Old Diary

The Complications of Being Cheap

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

Light-bulb-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.

36PDD

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.

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Journey DL, Old Diary

The Springfield RV Show

It’s OK to dream.  Right?

Of course it is and that’s what we did on Saturday.  The Oregon Springfield RV show is running this weekend and it was a miserable day (meaning it was raining too much to do anything outdoors unless you wanted to get wet) on the coast so we printed off free admission coupons for the RV show and headed over for the day.

It’s about 60 miles from home at Siltcoos to Springfield — just long enough to nosh a couple donuts on the way.

The show is primarily new and used RV’s — not components or component vendors.  I was hoping there might be more info about RV’s and less emphasis on selling — but hey, this is America and selling is what it’s all about.

Our objective?

We really only had one thing in mind.  So many of the volunteers here have 5th wheel trailers and when we bought Journey we didn’t look at 5th wheels at all — so we wanted to get an idea what was available in the trailer market — and we did.

Most of what we have in Journey fits us just fine.  There are a couple exceptions and in pursuit of the ‘perfect’ home you can’t blame a couple for looking.  We’d like a better place for my ‘puter setup.  We’d like a coach with a hold-open for the front door — the Winnebago doesn’t have any way of bracing the door open.  We’d like a 4 house battery setup — the Winnebago has 3, so we can’t use 6 volt deep draw batteries hooked up in parallel. You have to have an even number of batteries.  And of course there’s the issue of photo equipment — we need comparable space for that to what we have in Journey.  The only improvements we really are looking for are the ‘puter space and the hold-open.  Everything else we can live with.

Some of our volunteers have ‘toy haulers.’Fuzion_260_2011_4  I’ve been pondering whether  one of these — with a big door on the back end and a ‘garage’ designed to provide room for hauling OHV’s might serve as a good ‘office’ and the only way to figure that out would be do shop the models to see what was available.  We looked at what was displayed by about 7 different RV dealers and nothing really tripped our trigger.  If we could find enough regular living space in a 5th  wheel and then add the garage space for an ‘office’ it might be worth thinking about a change.  I think we’re done looking at them for now. Nothing fit our check list.

34SBD

This is the one that caught our eye.

Then we looked at some class “A” coaches — like we have.  Lots of gas powered fuel hogs.  Units larger than we wanted. Units with too many gee gaws.  Units with too few gee gaws.  A lot of units that were built with an inferior interior finish — just sloppy workmanship.  We did look at one Monaco Knight — a 2005, 34 footer — semi-seriously.  But when we returned to Siltcoos and looked up the spec sheet from Monaco and compared it to our Winnebago there was too little improvement in a few specs and a worsening in others that we decided that it wouldn’t be worth going back into debt for so few changes.  Following are some shots from the show.  Some photos of the unit we liked, other images of other non-contenders.  The interWebs are wonderful to sort out the wheat from the chaff!

Then it was time to return home — to our corned beef that had been cooking away in our slow-cooker since this morning.   I love corned beef.  I could eat it every day I think — but we haven’t been having any since we got out here and I don’t really know why.  We also have not found restaurants that serve Corned Beef Hash of a morning and I really MISS that!

Tomorrow we’ll head to Lakeside for lunch with Al and Sherry.  There’s a little resto there that serves pizza.  The sign on the window just says pizza but Al says they have a special on Sundays – I’m not sure if that means it’s not available other days, or just that the price is not as spendy.  We’ll find out.

Polly called from Horsfall campground to fill me on on the stray dog that had been abandoned in the campground.  Coos county Animal Control came out with a live trap and trapped the dog overnight.  She settled down once in the cage and we won’t have to worry about  dog fights in the campground now.  Sweet Polly has such a soft heart about animals.  Once I found the phone number for animal control she ran with the ball.

Well, that’s it for today.  Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

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