The Great Motorhome Debate Continues

May/30/2012 24 Malia Lane
RV Repairs, RVing
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Well, I’m still driving myself crazy and getting nowhere except more insane and less sure about what to do about this major decision I’m faced with.  So I’m going to try to be analytical about this and get some help and input from my other RVer friends.

Former posts and history about this thought process:

The question first became priority in 2009 when major repairs were necessary as I was planning another major trip: RV Repair vs. Trade-in Debate.  At that point it seemed to be settled by taking care of the repairs needed at the time.

But in 2012 the question was raised again, including whether or not I should begin to consider just giving up RVing altogether.  But that idea literally made me sick, was quickly squashed and I began Drooling at RV Shows and the idea of something new was beginning to be pretty exciting.

Patience is certainly not my strong suit, so Waiting for My New Motorhome has not been easy or amusing to me.

The Great Washer/Dryer – Laundromat Debate:

The comments and opinions on whether a washer/dryer was a necessary appliance in an RV was interesting to say the least.  Some people swore they were a waste of space, others said they’d never do without one.  Some suggested that washing clothes at local laundromats was an interesting social event where you can meet and converse with interesting people, and still others said their clothes were frequently ruined because of junk/bleach, etc. left in washers or dryers.  All I know is that when I can wash clothes in my own home while I’m doing other work I am grateful that I don’t have to go anywhere else to do it.  The times that I do have to use laundromats to wash larger/heavier items, I am never glad to be there, no matter how nice they are.  And that expense is not an insignificant thing, either, these days.

Does Size Matter?

As far as motorhome size, one of the main advantages I thought at first was to get something smaller.  I thought something shorter in length would be better because there had been some times when my 36′ size made it impossible for me to fit into some of the state park sites I preferred.  But when I looked at the 30′ or 32′ models, I just felt like I’d be too cramped in such a small space fulltime, especially since I needed office/desk space.

The more I looked, it seemed that the Allegro 34 TGA or the Winnebago Sightseer was my best bet, but the more I thought about what I would be giving up in my current floorplan and the amenities I had become so used to, the more I thought I would quickly become dissatisfied with either of those smaller, more entry level motorhomes.  And to lose just 2 feet in length did not seem worth it to lose all the other interior and storage features I had become used to.

Then recently I’ve had to sink another $750 into necessary repairs, so not only is that eating into my down payment for my potential new RV, it makes keeping what I have seem more economically feasible.

So by now, confusion reigns and I have no real clear, rational direction or even gut feeling as to what I should do at this point.  Rob, my salesman at Crestview, suggested I do a pros and cons list and see what I come up with.

Inspiration: 2000 Itasca Sunflyer 36W Newer Motorhome (2012)
Original sales price = $72,500
Current payments = $544 (5.5%) 15 year note
Loan balance = $23,900 (maturity date 6/16/16)
New loan = $110,000 (amount qualified for)Payments: $683 (4.28%) 20 year note ($140 more per month)
Mileage: 57,000 (Tritan V10 gas engine)Overall: I know all systems so well and how well maintained Emotional appeal of having something newer and different is strong, but certainly not as practical.
Pros: Great floorplan/amenities:Hall with large windows give more light and looks roomier.Cons:  Outdated and “worn” looking: shower stall, brass plumbing and lighting fixtures pitted and need to be replaced. Pros: Newer and more updated, better decor, etc.Cons: Much more money, longer payment period, high depreciation immediately.
Washer/dryer (all-in-one/non-vented dryer)Larger side-by-side double door refrigerator/freezer No washer/dryer or way to retrofit for one.Much smaller single door refrigerator, very small freezer
TVs, Electronics older and may need to be replaced soon Larger TV, LCD, better picture quality
Windshield: continuing issue with leaks.(Winnebago defective design in many models – lots of complaints) Single one-piece windshields give more expansive feel to view (but replacement would cost more)
Bedroom:Radio/CD player next to bed.Vanity area with stool (can sit and put on make up).Huge storage area under bed; more overhead cabinets and bookshelf. No advantage to other bedrooms I’ve seen.No radio/CD next to bed.No vanity area.Storage space under bed much smaller (was told due to newer bedrooms on electric slides instead of hydraulic, so less weight is allowed)
Holding tanks:Fresh water:86 gal.Grey water: 67 gal.Black water: 45 gal. Tiffin 34 TGA:Fresh water: 70 gal.Grey water: 66 gal.Black water: 50 gal.
Major work done on Inspiration:Tires: replaced with Goodyear RV UV tires in May, 2007 at 44,750 miles.  Value of tires, installation, etc. = $3,000.  Current tires have 12,500 miles and are in good shape.Microwave/convection oven replaced in Dec. 2008 = $650Water heater: electric elements replaced and leaks fixed in May, 2012 (note: as of 2/13, leaking again)Refrigerator coils, board, etc. checked May 2012 when it stopped working on electric option. Now all working, but still worried since fans are not operating.

