I'm new here and thought I would introduce myself. My name is Greg. I've been thinking seriously for the last two years about buying a motorhome and fulltiming. I've been reading the different forums, studying the topics of motorhomes, fulltiming, maintenence, the lifestyle, etc, I spend a quite a bit of time studying the topic every night. A little about me, I'm 33 years young, single, with a dog who is like a kid to me. I work full time for an internet auto salvage company with locations nationwide and a few in Canada too. I currently work at the location in Brighton, Colorado. I'm tired of apartments and moving to a new apartment or house every year or so (and their associated lease contract), and would like to be able to "just start the engine" and move my "house" to where I desire. I love to take long weekend trips to see new sights and I am especially fond of the Black Hills area. I also have some friends down in TX and AZ that I would love to see every few months. Besides long road trips, I'm a weekend warrior who will drive up to the mountains of CO every weekend and "camp out" and check out new sights.
I am interested in purchasing a nice '99-01 Damon Challenger 330 with the Ford chassis. I have a lifelong friend with a Damon Challenger 330 who has been a full timer with his coach for 10 years and is extremely happy with it. I like the floor plan, the basement storage, and what the coach has to offer. Any thoughts as to the Damon Challenger's of these years? Pro's and con's? Is it able to withstand winter's here in Colorado? Anyone who has or had a '99-'01 Damon Challenger please let me know how it was!
I plan to do most of the maintenance and minor repairs myself as I'm a pretty handy type of person. I used to be a mechanic and have worked half of my life with either vehicles or in the construction business. I will have to finance the MH, which I figure for the $16k-$25k price range for a Challenger 330 shouldn't be too bad for a loan, I hope for around a $250-300 max MH payment over 7-10 years, once its paid off I'm free to go where I want
Another issue I've come across while researching is a monthly lot to rent while working close to my work. The cheapest, decent place I've found so far is $525/mo at Barr Lake Campground in Brighton, which is only 15 minutes away from work. I currently commute from Castle Rock, CO and it is about 125 miles round trip daily to work. $110+/wk on gas and with all the road construction going on in the Denver Metro-Mess Area, plus the traffic jams, I have to take the toll road to save 90 mins time each way, which is amounting to over $400/mo for tolls. That and gas, $800-900/mo I could put towards living in a MH fulltime close to work while keeping my sanity. A decent apt around here is going for $900 or more. I'd rather have my own "home."
My toad will be my 2002 Buick Regal LS. I haven't looked into the costs yet of setting it up to be pulled behind the MH for travel. I have no idea what that would cost.
I'm ready to get a MH to fulltime in and live the lifestyle and not deal with rent leases and the "chain" of being stuck to a stick house. I'm a simple kinda guy who sticks to the basics and wishes to live a simple lifestyle. Go free as a bird as I wish. That is just me. I can't stand materialistic things, clutter, cable TV, unnecessary bills, collecting thingamajings, I'd rather rent/borrow/or do a book exchange than buy a book that costs money and then just sits around after being read, I'd rather have a Walmart Smart-Trac no-contract cell phone unlimited $45 Internet/data/text plan than my current $95/mo iPhone with a contract (1 more year with that, and I'm done!). I'm much more happy meeting people, making friends, having dinners, sightseeing, those are the things that make life great! Not an apartment or lease where you're stuck till the lease is up and have to deal with crazy neighbors or apt management, etc. I'd rather have the option of turning the key, start up my "home," and drive away as I wish
I'd appreciate any feedback as I'm new to this. I would love to become a full timer with my own home and do as I wish! It has been a dream of mine for quite a while now.
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Thinking of Full-Timingmotorhome fulltime
Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:23 AM
Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:27 AM
Hello, Greg, and welcome to FMCA.
This sounds like a real plan to me. Good luck with your desires to fulltime. Damon makes a good product I'm not familiar with the Challenger330, but seems that you are already impressed that model. On a Ford chassis, probably has a gas engine, which should be sufficient.
I personally would have diesel, primarily because of torque and longevity. I've owned two with gas engines and two with diesel, and would not go back to gas. But that is an issue that you apparently have already considered.
The ability to move when you get ready is really desirable, especially with the fact that you are single, don't have to argue with anyone as to when and where. I'm sure that your kid will be grateful any time you say, let's go. Just a little pun!
The model years that you mentioned is a good choice, because they are not too old yet, and can be purchased at a good buyer's price.
Good luck with your decision, and happy trails.
Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:29 AM
Im not sure about financing, because the banks may have a hard time financing a coach as old ad a '99, but good luck.
Good to hear you will be doing most of your own maintenance. Read a lot, and try to find a club or online discussion group that deals specifically with the Daemon. Also, see if there is a different group that deals with the chassis and engine.
If you ever want to get together for coffee, just write me.
1989 33' Southwind (Gas 454 Chevy)
"Life is just a collection of memories
and memories are like starlight, they go on forever"
Posted 28 August 2013 - 11:27 PM
Thank you! I loved your response! Yes, being single at 33 years old with no kids...and living apartment life is no fun. Now that I'm in a townhome, its still the same. Same old people and never meet anyone interesting. And stuck with a lease contract gets old, which is why I got a month to month on the townhome in a valley and same story. My neighbors are boring! Like apts, they keep to themselves and are too selfish to even say "hi," they just do their own thing. I've helped out a few neighbors before, yet I can't get a hand to help with something heavy that will take 5 mins...even if I offer some beer and dinner...it's all "about them." I don't know what's wrong with people in general, but when I moved here last spring and tried to unload the pickup with a couch and a dirtbike, folks would just stroll by and not even ask if I needed a hand. I didn't have a helper beforehand, I figured a neighbor would be able to help me. Nope, I got the couch inside by myself, and the dirtbike I nearly broke my back and legs getting it off the truck myself, with no ramps! But I did it and didn't drop it! I'm not too fond of city folks who are selfish. I've met tons of RVers and they would be happy to lend a hand and with a smile! I would do the same without hesitating! City folks just don't have the right mentality!
I'd love to have a diesel MH to full time in, but they are out of my budget right now. While I'm very mechanically inclined, I do not have a lot of diesel experience but I do know they cost a lot more to maintain and are more complex to figure out. I could figure it out myself if I came across an issue, but I just don't want the added expense of a diesel to maintain right now. One day I would love to have one, the power plus air brakes! I also know a diesel is only happy being driven, the less miles the worse they get. A gas one makes more sense to me, as I would only put maybe 8-12k miles on it a year. I gotta start simple, that means a gas engined one for around $25k or less. I only make around $35k a year with my job, and being single with no kids and 33 years old, I'd like to keep the expenses down to be able to add to my savings account/retirement fund and still enjoy the good life. I will have to finance a MH though, but once paid off, all I will have to deal with is lot rent. Either way, I figure it is still worth it as rent is high in the Denver Metro-Mess area, why not go the MH way, and no rental contracts meaning I'm stuck in once place for a year with a lease? I can deal with a MH payment for 5 years and a lot rental, after the rig is paid off, its cheap living as far as no payment and only monthly lot rentals. If its time to move (job transfer, new job, or I don't like the place I'm at, all I gotta do is start the engine and move on without being tied to a lease or a mortgage. I've owned houses before and a $1500/mo mortgage I am not a big fan of. If a situation changes, well, its a hassle until the house sells. Lease contracts are equally annoying.
I'm simply not a big fan of being tied in. I'd rather be free as a bird! . "If you don't like it, put the key in, start the engine and move on!"
Posted 29 August 2013 - 12:25 AM
Thank you for the reply! I will definitely check out the park you recommended! Barr Lake Campground is a little high at $525/mo. Though they are 15 minutes away from work, that's a bit higher than I want to spend.
As far as MH financing, I may have to put down $1-2k to get started. I've yet to talk to any lenders. I haven't financed anything in the last 5 years, the car is paid off, I don't have CC debt and haven't even owned a CC for a long time, motorcycle is paid for too. I write a check for rent, cell phone, car insurance, and pay cash for other living expenses such as groceries or fun $$. I live basic, and I like it that way. I only buy what I need, and say if I have to buy a new battery or tires for my car, I pay cash. I jokingly tell folks who ask about my credit that my score is probably ZERO! Hehe...it's been a long time! I figure why pay rent with a lease contract, and be stuck, and repeat the same old process year after year, when I can finance a MH, and after 5 years or so its paid off? And I can always simply turn the key and go as I wish and hope for those $300 monthly lot rentals plus elec.
I better go to bed now! Work tmw. I'm having too much fun on this forum! I'm glad the folks here are awesome and very helpful and friendly. One reason I want to become a Fulltimer, they are friendly folks and so am I, and I can't wait to officially join!
