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Jennifer41

Adventures in CAMPER SHOPPING!!

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let me just say, I experienced a few sudden stop situations towing home from disney on sat. I had several drivers cut me off, one try to merge on top of me, cars screeching to a halt for an accident as I popped over a hill, and a driver deciding standing on his brakes on 95 was a good idea. He must have seen that purple squirrel that keeps distracting the fiends. In all of these situations I was thankful I had my truck instead of my old armada because I had enough truck to safely and quickly bring the trailer to a sudden halt. I did use my brake controller but that is what it's there for. I'm not sure i would have stopped in time everytime or been able to control the trailer when forced to Make a sudden swerve if I had the old Armada that was over on tongue weight but under on overall tongue capacity. These are the situations that a marginal tow setup can get you into serious trouble.

Now as for waiting til spring, we researched and looked at trailers for over a year before we made the leap. I thought I understood what I needed to know and had properly matched a TT to my TV. I had shopped by gvwr and kept that under my TV max capacity by well over 1000 lbs. Well as they have told you, you don't know what you don't know at this point. I had no clue why I needed to know tongue weight or how that applied to me. I knew I needed a wdh and had an idea of what it did but didn't fully understand any of that stuff. I didn't even know what questions to ask. I learned quickly though. I learned the difference between a wdh, a wdh w/ integrated sway control, and friction sway control. I learned what was appropriate for a larger trailer. I learned that I knew nothing. I learned that towing an rv is an awesome responsibility. I learned towing a marginal set up is a white knuckle experience that will exhaust you on a short drive. I learned that it doesn't matter if you tow 1 mi or 1000 mi from home, unsafe is unsafe. I then learned how expensive it is to trade for the truck I needed to tow this monster we purchased. Then I learned how pleasant towing can be with the right TV and right equipment set up correctly. now I'm learning that no matter how much research you put into it, you will upgrade your Trailer much sooner than you thought because something prettier, shinier and more suited to your desires and camping style will come along. We have self control (mostly due to limited finances) so that shiny pretty new 5er we want is on hold for a couple of years. in the process I have had to learn another hard lesson, not all diesels are created equal and so we would need a new TV for the 5er. ouch.

my point behind rambling is ask lots of questions. let those answers generate more questions. Do some more research. go sit in those pups and imagine your camping in them. Act out your daily activities in it, think about where you will put things and then when you find out what fits your desires, look at the weights. determine what you will tow with after you decide on the trailer so you can properly match the two. if you find that the trailer that makes you happy is too large for the odyssey then you have your answer. rather than bow the money on a smaller less desirable pup than you want, save your pennies, trim some fat in the budget and get a safely matched rig that suits your needs.

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Sounds like good advice Ally.  We now have our 4th RV.  The first one was fine for us and we enjoyed it.  However, it was small and when we started taking foster kids with us, it was much too small.   So we sold it and bought a little larger one which I loved.  We ended up selling it after several years for one with a slide out that gave us even more room for our now adopted children and the fosters who came through our home and lives.   That one took us thousands of miles over the years and yes cost us a lot from time to time to get something fixed or something new for it.  But we loved it and have many happy memories surrounding it.  We have known for a long time we needed an RV that had at least 2 slide outs, both in the front, so Shawnee could use his wheel chair and not have to crawl around.  At 17 and around 170 lbs, it is not easy for us to lift him to the dinette for meals, etc.   And I almost cried every time he had to do his commando crawling or frog like crawling over the vents and the floor.  He never complained but I felt bad for him.   So we started looking for something we could afford to make payments on.   We found one on e-bay, watched the Video and talked with the seller.  It seemed perfect for our needs.  It had the 2 front slide outs and one in the bedroom too.  He even agreed to take in our old one for the price we had hoped to sell it for.  He said he could tell we needed a newer one with more conveniences and would take the old one sight un-seen.  

 

After crunching numbers and talking about it for a couple of days we decided that was the one the Lord found for us.  I told Ken that making payments on it would mean paying a lot of interest no matter how soon we paid it off so why not take what little money we had in savings and pay cash for it and then make payments to our savings account each month just as we would if we had used the financing route.  He thought that was a good idea (I do have a good one every now and then).  So we did this.   We sent the seller a cashier's check to hold the unit for us til we could get to Jackson, Ms. to pick it up.  We then got the rest of the money..bought another cashier's check and advised the seller we would not be trading the old one.  He even told us to take off $1000 hoping he could help us out some.

 

My daughter and her best friend decided they wanted to buy ours.  We told them they could make low monthly payments with no interest to us and when their money came each month it would go stright into our savings.  As you have probably read in her posts on this site

(Trailmix) they are thrilled.   I asked her if she was buying it just to make us happy and she said no way.  They had always wanted a way to travel and camp but thought it would have to be a PUP because they could never afford an RV.  When they came here to clean out the old one for us they were like 2 kids with a new toy.   And our beloved RV will still be loved by family who have also had many good times in it with us.

