Looking at Floor Plans

Yesterday Karen and I headed out to Grain Valley, Missouri which is about 45 minutes from our hometown. We needed some downtime and figured why not spend the day together looking at fifth wheel floor plans. We grabbed some lunch and had a great time together.

Grain Valley has several dealerships located in the same area. I checked their web pages to come up with a short list of what we might want to look at. This included the Jayco Pinnacle, Grand Designs Solitude, Keystone Montana, Heartland Landmark, Cedar Creek and Redwood . These are among a few of the units listed on my Fifth Wheel Manufacturers page.

Norcold Polar Max

Norcold Polar Max

I had been thinking it was a bit early to start searching for a floor plan, given our target retirement year is 2019. However, I soon discovered making the trip to look at rigs had an added bonus of continuing my education on construction methods. We actually were able to make a few decisions as to what methods or components we preferred. Such as the 2014 Norcold 18.5 cubic foot Polar Max refrigerator is awesome with its stainless steel double doors.

A helpful salesman worked with us walking through the Grand Design, pointing out the various construction methods. Grand Design was started by three men who started Keystone but left, according to the salesman, because the company was bought out causing the Montana quality to decline. I’ve got to fact check this, but the salesman added the last year the Montana was the top seller was in 2011. Grand Design started up a short time later. The same salesman sold both Grand Design and Montana. I’m not positive, but it’s possible he was pushing the Grand Design brand because of factory incentives for the dealership. He said they were throwing money at him.

2015 Cedar Creek 38FL

2015 Cedar Creek 38FL

2015 42

2015 42″Grand Design

I added a couple of promising floor plans to the list, knowing full well that we will recognize the perfect floor plan when we walk into it. I’m leaning towards a new unit or a gently used unit that’s maybe a year or two old. We already set a budget which is keeping us looking at only what we can afford. At the last local RV show I did the math to figure out how much dealerships had marked down their fifth wheels from the retail price. That gave me a better idea of what will fit within our budget for new units. I search around the internet for pricing on used rigs.

It seems like the technology is changing so fast it would be very likely a new unit would have technology that’s not available in a four year old unit. For example, the Jayco Pinnacle we looked at had electric levelers in the front. According to a salesman, in 2016 they are going all hydraulic. Another example are water heaters that no longer require the anode rod which require routine maintenance. And the materials used for non-carpeted floors is evolving right along with what is used in todays residential homes.

Solitude 375E

Solitude 375E

Solitude 375RE

Solitude 375RE

Never thought I’d consider a 42 foot rig, but that’s what we looked at with Grand Design. Really efficient usage of space. We also looked at some shorter units, all over 35 foot where we found certain floor plan features to be appealing. Figure whatever floor plan we settle on will dictate the length of the rig.

We did not have time to go through all the units we wanted to see, especially the full lineup of Montana trailers. Some floor plans were not stocked at the dealership such as the front living room Pinnacle. That’s okay, we are just picking features from several different floor plans that are appealing to us as a way to get started. One thing for sure, I’m sticking with having a 13 gallon trash can space so I don’t have to take out the trash very often.

I did some updating on the Miscellaneous page in the construction section. We are a long way from coming up with a short list of floor plans. And trailers coming out in two years may very well be the used rigs we end up buying.

9 thoughts on “Looking at Floor Plans

  1. Mark,

    Just some thoughts.

    Since you are few years out, you should take the time, if you haven’t, to go to either the Tampa or Hershey RV show. Liz and I spent two days in Tampa last January and didn’t really see everything we would have liked. At the time, we were still deciding on 5th wheel, class A or a larger TT. I wanted to spend one more day, but was drained from the two full days of walking and looking at everything that was there. It would make for a nice vacation from MO in January.

    You are right on the many improvements that are made from year to year. The Newmar coach we are getting made significant changes from 2015 to 2016 in both technology and floor plans. Freightliner upgraded the chasis and added a steerable tag axle. We were convinced that we wanted a certain floor plan and then in 2016 they came out with a completely new one that my wife fell in love with. I’m actually glad we couldn’t buy till this fall now.

    We are getting an all electric coach that has an induction cook top and hydronic heat which, in addition to being like radiant heat it provides continuous hot water. No more hot water heater and propane. Someone said that a version of this may be coming to 5th wheels in the future, if its not already here. As nice as that Norcold may be, you might also want to check into a residential refrig. too. There are some advantages to them.

    I have to say that as much as I like the Newmar, the 5th wheels that you are looking at are beautiful. I love the high ceilings and the extra space. I’m sure you won’t go wrong.



  2. Your off to a great start. Walking through them and really looking at them inside and out is so very helpful. Friends of ours had a Montana and then bought a new Grand Design a year ago. It’s a beautiful rig and they love it. They did comment however that they thought Montana did a better job with the finishes. Things lining up better, smoother, etc with floors, carpets, molding, material lines etc. I’ll be talking to her again soon and I’ll make sure to ask her how they like it, a year later now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark,

    One final comment about the Tampa RV Show. It is a trade association sponsored event so many manufacturers are represented, and although dealers bring the product and have their sales people there, the manufacturer also has reps that really know the units. You don’t have to rely solely on the knowledge of the salesman which may or may not be good. They also have vendors in the pavilions that have the newest tech accessories and everything from led bulbs to silicone pot lids. I spent a half day walking around there. I’m stressing this show or one of it’s type because I felt I learned so much from actually “kicking the tires” on so many models that normally aren’t all in one place.

    Here is a link to the 2015 brochure:


    Good Hunting,

    Liked by 1 person

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