Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Better Sleep / RLS Medication

This whole process has really done a number on my sleep!

My mind just doesn't want to turn off, and I have been awake long into the wee hours more nights than I care to count.  Some nights it's been worry, some just  thinking and planning.

I don't like to take sleeping pills because I don't want to be dependent on them and if I take them  late in the night I am totally groggy for most of the morning.

Many nights I will take a Benadryl  because it helps the "post menopausal" itchy skin, and sometimes helps me fall asleep without having a morning hangover effect.

I also have had a life long battle with RLS  "Restless Leg Syndrome."  Some nights I don't know how Craig can sleep so peacefully next to me as I thrash and kick.  I had actually worn a large whole thru the foot area of the last set of sheets I replaced.  Some evenings my legs are so restless I find it hard to sit in my chair and read.  Other nights they don't give me any discomfort until an hour or so after I'm in bed.

I have a wonderful medication I can take for this.  It is Clonazepam.  But, the doctor advised me not to take it every night because it is both addictive and can loose it's effectiveness.  With this in mind I only take it when I can't stand the RLS anymore.  I find that if I take it for 3 nights, I really "Want" to take it the fourth. So I never do.

When it was first prescribed, I looked it up on the web to see if there were any side effects that I should know about.  I learned that the primary use of it is as an anti-anxitey medication.  Calming restless legs is a secondary effect.  

Since I haven't used it for over a month, my legs have become increasingly jumpy so I decided to take one last night.

Wonderful!  I had a very peaceful, restful, calm nights sleep.  I caught my mind wandering toward a few worries, and then felt myself relax and think, "That's no big deal."  "All will be well."  "Life is good." "You can answer that question tomorrow."  

The nice thing is I wake rested and not groggy the next morning.

Sometimes we just need a little help!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pick up date set

We are just not getting along with La Mesa RV.

This time we are being difficult.

The timing on everything has been just a little "off" all along.

When my salesman called me about the Alfa from Arizona, I was just leaving for a few days in San Diego.  That was a Friday, and I would be back the following Wednesday.  He said fine, and called on Wednesday but I was not yet back.

Craig was very busy at work that week and we couldn't get out to see it until Saturday.  This did not seem to be a problem, but then when we wanted a few more days for the inspection, the manager and salesman were a bit "put out" to say the least. I knew they wanted to close the sale.

The following Wednesday, after the inspection, I sat down with the manager to work out a few details.  We had given them a 20K down payment, and I explained to him that although we had the balance in the bank, our bank had put a hold on it because we had transferred it from another source.  He said, no problem, because it would probably take a couple of weeks for the new windshield to come in. (the drivers-side windshield was cracked.)  So I thought I had at least that much time to get the necessary tree work done so we could park it at home.

But then the service manager called and said the windshield would be in by today and he wanted us to pick up this  Thursday or Friday. It seems that all the inventory they have has come back to their lot from various "shows" and they don't have any room.

But, we are tied up all week and can't do it until the beginning of next week.

Somehow when I read about service departments making customers wait because parts are NOT in, I don't feel bad about making them wait for us.  Although he isn't happy, the service manager has accepted our timing and we will pick up on Tuesday September 6th.

BUT, this evening I discovered a message on my new answering machine from the "Finance Manager" from La Mesa.  I hadn't seen it earlier because I am used to having the machine beep when it has a message.  We just got new phones, and this one just flashes a light.  I didn't happen to look at the phone.

So I have to call him first thing tomorrow.  I can't even drive up there and give him part of the balance because Craig is using my van while his car is in the shop getting the dent fixed!

Oh well, I'm sure it will ll work out.  I just have to remind myself that the customer is always right!

This was a lame post.  But it is part of the details and small problems that come up.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thinking of all my East Coast friends

Sounds like the East Coast survived the hurricane pretty well.  I have heard from just about everyone I know there.

We are both quite tired this afternoon.  We spent most of yesterday clipping and trimming low hanging branches on the upper driveway where the Alfa will park.  Today we worked on some large garden bushes, dragging the branches up to the pile from yesterday.  I have a lot more to do tomorrow.

We are having some professional tree trimmers coming later this week to do some high stuff and we want to get as much on the cut pile for them to chip up.

It was hot today.  I hate working in hot weather.

Pictures as the project progresses.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Let me show you the Alfa - a long post

Although it won't come home  until next week, the Alfa is starting to feel like it belongs to us.

