Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:46 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:15 am
Posts: 16
Location: Houston, TX
My wife and I are considering replacing our Barth RV with a BF President.

Our biggest concern is the coach size. Our present RV is 30' long, 96" wide. The BF president is 32'-4" long and 101-1/2" wide.

We have an RV port in our house. The interior length is 34'-11". The space between the entry gates is 9'-10" (118"). That leaves about 16" side clearance. The gates are 8' off the ground (disguising the 14' overhead door and keeping the Homeowner's Assn happy) so the mirrors clear easily beneath the gates.

To further complicate the access, our driveway is 11' long and the street is 28' wide. That gives 39' in which to manuever. With the Barth, I "see-saw" back and forth 3 or 4 times until I am perpendicular to the open garage door and the gates. My wife opens the gates and I back in.

The wheelbase on the Barth is 190-195" while on the BF president it is 213-1/2. I expect the Barth has a shorter turning radius.

So the biggest question is how much difficulty am I going to have to back the BF President into our RV port?

One of the reasons that we bought the Barth 11 years ago was that it was not a wide body. It is legal on all roads in the U.S., which widebodies are not. When we can we take alternate routes rather than the interstates. We have been on some two lane roads with dirt shoulders and a lane width of 9-10'. If the 18-wheeler coming from the opposite direction is hogging the center line, you can't do anything but "white knuckle" it.

Then there was the time my wife was driving on one of our excellent Texas highways -- 4 lanes, divided, with wide shoulders, and we hit a 10 mile detour on to a narrow, no shoulder, farm-to-market road, carrying all 4-lanes of traffic from the main highway.

How do you find driving the wide-body coaches off the interstates?

Is there anyone in the Houston, TX, area with a BF President that we could see rather than having to visit Iowa?

Thanks for any suggestions, thoughts, help that any of you have.

Bill Wright


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:41 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:43 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Spokane, WA
Bill,

I would definitely recommend you see what you would be buying, especially with such tight dimensions to consider. I saw one at a Rally last month and it was not what I expected. I found the factory most helpful (if no one responds on the forum). They'd probably help you find an owner in driving distance of your home.

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Rosanne
1998 BF 24RB
Spokane WA


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 5:54 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 6:41 pm
Posts: 98
Location: near Falcon, Colorado
We own a 32-ft rear twin unit, and I would be glad to show it to you and to have you drive it to get the feel of how easy it is to control.

This is a top-shelf, custom machine, that is solid, powerful, and dependable. Born Free Dodgen Industries stands behind their product like no other in the market. The pricing is best value right up front, with no silly dickering or games. It is worth what you pay, and always will be.

I believe you will have no problems manoeuvring this rig into the space you describe.

For one reason, with a 53-degree cut on the front wheels of the Kodiak chassis, the turn radius is so tight you can turn the RV around in four lanes of roadway. Cathleen loves to drive this RV having come out of a 40-ft diesel pusher that was underpowered, unstable, and hard to control. The President feels like a van or large SUV, and the air ride suspension smooths out any road, and dampens the bumps very well.

Also, the dimensions of a 'wide body' only add the width of about three fingers to each side. That's hardly a significant change (5-1/2 inches in total). Of the 32'4" length, the bumpers make up for 18-inches of that. With folding mirrors you can pull in by hand, you can really see the full width of any doorway, and with the backup camera, you've got the full picture. Len always connects the car hauler unaided by backing up to a hitch using only the camera. Vertically, with a satellite dome, we are still under 11-feet tall. You should have no problems fitting the President into the RV port you describe.

As for living space, even a 30-ft Class 'A' design gives up the first 5-6 feet to the cockpit and controls. In a 32-ft Born Free Class 'C' it is about 8-1/2 feet from the front bumper to the back of the cockpit seats -- again, really only a difference of 2-3 feet. The 23-ft of living space is well designed, and fully usable.

One thing you can do, as others have, is take advantage of weekend getaway deals with Delta Airlines where a flight, car, and luxury hotel are packaged for an affordable two- or three-day trip to Colorado Springs. Len has shown our unit to other buyers to help them decide if it's right for them too, and would be happy to do that for you. Below is a link to the upcoming last minute deals currently being shown at delta.com:

http://tinyurl.com/2q9fg2

If a rear twin layout with all the bells and whistles, including in-motion satellite, ultraleather, and large generator and inverter is what you have in mind, come on in, and we'll work with you for as long as you like. You can contact us directly to discuss further: LCampaigne@earthlink.net or 719-331-4002.

Oh, and by the way, here in Colorado Springs you can see and compare to one of the other major competitors to the Born Free, namely the Big Foot 32-ft.

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Len & Cathleen Campaigne
2006 BF 32' RT President


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 7:39 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:15 am
Posts: 16
Location: Houston, TX
Thank you all for your replies. I checked the specs on my present RV and the BF President. It looks like the BF has a shorter turning radius and should go into our garage about the same.

We have an appointment in Humboldt next week to take a look at the 08s.

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Bill Wright
ferroequinologist, bonedigger


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 6:41 pm
Posts: 98
Location: near Falcon, Colorado
While I appreciate the suggestion that prospective buyers might wish to go to the 'factory' to see the latest model, I'd like to clarify that "Owner Agents" (not "broker-agents") are selected by the 'factory' to show and permit test drives of personally owned vehicles. We are NOT involved in the sales agreement, but are reimbursed for time and cost to show our rigs.

After all, you'll have to admit, Humboldt, Iowa is not the easiest place to reach, especially in the winter months.

Other options are to visit Born Free at RV shows, or RV rallies, and to go to one of the 'factory lots' in Rancho Cordova CA, Junction City KS, or Clermont FL where Born Free sales folks have vehicles to show. There is a plan to open a lot in Pennsylvania soon too.

