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Old 03-09-2006, 10:17 AM   #1
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Hi all,
I am planning to retire this year. The wife and I want to travel the US, Canada and Mexico for 12 to 18 months or longer. We want to do this in style and comfort. I believe Class A DP is the best vehicle for the trip. Since we will be doing more driving than camping, I want a coach that rides and handles great. My initial choices based on comments in other forums were Country Coach, Foretravel and Beaver. Then someone said try Alpine. That is why I am here. Has anyone owned one of the previously mentioned brands and now owns an Alpine coach that could give me their opinion of ride, and comfort? How does the quality (fit, finish) of the Alpines compare to a CC or FT? Is there somewhere to go to compare models and features of the coaches from 1999 to 2003 as those are the years I think my budget of 130K for the coach is taking me?
Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions.
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Old 03-09-2006, 10:17 AM   #2
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Hi all,
I am planning to retire this year. The wife and I want to travel the US, Canada and Mexico for 12 to 18 months or longer. We want to do this in style and comfort. I believe Class A DP is the best vehicle for the trip. Since we will be doing more driving than camping, I want a coach that rides and handles great. My initial choices based on comments in other forums were Country Coach, Foretravel and Beaver. Then someone said try Alpine. That is why I am here. Has anyone owned one of the previously mentioned brands and now owns an Alpine coach that could give me their opinion of ride, and comfort? How does the quality (fit, finish) of the Alpines compare to a CC or FT? Is there somewhere to go to compare models and features of the coaches from 1999 to 2003 as those are the years I think my budget of 130K for the coach is taking me?
Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions.
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Old 03-09-2006, 12:01 PM   #3
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Alpine is our 3rd coach after a Safari & a Winnie. Our other choice was a CC Inspire (on which we had inked a deal but cancelled for unrelated reasons). Drove the CC and it was a decent drive, tho not as good as the Alpine. Alpine was better to deal with in customizing the order than CC for the Inspire coach, but CC would have been better in that respect for the models above the Inspire. My observations on your specifics are:
1) recommend doing more camping that driving. slow is better for this lifestyle regardless of which coach brand.
2) Fit & finish are as good as any up to ~$300k (new price). Trim levels above that area @ CC will get a teensy bit finer in F&F, for what that's worth. For my money, the real benefits of fancy reach a point of diminishing returns once I've got a decently solid set of cabinets, quality counter tops, working appliances. Some need Italian marble tile to feel that life is truly worth living. I guess I can still breath if I've got Karadon in the kitchen. IOW, Alpine fits my level of snobbiness, but there are bigger snobs out there who need something nicer. Truth be known, you actually could make a sandwich on a Formica countertop in a life-death situation, and simply learn to live with the shame of it all.
3) Comfort- Alpine ride is as good as it gets for under $750K or so, and maybe still as good. Our OEM matress is the nicest one we've ever owned at any fixed or mobile address; in a used coach, you be the judge. Drawer slides & other livability is great; CC & Beaver will be equivalent for in-house stuff. Vs. Beaver, IMO, you'll get a significantly more satisfying ride outa Alpine, then CC.
Good luck shopping.
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Old 03-09-2006, 12:41 PM   #4
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I cannot directly compare the ride and handling of the mentioned coaches from an ownership perspective. However, when we decided to purchase our Alpine, we drove many others including the CC Inspire, Beaver, and several Monaco products. The fit and finish as well as the trim level was generally on par among all of them in my opinion. The floor plan of the Alpine stood out however. The test drives are what sold me, in particular, on the Alpine. There was not anything near the price that rode and handled better.

Prior to the Alpine, we had a Pace Arrow Vision on the Ford F53 chassis. My wife was very reluctant to drive it as she felt it handled poorly (it was a handfull in comparison), but she will gladly drive the Alpine!

I just had the opportunity to drive another PAV on the F53 chassis from Tucson to the Bay Area and it reminded me why I bought and appreciate the Alpine again. I was in a fairly strong side wind situation and had to slow down considerably to feel like I was in control. I have been in the same conditions in the Alpine and did not even realize how windy it was till I stopped and got out of the coach. The other thing I was reminded about is the suggested speed signs for turns. In general, I do not need to pay exact attention to them when driving the Alpine as it handles so well, but in the PAV, I follow the suggested speed carefully because if I exceed it by even 5mph it feels like I am on the edge of control.
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Old 03-09-2006, 01:39 PM   #5
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DrScud said "Is there somewhere to go to compare models and features of the coaches from 1999 to 2003 as those are the years I think my budget of 130K for the coach is taking me?"