The following post is a reflection on my first impressions of it, and a recap of thoughts I've had during  sleepless hours as I visualized what I liked about it.

All of the pictures were shot very quickly after we had decided we were going to buy. 

In the Family Motor Coach Association review the Alfa See YA Founder Edition series, hence forth to be known as "the Alfa," is described as a toned down, simpler class A with fewer electronic gadgets and other luxuries.

This is just fine with me.  I never wanted the washer with the 18 different cycles, nor the sewing machine that could do 67 fancy stitches and was run by a computer.  It seems the more electronics something has, the more electronics there are to malfunction!  But I think Craig likes electronic gadgets...

It is reviewed as having generous storage and tall indoor ceilings.  Both are true.

 For my non-RVing friends who might be reading this, the storage bays on the outside  bottom part of an RV are called the basement. Two are shown here.

This is a look into one of them.  As you can see they go deep into the RV.  The yellowish things are the two extra dining room chairs, and there's a waste basket at the back of the bay.

One of the simplified features is
 the floor panel that you put in place under the passenger side chair. It's manual, not electronic.  Tsk, tsk, you actually have to fold it up and down by hand.  Must take at least 10 seconds to do, but it can't malfunction!

Another thing missing in the cockpit area is a "computer shelf" for the co-pilot.  I saw one in a few other rigs and liked it.   My lap will just have to do. Not a deal breaker.

A plus in the cockpit are the night shades that pull down over the front  and side windows.  I like them better than curtains because they are cleaner.  Curtains get so dirty.

I like the light color of the sleeper sofa.  The pillows will go, and will be replaced by something more interesting.
The upholstery is in good shape and it is pretty comfortable to sit on.

The wood table is not as tiny as it looks.  It  has a leaf and can be expanded to seat four.

I really like all of the windows the Alfa has.  It is one of the lightest coaches we have seen. The downside to that  is the dinky venetian blinds.  But if they work, they will stay for a while.  The carpet is hard to see under the dealer's plastic, but looks like a sad gray- brown color.  The other  flooring is linoleum.  A few nice throw rugs will brighten it up nicely.

Opposite the couch is a comfortable recliner, with foot stool and a little table. The copilot  seat swivels around, so you could use the little table to play cards or a game.

I  like the light colored cabinetry.  We saw some very posh rigs with dark woods that seemed very beautiful, but felt dark for such a small place.

 I'm a simple person. The wood is pretty basic, but very functional.

There are three huge cabinets above the chair.  I measured them and figure they will easily hold my bread maker, crock pot, toaster, blender and iron on the top shelves,  and the lower shelves will accommodate a series of baskets  for things like tea, dry goods, and other smaller everyday items.

I like the fact that there are several fans.  There are two small ones in the front and one in the kitchen, two ceiling fans, and two vents with exhaust fans in the ceiling.  I like fresh air, so maybe in moderate weather we can open some windows and move the air around without the air conditioner on all of the time. Some of the windows have screens.

I like the size of the two sinks.  It has a cartridge type water filter. The counter space is limited, but I've been practicing cooking with less space and have thought about a few ways to make the best of less room. I like the fact that it has both an oven below and a microwave/ convection oven above.

Because the Alfa is a bit taller than some coaches it has a higher interior ceiling (7'6") and thus there is room for cabinets above the cabinets!

I have never had trouble reaching my top shelves, but I'm going to have to get a step stool to reach into some of these.  I have to think about what seldom-used but necessary things to put up there.

I'm happy that it has the larger four door refrigerator.  I considered this a must have!  I don't really care about the ice maker.  I'd rather have the extra cubic feet of freezer space and use a tray or two, but Craig will like it.

A very functional feature of the kitchen is the trash hatch. There is a place for the trash can inside the cabinet and you can either use the small hole or lift the panel for bigger stuff.  There is a door on the outside of the coach, just above the basement doors, that opens so you can empty the trash from outside.

Opposite the refrigerator is a large cabinet that has three big drawers on the bottom and a large, deep cabinet above.  I think this will be pantry space, and I'll have to figure out how best to use it.

Further along are two large cedar lined four door wardrobes with eight drawers below.  Not sure if we own enough clothes to fill them...

The Alfa floor plan different in that it has a divider down the center isle with a blank wall on one side and the bathroom vanity on the other.
The shower and toilet are on one outside wall, and the wardrobe mentioned above is on the other.

The medicine cabinets are generous with six mirrored doors.  We don't have that much medicine.  I'll have to think of something else to put in them. I hope there's an outlet somewhere there, I can't see one in the picture.  I looked around the coach and felt it had lots of them in good places.

