We purchased our 2019 Viking at the Tampa Fall RV Show. Fall in Florida is a day sometime in November or December, if we are lucky. This wasn’t the day, it was as a hot and humid in the middle of November, it felt like the middle of July rather than the middle of November. The fact about the weather will make sense shortly. We have been looking at RVs for a while at this point. We had it in our heads what we wanted and what our needs would be. Here’s a short list, a walk around queen bed, dry bath, full refrigerator, double axle, double propane, double battery (or the ability to add one), light weight, a smallish one like 19 foot, with no slides. We thought we had found what we wanted in a Sonic but we figured we would check out the show and look around and let’s face it RV shows are fun. We hunted the show going into a lot of campers that may fit our needs. Remember I said it was hot, we went into a 21 foot Viking, (21RD) bigger than what we were looking at and heavier (not much) but the ac was cranking and it had a comfy couch. When I sat on this comfy couch I heard my Mom’s advise “get a couch” then I noticed it not only had the comfy couch it had a dinette and the big windows and I envisioned how nice the views would be from them in the wild. Mike and I took a better look at the Viking 21RD, after seeing all we could see we headed to get a cold drink and crappy fairground food and showed our friends this camper we were smitten about. At that point of the day we were only halfway around the show and there were many more campers to see that might fit our build and we wouldn’t want to miss any of them. After looking at all the rest of them we headed back to General RV and did a thorough walk-thru our camper. The Forest River rep was there so we could get all of our burning questions answered. After seeing all the other campers and asking all of the questions and taking pictures we asked ourselves what were we waiting for? And bought her. Well not exactly her, as she was sold so we had to get one that no one had been in before, oh darn.
The whole buying experience at General RV was amazing, from filling out the finance papers at the fairgrounds to picking it up on the following Friday. The first real upgrade was our hitch, which our salesperson insisted we have, the E2, totally amazing. We have an old Silverado, which was not ready to tow our new camper so our friend had to pull her home. We really did by the cart before the horse. After getting the camper home that is when the big upgrades started, or at least completed a list of what we wanted and needed.
That’s the story of our camper purchase, now onto the upgrades, which is a ton and still ongoing. Besides the basic necessities (i.e. Sewer hose, water hose, leveling blocks etc.,) we purchased an additional battery, electric jack, xchocks, Mike put on tie outs for the dog leads. These are used to tie Eris the low rider camping hound’s leash and she can have guests.
Nick, Mom and Pam ordered us tank covers as a housewarming gift and Nick also got us a sewer hose. Uncle Bill and Teddy gave us an Amazon gift card for a backup camera.
We added a tire pressure monitoring system, it’s nice to know what the tires are doing. We also added an upgrade to the suspension system. Moryde equalizer and heavy duty shackles with wet bolts. What a difference that makes while towing. The biggest thing we noticed was when we move down the road most of our stuff stays put, even if we forget to dump the dog’s water bowl. We might have done that and not one drop spilled.
We see ourselves doing some boondocking in the future maybe even more than some, anyways in order to do that we need to generate power, and while we aren’t strangers to generating power and have experience with a generator and it will work in a pinch, we like the idea of generating clean, quiet energy. That comes via solar panels and batteries, charge controller and inverter. We currently have 5-100 watt panels on the roof and Renogy Rover 40 charge controller. These hopefully will keep our batteries charged and keep us in electric. Eventually we will upgrade to 4 Battle Born Litheum batteries but for know we will just use what we have. We (and when I say we, I mean Mike) changed out the cheap factory fan for a Fantastic Fan, and put a rain shield on it.
One of our favorite things we did was change the door lock to keyless entry. We got ours from RV Lock. We will get the basement locks from them as well. It came with a remote and we honestly thought why would we need that. But we keep it in the truck and one day when we pulled up to the campsite it was pouring so we just unlocked it from the dryness of the truck and ran for it and hopped into the camper super quickly.
I think that covers the outside of the rig except for the most important piece of equipment, without having this we would be camping in our backyard, remember I said we literally bought the cart before the horse, well we needed a new tow vehicle. We fixed the old white Chevy up and it was great for around here except we have plans and they do not include staying here. We got a new to us a 4 wheel drive 4 door Chevy with a nice backseat for the dog. (See my blog about the Carvana Experience). We did a few upgrades to the truck as well. We added airbags to stop any potential body roll, sagging, and drooping (I wish I could get that for my actual body), anyway it helps keep the truck even while towing it, and makes for a smoother ride.
I think that about covers the outside. Stay tuned for part two to see what we have done to the inside.