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Old 01-03-2010, 09:12 AM   #1
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Full Timing in 34 Foot or less Motorhome?

Anyone Full Timing in 34 Foot or less Motorhome? My wife and I are going to full time in March 2011 and are leaning towards 34 feet or less. Just wondering if anyone here full times in 34 feet or less motor homes and if so what are your thoughts about it?
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:30 AM   #2
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Did it in a 40 foot with 1 slide and thought it was fine (went from a 5,000 square foot house). Now have 38 foot with 4 slides and it's nice. I think it all depends on what you get used to and your lifestyle.

We met people who full timed in a 20 foot TT. It's a question of what you want to take (larger usually means more you can safely carry more), what you want to do (travel a lot or stay in one place longer), how much you want to spend (the bigger the more $ for same year and quality), where you want to go (smaller means better access to State and Federal locations) and your relationship with your co-pilot (small space creates/forces closeness).

It's a mental issue. I could be happy in a 20 foot TT and save all the money. I could be happy in a 45 footer Prevost and leave less to the estate. Make sure you make yourselfs happy!
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:45 AM   #3
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I went to your blog and looked at your list of 50 things you want. To meet your own criteria, you are probably ruling out a 34 footer.

You would like 3 slides, 34 footers are built on chassis with lower weight ratings, with three slides, you have little capacity for "stuff".

2,000 Carry Capacity is not near enough, most full timers would like to have, or need, or to prevent overloading, 4,000 lbs is minimum and 6,000 is preferred.

10 Cubic foot refer is too small, you will want to buy on sale and have more on hand as you travel to expensive or remote areas.

I always wanted an electric awning, I hate mine. The ease of use is great, as an awning to protect from rain and sun, they suck. The old style are far more practical.

Gasser is a good value for newer unit and total cost of maintenance. Those that tell you a DP is cost effective are full of poop. The lower cost of entry, lifetime maintenance and total dollar depreciation all lean toward gasser as the value choice.

Gassers of high quality with 3 slides have virtually no carry capacity.

Used lower mileage DP is probably the ticket if you are handy!
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:58 AM   #4
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I thought I had listed three slides as preferred but can easily handle one or two in the right floor plan.

From what I have read a 10 Cubic foot refer may not be too small but I had a feeling it could be as well.

As far as the electric awning goes why does it suck for protecting from rain and sun?

As far as carry capacity goes I have read many blogs where they are between 2-3,000 lbs for fulltiming - are you suggesting it can't be done with this weight range?
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:08 AM   #5
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I am in a 35' with two slides and life is just getting to somewhat of a normal level after the first 3 months of fulltiming. It was really small to start with. But now that I am finding a place for everything and getting rid of things I don't need it's becoming home. I don't think the dog and I would be happier with anything smaller, but that's just us. A large bath is a must for me, being a large person and the rest is just fine.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:26 AM   #6
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Electric awnings can't be lowered at an angle to block low sun. They go in, they go out. If you are sitting there in the AM with a rising sun, the sun is in your face until about 11 AM, if you are sitting there with a setting Sun, the Sun is in you eyes from about 2 PM until Sunset. With a manual, you lower the front edge to block the sun. In addition, if the MH is level and you extend the power awning and it rains, the rain can pool on the awning. In a manual, you leave one side slightly lower than the other and the rain runs off.

For a full timer, 2,000 lbs is enough if you want to always be overloaded! I would wager that there is not a single full timer in a MH that has less than 3,000 lbs. of stuff. Anyone who tells you they have less, is under-estimating or telling a fib.

