Category Archives: Products

Solar RV Air Conditioning – Financially Frugal or Folly?

Background and Setup:

Jason and Nikki Wynn recently proved that, yes, with a specialized setup, you can absolutely have Solar RV Air Conditioning! The definitive proof is here, in their video.

The catch being that The Wynns have a VERY high tech (and therefore VERY expensive!) solar setup on their RV. They’ve gone into tremendous (and extremely helpful!) detail on the cost of parts and installation on their RV in this post on their website. The cost of their solar installation (6 panels, Solar Charge Controller, 700ah of Lithium battery cells, Inverter, AutoGenStart, Battery monitoring kit, Inverter Remote) was a whopping $16,352.74!

Nikki and Jason demonstrated that with their solar installation supplying 85% of it’s listed potential,  the Air Conditioner had only about 30-35ah net draw from the battery bank. The question on my mind is this…they have proven that it’s entirely possible on a technical level to run your Air Conditioner off a specialized solar set up…
…but is it cost effective?

How much does it cost to run a generator?

A quick look around the internet (Gas buddy and other places) reveals that the cost of gasoline has averaged about $2.95 per gallon over the last 10 years. Checking my Onan Generator Manual, I find that the Onan 5500 watt generator will use 0.6 Gallons of Gas per hour when running one Air Conditioner, and will use 1 gallon of gas per hour when running both air conditioners. This means that the cost to run a single Coleman Mach air conditioner using an Onan generator has averaged $1.77 per hour over the last 10 years.

Note that this figure also has implications when it gets warm and you don’t have solar, and you’re deciding between WalMart/Love’s or paying to ‘day-stay’ at an RV park with a power pedestal…even at $4/gallon, boondocking someplace while running the generator to power both Air Conditioners for 10 hours is still more frugal than a $40 RV Park stay.

…but I digress…

How long could The Wynns run Solar RV Air Conditioning?

Jason and Nikki’s battery bank is a 700 amp-hour Lithium LYP Battery bank. They have their charge controller set conservatively to allow them to use 70% of the power from the battery bank (500/700ah used). The LYP battery design, however would allow them to safely discharge the batteries to a 90% drained state (630/700ah used) with no damage.

Jason and Nikki have 960 watts of tiltable solar panels on the roof, and they state in their tech post that this panel setup could supply 54 amps inbound when it’s running at 100%. In the video, it’s supplying 43 amps to their battery bank, meaning it’s running at about 79% peak (idealized) capacity, and the same panel shows that they have ‘banked’ 290 amp hours for the day. Not bad for a sunny day in January!

The Coleman Mach Air Conditioner they have is pulling 76-80 amps when the compressor is running and the unit is cooling, and 27 amps when the compressor is off and only the fan is running. That’s important, because Air Conditioners don’t run their compressors 100% of the time except in the most brutal of conditions. They cycle off and on to keep the coach at a pre-selected temperature, and even when they’re on, the compressor will often cycle on and off to prevent icing in lower temperatures or other specific conditions.

The net draw from the battery bank with the compressor running and the air conditioner cooling the coach is shown in the video to be 36.3 amps.

If we presume that they shot the video around halfway through the day, we can safely presume that they’ll be able to bank another 290 amp hours before sundown, for a daily ‘break even’ total of 580 amp hours stored sunshine for the day.

Daily 580ah solar in divided by 80ah Solar Air Conditioning Draw out means that Nikki could theoretically stand on that kitchen chair for 7h 15m per day with the air conditioning compressor running a 100% duty cycle (always on and cooling), and they would break even on the power stored and used.

If it weren’t particularly hot, and the A/C were only on a 50% duty cycle… Theoretically they could potentially run the air conditioner 14.5 hours per day.

How Does That Compare To Running A Generator?

