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Old 07-28-2014, 12:08 PM   #1
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Smile Newbie Questions-Advice Welcome!

Greetings! My wife and I (with two children in tow) have been thinking about getting into RV'ing. We have friends and family members who have owned RV's in the past, but we do not live close to anyone who currently has one. That being said, would any of you be willing to share how you got started? Did you go with someone who owned an RV? Did you have one growing up and just knew what to look for when you purchased one of your own? Did you rent one to learn the type you wanted and how to perform the required maintenance and hook-up? Basically, I do not want to purchase something and possibly make a mistake because I did not do enough research before hand, and I would like to feel comfortable with the major issues to consider before jumping into a purchase that would be a major expense for us. If you have any website or book recommendations for someone who is looking to get into RV'ing, I would appreciate that as well! I know there's a lot of experience/wisdom here, so I'm all ears (or eyes)!

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Old 07-28-2014, 12:17 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. I would recommend you rent something you have in mind first. Depends on how often you plan on using it. If you just vacation and go to a campground locally a few times a year, you may want to check into a Travel Trailer. Size will depend on kids ages and what you have to tow with. There are so many variables. You may want to do more online research on sizes and types of RV's, floor plans and prices. You will also get a lot of advice on here. Good Luck with your search....

John, Deb; & our dog, Benji, Forever in our hearts.
2014 Coachmen Leprechaun 319DS V-10
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:20 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum! I grew up with it. My parents dreamed of full timing when they both retired, but my dad passed away about a year before. Me and my wife decided we would not wait and purchased a pull-behind. We then moved up to a Class "C", and now own a Class "A". I did not rent because I had already towed and driven large vehicles before and felt comfortable. My wife drove the C and is getting used to driving the A. If you are undecided about the RV lifestyle I would rent one first and take a trip to see how you like it.

Good Luck

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Brian and Tammy
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:30 PM   #4
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Glad to have you here with us.

Go to some RV dealers in your area and take a tour of the models they have. You will soon discover what size and type will suit your needs. If are close to a major RV show it is definitely worth attending. You will see almost every make, model and options this will help you decide what you need to spend for the type of RVing you will be doing. As others have said rent one and see how you like it. Good luck wit your search. Happy Trails!!!
Tony & Ruth........... FMCA#F416727
2016 London Aire 4519, Freightliner chassis, Cummins ISX, 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Blue Ox Avail with AF1. TST 507 TPMS
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:32 PM   #5
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Glad you're aboard.

Best advice I can give you is to check out RV's at shows, dealers, wherever you can find some to get an idea of what you may think you want. Be it a tent camper, travel trailer, 5th wheel trailer, or motor home. Once you have narrowed it down, read, discuss and listen, about the available manufacturers that make the style you have chosen and the models, especially the floorplans. It may take a while.

Some RV dealers have rental models and that would give you a chance to see if you like the lifestyle and the model(s) you like.

From there decide on used or new and start to price the unit(s) and compare. New does have the advantage of a warranty, but will cost more than a good used unit in most cases.

Best of luck in you search and decision. Enjoy your adventures and be safe.
Have a wonderful day!
Ken (RVM 87)
FT DP Wanna B The journey is the destination!
Retired & perfecting procrastination!
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:10 PM   #6
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Good luck with your research.
John & Cathy R.
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:22 PM   #7
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I never camped when I was a kid but I love traveling. We had a small Winnebago MH in the 70's and pulled a boat. For years we just worked and went on car/plane vacations when we could. In 2005 we purchased a used 5th wheel to live in while we built a new house. We used it for vacations and discovered we never wanted to come home. We gave up the option on the land and sold the house. So, watch out it can be addictive! We have been fulltime since 2006 and love it. We also rented several class c's and a class a before we bought the 5th wheel. Rent for a year before you buy, you won't know what you like until you spend time on the road living in that small space.
Jan & Thomas
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Old 07-28-2014, 02:54 PM   #8
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Hi folks! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the bunch!

OK, you asked for it!

