I guess I will write about my experiences with my motor coach, purchase, taking delivery and so on.
Let me start by writing about our camping experiences in the past.
If I go back all the way to the beginning, it actually started in December 1993 in Germany. I was a soldier in the German Armed Forces and just got promoted to Sergeant. I was sitting at our company Sergeant's Christmas party when the company chief approached a group of us because he needed to find one man to send to CFB Shilo, Manitoba, Canada. CFB Shilo was home of the German Army Training Establishment Shilo, the biggest training facility of the German Army. I became the choosen one to go to Shilo for 9 months. On March 17, 1994, I put my first foot onto Canadian soil.
So that's how I ended up in Canada. Now it's many years later, and I have not been in the Army since 2000, but I am still in Canada with a wife (she is Canadian) and a 10-year-old daughter.
Camping started around 1996 for me. The Army recreation office had 10 tent trailers available to us for $10 a night. This is where I got into camping. Me and my soon-to-be wife started to rent those 8-foot tent trailers and loved it.
In 2000 I was finished with the military and I had all my immigration papers to stay in Canada. The army paid me to go to University and we moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba. One of the first things we did after settling into our new environment was to look for a new camping trailer. We ended up with a brand-new 1998 Jayco tent trailer, to continue our fun. From there, in 2004 we moved to a new 2003 Trail Cruiser hybrid, which we mostly used on a seasonal site.
In 2006 we moved to Edmonton, Alberta. Soon after, we moved to our current residence and became interested in upgrading into a MOTORHOME. By late spring 2007 the motorhome fever was in full swing. I started to do a lot of research about motorhomes. At this point we had no idea about anything motorhome related. It almost became a hobby for us to just go look around.
When we first started our research we were looking into a Class C. The Class C seemed to be a little less intimidating for me. We knew nothing bout those. We spent much time at dealer lots just looking. We talked with owners we saw at campgrounds and elsewhere, and slowly narrowed into what we think we needed in a motorhome. One month later I came to realize that a Class C was NOT what I wanted.
I asked a dealer for a test drive in a pre owned Class C on a Ford chassis. I learned that once the slideout is in there is no room in the driver cap for me. I am just under 7 feet tall and there was absolutely no room. I was not able to push the driver's seat back far enough to be comfortable. I felt cramped into the little space behind the wheel.
After that, I knew there was no way for me to get a Class C. It just wasn't for me. By now it was later in the summer of 2007 and the looking around had stopped for us. I was disappointed and crushed by this test drive experience.
All we knew was that we wanted to upgrade. We did not like the hybrid anymore. So now the idea of a Class A was surfacing; we were not too serious about it yet. Also, my wife was getting concerned about her job. She was working for an accounting firm and things weren't going well. So we continued the season in our Trail Cruiser and the motorhome shopping was dead.
Winter came and went and the 2008 camping season was upon us. All winter, I did research on motorhomes and then my wife told me that she had quit her job. She could not do it anymore working at this accounting firm and was sick of it. She simply resigned without a new job on hand. That crushed my dream of the motorhome as well.
Even after this blow, I dreamt on. Leah Ann knew that she had hurt me. But I did understand her, too. We kept on dreaming. The motorhome purchase was not completely dead yet. We kept going to RV shows and dealerships -- we were now looking for used motorhomes.
Leah Ann found a nice job with the city of Edmonton. And we kept on looking. In the meantime, I actually fell in love with a Winnebago Class C built on a Dodge Sprinter chassis. I took the motorhome out for a test run and loved it. To my surprise, the driver cap was so much more comfortable than what I had experienced with the Ford Class Cs. I was amazed.
However, the price was a little high. Even after hard negotiating, the price for this new unit was more than I was willing to spend for such a small motorhome. I had the dealer from $124,000 (Canadian) down to $92,000. Still too much when you consider that I could get a Holiday Rambler Arista for under $70,000.
So we continued our search weekend after weekend. My dream went on.
It was mid-summer 2008 and I had decided to put our Trail Cruiser up for sale. After talking to all the dealers, I had an idea what they would give me for a trade-in value. I placed a free add in Kijiji.com, with a few pictures just before I went to work in the morning. By the time I got home I had 18 e-mails from interested buyers. I lined up some viewing and actually got $1,200 over my asking price.
Now we really wanted that Motorhome. Leah Ann was happy with her new job. So we intensified our search.
AND THERE IT WAS. At Uncle Ben’s RV in Red Deer, Alberta, we found Motorhome we liked -- priced a little high, but we planned to work on that. It was a 2002 Holiday Rambler Vacationer, Chevy 8.1L gas, Workhorse W22 chassis, 17,000 miles. We were able to get the price dropped by $30,000 below asking.
On September 23, 2008, we took delivery of our new baby.
TO BE CONTINUED ...