When I said goodbye to Starter RV last week, I also said hello to a new RV (yet to be named). This new RV is a class A gas powered Tiffin 34PA.
The Tiffin 34PA
I’ve spent the last year or so surfing the online RV listings. It’s basically RV porn – oohing and ahhing over all the features on various RVs out there. I narrowed it down by price range and features that I just had to have – like an exterior TV. Now that I knew I could do this whole RVing thing, I knew I would be putting some significant money into this next purchase. And I wanted to get it right.
As I browsed the online RV listings, I was really able to narrow it down to a couple of brands that seemed to fit the bill the most. And then I started looking at very specific floor plans. After awhile, I found that I was really drawn to the Tiffin 34PA floor plan. I really like having the dinette or workstation across from the main couch. When the slides are out, this is a giant open space, great for entertaining/having everyone pile into the RV on cold, hot, or rainy weekends. With large TVs on both ends of this space, you can have two different games on. And with a ottoman, have a card game going on. Overall, I loved this space.
The Tiffin 34PA floor plan also has a walk-through bathroom, meaning you can enter from either the kitchen/hallway area or the master bedroom. This means guests, even the overnight kind that sleep on the pull-out sofa bed up front, don’t have to go into the bedroom area to use the bathroom. You can close these doors and retain some privacy. And if someone has to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, less disturbance for those still sleeping. When the slides are out, the bathroom is absolutely HUGE. And it is still accessible when the slides are in – at least the toilet portion.
Several members of my RV tailgating crew already had Tiffins. I’ve been impressed with their design and manufacture. The Tiffin RVs that I have been around have been solid machines with few issues (compared to many of the other RV manufacturers). In researching the various manufacturers online, I definitely saw how highly regarded Tiffin is as a manufacturer. I was impressed by the stories of how Bob Tiffin takes care of his customers and generally makes things right. We all know that things will go wrong when you have an RV, so it’s a big deal how the manufacturer takes care to properly fix issues.
I also like the fact that the factory is in Red Bay, Alabama. If something is wrong and I need to take a trip to Tiffin to have them work on the new rig, it is a much shorter drive for me. And I have extended family in various parts of North Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, so I can always make a trip to Tiffin into a trip to see family. Sure, it’ll still take time but not as much transit time as it would be to Indiana. And for a part-time RVer with a full-time job, that is pretty important. While it was not a deciding factor, it was definitely in the plus column.
I did not set out to buy a new RV. In fact, I wanted a used RV, in the 0-4 years old range. I know all about depreciation and how the value immediately goes down when you drive it off the dealer’s lot. I also know about the reputation of RVs and how they are when they are new – lots of problems to fix. So how did I end up with a new RV?
Mostly it is because there are only a few lightly used Tiffin 34PAs in the market. The listed sale prices, both from dealers and individuals, were very close to the prices on a new 2017 model year. And all those used ones were further away, meaning I’d be spending some money to go check it out and then again to go pick up the RV. Meanwhile, this one that I bought was located at a dealer within 2 hours drive, even with the lovely Atlanta area traffic. No flights. No long road trips/gas.
This particular RV also had almost all the features I wanted. The outside color was right (I’m a Georgia Tech fan so no way did I want something like red or maroon in the colors!) It had the in-motion satellite, the upgraded Onan generator, the residential refrigerator, the exterior TV, and solar prep so that one day I can add some solar panels. Once the 2018 model years were available and more expected at the dealer soon, they started dropping the prices on the 2017 model years. Just like with cars, once the new model years come out, the old ones drop in price. That makes the end of the year an excellent time to shop.
Bottom line, it came down to price and availability.
[pullquote-left]Tip: Video the walk-through on your new RV. Way too much information to retain at once.[/pullquote-left]I have to say thanks to the guys at Campers Inn RV in Byron, Georgia. They made this process pretty easy for me. I drove Starter RV down to their lot in Byron on Thursday. Because it was raining, we did everything inside their new warehouse! We did a walk-through of the new Tiffin 34PA. Kelly was great and let me videotape the whole walk-through. I knew that there was going to be way too much information thrown at me and no way would I be able to retain it all. My goal on the walk-through was to know what every button did, basic maintenance recommendations, and how every moving piece worked.
On the walk-through, we even found something that needed to be fixed. One of the jacks wouldn’t retract and Kelly and his guys had to fix it. They were done before I finished up the paperwork to purchase the RV.
Once the walk-through and all the paperwork were done, it was time to start moving. Wow, who would have thought that I could fit so much stuff in an old RV with limited storage options? Campers Inn pulled both RVs, the Winnebago and the Tiffin into their warehouse. One was pulled in straight and the other was backed in, putting the doors facing each other. This made for an easier time of moving stuff from the interior of the RV.
From about 5:00 PM to 3:30 AM, I, by myself, moved everything out of Starter RV and into the new Tiffin. By the time 3:30 AM came about, I was done. Like stick a fork in me done. I would have slept great in the Tiffin RV except I hurt so much – my shoulders, my hips, my feet were all screaming at me.
One of the things that I stumbled across during this process was how awesome laundry hampers are for moving. You don’t need to box everything up like in a house or apartment move. But you also don’t want to be carrying everything over one at a time. The big laundry hampers are awesome. Plus if you spill anything, from say the kitchen or the bathroom, they are easy to clean-up.
What I Still Need to Do
I put everything away except three laundry hampers/plastic tubs. These are full of random things I either don’t know where they will go or maybe I don’t need anymore. Things like adapters for the radio/cassette tape deck to use my iPod while driving. Don’t need those anymore and there is more where that came from. All of that random stuff needs to be gone through and dealt with. Everything else is in it’s proper place – at least for now.
On Friday, I went to add the flagpole adapters to the ladder on the back of the RV. I just looked at that and said, not today you don’t. My shoulders were killing me and the thought of hanging off the ladder – well, it just wasn’t going to happen. I also figured that the full size ladder at home would be a lot easier to use than the RV ladder.
With only one more home game left in the season, I’ll wait until next year to activate satellite service. I’ve got four TVs with OTA antenna service which will be fine for now.
The New RV Needs a Name
So far, I’m loving my new RV! It is amazing how different an experience it is tailgating with a new RV compared to the old one. I think my favorite thing so far was when the wind picked up and the awning needed to be retracted being able to do it all with one finger and not even needing to put a drink down! Yes, automatic awnings are the bomb! Also, it is the simple things that entertain us such and make us happy.
This awesome machine needs a name. Any ideas? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter.