Well, I Did It Again! I Traded for Another Used Rv, a Motorhome.
My 2006 Fleetwood Bounder RV
A little Personal Background.
OK, I do need to explain a few things about my wife and I.
We have been into the camping world for ..... OMG, over 45 years. I never added it up before, but our first camper was a used 16-foot teardrop-shaped Shasta, a '56 model I think.
We had two kids at the time, with one of them in diapers and getting a camper should never have been an option for us, but .... we love camping.
The reality for my wife and I was that small as our little camper was, we loved getting out of the house and seeing little pieces of America and we camped then mostly in state parks or other cheap campgrounds.
Over the years, we had other campers, all larger than that first little Shasta; there have been Travel Trailers, fifth-wheelers, and Motorhomes at one time or another.
And until we suddenly became too "Crazy? Stupid? Dumb? UnCool? (or whatever it was our kids thought of us as they got into their teens we were a happy family enjoying the world of camping.
Sadly, once the kids abandoned us and went on with their lives, we got out of Camping back then for almost a decade.
But, eventually the urge hit us again.
The author Don and his wife Helen
The popular book, RV Vacations for Dummies
I purchased this book as a reference for my traveling writing, and it has some very good information in it for inexperienced Rv traveler.
Our first Motorhome and a serious Learning Curve.
Eventually, after owning three travel trailers, we moved up to a motorhome.
Our first Motorhome was a very used 1996 Pace-Arrow Vision. It was rough, inside and out, but everything functioned.
As I said, that first Motorhome wasn't much to look at, but we did have some good times in it.
So, I will admit that over the years since we once owned that Pace Arrow RV, we have owned five other motorhomes,; all in varying sizes and with varying levels of luxury accessories,
So, before you read on, accept the fact that we are hard core RV owners and travelers, even now with us in our Senior years. It must be something in our bones, I guess.
Traveling all of those years around the country in an RV wasn't all lollipops and roses though. Things can happen to you and your RV, so you need to be ever vigilant in your travels to keep things working properly.
I learned, the hard way; how to drive a Motorhome, how to back up an RV, How to service an RV, and how to repair an RV.
I say the hard way because i was never afraid that something might break on my RV and my arrogance caused a few unnecessary breakdowns while we owned that old Pace Arrow RV and even a few others that I later owned.
I mean, While traveling in that old RV and others, I caused damage to such things as;
- I bent two storage doors cutting too close to a concrete-filled steel post at a gas station that was there just to protect their gas pumps from idiot like me.
- I tore up two service panels and a front fender on my RV by driving over several of those orange cones where highways are being worked on. Specifically,on I-75 heading north past Brunswick Georgia.
- I had my passenger side mirror ripped off by a semi when a heavy wind gust pushed me sideways while driving on I-75 in South Carolina.
- I bent one of the leveling jacks because I didn't raise them when I needed to pull my RV forward a couple of feet so I could access my service center properly, after I had leveled the RV. This was sitting in a Thousand Trails Campground in Lynchburg, Virginia.
- I had to replace a double pane bedroom window when I parked in a campsite next to a beautiful field, then they mowed the grass and the lawnmower threw a rock through the window, in Lynchburg Virginia.
- I had to replace the forward roof AC plastic cover when a semi in front of me threw a large piece of fiberglass into the air and it struck the AC shattering the cover. This was on I-10 crossing Texas from San Antonio to El Paso
- I pulled my passenger side mirror off of my RV when an Orange tree limb hooked itself around it as I was backing into my Campsite in Palm Springs California.
- I didn't close one of my storage compartments properly and ended up driving over fifty miles with two of our campsite lawn chairs dragging behind me. Aluminum looks very strange after it has been dragged down an interstate in Florida for such a distance.
Looking back at these examples of my stupidity operating different RV's over the years, you would think I would be hesitant to keep traveling in these darned things.
But, No, we love it and even though we sometimes pay the price for our traveling hobby, we wouldn't trade it for the world..
Health Issues slowed us down for almost two years
OK, no preaching here, just a little reality about Life.
But, both my wife and I have some serious health issues and they pulled us down for a couple of years.
We had to get rid of our beautiful "Big Rig Coach",that we loved and actually get out of camping for a while as we worked on recovering our strength and stamina after our illness' .
Operating an RV does require a person be relatively healthy.
Even the most luxurious campers can take a toll on you when you are driving them for long distances and even when you are sitting in a campsite just keeping everything functioning properly can take a toll on your stamina.
Don't let anyone tell you differently.
Anyway, we had the added complication of both of us needing the services of several doctors; and of course they all wanted to have us in their offices almost every month.
Just imagine the time consumed just visiting several doctors, on such a regular basis and taking the numerous prescribed drugs.
You can't travel very far if you have an appointment or a prescription to pick up every couple of weeks.
So, we concentrated on our health.
And, lucky for us, we eventually got better.
Our Retro-Winnie, 2001 Winnebago Adventurer
Starting back with our Retro-Winnie
As our health improved, we started to talk more about those great times we had on the road and eventually, nostalgia took over our remaining sanity.
