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.
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.
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.
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.