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Old 05-05-2016, 10:48 AM   #1
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Class A lifestyle challenges

As my wife and I try and decide our retirement plan, the idea of traveling the US in a class A has a lot of appeal. To me the advantages are obvious, but I am wondering about the challenges.

Does having such a large vehicle, especially with a Toad, make "off interstate" travel a lot more difficult. Is it easy to find places to stay overnight or does it require a lot of preplanning? We are accustomed to driving through a small town and stopping if we see a store or restaurant that looks good, how does the Class A parking problem change that?

Really, any comments or advice about the pros and cons would be appreciated.

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Old 05-05-2016, 10:54 AM   #2
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Parking a Type A MH and towed in a small town can always be a problem whether full timing or not. We've kept on going many times now just because of that.

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Old 05-05-2016, 11:46 AM   #3
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Class A challenges - Not so many

Let me offer my initial thoughts after traveling around the country in two Class A Rvs – a 32 foot Winnebago and a 36 foot Pace Arrow, both towing a toad.

Is “off interstate” travel a lot more difficult? After some time and experience behind the wheel, I expect you will find no particular difficulties with off-interstate travel. A trip planner with information on low clearance and low-weight bridges eliminates most secondary road worries. In fact, you may find secondary roads less difficult than interstates. There will be fewer trucks passing you, pushing your RV aside with their wind buffeting. There may be steeper grades to deal with , and longer traffic lines behind you, but be a careful and courteous driver and things will be fine.

One thing to check out is the turning radius of the Class A. Our 32-foot Winnebago needed a good sized airport to turn around in. Surprisingly, our 36-foot RV, in comparison, turns on a dime. We thought that the longer RV would be more of a problem to maneuver, when in fact, it is much easier. Check out the steering angle of the rigs you're considering.

Is it easy to find places to stay overnight? The answer is “yes.” In some parks you may be limited to pull-throughs, which generally are not as nice as the back-ins, but for just one night it's an easier stay. It's always a good idea to make reservations if you have a route planned, but we have had little trouble as long as we called a few days in advance. Carry 50, 30, and 20 amp adapters with you to maximize your flexibility when looking for a place to stay.

Small towns can be a problem in a Class A with a toad. This is where pre-planning is your friend. It can be difficult to just “drop in” on a store or restaurant. Most often, you will park the RV somewhere suitable and take the toad to the store or the restaurant. The parking place can be a Walmart or a Cracker Barrel, a dead strip mall or a closed K-Mart—if it's really a small town, hop out and ask at the store or restaurant—people are friendly and are generally happy to help.

I have to say that most of the time we don't stop for a store or restaurant while underway from place to place. We generally eat something prepared in the RV at a rest stop when underway, and hit the stores while we're settled in a destination.

Once you're out there driving your RV, you'll be fine. A toad pulled 4-down tracks along behind in a predictable turning arc that makes taking corners a cinch. Of course, backing up is another matter—so check out the steering angles on those Class A's!
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:12 PM   #4
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The biggest challenge is making sure you don't have to back up. I've only had to unhook the F150 two times so far. One was trying to get out of an RV space that had an impossible turn due to a poorly placed boulder for landscaping. There will always be an audience when this occurs.
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Old 05-05-2016, 02:41 PM   #5
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We prefer to travel off the interstate. There's more to see and do. Traffic is much easier. Get a Rand McNally Mother Carrier large print road atlas. If its a red road we go. Low clearance etc are listed in the front but always double check signage as a repaved road may change that clearance. In 9+ years we've never encountered one. But the northeast is the most vulnerable

We usually don't plan much. Rarely a reservation unless its a holiday weekend.
We will drive thru a small town and find a reasonable place to park. If its close we walk otherwise with permission of lot owner we've unhooked ourvtoad and wandered off.
Our loosely goosey style isn't for everyone, but were rarely in a Hurty and even than find something might slow us down anyway.
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Old 05-05-2016, 04:18 PM   #6
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We had a 31' Class C before we bought our current coach, a 38' Class. We now pull a toad, couldn't with the Class C due to hitch weight limitations.

Both my wife and I believe the Class A is easier to drive. Better visibility forward and with the mirrors plus we have a rear view camera. The Class A also handles better, it doesn't get blown around on the road especially when semi's pass us.

We don't full time but we have taken extended trips up to 3 months. We have not had problems traveling off the interstate but we do try to research the routes so we know what to expect. We have not had problems finding places to stay. We will stay at campgrounds, state parks, COE parks, national parks. If we are enroute and just need to overnight we'll stay at Walmart's/Sam's Clubs, truck stops, Cabela's and Casino's.

One interesting drive we took was from Yellowstone National Park to Billings Montana over the infamous Bear Tooth Pass. Look it up. When we got to the top we stopped for pictures and a older gentlemen walked up and asked how big my coach was. I told him 38', he said he had one that size parked at his house and said there was no way he'd ever think about driving it over the pass My wife took 50 pictures going up but only 3 going down, she had to hand onto her seat so she wouldn't slide out and cursed me most of the way.

Jim J
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