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Old 11-30-2015, 10:11 AM   #1
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Newbie looking for advise

I am new to the forum, but in the past few months have found myself spending lots of time trying to figure out what our options are and what makes the most sense. Depending on the day helps bring clarity or confusion. There is so much more to this whole RV thing than I fully appreciated!

With that said, my wife and I are planning to take our 3 girls (now 10, 8, 3) on a USA roadtrip in 2 years (summer of 2017). We are planning on being gone for 7-8 weeks (mid June - mid August). While the route is far from set, we are tentatively planning to leave Vermont, head to Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and then back home.

I have found myself at a point where I need to make a decision about how big or small to go. While I have not yet looked at anything in person yet, on paper I really like the floorplans of the Winnebago Vista 31BE and the FR3 32DS
They would allow us to live in the RV without having to set up and break down beds for the girls each day. I am new to this, so I am thinking RVs in this size would be about as big as I can confidently handle. We currently don't have a flat towable vehicle so if we go this route then we would need to get a dolly and bring my Honda Accord because there is no way we can swing both an RV and a new flat towable vehicle. My impression is that the Winnebago is better quality and therefore less likely to have issues, but like I said, that is just my impression and not really based on anything. Thoughts??

On the other end of the spectrum, I am wondering if it makes sense to go that big and instead get a TrailManor 3124KB and pull that with a Toyota Sequia. It seems like they tow easily, quick to set up, and less of an investment (both in fuel and upfront expense). Of course among the many trade offs would be less space, using the dining area for a bed, etc.

I know these are 2 ends of the spectrum, but I would love some guidance/advice. From what I've read it seems that no matter what we get, we should plan to have it for about a year before we go on our trip to learn how to maneuver it, figure out and address problems, etc. That would mean next summer for us.

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Old 11-30-2015, 10:29 AM   #2
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Look online for the floor plan that is good for you. Then go looking at the rigs and kick the tires. Check back here and let us know what you found and then we can let you know if you are crazy. Until then!:

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Old 11-30-2015, 10:31 AM   #3
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If it were my decision, I would buy the bumper pull and make the trip as well as several prior trips.

The trailer will not have the maintenance costs and toad costs of a motorized rig.

If you buy the trailer early and decide you really, really like RV travel. Upgrade.

If the upgrade is likely, buy a used pop up.
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Old 11-30-2015, 11:00 AM   #4
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If the rv lifestyle is completely new to you, plan a short trip next summer and rent a motor home for a week and see how it works for the family. You can learn a lot with very little cost when compared to purchasing something that turns out to be wrong for you. Then do the same with a travel trailer if you have a competent tow vehicle. Both can be fun for the family although the trip itself is more fun in a motor home. As far as Winnebago quality compared to others, they may have been better 15 years ago, but not so anymore.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 11-30-2015, 11:09 AM   #5
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Personally, I would go with a 5th wheel. We pulled a 5er for 11 years before retiring and getting the MH in 2012. Back when we were working and taking short trips year around and a longer one in the summer, it just didn't make any sense to buy a MH. Now that we're retired and traveling a lot, we love the MH! JMHO!
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Old 11-30-2015, 12:06 PM   #6
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We have gone on a handful of trips with my in-laws in their 40' Class A, although it has always been as a passenger, not the captain. It is because of our experience that we are even considering that kind of purchase. A 5th wheel is out of the question for us....my wife has made it abundantly clear that if we are purchasing a vehicle to tow with then it will need to have 3 rows for seating.
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Old 11-30-2015, 12:08 PM   #7
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Good luck with your search.
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Old 11-30-2015, 12:38 PM   #8
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5 people in an RV is going to be confining no matter how big it is. If this is mainly for the 7 week vacation and you already have the vehicle that can properly tow a trailer I agree with deandec and think this would be the best way to approach this. You still have over a year so perhaps you can make some earlier test runs or even rent some RV's and then realize you really do want to spend the money and get the motorhome, good luck with your adventure.
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Old 11-30-2015, 02:26 PM   #9
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Not sure where in VT you are but in South Burlington, Pete's RV's (I believe) rents RV's. You may want to contact them to make sure.