In extreme (100% duty cycle) heat, running a single Coleman Mach air conditioner 7.25 hours per day means the generator will use 4.35 gallons of gas – at a recent historical average of $2.95 per gallon, the generator will cost $12.93 per day to run.
In moderate heat (50% duty cycle) running a single Coleman Mach air conditioner 14.5 hours per day means the generator will use 8.7 gallons of gas, which will cost, on average, $25.86 per day.

We’ll presume that the average temperature (and duty cycle) for air conditioning will lie somewhere between those two points, and that it would cost $20 per day on average to run the generator to provide AC for the A/C.

How Do The Numbers Shake Out?

Cost of Jason and Nikki’s Solar Installation: $16,352.74
Number of days requiring air conditioning to break even @$20/day: 817.6 days.

At first blush, that seems like a VERY long time, presuming you would ever get to that point without having to replace some expensive parts, like batteries or solar panels.

HOWEVER…

If you were to elect to use your newly found Solar RV Air Conditioning Freedom and decide that you don’t have to chase 70* to keep cool the way you have in the past, and that meant you were to run the air conditioner 180 days per year, a $16,000 solar installation capable of running the coach air conditioning pays for itself in eliminated generator fuel costs in a little over 4.5 years!

Conclusion – YES!

It appears that not only is a specialized solar set-up technically capable of powering a Coleman Mach air conditioner in most climates for the bulk of the year, but it further appears that it is Financially Frugal and NOT Financial Folly to do so!

This seems like a terrific option for people who

  • Have 60-80 square feet of unshaded roof space.
  • Have a pile of money that they can spend on a longish return investment.
  • Would use Air Conditioning at least 180 days per year.
  • Are exceptionally happy with the RV they currently have, and are unlikely to move coaches.

Note: This entire article relies on some amount of theoretical extrapolation of provided real world values, and that it further hinges on the fact that The Wynns have not yet talked about whether they have stress-tested their Solar Air Conditioning setup to see how many hours of Air Conditioning (at a ‘normal’ thermostat setting of, say, 70*/21*c) they can have before they reach their 70% battery drain cutoff mark on their LYP battery bank. Finally, it relies most heavily on me not having borked up the math someplace. If I did, I’m sure there will be a comment, and I can correct my error(s).

Experimenting with the GoPro Night Lapse Mode

For the last several nights, I’ve wanted to go outside and experiment some more with the GoPro Night Lapse mode to capture satellite trails, since I had so much fun watching them in Folsom when I was camping with RV Lady. However, night after night, it’s been too late when I look up the passes for the evening on Heaven’s Above, all the bright passes had already ended for the evening. I think it has something to do with being this far south, but it’s pretty rare to have a visible satellite pass after about 9:30pm, and they start shortly after 7pm. In Folsom the last passes were much closer to 10:30, and they’d start about 8:15.

Well, tonight I remembered in the nick of time to check Heaven’s Above, and I saw that the ISS was passing overhead, and for once, it wasn’t a “barely visible down on the horizon” pass, but up at a respectable 40+ degrees! The down side is that I only had about 5 minutes to prepare!

BEHOLD THE FIVE MINUTE PREP-TIME ISS PASS!

Click to Embiggen

The top to bottom trail, and the two at the bottom right are aircraft. The horizontal pass with small gaps is the ISS. This is a series of 12 images shot with a Hero 4 Silver in GoPro Night Lapse mode with ProTune turned on. 15 second exposures on Continuous mode, with an ISO limit of 200, GoPro color turned on and composited in Markus Enzweiler’s excellent StarStax.

Nighttime GoPro photography is fun! This is a 4 image stack using GoPro Night Lapse Mode, 10 second shutter, Continuous interval, ProTune on, 3000K White Balance, GoPro color, ISO limit of 400, Low Sharpness, and no Exposure Value (EV) Compensation.

StarStaX_G0030243-G0030246_lighten

 

The next 4 images are single shots with different settings for comparison.

GoPro Night Lapse Mode, 2 second shutter, ProTune on, 5500K White Balance, Flat color, ISO limit of 800, Low Sharpness, and no Exposure Value (EV) Compensation.
GoPro Night Lapse Mode, 2 second shutter, ProTune on, 5500K White Balance, Flat color, ISO limit of 800, Low Sharpness, and no Exposure Value (EV) Compensation.

