Why the 2007 42′ Tiffin Allegro Bus has our Dream Specifications, and Newer Ones Don’t

This article covers why we would actually prefer an older bus, 2007, over newer models – say 2010 to 2014. . . and why a step-up of only two years – from 2005 to 2007 – was a good deal for us.

 (Written by the wife, Carolie, with all facts provided by the obliging husband, Steve.) 

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Twins!  Old(but loved) 40′ Tiffin Allegro bus on left.               New 42′ Tiffin Allegro on right.

First of all, going from a 40’ bus with six tires, to a 42’ with eight tires (“tag axle”) gives us a lot more room and more storage. But the bus handles almost identically because the wheel base from center of the front wheel to the center of the duals is only 6” longer.  Neither of us would ever want a 45’ bus, the biggest one made, because they are a challenge to drive, to turn corners, and to find RV parks to accommodate. So many RV parks were built after World War II, when RV’s were 30’ tops.

Replacing a 2005 Allegro Bus with a 2007 does not seem like much of an upgrade. But the 2007 was just new enough to have major upgrades, yet still old enough to have features we wanted that are becoming extinct – such as a queen size bed.  Since about 2010, the king size bed has been a no charge option, and most all buyers are taking it.  As the years go by, it’s getting harder and harder to find a used RV on the lot with a queen bed. The king bed might be fine in your home, especially if you have a big dog in the bed with you. But in an RV, the king leaves absolutely no room left to walk around the bed, and no night stands! How can you live without a nightstand for your Bose radio?

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We prefer a queen bed with two generous nightstands and spacious floor area, and now we have it!  If you factory order a bus, you most certainly can have queen bed. But we cannot afford a custom build, and we don’t think it’s financially smart to drive one off the showroom floor anyway. So when we say “new” we mean “new to us”!!  A new bus like ours would cost over $400,000, but we paid just $159,000 in 2014. What a deal!

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See, this 2010 Winnebago Tour with king bed has no space at all on left and about 8″ on right. Where do you put your book, coffee cup, Bose clock radio? How do you reach the corner to make the bed without kneeling on it?

Second feature disappearing – gas range. The new motor homes lean toward all electric, or the new induction surface. They are dropping the gas refrigerator and gas range. Who wants to cook with induction or electric? Not us! We are gas or nuthin! We have a 10×22” ribbed grill pan that covers two burners and we use it weekly to make divine steaks and tender crisp veggies – indoors with no muss or fuss. Yes, gas ranges are a pain to clean, but its so worth it. And hey- we’re retired now.

Third feature gone – dual gas/electric refrigerator. If you want to really enjoy the RV life, leave the crowds behind and go “dry camping” in the desert or beside the ocean. This means you have no electricity to plug into. Old style RV refrigerators could handle this – running on electric in town, then switching to propane out in the country, “off the grid!” How can you beat that? We refilled our propane tank once a year at most. (RV’s that heat with propane are a major headache in cold weather.) All the new RV’s use large, all-electric household type refrigerators that the uninitiated female RV shopper swoons over. But you might have trouble dry camping with this electricity hog unless you start your generator every morning to recharge your nearly dead household batteries. (It also depends on how much tv/computer and coffeemaker you use.) One workaround is to have solar panels on your roof, but the reality is, the sun does not shine every day.

(Editor’s Note: Whoops! We actually did have to settle for an all-electric refrigerator on our new ’07, but we took it because the seller had upgraded this bus with four 120-watt solar roof panels We should be able to dry camp without over-using the generator.)

Fourth feature – A bus without a dishwasher is becoming very hard to find. We actually prefer to handwash our dishes for two, and we get the bonus of a huge, deep storage area for all our pots and pans, directly under the stove, sooo handy! But darn it – we had to take a dishwasher on our new bus. I now have pans dispersed everywhere – in bedroom closet, under bathroom sink, above sofa, in hallway. Fun!

 

 Here are the major benefits we enjoy by stepping up from 2005 to 2007 bus:

–Three air conditioning units instead of two. This is a critical benefit. We could barely keep our bus cool in the Oklahoma summer. It can be 100 degrees and humid there for weeks, and it doesn’t cool off at night. Our AC was working nonstop to blow air out of the ceiling vents, and it is so loud you have to holler at your guests, and turn your TV way up.

— 10K Onan generator  vs. 7500. The new one is single speed, more powerful and super quiet instead of noisy. You don’t even know its running.

