Posts Tagged Airsteam

Big News And Buying Tips

Beaver Lake, AR. Not a bad spot to spend a few months.

Beaver Lake, AR. Not a bad spot to spend a few months.

Jeff and I have been home now for a few weeks and we have been busy with some pressing work stuff. But the really BIG NEWS (besides me turning 50-how did that happen?) is that…

 We sold our camper…the Ironman Can!

It was a hard decision especially since our 21’ Heartland Edge served us so well. Except for some insulation, we lacked for nothing on our epic trip out west. Yes, things were cozy at times especially when I wanted to stretch out my 6’ frame doing yoga on a cold morning inside the camper. But the time came for something a bit more…sturdy.

Our Edge was a “lightweight” not designed for heavy use or 4-season camping. And as we fell in love more and more with the RV lifestyle we new that our little camper would have to go. We couldn’t have had a better first camper and she served us well. Starting with a camper under $15k to test the waters was the right thing to do before investing in a more expenses “home” that we weren’t sure would just sit out in the back yard.

So what’s next? Well, we are the official new owners of a 2009 Carriage Domani 32’ Fifth Wheel. What is a Domani? It is a RV that we stumbled across on our search for a good quality, four seasons rig under 33 feet.

If you ever try to find a HIGH QUALITY RV ANYTHING under or around 30 feet, you will discover this is no easy task.

We seriously considered an Airstream after spending some time with the hip Airstreamer’s in the desert of Borrego Springs. We went so far as to use our RV business connections to try and get some vendor pricing for a 2015 Serenity. But with the hefty price tag, minuscule storage and low headroom shower compartment for our 6’ and over bodies, we just couldn’t pull the trigger.

Airstream

Tempting. Very, very tempting!

At the same time we had found a Carriage Domani that we were able to look at on our drive back to Arkansas. After seeing her sleek modern lines, 20” rims and accompanied clearance (can you say off grid goodness?), that glorious storage compartment and big holding tanks, the Airstream lost its sparkle in a hurry. Of course the $75,000 price difference helped with the decision, making the Domani the clear choice for us.

Carriage Domani

Rockin some 20’s!

We are still in the process of getting our new-to-us RV, as you will read in a coming post. But through this process of buying/selling /buying we have learned a few lessons about buying an RV.

Keys to buying an RV

After you decide on a budget and the RV you want, don’t be in a hurry. Do your homework and educate yourself on what a good deal looks like. NADA priced the Domani at around $65k. The Domani we looked at in Texas was originally $41k and they would have taken $38K. We didn’t pop because it was a consignment and the cheesy salesman really turned us off with his old school sale tactics. We kept looking and found another for $31K from a private seller on RVTrader.com and they accepted our offer of $30k.

Buy used…especially if it is your first RV. I’ve read to not spend more than $20k (I might even say $10k) on your first RV, because inevitably you will find what does and doesn’t work with the first RV…which then turns into a second, third and fourth one. We were so surprised by how many RV’ers trade up or down. Frequently. (Even Jeff and I are trading after 2 years) Let someone else take the hit on the depreciation, find out how much you will use it, and find out what you like before spending a lot of dinero.

Pay for an independent inspection. This will run you about $500. Since our Domani was in North Carolina and we were in Arizona at the time, we actually paid $150 to have the Domani hauled to a reputable dealer and have it inspected for $500. Even though the very nice sellers assured us that the RV had never been camped in and it was in impeccable shape our $650 discovered about $5,000-$7,500 worth of water damage and another $800 of non-working items. The inspection also confirmed that the RV was never used. Everything else was pristine…like a time capsule that had been shrink wrapped for 6 years.

Don’t shy away from a project. At first we were going to cut our losses and walk away. But after speaking with two different repair centers, we were reassured that the roof repair could all be fixed back to perfection for years of leak free use. Yes. It is an expensive process. So back to the sellers we went with a new offer of $25k, which they gladly accepted.

