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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Beast's Anniversary

Above, The Beast at the Yellowstone Park/West Entrance KOA. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Tomorrow marks one year since I bought and brought home The Beast. My daughter Amber came up with the name.

Since my retirement was not too far in the distant future, I had been researching different RV models and brands and settled on the Winnebago 2015 Minnie Winnie 22R. The next step since I decided on that model was to find one with the exterior and interior color schemes and, of course, the right price.

Above, the sign that greeted me at La Mesa RV. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I checked with one local dealer in Ventura. They had one, but it wasn't what I wanted. If I am to make a major purchase in excess of $50,000, I won't settle for just anything.

I then checked with another local dealer in Valencia. They had none.

I also checked with a dealer in Colton, they had some but their Yelp ratings were not very good where customer service is concerned. They have since ceased being a Winnebago dealer. So it was a good thing I passed them up.

Above, La Mesa RV's sale office. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Next, I checked with La Mesa RV in San Diego and they had several models to choose from. They had more than one, some came with the color schemes and accessories I was looking for. Then I saw The Beast. It had everything I wanted. Plus, La Mesa had a pretty good Yelp rating.

Thankfully, La Mesa had an excellent website with virtual "tours" of every RV on their lot. Plus, a buyer can make an online offer for any particular unit.

So, I made an offer online. Within hours, a representative called me and I bought The Beast for just $1,000 more than my initial offer. Not bad, if I say so myself!

I then sent a deposit to them and arranged to fly down to pick it up once it was all prepped and ready to go. The date was February 24, 2015. Since I was heading down to San Diego on sort notice, the airfare was about $200 (Yikes!) with United Airlines. But, since I came to such a good deal (well within the amount I wanted), I didn't gripe about it.

On the date of pick-up, I took the Van Nuys Flyaway bus to LAX to catch the flight. It was a nice clear day and on one side of the plane, one could see the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains and on the other side, a beautiful view of Catalina Island.

I was in San Diego within an hour after the plane left LAX. La Mesa RV arranged for a driver to pick me up at the airport and take me to the dealer.

When I arrived in the sales office lobby, a sign greeted me with a list of customers who are picking up their new toys.

Soon, the paperwork began. During this, I contacted my auto insurance company to add The Beast to the policy. Unfortunately (or fortunately), they do not insure RVs. So they directed me to Progressive Insurance. I told them what I just bought (the dealer doesn't let anyone drive off without insurance, I found out later) and they said the monthly premiums were for full coverage, what seemed to me, a ridiculously low amount. Stunned, I asked what's the full year's premium. They told me $487.00. Then I told them, "Hell, I'll just pay the full premium now and not have to worry about monthly bills." So I did.

Once that was done and the final paperwork completed, I was given a walk-through tour of The Beast. This is customarily done so that new owners are familiarized with the RVs features.

Once that was completed, I was ready to head back to Los Angeles. I then jumped in and drove off to L.A.

I had planned to stop en route to visit my Aunt Rose in Mission Viejo. Thank goodness I did, since she passed away last month. I gave her and my cousins a tour of The Beast. After a visit for a while, I then headed off for L.A.

Above, The Beast at home. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is a good thing that I have a double parking space at my apartment (it can accommodate two cars) so I wouldn't have to park the motorhome on the street or have to rent a space at an RV storage lot. One reason I chose the 22R as it would be just the right size for it and my car to be parked there. It is actually 23 feet long. Anything longer wouldn't work.

Since I bought The Beast, we have taken it to Las Vegas, Yellowstone National Park, Lake Havasu and other places. Except for a minor bathroom roof vent problem, The Beast has been problem-free.

Unless I decide to take off on the spur of the moment, the next trip in The Beast will be Yosemite National Park in April.

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