–3000 watt Xantrex modified sine wave inverter, versus a 2000 watt Xantrex modified sine wave  inverter.

–Bigger house battery bank. The 40′ bus has four six-volt lead acid batteries. The 42′ bus has six six-volt lead acid batteries.

—  Side opening basement doors. This is a biggie for us. To access your bay storage on the 2005 bus, you had to kneel down and crawl underneath a top opening door, which was horizontal to the ground. It could not open any higher because it would hit the open slide above.  It is hard to lift 50 pound tubs when you’re on your knees and can’t get any leverage. The new bus has side opening doors so you can remain standing, no more kneeling on worn out cartilege-free knees. No more bumping your head when you stand up.

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New Way!

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Old way!

 

–A separate washer and dryer. 40’ buses have a single, European-style combo unit, which is small and slow. You can’t put more than one sheet in it at a time, so it takes three separate loads to wash your sheets.

— Longer couch for guests. Two can sleep on our new, jackknife style sofa bed. Before, one sleeper had to lie diagonally to fit.

— Spartan chassis (larger radiator capacity for hill climbing).

— Tag axle (more carrying capacity and better driving in the wind).

.–Three windows in bedroom. Steve has his own window for the first time, and we are enjoying cross ventilation).

–Hydro-Hot (new name, Aqua-Hot) Even tho this feature is included on both our old 40′ and new 42′, I have to mention it because it is so critical we could not live a day without it. Hydro-Hot gives us unlimited hot water on demand for showers, and instant cozy heat when we get up in the morning, from the diesel heater booster. This is all radiator hot water heat that doesn’t dry you out like a gas furnace.

 

Here are additional upgrades the seller added to this 42′ bus:

 

  1. — Complete solar setup with four 120W rooftop panels and a 60V controller. This will allow us to watch TV, use our computers, make coffee, and keep the refrigerator running when we are dry camping.
  2. MCD Shades with all-electric remote. This divine upgrade is standard on Tiffins from 2009. It’s truly heavenly to have MCD shades, especially if you’ve lived with the old curtains.
  3. The seller upgraded our new bus to a 3000 watt Magnum pure sine wave hybrid inverter instead of 2000w modified sine wave. We now have more power and cleaner power. It automatically supplements with power from the house battery bank for overload demand, whereas our old bus would just pop a breaker.
  4. The seller upgraded from six lead acid batteries to eight six-volt maintenance free AGM’s. Steve once tried to make me look in a tiny mirror and add water to the old batteries up to a line I couldn’t see at all, without overfilling or splashing acid on my hand. I ended up shaking and crying, “Do it yourself, Steve!”
  5. The seller removed a dreadful large box in the clothes closet that just ruins your ability to hang and store clothes. This box is an electrical cabinet holding two breaker panels and a 12V fuse panel. The box is way bigger than it needs to be anyway. The seller cut a hole in the floor and moved two of the panels into an empty space under the closet floor, adding an access door. Then he relocated the fuse panel onto the far right wall in the closet. What a HUGE improvement this is! Now we have an unobstructed closet like we had in our 2005 bus.
  6. The seller installed See-Level Gauges with read-outs both inside the bus and in the wet bay. The usual factory gauges for black and grey tank levels are notorious failures because their sensors are inside the tanks, collecting muck. They like to read “full” no matter what your true level.  See-Level gauges are outside the tanks and shoot through for accurate readings.
  7. –Two roll out bay drawers instead of one. These are wonderful for accessing your stuff.
  8. — SilverLeaf Engine Management System with read-out on dash. This monitors all engine functions and is programmable to display favorite.
  9. –SWM equipped Winegard satellite (with multiplexed wiring, you can watch two different shows at the same time and record several if you have two DVR’s.)
  10. Bose sound system added to both front and back.
  11. A Kenwood Stereo unit with Garmin GPS was installed in front dash to replace the factory radio/CD player. This thing is amazing! It gives you an IPod input port, wireless telephone, GPS navigation, XM radio as well as AM/FM, and a USB port.
  12. In the wet bay, four heaters have been added to keep our water lines from freezing when we are stuck in snow, as we have often been. Two are pad heaters under the fresh water tank. Two are forced air heaters by the hoses and valves.
  13. Norcold 2.12 cubic foot basement freezer added
  14. The seller hard-plumbed a water line from the city water source into the black tank. so you can flush and clean your black tank with fresh water at the flip of a switch, instead of hooking up a garden hose.
  15. Seller added a fresh water pressure gauge inside the wet bay. This allows you to monitor the city water pressure coming in and to add a regulator if needed.
  16. You must protect all your RV electronics from electrical surges. The standard solution is to buy a $300 surge protector and plug it outside between the power pedestal (“current bush”) and your cord. These hang unprotected in rain and weather, and, sadly, are sometimes stolen. The seller equipped our bus with a Progressive Industries Electrical Management System (EMS) hard wired safely inside the electric bay.
  17. Most RV’s come standard with a whole house water filter, and a second for the refrigerator. This bus has two additional filters. Thus, our kitchen water is double filtered and our refrigerator door ice/water is triple filtered. I cannot tell you how wonderful this is for the clean flavor of the coffee and iced tea we make daily, no matter where we drive to in the country. In our old bus, we went from one crazy water flavor to the next. Sometimes we hauled heavy gallons home. Now we feel so spoiled, and we are drinking a lot more water.
  18. Seller modified the Hydro-Hot system to make it easier to service. My husband worked on the Hydro-Hot in our old bus and had to crawl to the back end of a small bay over three days. He came out bleeding and miserable. On the new bus, the seller moved the vacuum cleaner out of the Hydro-Hot bay, onto the ceiling of the next bay, out of the way. Then he moved a wiring panel on the back wall up, creating a large opening below, directly into the Hydro-Hot. We can’t live a day without the heat and unlimited hot water from our Hydro-Hot, but they do need servicing annually and can wear out. Most commonly, a cracked drain tube (loss of antifreeze) or dead heating element.
  19. The toilet has a maintenance switch that holds the flap open but that switch is impossible to access – it’s up inside the back of the toilet where you can’t get your head to look. Our switch has been moved out within easy reach.
  20. The outside front steps have a switch. If you leave the switch on, the steps will open every time you open the door, and retract every time you close the door. Most people prefer to keep the steps out all the time while parked. Because if you accidentally have the steps in, and then turn the step switch off, you can actually step out of the bus with no step below you and fall! This happened to our guest because we had turned the ignition key on. (Lawsuit?!) There is a light but it is tied to the step switch and only comes on when the steps move in and out. Our steps are always out, and our light has been rewired to come on whenever we open the screen door.  This is a much better, safer scenario for a complex system.