 

GoPro Night Lapse Mode, 5 second shutter, ProTune on, 5500K White Balance, Flat color, ISO limit of 800, Low Sharpness, and no Exposure Value (EV) Compensation.
GoPro Night Lapse Mode, 5 second shutter, ProTune on, 5500K White Balance, Flat color, ISO limit of 800, Low Sharpness, and no Exposure Value (EV) Compensation.

 

GoPro Night Lapse Mode, 10 second shutter, ProTune on, 5500K White Balance, Flat color, ISO limit of 800, Low Sharpness, and no Exposure Value (EV) Compensation.
GoPro Night Lapse Mode, 10 second shutter, ProTune on, 5500K White Balance, Flat color, ISO limit of 800, Low Sharpness, and no Exposure Value (EV) Compensation.

This one is starting to get a little overexposed from the long shutter time.

GoPro Night Lapse Mode, 15 second shutter, ProTune on, 5500K White Balance, Flat color, ISO limit of 800, Low Sharpness, and no Exposure Value (EV) Compensation.
Single frame from GoPro Night Lapse Mode, 15 second shutter, ProTune on, 5500K White Balance, Flat color, ISO limit of 800, Low Sharpness, and no Exposure Value (EV) Compensation.

And finally, this is what you get if you just leave the shutter time to Automatic with a 3000K White Balance and GoPro Color…

Single frame from GoPro Night Lapse Mode, 15 second shutter, ProTune on, 5500K White Balance, Flat color, ISO limit of 800, Low Sharpness, and no Exposure Value (EV) Compensation.
Single frame from GoPro Night Lapse Mode, Automatic Shutter, ProTune on, 3000K White Balance, GoPro color, ISO limit of 800, Low Sharpness, and no Exposure Value (EV) Compensation.

I’m really starting to be amazed at the sheer breadth of capability that the GoPro has. 

 

Connecting to the Network using a Ubiquiti NanoStation M2

Because I work from the road, a solid WiFi connection is a must. That means that I frequently need a WiFi Booster. Additionally, one of the parks that I stayed at early on only allowed ONE device to connect to their network for free. The solution I’ve adopted solves both issues in one neat little package, for right around $100. Building this setup will allow you to connect all of your wireless devices (laptop, iPad, cellphone, Xbox, Desktop PC) to YOUR OWN PRIVATE network, and then connect that network to the world. Enter the Ubiquiti NanoStation M2!

Ubiquiti NanoStation M2

This doesn’t mean you’ll have *faster* internet – there are a lot of variables in that equation. At the time of writing, I’m in a KOA in North Central Florida that’s connected to the world via a CenturyLink DSL connection that has 8MB downstream speed (decent, especially late at night after everyone goes to bed), but only a 256k upstream speed – which means uploading YouTube videos is a multi-hour process, if it’s possible at all! You’ll have to keep in mind that you won’t be able to change the quality of the connection from your host (whether that’s an RV park, a Starbucks, or even your own cellular phone as a Hotspot) to the world – but you’ll have the best possible connection between your equipment and your host!

…What you need…

Ubiquiti NanoStation M2 – This is a commercial grade, weather resistant piece of network gear. As such, there are no wizards or other hand-holding to configure it. Fortunately, setup is pretty straightforward.

Ubiquiti AirGateway – If you ONLY have wireless devices you want to connect, you can add one of these to your setup. It will simplify things a little, as you won’t need to find Yet Another Power Source, and you’ll only have one device inside the coach.
OR
A wireless router of your choice
– Maybe you have one you kept from your apartment, or you bought one at Best Buy. They should all work mostly the same as the AirGateway.

