Buying an RV, part one: Searching for the Perfect Used RV

10 December 2014 · 34 comments

Last weekend, Kim and I moved from casually browsing RVs to searching in earnest. We spent much of Friday and Saturday touring coaches, both used and new, trying to learn more about what we do and don’t want in a rig.

Part of the problem is that everything is theoretical at this point. Neither of us has extensive RV experience — in fact, I have zero RV experience — so there’s no way for us to make a decision grounded in reality. “This is tough for me,” I said on Saturday. “You know how I wrestle with perfection. How can we can possibly make a perfect decision?”

“We can’t,” Kim said, “and you shouldn’t try.”

She’s right, of course. I have to let go of the idea that we’re going to find the “perfect” RV. It’s not going to happen. We won’t even really know what we want until we’ve bought one and used it for a week or two. Still, I’m scared of making a bad decision.

But we have to start somewhere, right?

Our first stop on Friday afternoon was a consignment lot. We visited “Steve and Sons” out on 82nd Avenue to look at a 37-foot Class A 1998 Fleetwood “Bounder” ($21,500 and 51,000 miles) that I saw listed on Craigslist.

Note: RVs are divided into “classes”. Class A RVs look like a bus. Class B RVs look like a van. Class C RVs look like a delivery truck. Each class has its pros and cons.

We didn’t like the Bounder, but we did like the little 30-foot Winnebago (a “Minnie Winnie”) sitting next to it. It was in our price range ($37,000) and relatively new (2003 and 33,000 miles). Plus the layout looked great and the quality seemed good — as far as we could tell.

Next, we dashed off to meet Sam and Donna. This couple is selling a 38-foot Class A Newmar Kountry Star. Their coach is gorgeous and in great condition. Plus, their price is reasonable: $27,000 (and 49,000 miles). In fact, they probably had the best price we saw all weekend. The problem? Well, 38 feet is a lot of feet. Driving the Kountry Star really is like driving a bus.

Plus, the Kountry Star had a problem. While we were chatting with Sam and Donna, I noticed that something seemed…wrong. There was some discoloration on the ceiling. When I poked a ceiling tile, we found out why. The sagging tile seeped water down my arm. Sam went outside and climbed onto the roof, where he was shocked to find the cover to the air conditioner had blown away. Yikes. Water had been collecting in the attic. (Turns out this wasn’t an act of god. A prowler had been trying to break into RVs at the lot where this was stored. They caught him, but not before he damaged several vehicles.)

To finish our Friday, Kim and I drove out to Sandy to look at a couple of used RV lots. Nothing really struck our fancy, though. RV lots tend to take in only recent models, and they mark them up by outrageous amounts. (It’s not uncommon to find an RV at a dealer for $10,000 to $15,000 more than you can find it from a private party.)

Note: Kim and I aren’t interested in buying new. Buying an RV is like buying both a house and a car — but combines the worst features of both without any of the advantages. The biggest downfall is that you take a huge hit on depreciation, just like you would from any other vehicle. One fellow we met this weekend says he figures RVs decline in value by 3% each quarter, so that in five years an RV has lost almost half its value. We’re trying to balance finding something recent (and quality) with trying to avoid taking a beating from depreciation.

On Saturday morning, we drove to Vancouver to look at two used RVs.

  • The first was a 29-foot 1996 Gulfstream Sun Voyager with 53,000 miles for $26,000. This Class A wasn’t bad — and we liked the owner — but it just didn’t seem to be a good fit for us.
  • The second was a 30-foot 1996 Gulfstream Conquest LE with 25,000 miles for $20,000. This Class B seemed ragged around the edges. Plus, the price seemed high.

We met the owner of the Gulfstream Conquest in the corner of a Costco parking lot. He offered to let us take the rig for a spin, and we accepted. I drove the RV around local surface streets — my first time behind wheel of any recreational vehicle. It wasn’t bad. It felt like driving a U-Haul.

