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House Sold; Appreicate Your Advice On Buying A Casita!

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#1 brightday

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 12:51 PM

I just sold my house in NC, have moved my earthly goods into storage, and am living temporarily with my daughter in Houston.  I'm excited about buying my first Casita, having studied them and taken notes on full-time RV life for the past two years. 

 

The major question I have is with regard to the age Casita I purchase.  Since I plan to spend money to renovate both inside and out to fit my particular lifestyle and needs, I tend to lean toward the less expensive, older models, but I don’t want to cheap out if it’s going to cost me a bundle down the line.  As a retired (not particularly handy) woman who hopes to live in the Casita in all but the winter months for the next 10+ years, I’m a bit concerned about the wear and tear the structure, pipes, and overall systems that older Casitas may have endured.  That said, I know that Casitas hold up better than most.  Could you tell me what your own experience with older Casitas has been?  Is there an age below which I should not go if I am to be relatively free of major repairs for the next ten years or so?  Do you know of places in Houston, Texas (my home base) and in others states who can check the Casita out before I buy it?  Others throughout the US who specialize in assessing/maintaining Casitas?  

 

If possible, I’d like to purchase a Casita already outfitted with a shock kit, anti-sway bar, scissor jacks, etc. and items needed for boondocking (solar power, battery and shore power connects, vent cover, anti-rodent/bug devices, screens, outdoor shower, etc.) On the other hand, such items force the price of the Casita up, so if the initial cost of the Casita is relatively low, I can afford to have someone install these and other such additions.  What are your own thoughts about  Casita age, additions, and the initial purchase?

 

I'll mostly be traveling solo but am looking forward to joining up with others who  enjoy God's wonderful creation.  Thanks in advance for whatever advice you might offer!  


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#2 clairemr1

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 01:44 PM

congratulations on making the big decision to become totally unfettered during your retirement. you'll get differing opinions, but here's mine. i faced the same issues in 2014. total rv newbie, not sure i'd enjoy the lifestyle, not particularly handy (40 yr RN) when it comes to repairs. after i narrowed it down to what i wanted, i placed an ad on craigslist for a "gently used, fairly new" casita patriot deluxe. a kindly gentleman answered with a 4 month old 2013 PD. he held it for me til i had time off from work to drive to the texas gulf coast to pick it up. he had done nothing to it EXCEPT move the battery to the tongue (the very best mod he could have done, as the battery is under the bench inside in the PD & nearly impossible to get to).

    i drove down, bought it, towed it home 2/1/14 & retired 3/26/14. that year i spent attending rallies in texas & other states, talking to people about everything there is to know about casitas. while others enjoyed socializing at the rallies, i could be found with a friendly/informed soul above, under, inside my casita, going over systems, learning how to do maintenance, etc. i also read, reread all of the paperwork that came with the trailer. there is a wealth of information just in those documents alone. also started visiting websites specific to the trailer.    

    these many years later, i know i made the right decision for me. the advantages of buying slightly used were numerous, i saved some money over new factory price, i got that battery on the tongue, which saved me money & time/trouble maintaining it, i could get to know the trailer without having to worry about someone else's poorly thought out/executed mods, all appliances were new, so not much danger of them breaking down & adding to unexpected costs to replace.

    i'd buy something slightly used again. i then camped/traveled, decided what mods i wanted to do (very few actually). i've only recently "decorated" the outside/inside to my taste, because now there's really nothing else to do to my casita except decorate it & enjoy it.

    i would only consider an older casita if i personally knew the seller & knew how the trailer had been maintained. neglected or poorly maintained casitas can quickly become a money pit & lead to more frustration & disappointment just at a time when you deserve to enjoy your free time.

    fortunately, since your home base is now houston, you should find more inventory here than some folks face in their home states. have a mechanic go with you to make sure all systems function as expected (even if you have to pay the mechanic, that's money well worth spending).  ask when wheel bearing service was last done (should be every 12,000 miles or annually, whichever comes first), how old are the tires/spare (most of us get a replacement set every 3-4 yrs regardless of their appearace), how old is the battery (most last 3-4 yrs).attend some rallies too, there are always a few for sale & we tend to know each other at rallies. there's a real good chance you'll find a very nice casita there. also, check the classifieds on this & other casita sites.

    enjoy whatever you buy, casitas are simply wonderful trailers. safe travels............


