Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Things in general to consider when buying an RV

Before even shopping for a vehicle there are things to be considered. Will the unit be used for just living or will you be living in it for weeks at a time? Do you want to tow a car too? How big do you want it or will you be comfortable driving? How many people will sleep in it?

Towing a car - There are 2 ways to tow the car. A full trailer is one you drive onto and all 4 tires are off the ground. They are typically 16' ish long which adds that many more feet to the RV. A dolly is just 2 wheels on a hitch that the front tires rest on. The back tires are on the road and will rotate and add miles to the odometer. They are a lot shorter.

We have learned this the hard way. Our car is all wheel drive and can not be towed so it would have to go onto a trailer. With a 34' long Bounder by Fleetwood and a 16' trailer we would be 50' long no matter where we went. For our 1st venture with the RV we decided that was too long and that we should use the dolly. Trouble with that was we needed to get another car, to tow. lol

So knowing what you want to use it for and if you will be towing a car to get around in, is the 2nd decision to make after it is decided you want to try the RV life. We opted for a larger one because we will continue our eBay business ( on the road and need the storage.

Beds - Typically there is a bedroom. Class C also has the bunk up and over the drivers seat. The Class A has a 2 benches on either side of the table that break down into a bunk. Depending on size, the couch pulls out to a full bed too.

Shower - There is the shower in the tub like at home or the whole bathroom becomes the shower with the drain in the floor. We do not have any experience with either so have no opinion. Ours is in the tub.

Refrigerator / Freezer - Size is important if you are going to be out for several days at a time. Newer ones have ice makers.

Stove / Oven - I am reading that a lot of folks use little BBQ grills rather than using the stove. The oven looks small too and another preference they talk about is using a toaster oven. We found an Oster 6 slice toaster oven / convection oven for less than $75.00. I love the idea of it all being in one and once we are plugged in, the electricity to use it will not put time on the generator. (Besides who wants to clean a tiny little, dark oven?!)

TV - With the changes coming from analog TV a lot of folks are using a satellite dish. We have Direct TV because we have been told they are more user friendly. All we have to do is take the DVR receiver from the house, plug it in and adjust the dish based on the zip code where we are.
These are some of the basic options but many, many to consider like full awning to make a patio- like area, awnings on the outside over the little windows; window blinds; fans (can they stay open while traveling?); air conditioning - do they both run at the same time?; water filter; clean water tank size; water filter unit?; lights in the compartments where the clean outs are?; outside faucet to rinse off from the beach or to clean all those fish that are going to be caught?; and so many, many more.
Make a list of what is important to have and what would be nice to have and then go shopping. We had no clue but were very lucky to find the one we did. Thank you Dick @ Pikes Peak Travel Center in Colorado Springs, CO.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Buying the RV

We love to travel and have done some camping in a camper on a pickup over 15 years ago. Since then all our travel has been in the luxury of motel/hotel rooms.

In 2003 we took a 35 day, 7000 trip from NY down the east coast across the south to Las Vegas, to Colorado and north through South Dakota, Chicago and back to NY. That was so fantastic that we want to do it again, but would rather be more self contained and not have to stay at motels.

As we get older we wonder what our health will be in the future, so this winter we started talking about getting the RV in earnest.

We decided that right then (Dec. 2008) was the exact time to get it. Our rationale was that the prices were down because the dealers were over stocked and gas prices were starting to drop, so more people would be shopping after the holidays.

So what kind to get? Used for sure because new ones are so expensive, and like a car loose, value the minute is is driven off the lot.

**5th wheel - no because we do not have a pickup and we wanted to be self contained and pull the car.
**Class C - that is the one with a van like front and a bunk over the drivers and passengers seats. It is the 1st one we looked at, but unfortunately it did not have alot of storage space.
** Class B - Is like a big bus and we had no interst in that.
**Class A - That is the kind that are all over. Tall and all different lengths. We started thinking a 25' one would be just perfect since it would be small enough to drive around a city and we wouldn't have to pull a car.

After telling the salesman that we intended to not only travel, but wanted to continue selling on eBay and to also set up at flea markets; different state fairs or local street fairs / shows whereever we went. That meant we would need alot of storage.

He showed us a 34' unit that has storage all around the bottom, called a basement. So we made the decision that it would suit our needs and allow us a comfortable home on the road but also give us all the room we needed for storage.

There are 2 kinds of ways to transport the car, a dolly that the front tires rest on and the back tires are on the road or a full trailer that all four tires rest on. The full trailer is less wear and tear on the vehicle but also makes it another 16' longer. We opted for the dolly and an older car that can carry some of the bulkier tables and tent for the shows.

Next was where to park it? Our driveway is 4' too short and we could not park it on the street or in our yard because of restrictive convenants. We were lucky to find an RV park and storage facility not to far from our home, for a resasonable monthly rent.

When we left the sales yard, they gave us a several hour long, thorough, walk though explaining everything to us. The one thing they suggested was for us to video tape that walk through so we would have the info with us on any trip, we would take.

There are so many people who have RV-ed or are RV-ing and want to help. Another friend will give us another walk throught before we leave for the 1st time.

Next planning the trip and supplying the RV.