The Search for the RV, Part Two

The Search for the RV, Part Two

The Harrisburg RV and Camping Show was the weekend after the Timonium show, so we decided to attend that as well.  Turns out the dealers offer “special” show pricing on new RVs, so we modified our mindset to potentially purchase a new RV for the right price.  This is, of course, mostly just another sales tactic and I’m sure you can haggle over the price of an RV any time of the year, but it is definitely convenient seeing the prices clearly marked for all models.  During our online search, we discovered that many dealers don’t list prices for some new models – they want you to call or “Click Here!” for the “best” price.  Kind of annoying when trying to get an idea of price ranges and model availability without contacting a bunch of different dealers at the same time.  We also learned that the used market is apparently hot since last year was a great year for RV sales, so the price difference between a lower-mileage used RV and a “show special” new RV for the style we were searching for was small enough that we could at least consider buying new.

Plenty of other blogs have discussed the pros and cons of buying a new versus a used RV, so I won’t go into that in too much detail here.  Obviously price is one of the main reasons to search for a used RV, plus someone else has already been through the break-in period and hopefully worked out some of the kinks.  But on the other hand, as the potential second or third owner of a used RV, you never know how kindly the previous owner(s) treated the coach.  Then you get into the issue of warranties with a new RV, other dealer incentives (complimentary camping club memberships, annual service deals, etc.)…the list continues.  Much like any other major purchase, the decision between new and used is not solely based on price.  (Unless we were buying a car, then I would push for used every time, but that’s another story.)

Back to the RV show – we, unfortunately, struck out in Harrisburg.  While there were plenty of models to see, this show seemed to heavily favor the tow-behind trailers with only a tiny handful of Class Cs.  This isn’t to say the Harrisburg show was bad or anything, it just didn’t have a wide variety of selections that fit our already limited search criteria.  I admittedly felt a little disappointed, but we made the most of the weekend.  We left the farm show complex and discussed our options while eating our packed lunches standing outside of the car.  Again, the weather was unseasonably warm for this particular weekend, making us all the more anxious to find an RV and hit the road.  This would, however, be the point in the story where the RV shopping takes a distant backseat for the weekend.

Since we were already in the area, I convinced Ashley that we should try Pizza Boy Brewing based on recommendations from a few friends.  Located in Enola PA, Pizza Boy has over 100 beers on tap – not only beer they brew, but also beers from all over the country.  Oddly, they do not offer samples or flights, so you have to commit to a half or full-sized pour if you order a beer.  I tried the Swinglebeer, which is a pineapple ale, and the Spandex, Glitter, and Egos IPA, both from Pizza Boy Brewing.  Ashley tried the Straight Up Hefeweizen and a half-pour of Sunny Side Up, an imperial coffee stout.  All four were excellent, and I would’ve happily sampled more.  Alas, we didn’t want to stay too late and get caught in Harrisburg traffic on the way back to my sister’s house out of town.

The bar area inside Pizza Boy Brewing

I’d recommend stopping by Pizza Boy if you are on the west side of Harrisburg.  It’s a very casual brewery and beer store, with a large covered patio.  I have no idea how crowded it gets, but for the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday, it wasn’t difficult to find a place to pull up a barstool.  Yes, they also have pizza; no, we didn’t try any.

You know what other brewery is outside of Harrisburg?  Tröegs.  We’ve been there many times because it is awesome.  So on the few occasions we are lucky enough to visit with my sister, I try to find an excuse to drive 25 minutes into Hershey and visit Tröegs Brewery.  The food is top-notch, the beers are always solid, the place is huge – but if you go on a weekend be prepared to fight the crowd.  They have what they call a “Scratch” beer program, which generally consists of experimental beers you can only find at the brewery.  So in addition to their year-round and seasonal offerings, they usually have between three and six Scratch beers available.  Plus, they offer sample flights, so you can try different styles without feeling overindulgent.  If you’re hungry (and you have someone to help you eat), order the poutine fries.  Just be sure to exercise before you get there, or double the next day.  Your heart will thank you.  We didn’t get the fries (this time), but we did get some other snacks, leisurely sampled some beers, and played a few rounds of Ice Dice at a table tucked around the corner from the bulk of the crowd.  Yes, we generally travel with small, easy-to-transport games and play them in public spaces.  Sometimes strangers stop and chat, sometimes we get strange looks, but either way we are entertained.

The busy floor at Tröegs

To finally round out the Harrisburg RV Show weekend (which really didn’t have much of a show, I know), we planned to meet up with a couple of our friends from our previous office careers.  Like we mentioned in our first post, our decision to embrace the RV lifestyle is in part driven by our intention to spend more time visiting friends and family we haven’t had the opportunity to visit over the past few years while involved with the pizza shop.  This Harrisburg weekend was jam-packed with breweries and visiting, and we don’t intend to continue at this particular pace, however, we do intend to take advantage when we can of the time we now have available.  So the theme of craft beer with RV shopping continued as our friends in Carlisle introduced us to Molly Pitcher Brewing.  Molly Pitcher is a small brewery with a tiny taproom that reminded us of many of the smaller breweries in Asheville NC.  Molly Pitcher had ten beers on tap while we were there, and we sampled most of them.  I’d happily stop by Molly Pitcher again when we are in the Carlisle area – the beer is solid, and the brewery deserves more than just one visit.  They do have a small selection of bar snacks (cheese plates, paninis, nachos), but we didn’t get any food here.  This is first and foremost a production brewery, they simply don’t have the space or staff to split their focus between beer and food.

After the mild disappointment of the Harrisburg show, we redoubled our efforts searching the used RV market.  We had loose plans to attend the York RV Show, but at this point in the story that was still two weeks away.  We also decided to visit two dealers in southern Delaware over the next week, since they would only be about an hour away from Newark.  The search continues!

UP NEXT: SPOILER ALERT – We bought an RV.  Stay tuned!

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