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Anybody live the RV life?
Old 02-20-2013, 11:19 PM   #1
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Anybody live the RV life?

In my 20's, my goal was to ER and buy a big RV and travel the country.

Now that I'm ER'd (early 40's), I've gone to a bunch of RV shows and walked through 100-some RV's of all sizes, and I have some doubts. Even the nicest ones feel a little flimsy. I stomp through like I normally walk and I can always feel the whole thing shake. The showers are small. I wonder about A/C effectiveness because you can't feel that at the shows.

And RV parks... $50+ a night? That's $1,500 a month just for utilities, basically.

Has anybody here done the RV thing and have any recommendations?
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:49 PM   #2
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A few quick thoughts -

- Not all RV parks are as much as $50/night. California tends to be expensive but even there, there are parks cheaper than that. Andy Baird spends a lot of time in state parks in NM. He buys a pass, and the last time I checked his blog, he was paying something like $150/month. Then there is boon-docking if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, which is very cheap

- Not all RV's are created equal. Some are really only made for vacation use, as opposed to full-timing use. If you're interested in class C's, check out Lazy Daze, who in the opinion of many, make some of the sturdiest and best-equipped class C's around. Tioga George full-times in an RV which was probably not best-equipped for the full-time life. He has spent a lot of time performing repairs on his Fleetwood, which are no longer made. He admitted in his blog that he didn't know much about RV's when he bought his, and that they are not as solidly built as they could be.

Those are a couple of hastily-typed thoughts from me. I'm sure that others will be able to help too, as there are quite a few RV'ers here.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:35 AM   #3
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Like many I've been looking into the idea. I own a trailer now but just for vacations and such. Go do some reading over at Escapees RV Club you'll get the best info on it there. As you'll see you can spend as little or as much as you want fulltiming, there are plenty of ways to save on expenses, ex: If you stay at a campground for a month at a time you can get it down to $300 for the month as opposed to paying the nightly rates.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:47 AM   #4
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Looking at last year, we spent 70 nights in RV parks - the most expensive was $42, the least was $12 and we averaged $24. We've been RVing for years and never paid $50 to stay in any RV park.

We have two A/C units and they keep our 5th wheel cool even in the full TX sun on a 100F day.

If you are looking for a 'solid' RV you need to be prepared to spend some significant $. Even then you have to remember they are all resting on pneumatic tires and some sort of suspension system and will have some movement no matter how well they are stabilized when parked.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:10 AM   #5
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Check out Irv2.com and Airforums.com they have lots of information. Read Read Read there are lots of options out there.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:45 AM   #6
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Also try the Forest River Forums.....And Roadtrek ( if you are single this looks like a great way to go!!!!!)

I too am toying with the idea of taking up RV'ing as a hobby!!! But sometimes when I read the Airforums and Forest River and Keystone forums it is very discouraging because of all the problems people seem to have...no matter how much they pay for their units..

That and the fact that I have seen SO many RV's parked beside homes for 50 weeks of the year....can't be good for them to sit all that time.....

I want an Airstream!!!!!-I have been smitten for years...but I may purchase a used one and set it up on my property, facing towards the woods and pond, and I wont even need a tow vehicle!!!! I can just pretend I'm out in some park and enjoy life!!!!!


THere are so many PEOPLE any more on the roads and in the parks I wonder if it will get harder to find a spot to get some space when camping....where you don't have 100 other people right on top of you.....

That being said...I had an inground pool, I have a Harley D Ultra Classic, so I am used to hobbies that cost a lot to get into and maintain....!!!!! I also was married once too and that was.....o wait a minute this is about RV'ing NOT other expensive hobbies!!!!!

PS- I was thinking about selling the HD when I retired this year, but now I'm glad I kept it-it gets GREAT gas mileage and will be my grocery getter this summer!!!!!!

Good luck...!!!
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:48 AM   #7
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If you have god stabilizer jacks on your RV you may not feel it moving around. The ones at the shows often do not have their jacks down.

My husband is a big guy and when he stomps around the house at home, I can feel the floor shake. It is not much worse when we are camping.

