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Old 10-31-2009, 07:37 PM   #181
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That describes us also. All we were looking for was an alternative to a hotel (for many reasons) and a restaurant (also for many reasons).

We considered the Sprinter, of course, but ruled it out primarily because it was so tall and narrow. I was a little leery of all that weight/heighth on a 3/4 ton chassis (It is quite narrow inside too, btw). I felt more secure with the much shorter wider version on a 1-ton frame. (Yeah, I know the Stabili-track kinda levels the playing field but just the same.)

The diesel engine in the Sprinter is attractive though.

It is my understaanding that in building it yourself, you will spend almost as much when you finish up.

The used (~2000) seems like an excellent choice to me.
Or we could go with a one-of-a-kind van build like this:

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: General RVing Issues: RV or Treehouse?
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Old 10-31-2009, 07:51 PM   #182
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NW, if gas mileage is your priority, drive a 4 cyl and pitch a tent. RVs and trailers get crappy gas mileage and there is no breaking the laws of physics allowed.

FWIW, most fulltimers seem to stay several days to a couple weeks in one place, so gas is a much less substantial expense than you would guess.
Gas mileage is not a priority, but a factor. The way I look at it is that if a TT costs me 8-10 mpg, then I should get a used class C which gives me the same. Purchase price is higher with a class C, but it has more room, convenience, etc...

As I said, I will not be a camper but a traveler. I am thinking about zigzagging North America from Alaska to Prince Edwards Island. Many places to go, many interesting people to see... Out here in the West, a thousand mile trip does not get you very far. Just a road trip from Phoenix to Long Beach to visit a relative is a 1,200 mi round trip, including some in-town driving, sightseeing. Heh heh heh... Of course gas mileage matters. I want to drop by the fly-over states too. They've got to have something worthwhile.

About gas mileage of different types of RV, it's all about trade-off. In my engineering work, we have to consider everything. In a previous job, we had to study failure effects of each electronic component in a complex system. Not only you build it to work, you have to think about what happens when a bitty thing fails. There are human lives at stake, potential for huge liability lawsuits, gummint regulation, etc... Old habits die hard. Heh heh heh..

Plus as I said earlier, I have time to study this to death. What else can I do? My wife can't yet go on this grandiose trip that I have in mind. And I need to work on a couple of projects that were recently revived, to make a few more bucks while I still can.

So, I surf the Web, read people's blogs, find out about interesting places, try to define what I will want to do, where I will go, etc... I need to maximize the utility of my money, particularly if I will not be making more.

So far, I have a lot of fun by learning something, and have yet to spend a dime.

Audrey, isn't that a mystery? People reporting all different results about towing
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Old 10-31-2009, 08:01 PM   #183
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I don't know what to tell you NW-bound! I don't think my results were that different from other Casita owners but that was a long time ago.

We went with a class A motorhome because we expected to be traveling around quite a bit even though we would be fulltimers. It seemed more amenable to traveling than having a 5th wheel. That seems to be the breakdown between big rig and/or fulltime owners. Folks who tend to stay in two major places a year and then travel between (like snowbirds) tend to favor 5th wheels - you get a lot more living space for the length. Folks who like to travel a lot of the time tend to get motorhomes. The difference seems to be that it takes longer to setup a 5th wheel in a campsite.

Of course, we really didn't want to have to deal with a larger pick-up for towing either!

But us constant travelers tend to do twice the miles of the snowbird types. 5000 miles a year is more typical for them. 10,000 for us traveling fulltimers. So we use a lot more fuel!!!!

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Old 10-31-2009, 11:09 PM   #184
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But us constant travelers tend to do twice the miles of the snowbird types. 5000 miles a year is more typical for them. 10,000 for us traveling fulltimers.
In this essay, we are divided into two groups -- Campers and Rvers:

RV Travel: Are you a camper or an RVer?

I still prefer "Travelers" to "RVers" but Mr. Woodbury does have a point.
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Old 11-01-2009, 12:50 AM   #185
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There might be a third and much smaller group: people like Steinbeck who make a long-distance trek but in a relatively short amount of time. Will I fit in that class? I do not see myself becoming an RV full-timer. I like to travel to remote locations, but then must return to my permanent place from time to time to resume some navel gazing. However, I hope to make more than one trip (I think Steinbeck never made another RV trip after Travels with Charley and died a few years later).

