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Old 05-14-2016, 10:31 PM   #21
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Major Tom, we are selling our house and setting off in our (homebuilt) rv in about 12 days. While it is in a class by itself, I guess you would call it a class C (or truck camper or toy hauler).

I highly recommend you inspect the roof and look for soft spots which might indicate water damage. Most class C campers are built incredibly poorly. If the previous owner did not keep up with the caulking, the structure could be entirely rotted under the skin (if a wood frame). I think the Born Free is probably top of the line for production class C RVs.

A class B van on the other hand might have held up a bit better. I like the Sprinters, but I doubt you could find one for under $20k.

Plenty of boondocking in California. We went from Seattle to LA and stayed in a RV park only 1 out of 20 nights.
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Old 05-14-2016, 10:48 PM   #22
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Speaking of overnight parking, one time we pulled into a stop on the Ohio turnpike. The truck stop was huge, with room for perhaps 100 semi-trailers or more. I carefully chose a spot away from the existing trucks, and at 9PM went to sleep after a long day of driving.

At midnight, I was awakened by two giant semi-trailers sandwiching me in. They ran their refrigerators all night. Arghhhh!

I poked out the window to see what was going on. The huge lot was now full! These guys drove until late, and did not stop until the early morning hours. So, I was stuck.

Now, if I had a class B, I would park in the passenger car section, and some cars might come and go at all hours, but they would be nowhere as noisy as those semis. What an ordeal!
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Old 05-14-2016, 11:56 PM   #23
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Fermion - you posted some pictures of your homebuilt RV here not long ago if I remember correctly. It is indeed a unique vehicle. I'm envious of your skills!

Yes, the roof and frame thing is one of several reasons I like the idea of a Class B over a Class C. I've read of more than one person living in an older Class C, who ended up having to do a lot of work to replace rotted frame lumber. At least with a Class B, you're just dealing with the steel panel walls on the sides - hard for steel walls to degrade so much that it threatens the structural integrity of the vehicle.
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Old 05-15-2016, 12:10 AM   #24
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I just remember the Chinook brand that Morrissette had. The company is defunct, but its class B's are known for good quality. I like them more than the Roadtreks because they are larger, and have rear dually for better weight carrying capacity. Body and roof integrity is good because of the construction, so they tend to be pricey compared to generic class C's. And they have the wet bath that I must have.

I just surfed RVTrader and saw one in your price range. 2001 and 88K miles. Photos look good. Price is so good I wonder what the gotcha is.
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Old 05-15-2016, 12:41 AM   #25
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Thanks for that NW-Bound. I found that Chinook on RV Trader. It looks to be in quite good shape, and the mileage is very acceptable too. I found a few on Craigslist as well - one only about 60 miles north of me, in Santa Rosa.

It sounds a bit silly, but I'm not overly keen on the way they look. With that door in the back and the fiberglass body with the rounded corners, they look a bit like a Porta Potty on wheels, but perhaps that's just me being picky. I'm sure I can get used to it if everything else checks out. However, I do like the fact that, for a Class B, they seem to be quite roomy, and the dual rear wheels is a plus.

Dumb question from a newbie. That molded fiberglass body - how easy is it to get repaired if you bang it up a bit?

Another brand to read up on!
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Old 05-15-2016, 12:49 AM   #26
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If the location of that Chinook on RVTrader were close to me, I would go to check it out and buy it, perhaps to have two RVs to choose from for each sortie until I sell the existing class C. I do not have problems with the look.

