Friday, August 26, 2011

Let me show you the Alfa - a long post

Although it won't come home  until next week, the Alfa is starting to feel like it belongs to us.

The following post is a reflection on my first impressions of it, and a recap of thoughts I've had during  sleepless hours as I visualized what I liked about it.

All of the pictures were shot very quickly after we had decided we were going to buy. 

In the Family Motor Coach Association review the Alfa See YA Founder Edition series, hence forth to be known as "the Alfa," is described as a toned down, simpler class A with fewer electronic gadgets and other luxuries.

This is just fine with me.  I never wanted the washer with the 18 different cycles, nor the sewing machine that could do 67 fancy stitches and was run by a computer.  It seems the more electronics something has, the more electronics there are to malfunction!  But I think Craig likes electronic gadgets...

It is reviewed as having generous storage and tall indoor ceilings.  Both are true.

 For my non-RVing friends who might be reading this, the storage bays on the outside  bottom part of an RV are called the basement. Two are shown here.

This is a look into one of them.  As you can see they go deep into the RV.  The yellowish things are the two extra dining room chairs, and there's a waste basket at the back of the bay.

One of the simplified features is
 the floor panel that you put in place under the passenger side chair. It's manual, not electronic.  Tsk, tsk, you actually have to fold it up and down by hand.  Must take at least 10 seconds to do, but it can't malfunction!

Another thing missing in the cockpit area is a "computer shelf" for the co-pilot.  I saw one in a few other rigs and liked it.   My lap will just have to do. Not a deal breaker.

A plus in the cockpit are the night shades that pull down over the front  and side windows.  I like them better than curtains because they are cleaner.  Curtains get so dirty.

I like the light color of the sleeper sofa.  The pillows will go, and will be replaced by something more interesting.
The upholstery is in good shape and it is pretty comfortable to sit on.

The wood table is not as tiny as it looks.  It  has a leaf and can be expanded to seat four.

I really like all of the windows the Alfa has.  It is one of the lightest coaches we have seen. The downside to that  is the dinky venetian blinds.  But if they work, they will stay for a while.  The carpet is hard to see under the dealer's plastic, but looks like a sad gray- brown color.  The other  flooring is linoleum.  A few nice throw rugs will brighten it up nicely.

Opposite the couch is a comfortable recliner, with foot stool and a little table. The copilot  seat swivels around, so you could use the little table to play cards or a game.

I  like the light colored cabinetry.  We saw some very posh rigs with dark woods that seemed very beautiful, but felt dark for such a small place.

 I'm a simple person. The wood is pretty basic, but very functional.

There are three huge cabinets above the chair.  I measured them and figure they will easily hold my bread maker, crock pot, toaster, blender and iron on the top shelves,  and the lower shelves will accommodate a series of baskets  for things like tea, dry goods, and other smaller everyday items.

I like the fact that there are several fans.  There are two small ones in the front and one in the kitchen, two ceiling fans, and two vents with exhaust fans in the ceiling.  I like fresh air, so maybe in moderate weather we can open some windows and move the air around without the air conditioner on all of the time. Some of the windows have screens.

I like the size of the two sinks.  It has a cartridge type water filter. The counter space is limited, but I've been practicing cooking with less space and have thought about a few ways to make the best of less room. I like the fact that it has both an oven below and a microwave/ convection oven above.

Because the Alfa is a bit taller than some coaches it has a higher interior ceiling (7'6") and thus there is room for cabinets above the cabinets!

I have never had trouble reaching my top shelves, but I'm going to have to get a step stool to reach into some of these.  I have to think about what seldom-used but necessary things to put up there.

I'm happy that it has the larger four door refrigerator.  I considered this a must have!  I don't really care about the ice maker.  I'd rather have the extra cubic feet of freezer space and use a tray or two, but Craig will like it.

A very functional feature of the kitchen is the trash hatch. There is a place for the trash can inside the cabinet and you can either use the small hole or lift the panel for bigger stuff.  There is a door on the outside of the coach, just above the basement doors, that opens so you can empty the trash from outside.

Opposite the refrigerator is a large cabinet that has three big drawers on the bottom and a large, deep cabinet above.  I think this will be pantry space, and I'll have to figure out how best to use it.

Further along are two large cedar lined four door wardrobes with eight drawers below.  Not sure if we own enough clothes to fill them...

The Alfa floor plan different in that it has a divider down the center isle with a blank wall on one side and the bathroom vanity on the other.
The shower and toilet are on one outside wall, and the wardrobe mentioned above is on the other.

The medicine cabinets are generous with six mirrored doors.  We don't have that much medicine.  I'll have to think of something else to put in them. I hope there's an outlet somewhere there, I can't see one in the picture.  I looked around the coach and felt it had lots of them in good places.