The more I think about it, the more a class C like George's Tioga or Andy's Lazy Daze makes sense for my purpose. It would give us enough room, conveniences, and comfort, while not being overly large like a class A that would limit mobility. Add a car behind that class C and it would be complete.

Class C owners, I would like to hear from your experiences. Thx.

The Adventures of Tioga and George

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Old 11-01-2009, 05:58 AM   #186
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NW, if I were you, I would go rent a Class C for several days or a week to see how you like the experience. Much more satisfying than twiddling spreadsheets and you will learn a lot quickly.
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:30 AM   #187
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NW, if I were you, I would go rent a Class C for several days or a week to see how you like the experience. Much more satisfying than twiddling spreadsheets and you will learn a lot quickly.
I agree. You are making it much more complicated than it needs to be. Come on in, the water's fine.
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:39 AM   #188
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I have a Lazy Daze - wonderfully made vehicles as solid as a rock. We are a bit of a cult in our fanaticism about these rigs. Most people who have them live in California because if you go new, you can only buy them from the factory in Montclair, CA. I think we own the only LD in the state of Nebraska. To REALLY learn about these rigs, join the LD Yahoo group:

lifewithalazydazerv : Life With A Lazy Daze RV

We have had it five years and due to a number of factors haven't used it as much as intended. I could and would and may still live in it for long periods of time (such as summer months in the Rockies while the heat bears down on the plains). I doubt I'll ever go without a stick house to come home to but would likely give it a shot if circumstances presented that opportunity.

My DW would NEVER live in a rig full time and the jury is still out on how long she could live in it at any one time. If you are married, YOU MUST HASH THIS OUT IN GREAT DETAIL WITH YOUR SPOUSE!

PS - I attended the 2006 LD 50th anniversary Hoedown mentioned in Andy's blog. I met Andy and many of the people on that Yahoo site. Nice folks who are incredibly knowledgeable. Andy isn't kidding when he says he's shy!

PSS - A BIG reason I like our 26 foot LD is that we can get into the out of the way forest service campgrounds and the like that Class A's can't. I'm not a big fan of RV resorts and only stay there once in a blue moon. I much prefer staying in pristine backcountry with hiking, fishing and like opportunities away from civilization. I get enough of that in the stick house setting.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:07 AM   #189
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FWIW, most fulltimers seem to stay several days to a couple weeks in one place, so gas is a much less substantial expense than you would guess.
Yeah, my idea of a good time isn't driving an RV everywhere. So much better, in my view, to park the RV for a couple of days, weeks, or months and use a toad to explore the area. My guess is I'll burn a similar amount of gas with a Class A + small toad than someone traveling an equal number of total miles in a Class B.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:18 AM   #190
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I agree. You are making it much more complicated than it needs to be. Come on in, the water's fine.
Amen.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:24 AM   #191
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If we weren't fulltimers we'd go for something shorter than 30 ft because you can get into a lot of nice backwoods places. However, even with a 37ft Class A, we are able to spend most of our camping destination time in state and federal parks and not in RV "resorts".

We've talked to folks who go out on long trips and then return to home base, and they often have TWICE the mileage on their motorhome than we do for the same model year.

10,000 miles lets us make a big coast to coast loop most years. We stay at a spot 3 days, 5 days, a week, 2 weeks - very rarely a month. Use the toad heavily of course for day trips.

You can see our travel pattern over the last 4 years - 2006-2008 are the most common travel patterns for us - click on the year under "By Years" below the map to see our trek for that year, and click on the push-pins to get the date a location for each overnight: Audrey & John's Travel Maps

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Old 11-01-2009, 10:39 AM   #192
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You can see our travel pattern over the last 4 years
Oh!!! I do like that. What program do you use to create these maps? I do need that -- for o' so many reasons.
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:02 AM   #193
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I certainly have given a wrong impression as being too calculating in a recreation activity and taking away a lot of the fun. But really, I never keep close track of expenses, and would not know how much we pay for RE taxes, insurance, car expenses, etc... That's my wife/secretary's job.