Two (or more) Ethernet Cables – If you don’t already have two just…around…they have 15′ cables at Wal-Mart for about $10 each. You’ll have to decide how long your cables should be. One will need to connect the NanoStation M2 to the PoE (Power over Ethernet) adapter. If you have both right next to each other inside the coach, a 1′ cable might be enough. If you’re mounting the NanoStation outside on a Flagpole Buddy or on your television antenna mast, you’ll need a much longer cable! If you’re connecting any devices with cables (an Xbox or a desktop PC, for instance) you’ll need to have an ethernet cable for that device, and you’ll need to plan to have a port on your router to plug it into.

Here’s how I configure my setup:

So far, it’s been a terrific setup for me. I can connect to all 8 Access Points at the KOA NE Gainesville in Starke, FL – and if it’s late at night (when there’s less electronic noise in the area) I can even connect to the wireless AP at Dick’s Wings over 250 yards away, on the far side of a shopping center. While I was out running errands today, I tested connecting to the same AP with my phone, and could barely manage to connect from 40 yards away in the parking lot, with a clear line of sight!

If you plan on purchasing this setup please feel free to use the links above – I am an Amazon Associate, and when you make your purchase through my links, I get a small commission from the sale – it’s a great (and free!) way to say “Thanks for the information, Jon!”
Transparency Disclaimer: This is the setup that I use in my own coach, and I purchased all the equipment for it with my own funds. If it wasn’t a stellar setup, I wouldn’t recommend it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or post comments below!

Glad to have you all along for All The Adventure, None of the Scurvy!

Goodies for the YarrVee!

Some goodies for the coach just arrived. They’re still cold to the touch from being in the unheated UPS truck.

Two GoPro Hero 4 batteries and a USB dual charger.
An extendable GoPro monopod.

And the cool piece

a Ubiquiti NanoStation M2 high-gain 11db WiFi…I’m not really sure what to call it!
It’s not an “antenna”, “booster”, or “range extender”, since I’m not connecting it to an existing piece of WiFi gear to improve reception…but it does act like a very powerful directional antenna.
It’s also not a router like the one your Internet Service Provider sent you, since I’m not plugging it into a fixed connection someplace…

It’s really a professional/commercial grade piece of gear (without a professional/commercial grade price!) that doesn’t have anything similar in the residential market that I’m aware of. The case is made of UV resistant weatherproof plastic, and comes with mounts and heavy duty zipties suitable for attaching it to a pole about 1.5″ in diameter.

I will tell you that I followed the instructional video that David Bott from Outside Our Bubble posted a month or so ago, and I was up and running in about 15 minutes.

Cellphone Results…

My Galaxy S5 phone could identify 18 Access Points nearby. Only a couple of them were open (Thanks, xfinitywifi provided by Comcast!), and the phone wouldn’t stay connected to any of them (Thanks, xfinitywifi provided by Comcast!).

Laptop Results…

My ASUS Laptop could identify 19 Access Points. The same two were open, and the laptop wouldn’t stay connected to any of them.

The Ubiquiti NanoStation M2 Results?

54 Access Points found, 35 of them with visible SSIDs (required to connect), and *9* xfinitywifi hotspots. I’m currently connected at the fastest rate and it’s clear to me that Comcast is capping my speed at about 2-2.5 Mbps, so as to not impact the experience their long-term customer has.

Looking at Ubiquiti’s PDF on what to expect for distance, the M2 (when, say, talking to another M2 for simplicity’s sake) could reasonably expect to connect across about 2.5 km (1.55 miles) where there is good, unobstructed line of sight and low electronic interference. I’m pretty sure that “across the parking lot to that “Googled” Starbucks over there” isn’t going to be a huge connectivity issue for me on the road.

Anyone who routinely connects to public or campground WiFi spots from their RV, trailer, or van needs one of these. I cannot recommend the NanoStation M2 highly enough. It is a stellar piece of equipment.

Since you can connect other devices to it. I think the best use of the NanoStation is as a gateway for creating your own personal network inside and around your RV. I’ve currently got my laptop connected to it with a network cable right now, but I could just as easily move that connection from the laptop to a standalone wireless router which would create a wired connection between the router and the NanoStation.

