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Old 07-23-2011, 10:34 PM   #1
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40 Foot versus 45

Thank you to all who responded to our inquiry of “How Old is too Old”. We are now considering Motorhomes as old as 2000. But we now have a new dilemma. We had become pretty set on the 40 foot length but since looking at some of the older motorhomes, specifically the Newell and Travel Supreme, we are finding the 45 foot floor plans to be appealing. Our problem with going to the 45 is we are concerned about the places we will not be able to go. We are not planning to do a lot of resorts but to use smaller campgrounds, to boondock and if possible state and federal facilities. We would appreciate comments on how much a 45 would restrict us versus a 40? Additionally we are planning to do workkamping and would appreciate comments on whether the 45 would significantly restrict our opportunities over a 40. Also any other comments on any other restrictions a 45 would have on our travels. We realize we have requested the negatives but would also appreciate the positives so we can go further crazy in our search for our next adventure.
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:14 PM   #2
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Since I'm not sure where you are located, the first thing that came to mind was that if you are in California, you have to have a special license to drive the 45' while no special drivers license is required of the 40'.

The usual problems come to mind as well; unable to enter some parks, unable to find a site that can handle the extra length, etc. If you are going to a tag axle on the 45' coach, then there will be the extra charge everytime you use a toll road as many charge by the axle.

I'll be waiting to see the responses from the much more experienced RV'ers.
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSPERRELLA View Post
Thank you to all who responded to our inquiry of “How Old is too Old”. We are now considering Motorhomes as old as 2000. But we now have a new dilemma. We had become pretty set on the 40 foot length but since looking at some of the older motorhomes, specifically the Newell and Travel Supreme, we are finding the 45 foot floor plans to be appealing. Our problem with going to the 45 is we are concerned about the places we will not be able to go. We are not planning to do a lot of resorts but to use smaller campgrounds, to boondock and if possible state and federal facilities. We would appreciate comments on how much a 45 would restrict us versus a 40? Additionally we are planning to do workkamping and would appreciate comments on whether the 45 would significantly restrict our opportunities over a 40. Also any other comments on any other restrictions a 45 would have on our travels. We realize we have requested the negatives but would also appreciate the positives so we can go further crazy in our search for our next adventure.
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:06 AM   #4
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One case in particular where you can't camp with a 45-footer is in the Yosemite Valley. Hundreds of sites for 35 foot and below, about 12 sites for 40 footers, and ZERO sites for 45 footers.

Many commercial campground pull through sites are about 60 feet long which just gives you enought room for a 40-footer and a toad.
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:26 AM   #5
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If you stick with a 40' you will never have to worry about site availability during your travels(for the most part). 40' is still the most popular size in the industry currently. Why Newell and Travel Supreme, just curious?
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:45 AM   #6
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I have a 35' and pull a 15' trailer 50' overall. I have a hard time finding sites that will allow me to keep the trailer hooked because of the length. They usually have only a few 60' spaces. You won't get into Federal parks and most state parks with a 45.
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:46 AM   #7
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For the type of parks you describe, we found a substantial difference when we went from 36 to 40 ft. 45 would be much worse than that. At 40, we still always find a site, but we often fill to end to end, and our choice is limited in many state and some federal parks. But it depends on the area where you travel. We are mostly east of theMississippi and parks tend to be older, designed for smaller rigs, and park roads tend to be narrow, twisty or have numerous trees along side.
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:54 AM   #8
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We owned two Monaco 40 foot DP in the past 12 years. In Feb 2011 we downsized to an approx 35 footer. We travel a lot in the west and in National Parks, etc.
Our personal experience was many places we hoped to stay could not accomodate our rigg size. There are not a lot of new RV parks going in and those that exist were built during a time riggs were smaller.
We just camped in Lassen Volcanic National Park for the first time, it was a good fit. If we would have been in a 40 footer would not have been able to.
I think its a matter of personal choice, what your want your RV to do and places you want to visit or visit most often.
After 12 years of big ones we are most pleased with the freedom our "downsize" has offered us.
Think about where you will go and what you want to do during most of your travels, it will help you choose.
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:20 AM   #9
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General rule of thumb, the bigger you go, the more restricted you are as to site availability. A pop-up will fit on just about anything a tent would, but even a 23' motor home would not. Most of our public parks were built when the pop-up or small travel trailer were the norm. The good news is, as these parks are being renovated, or as new areas are developed, bigger rigs sizes are being recognized as a reality. Of course public funds are not always readily available to make the adjustments park management may covet.

