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Old 01-07-2009, 08:45 PM   #41
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:41 PM   #42
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We just got back from a five day camping trip and had a full hookup site where the night temps went as low as 20deg. That makes for interesting issues with the septic line if you do not keep it all down hill. They make adjustable stands for this problem and the people that did not use them wished they had!
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:01 PM   #43
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We just got back from a five day camping trip and had a full hookup site where the night temps went as low as 20deg. That makes for interesting issues with the septic line if you do not keep it all down hill. They make adjustable stands for this problem and the people that did not use them wished they had!
Do you keep the valves open all the time when you are hooked up?
The way to do it is to only dump the tanks when near full - first black water then gray. This allows time for the solids to break down.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:24 PM   #44
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You are certainly correct. When we are connected to a sewered site I do keep the valves open so that nothing is in the tank and I do not have to monitor levels. If you use the hose stands it works very well but only with them. I usually close the gray water tank valve the day before we are leaving to let that tank fill some and then I open it to wash the hose before disconnecting.
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:39 AM   #45
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Though DH does the dump duty when we camp in our RV, I would rather have that job for a thousand years than change one dirty diaper. Seriously. Ugh! and Yuck!

Ours is quite simple and we do the black water then the gray water tank last. Stow the hose in one of those nifty hose-keepers on the back bumper, and you are done in 5 minutes.
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:39 PM   #46
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I just dealt with a diaper that was far worse than an entire camping season's worth of dump station duty...
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:44 PM   #47
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I just dealt with a diaper that was far worse than an entire camping season's worth of dump station duty...
It all Depends.
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Old 01-09-2009, 09:49 PM   #48
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It all Depends.
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:33 PM   #49
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For those who RV,

Rich mentioned a 4 dayer for $100. Sounds great but I wonder what investment you need to make such a trip possible.

Are there any estimates of what it costs for the actual equipment? If you could sell your house and live RV full time, it would have to save money over living in a house and traveling by car using Motel 6 or equivalent.

Someplace in between, there must be a "break even" point for the "casual" RVer. Anyone know what that is? I'll admit to being fascinated not only by the life-style, but also by the equipment. I always go through the model RVs when we find a show or whatever. But, my mental back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that you have to travel a lot by RV to save any money over doing it the old fashioned way (you know, sedan and a Motel 6).

Off the top of my head, I wonder about e.g.,

gas mileage vs a car
depreciation of a "dedicated" vehicle vs a daily driver which you need anyway.
opportunity costs or finance cost (or both)
RV park costs vs Motel 6 (esp. when it's a couple and not a whole family.)
storage - in my old MW life we had ordinances against some types of home-storage of RVs
routine maintenance of dedicated vehicle
breakdowns costs vs a car
propane for heating during winter
other?

Not trying to be critical at all. RVing actually sounds like an adventure and a very social thing and lots of fun. But my "cheap sob" nature would have to go through the calculations suggested before even thinking about an RV purchase.

Many of my co-w*rkers got into RVing and it always seemed to follow the same pattern. Young couple buys a tent to throw in the back of the car. They upgrade to a pop-up, then to a small camper, then to "big" camper and then a few even go to the "bus" type by the time they retire. None of this can be cheap and I wonder if it could actually be "worth it" on a pure cost vs "Motel 6" for traveling.

At this point this is no more than curiosity on my part. You don't see many RVs on Oahu (Maybe Waianae coast or the occasional beach park - more permanent than "roll-your-own" here.)

Thanks for any info and I'm sure YMMV
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:45 PM   #50
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Many of my co-w*rkers got into RVing and it always seemed to follow the same pattern. Young couple buys a tent to throw in the back of the car. They upgrade to a pop-up, then to a small camper, then to "big" camper and then a few even go to the "bus" type by the time they retire. None of this can be cheap and I wonder if it could actually be "worth it" on a pure cost vs "Motel 6" for traveling.
Koolau, here are a couple of earlier threads on the subject. Bottom line, RVing part time isn't viewed as a cost saving passtime unless you have a very basic rig or tent camp. But then most hobbies aren't about saving money are they?