 

It is still in our driveway right now (Two 38' RV's in the driveway) because Ken and I told them we were going to get the steps and the slide out fixed.   The slideout was working fine while we were in Mobile.  We drove it home and spent one night here and then headed out to TN.  Arrived there and the slideout would not go out and the steps would not come out all the way.   Ken could repair it himself but he can not

find the parts.   So on the 26th we take it in for the repairs and then they will pick it up in Sept. when they can come for more lessons from Ken on driving it, hooking everything up the right way, etc.   They have camped with us many times in it so it will be easier for them to learn than most newbies.  And the $1000 the seller took off ours will help cover the cost of the repairs.  We refused to sell it with those 2 items needing repairing.

 

Our new one is beautiful.  Ken has found 2 minor things that needs repairs and the seller told Ken to go ahead and get the part for the first one and send him the bill.  The 2nd one Ken did not mention to him so we plan to take care of that ourselves.

 

This, I feel sure, will be our last one.  But we love it and are so proud of it.  The name for this one is: Hammetts Rx 4.  I have learned to save and cut down even more when we really need and want something.  I found that by putting a little in a vacation savings account tt is easy to have th vacation covered in a few months.  I started in June and already have the 3-4 weeksin December at the Fort covered.  Already had the Annual Passes.  So now all the future deposits will be for December 2014.

 

Sorry about this long epistle but had to share it with my fiend friends.

 

All of you wanting to buy a TT, PUP, 5th wheel or RV....there will be a way.  You CAN make it happen.   If our poor little family can do it, you can too.   Good luck and God Bless all of you. :mh1:   :camp1:

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I love all of this, and I'm soaking it all in! Thanks to EVERYONE!

We actually, physically went camper shopping today (CW in Houghton Lake) for the first time. Saw all kinds of things I loved and some things I didn't. It was great to have my husband along and hear his take on things. And I think he's leaning even more toward getting a bigger TV....

We'll see...

We are definitely taking our time and thinking everything through.

(even though I want it NOW!)

I know the right camper will "find us". :)

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I am loving this thread.  I've been "doing research" for about a year now, and keep changing my mind over what I want.

The first obstacle was getting the DH on board.  He's a boy scout camper, ie., if it's not in a tent, it's not camping. LOL but I think I may have him convinced that a small trailer would be a good idea.  We even went to the RV show last January.  Unfortunately small trailers were not in abundance.

Anyway, on my daily look thru craigslist today, this showed up:

 

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/rvs/4006017354.html

 

Has anybody ever had or seen one of these?  It has never shown up in any of the looking I've done.  It does look interesting though.  

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I am loving this thread.  I've been "doing research" for about a year now, and keep changing my mind over what I want.

The first obstacle was getting the DH on board.  He's a boy scout camper, ie., if it's not in a tent, it's not camping. LOL but I think I may have him convinced that a small trailer would be a good idea.  We even went to the RV show last January.  Unfortunately small trailers were not in abundance.

Anyway, on my daily look thru craigslist today, this showed up:

 

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/rvs/4006017354.html

 

Has anybody ever had or seen one of these?  It has never shown up in any of the looking I've done.  It does look interesting though.  

 

I haven't seen one like that exactly but it would be considered a hybrid, we have a hybrid and love it. It's light and sleeps a ton of people, perfect when you want sleeping capacity but don't want something super long or heavy. Also we love the tip out ends because you can open them up and you feel like you are sleeping outside. 

 

We have a KZ 23CFK similar to this. http://rvs.smartcarguide.com/listing/32211167/

 

Also my husband is a scoutmaster and my four boys are all scouts so this trailer was the perfect compromise. My daughter and I got the comforts of staying dry and sleeping off the ground and the guys still get fresh air. We just love our hybrid. 

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I am loving this thread.  I've been "doing research" for about a year now, and keep changing my mind over what I want.

The first obstacle was getting the DH on board.  He's a boy scout camper, ie., if it's not in a tent, it's not camping. LOL but I think I may have him convinced that a small trailer would be a good idea.  We even went to the RV show last January.  Unfortunately small trailers were not in abundance.

Anyway, on my daily look thru craigslist today, this showed up:

 

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/rvs/4006017354.html

 

Has anybody ever had or seen one of these?  It has never shown up in any of the looking I've done.  It does look interesting though.

I just have a little creepy feeling about this trailer. Anytime you cut a hole in a trailer, you increase the likelihood of a leak. And this one has a gigantic hole in the roof. There are no graphics on it - NONE. What is the deal with that? The propane tanks have been replaced with Blue Rhinos which are essentially rental tanks. The bathroom has some kind of bizarre tape going down the seam in the surround. I think this thing has been used hard and has had some issues which have been repaired, but not necessarily correctly.

