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Old 12-03-2012, 05:28 PM   #1
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Picked up my new Columbus, First Trip

Last Wednesday I picked up my new 2013 Palomino Columbus. In the following posts, I'll review my experience so far, impressions and results of my first trip. I've embedded some photos, particularly of options I got that you just can't find pics of online.

My dealer is Tom Johnson of Marion, NC. I ordered this unit the last week of September and she was ready to ship the first week of November. Scheduling a driver, and a convenient time for me to pick it up, plus the holiday, got us to the last week of November.

Here she is at the dealer's campground -

Note that one of my options was the fold down rack - rated for 400 lbs.

Here is the street side - up top is the winegard travl'r HD antenna I had the dealership install
You can also see the extra legs for the 6-way auto-leveling system I got. This thing is fantastic - levels the coach in just a few minutes with the press of one button. It is electric and not hydraulic.

The PDI went well, but was not as thorough as I had hoped. The technician admittedly did not know much about the electronics, so some things I had to check out on my own. Luckily, nothing was found to be wrong. I stayed at TJ's overnight in their campground so that I could tinker with things and be assured it would be alright to hit the road. By Friday morning, I was ready to roll!

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Old 12-03-2012, 05:35 PM   #2
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Very nice. Congrats. Did you know there was someone taking pictures of you new RV? I see his shadow.

Chuck, Sara (RVM 50.5) & Chopper (the fuzzy 1)
2003 DSDP w/2015 Jeep Wrangler, 2 Kayaks & 2 bikes. Living and Loving life.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:36 PM   #3
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Another thing I opted for was the Trailaire Tri-Glide. This thing was expensive at around $900, but it was well worth it. I could only feel some movement from the trailer under very rough road conditions. Really, really smooths out any impact from the trailer. TJ also installed the Timbrens I had bought for my truck - I didn't have a big enough jack to do the job. This together with the Tri-Glide makes my 2500 HD a good match for this trailer.

Here is a close up of the extra legs for the leveling system:

Another option is the 5000KW LP generator. Seems to run very quiet. Haven't run it enough to comment on LP consumption. Odd thing is that the control panel inside is mounted in the washer/dryer closet. Seems like a strange place to put it - I suspect it was due to the length of the supplied control cable. Otherwise, it would have been nice to have been mounted with the other interior switches/monitoring panel in the kitchen.

This thing has a killer amount of storage. A big step up from a tag-along.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:44 PM   #4
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TJ installed my hitch. Got the Reese Elite 18K with underbed mounts. I like this hitch. Easy to hook up. It clears my bed cover, so I don't have to remove it. Don't think I'll ever need the slider feature as you'll see in later pictures. Like that you can pull 4 pins and completely remove it from the truck and have a flat bed for hauling things.

Columbus has 3 20lb gas bottles. One side is fixed, the other on a slider.

One custom thing the factory did for me was install the old style door that has a window that opens. The new door has a fixed window and a screen door. I hate screen doors.

My unit is 1000lbs heavier than the standard unit due to options. With all my stuff, I estimate I'm around 13,000lbs total, 2500-2600 pin weight - right at the max I'd be comfortable with on my 2500.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:55 PM   #5
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One of my must have options was a washer & dryer, stackable. I searched high and low on the internet and could not find a single pic. Hope this helps someone else considering this option. I did one load of laundry. It works well - around 12 gallons for a wash. It's very quiet, but there is some vibration throughout the coach. This is because these units are bolted down. Your home units are allowed to float, so you don't get vibration in those..

Queen sized bed with storage underneath. Got the Trump pillowtop mattress. Very residential feel. I like it as much as the memory foam mattress I have at home. If you opt for the king size bed, you get extra drawers in the bed base, but less bulk storage compartment.

The bathroom in these Columbus' is terrific. 30"x 60" shower. A sink big enough you can wash your face and not hit your head on the medicine cabinet!

Here is a view from the upper deck down into the living area. Note the kitchen island is on casters and you can move it anywhere you like. To travel, you push it against the couch and cinch it down with straps to hooks in the floor. I immediately got heavy duty straps as the factory supplied ones seemed to flimsy to me.

