In this series, we talk to RVers about the search for their dream rig. Find out which options are on the table, and which rig they ultimately choose. If you’re interested in participating in this series, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before Julio and Sandra Peña had children, they discussed taking some time to travel through Central and South America. But family circumstances kept them grounded in the Bay Area, and in the meantime, the couple had four children. In 2017, while they were shopping for a new apartment, Julio says the conversation about long-term travel began again.
“We’re self-employed,” says Peña, “and our cost of living was insane. One day my wife just blurted out, ‘What if we get a trailer?’ We’re treasure hunters, we resell antique jewelry. She said, ‘We could travel the country and pick.’ I just thought, ‘Brilliant, it’s a no-brainer.’”
Peña says he did some math and found he could save close to $2,000 each month by living on the road with his family, rather than in the Bay Area. His children were already being homeschooled, so they expected a smooth transition to roadschooling.
“I went to an RV dealership and explained that I didn’t know if I wanted to buy a truck to pull a trailer,” Peña says. The family also planned to visit a lot of state and national parks, and he was aware that many places they wanted to go wouldn’t accommodate a long travel trailer or fifth wheel. He looked at motorhomes, and settled on the Jayco brand. “Then, it was just a matter of figuring out which model and floor plan we wanted.”
There were a few must-haves when it came to selecting the family’s new home. There had to be sufficient sleeping space for the Peñas’ four children, the oldest of whom was 7 years old at the time. At first they were open to bunk beds, but, Peña says, “I read online that parents complain that their kids stopped using the bunks and it became a storage area.”
The most important feature was that the layout had plenty of room for the family’s day-to-day life and activities. “We’d need the most amount of space for things like schooling and meals,” he says. “We cook often, and we needed a big table everyone could gather around.”
So, which RV did they choose?
The 3 Options
Option 1: 2018 Jayco Alante
At nearly 32 feet, the Alante is the shortest Class A in Jayco’s catalog. Its floor plans feature two slide-outs, a large kitchen area with angled or L-shaped countertops, and an optional drop-down bunk over the cockpit with swivel chairs and a wide-view windshield.
Option 2: 2018 Jayco Redhawk
The Redhawk is a roomy Class C with two slide-outs. The convertible dinette is standard-sized, with two benches. Below the over-cab bunk, cockpit chairs swivel to create an extra seating area. An accordion door separates the main living space from the bathroom and bedroom, which houses a queen-sized bed.
Option 3: 2018 Jayco Greyhawk 29W
The Greyhawk’s streamlined floorplan leaves an open, spacious living area that includes a U-shaped dinette with extra seating, alongside a large pull-out sofa. The bedroom area, located at the back of the rig, is sectioned off with an accordion door, but the bathroom can be accessed from the main space.
The Winner: Jayco Greyhawk 29W
When it came to deciding between a Class A or Class C, Peña says he “thought about what we’d do when we were done with this RV. We figured we’d rent it out.” After some research, he found that the most popular and frequently-rented models on peer-to-peer RV rental platforms are Class Cs. Ultimately, the family moved into the Jayco Greyhawk 29W.
“This model, with the U-shaped dinette, had a bigger table, and the countertop didn’t have a knuckle that came out into the living space,” Peña says. “The bigger dinette also creates a bigger sleeping area, the couch pulls out into a full-size mattress, and there’s a large overhang above the driver’s cabin.”
That overhang, which the kids call “the clubhouse,” is where the Peñas’ oldest daughter, now 11, sleeps. Their son sleeps on the pull-out couch, and the two youngest children co-sleep with Julio and Sandra in the private back bedroom.
There’s a lot to love about their home on wheels, says Peña. “The ceiling in our rig is a little higher than most, and we have a lot of windows, which makes it very roomy and light inside. The bathroom and shower are outside our bedroom area, so people can use the restroom without going into the bedroom space.”
After 4 years on the road, Peña says his older children are getting close to needing more space and more privacy. But that doesn’t mean the family’s in too big a hurry to end their adventure.
“We have about six more states to visit before we accomplish what we set out to do, which was visiting every state,” Peña says. “If we do decide to continue traveling, I think we’d eventually upgrade to something a little bigger. But right now, we’re still having a great time, and we’ll do another 6 to 9 months.”
After all, he says, life on the road is still a longtime dream come true. “I remember when we first started out, my wife and I had this moment where we looked at each other and were like, ‘This is crazy, we really did this, we’re really out here. Is it too good to be true?’ We’ve inspired several friends to get RVs,” Peña says. The family’s enthusiasm for their lifestyle rubs off on people, he says. “They see what we have and they’re just like, ‘Man, we gotta start living more.’”
Disclaimer: RVillage is part of a joint venture, partially owned by THOR Industries, Inc., of which Jayco is a subsidiary.