roger January 20th, 2013
About 6 months ago we (or if you ask Roxie, I) started half-heartedly looking for another trailer. We really could use a newer trailer and a newer tow vehicle before we retire. But I feel that it will be easier to find a tow vehicle than a trailer, hence the search for a trailer first.
As I have talked about in previous posts, my parents gave us our current Airstream (it was the last of their 6 Airstreams over the years) as my father could no longer tow it. That was back in 2001 and it was 9 years old at that time. Flash forward to now and the trailer is 21 years old! It has/had many things going for it. It was free, it is a good manageable size (25'), I am very familiar with it and we didn't freak out too much if there was a dent, ding or scratch on it (for the record I did not put ANY dings in the trailer). But there were also some negatives. It was a bit too small (25'), it has twin beds, Roxie has always wanted a 'permanent' dinette and it was getting a bit long in tooth. So the search begins.
We (or I as will be explained later) were looking for 27-28' in length. We liked the new front bedroom models and tended to like the Classic trim. We were also looking for a 2000's or newer model.
Things started getting serious about 2 months ago. We found a couple of Classic's at Toscano RV in Los Banos, CA. These were 30' models. A bit longer than I thought but then I remembered Rich Luhr from Airstream Life. They have a 30' and he mentioned that he only had a very few times where he could not get his trailer in a campground. But these 30's were a floorplan that I really didn't care for, not as much as the 31' model (same length as a 30' model but called a 31'). The 30' floorplan has the bathroom on one side of the hall and the shower on the other. Essentially the hallway goes THROUGH the bathroom. The 31' floorplan has the entire bathroom on the streetside of the trailer, like we are used to with our 25'. Additionally the 31' has a nice big wardrobe in it, very nice when you are going to be in the trailer for an extended time.
We thought we would see if we could purchase the 2004 30' through Toscano. This was a trailer that was on consignment so they would take any offer to the trailer owner for approval. We secured a used RV loan through our credit union and started in.
The first thing our credit union said is that they will approve up to the NADAGuide average retail value for any RV. Airstreams, it is known, tend to hold their value a bit more than other trailers but it appears the NADAGuide does not take that into consideration. When we ran the numbers with this trailer the NADA came in over $8000 less than the asking price. What could we do? We offered the most that our credit union would finance us for on this particular trailer. Naturally the owners did not accept the offer but would probably go about $3000 over our max. No deal.
At about the same time I was using SearchTempest to search multiple locations in Craigslist at once. I as able to find a private party selling a 2005 model with the 31' floorplan in Montana. Just want we/I wanted! I contacted our credit union again as the asking price for this one was LESS that the NADA value. Oh yeah! Well the credit union will only finance an RV that is titled and registered in California. That is a big problem.
Then the credit union came up with their ultimate show of brilliance. They told me if I could find the money on my own to purchase the trailer they could refinance it after we title it in California! What! IF I had the money myself why would I be asking them to finance it? Duh!
So that door was shut too, or was it? I decided to apply for an unsecured loan that would cover the purchase price of the trailer then I could do what I want with it. Then I could refinance it later. OK. Back on.
I was able to secure the help of a very nice individual to inspect the trailer for me in Montana and the owner agreed to meet us halfway in Salt Lake City. Sounding good? The owner came back and told me there were some others interested also in the trailer but there weren't any others for the previous month.
I was fixated on this like one of those dogs on the Dog Whisperer. Where Cesar has to jar the dog out of the focus so they can move on. Luckily Roxie was able to do this for me and make me aware that this is going to be her home for months on end and she did not want a 'piece of crap'.
Taking this into account, I received a less-than-stellar report from the inspector. The owner was wanting up to 50% of the cash wired to him also. I told him that we would have to see the unit personally before we could do anything and recommended he make a deal with one of the 'other' buyers.
During Roxie waking me out of my single-sightedness, we took a trip to Airstream of Los Angeles to see a 30' Flying Cloud they had. We looked it over but were a bit disappointed by the floorplan and storage. However the deal they offered was decent. This meant buying a new trailer that is more than our first house! Ouch.
But I warmed up to the idea and started looking at new trailers exclusively. About 2 weeks ago I found one in Portland. A 2012 new 31' Classic. It had dual A/C's, which I could take or leave, but it was the best one that we found. The dealership told us the price and it seemed very competitive. The competitiveness was confirmed by two sources, a personal friend and Airstream of Los Angeles. We started the purchase process, put a deposit on it and made plans.
Yesterday we left Visalia and drove to McCloud, CA. Tonight we are in Oregon City, OR and will go finish the deal on the trailer tomorrow.
Compared to all the other trailers we tried to get this one has just all fallen in to place. Roxie takes that as a good sign and I do too.
I will try to post a blog entry tomorrow from the trailer as we spend our first night in it.
Here is a link to photos: http://portland.casarodante.org