The wood door next to the vanity opens onto a big cabinet on top and a hamper on the bottom which is not very big, and I can imagine emptying it to a larger laundry bag on the wardrobe floor!

Speaking of laundry, about the only thing missing is a washer dryer.  Not a deal breaker!  I think I will be fine going to a laundromat once a week.  That way the wash gets done all at once.

I didn't take any pictures in the bedroom.  It has windows on both sides and more drawers and end tables.

The bed is horrible, but that can be changed! My salesman promised to see if he could find a better mattress in one of the other unsold rigs, but in the long run we may buy a new one.

There's a TV in the front and one in the bedroom.  I don't watch much TV myself, and use my laptop to watch DVDs and Netflix streaming.  But there's a satellite dome and an antenna. It would be funny if the antenna could pick up anything from our mountain home location.

So that's a look our new (to us) second home on wheels.  Not perfect, but pretty nice for an "anytime ride".

I'm not sure where our first shakedown trip will go.   Craig says just driving it home and parking it here will be an adventure!

 We are trimming trees this weekend and I have professionals coming before we bring the Alfa home.

It's going to be an interesting winter in  "Merikay's Woods."


  1. we are so happy for you!..enjoy the prep work for bringing Alfa home to roost!!..very nice inside!!..good for you both!!!!

  2. WooHoo ~ look at you girl! Already knowin' what goes where, when and how!!! That looks like an awesome coach and we're all so excited for you guys!!!! I wish I could organize a party to be on the street when you come drivin' it home!!!

    And BTW, Pier One has some cute area rugs! Just bought one for the MH myself!

    Have fun!

  3. It looks really really nice! We have one of those computer table pull out drawers in front of the passenger seat and it's worthless--too far to reach and use while going down the road and difficult to open. All the bells and whistles are not always the greatest! I can't reach in my upper cabinets in the kitchen either. Camping World has a cute stepstool in fun colors and it's perfect for that. Folds up small. It's so fun to personalize the MH when you get it. We'll all be happy to chime in and tell you yes and no if you aren't sure about different things. Shelf liner (rubber) is great for lining cabinet drawers to keep things from sliding around. we use lots of mini baskets to hold things in place while driving. Have fun and can't wait to hear more!

  4. It's beautiful, and such wonderful storage! I like the light colors and high ceilings, makes it seem even roomier. Lots of nice touches. You're going to have fun getting it stocked and ready. Don't forget Michael's for great baskets and containers. I had fun with those! :)

  5. love your new home and I agree I disliked the dark wood colors as they made the homes feel much smaller...

  6. Loving the big kitchen and all the storage...I would really have to have that too. Like the light wood. Glad you are going to park it at home...lots of $$$ saved and you will enjoy it there all year.

  7. Wow! She's beautiful. Good choice. I really like the neutral colors, can easily be accessorized. Lighter colors make it appear bigger. Lots of storage! Can't wait to see it ;-)

  8. I like your new coach. It's very light and bright inside and looks to have plenty of storage...always a good thing.

    What was wrong with the front windshield that they needed to replace it? It looks fine to me.

    Have you got a campground nearby (with big, easy in sites) that you could go to check everything out. Might as well try all the features while your 30 day warranty applies. You know how important we found that to be :)

    Have fun furnishing it. I find that I have to "live" in it a while to really see what is needed.

    I can't wait to see where you get it parked in your woods!

  9. What a nice rig!! So many things were thought out so well....must have had a female involved with the design!!
    I think you guys will have many many wonderful moments in your new Alfa!!
    We are so happy for you both! Now just begin to bond and enjoy!!

  10. Very nice, Merikay! Thanks for the tour. Once all the rig stuff is settled, you can start the fun part - trip planning!

  11. So happy for you, you are going to have so much fun putting your own stamp on it. Can't wait to here how your first shake down trip goes.

  12. Our friends have a See Ya and they love it. Yours is absolutely gorgeous. And fixing it up so it looks like your home is so much fun. Can hardly wait to hear about your drive home and how it goes.

  13. Very nice, Merikay! See, some dreams don't go up in smoke! :)

  14. We once looked at an Alfa and were not impressed -- for what we wanted and needed. But your toned down version looks great! Definitely a new mattress is in the works -- sleep in your own bed, not somebody else's. And we suggest you will probably get rid of that drab sounding carpet soon, replacing the whole front floor area with linoleum. A whole lot of dirt can get tracked in, and the carpet will hang on to the largest share of it. Wonderful storage space, a lot more than we have. We are jealous of that for sure. You're gonna love that Alfa! And your dreams will no longer be written in smoke, but your plans will be carved in Jell-o!

  15. Very very nice! Thanks for the tour.

    We met some folks with a similar Alfa last summer. They like it lots. I was impressed by the tall ceilings and big windows.