 

So, in summary, we are very happy with our “new to us” 2007 Tiffin Allegro, 42’. This is only the second RV we have owned, and we fully expect it will be our last one. We are going to live in this “BessyBus 2” from now until the cows come home to roost. Please get in touch if you have any questions at all!

Carol & Steve Dwyer

carol1dwyer@gmail.com

steve1dwyer@gmail.com

 

Nov 17, 2014

 

 

 

Journey to Capture BessyBus 2 – Chapter 4

Fri Oct 3
Overlapping Escapee friends

We drive 20 miles north to Orem, UT to meet Escapee friends Mike & Debby “Coldsmoke.” We eat at Joe’s Crab Shack and see movie “The Judge.” Mike & Deb lived for 30 years near Denali, AK, and their kids are still there. After retiring they hit the RV trail in the lower 48. What an exciting life they have lived. Their only problem is the great expense of getting back to see family and grandkids!

Sun Oct 5
The Spectacle of Temple Square, Salt Lake City

We find ourselves parked at the front entrance to the Mormon Temple Square grounds in downtown Salt Lake City at 10 am. The four acre grounds are covered with shade and grass, fountains and beautiful buildings. Hundreds of followers are camped out on blankets, having a fine Sunday morning family outing. They are eating, drinking, and listening to a sermon on the loudspeaker.

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While shooting pictures, I am greeted warming by cheerful teenagers working in pairs. I don’t know how they picked me out of the crowd, just because I am the only female wearing shorts on Sunday morning.

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 They could have resented me for intruding in their world, but instead they chat me up sweetly and gently start to convert me. It’s assertive hospitality and effective marketing. Hey, you old standby religions should take a lesson from this playbook. I am also surprised by the high percentage of Koreans and Hispanics here, many are speaking English as a second language

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Iconic Salt Lake Temple, site of the coveted wedding sealing ceremonies.

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Salt Lake Temple and other LDS buildings, viewed from tenth floor of Joseph Smith building.