About the one in Santa Rosa, I happened to spot it too.
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Old 05-15-2016, 12:50 AM   #27
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I just saw a couple of older Chinooks in dealer "For Sale" videos on YouTube and am getting used to the look already.
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Old 05-15-2016, 01:02 AM   #28
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Good for you. I think Roadtreks may be better for traveling, but living full-time in one is too tough with the bathroom arrangement.
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Old 05-15-2016, 07:09 AM   #29
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Sounds like a great way to see stuff. We full timed for a couple years but in a much larger motorhome, 45' with 2 slides.
A couple suggestions if you plan to "stealth camp" is to get something that looks nice. No quicker way to get run off is to have a camper that looks like it is falling apart.
Read up at Escapees forum. Plenty people are doing what you want to do.
2 groups you can join are Harvest Hosts and RV Golf Club. For a fee they offer free overnight parking in your rv at either wineries, farms, or gold courses.
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Old 05-15-2016, 07:14 AM   #30
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I remember it was Escapees from whom I discovered there was a winery relatively close to me in Napa which allowed free overnight parking. It was probably Harvest Hosts - I forget the name. Thanks for the reminder, and I agree about the importance of not having a camper that looks somewhat decrepit.

Also, on a different note, I realize that my response to aja8888 on the first page of this thread didn't acknowledge that he was warning me about the risks inherent in purchasing any used RV without a full inspection by someone who knows what to look for, rather than a specific tale about Four Winds RV's. Even a brand of Class C known for quality of construction will eventually be in deep doo-doo if a leak is sprung, and not attended to.

I'm really feeling the conflict between Class C's and Class B's. I'd love the space of a Class C, but there are several qualities of Class B's that make them more appealing.

Perhaps there is something to this sticks n' bricks thing after all

PS - Please feel free to just call me Tom. I'm not that Major
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Old 05-15-2016, 08:16 AM   #31
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I'm really feeling the conflict between Class C's and Class B's. I'd love the space of a Class C, but there are several qualities of Class B's that make them more appealing.

Perhaps there is something to this sticks n' bricks thing after all
That's why I like to have a smaller motorhome for traveling, then come back to my home after a jaunt. I cannot see myself with a cumbersome class A for traveling. And no RV is large enough to replace my 2 homes.

So, if you loosen up your purse string, you may find that a class B for travel plus your existing place is still affordable.

By the way, when I was in Montana in the most recent trip, I saw many travelers spending the night in their cars, getting caught in the storm. Brrrr... I knew they were travelers and not living in their cars because the cars were not choked full with stuff.
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Old 05-15-2016, 08:59 AM   #32
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That Chinook you guys mentioned isn't *that* big. A mini Winnie class A also is pretty small and has the great view like our cabover.

NW, instead of hijacking this thread I started one on Montana since that is our first destination. Feel free to post your experience RV'ing there as we could use all the help we can get being so newbie to this.
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Old 05-15-2016, 09:51 AM   #33
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I don't bring much knowledge to this thread other than our experience with Roadtrek. Our 2008 210 Versatile now has over 165,000 miles on it -- with the only unexpected repair being a rear wheel bearing failure. A couple days ago, it was asked in the Roadtrek Chapter of FMCA's forum:

Quote:
Just a quick curiosity type question. How many miles could one expect out of their RoadTrek? I just turned 90,000 [on a 2005 model] and wondered if it's reasonable to expect another 90,000 with good maintenance practices.
My response was:

Quote:
We have 165,000 miles on our RT.

I am thinking that 300,00 would be easily be within expectations. Express vans were designed for much more heavy-duty use (or abuse) than I would ever be able to provide RVing.
Several others agreed that 300,000 was not that many miles for such use. We have been very happy with our Roadtrek.

Now, having said that. We were staying at the San Francisco RV Resort in Pacifica a couple weeks ago and had a Roadtrek in the space just across from us.

It was in very nice shape and looked of relatively recent vintage. I went over and spoke with the guy. He told me that he had purchased it less than a year ago and paid IIRC in the neighborhood you are looking for. I was quite surprised when he told me it was a 1995 model.

Anyway, he lived outside of Lake Tahoe (in California) and came to SF every Sunday and spent Monday consulting with the SFFD. (He had gotten tired of hotel pricing.) He said that he was glad that he purchased it and was very happy with it. Being over twenty years old it didn't, of course, have any "modern" stuff (what comes instantly is no AC) but did allow him to cook and such. My guess is that the bathroom would not come anywhere close to what you want, however.
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Old 05-15-2016, 10:46 AM   #34
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I know/knew two people who had roadtreks. Both former coworkers. One had a 95 based on a dodge van frame. He has well over 200k miles and it's still going strong. They use it for extended vacations so they can bring their aging dog with them. He also does senior olympic bicycle racing - and they prefer the roadtrek to hotels when they go to races.

