Welcome to the board! And congrats on prep work for retirement.
Of course, everyone has a high opinion of the RV they are driving
! (Though some make the mistake of not have the F53 in their rigs, so you also get some Chevy vs Ford, or in this case Workhorse/Chevy vs Ford
If you are early in the research phase, I suggest the investment in looking at RV Consumer Groups. They have some reports that are supposed to be independent, on quality and other good information.
Fleetwood, Monaco, Winnie, Newmar are the big four when it comes to Class A builders. You will find different model levels within each of these, and learning what these are is part of the fun.
Other makers to consider, quite often overlooked, are Rexhall (one of the safest built coaches on the road), Tripple E (Good quality, better then average insualtion values). These coaches are worth researching, to see if they meet your needs. I also would not be concerned with buying an orphan coach, such as National.
> Come up with a lsit between you, on what is important to you. Interior features, number of slides, mechanical items, tank sizes, battery bank size, etc... Then go pick manufacturers and specific models that match what is important to you.
> Pick your budget range, and reserve some funds to 'baseline' anything that is not how you want it, or needs maintenance, to give you a soid start.
> If buying used, which is a good idea IMO, do hire someone to give you an independent inspection of the full coach and mechanical condition. When buying used, I feel you have a better chance of getting a solid rig from purhasing from the owner. Owner, or RV Dealer, be sure you see and review documentation. (Trust no one. Documentation, documentation, documentaion...)
> If the rig you are looking at has Ford F53, try to buy a rig new enough to have the newer 5spd Auto Transmission. It has a solid V10, and the new transmission is worth moving up a few years. I think the started in the 2005, 2006 model years.
> As you narrow down your choices of what seems to fit what you both want, drop in for specific searches and ask more questions, on the appropriate IRV2 owners forum.
I wish you the best of luck on your search. Have fun, and take your time. Last opinion. If you find a coach that meets your wants, and it has outstanding documentation and is in bristol condition - do not let it get away for a few thousand dollars. Good, clean, documented and well maintained coaches - I feel are worth paying up a bit to get into.