Next, we dashed down to Tigard to meet a fellow with a 28-foot 2004 Fleetwood Tioga. This was a beautiful coach in tip-top condition. Plus, the owner seemed like a nice guy. But he’d purchased the unit new from a dealer three months ago, so his asking price was high ($40,000 and 29,000 miles). We like this vehicle, but not at this price.

By now, we’d honed in on what we think we want. We want a class C RV (for a number of reasons, Kim’s not keen on the bus-like class A profile) between 28 and 32 feet. At this length, we’d get a back bedroom that separates from the front end of the vehicle, which would allow for one person to sleep while the other read or wrote or cooked. Based on our budget, that probably puts us in the 1998 to 2004 range.

After a quick stop to taste some sparkling wine, we visited another RV dealer. We were severely unimpressed with the options, so we returned to the place we’d started. We drove back to Steve and Sons to look at the Minnie Winnie we’d liked on Friday.

We spent half an hour examining the vehicle, and there’s no doubt we like it. But a couple of things happened that really turned us off from the dealer.

First, we had called to say that we wanted to test-drive the vehicle. But when we reached the lot, it was buried behind several other trucks and RVs. No effort had been made to allow us to run the rig. The obvious question was, “Why not?”

Next, we were under the impression that the dealership was selling consigned vehicles. That’s not the case. The salesman confided that the dealership places ads on Craigslist in the “for sale by owner” section because they think people will trust the ads more. But they’re not for sale by owner. Nor are they consigned. The RVs are bought at auction and then put on the lot. Whoa… Huge red flags!

Kim and I decided to call it a day. We headed home (well, actually we headed to a champagne bar) better-educated but no closer to purchasing an RV. After a weekend of RV shopping, I’ve let go of my need to find the perfect coach. But I’d dearly love to find a quality rig at a reasonable price.

Footnote: Yesterday morning, I drove down to Canby to look at a 29-foot 2000 Bigfoot Class C motorhome. While the rig was a bit rundown (and lacked the slide-out that Kim wants), I was impressed. There was an obvious quality difference between this unit and most of the vehicles we’ve seen. Even in its “well-loved” condition, it was easy to see that the construction was better, the materials were better, and the design was better. I filmed a couple of minutes of my tour with the owner.

1 Honey Smith December 10, 2014 at 08:12

Hey, JD, two things: 1) do yourself a favor and rent the documentary “Winnebago Man,” and 2) my dad has been selling RVs for over 10 years now. PM me if you’d like me to put you in touch with him, I’m sure he could give you some shopping pointers.

2 Tyler Karaszewski December 10, 2014 at 10:29

She’s right, of course. I have to let go of the idea that we’re going to find the “perfect” RV. It’s not going to happen. We won’t even really know what we want until we’ve bought one and used it for a week or two. Still, I’m scared of making a bad decision.
But we have to start somewhere, right?

I’m on my third sailboat and still haven’t found the perfect one for me. There’s another model I think about trading mine for, and this is something like 7 years after I got the first one. There will never be the “perfect boat” for me, and even if I ever find it, something in my life will change that will make something else more perfect for my now-different life.

These sorts of things are supposed to be fun, and they’re going to lose money anyway. So, buy something that seems like it’ll work, make do, remember what you want to change about it, and you’ll know more what you want when you get your next one. Or you’ll decide you hate RV’ing and you’ll sell it and never get another one. Either way, you’ve got to just take the first step and try it before you’ll find out what you really want.

3 chacha1 December 10, 2014 at 10:37

JD, have you considered *renting* a few different RVs before you go and buy one?
:-)
Just seems to me maybe you are a tiny bit ahead of yourself on this one. You say you have zero RV experience. So you’re considering spending tens of thousands of dollars on something you may absolutely hate.

