Our Marriott on wheels!

That may be one of those oxymorons for buying an RV on a budget, but you can still get the best deals if you just spend a little time finding what you want.

We officially began camping with a little 14 ‘fun seeker in June 2009. Since then, we have found that camping can be addictive.

There is just something about being away from home for a weekend, or even a couple more days, that gets into your soul.

For us it’s total relaxation and the ability to fish in many bodies of water that we probably wouldn’t be able to test. It is like taking a short vacation since you are away from home and from your daily routine.

Well, after nearly three years of pretty tight space during camping, we made the decision to upgrade our RV. So, I started researching hundreds of travel trailers, not just locally, but searching almost daily online nationwide.

I even sent out several flyers for the floor plans that we decided we would like. Naturally, I studied them over and over again, checking down to the smallest detail. Many RVs are similar in size, but floor plans change and finding one you like is the best feeling for RV buyers.

After all that research, we finally came up with a floor plan that we wanted. We had narrowed our search down to a Kodiak, Aerolite, or Bullet. Our decision not to sell our Fun Finder ourselves led us to hire a lot of RVs on local consignment.

January 2012 was the last time we camped with our Fun Finder, then the search intensified to find our “dream RV”.

I searched and searched the entire web looking for what we had dreamed of and put on our goal board in my office. We had pretty much narrowed our search down to a Keystone Bullet due to its floor plan and build quality.

One weekend we had decided to drive to a Camping World that was not far from our house just to see some other models. Low and lo, they actually had a 2010 Keystone Bullet in the floor plan we wanted, so we seriously reviewed it. The moment we stepped into the Bullet, our hearts skipped a beat at almost the same time. It just turned out to be EXACTLY what we had dreamed of for our next RV. We tried not to show our excitement to the salesman, but he was like the cat eating the mouse, we just couldn’t stop smiling.

Naturally, the seller was interested in selling this RV to us, but we had decided not to buy it yet. Especially since they were asking for around $ 25,000. Which, for us, was simply out of the budget we had set for this type of purchase.

That single day began a search frenzy for a Keystone Bullet with a rear toilet, a single slide, and a center wall complete with a swivel TV that separated the sleeping area from the living room.

I searched the internet for RV sites across the United States before finally finding a representative lot of manufacturers in Michigan called Lakeshore RV. My contact was a guy named Mike and we started our endless barrage of questions. One of the things we learned was that they wanted $ 2200 to deliver a new motorhome to our home in Florida.

It took about a month of discussion before we finalized our options, pricing, and shipping arrangements. And because of all the options it came with, we just added a larger air conditioner, a sliding canopy, and an E2 equalizer hitch to handle this under 5,000 lbs. Ultralight RV.

One of our biggest decision points for Bullet was that Lakeshore RV had told me they were selling less in the winter months so they were specially priced with lots of options and overall it turned out to be about $ 6,000 less than most. of the lots. asking.

The day was fast approaching before we headed north to pick up our new Bullet. After logging into Map quest, I found out how many miles we had to drive back and forth so it gave me an idea of ​​what our gas costs would be. So we decided to drive up north and personally pick up our new “Marriott on wheels”.

We left our home in Cape Coral, Florida at 6:00 AM on a Saturday. With our GPS mounted and set up for somewhere in North Georgia, plus my trusty laptop ready to search for places to sleep on the nights we’d leave, we set off.

It was a beautiful day to drive, and about ten hours later, with only a minor storm in South Georgia, we arrived in Dalton, GA. where we booked into a Motel 6. Laugh all you want, but they’re great, inexpensive places to stay, and they’re generally located near a restaurant or two. We don’t want to buy the hotel; We just want to rent a clean room to sleep in.

The next morning we started again around 6:00 a.m. and drove through the hills of Tennessee, Kentucky and into Indiana before reaching our next destination, South Bend, IN, where we again found a Motel 6 online at an affordable price. Luckily for us, this one even gave me a senior discount in addition to the low rate.

On the third day, our investigation showed us that our destination was only 150 miles north. It had taken us two full days and a few hours on the morning of the third day before we reached our final destination. Our first stop was Wal-Mart for big pillows. We then continued to the RV parking lot, which was just a few more miles away. Needless to say, our hearts were racing when we finally arrived at Lakeshore RV in Muskegon, Michigan.

Since it was still in winter mode, the temperature was below 50 degrees, so for us it was literally freezing. We had planned for the cold and had our sweatshirts with us, but I didn’t want to wear long pants so my legs got a bit chilly.

Lakeshore RV told us we could stay in their lot for the night if we just wanted to check things out before heading south.

Since I had the weather channel saved on my laptop, I had checked the weather for this particular day and it was showing a very cold front on our way. So we made the decision to continue our journey to a warmer climate. So after the contract ended, we walked out of the parking lot with our 28 ‘2012 Keystone Bullet. Needless to say, my heart was pounding and my palms were sweating because I thought this monster behind our Tundra was going to be very difficult to fit in, but I quickly found out that it was as easy as the 14 ‘RV we had sold. . .

It wasn’t long before Karen revealed our Passport America camp guide and located a campground in Indiana, so that was our goal for Day 1 of our return home.

At approximately 4:00 PM that afternoon, we arrived at Caboose Lake Campground near Remington, Indiana, and settled in for the first time. It was cold but a beautiful blue sky so we located our assigned space and set up our Bullet for the first time.

At least we got a chance to run our propane heater and luckily for us it worked perfectly. The best part was that it only cost us about $ 15.00 due to the 50% discounts that Passport America offers its members.

The second day we arrived in Tennessee and booked into the Nashville Country RV Park near Goodlettsville and still arrived early in the afternoon. Since it was in the central time zone, we arrived about an hour earlier than expected, so we walked around this beautiful park and took some photos. We paid a bit more here, but it was a lot less than a hotel and we knew our room would be very exclusive.

The third day was also an early start around 6:00 am, and again 10 hours later we drove to another Passport America listed park called Florida Gateway RV Resort near Jasper, FL. It is a beautiful park with wide open spaces and some small cabins for rent. We only paid $ 20 to stay in this beautiful park and as usual this includes water, sewer and electricity. Some parks even have internet if you need it.

It wasn’t until the fourth day that we finally reached our final destination, the Sun-n-Shade RV complex near Punta Gorda, FL. What happens only 16 miles from our home.

It was here that we were finally able to stay for more than one night. And after settling in, which only took us about 15 minutes, we drove home and picked up our Sea Eagle boat so we could finally do some fishing and just enjoy our time in one place.

And that Sunday, April 1, we connected for the last time during this trip and drove our “Marriott on wheels” to our pre-arranged storage lot.

Today, we camp every two weeks and we are still addicted to this lifestyle. Most of our state and federal park camps cost us $ 11-13 per night because I can use my Intergency Senior Pass, and private parks generally cost $ 20 per night and up, depending on where you want to stay.

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