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Old 08-14-2012, 07:12 PM   #1
DennisT
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So are Springdale's an, "entry level," (low-end), TT? Now that we bought one....

Really new to RV'ing and TT's. First one ever now that we are retired. Just bought a 2009 Springdale 266RL. Being uninformed, we bought it from RnR RV in Liberty Lake, E. WA state, so we knew up front we'd pay too much but did get some pretty thorough going over and care for proper function, etc.

So now in reading more, is the Springdale line a cheap Keystone line, or entry level? (Still not cheap in dollars)

We're going to try it for a year and decide if we want to stay in RV'ing or, if we like the life, we might trade up for a different one now that we are learning features that work and don't work so for our particular needs. Yeah, everyone says by the third or so TT, folks figure out what they like. Required learning curve I guess.

So far we like the Springdale. Works good for us at this point. I'd like, someday, a light weight 26 foot though.

Springdale general comments?

Cheers,
Dennis in E WA state
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:10 PM   #2
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Our Springdale fifth wheel is an "Entry Level" Keystone product. Like yours, it has fewer options available and fewer of the "niceties" associated with the "Mid Level" and "Luxury" RV's produced by Keystone. You can't even special order a remote control to level your RV or extend the slides. Those kinds of options simply aren't available in Springdale's line.

That being said, essentially, the frame is a Lippert, probably the same as most other Keystone products, tires and axles are the same, appliances are the same, plumbing and water tanks are the same. Windows and interior paneling and furniture is essentially the same (although there may be some "enhanced" fabric used on high end models) and from what I can tell, even the light fixtures are the same.

The big difference I can see is in sidewall construction on the travel trailers. Yours is made of 2x2 spruce studs rather than aluminum. Additionally, there is less insulation in the Springdale line (R 7 walls, ceiling and floor) as opposed to some higher end models (R 9+ walls ceiling and floor). Keep in mind that wood wall trailers have been around since the 50's and are still being manufactured today, so they can't be all bad.

It's true, you do get what you pay for, but as an entry level RV for spring, summer and early fall use, the Springdale is a good investment.

There are some people who are more concerned that their purchases meet "other's expectations" (like someone who won't drive a Ford, but endorses Mercury) or the guy that swears GMC trucks are better then Chevrolet's similar models) If you're that kind of RV'er, then I can't tell you what you'd want to hear, but if you're looking for an RV value that's functional in most environments, then you didn't make a "bad investment"

In other words, we like ours and a vast majority of the Springdale owners I've talked to are satisfied.

A note about your future goal of a 26' lightweight trailer. You may be interested to know that your Springdale weighs only 350 lbs more and has 5 lbs less tongue weight than the Cougar XL 24RLS which is about the same floorplan (with a smaller slide than yours) So really, although Keystone doesn't call it a "light weight" trailer, the Springdale is one of their lighter trailers when compared to others of the same length.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:19 AM   #3
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The springdale is entry level,but is a great unit.We went with one for the floor plan and price.The couger and larado trim is not that much different and construction is basically the same.Some of the options arn't there,but in my opinion simple has less maintenance.We just love ours.
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:54 AM   #4
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Springdale

Thank you both for your comments. They please me. JR, your descriptions of the Springdale components being the same as the more expensive Keystone products is most helpful. Here, we both like simple and we see a lot of the fancy features in many modern products as just more to deal with for maintenance, etc. I'm quite happy with what you've told me is, "in," our Springdale. No downside I can see except the 2x2 studs. We also do not need to keep up with the, "Jones's," for things we buy.

Regarding lightweights: that struck home when we made our first trip and along side of us was my wife's brother-in-law with his Alumalite, (I think it was), whose weight sticker was something like 3,400 pounds for his c.28'+ trailer. I seem to remember the Keystone site lists ours as 6,330 pounds dry, and I couldn't help thinking a lightweight aluminum trailer would sure feel a lot better when I'm dragging something along behind me.

My TV is a '97 Dodge 2500 club cab Cummins 4x4. Lots of pulling power there but in that year the Cummins is, "de-tuned," a lot. I'm going to do a few very mild upgrades to the truck and if we stay in the RV world I may consider an exhaust brake next year. I figure our truck weighs about the same as the TT loaded.