I could then configure the standalone Netgear/Cisco/whatever router to create a local private in-coach WiFi network that my laptop, game console, tablet, and phone would connect to…just like everyone who has Comcast or CenturyLink or Charter or whatever in their home. The big difference would be that the connection to the internet wouldn’t be a high-speed internet connection at the wall, it would be the connection to the public/campground WiFi, which is in turn connected to the internet.

Considering the price point is $80, and the easy availability of David’s video on YouTube (and OutsideOurBubble.com) to walk you smoothly through setting up this piece of commercial network hardware, you just can’t go wrong!

I’m also already dreaming about mounting this alongside the YarrVee banner at the top of a 12 foot, 16 foot, or 22 foot Flagpole Buddy pole

-Jon

RV Interiors

Jason and Nikki Wynn posted a new video today.

One thing I definitely agree with them on – the interior design in many new coaches. It’s a whole lot better than it used to be, but it still features an awful lot of what I’ve heard described as “Camouflage Beige”.

CamouflageBeigeCamouflageBeige2

Versus:
CamouflageBeige3 CamouflageBeige4

(Yes, that’s the same RV. You can find more of this wonderful conversion by HARBORLIZARD at Rate My Space – here, here, and here.)

I think Airstream is really the most on top of providing excellent interior design that still has a broad appeal across the market – though the reason for that is that new Airstreams have interiors that look like they were designed by the IKEA folks – but built from materials suitable for an interior that should last in good shape for 30-40 years, not 3-4.

112887574_8thumb_770x574112887574_7thumb_770x574
112887574_14thumb_770x574112887574_13thumb_770x574

The rest of the interiors we’ve looked at? They’re definitely better than they once were, but they’re still not great by any stretch of the imagination. Oh, and if you’re listening, Fleetwood, Winnebago, and  “Euro Recliners” are THE WORST THING EVER. Especially when you design a mid-entry coach, and put one between the navigator’s station and the door. It’s not a chair we’ll ever use (it’s getting chucked out the door and onto Craigslist or straight in the bin right off the bat), but after it’s gone there’s almost nothing we can use that remaining space for! At least Eric and Brittany could put Trogdor there…

I would absolutely recommend that the interior design folks at the coachbuilders point their browsers to Houzz and get their learning on. There is SO MUCH COOL STUFF out there – if you insist on building it for the mythical, mystical “broad appeal”, the least you could do is make it easy to customize, before or after the fact.

Better yet, you could take a page from the MINI playbook and build just a FEW coaches, but have a configurator online with an absolute metric TON of options, and expect that your customer will contact their local dealer with a build list – and you’ll build that coach at that time, and either drive it to the customer, or (like Mercedes, PorscheVolvo, Audi and BMW) offer a factory tour and coach pick-up package.

How often does a customer make an impulse buy of a $200,000 coach, anyway? The least you can do is make the customer feel special.

2014 Colorado RV Super Sale

Audrey and I went to the 11th Annual Colorado RV Super Sale at Mile High Stadium yesterday. We were supposed to get an early start and meet up with our internet friends Matt and his lovely wife, but they were there and gone before we managed to get on the road. It was in the mid 90’s, and probably hotter in the parking lot. Sadly, we didn’t get any of the afternoon clouds and thunderstorms that we’ve had for weeks, so it stayed hot and miserable – but there were some pretty awesome RV’s to inspect, and we did manage to find 4 or 5 things we want to follow up on.

Transwest Trucks in Frederick, CO

A 2009 Fleetwood Discovery 40X.

Their salesman said they’re looking to get it out the door for $128,000. Audrey and I both agree that it really, truly feels like a home to us.
Discovery 40X-001Discovery 40X
Discovery 40X-003
Discovery 40X-016

 

The black leather Euro-Chairs would go out the door on Craigslist, and would be replaced by at least one computer workstation. The dinette may or may not stay. Depends on how useful it turns out to be for working and eating both. We currently eat on the couch – that’s all the time we spend watching TV (and sitting on the couch) on any given day, so the dinette might become desk space, and a TV/computer workstation where the Euro-chairs are.

