The Complications of Being Cheap

We lay in bed this morning and had our Lightbulb moment.


Last weekend when we were at the RV show there was one purchasing criteria we forgot — completely – about.  And it should have been so obvious.

I told you that when we were looking for a Coach that we looked at about 100 different units.  And that there were only three that we really liked.  The greatest number of units on dealer lots were center hallways and we were looking for something that had a side hallway.  At the time we weren’t all that sure of the implications of such a ‘small’ requirement but after last weekend when we saw a lot of Coaches with crosswise beds the complications of a crosswise bed jumped out at us.

32TD Floorplan

The floorplan of our 32TD

This is Journey! And after we had her for a few months — and got around to using the Satellite dish we discovered that we could control the DISH receiver from the left side of the bedroom — just pointing it down the aisle!  Why?  Because I didn’t want to pop for a second receiver, or the added cost of running two separate DISH receivers.


The Monaco Knight 36PDD we looked at last weekend.

This is the 36PDD that we looked at last weekend and can you see the problem?  In the Winnebago the wiring for the entire satellite system is contained in a single cabinet above the cockpit and all of the entertainment switching is in another cabinet above the passenger seat.  In the Knight that’s not true. If I were to attempt to point the remote from the bedroom to the receiver I’d have to be sitting on the foot of the bed and even then if the toilet door was open I wouldn’t be able to shoot the IR beam to the right place at the front of the coach.

Ok — none of this is crucial to how you live in your RV — but it is just one of a thousand little details that make your choice of WHICH RV you buy more than a moment’s “Oh, I love this…” kind of decision.  It also helps explain why so many RV’s get traded after a short time or low mileage.  When we were waiting for Lichtsinn to make the final pre-delivery adjustments to Journey another owner pulled in who was trading up after only 14 months of ownership.  Why?  Not enough storage.  They hadn’t thought through how they were going to be USING their RV before they bought it.

I think we’ve done well.  Last weekend was the first time since we took delivery that we looked at any RV for any reason.  And this trip to Eugene was more about learning about the dealers in our temporary home area than in buying a different coach.  And most importantly we ruled out any thoughts about buying a 5th wheel in the future.

Here in Oregon we have been seeing television adverts about gambling encouraging you to set a firm limit to how long you will gamble, set an amount, and … well, some other compulsion breaker that I forget right  now.  I think there are some  parallels to buying an RV.    Set your budget, and live with it.  Set our time frame — do you HAVE to do it in 2 or 3 months — or are you willing to wait for just the right RV to come along.  And, before you go shopping,  define your needs.  What do you NEED?  Not what do you want… wants are elusive and we all now wants are changeable.  But what do you NEED — absolutely HAVE to have.  Our need list was short:

  • Diesel power (not only for the torque, also for the rear engine and quieter ride, and now we realize the third reason is that when we sit for an extended time we don’t have to worry about fuel getting old as is the case with gasoline powered RV’s)
  • With storage for my photo cases. (I had not given adequate consideration about how much space my computers took — next time around — if there is a next time it’s the one addition we will make to our list)
  • Sleeping for 4 (when Kathryn and Mike or Melanie come)
  • As short as possible (so we could fit into tight State Park campsites)
  • NOT a Detroit Diesel engine — that was after my own experience of 92 series and 71 series engines in the past.

Anything in the 30′ + category would have a genset — that we knew.  It would also be equipped with rear duals — I didn’t have to specify that.

Our want list was a little longer but because they were wants we ended up with some of the items on the list, we missed out on a few, and we ended up with things we never considered but wonder how we ever would have gotten on with out them — now that we have a coach with them.

Once you have your MUST HAVE list, be patient.  Be willing to do your research.  Be willing to make a few trips to check out what’s available — and keep checking.  Inventories can change rapidly — especially if what YOU are looking for is the same as what OTHER PEOPLE are also looking for.  That fellow I mentioned who was trading up when we were waiting to take delivery of Journey — they traveled 1500 miles to get the used coach they ended up with.  That’s at least $750.00 in fuel plus other expenses for the trip.  Be willing to do what it takes to find the Coach / RV you want.