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As I am looking more at the pictures, it looks like the whole thing has been painted. All the outside hardware is the exact same shade of white. The lenses on the lights look like they have been replaced, and there is some sort of weird looking strip along the bottom of the front of the trailer behind the propane tanks. I would not even bother taking the time to look at this thing.

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I've never seen a popup roof like this before - interesting!  Although I'd have similar concerns to Jim about a big hole in my roof - especially if you don't know how well it's been stored/cared for.

 

Love the hybrid concept overall though. Our first real camper was a Kodiak hybrid.  We camped in it for 5 years with 3 dogs - including a few trips for the Fort for 2-3 weeks at a time.  LOVED that camper!

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Late coming in to this thread but thought I'd share my limited knowledge.

 

First, as you've seen and has been discussed in a lot of detail, unfortunately, all minivans are not very good tow vehicles because: 1) manufacturers don't really publish the numbers (just try to find the GCWR on them), 2) they have low tow ratings (I don't think any will tow more than 3500 - why they can't build a minivan that can tow 5000lbs or more is beyond me ...), and 3) there's tons of room so it's really easy to overload them without even considering the trailer.  We have a Sienna so are in the same boat; while I'd like to have a trailer, I can't tow the ones I like.  I don't want to trade it in for a SUV because 95% of the year, the minivan is a better option for us so if I really wanted a trailer (we have a class A in part because I can't get a trailer of the size I want and tow it with our minivan so instead we tow the minivan!), I'd consider just borrowing / renting a truck when I need to tow.

 

Second, based on how we use our motorhome, I don't think I'd be happy with a pop-up and I'd look at hybrids instead.  Tons of people own PUPs and I'm sure some people like them but they're not for me and I know several people that have moved from PUPs to larger trailers.

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it took me 3 years to find my perfect trailer, google Starcraft 16RB, it's lightweight and can sleep 7 if I need it to, I have found my older children still like their own tents so go figure.  It is designed for the "minivan" generation, I actually have a Nissan Armada I tow it with and have no issues but once My Armada dies I'd like to get a minivan with better gas mileage, check it out :)

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Jennifer, you are so doing the right thing by taking your time and doing lots of research!

 

We spent 5+ years researching trailers before we finally took the plunge and bought our first one in 1987, an Airstream product.   We bought the unit new with a huge discount.  We were extremely happy with it and used it for 19 years.  If we we were still camping in it today, we'd still be happy.  I still miss it and wonder what happened to it.

 

In 2006, after several years of researching mohos, we purchased our Country Coach.  It was 4 years old when we purchased it, but our price was well below 50% of the purchase price and probably 65 - 70% off the new at that time price.  We've camped in it for 7 years now and hope to have another 20 years in it ... or as long as our health allows.  With routine/expected upkeep, we expect it to still be sturdy when we're no longer able to camp.  Dolly has many more miles left in her than we have.

 

Both times we purchased quality units.  Both times we researched, researched, researched.  And we have been completely happy with both purchases.  

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If it says R-Vision,,,, RUN!!!

 

They aren't in business any more, for a reason.

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If it says R-Vision,,,, RUN!!!

 

They aren't in business any more, for a reason.

 

I agree that they aren't (weren't) the greatest manufacturer but I wouldn't be that harsh.  If you're spending $3-4k on an older unit, I don't think the brand name matters as as much as the condition of the actual unit.

 

Country Coach, Wanderlodge and Western Alpine are all also out of business and they all made very good quality products (Country Coach Corp is in business but it's not the same company as Country Coach Ltd (or whatever it was called).  It's a new company with a very similar name as the old one, that bought the assets of the old company and is run by the one of the founders of the old one)

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YOU GUYS! I am cautiously optimistic that we may come away from the Hershey RV show as "owners".... I don't want to jinx it but.... :banana: :banana: 

 

After our trip this weekend camping with friends- Mr.41 is more into it than ever!  Either way... we're getting closer!

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The Hershey show is great. 4years ago we found one there, went to the dealership and ended up buying a leftover we liked better.

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Ok....will say a little prayer to the RV Gods that weekend. 

 

:thumbsup2:  Thanks!!  I'll remind you again the day we go. ;)

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Well... I've found a TT that I like, but it's a bit out of our price range.  

It's not a pop up or hybrid, but the layout is what I've been looking for.

I know RV shows are a good place to bargain for great deals, but I don't know if I'll be able to get it down to the 12K range...  So the search continues!

 

http://www.rvtrader.com/listing/2014-Coachmen-Freedom-Express-230bh-110484730

 

 

230BH.jpg

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It's seriously everything I want, and where I want it. Well, for our first camper, that is. ;)

 

The only things I can pick at are that the hot water heater/furnace is under the bunks, (but the kids can deal with that) and that there's no door on the queen area (but I guess I can deal with that). :laugh:

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Why does hot water need to be heated?

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