Jun 16, 2008 -

Research, Research, and More Research

Now that I’ve pretty much settled all the questions pertaining to the actual RVing buying process–inspection, finances, registration, taxes, and insurance, I’m delving into these fascinating topics:

  • Roadside assistance;
  • Memberships (to RVing groups for various discounts);
  • Internet and cell phone (a nightmare in Canada, a country that is at least a decade behind the times in this area);
  • Electrical upgrades (ie. Solar Panels and inverters 101, so I don’t have to rely on hookups);
  • Backup cameras;
  • GPS systems.

And that’s on top of trying to understand the gist of how RV systems work, looking into boondocking/dry camping sites on my proposed route across the country, searching for employers to whom I could send a resumé and covering letter asking for short term work, and a host of other things I’m sure I’ll remember soon as I’m drifting off to sleep tonight.

All I can say is THANK GOODNESS I DON’T WATCH TV. For one thing, it gives me more time to surf. But, most importantly, it’s one less thing to research. 😀

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Backup Camera, Boondocking/Dry camping, Buying Miranda, Cell Phone, Communications & Electronics, Discount Clubs, Electricity, Finances, GPS, Insurance, Internet, Law and Government, Roadside Assistance, Technical, Travel, Work    No Comments
Jun 16, 2008 -

But I Thought You Wanted a Bus…

I still want a bus. But I’m not ready for one.

When I first looked into the RVing life, I gravitated towards the class C models. While smaller, their layout made more sense to me: I could use the back bedroom as my study and sleep in the over head cab, giving me more floor space for daily use. But I began to hear horror stories of carrying capacity on class Cs, so I started to look at class As, which sort of automatically led me to look at buses.

Soon as I started to shop for a bus, I began to feel very uncomfortable with my plans. I finally accepted that I was trying to learn too much in too little time. I just did not have the time nor knowledge to learn what I needed to learn about bus conversions to buy smartly. Also, the amount of choice in Canada left to be desired. I had no idea what I was looking for and fishing in a very small pool of candidates. It was a recipe for disaster.

Later, when I’m properly retired and have years of RVing under my belt, I can get the bus of my dreams. For my current plans, a bus just adds too many variables.

So, I went back to looking at class As. Originally, I had budgeted a lot for my rig, but I knew I had to scale that plan down when I decided to give up full-time work for at least a year. The rigs within my new budget were older. Through research and inference, I began to realise that a lot of these older rigs really didn’t have all that much more carrying capacity than does a class C. Why buy a 35′ or 40′ rig when a smaller one would actually give me more usable space?

I test drove a 40′ rig and doing so showed me that I didn’t have to fear driving such a behemoth. I could now look at smaller rigs for reasons other than ‘I’m scared to drive a class A!!!’ The more I researched class Cs, the more I liked them. Their smaller size is better suited to the sort of RVing I want to do and will be easier to heat in winter.

So, it was a question now of finding the perfect match of manufacturer, length, floor plan, and the all important carrying capacity.

Figuring out my optimal floor plan didn’t take long. I want a rear twin bed model. I could use one bed as a sofa and replace the other one with a desk. Once I’d settled on this floor plan, I seriously narrowed down my options for the other three requirements.

I Googled, searched discussion forums, read, read, read, and did a ton of math. I made some phone calls, read some more, and perused the for sale ads.

Finally, I found two local RVs matching all four criteria.

One is a Glendale Royal Classic, 31′. The other is a Winnibago Winnie Minnie, 28′. Both are roughly the same age and the same price. The Royal Classic is a high end, luxury model. The Winnie Minnie is in the same league.

One of them is just about as perfect as I could ever have dreamt of, factoring in some compromise, and offers almost twice the carrying capacity as the average class C its size. I didn’t believe the math, so I ran it by a few other people. It checked out. It’s a gorgeous coach, twelve years old and still looks brand new, with a layout that would give me the illusion of having no less than six rooms. Solar panels, inverters, and the very tow bar I want to buy are also negotiable as a package deal. If the inspection checks out, and I have no doubt it will, this coach will be confirmed as being a gift from the gods.

I went from ‘thinking about full-timing’ to ‘shopping for a rig’ in a very short amount of time. I’ve had to take a crash course in everything from calculating RV weight to 12V electricity 101. The amount of research I did and the questions I asked (some of them probably sounding idiotic to those in the know) really helped me figure out exactly what I need for my current project. It’s not what I want; I would love to head up the 417 in a gorgeous Prévost conversion, but it’s what makes sense for me at this time of my life and for the type of full-timing I plan to do in the next year or two.

So, which did I choose, the Royal Classic or the Minnie Winnie? All in good time, faithful readers, all in good time. 😀

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Buying Miranda, Technical    No Comments
Jun 16, 2008 -

Plunging

I’m now waiting for the RV’s current owner to call me so we can discuss the terms of surrender. Erm, purchase. I’ve come up with a list of items I’d like for him to include as well as the price I’m willing to pay. I don’t feel like dithering with him. He and his wife are very open and honest and it’d just feel like an insult to give him a stupidly low figure and then work our way up to the price I’m willing to pay.

(I need to stop staring at the phone. :D)

Mechanical inspection, insurance, and financing are more or less settled. The first two more, the last one less. A friend’s step-father should be available to check the truck portion of the RV (brakes, chassis, engine, tires, etc.), I’ve found an insurance company that caters to Quebec full-timers (!!!), and the guy at the bank is fairly sure based on our conversation that a loan won’t be a problem. I’m just not crazy about the loan terms since I know that dealer financing for RVs provides much better rates and terms. I have one more lead to follow before I make a formal, credit-report dinging, request from the bank.

I’m still trying to figure out how I wound up at this stage so quickly.

I told a colleague/friend today that I’m scared witless by this project and she didn’t believe me. But I am! It’s just that I’ve learned in life that great things lie beyond fear. I just can’t wait for terror to give way to enthusiasm! LOL

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Buying Miranda, Insurance, Law and Government, Personal, Technical, Why I Do This    No Comments