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Old 07-07-2011, 11:40 AM   #1
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Noob to RVing made one mistake, trying not to make another.

Hello everyone!

I am new to the forum, and RVing, but not new to camping, boating, hiking, biking, and running.. Over the last few years my wife and I have been thinking about getting some sort of camper to get us and the kids out of tents. We generally camp with the 2 of us, a miniature dachshund, a black lab (who is still a pup), 12 yr old and 8yr old daughters, and 6yr old son. We've been using 2 tents and have soooo much stuff to load and unload. We also boat, and pull our glastron behind our truck usually.

We initially started looking at popup campers as there are lots around and for sale every year. I see tons on craigslist. But sleeping with all of us and our dogs would be very tight. We don't need tons of space inside as we dont go camping to sit indoors. Most time is on the water or hiking. We want to have decent sleeping, and room to play games on rainy days. A TV is a plus, but not a must have. A month or two ago my wife and I were on a weekend getaway kayak trip and saw several folks in Class C's. She fell in love with the idea of being able to make the kids food while we are going down the highway, and them being able to take naps, etc. Plus we could pull the boat behind it. But once at camp you are stuck with boat in/out of water unless you pull up camp to set/pull the boat, get ice, etc.. Still we wanted one. New ones are way outside of my current budget so we started looking at 88-92 range, and found an '89 model at a dealer in Mo. (We live in Ks.) We went to look and got it last week, then camped over the weekend.. The thing was a disaster.. it leaked, it had a long list of issues. I called back to the dealer and they are standing behind their good name and allowing me to return with full refund!

So, I've been looking at other things they sell, as they are doing their best to provide me service and a vehicle that meets my needs and wants. I recognize I cannot afford a class C like we want so we decided to look at TTs. We can pull our boat with our blazer. I'd really like a 5er, but don't think I have the truck for that right now. I'd prefer new, so I feel confident that it's not someone elses basket case. I'm going to look at a 2011 Salem Cruise Lite 26BHXL this weekend, and cannot find lots of info online. Have found some have had major issues with Salem, while others stand by and love theirs. I know the Cruise Lite is an "entry level" camper, and I have not been in one yet, but photos online look decent, and it has a floor plan that works for my family and is within our current budget. Of course I would love a bigger unit with slides, likely a 5er, but that is a few years down the road yet. I think this may be the ticket to get us out of tents and a bit more comfy for 3-4 yrs until I buy a bigger truck. Currently have an '05 Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi.

Does anyone here have any experience with this model or a similar Salem model? How is resale on Salem? I don't find a lot of info online. Are they newer, or do people tend to stay away from them? Any and all info will be appreciated. We made one mistake, and luckily have an exit! I just don't want to make another uninformed decision that ends up being a poor one. I am not looking for the Taj Mahal, but want things to work as expected, and to be able to use for 3-4 yrs then resale/trade in. I do not mind doing general maintenance as I do that to all my other toys (boat, motorcycle, truck, road bike.. none go to a dealer for work. I do everything myself.) but dont want the thing to fall apart in 2 yrs.

Thanks for any info or input!
-licknab
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:11 PM   #2
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cant say i know anything bout the cruise lite but glad you had a good dealer experience and they allowed you to return the MH. they probably did not know it leaked or they would have fixed it for sure!
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:29 PM   #3
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We did a lot of looking and settled on a Rockwood Windjammer. I know you are in central Kansas but I recommend a trip to Grain Valley, MO on a Saturday. There are 4 RV dealers within a mile or two of each other with hugh selections. Jayco is the primary at one of them and lots of Forest River products at another. Including tons of Salem's. We made 3 different trips there to check out all the floor plans and ended up buying at Liberty RV. The model we finally knew was the one wasn't carried in Grain Valley but you can "shop til you drop" and see more campers than you can imagine. Good Luck!
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:52 PM   #4
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We have a 2005/06 Salem Le 29BHSS, that we bought used after camping in a popup. Being the second owner's we have found a few issues that were easily resolved with a little $$ invested. I would not hesitate to buy another Salem we are very happy with ours.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by licknab View Post
I'm going to look at a 2011 Salem Cruise Lite 26BHXL this weekend, and cannot find lots of info online. Have found some have had major issues with Salem, while others stand by and love theirs. I know the Cruise Lite is an "entry level" camper, and I have not been in one yet, but photos online look decent, and it has a floor plan that works for my family and is within our current budget. Of course I would love a bigger unit with slides, likely a 5er, but that is a few years down the road yet. I think this may be the ticket to get us out of tents and a bit more comfy for 3-4 yrs until I buy a bigger truck. Currently have an '05 Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi.

