Driving around in Lafayette, Louisiana in my new Ford F-150 Eco-boost pick-up truck I felt right at home with the southern rednecks and their big trucks. You really have to know me to know how ridiculous this sounds. Aside from the fact that I am a well-educated university professor, the idea of trolling around in my pick-up truck is not something I would ever do. However, I did enjoy the occasional show of testosterone and gunning my engine and squealing out from the stop light – but that only happened once. Once again – I digress from my main topic. Time to get back to business!
I knew Myrtle was aging and while I had reduced the number of things that needed to be repaired considerably, I knew my maintenance list was going to continue to grow. This is simply a fact of life when you own an RV. I read that 90% of the RV works 100% of the time. I am sure I read this on one of my RV forums, but can’t remember who said it. Regardless – this statement is certainly true. And, an older RV can develop quite an impressive maintenance list very fast. I knew I needed to get a newer RV and it was time to trade in Myrtle.
Remember – by this point, I had been living in my Class A for close to two years. I was ready to have certain modern conveniences that I had given up to live in the RV. I wanted a fresh water tank that worked, a black tank clean out that did not require me to drag a hose into the RV and stick it in the toilet bowl. I wanted sensors that worked correctly and most notably – I no longer wanted my engine in my house. You see, owning a Class A RV meant I had three engines to take care of. The engine in the RV is one, the engine in my car is another, and the engine in the generator is the last one. All three of these engines need attention and maintenance. Interestingly enough, they seemed to need maintenance attention at the same time; which cost a lot of money! It was time to change my paradigm and get into a newer RV.
During this time, I am hanging out in Lafayette, Louisiana. Great city northwest of New Orleans – very religious and spiritual people – but they were terrible drivers. The Cajun food was awesome and the craw fish were hard to eat … but a great little place to hang out and stay for a piece. My mother once ate close to 7 pounds of craw fish (finishing mine because I could not figure out how to eat them properly). The community has a number of RV dealers and I knew I would need to go to an RV dealer because I was not going to sell Myrtle outright through a private transaction.
I visited a few of the RV dealers in Lafayette, but I am not going to name names only because the experience was less than favorable. One dealer wanted to give me just shy of $5,000 trade on Myrtle. Now remember, the market value of my RV retail was at least $21k … I was pretty offended and just left that dealership. The other few dealerships did not even bother to come out of their offices when I was on the show room floor or in the lot looking at their models. I will readily admit there was one young salesman from Camping World in Carencro, LA that was very helpful. I think this might have been his first sale’s job but he spent close to an hour showing me their inventory. While I would have happily bought an RV from him, Camping World prices were simply too high and their selection at this location was very limited. Never the less – he was probably the most helpful salesperson I worked with during my ventures around Lafayette.
By this point I was pretty discouraged and thought I might just keep Myrtle and get a flat tow hitch for the new truck. After all – the truck could be flat towed so there was no reason why this was not an reasonable alternative. It was just about that time when I received a call from my brother. We talked about my RV dilemma and he suggested I come down to Florida and talk to the dealerships by his work place in Plant City. Plant City, Florida is the first city heading east on I-4 from Tampa. This area is home to one of the largest Camping World Dealerships as well as General RV Dealership. But I told my brother the idea was crazy, but I would think about it.
My mother and I had talked about taking time and going to Florida to visit my brothers during her scheduled time off where she was supposed to go to Italy. Due to a health scare, she was not able to go and was sitting around the house with little to so. My schedule was free – so we packed up the truck and headed to Florida for a little R&R and for me to look at some RVs. We arrived in Sarasota on a Saturday in the evening and decided to take the weekend and relax. My brother was off from work the following Monday and we decided we would take a trip to visit the dealerships in Plant City. I was not hopeful and thought what a sincere waste of time. But there was something calling me to go – so we hopped in my brother’s car and headed to the dealership.
It was a hot and terribly muggy day – temperatures reaching at least 95 degrees (F) with the “feels like” temperature around 101 degrees (F). Big black storm clouds were on the horizon; which I thought to be an ominous sign for retreat. I told my brother Tim, “this is going to be a waste of time and it s going to start raining – we should probably just go.” Tim said, “let’s press on and see what they have here … you never know, you might find something that will work for you.” So we pressed on ….
The salesmen at General RV was named Joe … an older and rather distinguished gentleman that was incredibly polite and knowledgeable. This is a fresh change from the salespeople I dealt with in Lafayette, I thought. We met in his office and it was very cool and comfortable. He offered us some water and started to ask me a number of questions about what I was looking for in my new RV. I laughed and said “Look Joe, you are a great guy, but I have been through this more than enough and here is the deal … this is what I want, for this price, this is what I want for my trade, and this is the style of RV I want.” “If you can’t do it – that is fine – no need to waste my time or your time and I will be going.” Joe looked at me as if he was sizing me up, got a smile on his face and said “I like that you know exactly what you want and I am going to do my best to met your expectations – come on out to the lot with me.”
Before I knew it, my brother and I were riding along in a gulf cart zig zagging across a waste land of recreational vehicles. Large, small, medium, and sizes in between … 5th wheels, travel trailers, towables, Class As, Class Cs, anything you wanted – they had it. “Wow- my brother was right – this place is amazing”, I thought to myself! It was not long before Tim and I were in an out of a number of travel trailers. Each one had an issue that was not appealing to me. I was determined I was going to get what I wanted! After all, I was going to be living in this trailer and needed it to meet my needs. Myrtle had been very comfortable to live in and it was going to be hard to replace that comfy feeling. However, after the time has passed – we had not found anything that peaked my interest.
By this point I was done …. we had been in an out of what seemed like 10 travel trailers. For one reason or another I did not like the model, the manufacturer, or some other reason I probably made up. Several months before I had toured a Jayco Jay Feather and I fell in love with the floor plan and the design. The kitchen counter top was a huge selling feature on this model. In my mind I was hoping to find a design like this but none of the models Joe showed me even compared. By this time, the ominous black storm clouds had made its way over to us and the rain started to come down. We were riding around in the gulf cart and my poor brother, riding in the unprotected rear of the cart, was getting soaked. Joe kept looking at his inventory paper and I had enough of all this happiness and was ready to go. I told Joe to take us back to the office and thanked him for his efforts. He pleasantly asked me if I would look at one more RV … “what the heck I thought – Tim is already soaked – might as well just look.”
Joe pulled up to this Wildwood by Heritage Glen … very pretty – modern design – looked edgy and trendy. We quick ran to get into the RV to get out of the monsoonal rain. The minute I stepped into this RV, I knew this was the one. Immediately I was greeted by an open and spacious floor plan and better than that – the designed I wanted in the Jayco was the same in this model. The kitchen counter top was the same as the Jayco, the layout the same as the Jayco and the overall feel of the RV exactly the same as the Jayco. I told Joe – “you did it” we left the RV and went back to the office to talk deal!
After some significant negotiating, Joe came through as he said he would. The deal was acceptable and I signed the paperwork. However, there were two big issues that in all the excitement about buying the new RV I had almost completely forgotten about – my mother and Myrtle. Mother was in Florida (with me on vacation – remember) and Myrtle was in Louisiana.
Stay tuned for Everything has changed – Trading Myrtle!