Kevin and his trusty steed. About to ride off into the Sahara Desert in eastern Morocco. April 2017.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Galetta (Ottawa), Ontario.

Where are they going next? We have flights booked to London, England October 11th, connecting to Berlin, Germany.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Brand new and it's already junk

We didn't originally plan on staying in Missoula this long, but the weather is not the best. Overcast and with a 50% chance of rain all day, it's tough to plan a couple of hours of outdoor activity. And it's now supposed to be like this through Thursday!

But, we got lucky yesterday late morning when we took the bikes off to go for a ride. We were out for about an hour and a half and did about 10 miles (16 kms) and it was only when we got back to the motorhome that it started spitting with rain.

We had been parked next to the Lowes store using their fast free WiFi, and we decided to just leave Sherman there and bike on the roads to the paths along the river. They have bike routes with bike lanes on some of the roads, but the routes themselves are not really well marked and when you're coming up to an intersection, the bike lane simply disappears! Anyhow, we safely made it to the multi use trails along the river and then it was a nice ride.

Nice park pavilion.

Lots of green space.

Would have been fun to see a minor league game here!


These flowers were so vivid.


Ruth and some flowers.

We rode around the University campus.

In the photo above, you can see the big "M" on the hill behind the campus. And you can see the switchbacks on the trail leading up to the "M". We are going to hike up there this afternoon when there is the least chance of rain.

Me, with "the Griz" mascot statue.

We were riding back on the north side of the river when we saw someone out in the river itself! Of course the water level is high at this time of year and it's pretty fast moving. It would also be icy cold! But here is this young fella in a wetsuit out surfing on the river! He obviously knew what he was doing, and was obviously a strong swimmer. 


I took a video for you...


Seconds after I stopped the video, the guy wiped out and was quickly being carried down stream. But as I said, he was a strong swimmer and in a few seconds got himself out of the fast current to where he could stand up and made his way back to the same spot to get in the water and do it all over again.

The Clark Fork River in Missoula.

We made it back to Sherman, had some lunch and a nap and then drove over to the big Bretz RV store. We figured we would overnight in their lot again and be able to fill with their cheap $0.99 a gallon propane when they open up this morning. 

We went in and wandered around the parts department for a while. Sherman needs a couple of new plastic brackets for the fridge shelves, but they didn't have them in stock. 

One thing I noticed was their big supply of RV batteries. Expensive stuff. New lithium batteries and AGM. One of the lithium batteries was huge... and the price was $2,800 USD. Yikes.

After that, we wandered around the showroom and looked at some RV's. They only had travel trailers and fifth wheel trailers inside. The first travel trailer we went in to was absolute junk. Brand new, and it's already junk sitting there on the showroom floor.

Now, I remember when I worked at the RV dealership parts department back in 2010 the staff used to call travel trailers "cardboard boxes on wheels" because they were so cheaply made. But this thing was terrible. No, I don't recall the brand and model. As soon as I put my foot on the entrance step, it felt like it was going to collapse. I can't imagine a big 250 lb guy standing on it. The trim and finish on the inside was terrible quality. I can't see how anybody would buy it. $22,000 and it doesn't even have an engine!

We went in to a big 5th wheel trailer. Fancy unit, with four slides, and the bedroom slide had a slide within the slide! Regular price $122,000 (remember, there is no engine... this is just a trailer!) but you can have it today only for $82,000! Big screen TV, and electric fireplace. All the toys. I noticed some scratches on the bathroom door and I touched it with my fingernail and the finish came off without any effort at all. Junk. 

Everything just seems so cheap. There doesn't seem to be any quality, even for that kind of money.

Big difference from the European motorhomes that we've been researching. I guess that's why they keep their value better over there.

Today we are going to do some groceries and laundry this morning and then try to do a video call with Ruth's dad at the care home where he is living. We haven't been able to speak to him since January, so we're not quite sure what we're going to see or hear. I would expect there will have been some deterioration.