Start to add it up, food, beverages, food stores including canned goods, dishes, pots and pans, small appliances, silverware, cooking utensils, towels, bedding, pillows, rugs (you will need a lot of these), toiletries, hair dryers, interior cleaning supplies, vacuum cleaner, broom, dustpan, laundry supplies, clothing, clothing hangers, shoes, boots, sports gear (name your poison), filters, parts, fluid spares, pets, pet supplies, computers, router, printer, paper, cell phone, cell phone charger, toilet paper, sanitary treatments, flashlights, batteries, tools, camera, family and decorator pictures, puzzles, games, deck of cards or two, beer, liquor, cooler, sewer hoses, sewer hose fittings, water hoses both drinking, cleaning and spares for when they bust, hose fittings, air hose, air hose fittings, baskets to hold the junk below, the junk below, safe or file cabinet for personal papers (your a full timer and need to keep those important papers safe), radio, alarm clock, purse, make-up, nail polish, toe-nail clippers, beard trimmer, hair remover, hair dye, extra soap, extra everything, window and windshield covers and a bag to store them in, ladder, step stool, bucket, buffer and pads with wax, extra wax and cleaner, cleaning wand with brush on the end, slide lube, slide seal protector, doo-dads you will add like water pressure gages, monitors, etc., kids/grandkids for that short trip, check book and checks, calendar, those really nice coffee mugs you see and Yellowstone, that really nifty gadget you heard about on IRV2 and 100s of things I forgot to mention and you will only remember when you unload the over-loaded MH for one that can hold all the stuff you did not realize you had for the new MH with the 4,000-6,000 lb. capacity.
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:16 PM   #7
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Alpine Coaches can be found in a "34 feeter" which is actually 35. About 3500ccc (or maybe more), and 2 slides. Aside from the 34' limit, that'd do it. Most have 14cf fridge. Kitchen layout is pretty slick. The Alpine has the shortest rear overhang in the industry (and largest angle from rear tires to hitch; I've never scraped), so the storage ahead of rear wheels is about as good as can be engineered. Some of the rear radiator rigs lose a lot of volume behind the engine (Alfa e.g. had a space you could crawl into, so they started adding a plastic tool box in this otherwise filthy area).

Another interesting choice is the 32' Winnebago DP (horizon or equal) for space utilization. Not as good as the Alpine but probably a good choice for economy in a DP. You have to like the basement AC; the unit sets below the bedroom so you have the AC noise on hot summer nights (vs. running the front roof ac w/the door to bedroom & front vents closed for quieter sleep conditions).

One nice thing- you can take your sweet time to shop, and in this economy you should get a screaming deal (it'll be the seller who does the screaming).
Also, FatMan's comments about the transition to "moving in" to your new home are apropos. It'll take a bit to get things arranged so the stuff you need is at hand, and you adjust to needing only what you really need. I ran into a couple full timing in a 28' Trek, no slides, 96" body. They spent close to 3 years traveling and loved every minute. Their life of "stuff" was crammed & cramped, but they adjusted. I think its more about the adjustment once you are past the minimum preconception about what you want.

As to awnings, the electric over-the-slide awning is a poor substitute for a sun shade. It extends close to straight out to avoid rubbing on the top of the slide; some mfgr's of patio-side slide rigs mount the awning on the slide to avoid this but I haven't studied their installations. Our coach came w/one of those straight-out awnings even tho we don't have a patio slide in front (mfgr probably wanted to cut down on inventory & only ordered one type); we made the mfgr change it for one of the down angle awnings which does pretty well for shade. Jim's comment about lack of adjustment is still applicable, tho w/the better down angle, mine won't accumulate water, and I like the motorized feature (wife can operate it w/out my assistance).
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:36 PM   #8
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We full time in a 22 ft Vintage Class C (19 ft interior RV part). WE originally bought it to use "temporarily" while we worked on a 40 ft Eagle bus. We never had the time to work on the bus (we were always in another state working) and after about 6 months we realized we really didn't need 40 ft of bus with our lifestyle at the time. At the time David was in construction working for a nut case, we had a large dog and a fat cat. We had a jeep and a full size pickup truck that pulled a 16 ft cargo trailer packed with carpentry tools. The smaller Rv worked well for us.

Things change and our life has changed quite a bit over the past 1 1/2 years. We sold the Eagle for scrap (worth more that way and it moved out fast). We no longer work construction but have a food concession business. The dog died and the cat run off. So no pets. Our 23 yo daughter is living with us now. We bought a 40 ft Blue Bird school bus to move us and our junk out to NM from NC. We will convert the bus into an RV and we need to add a big freezer to the unit along with a good washer/dryer due to the food concession business. That means we are back to a 40 footer. Our daughter gets our current RV for a year or so to see what she needs and what she will want. Then she buys another RV (she wants a skoolie) and sells the old RV for whatever we can get out of it.