Edited by clairemr1, 13 June 2019 - 02:02 PM.

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#3 brightday

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 02:16 PM

What a gracious and helpful response, Clairemr1!  Sounds like you made excellent decisions, and here's hoping that I can get a gently used Casita at a decent price, as well!  Your advice about buying older Casitas from unknown persons rings true.  Although I've been reading about the Casitas for quite a while, there's nothing like experience to teach one the ropes, though I certainly don't want to be left hanging by one. :rofl2:   I like the idea of getting the battery onto the tongue, something I don't recall having read before.  And thanks for including questions I should ask regarding maintenance. It's a bit scary, and a good mechanic would really be an asset.  How does one go about finding one who'd have enough knowledge regarding Casitas?  Or would any good mechanic recognize the pitfalls?  If so, I have one in mind.

 

Your advice about waiting to make decisions regarding add-ons also makes sense.  I was thinking to get it done mostly up front in order to be as self-sufficient as possible, but I'll need to rethink that position.  As to rallies, I'm looking forward to them!  Perhaps I'll see you out there someday soon!  Thanks again!


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#4 Jim&Clare

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 02:51 PM

.....I plan to spend money to renovate both inside and out to fit my particular lifestyle and needs, I tend to lean toward the less expensive, older models, but I don’t want to cheap out if it’s going to cost me a bundle down the line..... 

 

 

So, what is your lifestyle,  what are your needs?  If we could understand what is important to YOU we could help more. 

Casitas are pretty tough - but older ones MAY have rotten floors - that is not a fix you want to take on.

 

And welcome to the cult!.  


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#5 clairemr1

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 03:10 PM

What a gracious and helpful response, Clairemr1!  Sounds like you made excellent decisions, and here's hoping that I can get a gently used Casita at a decent price, as well!  Your advice about buying older Casitas from unknown persons rings true.  Although I've been reading about the Casitas for quite a while, there's nothing like experience to teach one the ropes, though I certainly don't want to be left hanging by one. :rofl2:   I like the idea of getting the battery onto the tongue, something I don't recall having read before.  And thanks for including questions I should ask regarding maintenance. It's a bit scary, and a good mechanic would really be an asset.  How does one go about finding one who'd have enough knowledge regarding Casitas?  Or would any good mechanic recognize the pitfalls?  If so, I have one in mind.

 

Your advice about waiting to make decisions regarding add-ons also makes sense.  I was thinking to get it done mostly up front in order to be as self-sufficient as possible, but I'll need to rethink that position.  As to rallies, I'm looking forward to them!  Perhaps I'll see you out there someday soon!  Thanks again!

i should clarify the battery on the tongue subject.  the 17ft casitas have an access hatch outside for you to remove your battery. it makes it much easier to get to the battery. not everyone needs to move the battery to the tongue. the 13ft PD has no outside access door & the battery is nearly impossible to get to under the drivers side bench seat. therefore, it was a fantastic mod that the previous owner of my casita did before i purchased it.

    i'd advise you to attend some rallies, talk with folks, see what they've done to theirs, ask if any are for sale (often there will be a couple for sale). have the owner demonstrate how all systems operate. check the classifieds on this site. once you have one in your sights, see if anyone on here is close by & willing to check it out for you. ask an rv place if someone could check out the systems for you too, if the owner is willing to tow it over there (or pay someone to go to the trailer's location).

    while there are many very good older casitas out there, there is also a time limit on major appliances. personally, i didn't want to have to replace those early on in my ownership. also, i'd advise you to figure out how you use the trailer before making decisions like solar, generator, etc. they can always be added later. i boondock a lot so a furnace is essential for me. if you only plan on camping in a campground with hookups, it may or may not be important to you. there are many things to consider when making such a major purchase. the good news is, casitas hold their value very well, so if you don't like what you buy, sell it & get something else. enjoy your retirement........


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#6 brightday

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 04:10 PM

Jim&Clare,

 

I'm not sure that what I'll write below is sufficient.  If not, perhaps you'll provide feedback?

 

-Love the beauty to be found in nature; especially enjoy the ocean (particularly the Outer Banks of NC) and the foothills or lower mountain ranges; loved a recent trip to the coast at Galveston and would like to travel into Washington, Oregon, Canada, and then back down through the Northeast and back into NC in the spring; later explore Mexico and the rest of the US.

