To Keep or Not to Keep?
As has been well documented in our blog, we spent quite a bit of time researching fifth wheels at RV shows, at dealerships, on-line, etc. Pretty much any way we could. As we all know, it would be easy, and a lot more fun, to select a fifth wheel if money were no object. But for us, money is definitely part of the conversation because as far as I know money still doesn't grow on trees.
Our research resulted in us purchasing Calvan. A well-built, slightly older trailer that already had some of the upgrades we were looking for in our new home. Calvan has extensive electrical upgrades, an updated kitchen with residential appliances, real wood cabinets and is a great canvas to put on our personal touches. We knew going in that there were several things that needed to be addressed, as well as several things we wanted to upgrade.
After taking delivery of Calvan in April, and living full-time since the middle of May, we had been slowly planning and performing upgrades. These included new La-z-boy furniture; interior LED light replacements; many shelves, racks and storage containers to utilize the available storage; and most recently the MORryde improvements. Unfortunately, the more we traveled, we learned of more things that either needed repaired, replaced, or addressed. These items included: the water heater needed replaced; the water pump needed replaced, the roof had a larger soft spot than we previously thought and needed addressed, there was a leak in the gray tank valve/tank that needed addressed, the roof vents for the black and gray tanks needed replaced, there was a persistent damp odor that we could not identify the source even after replacing almost all of the material surfaces, the living room air conditioner did not produce cold air and needed replaced. The final straw that may have finally convinced us to consider other options was a hydraulic leak that made slide movement and the use of the jacks an adventure. It appeared the leak was in the rear of the trailer and within the sealed underbelly.
So while Calvan was at MORryde, Betsy and I had some free time to look at some trailers in the Elkhart area. Relying on some of our previous research, we scheduled two stops. The first was a visit to Augusta RV. Augusta RV is a factory-direct fifth wheel manufacturer with whom we had chatted with at a couple of RV shows. We spent some time with Stephen at Augusta RV, which included an informative factory tour. Ordering a unit from Augusta RV has a 12 – 16 week lead-time for a completed unit. In addition, Stephen also had 3 units that were already built on his lot which were for sale. Augusta RV builds a beautiful trailer, but as I mentioned earlier, cost is definitely a consideration for us and they are slightly outside of our planned budget.
Our next stop was Tiara RV in Elkhart. This was a natural stop for us since Tiara RV carried both DRV and Heartland Landmark 365 trailers. They happened to have a Landmark floor plan we have liked for a long time, the Landmark 365 Charleston.
At first glance, it may appear we are considering a hasty, knee-jerk decision. This would be far from the truth. Both of our analytical skills kicked in and we spent a great deal of time considering “just the facts”. It really did come down to a simple mathematical equation: How much did we plan on spending on Calvan? vs. How much would it cost us to trade Calvan and purchase a new trailer?
Well, what do you all think? Have any of you had this type of quandary? Let us know.