Repairs needed/wanted on Inspiration:Still worried about LR slide since it still is uneven even after being fixed several times.Windshield leak – continuing issue.Exterior painting needed (full body paint job)Hydraulic jack leak: $119/hr.

Large patio awning replaced = $500 (maybe more)

Slide awnings need to be replaced also

Surround sound no longer working; speakers cut out.

Replace carpet with tile in LR.

Window treatments: some cording needs fixing, all need cleaned, but preferably replaced.

Side windows seal broken; condensation (replacement only fix)

Bedroom window doesn’t close tight (was told replacement was only option and that’s expensive)

Couch needs to be reupholstered (or replaced since hide-a-bed mattress is terrible)

Chairs: recover (tiny, but many scratches from cat)

Kitchen counter: cracked

Replace ugly, pitted brass handles throughout.

Bathroom: replace brass plumbing and lighting fixtures.

I don’t yet know how much all the items I want to get done currently will cost.  But if it’s equal to the down payment I’d have to come up with for a newer RV ($5,000 – $7,000 depending on trade-in allocation), I’m not sure how to measure that value.  Does the fact that I’d have a 16 year old RV completely paid off in 3 years with lots of work and remodeling done make up for the fact that it’s still a 16 year old RV?

I assume I can still write off some of the costs off when I file taxes, as long as the RV is used as a “second home,” or for business purposes, both of which apply to me.

Of course, I could buy a brand new one now and in a year still be faced with all kinds of necessary repairs myself and I’d probably never live long enough or be able to RV long enough to see it paid off.  Are the newer RVs better made now than they were 12 years ago?  Not from everything I’ve heard, I’m afraid.

But no matter how much money and remodeling I do to what I have now, will it be worth anything at all if I want to sell it in 3 years?  Or if I buy new and want to sell in 3 years, would I be terribly underwater and owe much more than what I can possibly get at that point?  Who has a crystal ball and can possibly know or predict these things?

So for now I’m putting this all out there in hopes that my mind and new direction will become clearer.  Any ideas anyone?

  • Darrell

    Is motorhome you only choice. I know I’ve been thinkng about what I will get in about a year. I can afford a motorhome and toad, but I’m leaning more to a 30 foot fifth wheel (Rockwood) and a new truck. Total cost for both would be about 60k. Have you giving up on towables?

    • Hi Darrell – always good to hear from you!

      Yep, I’ve at least narrowed my choice to a motorhome. In fact, when I posted this blog link to Facebook, that was one of the first questions I was asked by one of my friends there.  Since I’m going to post some other questions and answers from that Facebook post here, I’ll just include what I said there below:

      I did consider a trailer or 5th wheel when I first was looking, but honestly, I just do not feel confident in the least to be able to handle that kind of setup. Watching guys with a lot more experience and confidence than I have trying to back up into tight spaces gives me the shivers! Plus, as a solo woman, I just really like the safety aspect of being totally self contained and not having to get in/out of a truck and into the RV to go to bathroom, etc. If I ever feel threatened, I can just drive off without having to do anything else.

      I do agree it makes more sense in terms of one engine to maintain, but I’ve never regretted the choice of a motorhome so will stick to that.
      Oh, and the other thing I really love about the Class A is the huge windshield!  It’s just not the same to be in that “boxed in” feel like I get in a Class C, or even in a truck.  There’s just something about sitting up high with expansive views all around that I just love.

      Since you don’t have the same considerations I do, and don’t seem to be intimidated by towing a trailer and like driving trucks, you have many more options, for sure.

      Be sure to keep in touch and let me know what you decide on!

  • vsgilbert

    I’m a novice RVer but am looking for my own full time home. I’ve come across many of the same issues on what’s on my wish list especially a washer/dyer.

    Vogt RV Center here in Ft Worth has this one. It’s a bit more than the one you posted but they offer an reduced internet price if you contact them through the web, plus you should get something for your trade in, shouldn’t you?