With 5 people no matter what you rent/buy it will be close. Hopefully you will be spending the majority of your time outside. I know when we go we spend max time outside. Bathroom time will be busy with that many people but most campgrounds have facilities that would ease some of that.

My personal experience with driving a motorhome is that it isn't a big issue. There are some obvious conditions. Rear views are not great. If you are OK with mirrors then you are set. Rear view cameras are a plus. None the less you will be backing up 30 plus feet. Myself, I'd rather back up a motorhome versus a 30' trailer. If you have mega experience with a trailer then disregard my comment.

As most will tell you, floor plans are important. The spouse needs to be content with the kitchen area. Make sure there is ample room for lounging at night or on a rainy day. Take some time and do your online research. Most companies offer online brochures so that you can get a good idea of what the floor plan and storage space consist of.

Feel free to contact me via PM if there is anything that I can help you with locally. I am in the Chittenden county area. I certainly do not have all the answers but I am willing to offer opinions. Winnebago, although it isn't what I have, is a good choice.
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Old 11-30-2015, 06:36 PM   #10
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We did a month trip from WA to FL (Ft Wilderness) this past summer in our 5ver. We had a terrific time. Here's the downsides to the 5ver (you're probably well aware already). With a (at the time) 11/9 year olds - keeping them entertained is part of the deal. Part of me would've wished I had a class A so they could've stretched their legs, played games on the TV or watched a movie. My Silverado has a DVD player and they read their fair share of books, etc -- but sometimes the driving can be taxing. I took my time, but there were times we had to push a bit and we were in the car for like 10 hours in that day. Sure we made stops, etc--but that's a lot of driving. Other times we'd only go like 3-4 hours and it was much better.

I know the benefit of the 5ver, but for our particular trip - I really didn't need my truck to explore and it was hooked up most of the time with the exception of a few stops. At Ft. Wilderness-you need to drive a golf cart so the truck was moot.

I think in your case, you can't go wrong either way. My wife and I sold the 5ver and I'm looking for a class A right now. Not for any other reason than wanting to try something else. I did the class C, 5ver and now I'm looking to do a class A. I'm sure there's pros/cons of each. For your trip - I highly doubt you'll remember the short comings, but rather enjoy the journey!!
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Old 11-30-2015, 07:02 PM   #11
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I don't think buying anything for 1 trip is very smart.
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Old 11-30-2015, 07:15 PM   #12
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I've owned travel trailers, slide in truck campers, class c and class a motorhomes and they all have their pros and cons. In your case, if you are. Using this primarily for a single trip, I would lean towards the lesser expensive route which would be the travel trailer. Buying a new MH for a trip and seeing if you lie it seems very expensive to me. At least with the trailer set up, you can keep the SUV and sell the trailer if you or your wife decide that you don't care for RVing.

If money is of no concern, then the Class A MH is the way to go. We love our MH and I would never go back to a towable, primarily because I've gotten lazy and love the conveniences of the MH and don't care for the hooking and unhooking of the trailer.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 11-30-2015, 07:27 PM   #13
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A 3-row seating toad sounds heavy. A small gasser may have towing limitations. Best to coordinate MH and the toad to make sure they are compatible. DON'T trust anything a salesman says about capabilities. Ask here about specific examples.
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Old 11-30-2015, 07:27 PM   #14
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Since my wife has a severe distaste for tent camping we have been toying with the idea of getting something that will provide more creature comforts, ease of set up and packing, and security. We currently have a Honda Accord and Odyssey, neither of which are flat towable or have what it takes to tow anything through the Rockies. If we went the TrailManor route then we'd be looking trading in the Odyssey and getting something along the lines of a Sequia because of it's towing ability and 3rd row. If it's a class A then we'll just just a dolly (which isn't ideal, I know) the Accord. Either way, we are not looking at this purchase as something just for this 1 trip, but it is the thing that is pushing us along to take the plunge and see this as the way in which our family vacations and travels.

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