There is a season for everything.
The long-ago rock group, The Birds, sang a song about just that. The lyrics are based on Ecclesiastes, beginning with verse 3:1. (Most know the tune by the title “Turn, Turn, Turn”)
We’re going through a season of patience while aiming to get back on the road full-time. The markets have not been kind in generating the returns needed for our next – and hopefully lifetime consuming – odyssey.
Jan notices an RV show and sale in Daytona. Just what the doctor ordered! When the dream tank is low on gas, time to fill up. Not much is more energizing, more motivating, than immersing oneself in a dream – perhaps most effective when things seem so, well, stuck.Off we go, burning up three gallons of gas whipping along I-4 there and back.
It’s not the barn-burner event it was promoted to be. But it has just what we are looking for: an opportunity to compare options (RV vs trailer vs fifth wheel) up close and personal. An opportunity to immerse ourselves a bit in this dream of ours.
In case you’ve ever wondered what one of those big bus RVs cost, here’s the look and the price tag.
A beautiful machine, wonderfully equipped inside. Compared to the Airstream Interstate in which we spent seven months, this is the same lap of luxury, with one big difference: s-p-a-c-e. Very comfy indeed.
Problem: no vehicle to get around in once you set up in an RV park. Easily tows a car or SUV, but that delivers a further hit on gas mileage. Suddenly a reasonably economic house-on-wheels is eating fuel like an anteater sucking up a meal of ants.
Perhaps we should just get real: the price tag alone is out of our reach. Used ones can be had in the $80K – $100K range, but who’s counting, right? And then you’re inheriting someone else’s problems, we keep telling ourselves.
Naaah – we’re aiming at a fifth wheel, 33 feet++ in length, towed by a diesel-engine pick-up. Likely a Chevy or a Dodge Ram.
More space with the convenience of a get-around vehicle once we set up camp.
So we take a quick peek at the bus thing, then get serious and into the fifth wheels we go.
They are fantastic. A sales guy comes along side, figures we are buyers without any buying signals from us, and makes the pitch. The fifth wheel he gives us a tour of, a Heartland 34 footer, is perfect. And he knows it.
It’s a $42,500 price tag with all the goodies but a generator. Easily added after-market, but expensive.
So what’s the deal? Not too shabby – $33,750 or so.
Brand new. Pretty good discount. He swears if we have any kind of income he can float the financing at $300 a month. Hard to believe we could buy a home like this for only $300 a month. Sound anything like those housing deals in 2006, 2007???
He adds that he has the perfect used truck on the lot back at the dealership, for only $500 over their cost. We could be on the road for under $60K. Is this a great country, or what?
We explain we are not in the market right now, no way, no how. He is quite polite, realizing he’s not going to close the day out with another deal. (They’ve sold 15 RVs at this weekend event.)
He saunters away, looking for a real customer. The recliners we are sitting in as he departs are a soft beige leather. Matching pair, about as comfy as the seats we had on the Airstream Interstate. Those gave us 34,000 miles+ in seven months, and we were never uncomfortable.
Sweet. So is the L-shaped Corian countertop in the kitchen. The faux fireplace that acts as a energy-efficient space heater. Or the spacious living/eating area.
Well, now we know the floorplan we want, and have a good idea of pricing, IF we were to buy new. More than likely, we could pick up a one or two year old model for about $7,000 – $8,000 less. On the road for under $50K if we play our cards right.
And that’s the goal. After seeing this stuff up close and personal, it feels a whole lot more doable. A lot more achievable.
It’s what happens when you put the dream right in your face, where you can feel it and smell it. Sit in it. Imagine being on the road in it.
The value of filling up your dream tank is very, very high.
Then two things happen. First, Rob gets a job offer with the potential to sock away enough to pay cash for the fifth wheel and the truck in less than three years.
And second we see the exact same model fifth wheel on an RV lot 10 days later – brand new – for which we got the price of $33,750 at the RV show. Except the price tag was only $29,000.
We’re still keeping our eye on the prize we really want: the Keystone Mountaineer.
We just might be entering a different season in our life together.
How about you? What season are you in? Do you need a dream tank fill-up? How will you get it?