    Even if your payments are a bit more than what you pay now, there’s value in the warranty and not worrying so about things needing to be fixed or replaced.

    Well I’m off to do some searching for my full timer.

    • How exciting to be in the “novice” RVer stage looking for your own fulltimer home!   Ahhhh, I remember that well – LOL!  Really hard to believe it’s been about 12 years now since I was where you are…

      Anyway, funny you mentioned that Tiffin 32CA at Vogt.  I had been thinking about driving to Fort Worth to see that because I’d seen the 34 TGA but really wanted to see this smaller one.  But now my thinking has shifted somewhat in that I’m less inclined to spend so much money on brand new.  Plus I’m feeling now that I’ll regret giving up the space and stuff I’m used to now – like the washer/dryer, the big fridge, etc.

      Your comment about bigger payments being made up for by less worry about things needing to be fixed is a good one that I’ve considered and tried to figure out how to look at.  While that makes sense and seems reasonable, I also know I’ve heard of a lot newer RVs than mine having a lot more problems. 

      And there’s also something to be said for my really knowing this motorhome and its history and how its been cared for.  So that’s just another thing to consider, along with so many other things that I’m trying to factor in.

      I have been thinking it would be hilarious for me to end up with bigger motorhome. Just like when I started looking for my first fulltime home in 2001, when I first stepped inside a 24′ Class C I wondered how in the world I’d ever drive anything that big!  And what did I end up with?  A 36′ motorhome – despite the fact that I wouldn’t even go inside a Class A for the first few weeks of looking.

      So I think back on that and see that after the initial shock and fear, I really haven’t had much problem learning to drive this, as well as tow a car behind it, so for that aspect of it, I’m not really afraid of having another two feet to contend with if I loved everything else.

      I hope you’ll keep in touch and let me know how your own search is going.  This is pretty exciting!  🙂


  • Susan – hey, so nice to “meet” you – thanks for commenting and at least letting me know my list was good – LOL!  🙂 

    I’m going to be including some of the comments that my RVer friends on Facebook made shortly so you can benefit from their insights, too.

    Let me know how it’s going for you in your own quest!

    • I’m going to include some conversations between me and some Facebook RVer friends about this post:

      Carol: How long do you honestly believe you want to stay out on the road? 2 years?? or 10?? That may make some difference in your overall plan.

      Me: I can’t say I have a “for sure” answer because I know anything can change in a heartbeat, but I’d say another 5 years would be safe bet (based on things I still want to see and how much energy I still feel like I have left). Thanks for making me think even more!

      Carol: We purchased a truck in February (this year), lot$ of ca$h, and a payment each month to the bank, but, the other truck was 9 years old, and was a gas engine, and Man was not happy about western mountain driving with it. His justification was if we want to do this for another 5 to 10 years that the truck would need replacing sooner or later. So, he chose sooner so we can enjoy it NOW. And, of course, not have to worry about repairs and such (or let the warranty fix it). The logic worked for us, and at this point, we do not regret our decision. So, he has a monster truck, diesel, and it WILL eat up the mountains! LOL Sorry I just muddled up the thought process for you more. But, snicker, you did ask! LOL. And to muddle it more, we still have a 9 year old 5th wheel, and we will fix it as long as we can.

      Me: Yes, Carol, I did ask and I really do appreciate the input, whether it muddled up my already muddled mind or not. 🙂 I understand what you said about replacing the truck with the diesel for mountains, etc., but I wonder why you say you’ll keep fixing the 9 year old 5th wheel as long as you can. What am I missing there?

      Carol: LOVE our floor plan!! And, we have kept it up pretty well, and it does not have an engine. And, I have a desk! and my washer/dryer. LOL It all boils down to comfort zones, we became uncomfy with the truck, but, are very comfy with the 5er. Your comfort zones will not be the same as ours, but, of course. I think opening this up for chatting and muddling is a great idea! LOL

      Me: Thanks, Carol – that makes perfect sense! And the more I look at other RVs, after getting over the “new” aspect of it, I really do like my floorplan much better than anything else I’ve seen. Well, what I can afford, that is. I still wish I had never gone into that Tiffin 34QFA Red I saw at the show. 🙂

      Carol: Toss in a little belief that it will all come together when it is right, and you are good to roll! Good luck.