4 jdroth December 10, 2014 at 12:02

Yes, we’ve considered renting. The problem is that rentals are very expensive. You’d almost be better off buying a used RV and then reselling it after a couple of weeks! It’d be cheaper (although more of a hassle). Having said that, although I’ve never done RVing, I’ve done enough camping and cabins to have an idea of what it’s like. Plus, we’re going into this with the knowledge that we may have to pull the plug after a few weeks if we decide we hate it. All indications are that we’re going to love it, though…

5 PawPrint December 10, 2014 at 15:07

Be sure and take the RV to someone who can look at the entire RV, not just the mechanical parts. My sister and I got excited and just bought our RV rather than having it checked out. While I’m not sure if ours had dry rot prior to our ownership, we only had it two years (covered storage)–not sure how long it take for dry rot to set in. Also have the owner show you how to set everything up and perhaps film him/her. Those side awnings can be difficult. Good luck! We bought a Class C Shasta that had a nice, peppy engine and a separate bedroom–would have been perfect for you.

6 Sasha December 10, 2014 at 15:44

Hi JD,
Long. Time. Lurker. First comment ever on one of your posts.
We bought a used popup 2 yrs ago. 2004 model year, Fleetwood. We are campers, hikers, fishermen and fisherwomen. We heart our camper and we work with its quirks. I often think about what it would be like to set out on a multi state RV trip.

Some of the on-the-road vacation issues we have had to work out:
1. Spotty wifi at campgrounds (perhaps a connection to the rural areas where we have found campgrounds). This is hard when my husband has to work from the road. In a pinch we unhook the truck and drive to civilization, but realize that the driving to wifi takes time.
2. With the increased length of a truck and a trailer it is hard to park in some parking lots. Near impossible to go in reverse in a parking lot so we have to really think through where we can safely park. And this means that we have to give up some travel experiences like stopping at that funky roadside tag sale or coffee shop because we can’t park.
3. The camper is another car registration and source of property taxes.
4. Highway tolls cost more because of the extra axel of the camper (and we have to use the right-most lane at the toll plaza, and we are three times the length of a car so we can’t change lanes on a dime.)
5. Where will you store your RV? We keep ours in the backyard in the winter.
6. Learn how to camp “dry” (no hookups) and what kind of battery power you must have (your voltage). This is an ongoing project for us.
7. A camper kitchen is smaller. How will you organize your camper pantry and grocery shop while on the road? I make lots of food in advance at home and then we do hotdogs, canned beans, and chix sausage on the road that we reheat. Salads, breads, HB eggs all get made a home and packed in the cooler. The food planning is a bit of special ops, because in rural areas there is no grocery, and we dont want to take the time to drive to civilization. So we have to bring everything. And when I saw the oven my first thought was how much propane does it use…and does it have an electric start. (If you camp dry, you will have to find where to manually light the oven)

Having the popup is great fun, and there are time and behavior tradeoffs like with anything else in life. Happy searching!

7 Dean December 10, 2014 at 17:04

Why buy an RV at all? You can rent a lot of hotel room nights for the price of an RV. Perhaps you’ll be much more comfortable in hotels while on the road.

8 jdroth December 10, 2014 at 17:18

True, Dean. Sort of.

We don’t intend to own the RV for long. Thus, our cost is [what we pay for it] minus [what we sell it for]. If we buy a $30,000 RV and sell it for $25,000, for instance, our cost is $5,000 (plus gas, etc.). From the people I’ve talked to, RV vs. hotel is a wash for the kind of travel we plan to do. Plus, the RV has other advantages. Top on the list is the fact that we’ll have a place to call home.

We haven’t ruled out backpacking or hostels or hotels, but we’re obviously leaning toward an RV at this point.

9 Bruce December 11, 2014 at 04:56

JD

Going through the same thing with my wife at the moment. We are opting for a used conversion van with a good bed and a few extras I will add (cook stove, maybe a small fridge etc).

We plan to sleep some in the van, couchsurf, hotels friends etc. Our idea is it will make parking and driving easier. Some of these bigger RV’s look like house maintenance on wheels, only worse. Either way you choose it should work out fine. It’s all about the journey anyway!