The AC and heaters work great in RVs. We use a small electric heater when it is cold just to save on propane and that one small heater warms our whole RV.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:42 AM   #8
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If you have god stabilizer jacks on your RV you may not feel it moving around. The ones at the shows often do not have their jacks down.
+1. We have a lightweight 16' trailer we stay in about 30 nights a year and there are 2 adults, 2 kids and two medium sized dogs in the thing. When the jacks are down things are very stable.

The problem we have is that the AC is ridiculously oversized for our camper.
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:25 PM   #9
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We've thought about getting the RV and spending considerable time in it but agree with you that the RV's seem flimsy unless you spend 50% more than I spent on my house. Doesn't seem like a great investment with instant depreciation, but it is an awesome way to travel. Some of the 5th wheels at the RV shows seem to have good quality so making a decision is tough.

There are some interesting books on boondocking where you can stay in remote places cheap, but you need to weigh the trade-off's (will you have internet coverage, etc.)

good luck!
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:46 PM   #10
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RV'ing is a lifestyle. It is not cheap. However my opinion is a 25 foot chevy sunseeker 2300. buy thru rvdirect-get the levelers
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:50 PM   #11
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But sometimes when I read the Airforums and Forest River and Keystone forums it is very discouraging because of all the problems people seem to have...no matter how much they pay for their units..
If those reporting problems on RV forums represented a true cross-section of the RVing world, no one in their right mind would buy an RV. After spending more than a decade on RV forums and RVing, I'm convinced that the vast majority of folks who RV have only minor issues and the relative few who do have big problems spend a lot of time posting about it. Gotta vent somewhere, eh?

I also strongly encourage the purchase of a 'gently used' unit between two and three years old. Someone else has already taken the big initial hit on depreciation and probably spent the time and effort to get any major issues taken care of while under warranty.

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THere are so many PEOPLE any more on the roads and in the parks I wonder if it will get harder to find a spot to get some space when camping....where you don't have 100 other people right on top of you.....
One of the many benefits of being retired is choosing when and where you want to go without the constraints of timing around holidays, weekends, or summer school vacations. We do much of our traveling during the Spring and Fall, avoiding holiday weekends - and crowded campgrounds.
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That and the fact that I have seen SO many RV's parked beside homes for 50 weeks of the year....can't be good for them to sit all that time.....
+1

Don't buy it if you don't plan on using it. I have a goal of spending at least 50 nights per year in ours - we did 70 last year.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:19 PM   #12
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Thank you R.....I DO tend to agree with you because even if there are 1000 people posting about problems, there are million + who are out there "doing it" and loving it!!! And that is why I want to try it! That way, if it does not turn out to what I think it is, it was my choice, but at least I tried. A LOT of people pooh poohed my pool and my Harley, but..O well, nuf said!!! I LIKED swimming in the pool, I LOVE riding my bike!!!!

And...one can ALWAYS find something to complain about!!! Nothing in life is perfect and if one waits for perfection, one may find that a satin lined casket is about as nice as it will ever get!!!

Where's my Airstream?!?!?!?!?
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:20 PM   #13
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PS..a lot of those pooh poohers do the same about my ER....Too Bad!!!!!
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:07 PM   #14
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That and the fact that I have seen SO many RV's parked beside homes for 50 weeks of the year....can't be good for them to sit all that time...
Brought back a memory that made me laugh.......when my late wife & I decided to fulltime RV in 1997 we looked at (relatively) local private ads for used units...showed up to see one motorhome...(in the driveway)....guy gave us the "It's like one of the family, we're always in it and will be heartbroken to part company" spiel..........I wandered around the back and noticed the plates were 3 years old.

