Our search for the right RV took about two months and five states. First we started with nearby RV dealerships to get ourselves acquainted with space, floor plans, types and RV systems. In most cases the salespersons were extremely helpful and we learned a lot. This was a good first step. Initially we thought about a travel trailer so that we could unhook the trailer at a campsite and have the tow vehicle to explore the surrounding area. While we still may consider this in the future, for our initial adventure we decided that a smaller Class C seemed more appropriate for our travel needs, especially with pets. A new RV was out of the question on our very modest budget. Luckily RVs depreciate fairly rapidly. It is said that they depreciate 20-30% by just driving off the lot and about 10% every year there after. It is possible to find used RVs that have had light to moderate use. Though this may not be as good as it sounds, as we found some RVs have been left sitting for long periods in a state of slow rot. The use it or lose it analogy applies. Mechanical things do like to be run, at least on occasion.
After deciding on the size and type of RV and being realistic about condition and age with regard to our budget, the real search began. I scoured the internet on daily basis looking for rigs within a 250 mile range. RV Trader, EBay and Craigslist proved the most useful. In the Mid-Atlantic area, where RVing is not as popular as other parts of the country, looking at RVs requires a lot of traveling. We saw about three a week. Shopping for a used RV on a limited budget is hard. We found the term “good condition” to be subjective. The owners were all very nice but some seemed to be less the forthcoming. After a couple of months this became tiring and time consuming. We almost resigned to blowing our budget and buying a late model former rental rig with anxiety producing high miles.
On a whim I looked on Craigslist in Florida near where Alayne’s parents live and spotted a nondescript ad, and within seconds of viewing I was 90% sure it was perfect. Alayne’s parents went and took a look, and returned with glowing reviews and detailed pictures. After speaking with the owner, we had found our RV 1000 miles away. A week later we flew down to pick it up. It cost slightly more than the $10k we budgeted, but it is exactly what we wanted. We drove back to Maryland, camping along the way, with smiles on our faces.
2000 Dutchemen Express 22RK on a Ford E-350 Van Chassis, Triton V-10 with only 41,500 miles in very good condition. The floor plan is optimal for our purposes. Interior storage is great, exterior (basement storage) is a bit slim.