Use a negative to your benefit. Not only did we negotiate for a cheaper price, but we are also using the roof issue as an opportunity to run our upgraded wiring for technology and solar. This is a challenge to do when you are sealed on top and bottom of an RV. So this is a great time to run cables to make this a Smart RV for the future.

Are we happy with our purchase? That is a question for our next post….she says with a dramatic laugh! Wooohahahaha….

Happy Birthday to me! Not looking a day over 50

Happy Birthday to me! Sam has a bead on my cone

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Back to the land of trees

Arkansas

Home Sweet Home..briefly

We made our way back to Arkansas for a quick stop over. After mid west temps in the teens we are giddy with the idea of finishing our winter in sun kissed Florida and the desert bliss of Arizona. Despite a week of cold temps this has been one of most enjoyable winters ever!

KOA Tucson AZ

Lazydays KOA, Tucson AZ

Our fast track from Quartzsite to Arkansas was a trip back to the land of trees with market stops (part of the job) at KOA’s along the way. Jeff and I are partial to wide open spaces and prefer camping in boondock obscurity. But when we are on a mission to get to one destination to another in lightening speed (over 2000 miles in 5 days) we usually do quick overnights at KOA’s.

KOA has had a bad wrap for a lot of years due to run down, cramped accommodations. Yet the organization is making a valiant effort to improve their image/brand. They have a ways to go, but two of our four stops were impressive enough to see that the brand renewal is gaining some traction.

Our first stop was the Tucson/Lazydays KOA. What a fabulous RV park! Clean spacious sites, an event center, pool & spa and sparkling laundry room. And even more thrilling was that Airstream was having their AlumaFiesta onsite while we were there.

A couple hundred shiny bullets both new & vintage were a sight to behold. And since Lazydays RV  had their ribbon cutting of their new Airstream showroom and gift shop, shopping for key chains, coffee mugs and 2015 models fresh off the runway were available for purchase.

Airstreamers are a loyal bunch. We were surprised by the number of folks who trade up or down frequently all the while never straying from their beloved brand.

I have to confess that we have heard from non-airstreamers that Airstream owners are clickish and a particular engineer type (don’t shoot the messenger…my dad was an engineer), but our experience in the desert of Borego Springs and at this event proved that they couldn’t be a more welcoming and warm bunch…just like the rest of us RV’ers.
And after invitations to tour several feet of sparkle and shimmer, we are finding ourselves drawn to the quality and modern design of Airstream. Could there be a silver bullet in our future? You will just have to wait and see. Who doesn’t like a little sparkle? 😉
We rolled down the road to KOA’s in Lordsburg, NM, then to Abilene,Tx where the accommodations were of the typical old school setup. Abilene being the nicer of the two. Then again, we drove 10 hours that day. A moldy foam cushion under a bridge would have sounded heavenly!
KOA Durant OK

Choctaw RV Park, Durant OK

Our last stop was in Durant, Oklahoma at the Choctaw Casino/KOA about 1 1/2 hour north of Dallas.  This KOA is owned by the Choctaw Indian Reservation with an associated Casino. It’s a newer campground with event center, pool, laundry AND the most beautiful bathrooms/shower facility we have ever seen. Charlie and his wife manage the place as if it were their own. They know their business and pride themselves on cleanliness and upkeep. The grounds are laid out around a pond with each site being nicely spaced, level, paved with a bit of separation by hedges on each site. They even have round covered picnic tables for each RV.

It’s hard to imagine that Durant OK would be a destination in such a small town, but with the Casino offering free shuttle pick up right from your site and big buffets we could see this place being a nice weekend get-a-way or for stay-cations.
As I type this I am flying to Tampa where I will meet up with Jeff for a sales conference before picking up a Class C show vehicle. We are transporting “Ms. Piggy” to Phoenix for the Good Sams Rally in two weeks and then to Tucson for the Escapees Escapade in March. If you are in the area stop by and look us up! We love to meet you and hear your RV story.

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