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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 03:38 PM   #21
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gReeNy
Hey Yakers, I thought a VW camper van would be a wise choice also, as it is cheaper on gas, smaller to get about, but, I have always been under the assumption that they are not very reliable. I'd love your comments and experiences with one of these...
Well, I have had the VW camper for about 5 years now. At first I had some problems with the original VW mechanicals. To "solve" this I had a Subaru engine installed. It is more reliable and more powerful and smog legal in California. The original wiring is still a weakness left over from the VW design and it came with an aftermarket alarm which keeps the remote in my hand whenever a door is openned, whether it has been turned on or not it seems to activate. Life with an old, odd vehicel.
But the positive sides are substantial. It camping kit is efficient. Hauls my wife & I & our younger son around whenever we want. It does not have the AC currently working but we have added a porta potty for use at remore camping sites. My son badly wants it and my wife loves it. They hated the Class C. It is very drivable. When we had a accident in 04 that killed our car we did not hesitate to take it on a 1k mi round trip drive. Its interior is cavernous, it is not a "mini" van, it is full sized. It is also an emotional thing, we just love it. It came with the Free Tibet sticker, which was standard on the 85 and optional on later models
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-05-2006, 05:22 PM   #22
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

I have owned 2 motorhomes and now own a truck and trailer. We are lucky to be able to use them for 6 or 7 trips per year. When I was younger with little children we ran a little class C Winnie into the ground going on family vacations. Looking back my only regret is not spending more time and money on trips with the family. I was able to earn more money but those days are gone now.

I love RVing and will always try to keep some type of an RV going, it is not something you do to save money. It is a hobby and/or a lifestyle. Some people RV fulltime and are able to live economically, but if you factor in the depreciation of their rigs vs. the appreciation of real property they are not coming out ahead. Regardless of the price there is nothing I enjoy more than a sunset by the Lake/River/Sea/Mountains of my choice while sleeping in my own little rolling home.

Rent first, try a week at a time for a couple of trips. You will know pretty quickly if you are an RV or a hotel person. I know plenty of both and everyone has valid reasons for their decision.

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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-06-2006, 07:30 AM   #23
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

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Originally Posted by plattj1
I have owned 2 motorhomes and now own a truck and trailer. We are lucky to be able to use them for 6 or 7 trips per year. When I was younger with little children we ran a little class C Winnie into the ground going on family vacations. Looking back my only regret is not spending more time and money on trips with the family. I was able to earn more money but those days are gone now.

I love RVing and will always try to keep some type of an RV going, it is not something you do to save money. It is a hobby and/or a lifestyle. Some people RV fulltime and are able to live economically, but if you factor in the depreciation of their rigs vs. the appreciation of real property they are not coming out ahead. Regardless of the price there is nothing I enjoy more than a sunset by the Lake/River/Sea/Mountains of my choice while sleeping in my own little rolling home.

Rent first, try a week at a time for a couple of trips. You will know pretty quickly if you are an RV or a hotel person. I know plenty of both and everyone has valid reasons for their decision.

JP
How was it RVing with kids? Claustraphobic at all? I think I have seen Class C floorplans that have a bed over the cab (for the kids) and another bed that could be closed off from the rest of the cabin.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-06-2006, 09:30 AM   #24
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

The VW campervan does seem like a great comprimise... but is there anything out there that compares... perhaps made by toyota etc.

I see that you can rent these little 4 cyl campers in Australia and parts of Europe. They are nothing that I have seen here in North America. Anyone know or have any experiences with these also?
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-06-2006, 11:40 AM   #25
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gReeNy
The VW campervan does seem like a great comprimise... but is there anything out there that compares... perhaps made by toyota etc.

I see that you can rent these little 4 cyl campers in Australia and parts of Europe. They are nothing that I have seen here in North America. Anyone know or have any experiences with these also?
You can rent VW campers in Hawaii, maybe some other parts of the US (Berkley?). If you want to rent something n that size check the usual RV rental places and ask if they have Class B typr RVs for rent.

