8:00 AM Saturday, October 28, 2017, Mireille and I were at Ingram RV Center in Montgomery Alabama. We had driven there the day before from our home in Edmond, OK to order our Tiffin Allegro 34PA RV.
It was not a straight shot from our deciding to move into an RV to ordering a new Tiffin Motorhome. We came to our choice of make after months of looking at floor plans, visiting dealerships and walking through coaches, reading blog posts, watching youtube videos and reading hundreds of forum posts on irv2.com.
If you have spent any time reading forum posts about RVs you soon find out that RVers are very friendly and helpful, but even so there are a few topics that, even in this crowd, can quickly devolve into internecine war.
One of these topics is buying New or Used.
Both sides have their pros and cons, and the best, most even-handed breakdown I have found is this video by the RVGeeks.
As I have grown up I have learned some things about myself. One of these things is I have a fairly low risk tolerance for things I do not know much about. I will dive into almost any computer project blissfully certain that I will be able to figure out whatever I need to figure out as I go. However, when it comes to something about which I know little to nothing, and which I can screw up to great expense and much inconvenience, I am not so daring.
An RV (and how to live in one) is something about which I know practically nothing. And since Mireille and I are burning our bridges on the beach, selling our house and this is going to be home, I do not want to take chances or at least try to reduce them as much as possible.
So even though nothing is perfect, and new RVs come with a mandatory “shakedown” period where you are bound to find things that need fixing, I felt more comfortable with the idea of buying a new RV. That is even taking into account the depreciation that came with new.
Once I had settled on new, we had to settle on the actual RV we wanted to live in. Originally we started looking at Thor, Fleetwood, and some other brands. Over the years we checked out several different makes and models wearing a path from our house to a nearby Camping World. Once we got all the obstacles between us and moving into an RV full time out of the way we started looking in earnest. We had a budget set in our minds and went back looking at what we could get in that range. As we looked we kept identifying things we wanted which were not in what we found within our budget, so the budget kept going up.
As I read and watched videos I found that Tiffin had a good reputation and owners generally had good things to say about them and their service after the sale. I had never had Tiffin (or Newmar for that matter) in our list of possibles because I figured they were out of our reach price wise. However, I started looking and found they built gas coaches so started looking more in depth.
We went to a dealership here in Oklahoma City that sold Tiffins to look at a 32SA. We drove it and liked it and actually tried to work figures with the dealer for it but they would not come off the price anywhere near as much as I knew other dealers would, even on a special order unit. In retrospect, I am very happy they were stubborn.
As I had been studying about Tiffin I often saw posts from owners which consistently named three dealers as ones to consider when buying. All of these dealers were out of state, but not too far away to consider working with. I got in touch with all three and asked for their price for a new 32SA with specifications identical to the one we had looked at on the lot here. Two of the three came back with prices more in line with what I was expecting based on my reading, and well over $20,000 less than the dealership here in OKC was quoting me for the same vehicle.
Given how much less we were now talking, and considering how much we had raised our budget in our mind, I asked the dealers what the order price for a 34PA might be. This model was 2 feet longer than the 32SA, I liked the floor plan better since it seemed more like it was separated into rooms rather than just one long hall, had more counter and storage space, a heavier chassis, and could carry more. The kicker was it also had the option of a stackable washer and dryer.
When I got the quotes back I knew we had found our RV and our dealer. We were able to order a considerably more expensive coach with more features and benefits to us, for about the same money as the dealer here in OKC was willing to sell us the 32SA. Shopping around pays!
We could have done everything without ever having to go into the dealership, but we had not walked through a 34PA so we scheduled a trip to Montgomery, AL so we could meet the dealer and walk through a coach and see colors and so on.
So now we are back to where we started in this post. Looking at the rigs, picking colors and options we did and did not want. For example, we did want the oven and convection microwave, we did not want the ceiling fan in the bedroom (I like the top of my head where it is thank you very much!) or the front tv over the windshield (we opted for cabinet space instead). The standard 34PA comes with 4 TVs, two in the living room, one in the bedroom, and one outside. We have been married 35 years and have never had more than one TV ever. Two TVs in one room is overkill in my view!
We loved what we saw and got the order put in and were done by 10:00AM. That night Mireille and I spent on Beale Street in Memphis. We were so happy we could barely stand it. As we were walking down Beale Street, music all around, Mireille squeezed my hand suddenly and said,
“The day I met you, the day we were married, the day the kids were born, and TODAY!”
I felt exactly the same way.