-Need the security of reasonably reliable machinery to get me into and out of remote areas

-Enjoy total privacy from time to time and prefer the company of friends and family who don't need TV or loud music to be happy

-Appreciate the independence and travel options RV living affords; don't want to own a home again but may never be ready for apartment living; looking forward to visiting family and friends while remaining in my own abode and using my own source(s) of power

-Looking forward to the safety and enjoyment the RV community provides; looking forward to RV get-togethers, now that I'm well on my way to optimal health!

 

Seeks to Buy or Retrofit for Use:

-A 17' Casita (shorter twin beds in the back) for solo traveling; plan to use the second bed mostly for seating and the occasional visits of sister, daughter, or a friend - we're all under 5'3  :D  :D  :D 

-Would love a Casita already prepped with a coordinated solar/battery/propane/generator system and other options geared to safety, self sufficiency, efficiency, and ease of use for a retired woman who can use a hammer and screwdriver - but not much else - things like the electric hitch, sway bar, antenna for cell booster, etc. 

-Will need to retrofit for larger than usual kitchen so I can cook the foods that I enjoy without gluten, which has already damaged my intestines (recently diagnosed celiac disease);

--Prefer a digital countertop convection oven to a microwave 

-Will need a larger than usual area for storing kitchen items; plan to turn front table into longer bar/storage/prep area and will remove the two seats, leaving ample room for storage beneath the bar

-More power (solar/battery/propane) than the average camper may need to operate small kitchen appliances and charge up computer, MP3 player, Kindle (no TV); might appreciate another or larger refrigerator

-Ability to use Internet and Smartphone pretty much everywhere

-Don't need a TV or sophisticated sound system

 

What can I say?  I'm pretty much a nerdy nature gal.  I read using my Kindle, enjoy listening to audiobooks on my MP3 player, and surf the Internet to learn about anything and everything that interests me,  I'm looking forward to Casita life, which will encourage me to get outdoors. something ill health for the past five years kept me from doing.  I once loved hiking and hope to enjoy it again. I prefer temperate weather to plan to follow the sun toward Canada in summer, landing back in Texas with my daughter each winter, as I've done for the past four seasons, traveling inner-USA in spring and autumn.  I'm bringing along a dulcimer bought in my twenties and hope I'll learn to play it.  I love sing-a-longs and hope to find others who do.  I enjoy worshipping God in nature as well as in church.

 

Does this give you an idea of what I'll need in a Casita?  If not, ask a question or two.  And thanks!


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#7 brightday

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 04:34 PM

Clairemr1,

 

Thanks for the clarification and advice - all well worth noting.  I've been checking the classifieds here and elsewhere for some time.  It's just a matter of nailing down the exact Casita I need to buy.  And you're on point when it comes to appliances; and other such things I want them working but haven't the skills needed to maintain them myself.  So … you've already helped me to see that buying a newer Casita makes the best sense for me. 

 

As you'll see from my response to Jim&Clare, in the past couple of years thinking about RV life, I've formed pretty definite ideas about the things I will need to support the type of life I'd like to live on the road.  I enjoy reading and writing but am looking forward to a much more active lifestyle than the one I was able to live for the past five years, when undiagnosed celiac disease had me down.  I'm taking along my recumbent bike (outdoor, not stationery) and look forward to using it again but also look forward to hiking, something I once enjoyed.  My need to cook my own foods and desire for independence/self sufficiency pretty much demand a larger kitchen area and an integrated solar/battery/propane and generator system, and limited dexterity due to arthritis demands an electric trailer hitch and other such accommodations. That said, I have no problem cutting back when it comes to the water and sewage systems.  I learned to camp out early in life - with no running water and digging my own latrine; composting toilets and outdoor showers will be no hardship for me, so I'll need to carry less fresh and gray water than others may. (That said, I expect to buy a Casita that has complete systems, as they'll certainly be needed for resale, and I may be glad of them as I age.)

 

Thanks again for your input.  Now that I'm at the purchase point, and have no one to rely upon for the decision other than myself, it's a bit scary, but the questions posed and thoughts proffered are already helping me come to a better idea about what's needed.  Having a mechanic close by should help seal the deal.  :) 


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#8 Dutchman

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 05:13 PM

A thought or two about used Casitas.  I bought my 17SD (that is the Spirit de Luxe model) new at the factory in 2003.  Casita warrants the shell for one year.  All appliances are warrantied by their respective manufacturers, usually around three years. After that, you're on your own.