We decided to get an older, very cheap, but functional RV.
And we decided we would start out slowly and work our way back into camping cheaply and logically. Maybe we wouldn't camp as often as we had once done, but at least we could take some nice ,short, two, maybe three week camping trips.
We decided we would only travel a few hundred miles a day and only drive for a max of four or five hours a day.
We would stay at nice campgrounds, loaded with amenities. We would only travel in good weather, and we would continue to manage our health closely as we traveled.
So, we shopped around for several months and we finally found our old Winnebago.
I dubbed it our "Retro-Winnie" and after a few repairs and some technology upgrades, we eased back into the world of camping.
And, boy did we miss it.
It was the adventure of it, I guess.
Pouring rain on the camper roof, blowing winds rocking your Rig in your campsite, early morning breakfasts and hitting the road at dawn were new to us again.
Even the dumping of our holding tanks was its own kind of fun for us.
Great book on RV Camping in State Parks
I have this book and I pull it out regularly to research state parks I might use when we are traveling in our RV.
Moving Up for more Travel
So, here we were, less than a year back into the camping game and we started mentioning to each other whenever we saw a nice motorhome going past us on the road.
Our Retro-Winnie was doing good until the fridge went bad, but we had figured in our budget for a few such things to happen considering the age and condition of the Rig. I didn't like the price, but we had the fridge replaced and kept on planning our next RV trips.
And, we started hitting the web at least once a week, "just to keep up with the prices of used Rigs". We told ourselves it was a "just in case" thing and we weren't really going to get another Rig any time soon.
And then we saw it.
2006 Bounder RV Motorhome.
I won't bore you with a lot of descriptions of bells and whistles and such on the Rig we ended up purchasing.
We had picked a salesman that we got along with and mostly out of boredom, we went over to LazyDays and asked him to show us what he had.
After we had walked through several nice Motorhomes that cost a lot more than we were willing to pay, the salesman Mike, said; "I do have a nice '06 Bounder that you might like". We were a little tired after several hours of looking, but we said OK and we were off to look at just one more Motorhome.
He pulled up at this RV that looked good on the outside, so we walked over to check it out. I looked at my wife and I recognized the look in her eyes. It was going to be a long day.
The RV was beautiful. Even though it was an '06, it only had 39K-miles on it. The Tires were new, the interior was like new, and the previous owner had purchased it loaded with options. And, he had added even more after he purchased it.
Oh, it had some problems but they were small and cosmetic things that could be fixed if you knew anything about RV's.
And, I know a lot.
A great Guide to Free Campgrounds
I use this book when I am planning a trip in my RV and want to have some stopovers that are cheap or sometimes free to stay at.
Closing the deal on an RV is not an easy task.
It was a back and forth thing; the deal that is.
My wife hates this part of a purchase, whether it is a Motorhome, a car, or a house. She says that I am the rudest person she has ever seen when I go into my "trading mode".
And, I guess she's right. There is only one rule that will be followed when a salesman and a potential customer face off.
The sales people are going to do everything they can to get as much of your money as they can. And, in retrospect, you, the customer should be doing everything you can to keep as much of your money as you can.
This is the way I am and often the language used during this kind of dealing can be a little harsh. But, like I said, it's my money and I don't have much left at this time in my life, so I want to keep what I have as long as possible.
But, later, after we had left the RV dealership, we did come to an agreement over the phone that we both could live with.
Over a week later, we had our Bounder
It actually took over a week to get everything done before we could claim our Motorhome and take it home.
Lazydays, and most other RV dealers perform a PDI on the RVs they sell. They had to service the RV and they do go through one very thoroughly. It's not just an oil change and out the door this PDI, but rather everything in and on the RV is checked and repaired or replaced if necessary.
Then, we endured a day of paperwork and numerous Insurance and other offers.
Finally, they take you through a "walk-through" where every thing in the RV is not only demonstrated, but you get to put "hands-on" everything and operate it yourself.
Once the walk-through is over, they park your old Rig in a campsite next to your new Rig and you get to take as long as it takes moving your "stuff' over to your new Motorhome.
This is one of the things Lazydays does that I really like, being able to take your time and move your stuff from your old Rv to your new one, in an organized way.
Now? We are actually a little Giddy.
That;s right, now that we have our new Motorhome, we are going through a checklist of things to load, campgrounds we want to hit, and of course budgeting our travel money.
What a life; a Home Base in Florida, and a great Motorhome to travel in again.
As Retirees, we love being able to do this thing; this thing called traveling. Oh, we could take the occasional cruise, or we could save up and fly somewhere and go on whirlwind tours and then fly home, or do some of the many other things other retirees do.
Give us a cup of our favorite coffee, while we look out the window at a new place every week or so, and let us go into town or up the mountain, or down to the sea, and see something else different, and do it at our own pace, is a very special way to be retired.
And, happily, we are healthy enough to do it, in our new (er) Motorhome.
Planning an RV Trip
Planning for an RV Trip, what to take
RV-101, Good Info about being a Camper in a Motorhome
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 Don Bobbitt