All last week we planned to make the 3-hour trip to Albuquerque to do a couple of in-person errands, renew our library cards, and take our niece and her fiance out to dinner. One thing led to another (see previous blog) and after rescheduling the day three times, we finally made it out the door on Friday. The kids both had to work, making dinner together a no-go, so we planned to take care of business in the morning and then stop in and see Stacey, our friend and RV go-to guy at LA Mesa RV, and then head back home.
We have spent over a year researching Class A RVs, vacillating between newer used gas and older used diesel, private seller or dealership. I have maintained a 15-20 unit watch list on RV Trader, and become emotionally invested in each one I add to the list. We have been to RV shows and have dreamed of the time when Phaetons devalue enough to fit our budget.
But Shannon has always expressed a preference for working with La Mesa, and particularly with Stacey, partly because he took us seriously when we stopped in for our first look around, but mostly because it would make financing easier, and because we could avoid travelling all over the country checking out things that look good on paper. He felt, rightly so, that we have neither the time nor resources for that kind of shopping intensive. So Shannon has always said, when it comes down to actually buying the RV we will probably end up with whatever Stacey has in inventory at the time. Truer words were never spoken.
And seriously. . .I really did put the down payment in the savings account for safe keeping. We had agreed that there would be no actual RV shopping on this trip, just touching base and letting them know we were getting close.
When we hit the lot I had three specific RV’s in mind to research. We have budgeted $100,000 for the RV but secretly agreed that we would go a little over for the right coach. None of the three were actually at the Albuquerque location, however first on our list was a 2014 Itasca Solei 34T listed at $109,998, and there was the same unit, only listed for $144,998, on the lot in Albuquerque. My first question. . .why the big price difference? Turns out the one we could afford was at a Florida dealership, and the two word answer was “rust” and “mold.” Moving on. We liked the floor plan and decided we could live in a 34’ coach, in fact prefer it, but the Albuquerque price tag was out of our reach.
Second on our list was a 2007 40’ Monaco Knight for $89,998, well under our max budget. Turns out that unit is also in Florida, and we both were really skeptical about the length.
Last on our list was a 2014 Itasca Suncruiser 38Q gas coach also listed at $109,998. This unit is at an Arizona dealership, so rust and mold are not an issue, but still a little longer than we’d like. We could either go to Arizona to check it out or spend about $1100 to have it transported to Albuquerque.
In the meantime, Rick (Stacey’s sales partner) started taking us through some Fleetwood gas coaches. Fleetwood had not even been on my radar, but Stacey told us that in the last few years Fleetwood has been knocking it out of the park. My issues with Fleetwood have been not enough bedroom storage or not enough pantry space, but we walked into a 2016 Bounder 35K and found a home. And the $45,000 off MSRP (making room for 2017 models) made it a smokin’ deal at $109,998, the same price we were prepared to pay for used. I’ve always known that I would not get absolutely everything I wanted when we got our coach, but this one met enough of the criteria including the 35’ length, that we took the plunge.
We are now cast in concrete. I have unsubscribed from RV Trader. We are waiting for two weeks for the folks at LaMesa to go through it bumper to bumper. Then we can go back down to Albuquerque, do the walk through and bring it home. It’s hard, having spent this much money, to not even having something to look at in the driveway. And after the first sleepless night I think we are both getting used to the idea that it’s time to finish with the house repairs and get it on the market. This is really happening! We are now on the race to the finish.