In our search for an RV, we spent a ridiculous amount of hours online looking at various models and reading reviews and forums. After selling our old RV in Texas, we headed to Florida to meet my doctor before heading to Indiana, RV capital of the world. Determined to find ourselves a new home we braved the cold to visit RV dealerships and an RV show. We found many models that would work for us but finally narrowed it down to five models that had almost everything we wanted: Avalanche 360RB, Montana Mountaineer 356TBF, Cedar Creek Silverback 35QB4, KZ Durango 358BHK, and the Heartland Gateway 3650BH.
The things we were looking for in order of priority were:
- Four or five slides with double slides in the back bedroom (Our last RV had 3 slides. )
- A place for Brent to build a desk (If he can’t work we can’t travel!)
- 12 cubic foot or larger refrigerator or an RV with a space big enough where we could install one ourselves
- More kitchen counter space than our last RV
- An all-in-one front bathroom (as opposed to a walk-through bathroom, i.e., one where the shower, toilet, sink are separated)
- A second half bath in the back.
- Washer and dryer hookups (Which ultimately didn’t matter b/c we aren’t going to use them after all.)
- Booth dinette as opposed freestanding table and chairs (We like the coziness and the storage a booth provides.)
- Storage storage storage!
- Bathtub (Not a huge priority but would be nice.)
As you can see we had some high expectations but after living full time in an RV with our family for over 2 years we knew what we wanted. Although we knew we were going to finance this RV, we still had a budget we wanted to stay within so a few brands we would have liked to look at were out of the question.
A quick word about financing our RV. When we set out on the road we still had credit card debt. Most people insist that you should pay off all your debt before hitting the road. Clearly that would have been ideal but our boys were getting older and we knew we no longer had the luxury of time. So instead of waiting to pay it off, we decided to hit the road before everything was “perfect”. That’s another post for another time but to make a long story short, we chose to not wait to have our ducks in a row before following our dream. At this point of our journey, it made better sense for us to sell our old rig which was paid for to pay off high interest credit card debt and finance a new rig at a rate that is less than a 3rd of our credit cards. Not only did we lower our monthly payments, we improved our overall quality of life. Keep in mind we came from Southern California where we were used to a high cost of living so our monthly RV payment is teeny tiny compared to our house payment. That said, it would be ideal to have zero debt before you hit the road if you can do it!
Anyway back to the RV. Of all the RVs we looked at the Heartland Gateway 3650 BH had more features we wanted than any other RV, including a bathtub! In fact, the one thing it had we didn’t want was an outdoor kitchen. (At this time the outdoor kitchen is not an option on the Gateway 3650.) The big concern we had was the Gateway is a brand new model so there weren’t any used ones on the market. Used was our first choice but after lots of thinking we decided to get what we really wanted since it is our home. You can read more about how we finally made our decision to buy it from Dixie RV and see the photo tour here. Or for those of you who prefer video I finally had the time to put a little video tour together. Enjoy!
Love and Laughter,
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