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House Sold; Appreicate Your Advice On Buying A Casita!

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#16 Carol Christensen

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 09:55 PM

 

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.

Ava,

 

I've never experienced towing a van behind a Uhaul filled with stuff, but I can tell you that towing a Casita behind a competent vehicle is NOT a white-knuckle experience.  Our Casita tracks very well, meaning it follows the trailer like a well-trained dog.  Not like my dog, who can jerk me off my feet if she sees a squirrel.  Honestly, most of the time we can't tell the trailer is back there.


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.

#17 clairemr1

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 06:27 AM

 

 

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.

Ava,

 

I've never experienced towing a van behind a Uhaul filled with stuff, but I can tell you that towing a Casita behind a competent vehicle is NOT a white-knuckle experience.  Our Casita tracks very well, meaning it follows the trailer like a well-trained dog.  Not like my dog, who can jerk me off my feet if she sees a squirrel.  Honestly, most of the time we can't tell the trailer is back there.

 

carol is correct. the operative words here are "towing a casita behind a COMPETENT vehicle".  towing with a marginal tow vehicle can easily become a "white knuckle" experience. the tow vehicle you choose is vastly more important than what model, year, floorplan casita you choose. you simply HAVE to have a reliable, strong vehicle to negotiate the unexpected hills & other road conditions you face when towing.

    you are lucky you have another option (living in a tiny home behind your daughter's place). there are also good used tow vehicles available if you want to check them out.choose what works for you. good luck with your decision........


Edited by clairemr1, 17 June 2019 - 10:23 AM.

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#18 brightday

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 11:50 AM

Though I may end up in a cottage behind my daughter's house, I've been dreaming about Casita travel for 2-3 years now, so I'm hoping this all pans out. I spent the weekend studying appropriate tow vehicles so not to repeat the "white knuckle" experience, but I'm a former teacher, not an independently wealthy woman.  I had carefully budgeted ALL of the costs for fulltime Casita life, and micromanaging expenses found it all doable when all of my calculations were based on using the Sienna as a tow vehicle.  Adding a heftier tow vehicle (even the least expensive one upon which I might reasonably rely as a sole traveler) is not only adding additional cost up front but also more in terms of monthly operating expenses - gas, insurance, upkeep, etc. - so it's going to take time, patience, and decent negotiating skills to end up with the best combination for me - hefty tow vehicle and Casita.   I'll let you know what I end up with here on this post.  Thanks again to all of you for the valuable input!    



#19 clover

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 01:11 PM

Well if you find within a year you don't like camping in a Casita, I doubt you will loose any money. It will sell quickly and probably at the price you purchased. 

 

I don't think you mentioned having a dog. That is good in that the Independence has a very narrow floor space between the beds. even a small dog would not find it and easy place to lay down or more around. 

 

Locally there is a 2014 Independence for sale. I looked at it and it is on outstanding condition. It belonged to a local man that was about to retire and travel. Unfortunately he was killed in a head on collision near Shreveport. 

 

It is sitting in a lot in Glen Rose, TX. It is a place that refurbishes Air Streams and other classic vintage travel trailers.  I went through it today. The gel-coat is still in real good shape, just a little chalky on the front and top. It could probably still be buffed out and waxed back to the original shine. The only two things I saw that need to be addressed, and they are minor, one of  the tail light covers looks like it might be cracked and the two hinges for the cabinet door over the sink are very rusty and ought to be replaced eventually. It does have the furnace and awning. 

 

It is listed for $18,000. However the business owner said they would take $16,000. It is not listed on Craigs List or either of the Casita Forums. The business owner said he has not had a chance to list it yet, he mentioned one obscure site I did not recognize. 

 

If it is in your budget and you want to know more, I can go back get the phone number and take pictures. 

 

I have no affiliation with the business owner or the owner of the Casita. I saw it because I have to drive past it every day going into town. 

 

FYI I have 2003 Spirit Deluxe that we bought used 12 years ago. We use in year round. We were full time for a year and 6 months at a time for 3 years. Knock on wood, I've not had to replace any appliances. But I'm sure someday we will. 