Have a Wonderful Night!
Posted 03 September 2013 - 12:57 PM
One thing to be aware of:
In the winter you will use a lot of propane to stay warm. You can add an "Extend a Stay" tee - Marshal Brass, or a "Stay A While" tee (Mr Heater) that will allow you to use an external propane tank so you don't have to move the motor home to get propane. In Grand Junction CO in Feb I used a 40 pound tank every 7 or 8 days.
You will need a heat tape on the water line or fill your on-board tank and disconnect the water hose and drain it or take it inside.
You will need to keep both the gray and black tanks closed and dump as needed.
I think the motor home you mentioned has hot air from the furnace directed into the basement to keep the tanks from freezing. That means the furnace will need to be running when it is cold outside.
You may also need to put a light bulb in the area where dump valves are located to keep them from freezing.
Clay (WA5NMR), Lee (Wife), katie & Kelli (cats)
Full timer domiciled in SD for 11 years. Now snow birds with a house in western CO
2004 Winnebago Sightseer 35N - Workhorse chassis
Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:34 PM
I purchased a '94 Dutchmen Classic 26 foot trailer yesterday from the orgininal owners. The trailer is meticulous. I figured it was best to start with a trailer to see what my needs actually are after full timing for a while. I can always upgrade to a Class A later. Do you or anyone know how the Dutchmen Classic will handle the winters? I'm thinking I may have to get a couple
Posted 05 September 2013 - 08:02 PM
I purchased a '94 Dutchmen Classic 26 foot trailer yesterday from the orgininal owners. The trailer is meticulous and has all service records. They also did all reccommended services on time. It has a newer Honda 4010 generator. The only thing I will need to do is get rid of the twin bed setup, and remodel it to fit a full bed (or possibly a queen, I need to do some measurements to see if a queen will fit) with underbed storage and new cabinets and closets. I will do the work myself but will wait a few months before doing that so I can get settled down and get used to the full timer lifestyle. I still have the sofa bed to sleep in while remodeling the bedroom. I figured it was best to start with a trailer to see what my needs actually are after full timing for a while. I can always upgrade to a Class A later. Do you or anyone know how the Dutchmen Classic bumper pull will handle the winters? I'm thinking I may have to get a couple of those electric heat cords to wrap the plumbing with to keep them from freezing. Not sure what to do about the black, grey, and fresh water tanks. Maybe insulate them or a tank heater? As far as I understand the furnace, refrigerator, and AC can run on either electric, propane, or the generator (gen is a Honda 4010). I will be hooked up to shore power as I found a lot to rent month to month with free water and sewer, and $80 flat electric monthly bill, so I can run whatever electric I want. I was thinking of buying one of those thermostat controlled oil filled radiator heaters to keep the furnace from working too hard. And help protect the indoor plumbing, and also to keep my dog warm while I'm at work. The light bulb for the valve area is a great idea! I will go pick up one of those work type clamp lights with the metal dish at the hardware store and a heavy duty extension cord. Wondering if I will need tank heaters for the 3 tanks?
I'm new to this lifestyle. I will start full timing this weekend or next. Trailer will be placed at te lot this Saturday. When hooked up to shore, do I leave the black tank valve open to drain as it goes, and close the grey water to save it up to flush the black tank? The fresh water I'm thinking I will fill up, then disconnect the hose on an as needed basis. I will keep the fresh water hose inside, frozen hoses are no fun. Should I keep the fresh water tank 3/4 full in case of a deep cold so it doesn't burst?
Thanks for all the helpful advice!
Posted 05 September 2013 - 08:20 PM
I ended up not needing to finance the '94 Dutchmen Classic trailer I purchased yesterday from the original owners for $5,500. I figured it was best to start with a trailer, I can always upgrade in 2-3 years and saves me from making RV payments to save up for the Damon Challenger too. I also paid for a months rent and deposit for a lot at a RV park in Golden, CO and I will be there at 9 am this Saturday to set up and the previous owners will spend the day showing me the full works, how to set up, run all systems, etc. very nice folks who have been RVers for 50 years. I will stay there for a month, then move to Dakota Ridge RV Park nearby for the winter.
Where are you located? If youre close by, meeting for coffee sounds good! I do work M-F, so weekends are best.
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