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Old 04-21-2005, 06:00 PM   #1
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How far would you travel to buy?..

I'm very casually looking for a new trailer and I found one that could be interesting. Only problem it's 3000 miles away

With gas prices and time off required starts to make a good deal not so good.

How far would/did you go if the deal was right? How does driving out compare with flying out and renting a truck to haul it back?
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Old 04-21-2005, 06:21 PM   #2
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From reading many many experiences of other people, I tend to think that the farther you go for a "deal", the less likely it really is a deal. Distance (accompanied by photos on the Internet, exuberant descriptions and promises) seems to be all too often the refuge of scoundrel sellers. There are a few exceptions, of course.

Having said that, I drove 500 miles to pick up a Caravel sight unseen. But the value of a trailer needs to be fairly high to justify a 2000 or 3000 mile drive! At that point you're either talking about a true rarity, or something in the range of a new Airstream price. IMHO.
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Old 04-21-2005, 06:30 PM   #3
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Agreed,

I'm primarily looking at 1996 or newer. I would tend to hope the unforseen dangers of a 30+ year old unit would be less.

But your right *buyer beware*
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Old 04-21-2005, 06:41 PM   #4
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First - do the math. Is the deal so good and the unit so nice that it is worthwhile? Then have a list member who lives nearby go look at it for you.

I bought my new 2003 in Florida because it saved me $5000 off the local dealer price, and at least $2000 off any other dealer I could find. I drove down to pick it up, but I was headed that way anyway. At the time it seemed worthwhile. Only problem was the salt air near Tampa apparently corroded many parts of the new trailer during the 67 months it was on the lot, and it was a hassle to get it fixed. It's okay now... but I would not get another trailer that has spent much time in a coastal area!
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Old 04-21-2005, 09:15 PM   #5
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How about 2500 miles from Orange, CA to Tampa, FL to pick up a 1954 30' Double Door Liner which needs complete restoration. We are leaving the middle of June and will be back July 4. The Double Door feature makes it worth while. I checked transport services and they ran $1500 to $3000. I decided to make a vacation of it and hopefully it won't cost more than $3000.

The POs of our 1979 23' Safari traveled from near Sacramento, CA to Missouri after looking for over one year. We traveled from Orange, CA to there house twice, once to look at it and once to pick it up.

If you can make the pick up an adventure and vacation, it helps to rationalize the distance.
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Old 04-21-2005, 10:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari Tim
How far would/did you go if the deal was right? How does driving out compare with flying out and renting a truck to haul it back?
I recently drove 4,100 miles round trip to pick up my 97 30' Excella. It was the most affordable trailer with the floorplan and features I wanted. I found several trailers closer, some much closer, but almost all were priced $8-10,000 over NADA high-book.

So I guess it comes down to how much you want the trailer. For me the hardest part was getting the time off of work with almost no notice and having to travel alone. There was no way I was going to attempt the trip I took with our 3 year old!
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Old 04-22-2005, 06:22 AM   #7
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Ask for PLENTY of pictures, good clear pictures. We drove roughly 2000 miles roundtrip to see what my family infamously calls "The Mouse House," a Vermin Hilton on wheels. My wife was not happy at all. Made the best of the trip that we could, I was ready to strangle the owner after he opened the door, talk about misrepresenting! Just imagine a trailer sitting in the northeast woods for 15 years unused. The tell all was hearing the owner open the door (while I was looking at the other side) and say to my wife "Check out this mouse trap, see the mice run up the board to get at the bait and fall into this (5 gallon) bucket, oh, looks like we've had a few customers." I won't give a description of the interior. I learned my lesson. Made us leary to drive the 250 miles to look at the unit we bought, since the elderly owner had no pictures. I think every time you go to look at one you have to look at as an adventure. It may take looking at several before finding "The One."
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Old 04-22-2005, 07:23 AM   #8
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Have Fellow Forum Member Assist

Tim,

I travelled nearly six hours from North Georgia to Ft Bragg, NC area to retrieve a '73 Sovereign center bath ("the bunkhouse") that I purchased for not very much on ebay.

Having just cut the rear floor out last night, so far nothing has surprised me.

I also purchased my 2001 Ford Powerstroke van from California and had it shipped a year ago, again no real problems. (I had a friend from Orange County look it over for me and gave me a pretty accurate assessment.)

However, the first van I almost bought in the Northeast (CT) was not what I believed it to be when I flew up to "purchase" it and it turned out to be a very long day and a very expensive ($1K) lesson. (A ticket home purchased that day was $750) While it is a very amusing story that I tell often ("Have a seat, Pauly's out cleaning up the van"--Yeah, right), it was a most unpleasant experience at the time. A very helpless feeling when you've travelled so far and they know it.

