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Old 02-08-2014, 09:10 AM   #1
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Need input on buying a "B"

Last summer, I took my 5th wheel to the beach and discovered hauling this monster around is not for me. I don't mind moving it to a new job site as my lodgings for work, but for vacationing, forget it, not fun.

I have a small tag-along that is fine for weekend adventures, but I seem to have fallen into the same routine - interstate highway to campground and sit. I want more adventure, to actually tour around. So I'm thinking of getting a "B".

I'm drawn to the Leisure Travel Van products. I like the Libero very much, but am undecided if it's too big. The Free Spirit is really nice too, but worry it's too small. I also like the Roadtek 210. For adventuring around, perhaps not staying at campgrounds very often, which way would you go?

As far as chassis goes, they both have their strong points. The Chevy maybe better long term as it probably is easier and cheaper to get repairs out on the road. Does anyone know how they compare MPG wise? It also seems to have a wider track on the rear axle if you look how the wheels meet the body on Libero compared to the Serenity. Some of these have the generator on the engine, as opposed to a separate geset - is that a good, or terrible idea?

At this point, would you wait for a 2015? I know on the Serenity at mid-season they changed the cab to a new body style and changed out the AC unit to make it flush with the ceiling.
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:37 PM   #2
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Do you want 4-wheel drive ?
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:22 PM   #3
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4 wheel drive would be nice to have, but unless you get some kind of uber-offroad setup, it's not available. I'm not looking for an expedition class vehicle.
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:06 PM   #4
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I own a Class A Bounder but bought a Pleasure Way Excel TS Class B to travel/sightsee easier and cheaper. After taking some long trips including 10 weeks to Alaska I think what I like the best is it's length which is just a few inches over 20'. I'm glad now I didn't go bigger because I can park just about anywhere. Stores, visitor centers, restaurants, attractions, laundromats etc. I can park in a regular car parking slot. Gas mileage averages double over my Class A at 13-14 avg MPG. I love the newer bigger Class B's but I love hassle free parking even more.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:37 AM   #5
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Thanks for your input.

I've been reading the blog of a guy who's traveled all over in a "B" that is more your standard size van. Like you, he's able to park just about anywhere without issue. I like that idea a lot. All the out-of-the way places he's been is truly inspiring. I doubt he could have done it with a "B+".

The more I'm looking, the more I like the Roadtrek 190 for that reason.

I notice on these things you can get either a reduced size bathroom - basically a toilet closet and you can shower in the aisle way, or you can get the bigger size wet bath with sit-down shower. Seems to me, for weekend and short tours, the small size bath would be OK. Still mulling that one.
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher View Post
I've been reading the blog of a guy who's traveled all over in a "B" that is more your standard size van. Like you, he's able to park just about anywhere without issue. I like that idea a lot. All the out-of-the way places he's been is truly inspiring. I doubt he could have done it with a "B+".
I'm curious where he went that even a B+ might be too large? I travel in a Sprinter-based Winnebago View (either a very large Class B or a very small Class C, depending on how you look at it) and have yet to find a place where vehicle size has restricted me in any way. Parking garages can be a problem and I don't think I'd like to parallel park it much, but then again neither are much fun in a 'B' size either.

What I do get is a real bed (not something I have to convert every single night and every single morning), a real bathroom (a wet bath gets old very quickly), etc. From all of my research (and on-the-road experience) a micro-C size unit is the sweet spot, very livable and some but no real significant difference in 'parkability'.

The small B's look really cute in the showroom but I'd suggest living in one for a bit before taking the plunge. There's a huge difference between the showroom and the real world.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:40 PM   #7
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I gave serious thought to a B van but the typical 10 gallon black tank just wouldn't work for our boondocking preference.
we both really liked the concept, size, fuel mileage, etc.
Ed
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:20 PM   #8
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In my Pleasure Way I can go from sitting on the Couch to a bed ready for sleeping in 30 seconds with a push of a button. Yes the bathroom is "wet" and small but the trade off of parking anywhere easily is worth it to me. We've traveled a total of 22 weeks out on the road so far and we shower at Campgrounds when we stay in them and use our own in between, it's works for us ! A Class B wouldn't be the best Boondock RV is right if your staying in one place but if your not and moving every couple days it works fine. We both grew up Boondocking while playing in the So Cal deserts so we both know how to conserve easily.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:06 AM   #9
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I don't think you are going to go very far on a forest service road in a b+. It's amazing some of the places he's gone in a van.

Also, parking in places other than a commerical or state/federal park campground is probably pretty limited. Granted, alot of small towns probably don't care what you do, but I'd think you'd have a better time being less noticed and fitting in a standard parking space somewhere.

I'm not looking to use this as a full-timer. 99% of the time traveling alone or with the dog for long weekends or maybe a week or two at a time. Occasionally a friend along. Going with the small or larger wet bath is a big decision.

My local dealer carries Pleasure Way. Not really impressed with the Lexor, but they are cheap compared to others, so I'll at least look at them. Having an in-town dealer is a big plus.
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:41 AM   #10
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G'day - we are a long way away and have different but similar problems. We loved caravaning so we had a 26' caravan that we towed behind a Pajero 4x4 and loved it BUT like you we drove to a spot and stopped then drove around to see the countryside but needed to return to our van at night.

