We Have Bought A New Home!
After the accident it seemed like everything moved so slow! Then at the end of February, things finally all came together. We picked up the truck on February 23rd. Then we spent the weekend fine tuning our trailer requirements and narrowed down the list.
We started the research before we came home. While in Arizona, taking a couple of days to recover from the collision, we visited a well known dealer who carried three brands of trailers that included at least one line of full time certified or "extended living" fifth wheel trailers. After walking through all three brands, discussing the pros and cons of each as well as taking note of the price points, we decided on a Grand Design fifth wheel. Grand Design is a "young" RV manufacturing company that focuses exclusively on full timer quality fifth wheels and bumper pull trailers. Their list of models for each are quite short. We researched the reviews on the brand as well as reviews of the various dealers that sell them.
Deciding to purchase a new trailer was NOT an easy decision. We lost a significant amount of money due a few poor insurance decisions on my part. The fault is "mostly" our own. Before we embarked on our full time travel journey, I specifically asked State Farm about trailer replacement insurance as well as emergency coverage (housing, fuel, food etc) in the event of a catastrophe and I was told that they did not offer either of those options for our trailer. Alas, I had "research better trailer insurance" on my to do list for early in 2018 /sigh. Let this be a lesson to all who read this. Research, understand and GET the right insurance immediately!!!! I will do a full article on this huge misstep at a later date. The point for this particular article is that we knew we would be paying a significant portion of non-trailer designated money to buy a new trailer versus a used trailer.
The used market for our chosen product line is limited for two reasons .First, this is a quality brand that once acquired, are not often sold. Second, the first trailer in the series we could afford was made in July of 2013 so there is not alot of inventory out there. Ok, so used was off the table. The product that met our needs is called the "Reflection". The top of the line Solitude series was way, way out of our price range. The Reflection series is broken into two parts, the full weight Reflection and then there is the new Reflection 150 Series which is their light weight half ton line. We veto'ed the 150 series due to its limited feature set.
Finally, there were three models that we thought would work: 337RLS, 303RLS and 29RS. All three have the rear living configuration very similar to our old trailer. We really loved the 337 but at 35ft 11in, it was far too long for our liking. What we loved about it was the huge bedroom with king size bed and walk in closet. The closest match to our old trailer was the 303RLS, which is 6 inches shorter. It seemed the bathroom is where they took out the six inches. We could live with that. Last but not least was the 29RS which Hub liked alot due to its 30ft 5in length. The key features it lacked included: pantry, accessible fridge when traveling and basement space.
The 303RLS is packed with RV goodness. It has the high end kitchen appliances, a pantry and a double door fridge that you can access with the slides closed. It also has more basement storage that its shorter counterpart, the 29RS. I was already sold on the 303, but right before I made the call, Hub saw the light and agreed to give up his short fifth wheel dream. He knows we will be living in it full time for the foreseeable future and wants us both to be comfortable in it.
Now here is where the story gets wonky. My dealer contact was the assistant manager. I had already negotiated a great price back in early January. I did not make the purchase commitment until the end of February so I was not sure he could honor that price. Honor it they did, and they even added in a few freebies for that price. Keep in mind I was not holding him to the fire knowing how much time had passed. As soon as we got the call that unit was available, we went to the dealer immediately to pay.
While there, Hub and I had some idle time so I had him run some numbers. As crazy as this sounds, we only paid 2.5k MORE for this trailer than our first one. Either I was a terrible negotiator in 2016, or the market has changed. In 2016 I negotiated a 7k markdown from list and I negotiated a 14k markdown in 2018. What did I do different? This time I got actual numbers, hard numbers from three dealers, the other two were out of state, and I was not afraid to tell them what these numbers were. In 2016 I was not willing to drive far to get our trailer so I bought from the only Jayco dealer in Washington at that time. I also had a trade in back then. Both purchases were for cash, and were in February, two years apart. Finally, there was of course the sympathy factor with the most recent purchase. Half ton trailers are all the rage right now, and in 2016 they were very "new"... I somewhat wonder if I paid a premium for that.
Our required features list for this new trailer was generated from our own personal experience of living in a fifth wheel full time for a year and a half. It is kind of funny the difference in the 2016 "never even stayed in a fifth wheel must have's" versus today's, "ok been in one an extended period of time must have's". In 2016 it was, "a roof mounted solar panel, the blue lights in the rooms and USB charging ports" were so important. In 2018 must haves changed to, "have a REAL microwave, fridge accessible during travel and MUST be full time certified", wow how time and experience changes ones perceptions.
We await the call to schedule the final walk through and delivery, I expect it to be later this week. We are ready to get back to living the full time travel dream.
Thanks for stopping by, please feel free to leave comments or questions, I am here to help!