 

I live full time in my Casita. Since new, I've replaced every single appliance (with the exception of the Air conditioner). Something to think about when buying used.  Probably the most expensive item I had to replace was  the refrigerator. Remember, it is a dual system, propane and 12V electric, and costs oodles more than your average 120V house frig.  But you need the propane when you boon dock, i.e. off the grid.  New frig cost me $1,600.- and change. As I said, that one was pricy. Over the 15 years of use I replaced water heater, forced air heater, exhaust fan (Ventline), had the factory replace my old low axle with the higher axle, allowing change over to 15" wheels and tires (more load carrying ability, thus safer). I should admit I try to replace things  before they break. I like reliability.

 

My thought might be to find the latest year model you can afford, rather than be tempted by a low, low offer of a steal and have to replace a bunch of stuff right at the start. OTOH, what do I know?  

 

Since it has not been mentioned yet, your tow vehicle should be able to tow 5,000 lbs. With Casita weight averaging 3,300 lbs or so, this will give you enough leeway.  Vehicle should have a factory installed tow package.  Automatic transmission makes parking and backing into tiny places much easier than manual. Sheesh, what am I  talking about? Diehard manual enthusiast for over fifty years - still don't know what to do with my left leg. ;-)

 

That's all I can think of for now. Hope it helps and best of luck in your upcoming adventure.

 

Dutchman


Edited by Dutchman, 13 June 2019 - 05:17 PM.

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Edouard Trautwein, #1372  

'03 17SD "Pura Vida"
'99 Toyota 4Runner, 3.4L V6 -

 

Casita living - Luxury on two wheels.

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#9 brightday

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 06:17 PM

Dutchman,

 

I appreciate your taking the time to respond, the fact that you purchased a new Casita, and that in 16 years, you ended up replacing all of the appliaces except the AC.  This is valuable information, and makes clear that I need to buy a newer model, because I also appreciate reliability and would prefer to replace farther down the road.  I know that, if I continue living the RV life, I'm going to have to replace the tow vehicle with which I'm beginning - my beloved Toyota Sienna, which can tow 3500 pounds.  It makes little sense to replace the van now, as it suits my needs when not traveling, and I'd get so little for it.  Also, I plan to travel "slow and low" for at least the first six months, as others who use the Sienna to tow have suggested.  I've already removed the back four seats in order to use the space for storing items I can't fit into the Casita but will need from time to time. 

 

I prefer to take your advice and purchase the youngest and best cared for Casita my budget allows, then buy a sturdier tow vehicle when the Sienna dies or disappoints as a towing vehicle. (I don't plan to hit the Rockies this year.)  When it comes to weight, I'll be careful not to overload either vehicle.  Having made the trip from North Carolina to Texas in a stuffed-to-the-gills, 15' Uhaul AND towing my loaded Sienna behind, I got a good dose of sway and the low speeds that were necessary to keep the truck in the road, particularly over those tall Louisiana bridges and in the rain! I made the trip in two rugged days last week and never want to repeat that experience, so you can be sure that, if I feel anything of the sort while towing with the Sienna, I'll bite the bullet and buy a new tow vehicle - which will definitely have an automatic transmission. I'd rather keep the left foot free for dancing.  :dncinban:

 

Thanks so much for your thoughtful responses, Dutchman, and, yes, you clearly know a lot - and I have so much to learn.  Feel free to offer any additional advice that occurs.  I'm so excited about the adventure to come!


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#10 Dutchman

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 07:56 PM

Brightday, if memory serves, the Toyota Sienna has front wheel drive.  If so, you will likely need a weight distribution hitch, to vary the load between front and rear wheels. I've never used one so I am unfamiliar with the specs. Ideally, your tow vehicle will have rear wheel drive (RWD), or 4WD.  Casita hitch weight varies around 330+ lbs and  that weight is best placed on the drive wheels.  With RWD you will not need a weight distribution hitch (per advice from Casita factory).

 

Just add this to the pile of information. Just know I am mechanically challenged so I hope so real techies will chime in and comment.

 

Cheers,

Dutchman


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Edouard Trautwein, #1372  

'03 17SD "Pura Vida"
'99 Toyota 4Runner, 3.4L V6 -

 

Casita living - Luxury on two wheels.

