Experiences of a late-comer to the agility competition scene -- our training, trials, life-style changes/challenges, RV adventures, and observations on the sport, the people, and dogs involved in it. Begun July 17, 2010.
Thursday and Friday, John's days off. Our weekend. Running other errands last Friday, we decided to pass by Millerville RV on O'Neal and Florida, and check out the trailers and motor homes. Just for the hell of it, of course. No intention to buy. No ability to buy. We inspected a few dozen trailers and motor homes. I liked some but I fell in love with the Coachman Concord 275S0, an '05 model. Everything in it including HDTV, surround sound entertainment center, generator, shower, hot water, full kitchen, separate bedroom with queen size bed and end tables, built in drawers and closets, all the options included. Two slide-outs. 28' long. Roomy. Selling for the dirt cheap price of $43,000!!!!! My jaw hit the floor.
Interior view, facing front
Back home, I went online to see what people are saying about the Concord, prices, etc. Seasoned RV'ers rave about it -- best built, few problems, great comfort. The cheapest used one I could find was $46,000, in California, with lots more mileage and fewer options.
Financially speaking, if we add a small car to tow @ $5,000, we might be looking at a $50,000 investment. I'd have to go to 50 trials at $1000 apiece for hotel and restaurant food, or 100 trials at $500 apiece, or 200 trials at $250 apiece, to match that expense. A 3 day trial, hotels running around $80/night, a 3 night stay would run $240, plus 3 dinners out @ $15 = $45, give or take $20 or $30, I'd more or less break even at 200 trials. 20 trials a year for 10 years. Humm! Will I do that? I only did 6 this year, so it's not likely I'll do 20.
This doesn't even count gas. These rigs get about 10 mpg. My car gets 20 mpg. So, double the cost of fuel. If the average regional trial (Gulfport, Monroe, Alexandria) is 3 hours away = 180 miles away = 18 gallons @ $3/gallon = $54 x 2 (roundtrip) = $108 per trip for gas vs. half that for my car.
Then there's your RV hookup @ an average of $15/night x 3 = $45.
Then there's maintenance, which on a RV can get quite expensive after the warranty runs out.
Yikes! Not cheap. But so convenient! Definitely a luxury item. The beauty of this, on the road, is you can pull off into any Wal-Mart or K-Mart parking lot, park towards the outer edge, and with the store's blessing, stay overnight. Pull over, fix lunch, take a nap, spend the night. No checking into motels, offloading luggage, arriving on time. You're self-contained, and free! Minimum calories expended.
John and I talked it over. We figure we have about 10-15 more years where we can be "on the road", take Jonathan camping, go out west, tour the country, etc. After that we'll be too old and tired, my agility dogs will be retired. We're already too tired to pitch a tent and sleep on an air mattress, about too tired to set up and take down the pop-up camper every few days. If the stock market ever picks back up, and we know it will in a few years, we're going to cash in and buy one of these. If we don't go for the gusto while we can, we'll just be passing it on to our kids, and they will probably go out and spend it on themselves without a thought to frugality. Sometimes I get tired of being frugal. Lord knows, we see RV's all over the highway, proof that lots of other people are so lucky. Why not us?
Upwards and onward, with fingers crossed that the RV genie might smile favorably down upon us sooner or later.