Friday, November 4, 2016

Getting Back To The Purpose Of This Blog

What A Ride

If you have been with us from the beginning then you know this blog is and will continue to be about our journey from sticks and bricks to actually living in our RV.  Up to this point months of research has taken us from considering:

Class B vans
Class C gas coaches
Class A gas coaches
Class A diesel coaches

Are We There Yet?

How'd we get here?  Well, it was a trip to be sure.  We started with the intent of being very mobile with a Class B.  We liked them so we actively traveled around looking at them.  We are creatures of comfort at our age and having said that we quickly realized that they were too small for our lifestyle.
Plus for their size they extremely expensive. Used ones ranged in the $70,000 to $85,000 and new ones up to $140,000.

We chewed on that for a while and then got practical about the fact that we probably needed something bigger.

Fit And Finish - Yeah, It's Big Deal - Be Aware While You Search

We have owned a Class C and it fit our lifestyle really well as a weekend and vacation vehicle. These were also considered.  The ones were able to find that fit our idea of a well laid out coach had terrible fit and finish so we quickly abandoned the idea of Class C's.  Really I think we both knew without saying it out loud that this time we wanted a Class A

Amenities And Horse Power

Now we knew what we needed in a coach to fit our requirements for comfort with the main consideration being a King Bed and if possible zoned living quarters.

Since we were looking at Class A Gas coaches I needed to do homework on what power plant I would consider. Once again our budget kinda pointed me in the right direction. It turns out the most desired gas power plant on gas powered Class A's and Class C's is the Chevy Workhorse chassis with the 8.1 V-10.  I was told that these were discontinued in 2006 so our target years would all have that engine.

So, we started searching in earnest for a Class A gas coach.  One thing we found about the gas coaches right away was that they were much more affordable both used (within our budget) and new. However, we never quite found the "right" one.

We thought we wanted a Forest River Georgetown primarily for the floor plan that was available. They have sort of a zoned floor plan with living area in the front, dining and kitchen in the middle and bathroom and bedroom in back.  This kind of fit us because we take turns being insomniacs and having zones would let each of us be up without disturbing the other. Besides, King beds were available.

Once we physically saw several Georgteown's coaches that we thought fit the budget but once we started viewing them up close and personal. What we found was that fit, finish and durability was sorely lacking. In fact there were down right poorly appointed with cheap everything especially in the quality of coach furniture and cabinets.

This is when we happened on the Gulfstream Sun Voyagers that had similar floor plan arrangement's including King bed options.  These looked and felt like a quality coach however, we found out that they must be a very popular unit because in the three months leading to our current purchase we only saw three for sale nationwide. So that idea was scrapped.

Changing Directions

Once again our ideas, likes and need for certain amenities migrated our search to the next tier, Class A diesel coaches.  Like everything else on this journey this proved to be a learning experience. Since our targeted budget made it clear that we had to consider coaches from 2003-2005 model years we quickly learned that most of the coaches in this price range were either beat up, used up and not worth the asking price.

On the flip side we saw a few coaches that were really nice but the asking price was inflated beyond NADA High values (excellent condition values). If you are borrowing, this is a scenario that lenders will not lend money on. It took a while to register but most of these coaches (inflated value coaches) were owned by people that just wanted to sell them.  The inflated value was most likely what they owed on the coach to just "get out of it."

Snobbish Coach Shopping

After viewing so many mediocre coaches with bad fit, finish and durability we started setting our sights on quality built coaches. This was harder than our other searches because finding a quality coach that we could afford was as my Dad used say "harder than finding a hen with teeth,"

We looked at and considered Tiffin, Newmar, Monaco coaches. These are widely viewed by many RV Associations and clubs to be the best built and most durable of all motor coaches.  So, we set out shopping for high end used coaches.  Our first trip out we traveled to Springfield, Mo. to view a Tiffin Allegro Red that fit our budget and certainly our concerns about fit and finish.  Once there we were underwhelmed. Not because it was an ill kept coach but because neither of us had our "trigger tripped".  During this process my wife told me over and over, "when I see the right coach I will know it's the one" (paraphrased).  It wasn't the one.

So, we moved on and a week later my wife found the "one" online at Motor Home Specialists in Alvarado, Texas. And here we are.

Thoughts On What's Next

This entire journey began in June 2016 and we found our coach at the beginning of November 2016. So, yeah it takes a while.

What's next? Well practice camping for sure. We intend to use the coach during Thanksgiving week and we are headed to Florida for the entire month of December.

Of course there is the matter of ditching 25 years of stuff before June 1st of '17 but that is another blog entry.

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