After selling our home and wondering where we would live, whether in an apartment, another house or an RV, I had been researching fifth wheels primarily because they offered the most space for a fulltime family. We were already down to one vehicle so technically buying a vehicle to tow our 5th wheel would provide us with a second vehicle if we wanted one.
We had been without a second vehicle for over a year, and because my husband works from home, we didn't miss it and didn't want a car payment. We had paid off our Camry and had decided to not get into another payment for a car. As I looked at what type of vehicle we would require to tow a fifth wheel, we decided that was not going to work for our family. We had no other use for such a big truck and I wouldn't want to drive it.
After deciding a fifth wheel wouldn't work for our first attempt at fulltime RV life, we began to look at what other options were available to us. There were class C vehicles built on a van chassis or Class A Motorhomes.
We visited several dealerships to look at what we liked and what we didn't. We narrowed our choices down to either a Class C or a Winnebago Vista Class A motorhome. Because we wanted to finance part of our motorhome, we made a couple of mistakes along the way while trying to purchase our first motorhome. But in turn, those mistakes actually led us to something even better that would become our home for the next few years.
We liked the layout of the Vista 31BE. It had the bunks for the kids. I did not want to be tearing down our table or sofa to make beds work for the kids, so the bunks were a definite plus. The Vista also offered a workstation in the master bedroom so that Tom could make the bed in the morning, pull out his laptop and have a dedicated workspace since he works fulltime from home.
We determined what we wanted to put down on the motorhome and began the paperwork. Our credit was good and our down payment was sizeable so we didn't think anything of it. We have student loans we are working to pay down and we knew we would need a larger savings due to the nature of living on the road and expecting the unexpected.
Little did we know, however, getting an RV loan, especially your first one, is a bit of a challenge even with good credit. We came in thinking we would be purchasing our RV, only to find out, we did not qualify. Apparently part of the issue was that the bank hadn't fully cleared the sale of our home. We would have to wait a couple of months for everything to wash out. Meanwhile, we were living in a hotel and that was getting old.
We went back to the hotel to regroup and decided to wait till either we got a call from Apartment Life that they found us our placement or find a better option in a used RV. A few weeks went by and still nothing from Apartment Life. We needed to find something sooner rather than later.
On a Saturday, I remember looking at RVs for sale and I found a 2010 Winnebago Sightseer 35BE. It had everything we needed except for the desk in the masterbedroom and was actually a few feet bigger than the Vista. It also had relatively low miles. We called Motor Home Specialists who had the motorhome, but they were already closed.
We sent them an email and followed up with them that Monday morning. I had a feeling this was going to be our home. We put a hold on the vehicle and came to look at it that afternoon when Tom finished work. We took a look and didn't see any major issues from our virgin eyes. But, when we did the paperwork to start the purchase, we had a 3rd party inspector come and look at it and give us his opinion.
Everything checked out and within a week, we had a new home! The kids promptly named her Sally, the Sightseer and she immediately became a member of the family. We took our maiden voyage from Alvarado, TX to Canton, TX where we would spend the next three weeks preparing for our new fulltime RV lifestyle and our first major adventures with Sally.