The other person was a woman who was an ironman athlete who also owned dogs. She rotated between various beach areas, used her gym and work for showering. She lived in it for over a year. Her training was intensive and expensive and the roadtrek kept her expenses low. Unfortunately, she was hit and killed by a car when out for a night time run. (nothing to do with roadtrek.... just explaining why I refer to her in the past tense.)

Both swore/swear by roadtrek.
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Old 05-15-2016, 10:56 AM   #35
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That Chinook you guys mentioned isn't *that* big. A mini Winnie class A also is pretty small and has the great view like our cabover...
A lot depends on what one wants to do. We like to camp out in a natural setting, but also want to visit touristy spots or go into adjacent towns to see how people live. That's what the towed car is for. If we are restricted to just one vehicle, then I would prefer a smaller motorhome like a Roadtrek. I only wish its bathroom is better.

I do not know what lifestyle Tom wants if he goes full-time. Typically, full-timers have a lot more time to stay in one spot. One cannot move about all the time; it costs too much in fuel, and driving is tiring. So, they camp in one spot for a couple of weeks at a time, or perhaps even a month. A larger vehicle (plus a smaller one for excursions) works out OK.

People like myself or RonBoyd are not full-timers, but travelers who tend to be on the move more frequently. So, we want more mobility.
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Old 05-15-2016, 11:07 AM   #36
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..........
Dumb question from a newbie. That molded fiberglass body - how easy is it to get repaired if you bang it up a bit?..........
Fiberglass is very repairable. Any shop that can fix a Corvette can fix fix a fiberglass RV. Ditto with boat repair shops.
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Old 05-15-2016, 12:00 PM   #37
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Enjoying every bit of this thread... Keep it up.
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Old 05-15-2016, 12:13 PM   #38
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Come to think of it, who needs a stinkin' motorhome, let alone a decent-sized bathroom? (hmmm... stinkin' and bathroom used in the same sentence? That's not right!).

Anyway, on I-90 in a snowstorm, we passed this man. Look at his gray hair. And here we are, talking about creature comfort. Tough travelers laugh at all this discussion by sissies.

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Old 05-15-2016, 12:17 PM   #39
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I'm reading all the responses and they are all very helpful, but I'll refrain from posting quite so often, as I'd rather let you guys do the talking.

The stories of the high mileage RoadTreks are very encouraging and support my hope that if I purchase the right vehicle and keep it maintained, I should be in good shape. I mentioned Dodge Xplorers in the original post, and they're a Class B I'm keenly interested in. I like the rear bed arrangement, and the fact that there is a pull-out bunk over the cab, which would give my kitties extra room for perching and peering out of the portholes. I just found a 1996 Xplorer on RVTrader with 75K miles that looks to be in good shape, for $17K. I don't know what it is about the Xplorers but from the photos and videos I've seen, they feel a bit more spacious. The white cabinetry probably helps. There is a version with a slightly wider body and duallies.

The great thing about this is that I'm in no rush whatsoever.

NW-Bound - when out in the more rural areas, I'd probably find a spot and stay there for a few days, perhaps moving just a few miles between spots. I would be coming back to the city to see my friend, for which a Class B would be more convenient. Who knows how it would work out in real life. That's the plan though.
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Old 05-15-2016, 12:25 PM   #40
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Instead of a bicycle on a rack, how 'bout a folding bike that you can ride to bus stops or train stations to go into town?

In previous trips, I used to have 2 bikes hanging on the towed car. And then, we did not get a chance to use them. This last trip, we kicked ourselves for not bringing them when nice trails presented themselves. The problem was that the bikes were cumbersome, and felt like a nuisance when I did not get to use them.

So, I made a point to look for a couple of folding bikes on craigslist before our next trip.
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