Part 1: Delivery of Lance and Theft Resolution


Navigation Links
 Trip Home Page     


The Experience

We had been looking for a replacement for our living quarters on Thor for some time.  We oscillated between "drive it 'till it drops" and "do something now".  Due to the death of my step-brother, we had to return to San Diego via Tucson for "spousal support".  During down-time time while we were there, we managed to locate a local RV dealer that had a trailer that we thought would be a worthy replacement for Thor's HiLo living quarters.  We visited the dealer and inspected the trailer; made critical measurements and came to the conclusion that the Lance 1685 would be a good choice.  The price was right:  the dealer had deeply discounted the trailer to "make it go away" since it was last year's model.  With the end of 2018 rapidly approaching, the new year would make this new trailer two model years old.  As it turns out, the price was less than what the dealer paid, a fact that was not disclosed until we actually took delivery of the unit.  Due to some pre-existing obligations, we needed to return to San Diego and were unable to complete the deal in person.  But, we closed the deal with the RV dealer "over the wire" so when we returned back to Tucson to take delivery, everything was set.

The deal specified that we needed to have the trailer off the lot by 31 Dec and I always believe that sooner is better, so we traveled back to Tucson for delivery after Christmas Day.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

The RV dealer is a huge place and it has ownership of the Tucson KOA which is co-located with the dealership.  Our salesman arranged a "free" site for us the evening before the delivery.  Not every site had sun shade awnings, but a significant number did.  I am sure this is a requirement during the summer months because who wants to be in Tucson when the outside temperature is 105 degrees?

Our "camp" site had a concrete slab and gravel driveways.

We completed our owner's briefing and it was determined that we could not drive the unit off the lot because we did not have an electric brake controller on Thor.  Since Thor is 20,000 pounds and has massive brakes, including an exhaust brake system, I did not see it as an issue.  The dealer thought otherwise.  At an impasse, we found another fellow with a truck to actually drive it off the lot and park it in our space at the RV park.  He dropped it off and we hooked up.  As a side note, the lack of active brakes was a non-issue as I predicted.  I barely knew the trailer was there: it rolled easily, tracked perfectly, and was not noticeable during braking.  I could, however, tell the trailer was there on up-grades as our uphill speed was impacted due to the extra weight and Thor's low horsepower.

The following morning we left Tucson a bit late but made it to Yuma, AZ before nightfall.  We stayed in the new trailer in Winterhaven, CA and setup for the final leg of the journey to San Diego.  The trip was flawless with no issues.  The trailer was warm, quiet and comfortable.

When the Lance is mounted on Thor, we expect the overall height to be the same as, or a bit lower than the HiLo with the top raised.

The Lance has a slide-out which provides tons of room inside the cabin.  Kathleen's hot button with the HiLo was the requirement to tear-down the bed every morning before lowering the top and rolling.  The Lance has a full-time queen-sized bed that removes this annoyance.

The Lance has a nice galley with a 3-burner stove with exhaust hood, microwave and full-size (RV) refrigerator.

Another view of the galley including the sink area.

The faucet for the sink has a removable sprayer and removable, partitioned cutting boards.

The head is actually big enough to be usable and has a porcelain toilet.

Upon our return to home, I needed to do some work on Thor.  When the repairs were completed, I got my truck keys out to lock the doors and my car key (on a separate ring) fell out of my pocket onto my concrete driveway.  My next door neighbor's visitors were watching me work on the truck and when I left to return inside, they took my car keys.    I became aware that my keys were missing soon after I returned inside and started a "full house search" including the area underneath Thor.  The keys were not found because the visitors had already stolen the keys.  They returned later than night and drove my BMW M5 out of the driveway and drove it until they damaged the clutch and rendered the vehicle immobile.  They then abandoned it on the freeway.  We can prove what happened because they were visible on our security video, both the key stealing and the actual car stealing.  Sadly, the video was not of sufficient resolution to be actionable for the police, but we could recognize them.  Plus, as the police state it, they get 30 stolen cars A DAY and therefore have minimal resources to apply to prosecution.  I noticed the car was missing the following day when we were attempting to leave the house to go to lunch.  We reported the theft to SDPD and they stated that the car was towed the previous night.  I stated that it was stolen, but they reported that the car was towed from the freeway where it was blocking traffic.  In reality, the police had recovered the vehicle before I reported it stolen!  Above, we are at the body shop inspecting damage to the vehicle.  Note the front fender.  We believe this was damaged due to the high-speed exit from our driveway (it has a sharp drop-off at the curb).

Inspection of the body was not the only factor.  There was a smell to the engine compartment that indicated the clutch was burned out.  Indeed, the motor started, but the car would not go into gear.  Fast forward a week and the net-net was that the insurance company declared the car a total loss.  The key issue was the unknown amount of damage that was caused to the drive train.  The M5 was a 2003, purchased new off the dealer's showroom, and a rather rare body style.  Protestations notwithstanding, like it or not, this car is history.

After the shock of having the car stolen and needing to replace it sunk in, we began a search for the right replacement.  We drove a lot of cars: Mercedes, Lexus, Audi, VW but in the end the BMW 5 series was the best fit.  I admit that there was a pre-existing bias given that both Kathleen and I had BMWs and I had purchased 3 BMWs over the years.  The other cars were nice, but this was nicer: 535i with plenty of frills.

As nice as this car is, it was not in my short term plan to be replacing my M5.  The M5 was a fine ride and in great mechanical shape with low miles.  In the end, I swallowed hard, signed the deal and drove it home.

As a side note, car technology has come a long, long way since 2003 and I was amazed by the features that are in even the low-end cars.  BMW takes it to another level.

Some folks don't like the "Bangle butt" of the newer models, bit I found it appealing.  And being "debadged" is not a bad thing.

I had no plans to replace my car.  I didn't ask for it to be stolen and trashed.  I had no desire to throw a slug of money at another vehicle, but at the end of the day it worked out fine.  My insurance carrier, AAA, did an exemplary job and turned the whole thing around in a couple of weeks.  While the new car does not have the gut-wrenching power of my M, the 535 is nearly as powerful and much nicer inside.  And a whole lot newer.

Back to the actions at hand: building out the Lance in preparation for mounting it on Thor.

Navigation Links
Previous Adventure
Top of this Page
  Next Adventure
Trip Home Page  
Bill Caid's Home Page

Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2019, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use without attribution.