So far the only feature we don't like about our TT is if we need to pull over to use the rest room we have to run the slide out a bit. We totally missed that when we were buying the TT. But that's not the end of the world either.

Thanks again; this is all very helpful and encouraging to a new RV'er.

Dennis
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:58 AM   #5
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Dennis,

Your floorplan is the "travel trailer version" of our 242RL fifth wheel. We also have to run the slide out a bit to use the bathroom, so usually we stop at rest areas and just keep the holding tank empty. Easier that way.

As for wood framing, as long as you watch your roof, avoid leaks, you'll be just fine. Like I said, travel trailers have had wood frames for over 50 years and many of them are still going strong. If you read through these forums, you'll see that an aluminum frame is no guarantee of "leak protection." A number of upper level RV's have had water damage and we all have the same wood particle flooring, luan panelling on the walls and ceiling and sealant (dicor) that's used to protect the joining surfaces.

The older alumalite trailers were lighter than conventional fiberglass sided RV's, our 34' CBFK weighed in at 7600 lbs empty with a GVW of 10000 lbs. They called it a "light weight trailer" but in actuality, when you're moving 8000 lbs of "box" down the road, it's not lightweight no matter how you cut the deal. The specs on a 2001 Alumalite 28' has empty weight of 7200 lbs. Are you sure you read his weight label correctly? you may have been reading his max cargo weight, not the actual RV weight..... However, the "older" HR trailers, in the 70's and 80's were MUCH lighter, simply because they didn't have the livability features of today's units.... pretty much all they had was a referigerator, hot water heater, open air furnace, non-ducted A/C was an option, and very minimal foam mattresses, insulation, carpeting, etc. That started to change in the 90's.

What I've found in many of the "lightweight" RV's is a return to the thinnner walls, less insulation, smaller appliances, thinner carpet, fewer "luxuries" to keep the weight down. In other words, an RV equipped more like the Springdale with a "high end name" (and price).

Think optimistically about your RV, enjoy what you have, realize its limitations (less insulation, potential frame damage from water leaks, etc) and enjoy the simplistic, reliability of not having all the "options"

Sometimes "simpler" works even better than "luxury" <wink>

John
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:33 AM   #6
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Springdale

John, your comments continue to be helpful. Yes, we plan to use highway rest stops too. The situation with our getting a TT pivots somewhat on my wife's Fibromyalgia medical condition. And sometimes we will have to do things differently or quickly, and traveling with a TT can actually be a benefit, including, "towing our own bathroom." And if she has a couple bad days we can tie up somewhere and relax without sitting in an over-priced motel with intrusions from the motel maid. !!

The roof is something that kept me away from ever buying a TT in my younger days. I was born and raised on Washington state's very wet West Side where, for decades, any conversation that mentioned TT's included, "oh, yeah they all leak and have dry rot." So I avoided them. Now for the last several years we live here in the arid wheat country of Eastern Washington where rain fall is about, realistically, 10 inches a year. This TT we bought was sold new in Spokane, so is not, historically, a wet-side unit. That said, I still have no idea how to insure how to protect, inspect, and guarantee to myself that it is sealed perfectly all the time. Selling RV dealer offers, "free roof inspection," so I guess I'll make the 200 mile round trip next Spring to have them do that. Even then I don't understand how they can be certain about the roof except for observing obvious cracks, shrinking, etc., of the top-side caulking. It's probably a mild worry I'll always have but need to work on myself so as to not let it bother my enjoyment of TT use.

Dandy comment you just made about Alumalite trailer weight. I did not read brother-in-law's tag, he did. So I'll observe that personally early next month when we all meet for a tandem trip together. Thanks.
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:27 AM   #7
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Dennis, Without knowing your physical limitations or availability of "tools" it's difficult to guide you toward doing a good roof inspection, but here's about what you need to do:

Pick a couple of days when it will be relatively cool, overcast and no rain predicted.

Gather a ladder, 5 gallon bucket, some blue Dawn dish soap (don't substitute) and about 3 gallons of warm water. a long handle RV scrub brush, a smaller hand held brush and a broom. Change into old clothes and wear non marking sneakers or deck shoes that won't slip on wet, soapy surfaces.

Go up top, clean off the roof with the broom, Walk lightly, if you're over about 200 lbs, use a 30" x 30" piece of 1/2 inch plywood with carpet on the bottom to protect the rubber roof and the OSB roof structure.