The reason for my apparent indecision is that I see the allure of different types of RV, and must read up other people's experience to see where I fit.

Little R-Pods or their equivalent look interesting until we went out to look at them. Neat for weekend trips, but for month-long treks, where would we stow our "stuff"?

We looked at some class As. Nice and roomy, but I can see myself getting upset trying to back it into tight corners. If I dent a corner of it, while my wife was out giving directions, we would be blaming each other for quite some time. I do not want to become a source of free entertainment to bystanders. In addition, I understand that National Parks have a limit of length, and that may lock out the As.

I knew about macerator pumps. Can it be retrofitted on?

The above are the things I am educating myself about. I just want to prepare myself about pros and cons. Does all this preparation take away the spontaneity of RV'ing? I beg to differ. It should prepare myself about the negative aspects of this activity, so I would have more fun. The spontaneity will come later, and hopefully will never cease.

Here's another example. Flat towing a car is not as simple as I thought, once I read about Andy's experience. After spending significantly more than I expected, he still had not had a tow-brake system installed in his dinghy, a Honda FIT. I would have bought a Stehl tow dolly with electric brakes for less than $1500. Why didn't Andy? What's the pro and con?

Andy's Web Blog: Follow the leader

Anyway, talking about RVs may bore some people, but I am obsessed with it now. It gives me a diversion from discussions about SWR, MFs, mortgage payments and such. My mileage does vary.

PS. I am trying to get my wife to go look at another used class C today.
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:06 AM   #194
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NW, if I were you, I would go rent a Class C for several days or a week to see how you like the experience. Much more satisfying than twiddling spreadsheets and you will learn a lot quickly.
An excellent idea! If possible, spend a couple of weeks with it.

We owned a Class C motorhome in the 80s and really enjoyed it. It was fairly easy to get around even in heavier traffic. It's nice to be able to pull over and use the bathroom or get a snack without stepping outside. It was a pain to unhook everything at a campground to go exploring, but that issue would be solved with a "toad".
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:11 AM   #195
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More info than you probably need about pulling a toad:

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Dinghy Towing
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:26 AM   #196
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FWIW, we thought about an RV for a while and finally rented one for a week a couple of summers ago for a trip in CO and NM. Although it was pretty easy to determine that a Class C would not be the best choice for us, we were pretty quickly hooked on the general idea. But I would not have realized what kind of floorplan, size, etc. would work for us without spending some time in an RV (pretty much any RV).

As for the longer trip issue, we have done up to a week in our little trailer with 2 adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs. Were it just the two of us, I suspect that we could go for a month plus in the size trailer we have, although we might prefer a different floorplan in that case.
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Old 11-01-2009, 03:08 PM   #197
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I.

You can see our travel pattern over the last 4 years - 2006-2008 are the most common travel patterns for us - click on the year under "By Years" below the map to see our trek for that year, and click on the push-pins to get the date a location for each overnight: Audrey & John's Travel Maps

Audrey

I'm curious as to why you haven't ventured into a lot of the east coast especially New England ?
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Old 11-01-2009, 03:11 PM   #198
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Oh!!! I do like that. What program do you use to create these maps? I do need that -- for o' so many reasons.
Well - DH learned how to program those maps himself a few years ago based on Google maps. I'll get the link from him where he's posted the code on some user forum.

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Old 11-01-2009, 03:16 PM   #199
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No way would I ever use a dolly! It's an extra piece that you gotta store while camping. I'd say hassle factor would be really high.

We just bought one of the cars that towed well four wheels down - there is a list of these is several places on the web. Other people modify their toads to make them OK for pulling four wheels down.

The car (a Jeep Liberty) was mostly ready to go, but we installed a braking system and the lights for towing. We didi it ourselves but a lot of places would have done it for us.

Once you get the right pieces on your toad, the rest of it is pretty darn easy.

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Old 11-01-2009, 03:17 PM   #200
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I'm curious as to why you haven't ventured into a lot of the east coast especially New England ?
Well, we tend to be drawn to the western US and only visit GA because we have family there.

But one of these years we'll spend going up New England and into the Maritime Provinces of CA - all the way to Newfoundland if we can.

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