      Me: Thanks, Carol – I love that and I know it’s true. However, since my motto is “instant gratification takes too long” it’s hard for me to wait for when it’s right on anybody else’s schedule but mine. LOL! But I trust I will be good to roll soon…

      • RE:  New vs. New-To-Me:

        Helen:  You need a new home but as nice as the new ones are, there are so many out there to be had that are slightly loved and waiting for you to find them…

        Me:  I actually would prefer a slightly “formerly loved” one as that was the deal I got with Inspiration. I guess I didn’t make that clear in that I really meant “new to me” instead of brand new is more what makes sense to me. I was just trying to weigh all options. Well, I’m gonna keep hoping that the waiting will be over soon and we will find each other. Sounds like we’re talking about lovers here – hopefully the new motorhome will be more reliable and make me happier than my ex husband – LOL!

        Helen:  You know that we have a 5th wheel and love it but in your case I wouldn’t even want you to think about this… We also invested in a monster new truck that cost more then our last house (note I did not say first house).. Now we are having to stay in one place for awhile while Bill battles health issues… Had we known that, we might have waited for a new truck purchase… You are still young and healthy enough that that shouldn’t enter into your decision at this time… Love your last statement… Just don’t overthink… That can cause you trouble… Go with the gut.

        • More Re: New vs. Used (and size):

          Paula:  I agree with Helen. I would get one slightly used and the previous owner has already (hopefully) gotten all the bugs out of it. Check out It is a consignment company in Houston. I was just looking on there and they have a 2008 38′ Winnebago Adventurer with 2 slides for I think 84K. That’s less than 110K you put on you pro/cons list. Check it out they have pictures and everything. It has a great office area too. I haunted that website before we got our Alfa See Ya just to check out different models and their floor plans, etc.  I’ve always liked the floorplan on the Adventurer with the TV down and the basement air, but you may have other preferences.

          Me:  I’m really intriqued by that Adventurer the more I look at it. It even has a desk and I’ve decided I need to make my workspace much more efficient than using the dining table like I do now. It would be hilarious if I ended up with something larger like this one, though, since my initial thinking was it made sense for me to go smaller. What is the saying, “God laughs when man makes plans” or something like that. 🙂

          Carol:  There is another saying:  NEVER say NEVER!

          Paula:  It’s only 2 feet larger.  That’s nothing. lol

          Helen:  And don’t forget, they are making the campgrounds for larger ones now.

          • Email from Al:

            Stay with watcha got.  You know every grunt and groan Inspiration speaks to you.  As I’ve said before,56K is nothin.  If the engine/drive train are solid,the rest is “trim” (water heater,TV,etc..they are all fixable).  Looks to me like you are happy where you are and you don’t wanna give up Inspiration’s Home Sweet Home’s ten year’s worth of memories. I can’t blame ya one bit.

            Me:  Thanks, Al!  What you say makes total sense and I am tending to lean more toward that, too.

          • From Eileen by email:  Can you get your repairs done for your deposit plus $6720?  I would assume you probably will be putting 10% down so that’s about $10k so total is $16720. That is the extra money you will spend in the next 4 years if you buy a new rig. That is besides the original monthly payment of $544.  You hardly have any mileage on your RV. Yes maybe the interior is a little rough and you’d like a paint job.  I know there is a few companies in Texas that do recondition RV’s.  I think I would consider the length of time you may still be on the road after 2016.  Do you think you’ll be on the road after 2021?  Or you could let your RV decide when it is time to quit, when it does the big dump, you stop RV’ing.  With the reconditioning of your RV, it should give you another 9 years of service.  I know a shiny new one looks great but is it really realistic to need to drive around a new rig with the extra expenses, once the newness wears off, are you going to regret your very expensive purchase and how much longer do you think you can keep working to pay your extra costs for the new rig?  That would scare the shit out of me!  Good luck, I’ll say some prayers that you will make the best decision for you.

            Me:  Prayers definitely always appreciated, Eileen – Lord knows I need all the help I can get!  🙂  To clarify, I definitely don’t have that much cash to put down!  I know the dealer can work things out to configure the amount for trade-in, etc., but since I haven’t found anything I definitely want, I haven’t gotten that far – just a pre-approval for that amount of loan.  However, unless I really fell head over heels in love with something, I wouldn’t consider spending that much.

            But it is making more and more sense to me to keep Inspiration so I’m going to be researching more for cost of some of the remodeling I’d like to do.  Keep the prayers coming – Aloha!