Back in 2001 my wife talked me into looking at the possibility of getting an RV. I had tent camped with the Boy Scouts and with my own kids but neither of us had ever been inside an RV before!

I called a local dealer and asked them if they had something that could be pulled behind a Ford Explorer. They said "sure, come on out. We've got several". We went to the dealership and they showed us a travel trailer that was about 20' long, but to us it looked great. We decided to think about it a few days, and about a week later called and told them we had decided to go ahead with it. We went back to the lot and told them that we wanted to take one more look at it before signing the papers. We walked out to the TT and there was a 28' 5th wheel sitting right next to it with the door open. We went inside and was blown away! Man, that thing looked huge, and even had a slideout! We went back inside and told the guy that we wanted that one instead. We signed the papers and we were now officially RV'ers! There was just one itsy bitsy problem!
A Ford Explorer and a 5th wheel don't go together!

They agreed to keep it for us until I could find a truck to tow it. We started looking and two weeks later found a used Ford F250 diesel truck already set up with a 5th wheel hitch. We bought it and back to the dealer we go to get our 5th wheel! We were two happy campers!

That weekend we took it to a local campground, and after two days we knew we had made a BIG mistake. Remember, we had never been inside an RV before buying this, and didn't have a clue what to look for! The bedroom ceiling was only about 5'6" high and I'm 6' tall, the TV was not at a good angle to watch from the recliners, and numerous other things!

Monday morning I called the dealer and told him we couldn't live with that RV, and that I was on the way back up there! We found a 32' Jayco Eagle 5er that had a 6' bedroom ceiling and a TV that we could see, so we bought it. The next weekend at the campground confirmed that we had finally made the right choice!

We had that one for about a year and was very pleased with it. In 2002 we decided to go to an RV show in Atlanta, GA. This was strictly for fun, with NO intention of buying another RV!

You know, the Lord promises that He will not let you be tempted beyond that which you're able to withstand, but He forgot about RV shows! Before we left the show we had placed an order for a 36' Cedar Creek 5th wheel, and 6 weeks later went back to Atlanta to pick it up!

We kept that one for 10 years and loved everything about it! In 2010 we sold a business that we had operated for 37 years and retired. In the spring of 2012 we decided to take a trip out west that we had wanted to take for years. Just before we were to leave, a deal came up on the 2002 40' Monaco Windsor diesel pusher that I thought was just too good to pass up. I talked my wife into getting it and we headed out west, traveling through 13 states, putting 7000 miles on the RV, and was gone two months. Before we left, we made a deal...when we got back we would decide whether to sell the motorhome or the 5th wheel. She was definitely not sold on that MH! Anyway, by the time we got back she had fallen in love with the MH, and 6 months later agreed to sell the 5th wheel (she wanted to be SURE we had made the right decision).

Having said all that, I would urge you not to rush into anything, but do lots of research and tire kicking before making your decision. It will save you a lot of grief, not to mention the money!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Joe & Annette

2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:58 PM   #9
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Welcome and glad to meet you!
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:18 PM   #10
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My wife and I have 3 kids. About 3 years ago, I got a bonus at work, and we were trying to decide what to do with it. We had been very intermittent tent campers (think maybe once a year) up to this point. I was leaning toward putting a pool in at the S&B when the DW came up with the idea of a camper. I had never seen the inside of one, and had always thought of people in campers as cheaters. Like, if you are sleeping in a bed and in air conditioning, then you're not really camping. However, I agreed to look into a camper. Just for peace-keeping purposes, if you know what I mean. It didn't take long for me to realize that she had a GREAT idea. We debated the TT vs 5er vs C vs A for a while before deciding on a class A. I drive a 1500 pickup as my daily driver, and did not want to upsize into something that could pull a trailer big enough for the 5 of us. And I really like the looks of the class A's. So I started looking. And looking. I finally found a 38ft 1998 Holiday Rambler Excursion on Craigslist. Looked at it a couple of times and then bought it. We took our first trip to Amicalola State Park for 2 nights. Learned that a gray tank fills up pretty quick if you take long showers, and my daughter puked all over the sofa. But we were hooked. Used that camper for about a year, and then upgraded to our current coach. (Slides are a GOOD thing!)
In retrospect, it's one of the best things we've ever done. The time we get to spend together as a family, crammed into about 200 square feet, is something I wouldn't trade for the world.
Oh, I've also learned that "cheating" is a way more comfortable way to camp.
Jeff, Tricia, 3 kids, and the occasional dog or two
2006 Winnebago Tour 40KD, 2013 Dodge Ram TOAD
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:36 AM   #11
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Welcome to irv2.com

