $8.95 per person, it was a great deal.

Beautiful lobby at Sandia Casino

Views of the Sandia Mountains and the golf course from the pool area
We were done with breakfast early and headed off to the Albuquerque Convention Center for the RV Show put on by LaMesa RV. We had time before the show started to walk around the convention center.

Artwork at the convention center
Mural outside the convention center
After I chatted with Ingrid about RV choices, we wanted to walk through both a fifth wheel and Class C. LaMesa RV had a very good selection and variety of RVs. After spending several hours touring, we believe we have made a decision. Although we still aren't 100% decided, we are strongly leaning toward the Class C with a Jeep Wrangler toad. Of course, since we aren't hitting the road for awhile (ok - 7 years), we could still easily change our minds. There was plenty of space and we really like the layout, simplicity and the almost two feet difference in height. Also, we have always dreamed of having a Jeep Wrangler that we can use to explore off road trails.

Our biggest decision driver is the balance between comfort for full-timing and ease of finding boondocking, state park and national forest service campsites we can fit into. We know for sure we want solar to be able to live off the grid as much as possible and we want a composting toilet, but both those features will work in either type of rig.

There are as many answers to the question "what is the perfect RV" as there are RVers out there. I will continue to ask lots of questions on other blogs, read about what works and doesn't work for fellow bloggers and visit RV shows. Who knows what innovations will be made in the industry in the next five+ years. It is fun to learn and dream. Can't wait to see what we end up in!

The total cost of the overnight jaunt was $38.95 (food and parking fee at convention center in downtown Albuquerque).   Gas for Humphrey was probably was about $60.

Heartland fifth wheel
Heartland fifth wheel
Inside of Class C
Thor Chateau Class C with pull-out on one side, the length of the rig


  1. Thanks for the mention. That Heartland 5th wheel looks beautiful. Love that layout. Yep, there's no perfect scenario. You just have to go with the most amount of pluses for the way you like to live. Happy shopping :-)

  2. We too are just under 7 years to retirement and already have our 37 foot fifth wheel purchased last fall in Indiana. We bought used as like with cars they depreciate in value very quickly and rv'ers are always quick to want to upgrade and unload one after only a few years. I personally would like something smaller but hubby wants to lounge with lots of interior room. He may change his mind someday when he sees all the neat boondocking spots we won't fit into! I agree a Class C with a jeep sounds perfect...maybe someday I'll convince him. We haven't camped at a casino before because we don't gamble or indulge in buffets, but you make it look appealing in this post and maybe we'll give it a try in the future.

  3. Thanks for stopping by Pam! We were heavily leaning toward the 5th wheel also, but thanks to Ingrid at, we took a second look at the C class. We will be primarily boondocking or staying at forest service campgrounds. We just spent a couple of days jeeping in Colorado and boy are we hooked!


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