As to space for camping with kids, we only had two kids with enough time between them that we only camped with one at a time. The Class C had lots of room, and even the VW camper had "enough". Its part of the experience to be close. What seems like a pain at the time, being cooped up in a storm, can be remembered fondly.(Although I do remember one wind storm in the desert that kept me up all night and I still remember unfondly.) Most of yur time is spent outside the camper, at least the way we did it.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-06-2006, 12:15 PM   #26
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
How was it RVing with kids?* Claustraphobic at all?* I think I have seen Class C floorplans that have a bed over the cab (for the kids) and another bed that could be closed off from the rest of the cabin.
I never felt too confined, we were out all day flying kites, riding bikes, building sand castles, whatever. If it rained we would rent movies and stay in or go to a theater if there was one around. We even went bowling if the weather was horrible. I did have the kids fall out (literally) of the overhead bunk twice at night. No one was hurt and I fashioned a rail to prevent further falls.

We still remember the campfire songs from a couple of the nightly ranger "talks" and make a yearly trip back to our favorite campground. My children both camp on their own every summer and enjoy the outdoors, although with computers and video games not as much as I did when I was their age.

The only other vacation I can think of which provides as much family time, all meals, excursions, etc... is going on a cruise, which is much more expensive. If your children are small I urge you to believe the cliches, time flies bye and you cannot get it back. We were able to enjoy lots of time together as a family which is probably why I wish I could have done even more. It sometimes feels like retirement is backwards, it would be great to take off 5 or 6 years when raising your kids and work a little longer in the end.

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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-06-2006, 12:22 PM   #27
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

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I never felt too confined, we were out all day flying kites, riding bikes, building sand castles, whatever. If it rained we would rent movies and stay in or go to a theater if there was one around. We even went bowling if the weather was horrible. I did have the kids fall out (literally) of the overhead bunk twice at night. No one was hurt and I fashioned a rail to prevent further falls.

We still remember the campfire songs from a couple of the nightly ranger "talks" and make a yearly trip back to our favorite campground. My children both camp on their own every summer and enjoy the outdoors, although with computers and video games not as much as I did when I was their age.

The only other vacation I can think of which provides as much family time, all meals, excursions, etc... is going on a cruise, which is much more expensive. If your children are small I urge you to believe the cliches, time flies bye and you cannot get it back. We were able to enjoy lots of time together as a family which is probably why I wish I could have done even more. It sometimes feels like retirement is backwards, it would be great to take off 5 or 6 years when raising your kids and work a little longer in the end.

JP
My kids are really young (one is 19 months, the other isn't born yet), and I already know that the time passes far too quickly. I'm slowly poking around and chewing on the idea of an RV because it sounds like just the thing for some memorable family outings with relatively little hassle. My parents owned a bungalow in the woods when I was growing up, and I'd like something similar to be a part of my kids' lives. But with the price of real estate these days, an RV looks more attainable.

Why don't parents ban computers and such on family outings?
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-06-2006, 12:27 PM   #28
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Well my kids are now 23 and 19. One is majoring in computer graphic design and the other is going to college to be a teacher, they would both be averse to me banning computers at this stage. Besides they are both bigger than me...

Enjoy your kids, it will be great!

JP
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-06-2006, 02:18 PM   #29
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

We need things like this avail in NorthAmerica. I guess the price of gas is just not high enough :-(

http://tinyurl.com/by5mc



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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-06-2006, 03:39 PM   #30
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

We used to have a Eurovan campervan. It was a six cylinder version. Traveled all over the US on a number of trips, none lasting more than a couple of weeks. It was great for long road trips on relatively short vacations. Although it could be used as a second vehicle, we rarely did so. But we did use it for going on trips of a 100 miles or so. Transmission was quirky. But otherwise it was reliable. We did on occassion trailer two motorcycles but I don't think the van liked it much.

We now have a class C Lazy Daze motorhome. Very highly rated but rather high priced for the size. We bought it new. We go on trips up to a month in it and is very comfortable for two people and two dogs. The VW would not be sufficient for us on these longer trips. We also use it most weekends in the summer. It can trailer a pretty big load.

