I made this 30-minute video of LaMesa's Johnny showing us how to work everything in our new 2019 Winnebago Navion 24D so I could refer to it later if I forgot anything.
When buying a motorhome, would-be RV'r's often become distracted by size and think that bigger is better.
We have learned by experience that bigger is NOT better, at least for us.
After purchasing a new 41', 4" long 2018 Tiffin Phaeton 40IH last summer, and driving it about 7,000 miles to Seattle and back, twice, we have decided to go smaller. While that RV was absolutely beautiful, we found it to be too large for what we wanted to do. We like the "camping" feel when we go places. At 41 feet, we were very limited to the places we could go and stay. We could only stay in expensive, large, pull-through RV parks. We couldn't stay in most national or state parks because they limit your length to about 35'. We had to fill the 100-gallon fuel tank at big, inconvenient truck stops. We couldn't stop anywhere without first looking to see if there was a way out without backing up (you can't back up an RV towing a car).
With RVs, there are a lot of things that can go wrong, but at 41 feet, there are even more things to go wrong. We had this RV for five months. The last two months it has been sitting at LaMesa RV's service center, waiting to get 30 items fixed. Most of the 30 items were problems that came that way from the factory. This is our third Tiffin, and we've had similar poor quality experiences with the previous two. After 7 years of owning Tiffins, we're done.
It's time to simplify!
Last weekend, we traded the Tiffin Phaeton in for a 25', 8" long 2019 Winnebago Navion 24D. The Winnebago will allow us to go just about anywhere, as it's not much bigger than a large SUV. With the Winnebago Navion, the entire chassis is made by Mercedes-Benz. With Tiffin, the engine was made by Cummings, the transmission by Allison, the chassis by Tiffin, the dash by several different manufacturers. No wonder there were so many things wrong all the time! With the new Winnebago, the entire chassis, engine, transmission and cab are all made and serviced by Mercedes-Benz. With the Winnebago, we're simplifying from three roof air conditioner units to one, four slide-outs to one, four TVs to one, two bathrooms to one (see the trend here?). I still expect things to go wrong, but there are fewer things to go wrong in this smaller motorhome.
We're looking forward to being more nimble. The Winnebago drives like a SUV, not a semi-truck. It gets 15+ MPG instead of 8. It can sleep 5-6 adults and/or children with its ingenious queen-size Murphy bed that turns into a couch when not in use, 4-person dinette and above-cab bunk. It still has all the comforts of a larger RV; shower, toilet, bathroom sink, kitchen sink, stove, microwave and 30" television with DVD player, but in a smaller footprint. Plus, we think that it will be less of a burden packing up for short trips rather than always feeling like we had to go on long, major trips.
We are going to sell our Jeep tow-car, as I hated always having to hook it up, tow it, and being limited to where we could go because you can't back up an RV towing a car.
I wish everyone the opportunity to own an RV. We've had a lot of great memories in our 7 years of owning RVs. Certainly, the big, 40 foot plus size RVs are perfect for many people. If you like driving a long distance to stay in one place as a home base for a month or more, then the bigger-is-better theory can work for you. But, we've found that bigger is not always better.
We drove the RV and towed the Jeep from Phoenix back to Seattle and stayed there for two weeks to attend the "Celebration of Life" get-together with family and friends of my mom who passed away the previous month at the age of 95. It was great seeing everybody and hearing their stories of how much they loved my mom. We miss you, mom.
Forest fire smoke was thick all the way from southern Utah to Seattle, and during the first week in Seattle, but it cleared up for the trip back to Phoenix.
We stayed at the Lake Pleasant RV Park the first week. We love this park but it's very popular and difficult to get reservations at the last minute. We stayed at the Trailer Inns of Bellevue RV Park the second week. This park is basically a parking lot, but the location is great for us because it's closer to family in Issaquah.
We stayed for two nights in Salt Lake City at the Pony Express RV Resort so we could attend our grandson's first birthday party. It was held in a city park with lots of relatives from Crystal's side of the family who live near Salt Lake City. We're so glad we were able to move our reservations around to be there. He's growing up so fast! We'd like to go back and spend some more time at Park City after we took a day-trip there exploring the beautiful area.
On the way up and back, we stayed at the Ambassador RV Resort, in Caldwell, ID. This is our go-to park for traveling between Salt Lake City and Seattle, as it has very nice, wide, pull-through, paved spaces with easy access from I-84 (and a convenient Flying J truck stop nearby for fueling up).
One park we won't be staying at again is the Solstice Motorcoach Resort in Mesquite, NV. This place is billed as one of the nicest RV parks in the country, but it's terribly run down now. The original developer went bankrupt and it was bought by someone else in 2015 who hasn't put a dime back into the property. Weeds everywhere, dead grass, empty fountains and ponds, etc. It looks nothing like the photos on their website! The only good thing about this place is the nice territorial view over the valley below.
Our new 2018 Tiffin Phaeton 40IH motorhome performed great over the 3,000 mile trip. I'm constantly amazed at how well this RV drives compared to our previous ones. I can drive 650 miles in a day if I need to without getting worn out. Love it!
Slide show from our Garmin dash cam:
Another west-coast summer trip! We spent 10 days at San Diego's Campland on the Bay for the 4th of July festivities, then made our way up to Seattle via the S. Cal. coast, Medford and the Oregon Coast. Ended up driving all the way back to Phoenix in just 3 days, thanks to our new 2018 Tiffin Phaeton 40IH motorhome which drives like a dream!
