Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Shopping for a New RV?

Yuma Arizona is a bit of an RV Mecca.  It's not solely for RVs and snowbirds the way Quartzsite seems to be, but it is a very RV-Centric city.  The population swells in winter and lowers in summer, but there's a large static population that gives you year-round amenities:  Target, 99 Cent Only Stores, restaurants, department stores--things we lacked in Pahrump, NV.

Pahrump has the casino culture my mom and I love, but in that respect Yuma shines also.  We've found numerous Indian casinos all around us.  (I want to say 'Native American' casinos, but 'Indian Casino' appears to remain the standard term, even by the Native Americans who own and operate said casinos ::shrugs::.)

We drove through Quartzsite with thoughts of boondocking there a month or so, but we were wholly unimpressed.  What does Quartzsite really have going for it except for the level boondockable land?  A few big festivals...and what?  I don't like living in a place that's convenient to no where.  We already established this during our Thousand Trails days.  I'm not going to boondock in Quartzsite just because it's cheap.  I need a good quality of life to go with my frugality.

Yuma offers that, and it's several degrees warmer than Quartzsite.  We don't have a clan like many Quartzsitesians.  We're new to this and don't have a network of other RVers to connect with.  Quartzsite just isn't for us.

Yuma?  Now in Yuma I can see sticking around long term.  All winter in fact.  That's the current plan.

Many months ago I was shedding the chains of Thousand Trails and excitedly booked our next few months at various RV parks.  Pahrump, then Yuma, then San Diego. 

We were booked at the Mission Bay RV Park in San Diego for the month of January.  This park costs $875/month but I felt I could swing it, and I felt it would be worth it.  I'm sure it is worth it, but I'm not sure I can swing it.  I'm a writer who depends on selling ebooks for a living.  The climate has changed with new Amazon rules and I'm faltering right now.  I could probably still afford the RV park, but I wouldn't have any money left over to actually enjoy San Diego.  The huge rent would be a stressor. 

I'd given a $220 deposit back when I booked the park.  A pleasant conversation with an understanding reservationist today cancelled my reservation and will get me back the deposit minus a $25 fee.  I really hope to see that credit on my card in the next few days.  Then I can breathe a deep sigh of relief.  San Diego is not in the cards for us right now.  Saving money is!

The $350/month rent at this park in Yuma is much more doable for me right now.  After that accident I had on the way here I'm ready to dig in and just stay here until the end of March...maybe even April.  We'll see how it goes.

I don't like towing the RV.  I'm still not able to back into a space and I struggle to get gas on the road.  My little SUV huffs and puffs to pull our home and needs gas way too often.  I don't get to gas up at those big diesel gas pumps.  I have to struggle into gas stations that were meant for cars.  It's a huge pain.

The answer to my travel woes is a Class C or Class A RV.  Yuma is loaded with RV dealerships.  So we spent the day visiting three of them.

La Mesa RVs had a 2004 Itasca on it's web site that I felt would suit our needs well and was under $30k.  So we went there first.  The unit I want is not in Arizona.  :(  The sales agent showed us a bunch of other options, all over $60k.  We oooed and ahhhed at the beautiful rigs--and my stomach and chest got tight with worry.  There really wasn't anything perfect for us, so we moved on.

My mom liked RV World, and the salesman was super nice an helpful.  La Mesa had preapproved us for $60k worth of financing.  RV World said $100k.  And my stomach got even tighter.  We were showed immaculate brand new rigs with all the bells and whistles.  Gorgeous fixtures.  Wondrous space.  Cab-over bunks I could climb in with full sized beds.  My mom fell in love with the priciest rig we saw.

And I started feeling sick.

We escaped without any paperwork signed.  I told the guy to call us if a nice used class C came in with the floor plan we needed that was under $30k.

As we're driving back I told my mom that I just couldn't buy a $60-$100k RV.  What I valued about our life above all was our freedom, and a gigantic monthly payment every month for the next 20 years was going to take that freedom away from me.  I'd be scrimping and scrounging and working my ass off to try to keep up with the payments.  No matter how many 'good' months I had in the future I would likely never have enough to pay down that debt significantly.  It would be a millstone around my neck until I was my mother's age.

The better solution was just to move the trailer less frequently and tough it out when moving time came.

Our current trailer has one problem:  Moving it.  This includes going from point A to B where I'd have to get gas, and parking it when I got to the multitude of parks out there that don't have pull-thru spots.

But once we're at our destination, parked an unhitched, this is the perfect RV for us.  My mom has her bedroom with her nice new mattress in the front.  I have my bedroom with a shelf for all my stuff in the back.  We have a nice big bathroom that's easy to maneuver in.  I have my 'office' in the RV dinnette.  My mom has her computer/lounging space in the RV sofa.  She has a card table in front of her to eat her meals and use her computer.  We like being able to disconnect our propane tanks and drive them somewhere to get them filled.  We like boondocking with our solar panels.  We have a nice kitchen and plenty of space.  We just like our RV!!

And I only owe $22,800 on it.  Seven months ago this was $32,000.  I've been paying it down like crazy and at this rate I may be free from that payment in two or three years.  That's less stress on me to hustle and make money.  More freedom to spend time having fun instead of worrying about bills.

This is our only debt and debt is a curse that robs you of your freedom.  I just can't take on what amounts to a house payment!  If I get a motorized RV it has to be 10 or 15 years old so I won't be saddled with huge debt.  And then I might be buying a host of problems and a short life-span of usable full-timing.  I just don't want this.

So we're sticking with the EVO.  I'll just have to keep struggling to tug it along.  It's worth it!  It's freedom, and that's the most important thing in the world!     

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