Use a small brush to clean the rain gutters and any indentations around the roof vent's, air conditioner, etc.

Rinse the roof with clear water, then apply soapy water (about 1/4 cup of Dawn for 3 gallons of warm water) and scrub lightly any soiled areas. Let the soap solution stand on the roof for about 30 - 45 minutes, then scrub again and rinse well with clear water.

At this time you may want to wash the trailer walls to remove any dirt/grime that if dried would stain the walls.

Once the roof is dry, get on your hands and knees and check every (E-V-E-R-Y) place you see sealant applied. Pay close attention to all the sidewall aluminum extrusions, TV antenna mount, ceiling vent attachments, skylight attachment, refrigerator roof vent and any other "holes" that were made in your rubber roof membrane to install anything.

Watch closely for any "bumps" in the roof that might indicate a screw backing out, a nail that is "popped" or a joint in two pieces of OSB that may be coming apart or separating from the underlying roof trusses. Double check and then triple check the front skin/roof membrane area and all clearance lights. I check all my windows and baggage doors at this time to make sure the sealant is intact on all of them.

If you find any voids, missing sections, dried or cracked places in the dicor sealant, clean the area with isopropal alcohol (beer or wine won't work) and reseal. It usually is not necessary to remove the old dicor unless it is not adhering to the rubber membrane. Just add another layer as long as the dicor is intact. Be sure to extend the new layer to completely cover the old layer and make sure the new is in contact with the roof membrane. If, however, the dicor is damaged or loose, peel the old parts off, use a rubber putty knife and remove all the loose material up to the margin of the remaining dicor that is still adhered. Be careful not to damage the rubber roof membrane, however if you do, apply dicor to reseal the cut you made just as you would reseal the attaching space on the roof vent, etc. Be sure to check the awning gutter rail and the slide room moldings for any sign of seal damage while you're on the roof.

Do the same inspection on the slide roof, the slide sidewalls and especially where the molding on the bottom of the slide holds the sidewalls to the floor.

NOTE: DO NOT USE SILICONE SEALANT !!!!! USE DICOR SEALANT !!!!!

Once you've resealed all the deficient roof structures, climb off the trailer (again) and go inside, remove the air conditioner inner roof cover and look up into the air conditioner to see if there is any obvious water staining around the roof opening. Check the foam rubber gasket and check the 4 mounting bolts to make sure they are secure... DON'T OVERTIGHTEN THE BOLTS !!!

The next day, go back up on the roof to recheck your work and be sure you didn't miss anything,

You're done !!!!!

I promise you, no dealer that I know of will do that kind of roof inspection, and if they did, it certainly wouldn't be free.....

This may sound like a long, complicated process, but really, it's not difficult and other than being on your knees bent over for a period of time, it's actually quite easy to do. And, the best part, once you're done, you know it was done right and that nothing was missed. You can NEVER say that about an RV service department's work......

Hope this helps,

John
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:30 PM   #8
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roof

W O W !! (And, whew)

What a good compresensive inspection/repair document you wrote. Thank you. I just printed it out.

Well, first, I'm 69, turning 70 this coming winter. Back isn't too good and I am no longer agile. Weight at 210 pounds which puts me over your 200 max for walking on the roof. (Yes, I saw the plywood caution) I climbed the rear ladder at the dealer when we looked at the trailer, (salesman ran right up it and he said he was 240 pounds). I saw some light brown sealer running along edges...about inch-and-a-half in width. I will admit I instantly decided using the rear ladder was not a good idea for anyone, especially me, except for an emergency. I also decided I was not very interested in crawling around up there doing anything and I knew to be cautious about creating my own roof damage.

Since then I decided I could do a certain amount from a tall ladder alongside the TT using a good long handled RV brush. I was already on board with the Dawn-only soap.

So for what you suggest to do, for me, I'm not off to a very good start. However, out here in the middle of no-where, I do own an ex-Telco utility 1-ton bucket truck. I got it because of the aforementioned limitations I have. One thought would be to park the TT out in the open and work on my knees out of the door of the bucket....literally never touching the TT's roof with my body weight. Still limitations there of course.

One alarming thought just occured to me reading your note: Last time I climbed the ladder and looked I think I saw a very thin strip of clear, still-sticky sealer running across some of the rear of the roof just where it meets the rear vertical wall of the TT. I wonder if that is PO's silicon? If so, then what?

