Sunday, April 6, 2014

They Can Cancel the Show But They Can't Hide the Rigs

Fortunately I checked the fairgrounds' website for the gate time of the RV show and found out it had been cancelled. It was scheduled for 10 days, but there was no information other than the big CANCELLED label across the announcement. Bummer.

So when you're all warmed up to tour motorhomes do you change plans and do something else? Of course not. Not when you're in SoCal and there are a few large dealers within an hour's drive!

Bill remembered one on the freeway and our GPS confirmed it's location near where he used to work. After detouring through the area that looks nothing like its former self thanks to the never-ending construction, we stopped for lunch at Fuddrukers. Delicious burgers and onion rings made the delay worthwhile and calmed down my hungry-cranky-pants. From there Ms GPS took us to the address which was a new Camping World under - you guessed it - construction. Figured the dealer had closed up shop and was purchased by CW. Bummer again.

Started feeling like we just weren't supposed to look at rigs. Not like we could write a check even if we lost our minds and tried to buy one! So we drove to Bill's old work site and let Tessa out to run around for a bit while we located the other dealer. I thought it was fairly close. Yep, 11 miles south. What the heck, beautiful day, no where else to be, let's keep going.

This time we found it. Even though there was a gatehouse with a guy directing people to the parking lot, and a RV Show sign on the fence, there were very few rigs to check out.  We did manage to get out of the Jeep with Tessa and make it across the front of the lot, but the ever-vigilante salesman cornered us around the back of the first rig. Nope, not going to just meander at our leisure at this place.

One of the main reasons we have focused on diesel pushers with the entry door in front is for the passenger seat legroom and the lack of doghouse to climb over at the dash. For that reason we didn't look at Thor Palazzos in the past, even though there are many of them on the market. The new Winnebago Forza was the same story. Liked the floorplan but with the mid-coach entry I figured the legroom was compromised.

This dealer had no Thor Tuscanys and no Tiffins but there were Palazzos and Forzas on the lot so figured we might as well check them out. Afterall, we had done some driving to get there! The Palazzo was first and we both liked it a lot. Being a diesel pusher there is no doghouse, and we were pleasantly surprised that it has plenty of legroom. With the addition of a pullout shelf and the larger side window, the passenger seat is actually better than the Tiffin. The other thing I like better is the television over the dinette and across from the couch, rather than at a right angle. Has the residential refrigerator, washer and dryer, and outdoor television all standard. Unfortunately it doesn't have a king bed option so we would have to do an after-market modification as the bigger bed is a must-have.

The Forza was similar with good legroom and the better television placement. I liked the fireplace option but the white leather was already filthy and the cabinetry was not real wood (and looked like it). I can't completely cross it off the list yet, but I'd have to see a clean one without the white upholstery.

I meant to take pictures of everything we looked at but the distraction of the salesman made me forget to take any.

Tessa was hesitant about the steps at first but quickly got the hang of the in and out. She checked out the bedrooms and bathrooms and then laid down on the floor while we discussed some of the details.

Got on the freeway for home but turned around and went south another 15 miles to the other large dealership. They have several locations including the one we didn't find earlier. They were also the same dealer whose rigs we looked at (Itasca and Tiffin) at the big October show. Much larger selection, but still no Tuscanys. Lots of Tiffins but no 33aa's. Another fleet-footed salesman caught up with us at the first coach. 

He showed us the new 34' Legacy by Forest River. Nice diesel coach with side entry and a much lower MSRP than the others on our list. Neither one of us felt good in it. It has some nice amenities but wasn't very comfortable. 

We asked about solar installation at the dealership and learned that they install the new "roll-out" flat panels that can be cut to any size, lay flat on the roof, weigh a tenth of the hard panels, and have nearly zero maintenance needs. This was great information, and something to follow up on later as well.

At this point the salesman went to see if the recently sold 33aa was still on the lot somewhere we could go see it, leaving us to wander and look on our own. Yay. Still didn't remember to take pictures so I'll have to come up with another excuse.....

Bounder, Windsport, Itasca, all the ones we looked at were either too big, too small, had a doghouse to crawl over, or were just lacking the "it" factor that we know when we feel it. Met up with the salesman at the gate where he confirmed the 33aa was unavailable. A short discussion on our plans, the dealer's virtues, and changes in standard features on the Tiffin that he hadn't heard about yet (from BFF's Tiffin guy), and we were back in the Jeep.

It was a very fun day that gave us a couple other rigs to consider. There is little doubt that if everything comes together perfectly as planned we will purchase the 33aa. However, given the realities of life, it is good to have options that are less expensive but still desirable. We have to have the king bed and I'm not sure about the Palazzo's 300hp engine instead of the 340hp of the Tiffin. We'll keep doing the research.

Lots of things still need to happen before we can go buying instead of looking, but we didn't let a little thing like a cancelled rv show keep us from checking out some motorhomes!


  1. Finding the perfect home sure is difficult. We looked for eight years before I found what I was looking for in a layout. I wasn't sure what I wanted but every year we would leave the Hershey RV Show with exhausted legs and no MH that I loved. Finally, in 2008 I found the Discovery 40X by Fleetwood and knew I had found what I wanted!! Good luck with your search. There are so many designs to choose from.

    1. Thanks much! I always love to hear when the first coach was the right one - that's our goal!!

  2. Oh you'll find it. Like you said, you'll just feel it!

    1. You and others in the class of 2014 keep me inspired as you get ready to launch this month. Sure hope you get the rig for the rally. I can't wait to hear about your first get together (and am trying not to be toooo envious). Safe travels.

  3. There are so many to choose from :) We keep looking and looking too. :)

  4. Have you considered one that is a few years old? We looked and looked until we found 'home'. We sat in the living room and it just felt like we belonged there and it should belong to us. AND it only had 27,000 miles on it!

    I sure wish you good luck on finding your dream.

    1. Thanks Nan. Yes we would consider a used coach with the It factor. 2013 was the first year for the 33aa so we're thinking there could be a couple "broke in" rigs available next Spring.
      If you're still out in our deserts I sure hope you're staying cool this week!