Bruce

10 dh December 11, 2014 at 05:56

JD, have you seen this classic —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56u-bZwexyU

11 Cindi December 11, 2014 at 06:14

You really need to rent an RV first, JD. Pay the money!
You don’t buy and RV and see how it will work out and if you don’t like it, you can sell??? Duh. I’m surprised at you. I didn’t think you were that dumb.
I’ve been RVing since the 1980’s. Started out with a 19 ft trailer, that despite all the facts, as we were towing it home after purchase, burned out our transmission. That trailer sat in our driveway for 5 years before we could sell it. You read that right! Our SUV should have been able to tow it. Wrong!
Next we did a pop up camper (rental) and although fun, was not practical. Very unsafe, easy to break into, too much outdoor exposure.
Next we did a 25 ft motorhome. Now, the real ‘fun’ began. Make sure you are a mechanic, because it’s going to cost you. Big time! (DH is a mechanic). Next, you’ll need a car to tow, can’t be front wheel drive and that’ll cost you more because eventually you’ll find out a motorhome isn’t practical. Sold it after 1 year and a $8,000 loss.
You have to understand that every 5 years RV’s depreciate by 50%. If you have a loan, you’ll be underwater quickly.
After 3 years of research, we bought a 2015 tear-drop 17 ft R-Pod for cash. It works for us but it’s tight. Very affordable and easy to tow. We saved money by driving to the mfg and buying it directly without a middleman.
http://thriftyat60.blogspot.com/2014/08/minimalist-camping.html
Again, even with ALL the facts and figures, when we picked up this RV the weight had changed since the fact sheet release. It was 300 pounds more than advertised. Translated, we have to pack light or buy a $50,000 4X4 truck to pull it. Ain’t gonna happen. If you think you can buy used, unless you are a damn good car mechanic, think again. Paying for repairs or waiting for parts when you travel can be a very expensive nightmare. Make sure you have a credit card with minimum $5,000 credit line. Whatever you buy, car, tow vehicle or RV, make sure it is still under warranty. We didn’t find out till next day after we bought our R-Pod that mfg hid some back damage. Thankfully RV was under warranty and we had thousands of dollars in repairs done for free. Took months to get it done.
I see a lot of your commenters have warned you, as have I and you don’t seem to be listening. You will quickly learn in the land of RVing that you had better listen to those who have gone before you. If not, you’ll learn the hard way. Road travel can be a very dangerous thing. Ain’t all rainbows and moonbeams.
RENT THE RV FIRST AND THEN MAKE YOUR DECISION FROM THERE.
PAY THE MONEY!!!!
Experience is the best experience.

12 Cindi December 11, 2014 at 06:40
13 jlcollinsnh December 11, 2014 at 07:14

Hey JD…

I’m going to be following this with interest.

A couple of years down the road, my wife and I plan to give up the apartment and wander about the US for 6-12 months.

Currently we plan to stay in hotels and, for longer periods in a few select spots, furnished rentals. But now you’ve got me thinking maybe RV, which I’ve never considered before.

One of my concerns would be resale. Seems there are a ton available on the used market. Great on the buy side, but…

Anyway, once you get it out here to NH you can fill me in on all the secrets over a beer or two.

14 jdroth December 11, 2014 at 07:33

Looking back, I see that I’ve left out some steps along our journey. Folks like Cindi are left with the impression that Kim and I are being reckless when, if anything, we’re being overly cautious.

First: Why an RV?
We know we want to begin doing extended travel around the United States. I’ve been doing a lot of international travel over the last five years, and the costs add up. As I’ve said before, travel is my biggest “luxury” expense, and has amounted to over $20,000 per year recently. That’s one of the reasons I’ve continued to work — to earn money to support my habit. So, domestic travel seems like a great way to save. As Dean suggested above, my first inclination was to stay in hotels and hostels. This type of travel offers advantages but can be very expensive, especially over the long term. I looked at mixing in AirBnB and Couchsurfing, but it would still be pretty costly. An RV offers two distinct advantages that are important to us: We’d have a home base to come home to at the end of each day, a place that was always the same. Plus, purchased properly, it ought to be less expensive.