A 2014 Fleetwood Excursion 33A 

This is a new model, and it’s the last of them. They’re trying to get it out the door for (basically) what they have invested in it – $139,700. They didn’t have it on-site, but we’re going to look at it on Saturday.

Excursion33Athumb_a2M50000000gj2lEAA_5N140682_Excursion33A (6)
  thumb_a2M50000000gj2WEAQ_5N140682_Excursion33A (2)thumb_a2M50000000gj3AEAQ_5N140682_Excursion33A (10)

 

Although we haven’t seen the inside of this one in person yet, we did see a very similar Excursion 33D at the show (and Jason and Nikki Wynn have covered extensively) that we did like a lot.

One of the things that Transwest gets right – besides having sales people that are content to let you be to browse at your own speed – every time we’ve been to their location, and again at the stadium, they’ve got almost all of the units plugged in to shore power, and the air going. Even with the air going, it was hot in most of the coaches we looked at, and everything that was buttoned up went from being tolerable to being miserable quickly.

SO MANY AIRSTREAMS! 

OK, just 2 Airstreams…

…that were large enough for us to consider, both from Windish RV in Lakewood, CO

We noticed a couple of things about them – first, and this bit we really did like, is that new Airstreams are using materials, colors, and finishes inside that make them perfect for the person who wants to purchase decorating and living materials from IKEA. Second, if you’re buying brand new, IKEA is where you’ll be buying all your decorating and living materials to kit out your new travel trailer, because Airstreams are incredibly expensive. The Airstream 27FB that we were looking at was pushing $90,000. I found one tonight in California for $59,000 (pictured below). Hard to believe that it’s depreciated 1/3 of the new value in 2 model years.

112887574_13thumb_770x574112887574_14thumb_770x574

112887574_7thumb_770x574112887574_8thumb_770x574

Ugh. This is why we’re skittish about buying new. A warranty is nice, but not as nice as saving $30,000 lost to depreciation!
We would seriously consider a used one if we hadn’t already made up our minds that we don’t want to tour the country in a pickup truck or SUV – If we show up at midnight, (or pull into a Bass Pro Shop or WalMart for the night) and it’s raining buckets, we want to be able to just go in back, get under the covers, and worry about jacks, and leveling, and plugging in, and all that jazz in the morning.

Camping World

2015 Winnebago 42QD

Camping World had a number of coaches that we really liked – that naturally were way out of our price range. Isn’t that the way these things go? Of course everyone LOVES the ‘stick and brick’ home that, if you optioned all the options they have on the model, then bought all the same furniture, would run $600k, right? Same with the coaches. The $300,000 Winnebago Tour that Camping World had set up as the first coach you’d see is a masterpiece of beauty. It’s really, really lovely. We both really like the materials and floorplan choices that Winnebago makes. How could you not love this?

536665tour 008 536665tour 030

 

The thing that cannot be adequately captured with a camera is how wonderful the rear bath is on the 2015 Tour 42QD. It’s spacious, well laid out, and…just fantastic. (There I am, going on again about the room I spend the least amount of time in!)

Jayco Seneca (3 on display)

I really, really want to like the Jayco Seneca. Having an honest Freightliner truck cab up front is really, really cool.

JaycoSeneca01JaycoSeneca02

Unfortunately, the interior layouts of the ones they had on display are all pretty much terrible.

JaycoSeneca03 seneca36fk

What this view doesn’t show is the pinch points where the steps enter the coach, and again where you walk around the bed in the back. Both spots are very, very narrow. Even the older used Senecas we’ve looked at have had some fatal flaw in the floorplan. It’s a shame – as I said, I really want to like them.

