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Old 02-03-2012, 01:41 PM   #1
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thinking about buying a motorhome

Hello everyone,
I just joined the site yesterday and already have learned quite a bit. I'm thinking about buying a motorhome and just keep going round and round with whether I should or not. I'm a divorced 56 year old female and know nothing about engine mechanics. I have 2 dogs and a cat and would love to travel but it is so expensive to have someone take care of the animals I thought if I bought a motorhome I could take them with me.
I'm just wondering if I'm being unrealistic about traveling alone in a motorhome. All of the posts I seem to see are always couples where the man always seems to be able to do a lot of the work on the motorhome. I worry that it will be so expensive for me to always have to have a mechanic do the work that it will become unaffordable.
I also didn't know whether to buy a gas or a diesel. Which is more practical for someone like myself. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Paula

Don't have a signature as I don't have a motorhome yet.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:53 PM   #2
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Glad you joined us Paula55. You might want to post some questions in the "Solo RVer" section on the main page and I'm sure someone there can help you along with some of your concerns. I'm sure you would do a fine job on the road and have a great time. Hope you can find the rig that suits you best and get on out here. Enjoy those future travels, be safe and Happy Motoring!!!

Personally in that you're just starting out a gas rig would be more practical as far as expenses of maintaining. Before you purchase make sure you have it inspected both on the chassis side and the coach side by a qualified technician.
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:37 PM   #3
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Hey, Paula -

Having the furkids travel with us was one of the big reasons we got into rving. We feel downright guilty when we have to leave them behind.

I would urge you to try renting first to see how you feel about it, if you haven't done so already. Get yourself comfortable around one first before you make your decision. Maybe check around your area and see if there is a local rv club that you could hook up with and learn from them. If you are not mechanically inclined then reliability is going to be key. Talk to people, read reviews, and take your time. Only buy when you are comfortable with it.

Honestly, it's a heck of a learning experience and not for everyone. It's also not cheap when you factor in all the costs. But it's also a whole heap of fun and can be managed with a lot of patience and a sense of humor.

Good luck with your decision
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:53 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Forum! I understand your anxiety regarding the thought of getting a motor home/RV and travel by yourself. However, there are a number of single women who do just fine with solo travel. My advice would be to discuss your plans and concerns with experienced RV'ers and take their advice. Whether or not you purchase a diesel or gas motor home might require some research, and there is a great deal of information on this Forum, as well as other RV forums. If you buy a newer coach, you are likely to have fewer mechanical issues, but as the other poster said, have any potential purchase carefully checked out by a qualified technician before considering any purchase. Motor homes are highly sophisticated pieces of equipment, however, they are generally quite reliable and can usually be repaired rather easily, but necessarily inexpensively, depending on the issue/s. I would also recommend attending a driving school that has the curriculum focused on motor home driving. It can be a real challenge if you have never experienced driving larger vehicles and try to learn on your own. Also, there are a number of associations that are composed of lone RV'ers for both men and women or just women - WOW (Women On Wheels) comes to mind, but I am not certain if they have a WEB site. LOW (Loners on Wheels) is another association that has single RV'ers as its core membership. Whatever you decide, I believe that you will discover the the RV lifestyle is a unique and rewarding experience, and that many who share this activity will be more than willing to assist with any questions that you may have.

Good luck with your quest!!

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Old 02-03-2012, 03:56 PM   #5
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Hi paula55,
Welcome to iRV2. Following the Solo RVers forum is a good idea. Because you are new to the forum, the link is Solo RV'ers - iRV2 Forums

How you sort all this out is to take it from the top down and one step at a time. Consider:
1. How much will you travel (approximate days of the year)?
2. Keeping the answer for #1 in mind. Get your walking shoes on and visit some large RV dealers. If there are any RV shows in your area, consider going to the shows.
3. Your looking at floor plans only. New or used, at this point in the process it's all about the floor plan (this includes storage). Floor plan sells the coach. You'll live in the coach much more than you will travel in it. An example of something you'll need to ask yourself is how will the fur friends travel in the coach? How will they live in the coach? You know all the accessories that go along with the dogs and cat.
4. Once you settle on a general floor plan then you can determine how much you want to spend, in cash and/or financing.
5. Begin looking for coaches with the floor plan and price range your comfortable with.
6. Consider the only technical items you need to consider are:
6a. How much Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) does the coach have? Is this enough for all your stuff, the animals stuff, animals and you?
6b. How much weight can the coach tow? At a high level, this is the hitch rating. How much does your current vehicle(s) weigh?
7. The only real difference between a diesel and gas powered coach is diesel will haul more weight.

Now there are members that will say the above does not go far enough. There are some additional underlying considerations with the above mentioned steps. However, at this point in the process the above mentioned items will get you in the ball park. We expect as the search narrows you'll have specific additional questions. At that time additional considerations can be mentioned.
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:25 PM   #6
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It is probably more expensive

Hi Paula,

I hate to say it but it is probably more expensive to own and operate a motorhome than to board your pets.

That being said, we bought a motorhome because we wanted to take our dogs with us when we traveled. My little guy is special needs and we wouldn't be able to leave him behind.

My husband doesn't do any of the engine work and neither do I. And it is expensive but not prohibitively so. He does do some of the heavy lifting, like taking the batteries out and putting them in the basement during the winter so we can keep them charged.

Even though you are not engine mechanically inclined you could still be a very successful owner if you are willing to learn the other systems. Many couples also have to hire out all their engine work so doing that isn't unusual. However you have to be able to manage the other systems such as electrical, sewer, water, and heating and cooling.