We consider the motorhome a luxury and a drain on the net worth.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-06-2006, 10:55 PM   #31
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Motorhomes are rather more expensive than trailers.* Worse, though, is that they typically have MUCH higher maintenance expenses.* Motorhomes have a huge design problem for the mechanical issues that trailers don't have: they don't build enough of any model during a year to perfect the design.* With trailers, you use a pickup of which they make millions and get the design right.* Many people in the world can fix a big pickup, but every motorhome has unique wiring and plumbing routing.* It drives the RV repairers wild, means that you have to find a dealer to have any hope of having most repairs done right, and will pay for the extra expertise.
Now, 5th wheels are messy because you need to drill holes in the bed to mount the hitch and you can't rent a 5er to try it out, but they are MUCH easier to drive than a travel trailer.* If you decide RVing isn't for you, you can sell the truck at a good price (lots of people have uses for one) and take the usual bath on the small price of the trailer.
But, as to economics, I retired at 50 and couldn't justify the number of weeks needed to make it work until I was retired. Once retired, and traveling many months a year, it is cost justified.* Can't imagine I could ever cost justify a motorhome; it is pure indulgence....which is okay, so long as you know what you are doing.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-07-2006, 12:27 AM   #32
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

As Martha said, we currently own a smaller Class C. And we've had a Toyota Class C and the VW Eurovan. The most important part to know before buying one, to my mind, is that every possible choice is a compromise in some way. The VW was wonderful, but it also dictated how we used it. You wouldn't want to spend a month in it without some breathing motel room intervals. When we stopped for the night on the road, every move by one person forced a corresponding move by the other. This gets old, especially on a rainy day when you aren't driving. They are great if you are very active, such as going out for walks in the rain. We primarily used it for destination travel to California some place nice and such, where we would stay with friends and or relatives. We ended up needing a motel room at least once/week. The nicest part for me was that it could be parked or driven anywhere a car can go, no worries about going downtown, etc. Plus, if Martha needed a break, we would pull over at the strip mall and she could walk around while I napped or snacked. MPG was about 20.

The Toyota Dolphin was a piece of crap junk, rocking and rolling and sqeaking whenever there was a cross wind, very tiring to drive. Mileage was about 10-13 MPG (V-6), not much better than our current Class C. But enjoyable to have a toilet and all the other niceties.

We bought the new one with the intention of staying out for extended periods in the boondocks, big fridge and freezer (I don't care what you say, travel food anyplace near the highway is not good by the second day), go hide and lounge room, and dogs on the lap. I can't stress enough how important that becomes on a long trip with weeks and weeks with the same person disagreeing with you about everything you do, even your jokes. I also like to stop every three or four days on the road and just putz and sit and watch TV in comfort. This was important to both of us.

It's best to figure out how you will use it, and your personality and activity type. If you're incredibly active a smaller VW or Sprinter chasis will be fine. Both get good mileage and fit just about anywhere. If you primarily will use it as a second car and for road trips to visit friends or sites, these two are good choices for two people. Before making the current choice, I thought the Sprinter would be fine as long as we maybe rented a room or efficency apt for the week when we got wherever we were going. 10 MPG more with a smaller one would also probably mean much greater local use. And it sure is nice to have a place to change clothes or just rest get away for a bit. By getting the larger one, we have been forced to drive the car to visit people about one hundred-two hundred miles away, 300 miles/10 mpg-30 gallons of gas @ $2.50=$75, which is about the price of a motel room. One of the most pleasant uses was having it at Disney World, where I would get sick to my stomach from too many people after about 4-5 hours. We could go back to the coach and cook and sit until round two started in the later afternoon. You can't do that without a motorhome; you have to sit in the bar and drink $4 beer until you're less frazzled.

As it is, travel can be pretty cheap except for the gas. When we are hard at it driving, we stop at truck stops, grocery stores, or Wal-Marts for free. We get there late and leave early. Most midwest campgrounds cost about $20-25/per nite. National parks and such can be much cheaper, especially if you stay longer. We stayed at a campground in Mississippi on the Natchez Trace for two nites for , I think, $12. Roughing it in the boonies without electricity or water can be free or almost free. We like the quiet and nature stuff. It's those danged highway campgrounds that suck up the money.

