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Old 07-18-2014, 07:49 AM   #1
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DP Coach Search - Size Matters!

Newbie Rickmc here. I'm two years away from employment freedom and want to learn the ins and outs of our RV before we set off to destinations unknown! I've been looking at 2006 - 2008 DP's for sometime. After attending shows and looking at used units on dealers lots, we are now ready to purchase our first motorhome. We're targeting Newmar, Travel Supreme & Country Coach products. We like the floor plans and trim levels these coaches provide in our price range.
The question is size. We do not want fall into the "buy a 36' until I get some miles on the road" trap. Then regretting it as I gain more experience behind the wheel. So we are skipping 36's and looking at 40's. All was well until I test drove a 2006 42' tag axle Monaco Navigator last weekend. OMG! Smoooooth!
Now I'm on the other end of the spectrum! Is a 42' too big? It's only 2' longer but seems like much more! Can I get this monster into any mid budget campgrounds or Federal & state parks? Or am I going to have to target high end resorts?

Would really appreciate your inputs!
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Old 07-18-2014, 08:27 AM   #2
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Glad to have you here with us.

There are more and more parks expanding to accomodate "big rigs". You don't have to go to a high end park to find a spot. National parks are a little more difficult, but some of them are expanding also. As you have noticed a Tag axle is a good thing to have from a ride and a handling standpoint. If you're going to travel a lot you'll appreciate a larger coach. There are several books out there that note where parks are that are big rig friendly. Good luck with your search. Happy Trails!!!
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Old 07-18-2014, 08:36 AM   #3
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IMO the extra 2 feet should not be a large issue. It will eliminate you from a few spots however you should be able to get into most spots. It may take some thought and maneuvering to get into the tighter ones but it is possible. With the 56 or 60 degree cuts on many of the MH nowadays it is easier than it used to be.
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Old 07-18-2014, 08:49 AM   #4
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Other end of the spectrum here, in favor of a 36. While we aren't full timers, the storage compartments on our coach remain mostly empty, and there's a lot of cabinet space still looking for things to put in them.

Having a half bath off the MBR, or a second full couch in the LR, or a longer kitchen counter, or a washer/dryer, mean nothing to us, but it might to you. Those features seem to be what larger coaches provide.

Our coach weighs 24,000 pounds today, with GVWR of 28500, so MPG is over 9.

Being a lifetime member of the two-foot-itus club, I look regularly at 40s and 42s with tags. As nice as they are, I compare what they offer to what we have and think we made the right decision...while keeping over $100,000 in the bank.

just my two cents...
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Old 07-18-2014, 08:56 AM   #5
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Well here's my opinion.

If your ok being a campground queen, 42' will work fine.

For instance, I'm planning a trip right now through New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, Boston, Springfield... and once I get into Vermont and Maine, a lot of the campgrounds that are secluded and even some KOA's have a limit restriction of 40'.

So if you're the type of person that might enjoy getting away from the resorts to go to some more remote spots, Corps of Engineers, or State Parks - you will be excluded from most (not all) by the length.

I'm in the same boat you're in. I already have a 40' and have found it a tight squeeze in some more remote spots. We went to a state park in Austin, and it was a REALLY tight fit, even though the lady at the front told us "no problem" (I've learned sometimes you can't trust the info from the park on a call ahead)

But if you love rv resorts and big campgrounds, no problem, there will always be a place for you nearby.

Somethings to consider.

There actually are 38' and 40' tags. Country Coach made a few, newmar is now making one.

With a single axle, you can install the safe-t steering system, steering springs, koni shocks, and I *hear* that that makes the driving part more like a tag with a singe axle.

I'm about to have these systems installed on my 40', even while I still look for a 40' or less tag.

I had thought, maybe 43 feet would be fine, but then changed my mind knowing the way we travel. I personally think 40' is a lot of rig to handle and would prefer 38 or 36 feet, but hard to find a nice one.
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Old 07-18-2014, 09:00 AM   #6
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Lots of good info here. Probably one of the best forums out there. You'll notice in the signature that we own one of the manufacturers in the year range you're looking at. We're real happy with it. We've owned it a year now and the quality and workmanship is still evident after 12k miles we've added. We also considered the TS and CC when shopping. Both are quality coach's.

Length. Its all what the DW wants - floor plan and storage. 40' is actually 41' (measured by WDOT when we boarded a ferry yesterday). Yes, some cg's have limits and phone calls will help you sort thru them. Big Rigs - Best Bets is a great book that actually has site sizes listed.

Also ask questions in the manufacturers forum here. Good luck with the search.
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Old 07-18-2014, 09:02 AM   #7
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Many state parks list 40' max on there web sites, including Reserve America, but every time we have called they say our 42 is fine, and they were correct. We have stayed in only one National park so far so can't really offer much info on them.
We have found the same for mid lever private parks, our 42 was no problem.
Compared to our previous 36 gasser I do take much more time backing into tight spots. Still not a problem you just have to go slower and pay strict attention to who ever is guideing you in.
The biggest problem we have found in some state parks is overhead branches and that doesn't make any difference if your in a 35' or 45' coach.
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Old 07-18-2014, 09:29 AM   #8
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We are 42' and have shoe horned ourselves into some crazy tight sights. We just spent 24 days in California, there is not a site in the state made for a rig over 35 ft, especially the state parks on the beach, and we also tow a 24 ft trailer.

The key is, when you are 42' you learn to say, " we are 40 ft " when booking sites. So far we have never had a problem finding places to stay, so I would say just buy what you want, don't worry about size, it will all work out. Would hate to see someone compromise on their rig because they were worried about size, we made this mistake with our first rig, dont make this same mistake.
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Old 07-18-2014, 10:43 AM   #9
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That smooth tag ride will only cost you at tire replacement time on age.
2 tires $$$$ cost divided by years used.

And tags may cost a little on loss of outside storage over a no tag same length.
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Old 07-18-2014, 10:56 AM   #10
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37 ft.

Love our Holiday Rambler 36pft Ambassador. I didn't want an extra half bath or a second seating area. I see that as the major difference in the size of the coach. We have a king bed and and a washer dryer and other features that I consider a luxury. The kitchen area works just fine and the shower is large enough for the tall men in my family. Why go for the longer length unless there are going to be more than two people!
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:07 AM   #11
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MH length is only part of size to consider. A 36 ft coach with four slides will "live larger" than a 40' with only two slides.
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diva51 View Post
Love our Holiday Rambler 36pft Ambassador. I didn't want an extra half bath or a second seating area. I see that as the major difference in the size of the coach. We have a king bed and and a washer dryer and other features that I consider a luxury. The kitchen area works just fine and the shower is large enough for the tall men in my family. Why go for the longer length unless there are going to be more than two people!
Love the 36and 38pft's
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Old 07-18-2014, 11:44 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by okgc View Post
MH length is only part of size to consider. A 36 ft coach with four slides will "live larger" than a 40' with only two slides.
Speaking of that, i looked at a 33AA the other day, and it felt large than my 40' inside.
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Old 07-18-2014, 01:16 PM   #14
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My previous post on the merits of a mid-30s coach needs amending.

IF we had family traveling with us, or IF we expected people to visit and stay in the MH with us while on the road, then we would definitely opt for a half-bath model and a second couch. A washer/dryer and larger refer would then be worth it, too, so it's all in how we plan to use our coaches.
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