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Old 09-17-2011, 10:25 AM   #1
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New to camping and need advice!

My DH and I are planning to retire sometime over the next 6 months to a year and have been seriously talking about getting a RV to use as a "floating hotel" for sightseeing around the country. Problem is, we have never camped or traveled in a motor home....husband's idea of camping is Holiday Inn. However, we've had conversion vans for years and when our kids were young, that's how we traveled, which was a lot of fun.

We've spent the last 8 months reading, talking to people, looking at RVs and trying to learn all we can. We have friends (and our now grown up kids) who think we are crazy to do this and friends who think we are crazy not to.

We have narrowed our search down to two diesel pushers, decision made after we drove a couple of gas models and couldn't bear the noise. I would appreciate guidance, thoughts, advice, and anything that you all would care to share which can help us make a decision. We are looking at a used 2009 Winnebago Journey Express 34Y which we found (9000 miles), and we have found new 2010 and 2011 versions of the same coach - which have less features than the 2009. We just went to the Hershey show and discovered the Fleetwood Expedition 36M, which we really liked, and we found a number of new 2011 36M's in our price range. The major concerns we have are quality of one vs the other, and also about the TPO roof vs. a fiberglass roof.

Thanks in advance for the advice!

Robyn
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Old 09-17-2011, 10:58 AM   #2
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You have asked many questions and I can only offer advice in one area... Have you considered renting a nice dp before jumping in? A few people will rent their units for a weekend or a week at a time. This might be a good starting point for you and your DH to really figure out if a large motorhome is your thing. They can be a little intimidating to drive and not everyone is comfortable driving one down the road.
Just a thought...
Good luck with your search!!

BTW, put me in the crazy not too column.
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:14 PM   #3
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If your husband is used to motels, maybe "the great outdoors" isn't for him, especially after wrestling a big vehicle down the road all day. A previous post suggested you rent a quality DP to give the lifestyle a try, and I think that is smart way to learn....before you buy something new and take a huge hit financially if you decide to sell and go back to living out of suitcases.

As for the roof material, I've had both and found the fiberglass to be MUCH noiser. Never had a problem with the hard surfaced "rubber" used on our Newmar. Floor plan, chassis, and price are MUCH more important than the roof material, IMO. Ed
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:33 PM   #4
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TPO roofs are excellent - I had one for 5 years before we bought this coach with fiberglass. Fiberglass is considered to be a bit better than TPO, mostly because it is impervious to tears, but it is a bit noisier in the rain, or even when birds walk on it.

I would not give much thought to TPO vs fiberglass as far as quality of the roof - other factors will be more important.
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:55 PM   #5
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I agree with the others, "look before you leap." If yoiu decided to leap get the floorplan that suits your needs to best.

Best of luck in you search and best wishes in your upcoming retirement.
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Old 09-17-2011, 03:59 PM   #6
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If your hubby is looking for "Turn Key" traveling, he will not be happy with any RV. Think more like a hobby that enables travel.

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Old 09-17-2011, 06:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred and Bonnie View Post
If your hubby is looking for "Turn Key" traveling, he will not be happy with any RV. Think more like a hobby that enables travel.

Fred
We both like traveling, just not necessarily outdoor type camping, and would love to see what's "out there". I used to work for National Park Service in DC and there are many parks left that we haven't visited, as well as lots of sightseeing left on our lists.
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:07 PM   #8
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Camping in a DP is really a misnomer. The only thing close to camping is that you are in a 'camp ground.' Our DP has some things our stick house does not have in the way of amenities.
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rneedel View Post
We both like traveling, just not necessarily outdoor type camping, and would love to see what's "out there". I used to work for National Park Service in DC and there are many parks left that we haven't visited, as well as lots of sightseeing left on our lists.
I hope you don't think I was trying to disuade you from using an RV. IMO, you can't beat the convienence and the rolling view from a Class A MH. The models you mentioned are good quality "entry level" DPs and you won't find too many restrictions on 34-36 footers, even in the National Park CGs you want to visit. I still recommend renting before buying, just to avoid a big loss that WILL happen when you decide to sell or trade.

Best wishes in your retirements!
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Old 09-17-2011, 07:50 PM   #10
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I can attest to an impulsive MH buying success story. Upon my retirement my wife suggested we look at MH's. Having never camped nor ever having shown interest in camping I said "what!!". Two years later we find ourselves in the Maritime Provinces having traveled from Fl for a 2 month fall trip and loving our RV experiences. Go for it if it feels right. Sounds like you have done your homework.
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:39 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for your great insights! We have looked into renting but the only rv's that we've been finding in the area are large Class C's or older gas Class A's that have seen better days...I never thought of looking for a private rental, will have to try that.

I agree that "camping" in a DP seems like a misnomer - the ones we've seen are just smaller versions of the way we live at home.

We started out looking at used vehicles, figuring that would be the best way to spend less initially while we were learning. The Fleetwood we are looking at came out in 2011 and I think the previous model was longer and had a different floorplan. We also heard that units built between 2008 and 2010, when FW was undergoing the bankruptcy, didn't have the qulaity control that emerged after the new management came in. Someone told us that this is a buyer's market and we are finding that to be true - there are so many new, year old models out there that dealers keep offering lower and lower prices or offering to throw add-ins onto the unit to make a deal. The Fleetwood floorplan seems like the right one in our price range, but we are just hesitant to make a move...you all have given us some courage, so thanks!

Hopefully we will get to meet some of you along the way!

Robyn
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Old 09-17-2011, 09:35 PM   #12
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Robyn, I didn't want to discourge you, however there are many instances where couples have different "Ideas" pertaing to the mode of travel.

Life in a class A is not camping, as others have indicated. While your unit may exceed the length limits of many state or federal campgrounds, private facilities are close-by.

We prefer full hook-up facilities, which pretty eliminates public campgrounds.

Good luck on your search.

Fred
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Old 09-17-2011, 10:54 PM   #13
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Our first Coach

We started our search for something we could use weekends and could stay in for up to 2 weeks at a time. We had rented class C's before and liked the idea, but hated the noisy gas engines and lack of quality.

About 1,000 searches by my husband and many "honey, look at this one", we found a 98 Country Coach Affinity, 40 foot. How did we get from a 30 foot to a 40 foot and how did we end up with this type of coach? Lots of research and advice from family and friends I guess.

We are in the process of remodeling this beauty but can honestly say it's a dream to drive, a bit intimating to me (my husband is easier behind the wheel than I am) and amazed at the "home" like features this thing has. I was thinking "camping", my husband had other ideas on an RV. He won, but I love it too. We had the engine and drive train thoroughly checked out before our purchase and our remodeling is only because we wanted to update the look, but this thing is solid in ways I could never imagine.

Good luck Robyn. I look forward to hearing what your first coach is.
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Old 09-18-2011, 05:56 AM   #14
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You can save yourself some bucks and get a Class A DP by purchasing used. We purchased a 7 year old coach that was barely lived in. There are a lot of really nice DP's out there for sale.

Take a look at PPL Motorhomes at Used RVs for Sale - PPL Motor Homes After you select Diesel Pushers or Class A's, near the top of the page look for Pictures/Floorplans. Set it to ON.

Also take a look at Quality Motor Coach at Quality Motor Coach Inventory Most of their vehicles are well kept bank repo's.

Follow your dreams, and you will have no regrets. Life is too short.
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