Also note the LED lights in the ceiling. There are LED lights everywhere in this thing - over 40 of these puck type lights. You can make it very bright inside, and some are on dimmers.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:08 PM   #6
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I like the 42" LED TV. The brand I never heard of - HiSense - but the picture is great, it's 1080p. The bedroom TV is the same brand, but 32" size. The surround sound system is Samsung, but unfortunately they hooked the tv up via RCA. Not optical, or coaxial because the Samsung doesn't have the jacks! I'll replace this soon with a Blu-Ray home theatre unit.

Earlier I mentioned I got the Winegard Trav'ler installed. Unfortunately, the factory and the dealer lied to me on how this was to be installed. They told me that the trailer is pre-wired for this dish with an access panel and pigtail on the roof at the install location. The truth is that there is no such pigtail. They run the cables across the roof to a vent that leads down to the basement compartment. From there they run to the back side of the satellite coax jack in the service compartment and the then route the control cable up under and into the closet area. The control box goes into the closet. It works well enough, but I am really disappointed in how this all looks and not being forthright about it.

The kitchen area. The fridge is a bit bigger that what I had in my tag-along, but is smaller than the typical side-by-side you can get in a motorhome.

These I love. Supplied by Ashley Furniture. Great viewing position across from the TV. These are a leather/polyester synthetic material. Tag says 17% leather. Feels like leather to me. Not plasticey.

Table has a cool storage compartment.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:20 PM   #7
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Here she is hooked up.

As I mentioned earlier, there is no danger hitting the front cap. Also, she rides very level, as it should.

Seem enormous looking at it, but driving it, it seems smaller than my tag-along was. Certainly easier to deal with.

This last Saturday, I proceeded up to my campsite in Pennsylvannia. My route took me up thru NC, TN, VA & WV. It's a beautiful drive, but there are quite a few steep grades - 5%, 6%. Even though this new trailer is 4,000 lbs heavier than my old tag-along, it was much easier going this route. Mileage was about the same - 10.5 to 11.3. Most of the way I was on cruise control at 65 mph - speed limit most of the way was 70, so I enjoyed a relatively stress free cruise as I hung out in the right lane with everyone zooming by me. My truck has the exhaust brake, which I find is a must-have if you are going to do mountain driving with a big trailer. Overall, I think the 2500HD is a good match for this size trailer.

Gripes? Not many so far. I did break the pantry slide-out, so I'll have to request replacement for that - looks like an easy repair I can do myself if they provide the parts. I did find that the front door glass is not thermo-pane like the rest of the windows, so I will request that part as well - otherwise I can remove the screen and replace with a piece of plexi for the winter. Other than these two things, everything is working as it should.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:58 PM   #8
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Nice unit!
2012 Cedar Creek 36B4
2007 Ford F-350 Dually Crew Cab
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:25 PM   #9
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Wow! That was very informative!! Our 320RS came in Friday! We will be doing PDI on Thursday. Can't wait!!
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:33 PM   #10
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Really sharp looking rig, congrats
US Navy Vet, Liberty Tree Member of Oath Keepers, NRA & VFW Life Member, Alaska EMT.
2009 Safari Cheetah 40 SKQ
2009 Winnebago Chalet 231CR
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Old 12-04-2012, 04:37 AM   #11
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Looking forward to getting back out in our 320RS next year. Filled it up with the pink stuff a few weeks ago.
Bought ours back in March from Camper's Inn in Mocksville, NC. Surprised Tom Johnson is also handling Columbus being so close to Camper's Inn.
Must really want to get the Columbus line out there.
Yours is pretty loaded with options, nice rig. We did opt for the King bed; nice but it is a little tighter in the bedroom. I had the plant install slide toppers. We do a lot of camping under pine trees and the toppers keep those pesty needles from accumulating on the slides.
We are planning a trip to D.C. in the Spring. First place next year, though, will be some trout fishing at Brown Mountain Beach Resort on Wilson Creek near Lenoir.
Enjoy your new Columbus!

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