Second: Why used?
So, once we’d decided on an RV (and spent time figuring out what class was right for us), the next choice was new or used. As Cindi pointed out, RVs depreciate like cars. But because they’re at least twice as expensive, the losses are twice as much. As a result, we don’t want to buy new. (We don’t plan to keep this forever, but only until we’ve explored the U.S.) In fact, we’d like to buy as old as possible without getting into something that’s a constant fixer. My research seems to indicate that there’s a sweet spot when a coach is about ten years old. And if we can find a quality model from the early 2000s, we should be able to mitigate the downside. (Fingers crossed!)

Finally, although Cindi thinks I’m disregarding her advice (and the advice of one other commenter), I’m listening. The thing is, I’ve done lots of other research, meeting with folks who have owned RVs, and with those who have traveled around the U.S. extensively. Everyone is clear about the downsides, but they’ve all been gently encouraging. This is doable. Lots of people buy quality used RVs and use them extensively without losing their shirts. Kim and I think we can do the same.

15 Meredydd December 11, 2014 at 07:38

Hi JD —

You’ll be fine with a used RV, if it is thoroughly inspected: have an RV mechanic check out all the “house” systems (RV fridges are very expensive to replace, same with AC units).

Have a good mechanic who understands chassis suspensions well go over it with a fine-tooth comb. That’s easier with a Class-C than a Class-A since they are built on cut-away chassis. If it is a Ford van chassis, older than 2008, consider replacing front axle/suspension (eg, QuadVan near PDX) for a much safer, sturdier front end. It’s about the same cost as replacing brakes and bushings.

Do you need a toad? No, not if your rig is 24′ or less, and you have a couple of bicycles. Note also that some national parks (eg. Yosemite, Glacier) have length limits (22′? 24′?) on their most spectacular roads. And driving in cities with something longer is a pain.

And then have fun.

16 Judie Ashford December 11, 2014 at 08:46

Speaking from RV experience since the 70’s and still an active participant and owner today, I implore you to peruse the website RV.org . This will save you hours and miles of time, and will help to prevent an inappropriate purchase.

There are so many facets to RV ownership that it would be impossible to cover them all in a comment box, but one thing I would heartily recommend is that you rent one first. It will seem expensive, but it will give you a much better feel than just a short test ride. You REALLY need to spend a week or more within a floorplan (and with the vagaries of a brand) to get the feel of a unit.

We started out in Volkswagen campers, and have had two of them (1978 and 1987), a 1985 22-foot Lazy Daze Class C, a 1991 40-foot Teton fifth wheel, a 1999 40-foot Mountain Aire diesel pusher (our only home for eight years!), and now a 2005 26-foot Lazy Daze. We also have a 1998 Sportsmobile Class B camper that we use on occasion for short trips. Simple recommendation – Lazy Daze. You will see why when you look at RV.org.

There is only one road that I know of in the national parks that has such a severe length limit as mentioned above, and that is the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.

http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/goingtothesunroad.htm

A lot of money is involved in this endeavour, and you will want to do the best job you can in selecting a unit. Some are just prone to unbelievable problems, and you want to sidestep as many of them as possible. You will soon learn the brands to avoid at all costs . . . and why. When you think you have settled on a brand, I implore you to join a Yahoo! chat group for that brand and read, read, read. And then ask questions.

I invite you to PM me if you have any questions that you think I could help with.

Disclaimer: I am the co-moderator of the Lazy Daze chat list.

Virtual hugs,

Judie

17 jdroth December 11, 2014 at 08:52

Thanks, Judie. Between you, Cindi, and others I’m beginning to be persuaded: What would it hurt to rent an RV for a long weekend? Let’s see if we can make it work.