Thor Palazzo 33.2

The Thor Palazzo 33.2 is one of my favorite coaches under 35′. (The other two being the Winnebago Forza/Itasca Solei 34T and the Fleetwood Excursion 33A/D). It’s got a great open floorplan, and room for a washer/dryer, which is a must have for us. They’re still new, so buying one used is out of reach for us, however.

100_9531100_9533

Looking Aft in the Thor Palazzo 33.2Looking Forward in the Thor Palazzo 33.2

Winnebago Vista 35Y

This is a New For 2015 floorplan, and Audrey and I both like it a lot. It’s the first floorplan that I’ve seen in a Class A where the kitchen doesn’t feel like a ‘tucked against the wall’ afterthought. The more I look at this coach, the more I like it. So, you’re going to get extra pictures of it.

Vista 36Y 00LVista 36Y 00R

Vista 36Y 01Vista 36Y 02

Vista 36y 03Vista 36Y 04

A REAL KITCHEN, and a bedroom with a Not Terrible window! I REALLY, REALLY like the Vista 36Y, but it’s BRAND NEW for 2015, so it’s prudent to let someone else take the bath on depreciation.

At this point, we’d made our way from the very southern end of the show, where Transwest was, to the very northern end. It was blazing hot, and the only water available was a small stand in the center, selling 16 oz bottles for $3, and only accepted cash. We passed it on the way down the lane, since we don’t carry cash anymore. Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot left that looked interesting to us. We did find one gem among all the travel trailers and enormous 5th wheels at the north end of the show.

2015 Dutchmen Denali 2445RL

What an adorable little ‘babby’ 5th wheel – GVWR is 10,860 pounds, which means that if you don’t load it down with 3939 pounds of crap, you could pull it with an (appropriately optioned) F-150.

Dutchmen 2445RL 02Dutchmen 2445RL 04

Dutchmen 2445RL 06Dutchmen 2445RL 07

Dutchmen 2445RL 08

 

It’s also very similar to the Cougar 5er that Reddit user SiberianSF remodeled. Again, if we were considering driving a truck and not a single unit, I think we’d be all over this.

After this, we made our way back to the car, and headed out to…

CruiseAmerica

Four Winds Majestic 28a

…CruiseAmerica to look at their $20,000 Four Winds Majestic 28A Class C specials.

96104091_1thumb_770x57496104091_13thumb_770x574

96104091_2thumb_770x574 96104091_3thumb_770x574

 

It was very…basic. The sales guy had worked for the company for a long time, and had pretty good information on these coaches – little touches that are “renter friendly” (renters break shit) that you can see in the pictures, like the basic trim strips along the top and side of the dinette. They’re made that way because renters cut them, or burn them. Three screws and you can replace the damaged piece with a new one, without having to pull the whole dinette seat apart. Unfortunately, this also means that the Majestic 28A comes without things that a lot of other coaches do have, like an awning, slideouts, leveling jacks, etc. Some of that you can add, some would be cost-prohibitive (jacks, primarily), so you’ll have to kick it old school. The price is very, very, very hard to beat, especially after looking at coaches costing 4-15 times as much. We were sorely tempted to see if we could put $2200 down on the spot and pick the coach up in 3-5 weeks (standard delivery time).

The research I did on Friday turned up two camps of people.

  • People who do not, and would not own one, and hate them with a fiery passion.
  • People who did some due diligence, bought one, and love them (and the SCREAMING DEAL they got) with a fiery passion.

However, a $22,000 impulse buy is not something I’d ever recommend.

The Salesman said that they’ll be out of 2008’s this week, and then they’ll start selling 2009s for about $25,000. I don’t know that those will be the 28′ coaches, though. RVTrader shows the 2009 28a’s being about 32k. If the 2009s are indeed going to be 32k, then I think we’ll look out of state at a former El Monte RV rental that’s being pulled out of service, since the prices will be more or less comparable, but the El Monte coaches, from what I’ve seen, do have things like slides and levelers.

We’ll see what the folks at Transwest have to say on Saturday.