Does anyone here have any experience with this model or a similar Salem model? How is resale on Salem? I don't find a lot of info online. Are they newer, or do people tend to stay away from them? Any and all info will be appreciated. We made one mistake, and luckily have an exit! I just don't want to make another uninformed decision that ends up being a poor one. I am not looking for the Taj Mahal, but want things to work as expected, and to be able to use for 3-4 yrs then resale/trade in. I do not mind doing general maintenance as I do that to all my other toys (boat, motorcycle, truck, road bike.. none go to a dealer for work. I do everything myself.) but dont want the thing to fall apart in 2 yrs.

Thanks for any info or input!
-licknab
Depending on your style of RVing/Camping you need to determine what you really want within your budget range. It could be helpful to rent various RVs and see what each one has to offer and what you really want on your wish list before buying. Spend a few days in the RV and you will quickly find what drives you crazy or needs to be move to the top of the wish list.

I brought my Salem Cruise Lite trailer last fall and have not had any problems except with the electric tongue jack that the dealer installed (not FR). I live in SoCal so there is little weather concerns for me to deal with to start with. The trailer was listed as a "Price Leader" to draw people onto the lot.

I have no idea about the resale value since my trailer is so new. In my case I think I will come out ok since I got it so cheap as a price leader. The unit was heavily discounted. For being an entry level trailer the interior is very nice! Sometimes there are different deco choices available - I like mine a lot while I found that other choice to be "ugly" for my taste.


Since I'm on a snug budget an entry level trailer is a good starter trailer for me. Two of many important factors in considering a RV would be floorplan and budget.

Do a seach for the Cruise Lite trailer and include your zip code to help locate one near by.
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:12 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the info everyone! Grain Valley, Mo is actually where we have been looking, and where I am headed back to on Saturday. There are several Salem models I like. My wife really loves the bunk house floor plans as they provide space for the ever growing kiddos. I've looked some local, but most of my local dealerships are much higher on cost, and not that willing to budge. I have friend that is discouraging me from doing business with a dealer very far away in case I need any warranty work. He has a Keystone Laredo 5th wheel and said he has had several "small" things that needed to be taken to the dealer.
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:16 AM   #7
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Old_Car - that TT you've got is over 30' isn't it? Do you have any issues with length? My wifes favorite is the Salem 30QBSS. It is listed at 33'2" overall length. One concern I have with that length is that I live on a dead end. I cannot go around the block and come up in front of my house. I would either have to try and turn around in the circle at the end of the street, or about 1/2 way up the block is another court I could turn in, then possibly back it down the street to my house. I have to store anything off site.... not allowed.. HOA.. next up move.. lol my boat and bikes take up all the garage space already.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:04 PM   #8
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We also recently wanted to get out of the tents. We wanted something more than just a pop up but didnt want anything to big or heavy to haul so decided on a Hybrid with a slide out. The Avalanche does not strain much (except on hills) and it still has plenty of room inside, with the slide out, for rainy days.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:52 PM   #9
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The overall length on ours is 34' 4" but with the "V" nose I can turn very sharp and haven't jack-knifed it yet. This TT backs very easily and the fact that I live in the country and have some acreage I can wheel it around just about anywhere. The Windjammer line has a bunk house version (3006W) that you might consider.

We used Grain Valley as our shopping center because you can see so many trailers in close proximity. We went to all the KC areas shows during the winter but of course they are limited on how many trailers to bring in. We were almost ready to buy a Jayco plan when we happened to stop by Liberty RV on the way to pick up our daughter at college for Easter. My wife saw the kitchen in the nose and the atrium windows and the looking was over. We went back the next day and bought one off the lot. Drop me a private message and I will share some further info on the deal we got.
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:13 PM   #10
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We went back over the weekend and looked a lots of things. Then took one more look at two local dealers, as that drive back and forth to Grain Valley is starting to wear on me. :/ The dealer gave me a full refund for the money I had spent on the Tioga. (Thankfully as while driving it back there the generator kept dying, and some of the exterior on the top over the cab where it was leaking badly started to rip away and expose wood underneath.. and lots of rusty metal.. this thing was a hunk of crap!)

While looking this weekend, my wife found and loves the Salem 30QBSS. It's bigger than what we were looking at, and I will have to use 2 tow vehicles when boating is involved, but she really likes it... as do the kiddos. Its got one slide and tons of storage. I don't think we will outgrow it anytime soon. I looked more locally trying to convince myself that I could find a better bang for my buck, or that I should just wait and try and find a good deal in the fall.. but alas, I am slated to pick up our 30QBSS on Wednesday morning! Just need to decide where we are camping this weekend!
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