On a whim in January 2017, we found ourselves as first-time attendees at an RV and camping show. I can’t remember what led us to the show, but it was likely curiosity. Both of us, career teachers, have an innate love of learning, so we said, “Why not?” and bought our tickets.
From Curious to Serious
Neither of us had ever camped in our entire cumulative 107 years on the planet. The closest we had ever come to camping was the time we pitched a tent in the outfield during the San Francisco Giants’ annual slumber party at AT&T Stadium. (We had to borrow a tent.)
Eager to learn about this foreign world of RV travel, we spent hours climbing in and out of models, listening to accounts of owners, and questioning sales staff. At some point during the show, our detached curiosity evolved into personal inquiry. We began to imagine ourselves on the road. We analyzed every rig’s features, picturing ourselves in the space. We knew that each rig had a buyer, much like every home does. Our challenge was to discover which design was the best match for us.
For most of the evening, we imagined ourselves journeying around the country towing an iconic trailer, a fort on wheels. Then it happened. We turned a corner, literally, and our paradigm shifted. Positioned in our sightline, a motorhome beckoned us inside. It was drivable, compact, and felt like home. This motorhome, the Winnebago Travato, matched our vision of the way we would travel and offered versatility. We could travel, park, and sleep virtually anywhere across the country with very few size restrictions to curtail adventures. We would be able to maneuver through congested highways, country roads, and scenic byways. We could stay in National Parks and boondock in dispersed camping locations.
Full Travato Immersion
After returning home, the search engine blew steady steam. We researched Winnebago Industries, learning everything we could about the Travato’s inception and the design revisions that followed. We visited a dealer to test drive the Travato and were surprised by its drivability. Although some accommodations in driving are always necessary when moving a home down the highway, the size of a Class B motorhome lends itself to maneuverability. The design of the Travato offers great visibility and driver comfort, coupled with engine power and steering control. Each of us felt comfortable behind the wheel, and we could foresee some pretty intense rounds of rock, paper, scissors to determine who would get the keys on any given travel day.
We also joined a Facebook group, Travato Owners and Wannabes, which has wonderfully knowledgeable members. This community of strangers aids and communicates with each other as though they have been lifelong friends. They instantly welcomed us, and we followed their posts daily to absorb as much as possible.
Lastly, we toured the Class B factory, the manufacturing site for Travatos. This experience furthered our confidence in the vehicle’s efficient use of space and the balance of form and function. Already drawn to the strength of the design, we were likewise drawn to the strength of the Winnebago employees, and the passionate Travato owners who demonstrated a collective human spirit like none other we had seen. We were convinced that the Travato and the Travato family were a fit for us.
Lithium Changes Everything
When Winnebago announced a partnership with Volta Power Systems and introduced the Travato GL model, we had one final decision to make. Essentially, Winnebago had cut the cord, replacing the traditional generator with an automotive-grade lithium battery system. No longer was it necessary to be connected to shore power or to rely on a noisy generator that requires regular maintenance. Instead, the lithium system had sufficient power to operate everything we’d need. And it could not be simpler to operate. Push the button to turn the system on. Push the button again to turn the system off. Perfect for newbie RVers!
Lithium power was a game changer. But was it a game changer for us? The answer was a resounding yes. We chose the Travato GL because it provides the freedom to travel in our preferred style. We prefer short stays in a variety of locations, instead of an extended stay at a single destination. We prefer a boondocking experience over vacationing at a campground. We opt for spontaneity over planned itineraries. Our style of travel keeps us on the move. Often our landing place for the night is chosen as the sun is setting.
We’ve had our van for two months now. Our first adventure lasted 28 days and covered 5,500 miles. During this shakedown trip, we plugged in only once — solely to make sure we knew how to do so! We stayed at Harvest Host sites, provincial parks, downtown streets, Cracker Barrel parking lots, friend’s driveways, and marinas.
What a luxury to travel in compact comfort with a power source readily available as we use the Travato GL to connect with humans, history, and highways!
For a walk-through of the Travat GL with Winnebago Product Manager, Russ Garfin, check out this video from our recent Facebook Live product launch event: