Buying a Motohome – Step 2

So, we know what we want, we just want the best deal. So here’s how we’re approaching the purchase of our new motorhome.

I got a copy of the options sheet for an Itasca 35J, and we filled out all the options that we want. The option sheet also list the MSRP for the base coach, and the cost of all the options. That means we know what MSRP is for the coach we want.

I took that list of options and put it into a form type letter and faxed it to three dealers: The “number one” Winnebago/Itasca” dealer in the country (Lazydays); The “number two” Itasca dealer in the country (Lewis RV); and the closest Itasca dealer to my house (Suncoast RV).

Now we sit back and wait and see what kind of response that we get.

Buying a Motohome – Part 1

Once upon a time in November 2006, the Curbcrushers found out that the motorhome manufacturers had started making bunk house units. This is important, because one of the reasons the family ended up with a 5th wheel versus a motorhome when they first bought an RV was because they didn’t want to set up a bed in the living or dining area each night for the little Curbcrusher. After traveling and camping for 3 years in the 5th wheel though, it sure seemed that traveling a MH would be much more comfortable for the family than in the truck.

So in November, we found that an RV dealer (Flagship RV) out in Cleremont, FL had a Damon Daybreak 3276 on the lot. We went out and took a look and the whole family liked it. We went back a couple of weeks later and drove it. It was on a Ford chassis, and even through Mr. Curbcrusher is a GM guy, he liked the way it drove. So we talked to the dealer about what they would sell it for, taking our 5th wheel in trade. The dealer wanted to start at about 18% off MSRP and the 5th wheel. We didn’t think that was too good a deal so we went on our way.

Some online research turned up Lewis RV in Dayton, OH who advertised on-line a “contact me” price for the same coach. The contact led to a price quote that was more like 28% of MSRP. Huh? Much better. Even considering the price of flying up to Dayton and driving down this was pretty good. So began the saga of selling the 5th wheel.

During this time, someone pointed out that Winnebago had started making a bunk house unit also. So this called for a trip to Lazydays down near Tampa. There we were able to compare the Daymon and the Winnebago (ok the link is to Itasca, but that’s pretty much the same as the Winne, and that’s what we’re eventually going to get)  coaches side by side. After looking at the two coaches, we felt the Winnebago product was better built, and worth the price difference. One interesting note is that Mr. Curbcrusher was able to drive a Workhorse Winnebago and a Ford to compare them side by side. They were pretty much the same, but the Workhorse seemed to have a bit more get up and go when getting on the interstate.

We talked a bit about what they would give us for the 5th wheel, and what the Winnie would cost. They were willing to go about 10% off MSRP, and give us pretty much nothing for the 5th wheel. At one point, the sales guy told me there was no more than 10% – 15% that a dealer could give off of MSRP on a unit like the Winnie.

Well time for more research. Lewis RV also happens to sell Itasca’s. So I talked to them about the cost of a new Itasca Sunova 35J and they were about 27% off MSRP. Since we had looked at the Winnie instead of the Itasca, we looked for a local dealer and found Suncoast RV in Titusville. Mrs. Curbcrusher called over and told them that we wanted to look at the Sunova 35J they had on the lot, and that we didn’t like pushy sales people. The folks over there were very kind, and they opened up the unit, let us sit in it and talk for about an hour, and then said bye when we got in the car to leave.

To sum it up, we decided:

  • We wanted the Itasca 35J
  • We were not going to get anything for our 5th wheel on a trade.
  • We really didn’t want to spend all day (or multiple) days in a dealership getting the “best” deal

That about sums up part 1. In part 2, I’ll explain the approach we are taking to getting the best deal without spending any time sitting around a dealer listening to the sales guy tell us he has to go to bat for us with the sales manager, yada, yada.

Fifth Wheel Sold!

Well, its official. Checks cleared and everything. The sale on the 5th wheel is final. Just for the record, and to share my experience with the selling of the unit, here’s what happened.


I advertised in five places

  1. Created a web page at
  2. Placed an add in the RV trader
  3. Placed a flyer (copy of the web page in (1)) at the campground where we store the RV.
  4. Placed a flyer at the Credit Union.
  5. For sale signs on the unit itself

I choose this method after talking to someone that had sold a 5th wheel about two years ago, and they said the ads in the local paper were worthless, and they had sold via the RV trader.

I ended up selling to a snowbird living at the campground who saw the flyer there. The trailer will probably never leave the campground again, as this guy and his wife live from Oct – Mar at the campground, and then store their rig here while they head back up north for the summer.

Of the other advertising, I got a total of three calls from the RV Trader. One the first week it was out, and then two when I renewed the ad for a second run. No one responded because of the web site or the flyer at the credit union.

That means we can start on buying the motorhome.

I’ll track the purchase of the motorhome so that people can maybe benefit from my experience there also.

Mauna Kea Observatory Visitor’s Center

This was one of the coolest things we did in Hawaii. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano that sits about 14,000 feet above sea level, and has a number of astronomical observatories on it. To go all the way to the top you need to take a tour, but there is a visitor center at about 9,200 ft that is well worth the trip.

We left Wiakaola around 4:00 pm under an overcast sky thinking the trip to the observatory would be a bust. We drove up Hwy 190 and turned right on Saddle Road. The beginning of about 28 miles of rough driving. Saddle Road appears to have been constructed as a one lane road, then someone decided that it should be two lanes, and they added about 2 feet of asphalt to either side of the road. This gives you a road that is in fairly good condition in the middle, but with the outside 1 – 2 feet full of potholes and rough edges. Combine this with a mixture of turns and up and down hills and you have the makings for a head-on collision, or going real slow over the bumps.

About 15 minutes into our drive up Saddle Road, we entered what I initially thought was a fog bank. Nope, it was the clouds that we’d seen earlier when we left the hotel. After about ten minutes of driving through the clouds, we emerged into a bright sunny lava scape. We basically went from sea level at the hotel to about 5000 feet when we got to the base of the road that leads up to the visitors center. On the way you drive through a military exercise area, and by an Air Force airfield.

When we reached the bottom of a road that turned to the left we thought we were are the turn off to go to the Observatory. The guide books and the Visitor Center web site have the road name as the Mauna Kea Access Road. However the road sign has the name of some former governor of Hawaii. But this pretty much seems to be the only road around the 28 mile area, so we take it. This road is well paved and very wide. It does seem to go straight up at times, but you are climbing from around 5,000 feet to 9,200 feet in about six miles. When you look back to the west, you can’t see the rest up the island. You are up so high that you are above the clouds and you’re looking at a carpet of clouds as far as you can see. It is a pretty cool sight.

Up at the Visitors Center, we ate the sandwiches that we brought with us, and watched the DVD program that they have about the mountain and its observatories. After the sun goes down, they get out telescopes and point them around the sky and allow you to look through them. There are a couple of 14 inchers, and a bunch of 8 inchers. There are a group of volunteers that sometimes include the astronomers that are working the observatories to help guide your tour of the star map. I was awe struck at the clarity and view of the stars (actually planets, galaxys, suns and other astronomical objects that I hadn’t heard of since I took Astronomy as a college freshman.)  that we got through the scopes on Mauna Kea.

The drive down was uneventful. There was another ten minutes of driving through a cloud, and it was dark this time. The road was actually less scary in the dark. For one you couldn’t see how bad it was, but mostly it was because you could see people coming toward you a long way off since you could see their lights a good ways off.

Hilton Waikoloa Village

Ok, a review as promised.

We spent the week we were in Hawaii on the Big Island at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort. This is a very nice place, if it wasn’t for Hilton Honors points, we wouldn’t be staying there. We’re just too cheap to pay $300 a night for a hotel room.

The Place

The place is cool, located on the north west part of the island, about 20 miles from the airport at Kona. There are three pools and a lagoon. One pool, located in the Ocean Tower is a regular size pool. The other two are huge. One of the big pools, the one with the big water slide, the rope bridge across it, hot tubs, caves and water falls was closed. The other pool with a couple of small slides and one bigger water slide and sort of like a lazy river was open. Needless to say the closed pool was a big disappointment, as Hilton was not making people aware of the fact that half the pool capacity of the resort was out of service until your arrived. The lagoon is nice, lots of fish and sea turtles that swim in and out of it during the day.

There are four or five actual “towers” that contains the rooms guest stay in. To get around, there is a train that runs the length of the resort, and boat shuttles. It makes for a quaint and pleasant setting, but when your ready to leave the hotel to go do something elsewhere, it means that it can take 15 – 20 minutes to get to your car.

There are a number of restaurants on the property. They all have one thing in common, there are outrageously expensive. A grilled cheese sandwich for a kid is $8.00. All in all it means that you look for other places to eat while you are there.

If your room faces the ocean, you can sit on your balcony and watch the whales. Or, you can walk down along the shore and lay in a hammock and enjoy the sunset.

All in all a very relaxing place to spend a week.


Well, no post for a week. That’s because the CurbCrusher family has been in Hawaii. Now that we’re back, I’ll try and post some reviews of things we did over the week we were there.

Blackwater Bar-B-Q

Location: South Orange Avenue at Gatlin Ave Orlando, FL

Rating: Great!

Visited: 01/16/2007

I’d driven by the Blackwater Bar-B-Q for a number of years. I’d even suggested to my wife that we go there some time. Of course she doesn’t care for bar-b-q, so it was left to a lunch trip one day. Since that time I’ve been there for lunch a number of times.

This place does a great pulled pork sandwich that practically melts in your mouth, and has some of the best sweet tea to be found in Florida. $6.75 gets you a large sandwich, two sides and a drink at lunch time. You leave full and ready for a nap.

Hello world!

Welcome to the Curb Crusher blog, the Crusher Chronicles.

Curb Crusher is one of the more polite nick names that my wife and daughter gave me. The name was earned honestly, by my continual hitting of curbs when pulling our fifth wheel.

My intent is for this blog to include the adventures of Curb Crusher, which are pretty tame. The occasional camping trip, travel, and food reviews.