After travelling from Victoria to Queensland for almost 20 years we suddenly discovered that we left home and was forever rushing to arrive at our Queensland destination - sit there for two months then rush back home.

Like you we wanted a change and bought a 2008 model Sunliner EuroKlein motor home - its built on a mercedes sprinter 416 cdi and is a dream to drive - the same economy as the Pajero without the van so thats great.

The difference is that we now do not "sit" for months on end . When we feel like seeing whats over the hill we drive the motor home and look around for as long as we like because we have our holiday home with us.

Some nights we use our solar energy and camp in the bush for free for a night or two and even in some small towns as well -

Other times we pull into a caravan park to recharge - clean up and generally rest up for a day or two.

Many find what we do lonely because they enjoy constant company but we enjoy that in small doses and enjoy detecting for gold , fishing , cooking on a camp fire and gazing at the wide starry sky.

Just wanted to point out that from your fifth wheeler to a motor home is a large step that needs your careful consideration.

We really enjoy our set up and use it often just visitin family and friends - take our own bed with us so to say and thats beaut - we arrived by car before and caused a little disruption to our friends usual way of life but not now.

We can visit shows in nearby towns - before we would stay in a motel but not anymore and i feel far more comfortable in our own bed anyway.

You will have a great time but if you can keep it as small as is comfortable for your lifestyle you will be making a good move.

My wife always measures space by the relatives and friends that could share our holiday but they hardly ever do and if they wanted we could always put up an anex to make them comfortable - plan on the space needed for your immediate family and the rest will fall into place.

When we got our motor home we had a double bed but we found it necessary to purchase equipment to set up a second double bed which has never been used.

Have a great day

kind regards

peter
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Old 02-27-2014, 08:43 AM   #11
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Peter - thanks for your thoughts. You make many good points.

In many aspects of life, we find we can do just fine with much less. Too many people have the humongous house on wheels complete with tow car. They are stuck in these depressing commerical campgounds. I hate to use the word campground because what they are doing is NOT camping.

I need to keep my 5th wheel because I use it as my housing for work. It's already paid for, so it doesn't really cost me anything to keep it. Cheaper and more convenient than a hotel.

For my vacationing/adventuring needs, I really need something else. I really despise commercial campgrounds. Find them not only ugly and depressing I'm really drawn to the idea of being able to go anywhere I want, without any real planning. I can't tell you how many campgrounds I've been in where everybody is cooped up in their gigantic shiny RV with the AC on. You don't see anyone outside unless they are walking their little yippy dog or sticking their nose in somebody else's business.

So I'm pretty settled on getting a B-van. More a matter of the timing of the purchase and which brand/model I get. Then I'll sell my tag-along. I hate to part with my Vantage, it's a cool trailer, but no sense in keeping something you aren't using.
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Old 02-28-2014, 06:08 PM   #12
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I have a Pleasure-way Plateau.
It is hard to choose between manufactures but it wasn't hard to decide on a plat form,
Mercedes 3500. I found normal Chevy van conversions dark making them appear cramped, Road Trek, Airstreem kitchen on the wrong side.
We are using ours to explore the National parks, it is only 22.9 inches long so it fits.
If you are an organized person you will find it to have plenty of room, except for that spare it almost has to go outside. Putting it outside extends the length or go without.
The front lounge option is very nice but you loose space in the Bath and closet, and reefer. Most B s only have one house battery, it would be nice to have two. B+ usually have two, a little better for boon-docking.
All trade offs.

Leisure travel has a nice product in the Free Spirit, it is nearly identical to my Plateau.
The SS would be nice if it were laid out differently. I don't care for the bed location and the bed is a little small.

If you can't get by with a B the Leisure travel Unity TB B+ is a great option bigger, more storage, no slide out. Front lounge, real shower on passenger side, Lav on the other. Beds can be twin or King, more flexible travel companion. On the same plat form (Mercedes 3500). What you give up going to a larger B+ fuel mileage suffers a bit 16 mpg, not as flexible to drive around, just doesn't fit next to a curb or in some of the National parks.

Rent one for a weekend try it out is the best way to decide.

You can't have it all, but the convenience is worth it.
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:39 AM   #13
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I may have to regroup a bit. I went to an RV show yesterday. Got to see many B/B+ RVs and go thru them.

Was disappointed with the interior size of the Chevy based B. Liked the exterior though. The Sprinter was much bigger inside, but cost $40k more. The B+ Pleasure Way Pursuit & Prestige were interesting (and in-between price wise) - the interiors were spacious, but the exteriors were odd looking - looks like a Brinks truck. Nice that they are only 22' long. Way too small tanks considering how big the rigs are.

Too bad they didn't have a Libero, I'd like to have looked at one of those.
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:40 AM   #14
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Look at a View/Nation, only a hair larger than the B-plus models you were looking at but more room and usable tanks. Plus an honest 16--17 mpg. And there's nothing easier to drive than a Sprinter. The micro-C class has a lot more practicality while still being able to park in 95% of the places a B+ can.

They are pretty popular so if a new unit stretches the budget too much then there is also a fairly sizable used market.
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