Then hopefully this afternoon we can do a hike and get some exercise. Not really wanting to go head off to do any boondocking if the back roads are going to get wet and muddy, but we really don't want to hang around here another day either. We'll see.

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18 comments:

  1. One of the reasons we like our old Trek is the residential quality cabinetry. It's a twin of the one Roger and Mona drove in Mexico, except it's gas.

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    1. We know what you mean, we liked both Roger and Mona's Trek as well as Garth's. They seem to be good and solid, without all the bells and whistles. Nice that you are very happy with yours as well. :-)

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  2. That's Brennan's Wave in the Clark Fork! River surfing has really become a thing all over MT (my Dad's originally from MT) This particular spot is man-made, though. It was built by local kayakers to memorialize a Missoulian who died kayaking down in Chile (I think his Dad helped raise funds to build the wave-making structure) & paddlers stage competitions there in summer. But, of course, surfers aren't gonna pass up a good wave no matter who it's named for. I do wish they'd wear helmets though, that water can be very fast this time of year.

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    1. Very cool, thanks for giving us that bit of information because I am not sure that we would have known otherwise. When we drove past there yesterday afternoon, there were a lot more people out both surfers and kayakers.

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  3. Considering the vast majority of RVers only use their RV a few weeks out of the year, it's hard to justify spending $82K for supposed quality when glorified cardboard does the trick for $60K less. I should know, I've lived full time in my "engineless box" for almost ten years now and it has held together surprisingly well.

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    1. Doug, I expect that yours was better quality when it was new than the junk we saw yesterday.

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  4. I'm surprised our travel trailer has made it to 12 years. It was cheap and I got it even cheaper, that was my justification. It keeps on going but one of the reasons is that it is very basic, no bells or whistles. Just a small house.

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    1. Same response as I made to Doug. Yours was better quality new than that trailer we saw yesterday. Junk.

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  5. Made from rice paper for sure.

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  6. Travel Trailers in Europe are Junk as well. Since people tow them with regular cars, they are so light, you can actually move them a little by hand. This is why there are so many rollovers there, I have seen 2 myself. They are caused by crosswinds. I even once saw a trailer that had been blown onto its side while stationary. Motorhomes are better built. For what its worth, my relatives had a Rapido and were very happy with it. My parents had a Rapido tent trailer, they imported it in the late 60's. One of only 2 ever in North America apparently. I say tent trailer because that is the only way to describe it in North American terms. No canvas anywhere. My brother still has it, and it's going strong. He still attracts a crowd when he puts it up and is constantly being offered money for it. It expands from what looks like a small tent trailer, into the equivalent of a 20 ft long travel trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OG9p6FpjH4

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    1. We ourselves can't comment on the travel trailers over there as we never encountered any that we actually got to have a good close up view of. Guaranteed they may be made lighter but I bet the overall quality is still better than the stuff here in North America.

      Very cool "tent" trailer!

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  7. BTW I meant my relatives have a Rapido motorhome, not the trailer. The trailer my parents had, and my brother now has, also has a fridge (the box on the front in the video), sink, stove and cassette toilet. Remarkable engineering. Tows it with a car.

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    1. We will check out the Rapido motorhomes online to see what we think of them, thanks.

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  8. We know the quality has gone downhill since our first unit but it's still better then the new ones.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. It seems that every new year the quality just keeps going down, most people want all the bells and whistles but they don't want to pay through the nose for them so they have to cut corners somewhere along the way. :-(

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  9. We briefly visited Missoula back in 2013 (or 2014, blends together!) on our travels, so it was cool to see your photos around campus and the river, since we hit all those spots as well. Really enjoyed that town, though this was pre-RV, so we had to stay in the La Quinta hotel, and most of the other guests were in town for a big dog show, unbeknownst to us until we checked in. As such, there was lots of barking day and night...not the most peaceful sleeping. But the cycling was great!

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    1. Yes, it is pretty nice little town. Lots of hiking in the area and biking. Too bad about all the dogs making noise during the night, that wouldn't have have been very enjoyable.

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