I really want to applaud you for starting this thread. It shows that you are thoughtful and thorough in your approach to this. Congratulations for being open and honest enough to admit you would like some helpful advice.

My wife and I started in tents as most young people do. I never thought of RV's as cheating, although I was convinced it was only for the rich and famous. Again, youth.

When we started looking, we were sure that the Class C was the way to go for us, and had looked at many. 2 years worth of looking. The day I decide to go purchase my dream Class C, we get to the lot, and my wife walks into the new Fleetwood Bounder with 1 and a half baths.

Needless to say, the Bounder went home with us. My very first RV was a full sized rig, and I was as green as a buck private in drill camp.

We now own a Winnebago Journey Diesel Pusher (DP) and could not be happier with our choice.

All of that to say this: Take your time. Enjoy the experience, don't fret over every little things. Make a list of what you'd like in an RV. Then go shopping. Take notes of all the little things you like/dislike about the units you see. When you've compiled a decent list, you'll know exactly what to buy to make your experience that much more pleasurable.

You will absolutely love this lifestyle.

God bless, and good hunting
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:59 AM   #12
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These and other forums are some of the best research tools available. Honest speak from honest folks. You can get the "been there, done that" experience.

Basically, that's the way we started out. We knew we wanted something for our retirement years to go snowbirding. Had no idea exactly what, although I always thought a 5'r would be the ticket. With no real RV experience, I just joined a lot of these forums and read all I could.

Well, based on the information I got and what matched up to what we had in mind, we bought a 5'r and have never looked back.

Enjoy the journey and Happy Camping!
'08 38' Winnebago Adventurer
'12 Jeep Wrangler (toad)
'03 Ranger 520 DVX / 225 hp Evinrude
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:26 AM   #13
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We started camping before the days of the internet. After several tents, then tent campers, decided to buy a 16' single axle trailer since the dealer PROMISED we could tow it with our jeep CJ-7. They put a reese equalizer hitch with anti-sway bars on it, but it still tried to pass us on I-25 on the way to Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park! Looked at our 2 young kids sitting in the back seat crying, wondering what I had just got us into. Sooooo, sold that and bought our 1st class-c "party coach", no bedroom but lots of places to sleep. That is the camper our kids remember the most, we visited every state park in Colorado and most of the Nat'l Parks in the southwest. Then we discovered the Nat'l Forest campgrounds, and it was like starting all over again! Upgraded to a small 5th wheel, than it was a very easy step up to our current 33' class-a. Now the kids have graduated college and are on their own, we both recently retired and are considering the full-time lifestyle. If the internet had been invented way back when we started RV'ing, we would not have made that terrible mistake with the 16' trailer. We would have known to check the bearings in that old 5th wheel. And we would have known how to check the tires and determine their age before the flats started happening on the class-c, always at night. We were damn lucky when we purchased our class-a, and could have done so much worse. Now, this website provides us with AMAZING information on everything we need to know, and then some. You found this site and have started asking the right questions, good for you and your family!
Bruce & Judy, living the dream in Salida, CO!
2005 Nat'l Dolphin W22 Chassis, 2004 Jeep Liberty
"Let's Roll 'em, Let's Roll 'em!"
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:11 PM   #14
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Thank you all so much for the great advice and encouragement! There is some great information and advice here...what a blessing!

All the best to each one of you!


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