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Navigating Catastrophic RV Damage and Changing RVs

What Happened

While driving into Fort Bragg, CA (about 5 miles left before town), I pulled off into a paved turnoff on highway 20 for slower vehicles, to allow another car to pass. We hit a substantial pot hole with the camper and heard a loud pop. I got out and assessed the damage to find the fender popped off away from the side of the camper. Originally I thought this was the extent of the damage and continued on to Fort Bragg with the thought that I could easily remount these myself.

Upon further assessment the next morning, I found that the right wheel had a significant negative camber, indicating axel damage (it even looked like the wheel had touched up against the camper wall at one point). I also noticed a buckle in the frame right after the weld point with a drop of approximately 1 inch in the back wall of the camper.

(Please excuse the dirt, we had just come out of Colorado during their first snow and hadn't had an opportunity to wash yet)

For the record, we were not overweight, as I stopped by a CAT Scale on the way out of Colorado and made sure we were under our GVWR.

It took some time to find someone who could properly assess the damage but most places I talked to were giving the opinion that this was a total loss. Even if insurance decided to cover, this would be a very lengthly repair (month plus, assuming the shop was not backed up).

As I and the dog stay in the camper full time while on a travel nursing assignment, we had to find another place to stay in order to send the camper off for estimate and possible repair. This being the situation, I decided to start looking for a new camper and my long term (as in ultimately will retire in) plan was always to head for an Airstream. If a total loss, then the issue would be closed and if repairable, then I would seek to sell after the repair. I also felt it unwise to do intermediate trailer options between this RPOD and the final result of an Airstream and to continue to lose money on these moves the entire way (not to mention the hassle of more trade-ins).

Why Airstream

  • Quality, Durability, Reliability - Airstream is a known top tier quality manufacturer

  • Airstreams notoriously hold their value well for resale

  • Aesthetics - I really fell in love with 2019 Globetrotter model with it's clean bright decor and European-inspired interior design

Why New and Why 25 Foot

  • Financing is much easier (and has lower rates) for new than used

  • Used requires much more time (for proper inspection, negotiating, etc.) as well as a much wider net (usually nationwide)

  • While I originally intended to look for this Globetrotter model used 5 years down the road, the need to move into a new trailer quickly accelerated this plan and since the model revision was just made in 2019, few of these are available on the used market - I also feel, if you're going to spend this much, you should get exactly what you want with no regrets

  • For a long time I considered the 23 foot model but ultimately felt that long term, 25 feet would be the perfect size at just a little larger and still small enough to work in most campgrounds

As with anything, "nothing endures but change," and despite the time and resources I've put into the RPOD, ultimately I have to look at this in terms of the RV (the trailer, camper, etc.) being a utility to live out life and adventure. In this case it's not about having some "fancy," expensive trailer but rather about that trailer being of quality and with it's innate beauty and design, enhancing the travel and living experience.

Airstream tour coming soon . . .

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