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Old 04-22-2005, 04:44 PM   #15
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1988 25' Excella
Sunnyvale , California
Join Date: Jul 2003
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2/3 of way across the country...


While I can't recommend our model for everyone, I drove from San Jose CA to Ft. Worth TX (1,740 miles each way) to pick up ours.. ('88 Excella 25 Rear Queen..). Trip cost in Suburban for myself worked out to:

1. About $435 in gas for 3,300 miles RT
2. Approx $150 for 2 nights motel + $50 in food over 5 days
3. Approx $40 for 2 nights in campground on way home...

I decided to do so based on following criteria...

1. Exact model and vintage pretty rare, and sell very quickly (usually 72 hrs)
2. I had multiple good digital photo's and seller home/work info
3. I had other friends in Dallas area I could rely on if problems arose
4. I do electronic contracting and had satisfactory remedy for mis-rep or disasters (I'd be out travel cost, but not purchase price, unlike E-Bay..)
5. I assumed $300-500 in "misc fixups not disclosed" and had to replace refrig control board, water heater thermostat, 1 propane tank valve, both batteries and some little stuff, so it came out about right...

I drove each direction in 2 1/2 days, and finished total trip on 5th day, including portion of holiday weekend, so vacation hit not too bad. I'd recommend others try based on following:

1. Be sure of age, condition and exact match with your requirements (Distance will be big deal later if you're not happy after getting home..)
2. DO try to find friend/forum member to lay eyes upon it before committing to purchase, and have a plan to walk away/fly home/drive off if seller lied..
3. Travel light and plan to just get home, rather than meandering, as there WILL be things that need addressing and they're easier to fix at home than on the road...
4. Throw the GOOD tool box in truck, including compressors, bottle jacks, battery chargers (truck or trailer..), jumper cables, coolant, belts, wiring stuff, etc etc, as well as sleeping bag and pillow and foul weather gear...
5. Double check credit limits on credit card, just in case...

If you're looking for a specific used model, there just might not be one in Calif for sale for several years, and so traveling may be the only way.. I admire those who drove further for really cheap mega-fixer-uppers, though risks higher that bad chassis/brakes/wheels and tires make towing home long distances on interstates illegal or unwise... As for new trailers at dealers, quite a few advertise list and net prices now in Blue Beret with published discounts in 10-15% range, so if local dealer inflexible, and difference large enough, it might be worth a drive...

John McG


In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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