This post from 2010 describes how we decided the fifth wheel/truck combination was right for us. Subsequent posts (here and here) show that our choice of fifth wheel trailer has evolved over time.
When we arrived in Oregon in August we thought that the Arctic Fox 29-5k fifth wheel was likely to be our new home. Once we got here and sat in it once again with the intent to actually buy, we began to feel rather cramped in it and had a hard time visualizing storing some bulky items we intend to carry.
So now we were ready to buy but felt like we were starting over again! It was a bit disheartening and rather overwelming when we considered how much time we had already put into this decision.
We revisited (via the internet) our previous first choice: the NuWa Discover America 345 LK WTB. We had previously decided against it because it was around $75-80k and was pretty much only available in the midwest. We couldn't rationalize paying at least $25k more and driving to Kansas for the "perfect" aesthetics when the Arctic Fox was about $48k with virtually everything we wanted (we thought).
Now we had to find all the dealers in Portland and survey their inventory. The primary RV's in our price range ($50k - $65k) were Heartland Big Horn and Keystone Montana. I had grown to dislike Big Horn over time so we focused on Montana. I liked the 3000RK (very similar to the Arctic Fox we liked) and Hans was favoring the more spacious 3400RL (very similar to the NuWa we liked).
Turns out most of the dealers in Oregon and Washington were low on inventory at the end of summer. We were able to view representative examples of the models we liked, but each of them had aspects that would be a compromise if we were to purchase.
Finally, we narrowed it down to the Montana 3000RK. Our rationale was: 1) shorter was better (35'6" long), 2) having only two slides on one side gave it a narrower profile which will allow us to fit into narrower campsites if necessary, 3) the kitchen appliances were NOT in a slide (we felt the frequent in and out movement of the slide could cause problems for all the infrastructure required for the appliances), and 4) it had two more closets than the Arctic Fox thereby alleviating the storage problem we had worried about.
With that decision made, we just had to find the actual rig in the decor choice we preferred! Trailer manufacturers tend to be rather old fashioned in their design choices. Montana provides three fabric choices and only one of those really appealed to us.
Thank goodness for the Internet! We found a 2013 model with the Blackthorn decor in Boise, Idaho! The 2013 model comes with an automatic leveling system and a quieter, ducted air conditioning system. The dealer happened to be open on Labor Day and several phone calls later we had a deposit on our new home:
|Floorplan of the 2013 Keystone Montana 3000RK|
We plan to stay in Boise for a week or two to get used to the rig and take care of any warranty issues that might show up. No plans beyond that except to be in San Diego during the holidays!