HOME IS WHERE I PARK IT !   


#11 clairemr1

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:08 PM

as dutchman pointed out, most owners recommend a tow vehicle with a minimum of 5000 lb rating. you're not giving yourself any wiggle room with only a 3500 lb rating. be sure to weigh your rig/tongue when loaded to know the actual weights you're pulling. not only are you at the maximum rating at 3500 lbs with your sienna, but you also need to consider the tongue weight limit. the 17ft casita often has a tongue weight of over 400 lbs. is your sienna rated for that weight? does your sienna have a tow package? that's very important, as the tow package includes a transmission cooler & other things that lessen the burden on the sienna. without the tow package, you're asking for early vehicle failure as you're putting undue stress on it.

    IMHO you'll be severely limited by towing with your sienna. i'd be planning to replace it if i were in your position. best of luck..........


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#12 Carol Christensen

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 02:27 PM

 

-A 17' Casita (shorter twin beds in the back) for solo traveling; plan to use the second bed mostly for seating and the occasional visits of sister, daughter, or a friend - we're all under 5'3

-Will need to retrofit for larger than usual kitchen so I can cook the foods that I enjoy without gluten, which has already damaged my intestines (recently diagnosed celiac disease);

-Will need a larger than usual area for storing kitchen items; plan to turn front table into longer bar/storage/prep area and will remove the two seats, leaving ample room for storage beneath the bar

-More power (solar/battery/propane) than the average camper may need to operate small kitchen appliances and charge up computer, MP3 player, Kindle (no TV); might appreciate another or larger refrigerator

 

Congratulations and good job on doing your research.  I'm wondering if you've seen and spent a little time in each the models, keeping in mind the changes you plan.   Or have you already decided on which model; Spirit, Freedom, Liberty or Independence?  Be sure to check out the amount of available storage area under the seats.  Some of that space is in use for water tank, water heater, pump and wheel wells, but there is still quite a bit of storage space.

 

I'm wondering about your change for shorter twin beds.  In some models I think you would be limited by the 54" width of rear bed.  The curves in the rear corners are somewhat limiting also.  I'm short, under 5'3" and would not want to sleep in a 54" long bed.  Maybe I'm missing something here.

 

The Liberty model has a slightly larger kitchen counter area which also expands storage space under the stovetop but only by a few inches.

I use nested pots/pans which saves lots of storage space, there are many types and levels of quality to be found.  And the large cabinet over the stove/sink in all models can be used for kitchen and/or food items.  One person, maybe more, have put wider doors on that cabinet for easier access.

 

A larger fridge would add a lot of weight and probably change the balance of the load in your trailer.  I find the fridge can hold quite a bit if I repackage items in baggies.  Perhaps an ice chest would help.

 

BTW, we used a Sienna for quite a while and knew from the beginning it was marginal for towing our 17'.  So we always used a weight distributing hitch which helped.  We are still using the WDH on our 4-Runner (rated for 5,000 lbs) just because it adds a measure of control and safety.  But the WDH is heavy and awkward for me to use now that I'm older.

 

clair and dutchman are both full timers and have given you great advice.  As clair mentioned, it's very important to be aware of the actual weight of your rig.  Weighing your loaded rig, both trailer and vehicle, will tell you if you are safely within the maximum allowed weights.  Good luck on your coming Casita adventures.

 


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Carol Christensen
2005 17' LD Nova & 2001 Toyota 4Runner

pre-Nova was Ova-the-Rainbow 1999 17' LD (sold)



Don't believe everything you think.

#13 brightday

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 06:59 PM

Thanks Clair, Dutchman, and Carol for the last three responses. 

 

I've been thinking about the weight issue all day as I've run errands and seen to an AC issue in my daughter's house.  Over the past 2-3 years of research, I've noted that many people caution against using the Toyota Sienna for towing - understandably so.  I've also read more than a few posts from several people who towed their 17' Casitas without problems, mostly because they utilized the tow package and carefully monitored the weight in both their vans and their campers.  Having just endured a rather harrowing experience towing my van behind a U-haul truck last week, I'm more attuned to the grim realities and have been wondering whether or not I need to simply back away from the idea of buying a Casita.  I just don't think I can tolerate living in anything smaller, and I have no desire to purchase both a Casita and a new vehicle. I do know that I'll be able to manage without the heavy water loads most people believe to be necessary, as I learned to manage such issues while living in my house, which developed plumbing problems I was not willing to fix, knowing that the house would be torn and another built right after closing.  Still, there's no need to rush into anything.  I have plenty of time to reconsider my options.  My daughter's seriously considering the purchase of the lot behind her house.  I can always put a tiny house there.  It will simply mean that I travel less - and not in a Casita.  Whatever the case, you've all given me food for thought, and I appreciate your collective wisdom.