Ok — that’s it for me.  I hope you tweaked your RV shopping process a bit.  I’ll talk with you tomorrow.


7 thoughts on “The Complications of Being Cheap

    1. Well, Ponder, hang in there — your day will come. And assuming that by then I may not be able to afford broadband and I’ll be a wrinkled shell of a man (Seems I remember about a 10 yr difference — but I’m not sure) by then…. you’ll have the chance to make someone else just as jealous. And if I still have my wits about me me I’ll be yelling, “You go grrrrrl” at the top of my lungs.

      Sometimes I think to myself — it’s absurd the things I think about since retirement. 🙂


  1. Okay, good post…but having to walk through the bathroom to get to the bedroom would have been the deal breaker for me. If I ever did this, I’d have to get an experienced RVer to walk me through some of the things every RVer needs to know. I would have never guessed
    to look at details like the remote signal.

    Loved you message to Notes…it brought a smile on my face.


    1. I agree completely. I just don’t care for the walk-through bath idea. But what is interesting to me is that so many coaches have just that. They are by far the majority of coaches the used market.

      Our Journey is a ’02. That year the Diesel Journey’s were offered in 5 floor plans. Of those five only 1 floorplan included a self-contained bathroom like ours. All the others were divided in one way or another.

      The ’14 Journey’s have 4plans. None of them are as small as ours — and only one of those has a self-contained bath like ours. There is a second with a unitized bathroom — but it is all the way at the rear of the coach — kind of like an en suite bathroom — with a small powder room at midships. But that way if you have guests who want to shower they have to tromp through your bedroom to do so.

      The fact I keep stressing is there is no ‘right’ way to RV. All of the RV’s out there suit someone, somewhere. I wouldn’t want most of them — but that’s because of the way we live. Other people would be horrified to live in our Journey — it would not fit THEM. But — I don’t really care ‘cuz they don’t live here. 🙂

      In the long run — will we trade up at some point? I have no idea. Are we happy in Journey — you bet your bippy! Is the computer space an annoyance? Yup. But not so much of an annoyance as to cause us to go back into debt.

      Notes is a fun lady; I’m sure when her time comes she’ll find something quite delightful to do with her time. And I might just be standing there on the sidelines, all wrinkly and wobbly, yelling “You go gurrl” After all that catering she deserves a nice relaxing retirement.



    2. Your comment got me to wondering so I went to the PPL website — PPL is a large RV dealer in TX w/ at least 2 branches. I searched on Diesel Class A’s for sale (used)
      There were 43 with split bathrooms of one configuration or another and… how many self-contained or unit bathrooms? 9…..


  2. Your Journey has wonderful kitchen counters. I couldn’t cook in the Knight’s kitchen. That’s one reasons I find pretending to live in a potential RV and going through the motions of daly life so helpful in deciding if this one is right for me.


    1. Linda – I so agree. The Knight had no counters and while it looked good at first glance (just because it had been detailed before the show and there wasn’t any of the detritus of living in it. But it would not be a practical ‘home’ for us.

      We weren’t really looking — we had reached the end of the day and the salesman asked whether we had see ‘this other 2005 unit’ so we walked outside with him to look at it.

      The pretend to live approach has a lot to commend it. I think we probably ‘do’ that, just in a different way than you might.

      I love our no-walkthrough bath. I love our kitchen — including the counters — there aren’t many of them but I can cook more or less comfortably. Because I use our single induction burner instead of our gas range I have the cover down over the stove — so I get a little more counter that way.

      I love our dinette because in a short coach that’s the only way to get sleeping for more than 4 — or even 4. When our daughter and grandkid come mom takes the sofa, grand-one takes the dinette bed and we’re happy as clams. The only way to get that much sleeping with a dining table and chairs is to go LONGER — which we don’t want.

      So much of RV life is a ‘happy compromise.’ If I wanted space for EVERYTHING we never would have sold our 6500 sq ft school. But that’s not what we want now. And having a little inconvenience about some details is so made up for by the lifestyle — doncha think? I do.

      At another time — just visiting a dealership — not at a show — we might take the time to do a more formal ‘pretend live’ sort of thing — but at a show with so many other people in and out while we were there, and considering we aren’t seriously looking — it was enough for us.



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