The wood door next to the vanity opens onto a big cabinet on top and a hamper on the bottom which is not very big, and I can imagine emptying it to a larger laundry bag on the wardrobe floor!

Speaking of laundry, about the only thing missing is a washer dryer.  Not a deal breaker!  I think I will be fine going to a laundromat once a week.  That way the wash gets done all at once.

I didn't take any pictures in the bedroom.  It has windows on both sides and more drawers and end tables.

The bed is horrible, but that can be changed! My salesman promised to see if he could find a better mattress in one of the other unsold rigs, but in the long run we may buy a new one.

There's a TV in the front and one in the bedroom.  I don't watch much TV myself, and use my laptop to watch DVDs and Netflix streaming.  But there's a satellite dome and an antenna. It would be funny if the antenna could pick up anything from our mountain home location.

So that's a look our new (to us) second home on wheels.  Not perfect, but pretty nice for an "anytime ride".

I'm not sure where our first shakedown trip will go.   Craig says just driving it home and parking it here will be an adventure!

 We are trimming trees this weekend and I have professionals coming before we bring the Alfa home.

It's going to be an interesting winter in  "Merikay's Woods."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Tim, the independent RV inspector, spent over three hours going thru the Alfa.  There were a couple of things he couldn't check because the propane was not connected, but we decided these were something we could judge in the final walk thru after La Mesa did their work.  His verbal opinion was that there were no big red flags and in general it was in much better shape than he expected.

There is one problem that must be corrected .  He put water into the fresh water system and what came back out had a horrible smell.  The entire coach smelled bad from it.  Worse than garbage! He said if it was drained, flushed and sanitized the smell should clear up.

He did earn his very small fee in that he identified an area of calking that need to be repaired.  There is a small water stain on the ceiling behind the drivers side, and he said the calking above it was quite cracked.  I had asked our salesman about it and he had just blew me off, saying maybe the previous owners had stopped for lunch in a rain storm and hadn't opened the slide all of the way.

After Tim was done I sat down with the manager and we discussed the small things, I saying of course I knew La Mesa would have caught all of these in their inspection, (caught yes, but fixed? Who knows) Then we put the need for caulking repair and  flushing of the tanks to remove the smell in writing.

On my way home I decided I would have two checks cut. (They have to be certified cashiers checks.)  One for the balance minus $5000 and one for $5000.  The later to be handed over only if the smell is 100% gone.

We will not be able to bring it home for a couple of weeks.  They have ordered a new windshield  and the manager said it might take a couple of weeks to get it.
There is also that fiberglass repair needed that I will be paying for.  He said they would do it at cost.  Whatever that means!  The delay will give us time to trim trees!

Stopped at the Dollar Store on my way home and bought some plastic baskets for one of the cupboards.  I measured some of the spaces  while I was saying hello to the Alfa today.

So thats all for tonight.  It looks like we have a new second home!  I'm going to do a walk thru blog in the next few days telling you what I like about it and what I'm only OK with.

heyduke50 has given me a great suggestion!

"after they sanitize your holding tank ask them to put ten gallons of fresh water in it and have everyone from the dealership take a drink from the kitchen faucet... If they do so it must be OKay :):):)"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunday was a Baaad Day

Sunday was really a bad luck day.  

I didn't have anything to do with RVs at all.

Craig and I were going to work on staining some new doors for the hall outside the middle bathroom, so I went out to make room in the  garage by pulling out his prius and my van.

I pulled out the prius onto the driveway just outside the door.

Then I got into my big old van, thinking about something not related to driving and backed it out.

Usually when I back out I swing to the left to turn it around.

Not thinking I automatically turned, and creamed the front fender of the prius!

I couldn't have been moving at more than 5 mph. but I did $700 worth of damage. I went for an estimate yesterday at my favorite body shop. They actually gave me a discount because I've been there several times in the last 20 years.

I know it could happen to anyone.  But I really felt bad.

We worked on  staining one of the doors (3 more to do) and decided to have an early dinner.

I'm really a good cook, and can pull a nice meal together out of an odd set of ingredients.  Sunday I decided to use some scallops I had in the freezer, plus a couple of things from the fridge.  My idea was a disaster.  The sauce I put together would have been ineatable had I served it.

Instead I decided to make some quick pasta and toss it with broccoli and  cheese, and serve that as a side to the scallops which were already cooking.