 

Good luck on making these decisions for the next season of your life. My inclination is pursue your desire to travel. Maybe keep your eyes open for a used 13" Scamp or Casita Patriot. 

 

I have a son that is a senior in high school. When he graduates in a year I plan on hitting the road full time. 


Happy Trails!
Clover
2003 17' SD
2002 F350 Diesel Crew Cab
(I know it is overkill but we live on a real ranch it takes a vacation with the Casita)


#20 brightday

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 03:17 PM

Clover, it's kind of you to think of me, and depending upon what options are included, the $16000 price tag might work.   I'm eyeing several that are around that price but need to purchase my tow vehicle first.  Rather than put you to any trouble, perhaps you can just message me the owner's contact information?   Thanks!



#21 Dutchman

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 04:48 PM

There are other ways to safe money, starting with the money you save overnighting in a Casita instead of in a motel.  If you are of a certain age, you can obtain the golden age pass, or whatever they call it these days,  giving you big discounts at national, BLM, National forest campgrounds, usually half price and no entrance fee.  I occasionally practice what I call CCC, or Casita Casino Camping. Lots of casinos offer free overnight parking (check the online or buy a Casino camping book). I don't gamble but I invariably head for the buffets, some quite lavish.  Certainly beats my cooking. Traveling quickly to a destination and needing some rest, try out a night at a Walmart, after asking permission. They are quite safe.  You can also check them out online. And so forth.

 

I write this as I am parked in a New Mexico state park, surrounded by mountains and desert vegetation.  Ultra quiet at night, occasionally interupted by a coyote chorus.  New Mexico state parks are some of the least expensive in the US.  $14/night with electricity, showers and dump. Or $4 per night if you buy an out-of-state camping pass (ACP) for $225.- Or zip, nada, if you don't use electricity.  Give it a try.

 

Dutchman

Notice I carefully refrained from mentioning the little pests, a.k.a. yappy little dogs that seem to be mandatory these days in all camp sites :-(

 


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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 !   


#22 brightday

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 08:28 AM

Dutchman, I'm definitely "of a certain age" - soon to be 69 - and I purchased a Senior Pass to US parks before the rates went up …but can't locate my card.  :wacko:

Perhaps if I return to Guilford Battleground they'll have a record of my purchase. 

 

My original budget wasn't extravagant and didn't include hotel stays, but I'll happily add the casino parking lots and New Mexico state parks to my list.  As to the yapping dogs, I'll do what I can to avoid them, as well as sites near folks who like to keep their radios and TV's turned way up.  I'm hoping to find a Casita that are wired for solar and other off-the-grid add-ons which will allow me camp at spots that are less prone to sound pollution.  That said, when not in campgrounds, I'll park where trusted others are. While I believe that campers are likely among the safest of folks to encounter, I'm not foolish enough to believe that a few bad eggs don't exist out there.  

 

I'm more hopeful today, as I've found a 2010 4Runner (RWD) that may work for me and a handful of Casitas in the 2006-2016 range that already have wise add-ons. The older ones have also been revamped. I'm waiting to discuss all of this with my daughter, who returns from South Africa Friday.  She's a wise soul - always has been - and as I age, I trust her to help keep me on course just as she's trusted me to do all these years. :) 

 

Thanks gain for your thoughtful suggestions!  Perhaps I'll see you out there!

 

P.S.  I seem to remember reading somewhere that you tow with a 4Runner.  Any advice you have on that will be appreciated.



#23 clairemr1

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 09:18 AM

Dutchman, I'm definitely "of a certain age" - soon to be 69 - and I purchased a Senior Pass to US parks before the rates went up …but can't locate my card.  :wacko:

Perhaps if I return to Guilford Battleground they'll have a record of my purchase. 