For water you have to know how to refill the water tank and empty it. If you can winterize it you will save a little bit each year. For electrical you need to know where your fuses are and how to check your electrical current quality coming from the campground via the surge suppressor. For batteries you need to be able to check their water level (if they are that type) and how to attach a charger (we use solar). For sewer you need to know how to dump the tank. It helps if your also handy enough to change out a simple flange which involves unbolting and rebolting in a new one if the old one is leaking. Some basic plumbing skills can come in handy if you have a leaking water pipe. The plumbing is easier in an RV than a house because plastic pipe is used that is easy to cut and attach things to. You need to be able to check your tire pressure or buy a tire pressure monitor. You need to be able to add air to your tires. We find for things we can't do (like checking the pressure of the LP system or adding in our hard wired surge suppressor) it isn't too expensive to have a mobile RV repair person come out and do it. However doing some of the upgrades like adding fantastic fans and a back-up camera were big bucks.

That's all I can think of right now. The learning curve is steep but can be done if it is the type of thing your interested in. If trying to figure things out and knowing how all the systems in your house work isn't your cup of tea than owning a motorhome could be a very frustrating experience.

Good luck with your decision!
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:38 PM   #7
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There are plenty of single females out rving. It is a expensive hobby some call it a way of life. Don't forget about a toad. If you have never done it I would rent one a couple of times to make sure that's what you want.
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:52 PM   #8
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Id look at a class C. Even a base model should be plenty for you and your furry friends. They are pretty easy to drive.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:47 PM   #9
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I all actuality a smaller travel trailer might be a nice alternative. I used to drive a 4 door short bed diesel pickup and toe a 20 ft railed with no problem. I have driven a small class c on a sprinter chassis..that was really nice. We currently have a 27' super c and so far I'm not comfortable driving it. It seems so big, width wise. The TT might be a more economical alternative.
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paula55 View Post
Hello everyone,
I just joined the site yesterday and already have learned quite a bit. I'm thinking about buying a motorhome and just keep going round and round with whether I should or not. I'm a divorced 56 year old female and know nothing about engine mechanics. I have 2 dogs and a cat and would love to travel but it is so expensive to have someone take care of the animals I thought if I bought a motorhome I could take them with me.
I'm just wondering if I'm being unrealistic about traveling alone in a motorhome. All of the posts I seem to see are always couples where the man always seems to be able to do a lot of the work on the motorhome. I worry that it will be so expensive for me to always have to have a mechanic do the work that it will become unaffordable.
I also didn't know whether to buy a gas or a diesel. Which is more practical for someone like myself. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Paula

Don't have a signature as I don't have a motorhome yet.
Howdy Paula and welcome. Others have given you great advice...there's a lot to learn about motorhomes, so read all you can. A gas moho will be more affordable than a diesel, and a Class C might be easier for you to maneuver. Why don't you go to some local RV dealerships and have a look around at several types and see what you think? Good luck, and post any specific questions you have.
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Old 02-04-2012, 05:37 AM   #11
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I'm not so sure that a Sprinter chassis class B might be just the ticket for you. Check them out by using Google and RV shows will be very informative for you. Try Roadtrek, Airstream, Winnebago, Pleasure Way, and there's other class B's out there that are worth a look. I stated the Mercedes Sprinter chassis as it's a bit larger van with a small diesel engine that'll get you 20 mpg or so.
You've done exactly what you should have done by coming here. Just keep asking question, learning, and renting an rv is also an excellent suggestion. In the end, it's your life, your decision, so do what YOU feel is right for you, don't base your final decision on someone else's wants/needs.
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Old 02-04-2012, 06:49 AM   #12
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I was in the same boat as you. I talked to a lot of folks and as you can see by the number of replies you get everyone wants to help. The more I investigated the more I found out that I was ignorant of what I was ignorant of. I suggest that you go to rv.org pay what they are asking to join. I did and it was the best $150 I have ever spent. (I don't get a cut or any deals. If you're starting new this is a great resource) Once you read through their book and look over their reviews of coaches go to oodle.com and plug in what coaches you're looking for. It will search sites all over the US for what you're looking for (dealers and private listings) and email you every day with up dates. Plan on doing some traveling to look at coaches your are interested in. When I first started looking I was impressed with all the flash, 4 slides, fire place, 4 TVs, etc. But with rv.org information I learned what to look for in a quality coach that would fit my needs. There's a lot of good looking coaches out there that are crap. Take the time do your research and find the ones that will fit your needs and budget first then look at your wants.
Good Luck have fun.
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Old 02-04-2012, 09:34 AM   #13
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Hi Paula, welcome to IRV2. I tried to put myself in your shoes and what I would do if alone. I would definately look at a Class C. For one person there is plenty of room. I drove ours on the highway and enjoyed it. I have not tried driving the Class A yet. I would look at renting one for a week and see how you do with parking, getting around in gas stations etc. I am sure if you look in the Solo section you will get much more helpful info from those who travel alone. Good luck and keep us up to date on your decision.
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:14 AM   #14
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I have owned a class C, class A gas and now a class A diesel. The class C was the easiest to drive as suggested above. A travel trailer is more difficult to hook up and manuever around. A class B might be a better fit for you. Some even have slide outs for more room. We have rented several over the years to determine what we wanted.The diesel has been the most expensive to operate and maintain of all of the others, but the most rewarding to travel in. We love to travel in the MH since we don't like to fly anymore and we can take our dog with us and enjoy traveling around our great US country side. I'm sure you will make the right decision for you. Happy Trails!!!
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