After placing the order for our Escape 21 last month we continued to work on the build sheet. After all it is due at ETI in only 6 1/2 months! Not that we are counting.
However, since it had been 5 months since we had actually been in an Escape 21, we weren’t quite sure we remembered the exact layout. Dave & Kathie and tractors1 both in the Portland area offered to let us tour their 21s to reacquaint ourselves with the 21 floor plan.
Sounded like a great idea to us, we would watch the weather for a couple of nice days in the forecast and then go to Portland. Then the weather here in the Pacific Northwest turn incredibly nice and forecast to stay that way for at least another 10 days. Time to plan that trip to Portland. Then it occurred to us that from Bandon, Portland is half way to Chilliwack and at some point we would have to go to Chilliwack any way. Our new plan was to take advantage of the weather and have leisurely drive to and from Chilliwack.
The day we arrived in Chilliwack was so unseasonably warm for January that it was T-shirt weather by noon.
I read many times here on the forum “If there is anyway you can possibility get to Chilliwack go to see the tour of how an Escape is made”. All I can add is “Yes, do it!”
It is an amazing process how an empty mold becomes a trailer. The time and work involved is incredible. I guess I never thought about it but, every step of this process is done by hand. The tour is a chance to see how much care goes into building a trailer and the care that ETI puts into even the parts of the trailer that you will never see.
Over the past few months I have requested and received build sheets from several forum members. I have had many private message questions asked and answered about why people had made specific build sheet choices. I thought that I had come up with the perfect build sheet for us. I arrived at ETI with only a hand full of questions.
Once we were sitting inside the demo model of the 21 we realized that it wasn't quite as we had remembered. We wouldn't really need all of the extra power outlets we had planned on and that the the additional power outlets we did want needed to be moved to new locations. We also found a few things that were standard that we hadn't remembered or didn't know about.
One of the best things that happened was, as we were sitting at the dinette we were talking that this arrangement seemed fine, but we both remembered that at the Fiberglass Trailer Rally at Bullards Beach we really liked the U-shaped dinette.
However, it had been so long since we had seen the U-shaped dinette we no longer remembered why we had liked it. Crystal said that wouldn’t be a problem because they had a finished 21 waiting to be picked up and we could see it. They brought the trailer up from storage and as soon as we walked in our reaction was YES, we wanted the U-shape dinette. Now that we were inside of the newly built 21 we noticed options that we never thought of and options that we were sure we wouldn’t need but, as soon as we saw them actually on the trailer we added them to our build sheet. We also got to see how much counter space was added by turning the 2 burner stove sideways. All of these additions will make our new trailer perfect for us and if we hadn’t gone to Chilliwack we would have missed them.
Through all of this Crystal was so patient, answering our many questions and never seemed to be trying to hurry us up. Reace took time to answer any questions that Crystal wasn’t sure of or felt needed a more detailed explanation.
We were sold on the trailer before we went to Chilliwack but the visit gave us an appreciation of the people that work at ETI, a better appreciation for the craftsmanship of the trailer, and a much better understanding of what a great company ETI really is.
After our visit to Chilliwack we decided to avoid the traffic of the Seattle Metroplex and Portland. We took the ferry from Whidbey Island to Port Townsend and followed US 101 all they way home to Bandon. Of course on our way home most of our discussions were about the trailer or where we should take it. We past a lot of campgrounds on our way home and frequently said “maybe we can stop here on our way home with the trailer”. Once we got to Oregon we started detouring into State Parks that we hadn’t been to before drive through the now deserted campgrounds to pick sites for a time when we can return with the trailer.
Okay, I guess you can tell we are really excited about our visit to Chilliwack!
Now, only 4 months to pick the upholstery and the flooring.