It's amazing how much stuff you can live without (I don't own a dress nor do I have a need for one). We wash clothes every week so we only need enough to get us thru a week (plus a day or two). Our daughter is learning too, as all her stuff in stored at her sister's house in NM. I do miss my books. With 3 people in this small a space, I can't have them. One or two in this space will allow book space. But there are libraries and we've been renting movies from those Redbox kiosks. So we don't need a huge stack of movies.

I have figured something out... your "stuff" will expand to fill any available space unless you are ruthless about tossing excess.
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:38 PM   #9
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We started 7 years ago in a 30 footer with no slide. Lasted a year and got a 35 foot with two slides. Our CCC is 2800 pounds and we would really like to have at least 3500 pounds.

My friends next site over have a 34 footer with two slides and have full timed in it for 7 years.

That said we have met people happily full timing in a small slide-in pickup camper and converted vans.
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Stewart View Post
Electric awnings can't be lowered at an angle to block low sun. They go in, they go out. If you are sitting there in the AM with a rising sun, the sun is in your face until about 11 AM, if you are sitting there with a setting Sun, the Sun is in you eyes from about 2 PM until Sunset. With a manual, you lower the front edge to block the sun. In addition, if the MH is level and you extend the power awning and it rains, the rain can pool on the awning. In a manual, you leave one side slightly lower than the other and the rain runs off.
One thing about a manual awning I liked was the ability to put the arms under our previous trailer to clean it while the awning was flat against the side of the rv. We now have a Class A with a electric awning that I do enjoy, with a down slant and a knee arm that will dump water to the rear if water is too heavy, and a wind setting. I haven't figured yet how to clean our present awning. Each has their advantage and disadvantage.
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Old 01-03-2010, 02:50 PM   #11
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Jim Stewart - Thanks I think I will change my mind on the two things you have detailed for me... I will look for a minimum of 3500 lbs CCC and I will nix the electric awning and go for the manual... thanks for your input.


EngineerMike I will check out the Alpine coach and the 32' Winnebago DP - Thanks ... and a 14 cuft fridge cant hurt either... will also check out the down angle awning

ClayL - I too have adjusted to 3500 CCC desires based upon the wisdom of the board

Thanks for the input Lorna and Jerry J
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:21 PM   #12
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Hey Duke,

I was only partially kidding, after you full time for awhile and keep reading these posts you will see more people worried about blowouts and such. When what you drive is your home, your only home, safety becomes more of an issue to worry about.

Establish a budget for what you want to spend, then prioritize things you consider a must have. Then go shopping for the brands, floorplans and model years that meet your criteria. In your budget, leave some money for repairs and replacements so that you can make it your own.

Full timing is a definite adventure but not for everyone. What I can say is that it was one of the few things in life that after building my expectations in anticipation, the reality exceeded my expectations. It was fun while it lasted and I would not trade the experience, except for a longer life to do it again!
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:50 PM   #13
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Hey Duke,

I was only partially kidding, after you full time for awhile and keep reading these posts you will see more people worried about blowouts and such. When what you drive is your home, your only home, safety becomes more of an issue to worry about.

...
Thanks Jim for the wisdom... this is not a rash decision my wife and I have thought this through and both agree this is something we really need to do... hope to make a purchase decision between March and August... wish me luck!
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:25 PM   #14
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Thank You!

Now is the time, prices are starting to creep up as shortages are starting to occur in used units. You can see a dichotomy on E-Bay, the asking prices are going up, but fewer Coaches are being sold. I can only assume that fewer sellers are desperate, yet fewer buyers are willing to up the ante!

E-Bay is a good place to track prices as you can limit the brands, some options and length in searches, save the search and track them. You can also do the same and look at completed listings to see the maximum bids and which ones did and did not sell and the spread of the highest bid verses the asking price. This will be very useful information to judge a true market value price.

Here is a sample seach

http://motors.shop.ebay.com/RVs-and-...:MEFSRCHX:SRCH

Good Luck! If you need help, just let one of us know!
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