  I had a nice chunk of parmesan  that was almost to the end and had a thick rind.  I didn't have time to grate it by hand so I decided to toss it in the blender.  Before I could do that I need to cut the rind off.

I have (had) a very special knife.  It is (was) a black Kyocera ceramic.  A beautiful tool. It cut like a razor, and I used it for everything.  
One thing you must not do is twist it.  Apparently I did. I started cutting into the cheese and it snapped!  

All I can say is bad luck is said to come in threes, and I sure had my three in one day.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Need to ask another question ..

Help!  I am trying to figure out which company for an extended warrantee and for Road Service.
Are they separate policies?

The one thru Go RV Network  looks pretty good.  Not as inclusive as what the dealer is selling, but not as expensive either.  I have to study the differences in coverage a bit.

Good Sam's warranty seemed priced pretty high.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom as to who to stay away from?

The good news is Alstate, my current car/house/earthquake coverage is quoting me a pretty low rate on the RV.  I talked to my agent and asked "what if a tree falls on it and it is damaged?  Se said that would be covered under the comprehensive part of the policy.  So maybe I'm less worried about parking it here  in the "Merikay Woods."

 I have a request out for a couple of other quotes, but I think I'll go with them rather than the unknown.  That part is easier because we are not full timers.  I hear you need different insurance when you are.

SO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT! I told Craig it's like buying a puppy. The purchase price is just the beginning!  I've had more than one "free puppy" that broke the budget.  But we loved them and we will love our RV.

I bought plastic waste basket bags today for the Alfa.  And looked at foam mattress pads at COSTCO.

I had a terrible day yesterday.  I'll probably write about it sometime soon.  I'm also holding off on writing about the details of the Alfa until it passes the inspection and all is settled.  Don't want to jinks it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The "not so great" Purchase Experience

For those of you who have had RVs of one sort or another over the years, all the things I have been rambling about may seem like a bit of "deja vu," but for me everything is new and writing posts about it has helped me a great deal.  I also hope that if other "newbies" read my posts, they might either be helped or comforted knowing they are not the only ones who feel a bit lost at times.

So this is how Saturday went:

First off, I think I did my homework:
  •  I checked out the Nada price information, and decided the price was both fair and within our desired range.
  • I searched for any ratings for the Alfa line and found it rated well, higher than Winnebago, but not as high at Tiffin.
  • I looked for any comments on forums etc. and didn't find to much negative.
  • I made a two page list of what we wanted and questions about this particular coach.
  • I lined up an RV inspector (maybe not the best, but who I could find available at this time.)
We stopped for breakfast on the way there so we were comfortable in our bodies.  Food always makes me happier.

When we got to the dealership we found the Alfa up front, with the door open and the generator running and our name on the window.  Good presentation!

We did a quick look around the outside and went in, soon to be joined by our smiling salesman.  I have little sense of time, but I think we spent about a half hour looking at things with him and asking a few of the easier questions before we took a test drive.

The salesman drove first with Craig up front and me in the recliner.  Knowing how sensitive Craig is to rattles, I identified one big one as being the top of the stove burners, removed it and held it on my lap.

Craig's drive started on a country road, then onto the freeway, which was moving very slow, and then onto a surface street area.  He didn't like the exhaust breaking very much so turned it off, and liked the feel of that better.

I drove it on some surface streets and then back to the dealership doing a turn around at the end of the street in a large cul de sac, and then parked it next to a curb at the dealers lot.  Nothing hard.  (my evaluation was that the National drove a little smoother, but the Alfa was pretty good.  Craig was OK with it and said it didn't feel too big.)  

The salesman answered a few more questions and then left us alone to talk and look some more.  Neither one of us was at the "we have to have this one or die of disappointment" point.   We could have walked away with regrets, but decided to take the next step. We had agreed on the need to get an inspection the night before.

So we called the salesman in and said yes, with some conditions.  We all sat down and he began putting our agreed on fixes in writing.  A new windshield,  clean a spot on the ceiling, repair of the engine cover door, and giving us an estimate on repairing the bottom edge of the from bumper which is scuffed up and cracked.
He told me about it last week from Arizona and it was as he described.  He told me then they would not fix it, but I'm hoping to get a good price on the work as part of the sale.

All of this went smoothly, BUT when we stated the condition of having an independent inspection, the whole thing almost fell apart.

The salesman called in the manager and they both went on about how they had never heard of such a thing.  Why call in someone from the outside when they did a complete inspection using their experts! That if you bought a coach from "La Mesa" you didn't need any one else's opinion.  They were very "arrogant."