Jim
You live in San Jose - right? There is Guaranty RV
right down the road from you in Gilroy that has a couple Alpines:

List of Alpines at all Guaranty locations
40' Mid Door

After driving one you may want to pay more!
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Old 03-09-2006, 01:47 PM   #6
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DrScud - I've spent hours driving CC, Foretravel, Monaco Windsor, and own an Alpine. My research led me to conclude that for the most part, the owner of one of those brands preferred his brand over the others. Myself, I prefered the drive of the CC Allure over all others, Alpine and Monaco next, and Fortravel last...it felt big and heavy while the others were more like a large Van. If you are not used to air brakes, Alpine captures the winning ticket. I don't think you will find anything better to drive except the CC is more maneuverable because it has a sharper turning radius (I took one thru a grocery store parking lot that I know I couldn't get my Alpine through). Different people prefer different attributes of how a vehicle "feels". All those mentioned are far above the rest of the pack. One more thing, you mentioned Beaver. Beaver would certainly be categorized with the others since it is now on a Roadmaster chassis. The older ones were on a Magnum chassis and they were not nearly as stable on the highway.
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Old 03-09-2006, 01:48 PM   #7
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">List of Alpines at all Guaranty locations </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks for the tip Rick. Gilroy is just down the road.

Can someone tell me the difference between the Alpine and the Avalance? Have seen both for sale used but cannot find a site that details the difference
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Old 03-09-2006, 01:48 PM   #8
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Guaranty also has Country Coach in most trim levels.
You mentioned Foretravel- I'd call that a cult-following. But then they probably say similarly nice things about Alpiners.
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Old 03-10-2006, 10:03 AM   #9
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OK DrScud (hope that's not after the missle), I'll try to set the two apart.

Western RV's primary coach is the "Alpine Limited". It has all the features the folks here have listed + a side mounted radiator with a fan run hydraulicaly. A couple of years ago WRV wanted to get into a cheaper market point, so they came out with the "Alpine Avalanche". It has a diferent front cap/headlights, so it looks quite diferent. Also, the radiator is rear mounted and the fan runs off the diesel, thereby sucking some power. My understanding is that the Avalanche cost about $50K less than the Limited; it's no longer in production.

WRV's latest coach is the "Alpine Apex"; it looks like the Limited, but has a lot more creature comforts and retails for almost $400K.

I persinally cannot tolerate the air brakes found on most competitive brands and I don't know of any that offer four wheel disc brakes.

I have had two Alpines; a '98 and a '03 and I routinely drive 600+ miles without tiring. I once hit a big wow in the road - got the front wheels airborn on the '98; other than scaring my wife and rattling the dishes had no problem. The later models have a much improved turning radius, so I have no problem maneuvering.

Guaranty claims to be the biggest Alpine dealer; they will probably try to sell you a CC because they make more on them. I suggest if you drive one and do a couple of emergency lane changes you'll be sold. Good luck!
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Old 03-10-2006, 01:13 PM   #10
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I will add to the list of differences for the Avalanche. As stated, it has a rear radiator, verses the side radiator on the limited. The 2004 was available with 2 different engines either the 350 Cummins ISC with Pacbrake, or the 400 Cummins with Compression Brake. It also was available with either a 5.5 KW Onan Quietdiesel genny or the 7.5 Onan. It has three slides and only has a 40 foot floorplan with an Amana residential refer. It also has air brakes verses the hydraulics on the Limited. One of the nicer things (IMHO) is that the basement doors are side hinged on the Avalanche. For the most part, the fit and finish is on par with the Limited, but a little cheaper materials were used. The last area, it has a taller ceiling, thus smaller tires to keep the overall coach height to 12 feet 6 inches. Still drives like any other Alpine.
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Old 03-10-2006, 08:10 PM   #11
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Welcome DrScud to iRV2. This is a great place to get all your questions answered.

I believe the Avalanche rides on the same Peak chassis also.

Frank, your emergency lane change reminds me of test drives in a few rigs . We drove some Monaco's before the Alpine. We purchased our Alpine used from DeMartini and drove mountain roads around Grass Valley. Jay our salesman was sitting back on the couch , in a clear spot I tried an emergency lane change w/o warning him (shame on me) and threw him to the floor . The Alpine was quick and stable. Sold us right then. Jay was a trooper and had a good laugh. I'll catch heck for this but we drive 800-900 mile days when we go to St Louis.
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Old 03-11-2006, 07:25 AM   #12
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We had an 36 ft 04 Alpine and loved it's feel on the road. We sold it and bought a 40 ft 05 Country Coach. It drives just as nice, maybe a bit better as it has a tag axle and is much heavier. Test driving will be the only way to know for sure.
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Old 03-11-2006, 07:36 AM   #13
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by EngineerMike:
For my money, the real benefits of fancy reach a point of diminishing returns once I've got a decently solid set of cabinets, quality counter tops, working appliances. Some need Italian marble tile to feel that life is truly worth living. I guess I can still breath if I've got Karadon in the kitchen. IOW, Alpine fits my level of snobbiness, but there are bigger snobs out there who need something nicer. Truth be known, you actually could make a sandwich on a Formica countertop in a life-death situation, and simply learn to live with the shame of it all. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


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Old 03-11-2006, 09:33 AM   #14
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DrScud, We have an Alpine 1999 40' FDS bought new it still looks new we are looking at different coaches when we can and can't find any we like better than our 99. We are going to Yakima in July to get some updates rather than buying anything new. There are lots of glitz outhere but our needs are simple eventhough we have been fulltiming for two year. There are some problems but there are problems with all of them.Hopefully you are capable of fixing somethings yourself if not we go to camping world. As I mentioned before this will be our first visit to the factory, not bad for 7 years. good luck
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