Guess what I got for Valentine's Day!
Or to quote J:
18 months ago more or less, less or more. I broke down coming from a customer site in the hinterlands of Virginia while cruising through Baltimore. While waiting for my Dodge Dakota to be fixed I walked up to Days RV and looked at the cutest little travel trailer.
The light bulb goes off “We could get one of these fairly cheap and go camping more.” Having hit the mid 40s age wise the joy of sleeping on the ground is completely gone so my wife and I had stopped camping. We liked to camp back in our younger more limber days.
So home I go with a new resolve and on the first possible weekend I pack up the wife and we got to a more local RV dealer who will remain nameless to protect the guilty. There I show my wife the little travel trailer I’d seen complete with flourish “Tada” I say. “Bleah” she says too dark too small. What about this pop up she says, what about your Reynaud’s I say. Back and forth we go until she stumbles on the fifth wheels Nu Wa’s in fact but first we fall for the Montana’s we try to love the Pilgrims but too big too clunky.
We go to Hershey the wife is really hot on Titanium at this point but the price for what you get wasn’t working for me. Nu Wa comes to the top of the list, them and Cameo. Cameo floor plans are … nice but not all we want. Nu Wa has the floor plans and the reputation and a great forum…..
But there is always a but. We had started looking at $18,000 travel trailers and were now looking at 55,000 plus fifth wheels the discount rate was going to matter a lot.
We looked the rest of 06 and into 07. The next summer we head to Elkhart to do the factory tours to sort out our list of trailers. Crossroad, Glacier Bay, Cameo, KZ, and more all toured all rated, some rejected some not, but Glacier Bay comes to the top of the list. A new company trying to build market share. There are things we love and things we only like there; the list still starts Nu Wa; just can’t afford it so …
It’s at the Hershey show again that we had come to this final choice. Glacier Bay is going to work on some new Floor plans so here it is 08 and still waiting to pull the trigger.
So now I’m driving to Texas for work the truck is no longer a Dakota but an F350 with training wheels. I have to lay over the weekend for my work and so I go out looking at fivers I like looking at RV’s thought I’d see what the aught eights looked like.
Glacier Bay, still like those units, four or five other fivers. And last but not least I drift down to AK Recreation. Ron is famous (at least in the RV forums I move in) and I wanted to see what was new with Nu Wa. Ron had me in stitches from the first couple of minutes of going into his place. He has that aw shucks country charm that you don’t find a lot of any more. Reminded me a lot of an uncle I had in Wichita Falls. He has no problem with me roaming around and looking. After looking at really the best selection of Nu Wa product I’ve seen at a single dealer I wander in to talk to him about his 07 leftovers (I like leftovers what can I say). The more we talk the easier Ron made it sound; the price difference narrowed enough to consider it. I leave saying I would think on it. I’m sure Ron thought that was the last he’d ever see or hear from me.
If your passing through Fort Worth Texas drop down to Cleburne and say hi to the folks at AK Recreation, it’s well worth the trip, friendly people and a lot of trailers to look at.
Back to the story so I pull out and call the wife back in Philly and let her know what Ron had to say. I’d had to explain to Ron that I had limited finances here (I’m on a tight allowance). She hears it all out and says “you want to get it? I have down payment money.” “Get out I says you do not”.
Five minutes of listening to her move money around I remember that she doesn’t say things like that unless she can do it. So a bit of magic by the wife and we’re set. Only it is Saturday after the Dealership is closed and we’ve decided to buy this thing only I may have to be out of Texas by the following Saturday.
Monday I call Ron and we talk about this and we setup the barebones of a deal Ron says “Always good to start a Monday with a sale.” Now we have to find financing and Insurance and get the back and forthing of papers done in a week.
Janet at Essex Credit is doubtful it can be done in the time frame but Susan at AK Recreation straightens that out and right now I’m just waiting on Fed Ex to move documents around.
I’ve been on a lot of dealer lots, searched a lot of web sites. No dealer no show price no sale had ever gotten me close to buying. Ron will just talk to you, lay out his ideas, and let you make the choice. In the end he makes it easy. He trusts the product to sell its self. He trusts the buyers to know what they’re looking for.
Friday is the PDI and setup the truck. Bright and early Friday the 15th I head down to AK Recreation.
Checklist - Check
Checks for Ron - Check
Chocolates for Susan - Check
Beer for Ronnie and Dave - Check
Donuts for everyone - Check
9:10 AM ready to go - Check
So in I pull and right off things are going well but it's not long before the first snag. No one had mentioned to the folks installing the hitch (Ronnie and Dave) that I had a flat bed truck this took some work and more than one call to the factory to make sure it would work but Ronnie was game.
I opted to start the walk around without Dave (the service tech assigned to do the walk through) since there are a lot of cosmetic checks to make. Sliders go in sliders go out with shore power without. I end up with a little list of things (One fix and two questions) Before I get Dave.
Dave and I start in and get part way done while Ronnie finishes up the brake controller on the truck. When the whistle blows that its lunch time. A fast lunch and back at it. While we're winding down I go sign the paper work and make sure Susan is OK with everything. She thinks she's good.
So back to the truck and trailer we get to the end of the PDI and have to then winterize the trailer. Since it was going to head back to PA so we winterize and get ready to take it for a spin. Only out comes Susan the state of PA is giving her fits about the sales tax and registration. I put her on the phone with my wife who gets someone to sort things out for Susan and we take it for a drive.
Around the block and Ronnie's giving me advice all the way as we turn in he's leaning way over as we get so far into the lot he says. "Now look at that fence post." I check the mirror and the back of the trailer is heading right for a fence post. I straighten out and fix it but all the advice is the world didn't help as much as seeing how the trailer cuts the corners like that the truck was no where close to the post.
So paper work done. PDI done, checks handed over, donuts eaten, chocolates hidden, beer opened (Sorry to who ever was having work done that afternoon) and time to hit the road.
It's 4 PM. South of Fort Worth. I need to get to North East of Dallas. At rush hour, because I have bad weather coming in behind me of the sleep and freezing raid sort and I have to be at work on Monday.
So off I go 4 hours latter I get out of Dallas.
And now its a matter of a long drive back home.
To all the kind folks who say they don't know the fiver is back there! I say look in your mirrors more often how can you not see the huge white walls? Every mirror there is a wall and just in case you for get every once in a while it will bounce and remind you.
Now that said it was easier to do then I feared but nothing like some people make it out to be.
To all the kind folks who say they can't sleep in a truck stop with the trucks at idle and the smell of diesel in the air. I say drive more hours frankly I didn't notice the tractor trailers.
To the gentlemen east of Nashville in the Jetta who acted like I wasn't there. Please call Lens Crafters and get your eyes checked how can you not see the huge white wall? It was right there on your right.
It was interesting having to relearn how to drive my truck three different times. Once in heavy traffic, Once on flat ground with some over passes, once on hills and small mountains.
Lastly thank god for Flying J, the rest of the truck stops could take notes. Nice to have lanes set up for trailers, RVs to fuel up.
I was sorry to find out that my truck though has a drinking problem. Hook up the fiver and the truck drinks like a fish. And here I had Ford pegged as an English name and here it turns out to be Irish.