Also, I’m well-aware of Lazy Daze. They’re one of the top brands. Do you have any recommendations on how to find used Lazy Daze RVs for sale? Because there just don’t seem to be any available in Portland…

18 Tanya December 11, 2014 at 09:15

You can do a lot of research by reading blogs of fulltimers and people that work from their RV’s. There is all a huge community of boon dockers, people camping at free locations.
A slide out gives you more room, but for beginners and an older rig, the risk of malfunctioning is big. You also need to climb up and clean off the top before getting ready to leave camp.
Newer vehicles sometimes have as many problems as the used ones.
My son learned the hard way with an older RV from the dealer. It did not pass DEQ in Oregon without a lot of expensive mechanical work.
A shorter camper is much better for traveling in cities due to parking and turning around problems.
What ever you decide, have fun.

19 Ronald Pottol December 11, 2014 at 10:12

It might be worth it to have a look at the GMC motorhomes, though they are more of a long term purchase, and probably better for someone willing to work on something more like a vintage car. GMC was the only major US manufacture to make motorhomes, they sold them 1973-8, and they go for $5-25,000. There are a number of places that specialize in them, and there is excellent parts availability. They drive nicely, and are 23 or 26 feet long, with good layouts.

20 Jim December 11, 2014 at 12:10

Hi JD – very longtime reader here. It sounds like you have converged on the Class C sized RV, but if you are still considering other options, here is my pitch for the Truck Camper model. We spent a year living in one traveling throughout Canada and the US and it worked great for us. I wrote this blog post explaining the decision:

http://in2themild.blogspot.com/

21 Scott December 11, 2014 at 12:52

You might also consider a travel trailer. We bought ours new for $17k and a used Toyota Tundra for $13k that we ended up selling two years later for $13k. The trailer had all the comforts of home. We lived in it for 6 months and visited most of the National Parks in the Western US. If you have an RV you will want to tow a car because it’s a pain in the ass to take day trips in your rig.

22 Jacq December 12, 2014 at 09:24

Before I bought my 23.5′ Class C, I rented via a repositioning deal at cruisecanada. Think the rental was $25/day, no other fees, gas ran about $1200 to go from Calgary to drop off in Toronto. It was a 29′ so I knew I wanted something easier to park and get in and out of quite remote places – and smaller. Cruiseamerica.com has the same kinds of repositioning deals – usually into or out of FL and AZ. They also sell their older rentals. I bought my own RV the next year after pinpointing the model I wanted, testing it here at home and traveled to VT to pick it up (cost was over $20k less there vs at home). Would also highly recommend buying during a recession if you can wait. I saw some crazy good deals on RV’s in 2009.

I like the small RV since we spend almost zero time indoors outside of sleeping (if the weather is bad, I keep driving until it’s good and never reserve spots – just drive until I find somewhere we’d like to stay longer – I love traveling with flexibility / making choices on the fly), has a slide, it’s pretty good on gas mileage, am a necessities only packer, don’t have to have a toad – just feet and bicycles – and for some reason, I write well in bathrooms… I think you have to try it out first to see exactly how you like to live while on the road. You may surprise yourself.

23 Jacq December 12, 2014 at 09:41

I see at cruiseamerica that they have repositioning rentals from Portland to AZ for $39/night going on right now with 2000 free miles. It costs about 75% less to rent doing it that way. For future reference, they also have deals going to/from Alaska to/from the lower states in the fall and spring I believe. With doing only repositioning, you could travel an enormous number of places for a good price and not even have to buy if you didn’t want to… You can also ask about renting for longer than the 7 days or whatever at the same price. They’re pretty flexible.

24 jdroth December 12, 2014 at 10:38

!!!!!

Repositioning rentals?!?! Okay, I can get behind that. I’m wishing Kim and I hadn’t already booked our Christmas plans because I’d suggest we do this instead. Nice!

But you know what? It’s the sort of thing I could do on my own for a week or so, right? Thanks for this suggestion, Jacq. I’m going to look into it.