I would have a fellow forum member check it out for you. 3000 miles is a very long way to go with a tow vehicle.

p.s. - Don't like my bunkbed idea, huh?
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Old 04-22-2005, 10:41 AM   #9
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Jason- That sounds terrible. Sorry you had to go through that. Best way now that we have this forum is to try and get a member to check it out.

Ron - Another lesson learned, rather expensivly. Yikes! Bunkbeds?.... maybe....

I got at least two more camping seasons worth out of mine the way it is. So I'm in no hurry. Just have to make sure I don't talk myself into a percieved rush to buy. I'm bad at that!
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Old 04-22-2005, 10:49 AM   #10
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Wasn't funny at the time, but we are able to laugh about it now, and have a story to tell! We fortunately saw sights out there and that helped. I would have flipped if I had spent money on an airline ticket and such. Just gotta remain positive and try (though hard sometimes) to have a sense of humor.
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Old 04-22-2005, 12:01 PM   #11
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My wife and I are flying to Seattle tommorow to look at a 95 LTD and will fly back to New Orleans on Monday the 25th. If we like it and can work out the numbers, we will drive the Surb. back the 3000 miles to pick it up. The fly trip will cost about a thousand, but I must put my two eyes on it in person before I plunk down that much cash....an investment in caution if you will.
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Old 04-22-2005, 12:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari Tim
I'm very casually looking for a new trailer and I found one that could be interesting. Only problem it's 3000 miles away
This question really has to sides to it. One aspect is acquiring a used trailer. The other aspect that hasn't been addressed in this thread is buying a "new" trailer. I guess I'll throw my 2 cents worth on that side.

In my case I have a dealer within 35 miles from my home. I did do some shopping and in my case I could have saved about $300 buying from a dealer about 400 miles away.

While I could have had that unit serviced by the local dealer for warranty issues, I did feel somewhat uncomfortable in whether the dealer really would give me the type of service I expected. Some of those things for example would be scheduling of appointments, issues where potentially the dealer may have to go to bat with me against Airstream just to name a few. I decided that service really was going to be a big part of the overall "deal" so I bought locally.

As time has gone by I have come to know our local service folks and have upmost respect for the quality of the work they do. I have also metioned in other threads about how our local dealer has taken care of his customer base, not only on service issues but other things that go well beyond what one would expect.

For those of you buying new, do your homework and remember the lowest price may not always be the best deal.

Regards,

Jack
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Old 04-22-2005, 12:32 PM   #13
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Hello all -

Looked at AS for quite a while over the net and in person at RV dealers. Found lots that were over priced and under equiped for the $...! Found some that were plain YUK! All of the older ones had condition issues that I was unwilling to tackle ( 4 kids and 1 wife that want to use it YESTERDAY).

Nearly all units I looked at had a "something" that didn't ring true, feel right, or some other 'red flag'. Remember, this is YOUR $ so don't spend a cent, or your time, if you get that feeling. I moved on as per previous statement.

Finally found a unit that didn't raise any somethings, spoke to the owner - at length! Got photos. Negotiated. Went thru everything I had again, still no flags or other concerns.

Went to pick the 34fter up after a terrific trip through northern NM and Utah ( WOW, what a country we live in!!!!!) and had an all around great experience.

When it is right, it's right. Don't rush it. Unless you have the time AND the $ to fix up an older unit.

Just my 2 cents.

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Old 04-22-2005, 05:28 PM   #14
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Well...we are the type of people that like to look - a lot - do the research as best we can - and like others have said if it feels good and the steps and all the variables fall into place, like: the style, layout, overall condition, fixable within reason, asking price is within range and after all the pros and cons are balanced against each other, all the barriers identified and a game plan to overcome them if possible and it can retain some value for resale - and of course if the funds are available - then it was meant to be.

That is what happened with our Globe Trotter - a side trip of 700 miles - it was a good thing we had planned our vacation in Florida that year - but we were considering taking the trip regardless - if we had to jump on it. We were able to find people through this forum to help us out - and go pay for it and pick it up so the deal was basically done - a few weeks later we arrived to get the title and bill of sale.

....But now we are considering adding to our vintage collection of one and am considering a 2700 mile trip (if all the above fall into place we are half way there - but have a few more things to research and arrange).

I think a lot depends on what the individual is looking for - if there is a special year, model or floor plan that you just have to have - then distance is nothing. If you can get the time and have the money then go for it. It will always be an adventure - in these great countries of ours The scenery is breathtaking and really worth any inconvenience.
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