Rock Guard

This is our rock guard on the back of our coach.

Tough to keep it clean and after reading several threads on the IRV2 forum, I’m not too sure about keeping it on our coach.

Here is one comment from one of the threads:

Why not try going without the so-called rock guard for a while and see how it goes? You may find your toad will suffer less stone chips and stay cleaner.

I removed mine at an RV Park in Whitehorse, YK after fighting with stones covering my toad everyday on our way to Alaska. Prior to departing, I had raised the flap from 4″ clearance to 6″ clearance on the advice of our caravan organizer to prevent the flap from dragging on the ground going through some of the dips in the highway.

Turns out that even at 6″ the flap was still causing small stones to be tossed up and covering my toad.

In Whitehorse our Wagon Master suggested removing the flap altogether. So on his advice, I made arrangements with the park owner to leave it and pick it up on our return.

Lo and behold, there were no more stones and the toad seemed to not accumulate dust and mud as it did with the flap.

When we returned to Whitehorse, I told the RV park operator he could just dispose of the flap as I was now convinced it was doing more harm than good.

That was three years ago and I have not regretted its removal. In fact, I used to use a Guardian Rock Guard and a custom windshield cover which I have not used in over 15,000 miles and I have zero stone chips to the toad.

Others I have talked to along the way have gone the same route and are very happy with the results.

Worth a try.

I’m going to do a bit more research. I have seen some toads that have extensive damage on the front end due to stones being thrown up from the back of the coach.

I’d like to keep the toad in good shape.

That problem would obviously go away if I used a trailer but for now our plan is to tow four wheels down.

Entegra Enters Class A Gas and Class C

I came across this press release from Entegra:

Entegra Coach recently announced the expansion of its family of luxury products to include luxury Class C and luxury gas Class A members.

“The name Entegra Coach is synonymous with luxury motorhomes,” said Andy Baer, GM of Entegra Coach. “Expanding into smaller coaches allows us to better support our loyal Entegra Owners by providing luxury options prior to, and after, their large diesel coach lifestyle. … In addition, now multiple generations of families can enjoy the Entegra Coach lifestyle together, while in the luxury of their own coach.”

We almost bought an Entegra.

This one actually:

It was the first coach that we walked through when we went to the Hershey Show way back in September of 2015. Loved it. And the salesperson was very keen to cut us a great deal. If we bought the coach right then.

“Canadians buy from us all the time!” He told us.

We were not there to buy from a U.S. dealer though. We were there to do our research. And we ultimately decided on a Newmar Dutch Star.

We bought our coach from a Canadian dealer. Primarily for warranty support and relative ease of access. And our Canadian dealer, the Hitch House, has been terrific.

Entegra became part of Thor. Thor was founded in 1980 when two entrepreneurs acquired Airstream. Then Thor made a string of acquisitions leading up to Jayco.

Thor had a knockout quarter with record sales of $2.23 billion, up over 30% and record net income of $128.4 million, up over 63%.

I had posted about Thor in December of 2016. At that time, the share price was $105 USD.

The current quote for Thor is $153 USD. Really big jump on their results. Yikes.

Companies like Thor don’t fit into my investment portfolio although given the incredible surge in the RV industry, perhaps I should have taken a bit of a position in Thor. It looks like easy money now doesn’t it?

Hard to say how long the ride might last for Thor.

This move by Entegra to get into Class C and Class A gas coaches is interesting. The new products were to be featured today at the RVIA show in Louisville. One luxury diesel Class C coach, the Entegra Qwest, two luxury gas Class C coaches, the Entegra Odyssey and Esteem, and one luxury gas Class A coach, the Entegra Emblem.

Nothing up on the Entegra website as yet.

I’ll have to check back and see what they are doing on this front.

With all of this demand and new product, it is bound to start getting crowded at the RV parks.

Andy Pargh has a couple of interesting posts about Entegra that he wrote back in June of 2016 here and here.

For whatever it might be worth, Andy went on to purchase a Prevost.


Tax Deductions for RV Owners

Not in Canada. A wonderful country but no tax deductions for owners of RVs.

It looks as though the laws might be changing in the United States causing a bit of a stir for RV dealers and customers alike.

This came in my Reuters feed:

Recreational vehicle retailers from across the country were sipping morning coffee at a convention in Las Vegas earlier this month when word whipped through the hotel’s “dealers’ lounge” that the U.S. Congress was considering tax law changes threatening their businesses.

Republicans in the House of Representatives wanted to jettison a part of the tax code that lets dealers of RVs, cars, boats, even farm and construction machinery, write off all the interest expense of keeping inventories of vehicles on their sales lots.

The RV dealers jumped on the phones to their representatives in Washington, adding to a wave of calls made by members of the powerful National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) as well as lobbyists for boat dealers and farm machinery dealers.

And then I came across this news item on CNBC:

If a provision in the House-passed tax bill makes it into the final legislation, owners of boats and recreational vehicles who write off the interest on their loans would lose that deduction.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved by the House last week eliminates the deductibility of mortgage interest on second homes. For RVs and boats that qualify as such — those with a kitchen, bathroom and at least one bunk — owners currently can deduct the interest they pay on financing those assets.

It came as a bit of a surprise to me that my neighbours to the south can write off the interest on their RV loans. At least for now.

Sales in the RV industry are white hot so I’m not sure how much of a dampening effect this might have on the industry. From the RV Industry Association:

The recreation vehicle (RV) industry’s shipments will reach 472,200 units in 2017, the highest annual total since the data has been collected, and a 9.6% increase from the number shipped last calendar year, announced Frank Hugelmeyer, President of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

According to a new forecast presented today by Hugelmeyer at RVIA’s Committee Week luncheon, RV shipments are expected to reach even greater heights in 2018, with wholesale production projected at 487,200 units.

Let’s hope that there will still be some sites available when all of these RVs go looking for a place to camp.

The Tillmans

This is another couple that I follow on YouTube, the Tillman’s. They have a channel called This Little Adventure.

They are a family of four living out of a renovated 1999 Damon Intruder. Toni and Karlton run a photography business out of their coach — their website is here — and they clearly have a great eye for design.

The interior of this 18-year old coach looks amazing!

They cut a promo video of their coach which you can see here:

And, if you want an extended tour of their coach with Toni and Karlton as your hosts, you can watch it here:

Trent, Siobhan, 5 Kids in a Foretravel

I follow Trent and Siobhan’s website and YouTube channel.

I admire them. I’m not sure how they live full-time in a coach with five kids and still maintain their sanity.

They travel in a 22-year old Foretravel.

Foretravel makes a beautiful coach. Like this ih-45:

New, these coaches sell for about $1.4 million USD. Give or take a few dollars.

Trent recently posted a video about their coach basically asking how well a 22-year luxury coach holds up. An interesting take on how their family lives full-time in an old coach.