          • Prplros2

            Even though I’m still a Fulltime wannabe (my plans were to go 2 years ago – but that made God laugh!) I feel your anxiety & many of your concerns & questions are also similiar to someone just starting out. I just read an article in the FMCA-eNewsletter-June 2012-Remaking a Classic Beaver – if you haven’t read it, maybe it will help you in your decision. Take Care & Be Safe.

          • Hey, thanks for your comment and sympathizing with my situation – made me smile to know God laughs at other people’s plans too!  🙂

            I couldn’t access that article without help from FMCA, even though they said you didn’t need to be a member to view current feature articles.  Here is link they provided, but it probably will only be good until the next issue is published, so for those interested, check it out now.  I enjoyed it and appreciated their perspective and process, so thanks for sharing!

  • Cheryl

    Hi Malia,

    You are talking to someone who is “extremely frugal” when it comes to RV’s.  I’ve been considering a used Safari Trek, but still have a very functional Toyota Dolphin.  I actually just came back from Tucson to have my fridge repaired from the same guy (Trailer Refrigeration) who rebuilt it a couple of years ago.  He didn’t charge me and it works fine now. 

    I “just” retired and am looking forward to traveling now.  When it comes time to change to a different RV I’ll know it.  For now, I feel that no matter what you drive it’s more the experience from being on the road than what you’re driving. 

    Keep Inspiration.  I agree with Al, the engine is young and if the mechanical things are in good shape the cosmetic ones are easy to fix.  You’d be amazed what you can find in thrift stores and RV salvage yards.  You don’t have to fix things inside all at once – just take on little projects one at a time. 

    Take care,

    • Hey Cheryl, it’s so good to hear from you again!  I’m thrilled to hear you’ve almost arrived at the door of your retirement and travel plans.  You’ve certainly waited long enough – it seems like forever ago that we met (in Albuquerque, right?) so it’s inspiring to me to see your dreams take shape.

      I’m definitely going to be getting more info on cost of remodeling, painting and other fixes I’d like to make to Inspiration and I like your advice of taking on projects a bit at a time.  As impatient as I am, I’d like it all to be done yesterday, but I’ll go back to taking things a baby step at a time which is the only way I ended up fulltime RVing to begin with!  🙂

      Thanks for keeping in touch and I can’t wait to meet up with you again to swap travel tales!


  • I’ve included a lot of the comments I got from Facebook and by email below.  People are also telling me they find this dialogue useful, so I’m glad about that for us all.

    Almost unanimously, the opinions are for me to keep Inspiration, it making more sense financially to fix what I have instead of spending so much on something newer with no guarantees that I still won’t have unexpected repair bills there, too.

    That actually is making more and more sense to me, but I also want to include other opinions I have gotten from the other side of the fence.  This from a guy I’ve been emailing back and forth with about this own options in becoming a fulltime RVer:

    “As for your choice as what to get new or used. I am a mechanic and have worked on meny vehicles also heavy machinery. So there comes a time when new is good better all the way around. Fule mileage more up to date equipment and warranty. As for the washer and dryer. Well thats a hard one. But sometimes we may need to give up somethings to have something better. Happy trails 🙂 ”

    So what it comes down to at this point is I am going to get a better idea of what it will cost to do some of the things I think Inspiration needs in terms of repairs first and then the sprucing up items next.  I’ll be updating when I start getting that info in.

    But I’m also not totally adverse to falling in love with something else that might come across my path – the same way Inspiration did 11 years ago – an unexpected blessing and better than I ever imagined I could get at that time.
    Having this kind of input really helps me a lot – thanks so much, everyone!


  • Bruce Champlin

    HI girl friend, 
    Just read your post on the RV debate. Lots of thoughts there and I can see the back and forth that you are going through. 
    Some thoughts from an ‘old’ RV Dealer:

    If I was still in the business, I would suggest that you look to newer or new, but since I have no ax to grind, I will try to be neutral. 
    Bottom line, if you spend money to bring your current unit up to snuff you can get plenty of miles out if it. The refer, slides, water heater etc won’t cost $100,000 to repair or replace. Even if you had to replace the power plant you still aren’t talking any more that @google-4be1a9b019fa6a06957589be8e162893:disqus 20,000. Huge difference, although the financing options will be different also. I would use the money difference as my first comparison. 
    If you opted for a different unit, there are no guarantees that additional repairs will not become necessary. Remember, a motor home is a home that is constantly subjected to earthquakes. 