 

Carol, I also appreciate the new issues you brought up.  I have looked at all the specs for all models and believe that I can work with/retrofit any of the configurations for beds, as I've seen many folks do in YouTube videos.  And, yes, I think you're right about the refrigerator.  I'll just need to make more trips to the market.  

 

It was so much easier when I was researching and considering the theoretical challenges.  Now that I'm free of my home and ready to move forward, the realties of Casita life have hit home, and I know that there will be quite a few more to face on the road.  So, for right now, I'm gonna do as Scarlet did - and think about it all tomorrow.   ^_^ 

 

Goodnight all … and thanks again! 


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#14 Carol Christensen

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 02:00 PM

I would like to encourage you to attend a Casita Rally near you; check out the Get Together/Rally Forum.  You don't have to have a trailer, just stay nearby and spend a day or so with the group.  You will have a chance to see different types of molded fiberglass trailer and talk to enthusiatic owners.

 

BTW, I sent you a Personal Message --- just click on the little envelope by your name at the top of the page.


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Carol Christensen
2005 17' LD Nova & 2001 Toyota 4Runner

pre-Nova was Ova-the-Rainbow 1999 17' LD (sold)



Don't believe everything you think.

#15 brightday

brightday
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Posted 16 June 2019 - 03:52 PM

Carol et al,

 

Thank you for taking the time to spell out the issues you had with the Sienna.  Interestingly enough, I, too, had a Previa - with a sunroof and a moon roof, too!  Just before moving to Houston, I gave it to a young man in my neighborhood who'd been eyeing it for some time and was wild to have it.

 

I'm responding to your private message so that the others who were kind enough to share their thoughts can read it, too.

 

I love my Sienna - put a tow hitch and new tires on her just before heading back to NC in April.  Had her detailed, too.  But I don't need to own two vehicles, and the collective fears of all of you, as well as my own harrowing experience while towing the Sienna behind the Uhaul, had me comparing and pricing hefty tow vehicles for most of the day yesterday. (The moment remains fresh in my mind when, clutching the Uhaul's steering wheel, I thought, "Is this white-knuckled misery what it will be like with a Casita behind me?") The answer, as I’ve faced it, is a likely, "Yes."  As least some of the time.

 

I can't afford a brand new tow vehicle but read everything I could yesterday about "good" and "bad" years for several models before finally narrowing it down to a Toyota 4Runner, though the price tag for it plus a late-model Casita is far more that I wanted to put into this venture, as I’ve been hedging my bets.  After all, I may be one of those who try Casita camping for a few months and then decide that the lifestyle just isn't for me.  Having just sold, packed, or given away all but a few of my worldly goods, I can say that I do not relish the thought of selling a 4Runner and a Casita within months to a year after I've purchased them.  Indeed, I've found it far harder to rid myself of possessions than to gain them - which is why my daughter's garage is filled with antiques I may never use again - or may, if my Casita adventure doesn't pan out.    ^_^ 

 

So … I'm at a crossroads of decision.  Having thought I knew exactly where I was headed, why, and how much I was prepared to pay, I'm now given pause… and realize that, much as I wanted to, I don't have to decide yesterday.  Instead, I will listen carefully for the still small voice that ultimately speaks when I stop trashing around long enough to hear what I need to know.  I wanted to have all done and dusted before my daughter's return from South Africa on Friday, as I'd set a six-month limit on my items in her garage, but she doesn't actually use that space anyway and has already said that, if I get a Casita, I can store it there whenever it's not in use.  I want very much for it to be in use and most of the time, but only time will tell.  In the meantime, I'll be keeping an eye out for a youthful Independence and a specially-priced , low-mileage 4Runner to tow her.  

 

Thanks again for your thoughts – and prayers if you happen to offer them.  You're a terrific group of people, and I look forward to meeting each of you one day soon!

 

Ava