To the OP.....at that time I was coming up to 55, and my late wife was 6 1/2 years younger......we found that the average RVer was a fair bit older than me......in your 40's this'll be more pronounced.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:16 PM   #15
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To the OP.....at that time I was coming up to 55, and my late wife was 6 1/2 years younger......we found that the average RVer was a fair bit older than me......in your 40's this'll be more pronounced.
Except on weekends and holidays....
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:24 PM   #16
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Except on weekends and holidays....
With that in mind I should add "And don't EVER go anywhere near Puerto Penasco/Rocky Point, because those without any comprehension of the civilities of the RV lifestyle, (or any other lifestyle for that matter), tend to park junker trailers in storage lots and have them hauled out by tractor when they head down for those occasions".
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:28 PM   #17
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A few quick thoughts -

- Not all RV parks are as much as $50/night. California tends to be expensive but even there, there are parks cheaper than that. Andy Baird spends a lot of time in state parks in NM. He buys a pass, and the last time I checked his blog, he was paying something like $150/month. Then there is boon-docking if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, which is very cheap

- Not all RV's are created equal. Some are really only made for vacation use, as opposed to full-timing use. If you're interested in class C's, check out Lazy Daze, who in the opinion of many, make some of the sturdiest and best-equipped class C's around. Tioga George full-times in an RV which was probably not best-equipped for the full-time life. He has spent a lot of time performing repairs on his Fleetwood, which are no longer made. He admitted in his blog that he didn't know much about RV's when he bought his, and that they are not as solidly built as they could be.

Those are a couple of hastily-typed thoughts from me. I'm sure that others will be able to help too, as there are quite a few RV'ers here.
+1 on the RV parks - you can spend as little or as much as you like - there are many public campgrounds out there with decent facilities that are $20/night or less (down to free). We spent 3 nights at Padre Island Nat'l Seashore where the price is $8/night for a paved spot, picnic table, dump station with fresh water, and a nice bathhouse if you want to save the water in your rig.

For picking an RV, the first step is deciding what kind you want - trailer, 5th wheel (goes on back of pickup), or motorhome (self-contained, with or without "toad" - car towed behind). If you decide on a motorhome, I'll put in a plug for Born Free Class C Motorhome - we had one built a few months ago and they are exceptionally well constructed. Very nice people to work with as well. Good luck on your explorations!
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:14 PM   #18
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We just brought home a new Jayco Eagle 30RETS. It is heavier than I wanted, and bigger than I wanted, but DW wanted a big unit for our longer haul trips. This will be fine for us when we stay at RV parks, but I was hoping to find one "just right" (to satisfy DW's desire for the bigger model for cross country and "visit the kids" trips yet small enough to take to the hills within 2-3 hours of home). This one will be tough to get into the state park type campgrounds in this area. If I can't find some good state park type campgrounds that I can park this baby in, I'll probably buy a second, very small unit just for that...

That said, we do plan to put about 40-50 nights per year, or more, on this unit in the RV parks. I would guess that if it fits my favorite local CG, it would get more like 70-90 nights per year usage. Break even for us will be around 40 nights per year if used for 6-7 years then sold or traded. This includes depreciation on the unit, offset by lower lodging cost (RV park instead of hotel), added gasoline cost, less restaurant cost, better health due to less restaurant meals, and certain maintenance provisions. If we were able to stay in the local state parks, that would be like a freebie if it were beyond the break even point. If I have to get a second unit for the local state parks, I'm not sure how I can financially justify it...but it will be fun, we won't have to sleep on the ground, and we will have a shower. I guess it would be like having an airplane in retirement, fun for sure, but hard to justify financially.

Just another perspective, albeit from a newbie.

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Old 02-21-2013, 07:21 PM   #19
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We just brought home a new Jayco Eagle 30RETS.
That would be a 308RETS, right?

Very nice trailer, but as you say, a big/heavy one (35' long with a loaded weight of just under 10,000 lbs). What will you be pulling it with?
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:25 PM   #20
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Why not rent one for a few trips to see if you really like it? Renting ain't cheap, but cheaper than buying a decent rig then selling it after figuring RVing ain't right for you.
DW & I used to own & enjoy a fully self-contained Class B home ("camper van" size). Had dreams of buying a bigger rig & eventually full-timing. Eventually sold the B & never bought another. Too expensive to get what we wanted. Traveling 350-400mi a day in big RV costs ~$100/day more in just gas vs driving car or minivan. That $100 (ave) buys reasonable motel room in most areas, and you can put the campground $$ towards your meals.
Don't get me wrong. RVing still holds an appeal for me. But now I see POV of those who say RV's are like big boats. Happiest days are day you buy it....and the day you sell it

Happy Trails whatever you decide!
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