Libbys on the Loose:2 Humans. 2 Great Danes. 1 RV.: February 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Buying an RV: Old or New?!

If you've been following our adventures, you already know that we have a 2006 Holiday Rambler Presidential.  As much (at the time) as we wanted to buy a newer rig, it had the right layout, options, and, most importantly, it was within our price range.  Though we didn't think there was much of a doubt that we would fall in love with full-timing (we have!), we didn't want to spend a boatload of money on a newer 5er.

In shopping for the RV, we knew that we planned on spending a season skiing which meant that we needed something well-insulated, which is one of the first places RV manufacturers cut corners to save money.  Since most RV users are of the "fair weather" variety meaning that they follow temperate climates rather than (yeah, we know we're a little cooky!) sticking to the warmer temps. Insulation, not just in the walls, but the floors, ceilings, slide-outs, and, very importantly, the water pipes - though we've never seen factory insulated water pipes. So, besides the obvious,  how then do you know what to look for?  Don't worry, if you're not sure, we had no idea either!

What it feels like when a pipe bursts!
We had a lengthy conversation with a gentleman at St. Louis RV Park on our travels west towards Whitefish, MT late 2015 about the construction quality of the newer rigs out there.  Previously, he had owned a 2005 DRV Mobile Suites fifth wheel.  If you're familiar with the DRV name, you know that they are synonymous with luxury and quality.  Being from a background of quality control (worked for a gas company), he had the experience and know-how so that he knew how to inspect an
RV.  Unfortunately, he did not use his knowledge and experience in his purchase of the 2014 DRV Mobile Suites rig that he was residing.  Taking into consideration the great performance his 2005 DRV gave him, he assumed the build quality and attention to detail would be the same.  This couldn't be further from the truth!

Cheap wiring could lead to this!
In his 2005, in frequent sub zero temps, a 100lb propane tank would last him about a week to a week and a half depending on how low the temps dropped and how long they stayed low.  With his 2014, under similar conditions, he was getting 4 days maximum - that's 25lbs of propane PER DAY, which equates to about 5-7 gallons of actual liquid propane.  On top of that, he found that most of the wood used in the construction of the floors, walls, and ceilings were no longer the same high quality plywood used in his 2005, but now the lesser (cheaper) OSB board was used.  Staples instead of nails or screws were used to hold critical pieces together, lower grade pipe fittings (according to our friend, ones that were known to have high failure rates), higher gauge (thinner) wiring used throughout and a general feeling of "cheap" - a horrible feeling when you spend over $150k...

The second instance of "newer not always being better" came when we arrived in Whitefish, MT for our stay at Whitefish RV Park.  Our neighbor had a newer toy hauler and even had custom skirting for it.  We had already been in the park for a few days prior to his arrival and had our skirting up with zero freezing issues.  From the first day of his arrival, his underneath pipes were all frozen (despite having the "Arctic" insulation package" and he had no use of his kitchen or bathrooms.  In addition to this ongoing problem that he was having, he also told us a story about some warranty work that he had tried to get done (roof was leaking).  Unfortunately, our friend had the unfortunate luck that the RV dealer nearest him was booked weeks out.  Turns out that he literally "camped" in front of one of their service bays until they agreed to do the warranty work.
Sometimes it feels like they're this big!

Speaking of warranty work (and please let us know if we are incorrect on this), if you are full-timing (especially like we are with large dogs!) we don't know of any warranty out there that covers a hotel stay or a sticks 'n' bricks rental.  If there is a warranty out there like that, we'd sure like to know about it!  Yet another person we met had a roof issue with their travel trailer.  It took their dealer a full six months to get the parts and complete the work.  Imagine having to pay for six months worth of hotel stays!  Granted, the work on the rig was covered, but wow - what an expense!

Lastly, another couple we met at Elmore RV Park in Charlotte, NC  had a brand new Holiday Rambler Presidential - pretty much the same model we had, but practically straight from the factory.  They told us stories of the rig constantly in-and-out of the shop for warranty repairs.  It came to the point where they, too, had to start making demands for repairs as well as claims to the manufacturer.

Lastly, on the last leg of our trip, two months in Tiger Run RV Resort two groups of friends had newer RVs that had issues with freezing of their internal pipes  freezing, even with skirting.   Granted, we've since had some internal pipes freeze since removing our skirting, but before that, we never had any internal problems, assumingly attributed to good insulation.

We've been full-timing for less than a year at this point.  To hear this many stories about nightmarish scenarios with brand newish RVs, we feel fortunate to have chosen one that has, knock on (real) wood, been pretty good to us.  While we initially had our share of issues, fortunately, we had a warranty that took care of them.
Not much to inspect on this one!

We're for sure not saying that you shouldn't buy a new RV.  Nor are we saying that you shouldn't buy any of the brands mentioned above!  Every manufacturer has lemons.  Besides that, your experience could be completely different from the next person's, as we usually find.  The point is, if you can, do as much research as you can before buying a rig.  If necessary, take someone with you to inspect it - a family member, friend, etc, that may know something about construction or who may have owned several RVs in the past.  Any one of these types of people can be helpful in getting you a quality-built rig that will hopefully give you years of relatively reliable use - these are RVs after all.  Good luck in your shopping!

Did we get it right? Do you have experience or knowledge about this post? Please make yourself heard! Comment below and we will respond as soon as possible. As always, thanks for following us! Disclaimer: We are not paid writers. We write for enjoyment and to share information about our travels with our families, friends, and our followers. The information that we provide is based on our experiences with the products, services, etc, that we write about. It is 100% non-biased!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Tiger Run RV Resort Campground Review - Breckenridge, CO

Tiger Run RV Resort
85 Revette Drive
Breckenridge, CO 80424
Rate we paid:  $1100 monthly plus electric and propane - Winter Season Rate

The Good:  Location, Location, Location.  We've all heard it a million times about real estate.  Turns out, RV Parks are just the same!  Tiger Run is the only 4 season full-time RV resort within close proximity to some serious Colorado Rocky Mountain world-class skiing (or non-winter activities such as mountain biking, hiking, fishing, etc).  With nearly 400 inches per year at most resorts, it's hard to pick a bad one!  Within 30 minutes (approximately) of Tiger Run, you will find Breckenridge Ski Resort, Keystone Ski Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort, Copper Mountain Ski Resort, Vail Ski Resort, and just under an hour, Beaver Creek Ski Resort.  With so many ski options to choose, it's difficult to go wrong!  In addition, there is a bus stop near the resort (5-10 minute walk) for the Summit Stage bus. The Summit Stage is a free bus system that can take you just about anywhere in Summit County, including all of the ski resorts and downtown areas!

Most of the sites had a good amount of space and the roads and common areas were regularly plowed and shoveled.  There is a dog run and a great access point to the Colorado Trail on the back side of the resort.  During the warmer months there is a fire pit and tennis courts for use.

Stock Photo from Tiger Run's Website of Game Room  
After a full day of skiing, most people are going to need time to rest and relax.  The clubhouse at Tiger Run offers two large hot tubs and a full size indoor heated pool.   While the hot tubs were great, only one of them worked properly the whole time we were there. They also offer an included business room, fitness room, and laundry room.  Available for an extra cost is a full game room complete with video games, a pool table, ping pong table, and vending machines.

Stock Photo from Tiger Run's Website of Exercise Room

There is also an owners-only lounge where events are held (wine on Wednesdays and grill get-togethers on Saturdays) though we weren't allowed in unless there was a function that all guests were invited.  We had the good fortune to meet a few of the owners who all were very pleased with the upkeep, etc, that the resort put into maintaining the grounds, etc.  as well as the management of their respective properties.

Stock Photo of one of two hot tubs from Tiger Run's Website 
The Bad:  The great location and all of the amenities come at a cost.  Ranging from $900-$1200 monthly plus electric and propane, it is 2-3 times what we've ever paid to stay anywhere else - especially in the winter. Typically, winter RV camping runs us anywhere from $400-550 per month plus electric. That being said, if you stay here to ski and you get an Epic Pass, the cost of skiing becomes extremely reasonable - to the
tune of under $600 for the season!  This is referring to the Epic Local Pass which allows for unlimited skiing (in Colorado) at Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, (outside Colorado) Park City/Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Afton Alps, and Mt. Brighton.  The Local Pass has a few blackout dates (Xmas through New Years, MLK day, and President's Day weekend) but allows for 10 total days for the season skiing at Vail and Beaver Creek. There is the option of upgrading to the full Epic Unlimited Pass though it costs about $250 more for the season - well worth it!

Stock Photo from Tiger Run's Website of one of two hot tubs

Be careful if you have any items shipped to the office at the resort.  They do gladly accept packages and sort them by last name at the office.  However, we've heard more than one person complain about not getting packages (after getting delivery confirmations to the office) or getting packages late because they were mis-labeled or similar reasons.  I sent off my laptop to Apple for repair.  I got notification and tracking info showing that the computer was delivered to Tiger Run on a Friday.  The tracking information and Apple both confirmed. When I went to the office to get the package, I was told that I had no packages.  I was told the same the following day, Saturday.  It wasn't until Monday that I finally got it back - I had to speak with a manager to find the package and get the situation resolved.  Lesson learned - next time we stay somewhere for more than a month, we will get a PO Box to ensure that we get our packages in a timely manner.  Also, don't send any mail from the office either.  Take it directly to the post office!

Stock Photo from Tiger Run's Website of Heated Pool
Our AT&T cell signal was at times great, at times not.  It turns out that Tiger Run's location is nearly perfectly located in the middle of three towers, the nearest being behind a mountain.  We also know Verizon can also be spotty.  Being that we telecommute, the use of wifi or our hotspot is very important on a daily basis!  The wifi at Tiger Run is only really decent inside of the business room at the club house.  We do have a WeBoost cellular booster and while it did help us, it unfortunately also boosts our neighbors which can limit its purpose.  We ended up on many days going into town and working from a cafĂ© or Jeanine's favorite - the laundromat (super fast and free wifi, and a seldom frequented, quite place).

The Ugly:  The largest complaints we've heard (and overheard) have to do with the cost to stay and the "nickel and diming" of amenities or that amenities were constantly "out-of-order" (hot tubs).  Of everyone that is staying, all are in agreement that they would stay more often, and longer, (and be inclined to tell more fellow RVers about it) if the cost wasn't so exorbitant.  True, from a business standpoint, they are probably trying to get as much as possible for each person staying - we understand that!  However, since we got to Tiger Run, they have not come close to being sold out of spaces.  Being from the background that we are, the pricing and lack of occupancy suggest the pricing is too high for the time period.  Lowering the monthly cost to $700-$900 per month for long term stays would be much more reasonable and would surely increase the resorts' occupancy numbers.  After all, it's better to be sold out at a little lower price than to have spaces available and making $0!

We stayed at the park for two months and were aware beforehand that we would receive an electric bill at the end of each month.  We have now departed the park, and still no bill!  One of our friends have been there for three months and have just received their first bill and it's beyond confusing the way they set up their billing!

Another friend of ours has been there just one month and now the office says they must contact the electric company directly to set up an account.  This seemed like a very disorganized way of dealing with the electric bill - we've never had this much trouble anywhere else!

The biggest gripe that we personally have (and a lot of other guests have voiced) is the fact that the resort charges for all of the activities in the game room.  You even have to buy your own ping pong balls at .50 apiece!  While we understand the purpose for the resort is to make money, this a pretty crappy way to make a few extra bucks, especially considering a lot of campers have kids that love to
Stock photo from one of the "Clubhouse" Sites from Tiger Run's Website
spend time in the game room, but it ends up costing a fortune to do so!  With the high cost of staying, the game room items should be included in the cost of stay - not like there's much upkeep to it!  The showers in the ladies' rooms were warmish at best and had very little water pressure.  After alerting maintenance of the issue, we were told that's "just the way it was in the clubhouse showers".  We found this very difficult to accept as the mens' shower pressures and temperature were just fine. Fortunately, we didn't have to use them much - only when using the pool or hot tubs, which we didn't very often.

Jeanine got back on the mountain for the first time in three years!
Conclusion:  So would we stay here again? Yeah, probably.  But considering we could stay at Park City RV Resort (near the largest ski resort, Park City, in the United States) or Tahoe Valley RV Resort (three resorts in close proximity) for half the cost (and still have unlimited use of our Epic Passes), we would think twice before paying that much again.  Granted, it is a small price to pay considering the cost to stay in a hotel or to rent a house or condo.  Of course, with a hotel, house or condo, you don't have to provide the entire living quarters! Basically, it's over $1000 a month for a parking place, water/sewer, and the amenities - some of which cost additional money.  From that standpoint, it seems grossly overpriced.  The biggest thing you need to ask yourself is whether the cost is worth the location because that's what it really boils down to!  If we decide to do another Colorado ski season, chances are, Tiger Run is where we will stay.  The cost to stay is high, but for the location, it's very, very difficult to beat!  Bottom line - we would recommend it!

Hot Tip:  During your stay, if you meet an owner of an RV space, you may want to ask if they would be willing to rent their space directly to you. Instead of going through the resort office, it should save you and the owner both money.  Since the spaces are owned, the resort allows each owner to rent and manage their spaces individually, so you could potentially rent a space for much less money directly from an owner.  Good Luck!

Did we get it right? Do you have experience or knowledge about this post? Please make yourself heard! Comment below and we will respond as soon as possible. As always, thanks for following us! Disclaimer: We are not paid writers. We write for enjoyment and to share information about our travels with our families, friends, and our followers. The information that we provide is based on our experiences with the products, services, etc, that we write about. It is 100% non-biased!