Campsites we stayed at:
Video highlights of our trip through the eyes of our dashcam:
When you start considering a RV to buy, all the "experts" say you should buy your third RV first. After almost 6 years of RVing, I now know why they say that. Until you own one and drive one, you just can't anticipate what your needs will be. With that said, we traded in our 2016 Tiffin 33AA RED for a new 2018 Tiffin Phaeton 40 IH last weekend.
As I'm sure every RV owner does, I've been dreaming upgrading our motorhome for the past several months. I started a list of all the things that would make up my dream RV, and the Phaeton 40 IH ticked off all the boxes. Such as:
This will be our third motorhome, and Pam and I believe we'll be very satisfied with it for years to come. We're looking forward to our next adventure!
We had a nice 3 days/2 nights camping at Arizona's Dead Horse Ranch State Park over Mother's Day weekend. We were planning on going to dinner Friday night at Pizza Bocce, a very well-known restaurant here in Cottonwood, but the wait was over an hour and a half, so we got some good BBQ ribs at another place. Several family members met us at the lake on Mother's Day for a nice picnic, kayaking and fishing. Weather was perfect with highs around 75 and lows in the 50s and not a cloud in sight. We camped in space #104, which was high up on a hill with a great view overlooking Cottonwood, Jerome and the surrounding mountains. Price was only $30/night. The site had a nice paved drive with a fire pit, picnic table, water and 50 amp electric, but no sewer hookup (they do have a dump site near the entrance). No wi-fi, but my Verizon phone worked well as a hot-spot so I was able to get some work done. I'm sure we'll be back here again!
This is a video that I created of footage from our new Garmin Dash Cam 55. This little camera is awesome. It records in 1440P resolution (this file is only 720P to put on the blog) and has voice control! While you're driving, you just speak commands to make it save video, take a still photo or record in time-lapse mode (Garmin calls it "Travelapse"). I added a 64 GB microSD card so it will record about a days worth of driving at a time before it starts recording over yesterday's footage. You can always tell it to "Save Video" if there's something you want to save for later. I love it!
Click the play button above to watch a short video of the event.
We attended our first Tiffin Allegro Club Rally this week. 315 Tiffin RVs and over 700 owners and spouses converged on the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson, Arizona for 5 days/4 nights of fun-filled Tiffin-related activities including vendor seminars and displays several meals, concerts, ice cream socials, hobby & craft displays, swap meet and much more! I enjoyed the Freightliner seminar the most because I learned a lot about our Freightliner chassis that I didn't know. There were large vendor displays and a Tiffin accessories store where you could purchase Tiffin clothing and assorted parts. One of the best features of the rally was the Tiffin factory technicians performing up to three minor repairs on everybody's coaches. The nightly entertainment was a lot of fun with "The Piano Man", a tribute band to Billy Joel and Elton John on Tuesday night, Sarah Getto on Wednesday night and "December ’63", Frankie Valli tribute band after Thursday's farewell dinner. It was really fun getting to meet so many other RV enthusiasts and swap travel stories!
We had one issue occur on the trip, which I cannot fully explain. Our key fob to the RV wasn't working when we got there, which I attributed to just needing a new battery. Then, neither Pam or my key fob to the Jeep would work either. I thought it was just a big coincidence that all 3 key fobs didn't work, but I did tell Pam that I had a feeling that we were in some kind of key fob dead-zone. I pulled the key out of the fob and manually opened the driver's door to the Jeep, which set off the alarm for what seemed like an eternity! It finally shut itself off, but I couldn't start the Jeep or do anything. I suspected the Jeep's battery was going bad, so another Tiffin owner volunteered to bring over his portable jump-starter. After another 10 minutes of the alarm going off, we tried to jump start it, but it would not start. I ended up calling Jeep and having a tow truck haul it 15 miles to the nearest Jeep dealership. Of course, the key fob worked for them there at the dealership. They tested the battery and it tested OK so they took the Jeep out for a test-drive to make sure everything was working, and the battery failed on them during the drive, so they got it back to the dealership and installed a brand-new battery. After getting a ride from their shuttle back to the dealership, I got back to the rally just in time for the farewell dinner. Went out the next morning to load the Jeep up to leave, and the key fob didn't work again! Remember, all this time, the RV key fob didn't work either! I managed to get inside the Jeep and hooked it up to tow home behind the RV. Once we returned home, both Pams' and my Jeep key fobs and the RV key fob all worked perfectly! WTF?
We traveled the 150 miles from Phoenix to Tucson on Saturday, checking in to the Lazy Days KOA RV park for two nights before moving on to the Pima County Fairgrounds for the Tiffin Allegro Rally on Monday, Presidents' Day. This KOA was a real nice RV park with wide spaces and a good BBQ restaurant that even delivers right to your RV!
On Sunday, we took the Jeep about 75 miles to the top of Mt. Lemmon, via the Mt. Lemmon highway, which is a very scenic road that climbs from Tucson to over 8,000 feet. We're glad we took our coats, because the temperature went from 67° in Tucson to 39° at the top of Mt. Lemmon. We had lunch at the quaint, Iron Door Restaurant next to the chair lift, where we had a delicious lunch of homemade chili and grilled cheese sandwiches with a beautiful view overlooking the surrounding mountains.
I love our new Thompson's Treks bumper sticker that Krista and Jason made for us as a Christmas gift. Thanks guys!
States We've Trekked To