That said, we've been pleasantly surprised at the wide and varied options open to us in our 43' rig. As example, I've made reservations at a dozen Florida state parks for this next winter. When I found one where the description seemed to indicate we'd fit, I called the park office. In most cases I got a park volunteer and fellow RVr on the line. I'd ask for confirmation that I'd both fit in a site and that I'd have safe access and enough room to manuever. In most cases I was even given specific site numbers as recommendations. We've found that many, if not most, public parks will have something you'll fit on, even if it's only a couple out of a 100 sites, and if planning far enough in advance we've enjoyed good results. Yes, we'll have fewer choices. If there's 3 public parks in the general area, maybe only one can accomodate us, but we only need one. We've not had the time or opportunity to spend much time west of the Mississippi, so perhaps it's different on the left coast? I will offer the opinion though, once you've made the decision to go at least 40', the extra 3 to 5' won't be too much more limiting. I'd be more concerned about finding a rig I was confident I could live in for the long term and let the chips fall where they may as to facility access.
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Old 07-24-2011, 03:27 PM   #10
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Don't know about the older models noted (2000), but in the newer models, 40' and below are usually single rear axles models, over 40' will get you a tag axle.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:19 PM   #11
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We have had a 38, a 45 ft. and now have a 43. We RARELY have any problems what so ever in finding a site we can fit in. We use Passport, trailer life rv and campground directories and word of mouth plus personnel experience. We start calling ahead at least an hour or two and if it is weekend or holiday start early in the day to find a place, if they can accomodate our size etc. We almost always get a place on our first call and if it takes more calls it is almost always because they are full. We do not extensively stay in national or state parks and part of that is the size and partially because we prefer full hookups most of the time. Yes, the 45 will have some restrictions but the extra room, storage, better ride of the tag and more power and ease of handling usually found in the larger coaches make it more than worth it for us. You just have to decide for yourself which size will best fit your desires and lifestyle and there will be plenty of campground spaces to fit whatever size you choose. We have been in all 50 states but prefer west of the Mississippi so most of our comments fit more out west. All just my opinions and experience.
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:40 PM   #12
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We just upgraded from a 35ft to our current 44ft, and took our first voyage up to Glacier National Park and went through Yellowstone on the return home.

Glacier NP's main campground said 40' max length, however we had no problem getting in and finding a nice campsite. We didn't have the toad, if so we would have had to unhook before pulling into the site. I did have to move up and back a couple of times in the site to arrange a nearby tree between the slides so we could expand.

Going through Yellowstone, the main campground just inside the north entrance had several open pull-thru sites 60+ feet... but we wanted to be further inside and tried a non-reservation area that said it was for coaches up to 38 feet. Hmmmm... I gave it a try, and we did find a nice pull through that fit all 44 feet without any problems. I wish I could end the story there, but on the way out of that great spot we found a very tight turn in the road, and everyone in the nearby sites watched the show as we had to back up and try it a 2nd time to get through (I have to admit I was nervous I wouldn't fit). We made it on the 2nd approach

So, we found that the extra 4 feet can make a big difference, but the extra weight and tag makes it so smooth and solid going down the road - it is a pure pleasure to drive! It didn't take me long at all to get used to the extra 9 feet from my previous coach, and it hasn't stopped us from going into any parking lots or getting into or out of anywhere we wanted to go - except for that one tight spot in Yellowstone.

I was in the same spot as you, wondering if we should go past 40' - and this perfect coach came along with a floor plan we couldn't pass up so that made the decision for us - no regrets so far!
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:19 PM   #13
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If you really prefer smaller campgrounds and public land then every foot makes a difference. We have a 40 footer and camp almost exclusively in public campgrounds (forest service, state parks etc.) I have to do quite a bit of detailed planning to make sure we can fit. At 35 feet you have alot of options, at 40 less and at 45 much, much less.

As an example we've been staying at national forest in SW Colorado for the past 3 weeks..I'd be hard pressed to point out the forest campgrounds that could take 45. It's not just a question of site size, but also trees and turning radius.

Some states are worse (CA has very small sites), some are better, but smaller rig size always gets you more options.

If you camp mostly in private parks then size is no issue at all, but if you really believe you'll stick to public land then consider going smaller. When we "upgrade" our RV we'll probably be looking at 30 footers.
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Old 07-25-2011, 12:46 PM   #14
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In some CGs it's not the length of the coach but the number and placement of the slides. The coach will fit, but all the slides cannot be opened.
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