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RV Upgrade Successful
Old 08-07-2007, 09:21 PM   #1
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RV Upgrade Successful

While it doesn't hold a candle to the beautiful rigs Steve and REW have recently acquired, we successfully christened our new RV last weekend. After greatly enjoying our first RV (a Class B on a diesel Sprinter chassis) we realized that we loved the ability to get away on a minute's notice, and that RVing (if not full-timing) was something we would keep on doing. But, we needed more space.

Given our limited storage space, we stumbled on the TrailManor, a high end collapsible but rigid wall RV (not a popup camper). It's a travel trailer which collapses down to 24 feet long and 5.5 feet tall, expanding to 31 feet and full height.

Here's the living room and kitchen:



And here it is one under tow:



The technology is aircraft-like so the entire thing weighs under 3200 lbs dry; you can tow it with an SUV (we have a Sequoia but you can use smaller tow vehicles). Full amenities, permanent KING sized bed (yeah!). It stores in our driveway without a problem.

Took it out last weekend and it was almost flawless, including an air conditioner that kept us cool under the worst Florida has to offer. If you're curious the TrailManor web site has more.

Next trip is a 5-day stay at Fort Wilderness. We must be the exact household they had in their marketing sights.
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:32 PM   #2
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Full amenities, permanent KING sized bed (yeah!).
Glad you like it. I couldn't even get a king sized bed in my new bedroom.
Ha
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:42 PM   #3
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Doc, looks like the guys who designed your new RV were the same guys who came up with the idea behind the Transformers. That's a great concept and it looks like they did a super job with it. Bet all that additional elbow room feels great.

Since getting mine home I've yet to get it out of the parking spot except for a short trip to get a state inspection sticker. DW is convinced helping out DD#2 with the arrival of a new grandson has priority over an inaugural trip in our new toy, and who am I to disagree. I'm hoping we'll get a weekend or two later this month and a longer trip soon. If not, I may take it on the road solo...
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:12 PM   #4
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I looks like a great use of space and heck, it fits in your driveway. So there is a couch on one end and the bed on the other? What is behind the couch?

I like fort Wilderness, it is so nicely groomed. Enjoy your trip--how hot is it down there anyway?

We have had the hottest summer ever.

I am going out on a three day camping venture with my two sisters next week. Should be interesting.
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:14 PM   #5
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Wow, that is pretty neat. I had no idea they could be so big.
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:45 PM   #6
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very nice. and i thought my collapsible cup was cool.
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Old 08-08-2007, 07:25 AM   #7
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I looks like a great use of space and heck, it fits in your driveway. So there is a couch on one end and the bed on the other? What is behind the couch?

I like fort Wilderness, it is so nicely groomed. Enjoy your trip--how hot is it down there anyway?

...I am going out on a three day camping venture with my two sisters next week. Should be interesting.
Wow - three sisters on a camping trip. Lots of togetherness. We'll need narrative and pictures, of course. BTW, we discovered that a $10 window fan on moderate speed keeps the mosquitos at bay outdoors even at dusk- maybe everyone else knew that but it's been great for us.

The TrailManor: the sofa is in front, and provides big storage beneath (golf clubs, etc. The bed is at the rear with a privacy curtain, and has large understorage, too. Tons of counterspace in the kitchen, usable shower, etc.

We're doing Fort Wilderness mostly for Epcot - Wine and Food festival type activities, but of course we'll do Disney.

It's typically hot here, low 90s, humid but nothing earth shattering. I'm afraid it's hotter in the midwest these days (Missouri has 98-100 degrees). I noticed that very hot weather here brings out the midwest winter mentality - you just go about your life. We're fortunate to have beaches where there's always a breeze and good people watching.
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Old 08-08-2007, 07:46 AM   #8
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It is beautiful. Let me know if you come up to the panhandle. Better wait though, expected to hit 100 today, with a heat index of 110.
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Old 08-08-2007, 09:41 AM   #9
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Looks cozy.

I'm still fuzzy on the mechanics here. For example, that cabinet on the left -- where does it go when you collapse the trailer?