Craig  said that that was one of our requirements and there was no other way we would buy the coach.

The manager said he had two other customers that wanted that coach, and he couldn't hold it for us any longer. We said fine, sell it to them and  give us our  refund.  (It turned out they had never run my credit card, and all there was in our folder was a note with our credit card number etc. that I had given the salesman over the phone when he called me from Arizona. I do have to check my American Express account tomorrow however just to make sure.)

Then the manager said a few other things that I ignored, but whatever he said, it made Craig very angry, and he said he could never do business with "that man" and stormed out to the car. Craig later told me he thought the manager was being very verbally abusive to me.  I just heard it as sale "bluster" and was willing to call their bluff on canceling the possible sale.

So, I went out too, and we sat in our car for a few minutes to cool off.
 It is never good to drive while upset. I'm not sure we wanted to leave it at that either.

Our salesman came out to talk to us and tried to smooth things over.  By then the manager had agreed to include the condition of our "approval" of an independent inspection report, if it could be done by Wednesday.  So we went back in and put it under contract, with everything in writing. This time giving them a deposit by check.

Once that was done there were handshakes and congratulations all around.

No used RV is perfect.  We know some of the imperfections of the Alfa, mostly due to it being almost five years old.  We do not expect out inspector to reveal anything, but if he does we will still can walk away.  I hope!

Next post:  The pluses and minuses.  Why we choose this one.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Need I Say More

More information tomorrow!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tomorrow ???

Well, tomorrow morning will be interesting and scary.

  Our salesman, Bob, called Craig Wednesday morning to ask when we were coming to see the Alfa.  I had told him I would be in San Diego thru Wednesday, but I hardly intended to rush from the airport to the dealership.

Craig is involved in something "very interesting" at work this week and didn't want to take time away from his project, so he told Bob we would come up Saturday.

This morning Craig said he would not have a problem saying: "no" to the sale if it wasn't the right one, but that he would have a problem saying "yes" unless we put a condition of having an independent RV inspection done on it.

So today I scrambled to find someone who did RV inspections in this part of the state.

Using Google, I  found a company that had "affiliates" throughout the country for  auto, boat, and RV pre-purchase inspections.  I talked to their area "affiliate" and got an idea of what he would do.  It sounded great, but unfortunately he was not available until the end of September.  I don't think La Mesa would go for holding that coach out of inventory for that long.

That guy suggested that I arrange to take it to another dealer to look over.  I found one  that listed pre-purchase inspections on their web page, and are  near-by.  I talked to someone in their service department and got their information.  They said they could do it next week, but we would have to arrange to bring the Alfa there.  I know that although they do  sell some used class As, they primarily deal in trailers and fifth wheels,  so I wasn't sure if this is who we wanted. 

Then I  found a guy that is independent, and does RV repairs  renovations, an inspections.  He said he could go to La Mesa and do a complete body and appliance inspection.   He said he would certainly run the engine and give us an opinion, but  that he is not a diesel mechanic.

Considering the size of the investment, and our lack of experience, we feel having someone else look it over is a smart move.  La Mesa does a "45 point inspection" and a 30 day warrantee, so they shouldn't object to another pair of eyes.  If they did we would not walk away, we would RUN!

I think all of this due diligence will serve us well wether we choose this one or another down the way.

Keep your fingers crossed for us, On one hand I'm tired of shopping, and on the other I don't feel like I've seen enough.

I also finished a unicorn order today, 
and researched my medicare supplement options!  
My head is spinning.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just a quick post

Everyone else has dog pictures to post, and dog stories to tell.  So today I took a snap of my "granddog" Sandy.

She is a really sweet girl, ignore the weird eyes!  She Did not fall down these stairs!  She just looks like it.

Craig  watched the  Lazy Days Drivers Confidence Course Videos while I have been in San Diego.  He says they were very good, but his conclusion is that I should be the driver.  Why?  Because in the videos the wife is driving and the husband is outside doing the direction.

I told him it is because women take the course.  Men don't take it until they have had a fender bender!

We are going to see the Alfa on Saturday.  If it is not the one, we are going to take a break from shopping and perhaps go down to Tucson after Lazy Days AZ opens.  I would really like that, but I am going to be as open as I can to the Alfa.  

Someone said they couldn't follow the link I put up.  It seems they took it off their web site.  I guess the deposit puts it into the "sold" category.  It is not!