I've done a lot of monkey-wrenching in my life...still do, within limits. All of the mechanical functions you talk about do not scare me off; pretty simple actually. And I DO agree that NO RV dealer will check things as well as an attentive owner that cares. However, their, "free," roof inspection could very well turn up things that need attention because they are out to make money.

Do you recommend your roof inspection/service as something that is done annually? Spring/Fall, etc., ?? I do have a building to put the TT in for winter. Am expecting to disconnect main battery lead and put tiny float charger on them for winter. I've had great success with those for vehicles and trucks. Then perhaps a small quartz heater inside for winter??? After, of course, winterizing the TT, which is another whole story and questions for another time.

Dennis
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Old 08-15-2012, 01:47 PM   #9
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I do my roof work in the fall but long before winter,(nothing worse than having ice form in a crack and push it open making the leak even worse).

I winterize after deer season and tow it to the old DURO plant in a nearby town where it's stored inside out of the weather. I remove my batteries, propane tanks and all personal items that may be damaged by the sub-zero Michigan winter. (I leave the LCD TV in place)

Once it warms up and winter's behind us, I tow the trailer home, lube the bearings (with a grease gun), rotate the tires front to back but keep them on the same side, and clean the outside wiping down everything with 303.

I again climb on the roof for a quick "look-see" just to make sure no critters took up residence in a vent and that nothing damaged the roof while in storage.

After de-winterizing, I reinstall the batteries, reconnect the water pump, sanitize the fresh water tank and my wife puts clean sheets on the bed. After a quick systems check of the plumbing, electrical and waste systems, we're ready to roll for another season.

One item you may want to check on your RV pretty soon is the manufacture date on the tires. Most "china bombs" are recommended to be replaced within 5 years and you may be getting close... The recommendation is to change them out without regard to wear as the carcass breaks down long before the tread wears on most RV tires because of limited mileage.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:07 PM   #10
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roof

Where I will store my TT is where I also store my bucket truck, tractor and a 49 GMC 1.5 ton. All the others have had the trickle charger on the batteries so I do not remove them to any warmer location. Do disconnect them though. I did not realize the propane tanks could be damaged during cold weather, (it can get -15 or so here at times). Interesting; not sure I have a good place for propane other than the house, which would be bad.

I've wondered about lube fitting for bearings. I have closed tin caps on axle hubs, maybe I should pull them off and see if there is a zerk fitting under there. My car trailer of about the same age has rubber disks I remove exposing the zerks. Easy lube; grease passes through bearings and out the outside perimeter of the hub. Visible when it's greased enough.

I've read a LOT here about China tires. I tried once to find my DOT stamp, which should be followed by the 4-digit mo/yr date. I'm anxious to get rid of them and find something heavier and better, but that is a MAJOR discussion point on these forums. Geeee. Will look again; probably original tires.

This week I'll take another look at that little clear sealer strip someone added to the top rear edge of my TT. Then figure what to do about it, if needed.

Next a winterization check list plan as I've never done that before. Should be lots of info on the forum.

I've taken a lot of your time on this thread so don't want to push that. Certainly do thank you for everything.

Dennis
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:30 PM   #11
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Dennis, Using my time productively to help someone is a pleasure. So you're more than welcome.

As for the propane tanks. I'm sure they'll be just fine where they are on your RV. The only reason I take mine off is because of possible pilfering, or possible leakage, not due to any weather issues. With the old butane, freezing was an issue, but propane remains liquid far lower than temps we see in North America. If I remember correctly, propane freezes about -300 F, and if it gets that cold around here, we've got a lot more problems than a frozen propane tank.... LOL

Do a forum search for winterizing checklist, If I remember correctly, SteveC7010 did a checklist last year and posted it on here. Many of us made comments and it should be very well defined (if you can find it)