Start out by thinking about the primary use it will get. Those big tank Class As are fine, but you will have to worry about unscheduled stops or any strange adventure ideas, plus you almost always need to rent a car once you are settle down or tow one. If you are taking the kids with, think about just putting them in tent for the few nites they might travel with you. Don't buy a big one just for that one week in the summer with the family.

I suspect our next purchase, after about five years with our current model and doing the type of traveling we plan, will be a Sprinter chasis Class B. This will change the way we think about our travels and our behavior again. Or maybe not.

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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-07-2006, 12:55 AM   #33
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Apocalypse,

As someone with a VW camper, who had a Class C and in laws had Class A and 5 th wheel, your summary is accurate and succint. Its all tradeoffs. If you are going to cover a lot of distance for a long time, like my in laws who full timed for 2 years, it is hard to beat a 5th wheel. But for daily usefullness the class B/VW camper is the way to go. So getting a clear idea of intention will help sort out the vehicle selection. Also needs and interests may change. Best to rent a least a couple times before buying anything.

Its amazing what useful nonfinancial information gets exchangged on this board.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-07-2006, 08:16 AM   #34
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

My family traveled by trailer when I was growing up, usually staying in National Parks. My parents snowbird with a 35' fifth wheel.

Given my experience, I'd buy a used trailer and a new tow vehicle, not a new or used motor home. If the wheel bearings and tires are good, the trailer can travel. Motorhomes tend to be mechanically harder to work on.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-07-2006, 09:51 AM   #35
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

To repeat an old post

Last one (1983-1993) was a 28 foot Prowler pulled by a Dodge truck(used). Then parked out front - hooked to the pump house and electrical with sewage to an above ground berm in the swamp. Got another five years as a guest house for overflow summer friends and relatives - also Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest.

11mpg flatland and 8 mpg in hill country.

1977-1983 was a 17 foot Go Lite pulled by a Ford big six. All bought used.

Back in working days - that was the cheapest combo for us.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-07-2006, 11:01 AM   #36
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Greg mentioned the Sprinter chassis as a possibility. Tozz, a poster here, has one with a Winnebago conversion. He reported getting about 20 miles a gallon. Lots of different companies use the Sprinter/Mercedes chassis for their conversions. Airstream, Winnebago, Forest River, Great West, Pleasure Way, Sportsmobile (where you can design your own layout) Gulfstream and Leisure Travel.

A good place to look at prices of motorhomes, new and used, and pictures of various models is www.rvtraderonline.com.
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Old 01-07-2006, 11:35 AM   #37
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Has anyone looked at (or owned) the Rialta?

They seem to be very well designed and have a much smaller, sleeker overall size than most motor homes.

Of course you pay a premium for this.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-07-2006, 01:45 PM   #38
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Martha & Greg:

What is it like travelling with the dogs? Big hassle or does it work well?
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-07-2006, 02:51 PM   #39
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Quote:
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Martha & Greg:

What is it like travelling with the dogs? Big hassle or does it work well?
We actually chose the dang thing because of them. They're just Weiner dogs, one 14 lbs and the other about 20, so not much bother. Take'em out for a short walk and a pee, and they're happy. They travel pretty well until late in the day when they just want to stop; they pace behind the passenger seat driving both of us crazy. But by then, we're sick of driving too. They went to Disney World with us, where we stayed at their RV park, and spent each day alone. They are usually good for 6-8 hours alone in such situations, so you can never go out all day. We just leave the fan on and a window cracked if it's hot outside. When we follow the routine, Martha takes them out for a walk around in the morning. And in the evening we take them for a hike of a mile or two or more when possible. That's plenty for these little guys. Bigger dogs would probably need more exersize to mellow them. They sleep on the floor most of the time, but once and while they catch us napping and jump on the couch/bed. Neither of us has ever not had a dog around except for maybe a couple years in college, so this info is pretty biased.
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!
Old 01-07-2006, 04:08 PM   #40
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Re: Motorhome purchase? Pros/Cons!

Quote:
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Has anyone looked at (or owned) the Rialta?

There may be an early & later version of this but the one I remember was on a VW chasis and had the worst reputation of any RV I looked at. It could be that it could not take the mountains in California, maybe it would be OK cruising Iowa. But I would avoid it.
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