Saturday should be interesting!

Monday, August 15, 2011

San Diego

I flew down to San Diego on Sunday afternoon and my daughter, Deidre, two grandsons, Jeremy and Dylan, and I went off to the SD La Mesa RV dealership for a bit of shopping.

Neither the boys nor my daughter had ever been in a Class A so it was a bit of an adventure for them.  I had figured out they had three coaches in my size and price range and we asked to see them.  I told the salesmen about working with the Livermore La Mesa and that I had a deposit on a coach that I had not yet seen.  They were cool with that.  If I had found my dream coach Craig would be willing to fly down too.

There are so many MORE dealers in San Diego - LA than there are up by us.  

We looked at three.  Two Monaco La Palmas and a Neptune.  None really seriously, but in keeping with my goal to DRIVE and assortment of rigs I did get to take the 35' La Palma out.  I really liked the generous "pass thru" basement storage it offered, as well as the large shower and four door fridge.  

 The ride was relatively quiet, not to many rattles, but there was one BIG drawback.  It doesn't have the “air drive.” (That may be the wrong words.)  Anyway the result was that it drove like a truck and I think it would be very tiring to drive very long.  In a way it felt like a bigger, heavier version of my van.
I felt reasonably comfortable with it and drove on the freeway, on a busy street, changed lanes and turned left at a few intersections.  By the time we got back I was able to pull into a parking slot at the dealership.

The salesman said I did fine compared to many he has taken out.

I just don’t understand why the different salesmen keep telling me they all “drive pretty much the same.”  Each has been a different ride, and I understand why.

In this case the trade off is more basement storage for a harder drive.

But another slight negative to the La Palma was that the “Cargo Carrying Capacity” was much smaller than some of the others I have looked at.  As Karen once wrote “It doesn’t mater how big the basement is, if all you can carry is marshmallows!”

The boys had a really good time.  They checked out every RV that had a door open! (We made sure it was OK with the salesman.) I wanted them to be able to see the insides so they would know what to expect at Christmas.  We looked at some class C’s as well because if we don’t find a coach by then, we will be renting a Cruise America.

My daughter spotted one that was close to $300K, (Used) that had marble floors, a dishwasher, and two bathrooms. We decided it was too “posh” for Craig and me, and  I would need a housekeeper for it.

The boys were surprised to see the bunk bed model, and liked climbing into the loft of a toy hauler.  We agree that there is more living space in the fivers, and Deidre was impressed with the kitchens and fireplaces.

When we were done I let the salesmen know that if things didn’t work out up North, I would probably be back down in San Diego for more shopping.  I think it’s good to let them know my intentions.

When we got back to the house the boys told their father all about what they had seen.  Andrew seemed a bit surprised that I had driven a 35’ coach.  He asked them which they would rather have, a 37’ RV or a 37’ boat and the older one said a boat and the younger said an RV.  I told them they could tow the boat!

I talked to Craig last night and we talked about my trip to that dealership, and he says I’m becoming an “expert.”  Well I’m trying so I can make an informed decision.

It’s rather cloudy and cool in San Diego today.  Deidre lives two blocks from the ocean. 

  Right now I’m in the garage watching my younger grandson, Dylan, as he shows me his scooter and skateboard skills in the curvy and hilly alley way. The older one, Jeremy, is creating something to show me  on his computer upstairs. He was out with his rollerblades for a while.

I made sure I have the keys to the car and the map to the ER!  They are BOYS!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Few Answers

Well now that I had a night sleep, I'm a bit less nervous.  It did take me a long time and a sleep aid to finally drop off, but I felt so much better this morning.

The Alfa should be at the Livermore CA La Mesa by tuesday, but I won't get up to see it until Thursday, Friday, or Saturday depending on when Craig wants to go, or if I want to go up alone first.

I am flying down to San Diego to see our daughter and grandsons on Sunday, and will be returning on Wednesday.  

Before this one came up she had asked if I wanted to go look at some RVs on Sunday, and told the boys we were going to do that.  They are very excited and curious since they have never seen the inside of one of those big boxes.  

In any event it is going to be a long tense week.

As of today, I am much calmer about if "this is the one" or not.  I know we cannot be pushed to purchase one that is not just right, and I am quite comfortable about the "refundable" deposit for two reasons:
  1. It is on my American Express and American Express takes good care of it's customers.  And 
2. There is at least one major fact about the rig that is on the printed version of the listing and what the salesman told me on the phone, that is not true.

