Right after the RV-Dreams rally in TN finished we drove north to pick up our new truck in Clinton, IL. The drive wasn't too bad. We made it with enough time to meet Curt & Glenda of Illinois Campers for dinner. I've been following their blog for a while now. They are in the same phase of full-timing we are. We're both just waiting for the house to sell! They are both very nice and it seems we have a lot of interest in common. I'm sure we'll meet up along the way many times in the future!
We bought our truck on-line through Douglas Dodge. They were fantastic to work with. It's a new 2013 Dodge 4x4 Longbed Laramie Longhorn Dually. Whew, what a mouthful. Very pretty too, rootbeer brown/gold.
As soon as we returned our rental car, we were off to Muskegon, Michigan to do our PDI and pick up our new home! This was the most exciting part of this trip, hands down! We stayed in a nearby hotel for the night we arrived. In the morning we excitedly arrived at Lakeshore RV. Again we bought our 5th wheel over the internet. Such an easy process. We were very happy with the process for both. Our new 2013 Montana 3582 had just had a bath and was waiting for us!
|And of course, "The Ponderosa"|
The "Ponderosa" is 39 ft of beautiful living space with lots of storage. There are 3 slides, 6 way auto levelers, kitchen island with lots of counter space and cabinets, fireplace, 2 A/Cs and a tub/shower.
At Lakeshore RV, they really want to make sure you have plenty time to learn about your rig and get used to it. They have a little "campground" on their grounds. Concrete pads, hookups and nice trees around it. They wanted us to practice hitching and unhitching, turning, backing etc. What a great dealership! It also gave us time for a couple last minute add-ons (they are VERY accommodating) and a couple of shopping trips to pick up some necessities and some non-necessities. Yes, dear, I do need those new pillows and that rug and those... It's looking so homey already! Wow, do we love it!
We ran into a little delay when the original hitch were going to have installed by Lakeshore would not work. Apparently there is an issue with 2013 Dodge 3500. This caused a frantic search for a solution as we had to get on the road to drive back to CA for our son's college graduation. -- From Steve: Dodge installed a plate on the chassis above the axel that prohibits the standard receiving hitches from being installed. The only company that has addressed this so far is B&W that makes a custom kit to integrate into Dodge's chassis setup to allow the installation of a turn over gooseneck setup (model #1314). There is a very helpful youtube video on this exact installation. Then you can integrate the B&W Companion 5th Wheel Receiver (model #3500). The big advantage of this setup is that now you have the flexibility to use either a gooseneck hitch or a 5th wheel receiver. Plus when you're not towing, you have the full use of the bed as both assemblies come out very easily. --
Of course when we were ready to leave and hitch up for our first time ever, it was POURING. The hitching went off perfectly but since I forgot to pack an umbrella, I was soaked. We drove a few miles away to have new tires put on the trailer. "New?" you ask? I won't get into all of the details, but the tires put on many Montana's of our size are Goodyear "E" loads and they have a very bad track record of blowing out. It is many, as well as our, opinion that a stronger "G" load rating is safer. We had Discount Tires put on 4 new Goodyear G614's. It was still raining very heavily. Since our rig was so large for their lot, they had us pull alongside the building and they came out like a NASCAR pit crew. They had 4 guys out their in the rain putting those new tires on in no time flat! It was quite amazing to watch. We were very appreciative to them as we had to postpone the installation 3 different times due to the above mentioned hitch issue. Kudos to all three of these dealerships.
Now we are heading back to California to see our son graduate from Fresno State. Go Bulldogs!