I purchased a double folding ladder, the type that becomes like a 4/4, at camping world some 30 years ago. I've used it maybe twice, but both times I was glad I had it. Most of the time someone else in the campground offers some big ol ladder they keep in their huge rig. Now, at 66 I have no intention of getting on a ladder, but I keep it in the belly anyway.
My problems with LaMesa RV San Bernardino were only resolved after I had an attorney contact the main office in San Diego on my behalf. That was in 2005, I guess from your comments that not much has changed. As far as renewing the extended warranty, try WholesaleWarranties.com, or even Good Sam. Deal with reliable people who will give you service when you later require assistance. Hopefully you do not have claim at this time, so get a new policy from a different supplier, and gather all your paperwork, and take them LaMesa to small claims court for a pro-rated year of warranty that did not exist.
JMHO Good Luck.
Another point of view: My hearing has become so bad that two cans and a string would suit my needs. Even with my new hearing aids sound quality has become a thing of the past. I personally would like sound systems to be an option rather than standard equipment, then we would all get what we want, and what we pay for.
Wholesale Warranties.com has my highest recommendation. I purchased a policy with them and then renewed it, and I had one of my children purchase a policy for their rig with WholesaleWarranties. They discussed a group of policies with me and helped me select one that seemed right for my needs. When I had a claim, an wasn't sure how to proceed, I called them, received an immediate response, and they walked me through the claim process. When I felt one claim was taking too long to process, I called THEM and they called the insurance company, and within hours I had a senior official from the insurance company call me back and explain that due to an agents illness the claim was pushed aside by mistake and was now being given priority. All ended fine. They are active in the RV community, showing up at FMCA Rallies and other RV events. Doing business with them would be a good choice.
JMHO (side note: I really have no personal interest in the company or any associates of the company, I just feel that praise should be given when praise is due.)
I used to have the BuddyBrake, but I found the box cumbersome and on long mountain trips a drain on the battery. I purchased the ReadyBrake which I use with my Demco towbar and I am very pleased with the assembly. Super easy to hookup, no big box, no drain on the battery, just attach the two cables (brake and break-away-brake) and go. The instillation is probably easy as it is just running cable, but I elected to have a trusted technician do the instillation. You need to drill through the fire-wall, and you need to have the flexibility to work under the car.
We used to have a room awning on previous MHs, I think from Carefree of Colorado, The main support is a rubber slide that slips into the existing awning track. The unit we had also used two aluminum poles for support. I know Carefree still has screen rooms, ours was a canvas enclosure.
The kids preferred sleeping in the "tent" rather than the rig.
The Cajon pass is a steep long grade that will by trying on your patients, and fuel gauge. It's not that it is too steep, it is just very long, and you can get some really mean crosswinds. Just drive it with care. Other than that pass it is an unspectacular drive. The first time you see the vastness of the desert it is fascinating, but after many many trips, it just does not change much. The rest stops are frequently closed for "repair" so don't plan on rest stops, better to take your breaks in Barstow and Baker. If you are heading to Las Vegas on Friday, as mentioned by others, add at least 1 hour to your travel time. If the weather is good, maybe more, as the traffic is doubled with people heading to the Colorado River.
If this is your first trip, consider stopping at Peggy Sue's Dinner outside of Barstow. It is filled with collectable memorabilia, and makes a fun way to stretch.
Your not stupid nor is it a stupid question, but a very personal question requiring an individual response. To start, what is the interest rate? What will you be able to do with the money not being spent on the RV when the payments are kept to a minimum? And remember, if you find your economic situation improves greatly or unexpectedly, you can always pay down the loan early. Just one example..by taking a 15 year loan you maintain extra cash on hand for the children's college.
Talking with a good financial advisor is sometimes useful...not the guy offering you the loan, but your accountant, you broker, or a learned friend. Let someone take the role of devil's advocate, and come to the best solution for your situation. If you already signed for the loan, no real problem, you can always refi.
When a friend moved from their home the new residence would not have cable for 4 to 6 weeks. They are definitely TV attached. I purchased this antenna and stuck it on their window (The Sacramento Area) and found that it picked up a significant number of channels with an excellent picture. I now have the antenna stuffed away in the MH as a backup for the house or the RV.
We sometimes forget that TV used to come over the airways for free...it's still there to some extent, but it is not economic to remind us of that fact.
You really like the 550, towing, a true masochist. The 50 is less of a freeway than the 80, less lanes, more curves. However, every time I have taken the 80 I promise I will not do it again. The highway is extremely rough and bumpy, traffic jams are the norm, and crawling around sandwiched between big rigs doing 20mph on hills is not my idea of fun. I'd choose the 50.
Over the course of the years I have taken a WIT tour to Rocky Point Mexico, and the TRACKS tour to Copper Canyon Mexico. Both were expensive but both were well worthwhile. In the lower 49 States I think you could probably do your own thing for a lot less money. However, the tour company makes all the reservations, many must be made a year or more in advance, you are transported to events by private buses, you get professional tour guides and the fun of being in a group. If you have any hesitation about driving to new places you have the comfort of a trained group captain and a tail gunner who travels last in line to make sure none of the rigs in the group have a problem. Problems such as a breakdown or an over-tired driver can usually be handled by the group. For the two trips I took into Mexico, the group tour was invaluable, and I would certainly not have had the experience without the group. So what are you paying for...reservations at campgrounds, reservations at events (usually great seating), reservations without lines at tours, a few dinners, a few pot luck dinners, and the services of a tour host and tail gunner. If we ever get to travel to Alaska it will probably be with a tour. If we ever get to go to the Kentucky Derby it will probably be with a tour, other wise we could never get preferred seating. Basically, you get what you pay for. Sometimes it will be worth it to you, sometimes it would be just as much fun to do it yourself.
Which is why I tend to respond when posters try to paint all CWs with one brush. My experience in Wilsonville/Portland was excellent. My experiences at my local CW have always been rather poor...but as I recently posted, the remodel and change in management has made my local Valencia store a pleasant experience. But CW is a nationwide chain. I must say my local Walmart is way down on the list of places to visit, but I have been to WM stores, especially in the South and Midwest where everything is in the right place, staff is clean and friendly, and it is a pillar in the community.
I have complained in the past about my local Camping World Valencia store. Lack of service, poor inventory, just not an exceptional location. Today, my wife and I stopped at the Valencia store to see the folding directors chair shown in the CW new catalog...see if it was comfortable, light, etc. Entering the store we found it clean and well stocked and organized. But we could not at first spot the chair, as chairs were displayed in multiple spots on the floor. Danielle, a friendly sales assistant noted our distant stares and offered to help. She promptly found the chair set it up and discussed the product with us, she then asked about the rest of our shopping list and assisted finding the floor mats, the kitchen items, and a few other things we just couldn't resist. She was not the only sales associate I found helping customers around the store. The apparent change in attitude in the operation of Camping World Valencia was obvious and well received by all those we observed. My complements to the crew. Gary Kalyn