Is the main advantage of a collapsible trailer the decreased wind resistance (mileage and stability)?

How long does it take to collapse or uncollapse it?
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Old 08-08-2007, 10:16 AM   #10
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Looks cozy.

I'm still fuzzy on the mechanics here. For example, that cabinet on the left -- where does it go when you collapse the trailer?

Is the main advantage of a collapsible trailer the decreased wind resistance (mileage and stability)?

How long does it take to collapse or uncollapse it?
The cabinets unhook and get placed on the floor during travel. They weigh next to nothing and contain things like cereal, napkins. Collapsing makes for better driveway storage (it shrinks by 7 feet in length, and in height). But equally important is that the light weight is towable with an SUV (rather than a heavy duty pickup).

Finally, towing travel trailers is dicey with the big ones; this one is so light and low that you barely know it's there even in windy conditions. A good choice for us.
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Old 08-08-2007, 10:31 AM   #11
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My neighbors have one of those, Rich. They are SWEET.
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Trailmanor's are great...
Old 08-08-2007, 01:37 PM   #12
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Trailmanor's are great...

Rich, We bought one new when we lived in So. Cal, in 2002. The main reason for buying this particular unit was - that I could keep it in my garage - as space was certainly at a premium out there.

We loved it and used it often. The engineering is nothing short of incredible.

After moving back east, having more room for storage, family growing up - we decided to spring for a 34 ft. 5th wheel in late 2005. No regrets there either.

As you know - there is a rigid opening/closing process/proceedure. If something doesn't close easily - don't force it! Go back and re-trace your steps. Usually not a problem but occaisionally, I'd get in a hurry.

Enjoy the Trailmanor.
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Old 08-08-2007, 01:46 PM   #13
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Fine advice and good endorsement, Jim. I'm a checklist type of guy on things like this.
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Old 08-08-2007, 02:42 PM   #14
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If you don't mind my asking, Rich, how did the resale value of the Sprinter hold up?

I'd like to "start small" with a Sprinter the way you did, and if it's worth my time to search one out, I'd like to buy used vs new.

Thanks, and congratulations on the new rig!
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Old 08-08-2007, 04:27 PM   #15
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If you don't mind my asking, Rich, how did the resale value of the Sprinter hold up?
Badly, as expected at age 11 months - lost about 25% on purchase price. However, we found a win-win in that the trade-in was worth more than the new RV, so I got a big check back. This in turn eliminated sales tax (7%). To even it out I also negotiated no-charge fancy hitch (almost $1k retail), brake controller and a few other odds and ends that cost the dealer little but saved me lots.

I would recommend a class B to start but they are not cheap, and be certain you can sleep comfortably in the one you choose. Used is great, too, if you don't mind the usual issues.
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Old 08-08-2007, 04:48 PM   #16
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That's an interesting RV option, I'll have to check those out with DH when he gets back from his trip. Very cool Rich!
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:10 PM   #17
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Thank you kindly, Rich!
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:49 PM   #18
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Totally cool! I checked out their website and would have chosen the same model that you did. I have the same question as Trombone Al--how long does it take to collapse or uncollapse?

Thanks for sharing it.
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Old 08-08-2007, 06:37 PM   #19
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Totally cool! I checked out their website and would have chosen the same model that you did. I have the same question as Trombone Al--how long does it take to collapse or uncollapse?
We're beginners. It took me about 6 minutes when I timed it, about the same opening and closing, and that's going through the checklist item by item, reading them off one by one. Experienced users, like the salesman, took about 3-4 minutes. I figure 5 minutes is real-world. (this doesn't include all the generic RV tasks you'd have with any model, like hooking up the hose, electric, leveling, etc.)

It's ingenious, really. All balanced on torsion bars wtih a tubular sausage-like thing sealing all the gaps with no action on the owners' part. The founder was a metallurgical engineer/RVer who basically invented it in 1980 and has stuck with the same basic design ever since, making only incremental changes over the last 25 years. Basically, it works.
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Old 08-08-2007, 07:08 PM   #20
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Wow, that is pretty neat. I had no idea they could be so big.
(cough)
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