    Take a look at Bullwinkle's Travels from June '08 to June '09 for Bay Area camping suggestions. There are lots of great places close by. Coyote Valley in Morgan Hill is easy in/easy park/easy out and quite comfortable, especially as you get your RVing legs. And Pismo Coast Village is great for a quick getaway to the beach.

    Oh, the places you'll go! Enjoy!

  16. Very very nice! Thanks for the tour.

    We met some folks with a similar Alfa last summer. They like it lots. I was impressed by the tall ceilings and big windows.

    Take a look at Bullwinkle's Travels from June '08 to June '09 for Bay Area camping suggestions. There are lots of great places close by. Coyote Valley in Morgan Hill is easy in/easy park/easy out and quite comfortable, especially as you get your RVing legs. And Pismo Coast Village is great for a quick getaway to the beach.

    Oh, the places you'll go! Enjoy!

  17. I like how in a car or truck, the right-side front seat is called the "passenger's seat", but in an RV, it's the "co-pilot's"!

    Very nice looking machine there! You're right about the cabinets; darker woods make small spaces feel even smaller.

  18. Very nice, Merikay! I look forward to the "getting it home" trip report!

  19. Thanks for the tour! I totally agree that sometimes all the "bells and whistles" aren't necessary and often break down. I never use our computer desk in the dash. Looks like you have plenty of storage space. I like the suggestions of taking it to a campground for a trial run to be sure everything works OK - it would be a fun experience. Also waiting to see what you really need to buy is a good idea - I bought stuff then changed my mind after I really started using the motor home. Anyway, enjoy, enjoy! Lots of fun ahead.

  20. Thanks for the tour of your new MH. Memory Foam or a Bed in a Box make for a good mattress. I like the open felling you get by having those big windows. Enjoy!

  21. Yahoo, I'm so happy for you guys. It looks like it's brand new, beautiful. I, too, like the lighter wood and colors. I hope the trend goes back to lighter wood by the time we are ready to buy our next one. You may find you won't be able to stream TV and Netflix when you travel. Most wi-fi isn't good enough, and if you have an aircard it takes a lot of your data. I know some people use their iPhone and/or Droid to do it, but I'm not sure how that all works. Something else you may want to eventually check into. Good luck bringing it home!!!

  22. Congratulations! This sounds great!


  23. I really enjoy reading your blog and have just a couple of suggestions for you. Make sure you keep your heavier items lower (can goods, etc.). Spread the weight around the motor home and make sure to weigh it fully loaded when you are done. We discovered we were too heavy in the rear and had to bring some heavier books, etc. more up front. And be sure to use Scoot Guard on your shelves where your crock pot, etc. are to go. It will keep those things from sliding and pushing the cupboard door open as you turn a corner in the rig! We still have two drawers that slide open when we make a certain type of left turn! Have fun personalizing your "new" rig. It's so much fun to make it truly yours! Travel safe and maybe we'll see you someday down the road.

  24. Oh wow!! That's a beaut! You are going to ride in style, Merikay! That fridge is drool worthy :)

  25. I could have sworn I commented but I don't see it. Of all the things I miss, I miss my memory the most!

    Merikay and Craig, congrats on picking a beauty of a rig! The Alpha's are very nice! My rig shares something from yours, we have the same Ford Explorer headlights!! :)

    Easy to replace and there are millions of them on eBay.

    Good luck and make sure they do the PDI completely! Check the Genny's oil, make sure they changed it and it starts easily. Ok, I'll shut up now, I can't wait till you guys pick it up, very very cool.


  26. Thanks for the tour. That looks just great. I am sure you and Craig will rack up many memorable miles in your Alfa. Enjoy!

  27. You picked a fantastic rig. I have 2 sets of friends who own Alfas. They love them. I am not to familiar with one, But stayed with my other friends in theres for a 4 days. Barb has the washer/dryer and never uses it,she doesn't like it and said it doesn't hold much. Other than that they are great units.
    Best of luck and have many happy and safe trips.

  28. Great rig -- my husb would die for the garbage can & the way it is set up! He looked at your pic and said, "I could do that in ours," but I was like -- "don't think so," LOL! Can't wait to hear about your first trip in it...Congrats on a great coach!

  29. In the past few days I have read your blog from the beginning and have enjoyed every bit of it. I loved reading about how you make the animals. They are really beautiful. Loved reading about your search for a new coach home and your determination to have what you want no matter what bologna the salesmen fed you. You are a wonderful writer and big congratulations on your new Alpha. I'm looking forward to reading the next chapter of your lives. :)

  30. looking forward to reports from your first shakedown cruise. drive your dream and we will share your adventure vicariously ;-)

  31. Very exciting! DH and I want to do that when we retire too. Your rig is beautiful!

  32. Congratulations! One step closer to the dream.

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