Let’s face it, unless you are an avid oasis camper who doesn’t routinely need the comforts of air conditioning and electrical power to survive, then we all end up paying something to park our rigs and live.  Be it at a five star resort or a city park, if we want amenities then we have to be willing to open our wallets and fork out the cash.  We have no trouble doing so but like all us, we prefer to get good value for our hard earned money.

New Mexico has the flat out best value to any camper, full-time or not, in the country.  Residents pay $180 and non-residents pay $225 a year for an annual camping pass allowing the holder to camp at one of the more than twenty state parks for a nominal fee per night depending on the type of spot.

Primitive (no hook-ups) are free of charge to annual pass holders.  50 amp electrical plus water sites are $4.00 a night, while adding sewer to the above pushes the nightly fee to $8.00.  No matter how you slice the pie, that is an extremely good value for your money.  Many of the parks also have wifi available for use.  Even if you only use the pass a couple of times a year, it more than pays for itself.  You can spend 14 nights out of 20 in any one state park and reservations can be made up to six months in advance.

I know what you are sitting there thinking to yourself, but it’s HOT in New Mexico!  True it can be, but a quick look and almost every state park is located on a body of water.


Percha Dam State Park is pictured above.  It is far from barren and hot.  There are mountains in the background, the trees are full of birds, and there are actual trees versus cacti. 

The value of the New Mexico State Park pass cannot be beat, especially when compared to the prices for similar amenities in neighboring states.  We have already booked our summer plans and they involve staying at the various lakes around New Mexico.  The Gump can handle winter camping without issue so we are looking forward to doing some winter camping as well.


Our PDI Experience

This post is late because we got home from Tucson and immediately came down with very bad colds and the flu. We are both finally recovering and feeling human.   So without further ado, our PDI experience with La Mesa RV Tucson follows.

Lana and The Gump headed for home for the first time


We went to Tucson the third week of December and lucky us, it was the coldest week in the last several months.  Dave was grumbling about the amount of stuff I was packing to take but hey, we were camping out on the lot for at least two days so stuff had to come along.  Once the normal spousal grumbling ceased we made our way to Tucson, fully expecting the worst.  We had heard so many horror stories about dealers rushing the PDI and things not being caught.  I had warned La Mesa I was going to be a stickler and they assured me that it would be no problem.

Our expectations for far exceeded and there was no single question that wasn’t answered or concern addressed.  The PDI was actually an incredibly reassuring experience.  Every person we dealt with was professional, polite, and low key.  When we arrived we greeted by our salesman, Chris Johns, who introduced us to our service manager, Floyd Hall.  Floyd and Chris are exceptional individuals who I will heap praise upon in the next post

Floyd had one of his service advisors, Dave Masters, walk us out to the fifth wheel and he proceeded to walk us through the outside of the coach.  Dave had more questions than I did but the Dave’s asked and answered until my Dave was comfortable.  Then we went inside where I had more questions, which were comfortably asked and answered.

Not once did either of us dig out one of the numerous check lists we had found online prior to leaving for Tucson.  I’m infamous for making lists and so it is shocking that not once during the entire PDI process did I feel the need to pull out a PDI checklist.  I attribute that to the patience and professionalism of Floyd and his team.

Hard at work for the first time in The Gump


When we purchased the coach, part of the deal was that we would spend a couple of nights on the lot at La Mesa before signing off on the PDI.  I cannot tell you how invaluable those nights were.  Dave worked during the day, as you can see above.  (He actually hates that picture but I’m proud of him since he lost fifty pounds in 2015).  Every morning we had an e-mail waiting for Floyd with questions or things that went wrong overnight.  Those camping nights were far more educational than the physical walkthrough.  Every morning John, our service technician, would knock on the door prepared to fix stuff, everything from misbehaving  MCD shades to gouged flooring.

The first selfie I think we’ve ever taken


Speaking of gouged flooring, the amazing ladies at Creative Colors International out of Casa Grande, AZ did an amazing job repairing our linoleum (of which they had never seen or repaired before).  The repair job is so amazing that neither of us can pinpoint the exact location where the floor was damaged.  The pictures below are of the repaired area, before and after.  It’s a little evident in a close-up photo but everyday life, not at all visible.




We are pleased that the floor looks so good and the linoleum didn’t have to be ripped up and replaced.


We left on Friday morning, after three nights on the La Mesa lot.  Almost every concern or issue we had was addressed prior to returning home.  The outstanding issues were under discussion with La Mesa and Dutchmen for resolution.  The Gump will be returning to Tucson at the end of January for outstanding items and the new stuff we’ve found on the first trip out.

Our landing lights, one of which was out and only discovered while camping on the dealer lot


Our biggest advice and take-away from the PDI experience?  Staying overnight on the dealer lot before signing off on your rig cannot be under-estimated.  So many issues and concerns were addressed that we would not have found during the normal PDI process.  Should we ever replace The Gump, we will be overnighting on the dealer’s lot during the PDI.