Six months ago today, we picked up our Anthem DEQ in Orlando. We've been full timing for six months; thought I might jot down a few things we learned over that time for those thinking about Entegra, an Anthem, and/or full timing. Hope I don't bore. But before I start a list...when you pick up your coach...get rid of the starry eyes quickly and go into inspection mode, learning mode, and demanding mode. It is unlikely that your highest priority is your dealers', and you are at your second most vulnerable time (the first was when you fell in love with it and started dealing with the salesman). You want to know as much as you can stuff in your head and you want to inspect to the finest detail and document (and make sure you have a signed copy). Avoids questions later.
1) We quickly transitioned from 10-12 hour workdays to not working.
2) I cringed at the thought of how much annual salary we were walking away from; while funds are tighter, we're doing better than I could have hoped. On the other hand, we're spending more than I expected...usually associated with visits to kids houses.
3) We don't eat out as much as we used to; maybe once every two weeks.
4) We don't feed on burgers when on the road; that's what the fridge is for...sandwiches that taste better anyway.
5) We didn't have a problem slowing down (not doing the tourist thing). We've put 7000 miles on the coach, but many of those miles were due to family pulls and the need to work a few warrantee things with the coach and the chassis.
6) Your going to have things that need to be fixed...period...if you go into this thinking "...I'm spending $300K...I shouldn't have any of "these" issues...", forget it or don't enter the game. This isn't a six cylinder, stick shift $15K car...and they have problems too.
7) EVERYTHING I heard about Entegra Customer Service is true...and this isn't schedule an appointment, take it to Red Bay and set in the park, and pray. If you haven't got a local service agent, you can count on Middlebury and Charlotte (Spartan). You can count on Entegra to make it right, at their site or with your local service agent.
8) You can free style it and pick places to stop at while you're on the go; you can plan it out to infinite detail. We fall somewhere in between, because we try to find desirable places to spend two to three weeks in one place. You most likely will want to identify where you want to Winter fairly quickly and study the forum to find a place that sounds like what you're looking for; ask questions of other campers. It gets expensive quickly for campgrounds for less than a month in the prime Winter areas and the nicer campgrounds.
9) You can be as social or as private as you want in the campground. I have not seen nearly the list of or the magnitude of bad behaviors in campgrounds that another long thread suggests.
10) You need about 50% of what you think you do. I dumped about 400 lbs at the 4 month point. I have space in my basement. On the other hand, I am possessed with rearranging the basement to try to find the optimum pack out; as DW is with topside.
11) Whoever said you only need to wash a coach once a year must really have a crummy looking coach. Unless you purchase some type of spotless system plan to clean by hand (and you'll likely want to do it at least twice a month).
12) We don't need a 1.5 bath coach. One bath is fine, and we really appreciate the additional living area.
13) We have carpets on top of our tile and I'm glad we do. Ours happen to be hand made in Iran and Turkey and they give our coach a bit of our personality.
14) I traded my Eurolounger for my easy chair and I'm glad I did. We don't use the "L" out in the L-shaped couch. Of course, the dog owns the couch anyway.
15) I am disappointed in my Girard awnings...they are nice, but the damn wind seems to allows blow just enough and gusty enough to not trust the wind sensor to get them back in before they get damaged. And the wind blows more than you think.
16) I'd like to have different windows that open and allow fresh air in easier. I'd like to have more control over my window shades, day and might, individually.
17) There are some fantastic sights to see, and they aren't all on the coast, at Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, or near theme parks.
18) Take a driving course. Take a chassis course if offered. Try to learn as much about your coach as you can, because in the end, you're probably going to have to handle a wrench or screwdriver to move down the road.
I am winding down so I'll say perhaps the most important thing I have learned...I LOVE MY ENTEGRA COACH. I can't compare it to any other coach, having no experience with the others. This is our first. We were committed and "all in". The only reason I can imagine it not being our last coach is if we were to upgrade...but I can't imagine what could be out there that we would want or need, because we have it in this coach. It drives like a dream (the IFS), it lives like a home, and it provides, through full timing, a new life that we needed at this stage.