Saturday, April 18, 2009


A few weeks ago, we got an email that said:

“…We're coming to the decision that when we retire, hopefully within the next 3 years, we will sell our house, keep the cottage and buy some kind of RV vehicle…We've gone back and forth between 5th wheels and coaches and we're leaning toward the coaches.

Any suggestions as to what to look for, some aspect that on hindsight you wish you had, or didn't need, which brands have more problems than others, etc; warranties that are a must, things to look for when purchasing from a private seller or a dealer--anything that now you know but when you were first buying had no clue to look for! Basically, any thoughts on "what to look for when purchasing" would be greatly appreciated!!!”

Now that we are settled in Sacramento for the next month, I thought I’d try to answer some of those questions.

I could have written that email six and a half years ago. Odel and I knew exactly ZERO about RV’s when we decided that fulltiming was in our (near) future. We went from zero to purchase in about three months, guided by the internet, the Escapees online forums, various used RV sales sites - online and “real” - and any bit of advice we could drag from anyone we met.

It was both exhilarating and exhausting. We were often up well after midnight, searching the internet for information and “rigs”. Weekends were spent on RV lots, innocents to the slaughter. Before we exited the car, we swore to each other that we would NOT sign anything - no doubt saving us from owning the used 275 HP diesel Bounder with a carrying capacity of under 1000 pounds that the salesman was convinced was the perfect rig for us (read: for him to sell to us).

So, over the new few weeks, I’ll write about what we learned, why we made the decisions we did, and how we made our purchase. My first recommendation, though, for anyone who knows nothing or next to it… visit the
RV Consumer Group website. They offer a lot of free, eye-opening information for beginners, some of it scary, all of it useful, and a good antidote to what you’ll hear from salespeople.

Since we aren't traveling for the next month, I'm not taking many photos. For this little mini-series on how and why we made the decision to buy a used class A diesel pusher - and what we have learned since - I'll post some of my favorite photos from our travels, the best way to answer the question most frequently asked of the fulltimer: "What's your favorite place?"

All of today's photos are from our first summer on the road. Top to bottom: Badlands National Park, South Dakota, June 2003; Devil's Tower National Monument, Wyoming, June 2003; me, relaxing on the glass bottom boat used for the shipwreck tour on Lake Superior, August 2003; Niagara Falls from the Maid of the Mist (boat), New York, September 2003.


  1. Thank you thank you!!! We remember that first summer...seems we had a lot of storm warnings that year.... :)
    So happy your eye surgery went well!
    love donna

  2. Great pictures! My two cents regarding the goal to getting a smart deal for your RV is to determine what type of RV best suits your needs and your budget. There is a variety of sizes, models, with varying prices. It would be good to also go to an RV show to see what you might like.

    Tia Oshields