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Take Your Home Along On a Holiday

With low gas prices still present RVs are a perfect fit for anyone to hit the road on a family vacation

2015-melbourne-29D (1)Big Boy’s Toys Ltd. was recently featured in the Nanaimo Daily news.  You can view the original article here.

With spring just around the corner, it’s time to think about the family vacation. And with gasoline prices dropping to levels we haven’t seen in 30 years, it makes sense to look at all the alternatives.

You can take the family car, and camp out or stay in motels and hotels. You might want to fly to a resort and pay for accommodations and meals or. .. you could take your accommodation with you, including the kitchen, in a modern motorhome. We visited Big Boy’s Toys in Nanoose Bay, Parksville, to see what’s hot in the RV world today.

Motorhomes are built on cab/chassis provided by the major auto manufacturers. That includes the cabin, engine, transmission and running gear; the motorhome builder adds everything else.

The three main classes are ‘A’ (up to 40 ft. length), ‘B’ (up to 25 ft. length) and ‘C’ (from 31 to 39 ft. in overall length). We asked Garry Blaine at Big Boy’s Toys to suggest what might be a perfect fit for a typical family of four.

“The smaller ‘B’ Class would be ideal for a couple, but a family of four needs more space. The ‘A’ Class is more like a permanent home on wheels, so I’d recommend a 30-ft. ‘C’ Class which can ‘sleep’ up to five quite comfortably.”

The model he showed us was the Jayco built ‘Melbourne,’ with an overall length of 31ft.-7.0 inches. Built on a Ford E-450 chassis, the Melbourne is powered by a 305-horsepower, 6.8-litre Ford Triton V-10 that pumps out 420 lb-ft. of torque. .. more than enough to handle the gross vehicle weight rating of 14,500 lbs. and tow capacity of 5,000 lbs. The engine drives the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic overdrive transmission.

Click Here To View The Jayco Melbourne 29D Featured In This Article

Garry explained that Lloyd J. Bontrager, a man of faith and vision, founded Jayco in 1968. Blending Old World Amish craftsmanship with innovative technology, it has grown to be the largest and most respected RV manufacturer in North America.

One of the things that make Jayco motorhomes stand out from the competition is the quality of the ride.

“All the other motorhome makers use the truck suspensions that come with the manufacturer’s cab/chassis,” explained Garry. “But Jayco wasn’t satisfied with that. They created their own JRIDE suspension that includes unique, monotube Bilstein shock absorbers, Hellwig Helper Springs that control excessive rebound, rubber isolation body mounts and a hefty rear anti-sway bar not found on any other ‘C’ Class. The result is a really stable and comfortable ride.”

Quality craftsmanship and materials are evident in the interior furnishings. The cockpit takes up very little of the 31 ft.-7.0 inch length while the 96.0 -inch width and 78.0 -inch ceiling height give the interior a spacious feeling.

2015-melbourne-29D (5)Bottom line


  • Type: C-Class motorhome
  • Engine: 6.8-litre Ford Triton V10
  • Horsepower: 305
  • Torque: 420 lb-ft.
  • Length: 31 ft.-7.0 inches
  • Width: 96.0 inches
  • Fuel economy: Est. 20-25 L/100 km

Price as tested: $114,585 Vehicle provided by Big Boy’s Toys 1421 ISLAND HIGHWAY NanooseBay B.

But wait, (as they say in all those annoying TV ads), the Melbourne has three, power slide-outs (with topper awnings) that add nearly three feet to the width of the living/dining room area (with hide-a-bed sofa) and about half that to the master bedroom.

The master bedroom is at the back and features a queen size bed with pillowtop Denver Mattress and a 22-inch, LED, HDTV; that’s in addition to the entertainment centre with a 32-inch LED, HDTV mounted above the cockpit in the living/dining area.

The two-piece toilet/sink is separate from the shower stall, which has its own skylight and electric light.

The ‘kitchen’ features a microwave drawer plus a three-burner cook top and range hood. And there’s an eight cu-ft. refrigerator to keep food fresh. A 31,000 BTU auto ignition furnace will keep everyone warm when necessary while the 12V electrical system with 110V, 60-amp power convertor is backed up with a 4,000-watt Onan MacroQuiet generator with auto-changeover.

There are tanks for fresh water (31 gal.), grey water (34 gal.) and black water (32 gal.) plus all the hoses and necessary connections.

The ‘Customer Value Package’ adds a touch-screen in-dash sound system with CD/DVD and GPS with back-up camera; back-up and side view cameras; portable, outside gas grille; 12V electric awning with LED lights; 15,000 BTU A/C with heat pump; power, heated outside mirrors; tankless water heater and frameless windows.

The Melbourne comes with a 55 U.S. gallon gas tank (208 litres) so you can expect a range of about 1,000 highway km. per tank.

The price tag of $114,585 is very attractive when you consider what five or six summer holidays might cost. And as Garry says, “It’s like having your cake and eating it too.” Five years down the road, you still have an asset that should be worth in the region of $70,000.

“This is just one option,” says Garry. “Here at Big Boy’s Toys, we have a huge variety of motorhomes, pop-up tent trailers, fifth wheels and park model trailers for rent and purchase. We’re at 1421 E. Island Highway, Nanoose Bay, Parksville, or visit us at”

Alan McPhee is a Canadian automotive journalist and is former editor of Carguide Magazine. His articles appear each week in this space.

Read The Original Article Here

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