We wanted a 35' for parking reasons.  The Alfa is listed on their ad as 35' length.  He told me it was a 35'.  But in the specifications that I have found online, they did not make a 35'.  The specs say the shortest the made was 37'5"

Quite honestly, this will not make a  difference if we really love the coach, but it will make it easy to get out of the deal if we don't and don't have any better reasons.

I need to keep these things in mind to stay calm.

Craig seems to be doing OK with all of this.  He doesn't show excitement or worry, but I can tell he isn't sleeping all that well either.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Deposit put down


I put a deposit down on a Motor Home today.

This is it: Alfa 

The salesman from La Mesa called me.  He is in Tucson and he called about it.  He says the deposit is refundable, based on our seeing it, driving it, and both approving of it.
We had to put a deposit on it for it to be brought to California for us to see.

He says it is refundable.  It had better be!

Craig said it was OK.

I am so scared.

I'm sick to my stomach.
It is at the top of what we want to spend.
It has most of what we want.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Baby Moose at play

I get a lot of fun things in email, this one just had to be shared ...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Craig looked too ...

We went up to the La Mesa parking lot show this afternoon and Craig looked at the National Tropi-Cal.  He said he liked  it, but not enough to want to take a test drive.

We also looked at a 2007 Itasca Meridian 36', and took it out for a drive.  The breaks were horrible.  They squeaked and made a loud "clunking' noise.  Of course the salesman said they just needed to be adjusted.

 It also made a lot of rattling noises. The salesman said it was because the road was rough.  It was a normal city street.   Craig did not like that.  So he did not drive it.

The salesman did most of the driving, except at the end when I drove it around the parking lot a little.

I told the salesman that we felt we had to drive several different models before we could make a decision.  He said they all drove pretty much the same.  I don't agree.  The National was  smoother.

I like the Meridian interior, and they have a lot of basement space. But now that this one sounded so bad inside I don't know what to think.

The National would be great for "any timing" and would be a nice traveling coach, but the Meridian would be so much better for full timing.  (Craig says that is the goal, but I won't hold my breath on getting the house sold.)

Time to step back and just work on the house for a while.  No rush.

I don't think Craig and the salesman  hit it off very well.  As we took a second walk around the outside of the Tropi-Cal I said I thought the price was a bit high.  (Karen sent me some information on a similar coach at Lazy Days that could be had for $5000 less, and was a little bigger.)  The salesman acted like I was insulting his mother.

So, I don't know if he will follow up on my request to let me know if anything else comes in our size and price range.  He would be foolish if he doesn't.  He knows we are getting closer to being "ready" and we have no need for financing.  He seemed so much nicer on Wednesday.  Maybe he was just tired of people by late Sunday afternoon.  I know I would be.

But, it is a buyers market, and we are  qualified, motivated buyers.  I do expect to be able to get a very good buy.

He kept telling us that because we are looking for a diesel that is 35' or less we just don't have many choices.  Well fine.  What we do have is plenty of time.

Now I have to find a 35'  Tiffin to drive, and maybe another Meridian.

The day was not a total disappointment.  We got to stop at the Berkeley Bowl and bought tons of produce.  We will eat healthy this week that's for sure.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mail Order Bride

I wrote this post one evening last week:

Although there are a lot of diesel coaches for sale, it seems there are not a lot of them in the 33' - 35' within an easy drive from here, so for now most of my shopping and learning is being done online.

I'm beginning to feel a bit like I'm looking for a "mail order bride."
A lonely miner scanning the latest newspaper from the East.

There are so many listings. I spend several hours each day going thru them, looking for the perfect match.  I know there are a lot of salesmen out there that would love to be our match maker, but we are not ready for that yet.

First we have to decide exactly what we want.

Not too young nor too old:  2008 -2004
Not too short or too tall:  33' -35'
From a good family:  Winnebago, Itasca, or Tiffin, but will consider others
Good body:   No dents or dings
Nice smile:  Full body paint would be nice
Inner beauty:   Nice decor
Strong:  Diesel
Healthy: Pass the  inspections
Able to cook:  Pleasing kitchen arrangement
Compliant:  Easy to steer, good test drive
Intelligent:  Has back up cameras, tire pressure sensors, GPS
Amusing:  Entertainment center
Good teeth:  New tires?
Practical: No white carpeting!  Tile or Allure would be nice
Good in bed:  A good bed
A big heart:  A big basement
Has something extra:  Four door refrigerator

And then there  is the nagging question:  Why is she being sold? Is something wrong with her? Did her people trade her in on a newer model?  Will she be more trouble than she's worth?