Thinking of Buying a Motorhome & living in it instead of a traditional home?

Frugal RV Planning
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:40 PM   #51
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Hi, I'm shopping for a used Class B (van-sized) RV such as the Roadtrek (www.roadtrek.com), and have a few questions for anybody who might have owned/lived in one of these:
  • How are they for a couple to live in for an extended period, of say a few weeks or a month? We'd need to use it a lot to justify the cost, but is that realistic in such a small space? (We've done a lot of camping in the past, even owned a VW camper van at one point, but I really wouldn't want to spend a few weeks in one of those right now.)
I have not spent time in a camper that small. Mine was 20+ Winnebago. Which I spent over a year in traversing the USA.

I expected that size (conversion van) to be too small for extended period for couples.

A friend and his wife (late 30s) made a nearly year long cross country trip in a Ford conversion van. My bet was that they would divorce after a few months. I lost my bet. They did very well, thogh I wold not even imagine the trip with DW. DW's idea of camping is a balcony suite overlooking the beach with room service.

Much whitespace was covered here in poo. That stuff getting dumped, is such a trivial part of the camping experience as a flyspeck on sheet of legal paper. If that puts you off, don't even bother.

My current RV is an Argosy 23', with the requisite holding tanks. Though my preference is for boondocking. Where the poo disposal issue is finding a suitable spot with shovel in hand.

That said: happy trails!
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:07 PM   #52
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First buy used. Second spending a couple of nights or weeks in an rv in a state park is all you need to do to have fun. You can not go anywhere and stay in a motel six and do nothing and have fun. So if your into nature it is a cost savings. If you buy right you should not loose more than 500 a year deprecitation and maybe less. In Florida State parks are 1/2 price for resident seniors and handicapped. So your looking at 10 a night.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:13 PM   #53
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Thanks for any info and I'm sure YMMV
Yeow. I have been to Hawaii on vacation many times (more than 20) so I have some idea of why there are few (if any) RVs there. First off, the climate is such that shelter is not really a consideration -- a blanket and pillow is probably overkill. (Yes, I have been "caught" in the rain -- once thought I would drown -- but if you live there that is more a schedulling problem than anything else.) The other thing I noticed about Hawaii was all the State and Federal parks lock the gates at 5:00 (or some such early hour). I don't know if they lock you in or out but it doesn't feel right. Above all is the thought that an island is an island and "getting away from it all" seems like an impossible quest since everything is so close. What is that saying? "Another lousy day in paradise." If you have a permanent (grounded) house, how could you possibly top that with a mobile one?

As to your real question: First, I have a difficult time relating a "Motel 6" to my own home. In any event, I am unable to put a price on sleeping in my own bed with my own pillow(s) -- as in the commercial... priceless. (Rich In Tampa said this much more eloquently earlier when he spoke about "the bed bugs, mystery stains on the sheets, partially clean bathrooms, smoke residue, carpets of many delights" in commercial establishments.) In addition, there are those that enjoy eating in restaurants... I am not one of them. The portions are too large as are the checks that appear at the finish. A "special occasion" is okay but it is nice to eat your own meals most of the time and, most importantly, the choice should be mine. That I cannot put a price on either.

Above all is that you are in charge of your itinerary -- if something catches your eye on your travels, you can calmly explore it without being pressured by hotel reservations. My experience is that the things you didn't know about (the word is serendipity) are the best destinations... primarily because you get to enjoy them without the crowds (or, at least, I find them as good as, the heavily promoted -- read watch your pocketbook -- destinations.)

Bottom line, however, is as RAWahoo says: It is a lifestyle not a business... profit is not the point.