The Latter Day Saints have two required-attendance General Conference events per year, and we have lucked into one of them. There must be 5000 cars parked in the lots nearby. Dozens of police are taking up positions at street corners to handle the dreadnaught of traffic and pedestrians about to explode out of their gynormous conference center. We are at the ground zero spot on ground zero day of ground zero month. What luck! All the men wear black suits, white shirts and conservative ties. The women are fashionably dressed in long skirts, but many of the younger ones look quite sexy in tight skirts and 4″ heels.

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At the moment service lets out we are on the tenth floor viewing area of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, with a stunning view of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Conference Center. Attendees are pouring out of a door on the second floor and flowing downward on ramps – S shaped ramps going in two directions. This exodus lasts for fifteen minutes, an unbelievable river of humanity. It was a privilege to see.

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Endless stream of faithful pouring out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Conference Center on Sunday morning. This shows only half of the exodus. There is an idential ramp on the right side, not shown.

 

Tue Oct 7
Provo Surgical Trick

This morning I have lip surgery for non-serious squamous cell cancer, and this is the reason we came to Provo. It’s very annoying but its good not to be dead.  I thought they would cut off a little circle where the scab was. Instead the doctor cuts away my entire bottom lip surface! Then he pulls the inside out and sews it shut to make a new bottom lip. Shocking! I did not sign up for this. I get meds and go home to bed.  About 9 pm, an RV blogger named “RV Cruzer” posts his RV for sale on the Tiffin Owner’s Form Classified.

 

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Should I delete this photo? It’s awful but fascinating. Many people have skin cancer at one time or another, but some locations are more disfiguring than others.

 

Wed Oct 8
Our life changes

This morning we are discussing where to spend the rest of our warm fall days. We are thinking Yosemite, which has to be less insane after school starts. Steve gets a cup of coffee and opens his laptop to read his favorite blogs. Immediately he discovers Cruzer’s post. It is for our exact dream bus, one we have shopped for five years with no luck. It is very reasonably priced too! We spend an hour wringing our hands and checking our finances. We must make the leap before someone else grabs it, which they surely will. We send an offer by email.

(Why this bus was so hard to find – see additional article that specifies our specific specifications. Haha. Actual title, “Specifications of BessyBus 2 – Our Dream Bus”)

Thu Oct 9

Cruzer calls us back with a counter offer.
We close the sale and make a deposit by credit card.

All our other travel plans are done for. Thus begins our odyssey to take possession of our new home and sell our old one. We make a plan to drive to Yuma first and leave our old bus there because there are more buyers in southern Arizona in the winter. Also, we stayed here before at the modest RiverFront RV Park and know that there is a perfect spot to park (“dry camp’) our old bus until we can sell it. We call ahead and the owner agrees to put our old bus right near our new one and only charge $75 per month until it sold. We will save $30,000 by selling it ourselves instead of trading it in to a dealer. But this way is more scary and complicated, and we will have to get a loan to tide us over.

Today we decide to make one last outing as tourists here. We drive up into the mountains on Nebo Loop Road (FR015) south of Provo, going past 11,929 ft. Mt. Nebo, highest point in the Wasatch range. We are savoring spectacular views, drop-offs, s-curves and Aspens at their peak. We always take lunch with us.

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Tue Oct 14

Case of the Missing Jalapenos

We can’t leave Provo till my stitches come out. I have an appointment for 1 pm but talk my way into coming at the crack of dawn so we can leave town by 9 am. Or so we thought. Remember those Trappey’s Sweet and Hot Jalapeno’s? We ordered six jars shipped UPS ten days ago from Florida and they’re still not here. We endure a fiasco of phone calls the night before. Amazon is involved, UPS is involved, the shipper is involved, the Elks are involved. One person says they never left Florida, another says en route, a third says “on the truck!” It will cost us $30 to reship these if we don’t connect. At 10 am, we hijack a UPS truck driver in an industrial parking lot and yes, our stinkin’ Trappey’s are on board. Give us our box, sweetie! We are so disgusted we don’t even feel like eating them anymore! But NOW we can leave town! (I am buying these exclamation points! They are twelve for $1!)!!

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Tue Oct 14
Provo to Vegas – 380 mi

The temperature has gone from 60 degrees at Pinedale, Wy to 70 at Provo, to 85 at Las Vegas. We make it here by 4 pm and park at the Clark County Shooting Range and RV Park, recommended by Escapee friends Terry and Jeri. This place is so big and fancy it’s dumbfounding. It is built for international competitions and must have a half mile of trap and skeet shoot stations, each with an RV site.

