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Old 02-27-2008, 03:39 PM   #1
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We are planning on fulltiming in 2012....I know, it's a long time. We are getting a class A diesel and we want to boondock in the desert out west as well as other "middle of nowhere" places. I know people do this with their class A's but I wanted to get input from owners on the ground clearance issue with going off the pavement. What do you look for? How far off the pavement do you wander? Dirt roads and gravel roads should be fine as long as we go slow but what about thos great shots of A's way out in the desert at Quartzsite etc.......AHHH the DREAM continues........

Eric and Ginny.
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Old 02-27-2008, 03:39 PM   #2
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We are planning on fulltiming in 2012....I know, it's a long time. We are getting a class A diesel and we want to boondock in the desert out west as well as other "middle of nowhere" places. I know people do this with their class A's but I wanted to get input from owners on the ground clearance issue with going off the pavement. What do you look for? How far off the pavement do you wander? Dirt roads and gravel roads should be fine as long as we go slow but what about thos great shots of A's way out in the desert at Quartzsite etc.......AHHH the DREAM continues........

Eric and Ginny.
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Old 02-27-2008, 04:05 PM   #3
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Hi Eric,
Wlecome to iRV2. Ground clearance is different for each coach. It all depends on the chassis, front suspension and how the manufacturer mounts the engine and transmission. IMO class "A" coaches ar not made for off road use. If this is realy important to you, consider going to all the RV shows in your area and researching the Internet to see what is available with a high ground clearance. The advertisments I've seen for back country coaches were not class "A".

Another consideration is the weight of the coach. I've seen many class "A" coaches sink very quickly into ground that felt quite firm.
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Old 02-27-2008, 04:29 PM   #4
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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 lajuene:
We are planning on fulltiming in 2012....I know, it's a long time. We are getting a class A diesel and we want to boondock in the desert out west as well as other "middle of nowhere" places. I know people do this with their class A's but I wanted to get input from owners on the ground clearance issue with going off the pavement. What do you look for? How far off the pavement do you wander? Dirt roads and gravel roads should be fine as long as we go slow but what about thos great shots of A's way out in the desert at Quartzsite etc.......AHHH the DREAM continues........

Eric and Ginny. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

These look interesting:

http://www.unicatamericas.com/photos_international.html
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Old 02-27-2008, 07:36 PM   #5
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There are many places, "out West", to MINIMUMLY(sp?) go "off road" with your class A. Quartzite and Senator Wash in Arizona come to mind. IMHO, 99.9% of your day-to-day motor homes are not designed to go off the pavement where there is any possiblity of "high centering", "bogging down", running across heavy duty rocks, to mention a few reasons to be careful. RV'er's who do want to go "off road" will tow an adequate 4-wd toad....
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Old 02-27-2008, 07:46 PM   #6
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Eric,

While most class A's are not considered "off road" ready, they will take you a lot of out of the way places. I have boondocked in Quartzite and Glamis sand dunes. Neither really designed for class A travel. The truth is that you can go a lot of places if you go smart. Look for roads that look "traveled" as opposed to trailblazing a route out through the pucker bushes. Often there will be other rigs scattered around the area. Then you go slow, and be reasonable about what your asking your rig to do.

Probably most importantly is to have a plan. No one plans on getting stuck. It just happens. So have some sort of plan for how you would handle the situation. It may include road side assistance, carrying extra boards or planks to shove under a wheel, a shovel to clear dirt or sand away from a stuck tire (I carry a colapsable one from CW) a cell phone or a CB for communication, and most importantly, a good attitude. Most "stucks" are not life threatening, just inconveinent. I tow a 4WD toad that is off road capable, so in the worst case senario, I lock the rig and drive the toad out to get assistance. One thing for sure, panic NEVER helped in a crisis. Stand back, look at your situation, and determine what steps you need to take to unstuck yourself.

The one time I did get stuck, I wasn't even off road. I was making a hair pin turn onto a access road for a mountian campground. There was a significant elevation change between the two roads (unmarked of course) and I drug and highsided my drive wheels. The whole weight of the rear of my coach was sitting on the frame rails. I eventually drew a crowd, and when a local fireman went to get some chunks of left over wood beams that he had, we managed to lift the rear of the coach by using the stablizer jacks to incrementally lift the rear until we got enough wood under the drive wheels to back out of the situation. No damage, and it took about 90 minutes to put us on our way.

Just an example of what cool calm reasoning can do for you in an unfortunate situation. Dont be afraid of exploring, just use the smarts that the good Lord gave you and realize that things will not always go according to plan.

Have fun, it's a great adventure!

Sarge
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:48 AM   #7
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IMO, the biggest problem will be the rear overhang so look out for dips and rises. We have a 4" drop receiver and have dragged this numerous times pulling into gas stations and on some turns where the road had a lot or crown.

That being said, we went pretty far out into Scaddan Wash last year at Quartzsite with no problems. Like others have said, look for areas that have been traveled and watch for rocks, dips, and ruts. Don't try to blaze any new trails unless you have thoroughly investigated the route ahead of time.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:09 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. I think Sarge has us pegged. We don't want to go 4 wheeling in our MH. I have seen rigs that would do that, even 4WD rigs but we are looking more to the senario Sarge talked about where we go just a little ways off the pavement and only where prudence and careful checking would allow. Unfortunately, the F.T. rig we want is not at all for "off roading" but getting one that is would not work for the day-to-day life we envision as we travel around to city as well as country locals. You can't have it all I know but we want to get as close as we can 8-) We wanted to hear others experiences as they ventured (at least a little ways) off road and what to look for. Thanks Sarge, you helped give us some confidence.

Eric and Ginny, not stuck yet!
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:43 PM   #9
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by paz:
IMO, the biggest problem will be the rear overhang so look out for dips and rises. We have a 4" drop receiver and have dragged this numerous times pulling into gas stations and on some turns where the road had a lot or crown.

PAZ, is there some way to keep the hitch higher? Is that hitch for your toad? Does a toad hitch have to be parallel to the ground or can it slope down to the toad? We have not towed a car yet and was just wondering.

Eric and Ginny
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:05 PM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Does a toad hitch have to be parallel to the ground or can it slope down to the toad? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

A tow bar needs to be within a few inches of level for safety reasons.
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:06 PM   #11
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Because of length you have to watch for racking where one corner goes up more than the rest.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:32 PM   #12
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No problem Eric, it is a great adventure out there. So go get some!!

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Old 02-28-2008, 06:44 PM   #13
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Not only do you have to watch the overhang bottoming out, but also you can run into low branches/narrow roads. 12 ft tall and 8.5 wide can be a tight squeeze sometimes. It is always a tense time when going down some access roads that you are not sure of, esp if you are like me and like to find the quieter spots in parks and forests.
Sometimes it's better to unhitch the toad and drive ahead.
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Old 02-29-2008, 04:21 AM   #14
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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 lajuene:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by paz:
PAZ, is there some way to keep the hitch higher? Is that hitch for your toad? Does a toad hitch have to be parallel to the ground or can it slope down to the toad? We have not towed a car yet and was just wondering.

Eric and Ginny </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Route 66 is correct, the tow bar should be near level. According to Blue Ox, the toad end of the bar should be no more than 4" lower than the motorhome end. That's the reason I am using a drop receiver. With the drop receiver, my toad is about 1 to 2" lower than the motorhome. Unfortunately, with the long rear overhang on our motorhome, the drop receiver frequently drags.

For more information on tow bar geometry, check THIS THREAD in the Towing Issues & Toads forum.
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