Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Big Change in our RV lifestyle

We are fairly conservative folks, and like to fly under the radar, as much as possible. Fading into the background and not being to ostentatious is our style. And was the style of our travel trailer as well.

In the RV world, it seems that if you have a travel trailer, you are judged by some, ok most, to be poor and beneath the big 5th wheel and motor home crowd. You are segregated to the back of the campground, where the non premier spots are located, or placed in the area where the seasonal rentals are parked.

These areas are not always the nicest part of the property.

We experienced this in Mercedes. Texas. At the time, our rig was still very much new, but because of its class, we were parked with the very oldest of rigs.

Parked in the oldest part of the campground, where the concrete was poured in small square chunks, under older and long since departed for Mexico, park model trailers.

I tried to be moved to the nicer new part of the park, but there was never any vacancy for us. Out of curiosity, I tried to make a reservation in the new part for the following year, and again there wasn’t any vacancy for us. Not in the new part anyway.

We have experienced this in many of the commercial parks that we have visited, and even last year in Mesa Spirit, we were in the older sites with the hodgepodge concrete, and the older stapled together park models.


This was our back fence neighbor two spots over, last winter. I never really noticed it, until our next door neighbor left his spot, revealing the back of this unit. (These folks were really nice, but he is in a mobility scooter and not able to do much.)

On the way home last winter, we decided that we had to get a better rig! Still our conservatism wouldn’t allow us to make the move, since we do not full time.

I spent countless hours on the internet jumping from web site to web site, fictitiously plotting this change. We ruminated from 5th wheel to motorhome. Each time, I cringed at the thought of spending so much money on a depreciating asset.

Slowly we made our mind up on a motorhome. Even though it would cost a lot more. If we got a 5er, our existing truck is only a half ton, and would need to be traded as well. Parking a dually F350 out in front of our house would be a problem with the hoi polloi neighbors. But, I couldn’t pull the trigger.

Analysis paralysis had set in, and it seemed there was not going to be that perfect rig, that fit the current version of “us”. And I couldn’t bring myself to spend so much.

Howard Payne wrote in a recent post about a couple that had waited to go full time, and had a tragic accident. The lady had been burned and is still fighting for her life. Her husband, Tim, stressed this thought to Howard.

"Don't wait to follow your dreams!”

(Sadly this lady passed away several days after I wrote about their story.)

With this as our thought process, we went to look at a rig that was owned by Shorewood RV of Anoka, Minnesota. It was parked on their sister lot in Des Moines. We made the whirlwind trip, to go see it. Negotiations commenced, and we ended up signing the purchase agreement.

We will have to sell the travel trailer outright, as it has a limited audience, so I am told. They all groan when you bring it up, as a trade in.

What we bought, may also not be as main stream as most folks would like, but then that is somewhat us! Not too main stream! We purchased a 37 ft, front engine diesel, Allegro Bay, by Tiffin in Red Bay, Alabama.

This is on a Freightliner chassis, and has the Cummins 6.7L engine followed by an Allison 5 speed transmission. These rigs have not proven to be as popular, as the rear engine models, and are more difficult to sell. But they are much more fuel efficient, and in general, easier to maintain. I am also more at home with a front engine truck. We had a class C, Dodge motorhome in the early 1980s.

What we gave up with this type of rig is the rear engine quietness. The front engine puts the diesel noise right up front with you, as you travel. Also the air brakes and air ride systems of the pusher, which are really nice. (Expensive!)

What we gained was a much cheaper entry point, and oil change maintenance that doesn’t cost $1,200 to have done. Also Loyce likes the mid, side door, rather than the door in front of the passenger seat. Yes I know you can get the electric floor that fills in the space once you are underway, but I couldn’t convince her. Too much like a bus!

The rig is a 2008 holdover, and was nicely discounted, but perhaps it needed to be, since it will be instantly used if I should try to trade it in. Again my conservative nature forces me to seek the tightest deal possible.

I don’t have any pictures of this unit yet except a crappy one taken with the cell phone from the outside. I will steal the pictures from the sales add and post them below, if I can.

But perhaps you will now understand why we were cleaning out the inside of the trailer yesterday, and spending so much time on financial stuff the day before. Had the deal not gone thru, we would have shook our heads and moved on.

But for now it seems to be complete, except for taking delivery on Monday. And yes I had to reserve another spot in the storage place. Can’t leave it in front of the house overnight. The grumpy lady at the end of the cul-de-sac will call the cops!

Retired Rod`




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PS: I hope we can park in the front of the campground now!


  1. Congrats on the new rig. Looks great & your going to love it. We went the same route you did from Class C, TT, & Motorhome except we also had a 5th wheel in the mix too. I think you made the right decision by going with a motorhome for sure. Your Allegro is going to land you right up there in that front row for sure.....10-4:))

  2. Wow, congratulations you guys! But that's a lot of money to part with to be up front! LOL

  3. Congratulations!!!!!!! It looks beautiful!!!!! I'm envious! Will you still associate with us 5th wheelers now that you are "upper class"???????!!!!! JoAnn

  4. That is a nice looking rig and you will get as many years as you want, hopefully lots and lots, out of that baby! Bring on the premier CG spots!

  5. Thank you all for the congrats, and we are still poor dirt farmers from Iowa! LOL Al, your review of 5ver vs MH is one of the primary reasons we decided on the MH. Your demonstrated freedom to stay most anywhere tips the decision toward the MH. Now for some solar panels, maybe in Q next winter. See you all there!

  6. Rod did you get my comment I am not sure it went through
    Jenny J

  7. Congrats! I am proud of you for following your dreams!

  8. Jenny your comment did not make the blog. I don't have to approve the comments, they just post directly. Your Allegro also helped in our decision, since it shows how well the rig stands the test of time!

  9. Hey, welcome to the front of the park. Although I always find that up front usually has more traffic noise. But with the solar panels you can join me in the desert next winter, nice and quiet there.


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