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Can you count how many skeet shooting stations are here? Goes on to infinity!

Plus multiple rifle and pistol ranges. We are almost the only ones here. We are looking down on the twinkling lights of downtown Vegas. I am riding my bike like a queen. Steve is in a lawn chair drinking Jamison and talking to friends on his cell.

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View of Vegas strip from our bus, downhill and south of Clark County Shooting Range & RV Park

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See Steve far left in his lawn chair with Jamison & cell phone. Drink in that gorgeous sunset over the Las Vegas strip.

 

Wed Oct 15
Las Vegas, Nv to Yuma, Az – 310 mi

I wake up at 3 am thinking about those $500 flights from Yuma to Milwaukee. I check my phone again and find two one way tickets leaving Friday morning for $250 each. Whohoo! I order them on my phone – Oh this modern world!

In the morning we drive south on I-95 through downtown Vegas, past old faithful Binions, past the Stratosphere and new Ferris Wheel, past Sam’s Town on Boulder Highway, and then south out of town. Last chance: Needles, Ca before the endless desert of I-95.

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Look at this crazy wacky road through the desert south of Needles, Ca. on I-95

By late afternoon, we reach our old haunts – Parker and Quartzsite, Az, and finally Yuma, last stop before Mexico.  We pull in to our old familiar RiverFront RV park, pretty whipped. BessyBus says she is home

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This is what we see out the front window of our bus – the cute clubhouse at RiverFront RV Park, Yuma, with old timey 1950’s theme.

While driving, we were also struggling to get our money ducks in a row. We have to get a loan from the Oklahoma state employees Credit Union. We have to sell mutual funds and wire money to our checking account. This is complicated. Some want 48 hours, some want four days. We don’t have much time.

Thu Oct 16
Rats Nest

After three days of phone calls and effort, the deal decides to collapse at the last minute! We are about to lose our airline tickets. The Credit Union has given us a loan, but they refuse to release the funds until they have a signed title in their hands by overnight shipping. The seller refuses to release the title until he has the funds in hand. It’s a Mexican standoff! Surely we’re not the first people to buy an RV! At the last minute a third wrench is revealed – there is also a large lien on the bus. The lien holder, Bank of the West, wants THREE WEEKS after payment in full before they will send lien release. This is absurd. More appropriate would be one week. Either way, we can’t take possession.

The seller is using an RV dealer for paperwork only. This dealer has been very neglectful – hasn’t even called us once. This morning the seller gets a new RV dealer involved. At the last minute, Brandy Elliot from Youngblood’s RV Center, Mayfield, Ky., COMES TO OUR RESCUE!

At 2 in the afternoon, after the Mexican standoff, Brandy says “I’ll give you a loan! And I’ll release those funds! And I’ll take the risk that the lien release will eventually be released. What a doll! Brandy takes a loan app from us over the phone in ten short minutes. Within one hour she has a loan for us from a bank!!! It’s 3 pm Mountain time, 4 pm Central, 5 pm Eastern. The banks are closing! That’s how close we came to losing our airline tickets. The loan is with CFSB Bank, Benton, Ky. They even have better interest and longer term than our old credit union!

Brandy overnights a bunch of papers to the seller’s home in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, so it will be there on Sunday morning for us to sign. Then SHE carries the risk that – not only will the lien be released when she pays them off — but the other funds from our checking account will also be wired to her on Monday morning. She has talked to our local banker and knows that those funds aren’t even in our account yet! But our banker vouched for us (Sue at Vision Bank, Shawnee, OK) and Brandy believes her. What fantastic trust. What great people.

We both have grey hairs over this situation but the deal is back on and sealed by 5pm Eastern closing time. We can actually breathe again and pack our bags. We never know what time it is in Yuma because Arizona doesn’t spring forward or back. Mexico wraps around us to the south and northwest (weird!)  Also, when we drive due north for groceries, we go through California for one mile and then back into Arizona. If we keep our phones on auto time, springs fly out of them. Also, if you don’t tell ATT to shut off your roaming feature permanently, you will have $2000 per month of international roaming charges.

end of chapter 4

To find Chapter 5, go to top of this page, then click on “Home.”
From Home, scroll down until you come to Chapter 5.