25 jdroth December 12, 2014 at 10:39

(Before I google, do you have a link? I’ll email you…)

26 Jacq December 12, 2014 at 11:42

http://www.cruiseamerica.com/rent/hot_deals/
There’s a good deal from Tacoma to Seattle on there right now for almost a month if you just wanted to bum around your area. Or the Missoula to Seattle – that one’s 95% off.
Other big rental companies do this kind of thing too – I just have personal experience with this one. Units also have to get from the manufacturers to the dealerships too and they aren’t taken by semi-truck usually – but you don’t have the flexibility for time with those although I think they actually pay you to do it. :-)

27 Adam December 12, 2014 at 10:44

LazyDaze-

Finding a used one can be tough…we loved our 1988 when we had it. Be patient, use the Craigslist search tool “Search Tempest” to search beyond your local area, join the LazyDaze Yahoo group. Also look on eBay Motors, sometimes you may find a bargain there. Good luck!

28 Jacq December 12, 2014 at 13:15

Oh also re. cost (not counting RV purchase, maintenance or insurance) – I took a one month trip to the Oregon coast one summer and the cost was $3200 IIRC all in (included groceries, some school clothes shopping – everything). Took 6 weeks to AZ the next year and back (more loopy) for about the same. Went across Canada this summer for $5200 for 7 weeks. So about breakeven with hotels and driving – except I take the dog and there’s too many places he can’t go unless we RV, I don’t want to stay most places where hotels exist on those kinds of trips, like my own cooking and like not packing/unpacking all the time.

For a really different experience, you can check out renting lookouts – they’re cheap and it’s quite surreal. Excellent places to write and go electronics free. I like this one:
http://www.recreation.gov/camping/sex-peak-lookout-rental/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=75300

29 chacha1 December 12, 2014 at 14:38

I just want to say THANK YOU to Jacq for chiming in, because I’d never heard of “repositioning” but that sounds like an ideal way to test the waters. My husband has mentioned being attracted to RVing (in a limited way – he doesn’t really want to buy one) since some friends bought a big coach. But I didn’t want to be committed to some long round-trip in a rented coach. Being able to go point-to-point in the RV and come back some other way (fast car, plane) makes the whole deal a lot less unattractive to me. :-)

30 Mary Grace December 22, 2014 at 07:49

You have to find the best, you deserve it. May you have a great deal in buying your RV. Anyway, I am a fan of GRS ^_^ , I am getting rich slowly, too. You’re inspiring Sir.

31 Diane C December 22, 2014 at 21:28

There’s a blog called “Hitch Itch” which features links to hundreds of RVing bloggers. Check it out and prepare to spend huge chunks of time there. Loads of good info. A personal favorite is Glenn Morrissette’s “To Simplify”. He downsized his whole life into a Ford Falcon van conversion, then up to a Winnebago Chinook. Most recently, he bought a Vanagon and customized it from the tires up, becoming quite a handy guy in the process. He is a very good writer and a visit to Glenn will be time well spent.

32 Jen December 29, 2014 at 16:35

Hi JD!
I have the best memories of spending three weeks with my husband and one-year-old daughter in a truck camper. We drove from Oregon to Minnesota for a family reunion. My dad built a rail that fit where the table turns into a bed. It was exactly like a crib rail and my daughter slumbered away happily in that little bed. During the day we transformed it back into the table. It had a tipout which was cool and made it feel pretty roomy. Sounds like fun times ahead, no matter what you choose! Can’t wait to hear more.

33 Jane Fox June 23, 2015 at 06:16

It’s interesting to read about your experience in shopping for a used motorhome. I’m sorry you’re not having more luck! I’m at the point where I’ve test driving a few, and I’m getting pretty excited about the prospect of owning my own. I think there really are good options out there; you just have to know where to look. Best of luck on your journey!

34 Callie Marie July 1, 2015 at 11:23

Thanks for sharing your experience about finding an RV. Like you said, not being allowed to test drive a car you might want to purchase is a red flag. I hope you find your perfect RV for a good deal.

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