We could buy an RV next week, or next month, or not until springtime, but we are going to buy one in the next six months.  

That is about all I'm sure of right now.

I know eventually we are going to have to get out and meet some of these beautiful ladies in person.  And we will, but right now Craig is getting lots of work done on his jobs around the house and I don't want to slow him down.  Almost making an offer on that one felt so right that it has really motivated him.  I don't want to rock that boat. 

We have plenty of time.
 I know we have to keep looking, she won't just show up in our driveway one fine day.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Not A Match

I am back home from my test drive and have a headache!  I never get headaches.  I guess it was from the stress and excitement.

As you can guess from my title, the National Tropi-Cal was not a match.  Actually it almost was for me, but Craig wants to look further and I think he is a little leery of the "orphan" status of the Manufacturer.  I did do a lot of research last night, and got some good comments on the RV Dreamers forum "Buying and RV" thread.

The coach I test drove is 33' 10".  A good size for a first coach, and a good size for two people who are "any-timing."  It has a good amount of Cargo Carrying Capacity, and a reasonable  amount of basement storage.  The kitchen counter was larger than many that I've seen, and there was a good amount of cupboard and pantry space.

One minus was it had only a two door refrigerator freezer.  I would like a four door.  

A plus was there was no carpeting on the floors except for in the bedroom.  A minus, the vinyl tile looked a bit tired.

I know most people like the tables, but I have no objection to a booth and it had additional storage in the booth seats.

The driver's and passenger seats looked good, but the upholstery on the couch was a less than pleasant brownish green and looked worn.  I could live with that.  Reupholstering would be easy for me.

It drove wonderfully!  The turn radius was unbelievable.  It has a 55* wheel cut, and I felt like I could turn a complete circle without much more radius than it's length.  No long overhanging tail.

Craig says we need to see  more, and drive more before buying.  I guess I agree.  This one was very close, but last week the Itasca was #1.  Will I fall for every one I see?  

It's so scary.  It's so much money! 

One good thing that came out of the day is I have established a relationship with two salesmen at La Mesa.  One that I talked to on the telephone, and one that I had talked to at an RV show last year, and remembered me.  They work as a team, the second one took me for the test drive.  They are both named "Bob."  I asked how it would work if I did buy the coach, and Bob said they split commissions.  They both treated me with sufficient respect and I  feel they took me seriously even if I was a female.

I have been honest with all salesmen, if I'm looking alone I tell them that if I like it, my husband has to see it as well, but if I don't he doesn't need to.  

In other words, I have found a dealership that I'm comfortable with and that I think will look for a coach to fit our needs.  At least I hope they do.

Another small "happy."  When I checked email when I got home I have another order.  A Large Buffalo for Park City Utah.  Shipped an armadillo yesterday!  Had him done already and just put him in a box and mailed him off.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

National Tropi-Cal

Does anyone have or know much about the National brand of motorhomes?

I'm going to test drive one on Wednesday.

I called the La Mesa Dealership today because I wanted some information about the Itasca brand and they were listed as the local Itasca dealer.

After talking to a salesman for a bit and explaining what I was looking for he told me they had a 2007 National 35' on the lot and suggested I come look at it.  I told him I would, but only if I got to drive it.  I told him that the deal is that I have to be able to drive any motor home we buy.

I know he would like it better if both Craig and I went up to look at it, but I explained that I was doing the researcher, and if I like it I would bring Craig up over the weekend. Salesmen might want to work with a single woman, but they often give less than their all to a wife alone.  I hope this guy realizes he has to work with me if he want a possible sale either for this or for a future rig.  La Mesa is one of the few dealer in the area that has good reviews, so I hope we connect.

I told him I was primarily interested in Winnebago, Itasca and Tiffin because they were still in business and have good reviews.

I can't find anything objectionable about National online, but I don't feel comfortable buying a motor home made by a company that went bankrupt and is gone.  

We talked a bit about the shorter Tiffin "FRED"s.  I mentioned that they seemed to have more basement than other shorter rigs.  He explained that was because they had a front diesel engine and did not have air ride.  He said they were terrible to drive.

I don't know if that is because he has this National to sell.  Would his thoughts be different if he had a Tiffin FRED on the lot?

Any input is appreciated.  No offer will be tendered tomorrow, but from the pictures it does have a nice kitchen.