By talking with an owner, the prospective buyer can hear first-hand personal experiences that sales folks might not have, can travel a shorter distance, or even have a unit drop by their town for a personal look. As owners, we can answer questions about quality, service and features, plus recommend configurations. We can give ballpark figures about the cost of one option or another, but the actual sales agreement is done by the Born Free sales team.

I dare say we are more knowledgable about the product than many sales people who have not owned a unit.

I'm proud to show our unit, and to demonstrate how easy it is to handle. These RVs pretty well sell themselves.

Len C sends.

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Len & Cathleen Campaigne
2006 BF 32' RT President


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 7:15 pm 
Want to add to Ken's remarks. I too am among the owner/agent group. Recently Mr. Dodgen came to Columbia, CA, along with Gil from the Rancho Cordova operation and hosted a Born Free 'Get together' in which a few of us were invited. We were asked to show our Born Free to anyone who was interested in our model and answer any questions we could from the visitors who arrived. It was a 3 day event and Bar-B-Qed dinners were provided for everyone, visitors included (& some fine wine from one of the Owner/Agents) along with super hospitality (and dessert :P )and friendship. This sort of 'rally' isn't about pressuring someone into buying anything. It's about educating those interested in the Born Free with our own personal experiences as Owners and RV travelers. If you call getting a great dinner for 3 days & having your space rent & gas costs paid, a 'financial motivation'.....okay...guess it would be for some. For me however, I joined in celebrating with others the benefits of owning a Born Free. It was a great experience because I love to 'show off' my beautiful coach and talk about it & that's about all there is to being a Owner/Agent.... Met some really nice people besides 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 1:56 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 5:36 pm
Posts: 143
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Before we purchased our Born Free, we had a chance to visit a couple of BF owners in our area and tour their coaches. (That was before sharing BF owner contact info became a security issue.) But it was at a "show and tell" rally in Tucson where we were able to see several other BF models and floor plans, all in one location. As Charlotte commented, it was great fun to meet BF owners, hear their personal comments and see their different "mods" to their coaches. The Born Free factory sales rep was there with all the info RE: the purchase of a coach, but there certainly was NO PRESSURE WHATSOEVER to purchase anything. Born Free doesn't have to use pressure to sell it's coaches. As Ken commented, the coaches sell themselves.

Bill, you will enjoy the BF factory visit. And there will be no pressure to purchase there either. But do try to get to a BF rally and meet all the great BF owners.

Barbara

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Barbara & Ken


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 2:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:15 am
Posts: 16
Location: Houston, TX
My wife and I were able to test drive the 32' BF at the factory. We determined that the turning radius is indeed shorter than our current RV and except for the added width it will be easier to back it into our RV Port garage.

I was disappointed that one of the respondents was a factory rep under the owner-agent program and did not disclose this. But then some of the comments about the program were inaccurate (as has been pointed out). Perhaps "OWNER-AMBASSADOR" would be a better term than owner-agent.

We have been RVers for over 40 years and yes most RV owners are a friendly and helpful. This is not a characteristic exclusive to BF. When I tried to contact a couple of BF owners in the Houston area, however, I struck out. No reponse.

The bottom line is that we did order a new BF President and hope to pick it up early in November.

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Bill Wright
ferroequinologist, bonedigger


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 3:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 5:36 pm
Posts: 143
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bill Wright wrote:
My wife and I were able to test drive the 32' BF at the factory. We determined that the turning radius is indeed shorter than our current RV and except for the added width it will be easier to back it into our RV Port garage.

I was disappointed that one of the respondents was a factory rep under the owner-agent program and did not disclose this. But then some of the comments about the program were inaccurate (as has been pointed out). Perhaps "OWNER-AMBASSADOR" would be a better term than owner-agent.

We have been RVers for over 40 years and yes most RV owners are a friendly and helpful. This is not a characteristic exclusive to BF. When I tried to contact a couple of BF owners in the Houston area, however, I struck out. No reponse.

The bottom line is that we did order a new BF President and hope to pick it up early in November.



Wow!! Don't see where anyone in this discussion suggested that only BF owners are "friendly and helpful." All that was suggested is that you take an opportunity to meet other BF owners for their input about their coaches. Don't know about your efforts to contact BF owners in your area or why no one responded, but I've found that most BF owners are very friendly and eager to help. Otherwise, you would not have received all the helpful responses to your original inquiry.

Someone not stating in his response that he is an "owner agent" is not any type of deception, because the folks in that program simply make their coaches available to be toured. They do not have "a vested sales agenda." And it makes complete sense that any expenses they incur are reimbursed. He made the offer because his coach is the actual floorplan you wanted to see, and the President is so new that only a few of those have been purchased.

In past years, Born Free was able to send a list of local BF owners to a prospective buyer. But that practice was ended because of privacy and security issues, a sad but valid concern in today's world. It's my understanding that now only owners who sign up with the factory to make their coaches available to be toured are contacted.

Congratulations on the purchase of your new Born Free President!! Hope you enjoy the coach and take advantage of the friendship and knowledge of other BF owners.

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Barbara & Ken


Last edited by Barbara & Ken on Thu Aug 23, 2007 4:07 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 6:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 5:36 pm
Posts: 143
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Sam Ryan wrote:
In fact, Born Free has an owner-agent recompense program in place throughout the country, Barbara.

A lot of changes took place earlier this year, and since you no longer own a Born Free, perhaps that's why you aren't aware of the various sales agent offers Born Free made to us owners, Barbara.



Actually, we still receive all of the Born Free notices and offers, including the info RE: the owner agent program. By the way, didn't you mention in another discussion that you also signed up for the owner agent program? Good luck with that.

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Barbara & Ken


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