Now, if you are serious about getting into the RV life, you could start at the beginning:

RV Home Yet?: First RV ever built for sale this month
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1st RV.jpg (21.5 KB, 7 views)
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:35 PM   #54
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Off the top of my head, I wonder about e.g.,

gas mileage vs a car
depreciation of a "dedicated" vehicle vs a daily driver which you need anyway.
opportunity costs or finance cost (or both)
RV park costs vs Motel 6 (esp. when it's a couple and not a whole family.)
storage - in my old MW life we had ordinances against some types of home-storage of RVs
routine maintenance of dedicated vehicle
breakdowns costs vs a car
propane for heating during winter
other?
Can't speak for Hawaii, but on the mainland I can give you an idea of our costs. We don't have a motorized RV: we have a 16 foot trailer I can tow with my existing minivan. We bought new last year before the bottom came out of the economy. Including the camper, all the associated fees, an involved hitch on the van, putting an OEM tow package on the van at my local mechanic, and completely outfitting the thing for travel, we spent under $20k. You could spend less or a whole lot more.

When towing, our gas mileage is cut in half, so my 25MPG van gets a little over 12MPG. Then again, with two small children and two elderly dogs in teh van with us, we typically don't drive more than an hour or two each way for most of our trips.

We paid cash for the trailer. We could have financed it at 5 or 6%.

RV parks vary. Of the ones we frequent, daily charges range from $20 to $35 a night. We usually patronize state and local parks rather than private campgrounds. Since we are in NJ, there aren't really opportunities for boondocking (which is usually free).

Couldn't say about storage. We specifically chose a trailer that would fit easily in our driveway and not be in the way, plus it is an extra guest room in a pinch. We don't have ordinances against driveway storage here.

Maintenance/breakdowns increase with age. Thus far our maintenance has been a hundred bucks to have it winterized. I've been told to expect an average of $500 a year in maintenance and repairs.

I think we used less than 20 pounds of propane for an entire season of camping. I'd be thrilled to winter camp, but DW is having none of it, so October is the end of our season here.

The savings are iffy, IMO. We bought this thing because we like spending time outdoors and wanted to be able to travel with the kids in relative comfort. But it does make for inexpensive outings. We typically go away for 2 to 5 nights (lots of 2 and 3 day weekends). It costs whatever extra gas because we are towing and an average of about $30 a night in fees. I figure we save significant amounts of money by not eating out much when travelling and of course if you are in the woods having fun you aren't dropping $$$ in stores. But where can a family of 4 go for a 3 day weekend for $100? Maybe the in-laws.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:37 PM   #55
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In all seriousness, if anyone is looking to purchase an RV (first-time or whatever), then now is probably as good a time as there has ever been:

California RV dealer offers new RVs at half price (one of many, many such articles of late)

California RV Dealer - Altmans Winnebago

"A brand new, fully equipped 30' Winnebago Class A motorhome, originally priced at $83,258 will be available for $41,629. A 2008 Class A Winnebago Tour 40-foot with a 400 hp Cummins engine, originally priced at $268,697 will be sold for $161,218. At 40 percent off MSRP, a brand new 2008 Class A 35L Winnebago Adventurer with a window sticker of $160,038 can be purchased for $96,023."
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:41 PM   #56
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But where can a family of 4 go for a 3 day weekend for $100? Maybe the in-laws.
Your in-laws charge you to visit them? Dang, and I thought I had an unreasonable MIL...
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:42 PM   #57
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Your in-laws charge you to visit them? Dang, and I thought I had an unreasonable MIL...
No, they don't charge. But I couldn't think of anywhere else you could go and stay overnight for that amount of money.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:43 PM   #58
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Brewer, it was a joke...
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:58 PM   #59
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Brewer, it was a joke...

I know. Too fast to let it go, too slow to have an intelligible response.

Gawd I hate Jan and Feb in the northeast.
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:00 PM   #60
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Gawd I hate Jan and Feb in the northeast.
I could gloat about it hitting 80 here yesterday but I know I'll pay for it come August.
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