    Have to go, will cont. later.


  • Bruce Champlin


    I will finish my thoughts about new/newer vs current coach. 
    My biggest concern is not the coach but the power train of your unit. Conventional chassis motor homes generally don’t last as long as diesel or diesel push style units. The biggest reason is insufficient cooling ability as the engines are housed so tightly in the coach. I have been told that the Ford is the better engine as long as the manufacture did a good job of allowing air flow to cool the power plant. So I would ask you how the unit is doing performance wise. If it is still strong and your trusted mechanic has checked it out, then that is one part of the equation that you don’t have to think about. 
     Finally new is always nice yet need and want is the issue you seem to be having a struggle with. If your coach floorplan is what you like and you can’t find anything that really rings your bell, spend some money upgrading and go RVing. 
    After all, that is what you love to do. 

    BTW, when are you coming back to Michigan? I would be nice to see you again. 
    Save travels in any case, and keep it between the ditches. 

    Bruce Champlin
    Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

    • Hey Bruce,
      I really do appreciate your insights because I know you have all the background knowledge and experience to give good advice.
      I will definitely have them look at the power train when I bring it in for the necessary engine maintenance stuff, oil change, etc. and get an opinion on that to factor in.

      I think I got so excited about getting something new, but then when it really got down to seeing what all that would mean in terms of money, things I would give up that I like in my floorplan and amenities, the excitement became tempered by reality.

      Then some other bad news at the same time kinda stopped me in my tracks and I became a bit paralyzed by indecision and uncertainty.  So I’ve been just sitting still and waiting until I feel more optimistic and clearer in direction.

      Believe me, I would love nothing more than to be heading back to Michigan this summer, but that is just not to be this year for sure.
      I’m trying hard to keep my spirits up anyway and keep the faith that all things really do happen when and how they should, even when it’s not on my personal preference timetable.  That’s a fulltime job these days, though…  🙂

      Will keep you informed and I appreciate your keeping in touch!

  • Just a thought is, when you are ready to slow down your travel,s there are RV parks where you would keep your RV and live until you go to the campground in the sky.  So one question to consider is, how will this RV suit me as I age. Where we live, many are now staying in the park fulltime and living in their 25 year old RV.  Most are very comfortable but many face things like stairs that make moving around their RV harder or just finding that a walker will not fit between the counter and the door. Do you expect to keep your new RV as a home after you slow your travel?

    •  Great things to consider, Linda, for sure – just what I need more of – LOL!  Really, I don’t know how to answer that right now.  I know I have no problem living in this space for now and I’ve never felt cramped in over 12 years, but I’ve always said I didn’t think I’d live in an RV if I wasn’t able to travel.  But who knows at this point?  I always thought I’d move back in to the duplex I own so I’d basically be living rent free since the rental of one side pays for the entire mortgage. 

      At first I thought a great option would be to refinance and get some of my equity out, but I recently found out Texas law prohibits cash out equity for anything but single family residence.  So that took care of that option.  And I’m getting tired of dealing with rental property and hassles and repairs, so I’m thinking more and more about selling it.  so I’m adding that to my list of too much to think about! 🙂

  • Lgmcherokee

    It’s clear you have issues with your present RV, but you know what they are; and some of the repairs you list are cosmetic and can be done over time.  I for one, and I believe I am close to your age, would not want to be underwater on a new RV; especially since the new one doesn’t have some of the amenities you presently have (washer/dryer, storage, etc.) Also, you will have it paid down and off relatively soon.   So, for what it is worth, I believe I would do what is necessary mechanically to get your unit in shape, and the cosmetic as able.  A lot of people buy what you presently own and think they are trading up!!  Oh, I love your websites.

    •  Your rationale and arguments for keeping what I already have and will be paid off reasonably soon is exactly what I am leaning toward – thanks for making it short and sweet.  🙂  While there is a part of me that just wants something newer no matter how little sense it makes, the ones I have looked at that I can even reasonably afford lack amenities I’ve gotten used to – and the decor is something I’d still want to change even in the newest ones.

      I’ve had many things to divert my attention from this project (like a computer crash and complete reinstall of OS and all programs – yuck!) but I’ll be devoting more time to getting necessary road-worthy repairs done, then cosmetic and decor items as I can afford.

      Thanks for the contribution to the debate and confirmation!

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