 

My original budget wasn't extravagant and didn't include hotel stays, but I'll happily add the casino parking lots and New Mexico state parks to my list.  As to the yapping dogs, I'll do what I can to avoid them, as well as sites near folks who like to keep their radios and TV's turned way up.  I'm hoping to find a Casita that are wired for solar and other off-the-grid add-ons which will allow me camp at spots that are less prone to sound pollution.  That said, when not in campgrounds, I'll park where trusted others are. While I believe that campers are likely among the safest of folks to encounter, I'm not foolish enough to believe that a few bad eggs don't exist out there.  

 

I'm more hopeful today, as I've found a 2010 4Runner (RWD) that may work for me and a handful of Casitas in the 2006-2016 range that already have wise add-ons. The older ones have also been revamped. I'm waiting to discuss all of this with my daughter, who returns from South Africa Friday.  She's a wise soul - always has been - and as I age, I trust her to help keep me on course just as she's trusted me to do all these years. :)

 

Thanks gain for your thoughtful suggestions!  Perhaps I'll see you out there!

 

P.S.  I seem to remember reading somewhere that you tow with a 4Runner.  Any advice you have on that will be appreciated.

dutchman will respond, but i know he has 380,000 or so miles on his, so i think you can rest assured it's a very good tow vehicle. i assume the ones you're looking at have a tow package. glad you're finding tows & trailers that might work for you.


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#24 Bruce44

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 12:35 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!  

 

I am going to sell my Casita (health issues, both me and my wife)  It is a 2008 Freedom (for the age is in very good condition).  Unfortunately for you, we live in Texas; you will have to pick it up.  I haven't tried to sell it yet, but will in the near future.  If you are interested, just reply & I will get back to you -price is $12000



#25 brightday

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 02:19 PM

Bruce44,

 

Please see my response in messenger (private message).  Thanks!



#26 Dutchman

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 07:16 PM

Toyota 4Runner with the 3.5L V-6 is a good tow vehicle, properly equipped with, preferably, a factory installed tow package.  With automatic transmission the 4Runner can tow 5,000 lbs - with manual, 3,500 lbs.  And, yes, with proper maintenance and service high mileage is common.  I drove into Silver City, NM with my Casita today, and my odometer passed 382,000 miles, original engine and transmission.  Carol Christensen has over 300,000 miles on her 2001 4Runner.  Although, secretly, I am sorta looking for a replacement vehicle, but I am terrified of sincerely smiling used car salesmen.

 

Dutchman


Edited by Dutchman, 18 June 2019 - 07:17 PM.

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Edouard Trautwein, #1372  

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

 

Casita living - Luxury on two wheels.

HOME IS WHERE I PARK IT !   


#27 brightday

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 10:04 AM

The sincerely smiling used car salesman!  Oh, Dutchman, how you made me laugh!  Just do as much research on each vehicle before approaching the dealership, and then march right in!  All of this research is giving me the confidence needed to deal in the face of all that sincerity.  

 

I'm so glad to learn about the mileage the vehicles you and Carol are driving are able to pile up, because $10,000 - $12,000 range is my limit,  My dad would say that highway miles plus regular service checkups beat in-town miles every time.  Oh, yes, and he was a smiling salesman, though he didn't deal in cars.  One of the best men I've ever known.

 

Safe travels!


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#28 brightday

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 02:42 PM

To All Who Responded to My Initial Post:

 

Thanks so much for your advice and encouragement!  Much has happened since my June 19th post. I was perched and ready to purchase a Casita when I stumbled across the Escape 17B, which is a bit lighter than the Casita 17 and has all of the features I sought - plus vinyl walls, which I happen to prefer.  I registered on the Escape forum to learn everything I could about the various options but was still vacillating between a used or new trailer until ETI placed the Escapes on sale, which finally tipped the scales for me.  I'll be driving up to Chilliwack to pick up my new 17B Escape October 17th! 

 

From everything I've read, the eggshell community remains rather small, so I expect (and sincerely hope!) to see you at one of the rallies one day! If you see a small Escape with SOJOURNER scrawled in gray across its front (where Casita would ordinarily be inscribed), please stop by and introduce yourself! And thanks again for all of your grand advice!

 

Safe travels always,

Ava


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