The DOT date of mfg on tires is a 4 digit number, the first two are the week of manufacture (1 thru 52) and the last two are the year. so 3908 would be the 39th week of 2008
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:49 AM   #12
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Hey Dennis, just my own opinions here. I had a Keystone Bullet that I traded in February 2012 for what I will say is an upgrade to a 2012 Springdale, 293RKSSR and I love the trailer. I have added and changed a few things to suit my needs and likes, but stock off the dealer lot, I am happy with my Springdale. I am appreciating JRTJH's posts with detailed directions on roof maintenance. All very well written, detailed good points. I have done my roof once after I brought the trailer home in February from the dealer. And just last week, gave it a once over. The dicor around my tv ant was cracked. I will do another detailed roof inspection before storing for the winter. I traditional have done this during my Thanksgiving vacation, but this year will be mid October after last trip out seeing as how we got slammed with that snow storm here in Massachusetts last October. I think your trailer is perfect if it has what you need and like. I see the very expensive trailers in the shop too with problems. I can appreciate your comment about your own bathroom while on the road. Seems as we all age having our own bathroom always easily accessible is a simple pleasure of life. My partner always buys me the upcoming years "Old Farmers Almanac" for Christmas (kinda as a joke), but it goes right in the RV bathroom on the shelf. Thumbs up to you and your Springdale, hope you enjoy it. PS, if you guys are ever in the Massachusetts area, let me know, always enjoy having like trailers as neighbors, I will "leave the light on for you" and I always have the current Farmers Almanac. LoL..
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:08 PM   #13
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Dennis don't get hung up on terms like "low end" and "entry level" as they only refer to price point in actuality. I have a value priced Keystone Hornet that has been a great camper. I have had it 7 years with only minor maintenance done to it. My frame is stout and better than a lot of more expensive trailers and as noted most of the components and appliances are identical. Paying more will sometimes get you more but a lot of time it is only "fluff". The real advantage in paying more is in the units that use better insulating techniques which have real value when camping in extreme weather. Enjoy the camper for what it is.
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Old 08-23-2012, 12:33 PM   #14
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My TV is a '97 Dodge 2500 club cab Cummins 4x4. Lots of pulling power there but in that year the Cummins is, "de-tuned," a lot. I'm going to do a few very mild upgrades to the truck and if we stay in the RV world I may consider an exhaust brake next year. I figure our truck weighs about the same as the TT loaded.
One thing to do is add an exhaust gas temp gauge. Depending on what upgrades you do, it can be part of a chip upgrade. I have an Edge chip and display that includes an EGT probe and will warn if the temp gets too high. Not sure what is out there for that year of Dodge but you can get them stand-alone.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:01 PM   #15
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You can not put a programmer on a '97 Dodge with the 12 valve Cummins engine. The engine is mechanically controlled. Programmers are used from '98.5 and up 24 valve engines. All you need to do is perhaps a pump calibration, change the torque plate in the pump and maybe a slightly larger set of injectors.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:56 PM   #16
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Thumbs up

Hey John,
Thanks for sharing all of the great info on roof cleaning and inspection.
Very helpful!
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:01 PM   #17
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One alarming thought just occured to me reading your note: Last time I climbed the ladder and looked I think I saw a very thin strip of clear, still-sticky sealer running across some of the rear of the roof just where it meets the rear vertical wall of the TT. I wonder if that is PO's silicon? If so, then what?
I'm glad you brought that up, for I have same sort of question. I've always been told to never, ever use silicone anywhere on a trailer except in the bath. But, the trailer we just got (2012 Vantage) appears to have silicone on the seams on the sides. Are they using silicone on the sides of trailers or is it something else? It's clear, stretchy, and slightly sticky.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:09 PM   #18
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while springdale is listed by keystone as "entry level", they seem to be very functional and certainly adequate. As others have said, many of the components and appliances are common across entry level to higher end units. In our community RV lot, there are several springdale owners along with several Outback owners. Outback by Keystone is listed as "mid priced". The various owners are satisifed with their units and have been happy with each brand. Going through them everyone can say "I wish mine had xxxx" from someone elses unit. IMHO if the floorplan suites your needs, you'll be satisfied, that in the end seems to be much more important than minor differences in features or quality.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:54 PM   #19
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Don't get hung up on terms like entry level or let anyone act snobby to you over your choice. Every maker has different RV's at specific price points. BTW, the same appliances and other components are used in RV's are basicly identical regardless of price. My Keystone Hornet was certainly a value priced RV and it has been outstanding for me. Many times the only differences are just fluff items.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:14 PM   #20
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Welcome to the site Dennis from another eastern Washington RVer. Actually we don't live very far from your dealer--one of the best we have ever delt with in fact. Good luck and welcome.
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