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Old 09-13-2012, 10:26 PM   #1
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First Motorhome - 1999 Itasca Sunrise SE

Just joined the forum today.

We're very excited to pick up our recently purchased 1999 Itasca Sunrise SE 31' class A motorhome. It has the Ford V10 engine and it is in reasonably good condition (a few scars I can deal with, or live with).

We've had a 36' 5th wheel for the past three seasons and have enjoyed it very much. We recently decided to try the motorhome experience. I guess we'll keep one and sell one, depending on how things go.

We were planning to drive our old 1996 VW Jetta out 2500 km to pick up the MH and then tow bar it back on a Roadmaster Falcon 5250 tow bar I picked up locally. Since my DW hadn't ridden in the VW before, we decided to take a test drive. About a mile down the road in the VW and my DW said, "No" to the VW idea. I hadn't told her that I'd already bought the tow bar brackets for the VW...Doh! So we decided to use our 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 Std cab Short bed pickup since it's the only manual transmission vehicle under 5000 lbs we own. We have the option to either tow bar the Ram back or tow my car hauler out empty and haul the Ram back on it. At this point, I'm leaning toward the car hauler idea. Any opinions?

The anticipation is killing me as we won't be picking up the MH for another three weeks.

Anyway. I enjoy learning from the forum and am very much looking forward to driving my Sunrise into the sunset.

1999 Itasca Sunrise SE pictures
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:53 AM   #2
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Glad to see you if you need help just ask well answer your questions
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:22 AM   #3
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Howdy and welcome aboard. Congrats on the purchase and hope you really enjoy your tavels with it. By the way It's a great looking coach. Have fun.
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:00 AM   #4
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My thoughts are, will the coaches weight, towing and hitch specifacations allow for towing that truck and trailer back home?

You would hate to get there and learn the hitch is rated @ 3000lb and your truck/trailer weighed 6000, or you were 2000lbs over your gross weight. I would blindly take the Jetta, but not a truck and trailer.
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clyon51 View Post
My thoughts are, will the coaches weight, towing and hitch specifacations allow for towing that truck and trailer back home?

You would hate to get there and learn the hitch is rated @ 3000lb and your truck/trailer weighed 6000, or you were 2000lbs over your gross weight. I would blindly take the Jetta, but not a truck and trailer.
Excellent points! I'll have to check on the hitch capacity before I go. Thanks for reminding me to check on that detail. (I don't want to ride in the VW either, I'm too big)
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:18 AM   #6
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Hi folks! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us! Congrats on the new MH! We recently went to a Class A after 10 years pulling a 5er. It's quite an adjustment! Good luck & God bless!
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:54 AM   #7
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Might be cheaper, less hassle and more comfortable to fly. Driving 2500km wouldn't be my cup of tea in a truck either
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:57 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by MSHappyCampers View Post
Hi folks! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us! Congrats on the new MH! We recently went to a Class A after 10 years pulling a 5er. It's quite an adjustment! Good luck & God bless!
Thanks Joe & Annette.

As for driving the MH, I'm very much looking forward to it. I'm an experienced OTR truck and Tour Bus driver but I've been chained to a desk for 15 years now and I can't wait to get back in the saddle. My wife isn't experienced but she's a conscientious driver and I'm anxious for her to experience driving the MH. I'm considering paying a professional driving school here to give her a few hours of instruction just so she starts out with some training and good habits and doesn't just learn from what are probably some of my bad habits.

As for the change from the 5th to the MH, we are loosing the 16' slide we have now but that's not all a negative. With a slide, it's hard to get around in the 5th without pushing out the slide and on the road, that's not that practical when just making a pit stop. Our 5th is HUGE so we are loosing a lot of living space but with no children it's not so bad. The galley is smaller in the MH as is the bathroom/shower area. What we ARE looking forward to is non-stop pit-stops. The washroom breaks without pulling over (mostly for the DW) and the "Honey, can ya fetch me a snack?" situations etc. Even more than actually having to come to a stop, it's the fact that there is no slide to make access difficult when it's in.

Thanks for the welcome and all the friendly comments!
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:20 AM   #9
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Welcome to the forum...come back often for questions and discussions.
We too enjoy the MH trips and both of us drive. It is an easy drive on the big open highways...a little tight an nerve wracking on crowed busy intercity freeways. Can not stop on a dime...so allow breaking room. Oh an keep the speed down..also helps keep the MPG lower. A dream to back up compared to a trailer.
Happy trails.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:34 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by clyon51 View Post
Might be cheaper, less hassle and more comfortable to fly. Driving 2500km wouldn't be my cup of tea in a truck either
That's a great suggestion! We'd considered that option. I think we'd do that except that we want to take too much stuff with us. The cost for gas and motel rooms x2 would be no more than flights and we can pile the 1/2 full of our RV stuff for the trip home. My trailer tows so nicely I'm sure we'll hardly notice it back there and it's so light that it won't hurt mpg much on the way down. In fact, when doing something like that, I can often find a back haul that'll pay my gas costs for the trip since the car hauler will be empty one way.

I love road trips almost regardless what I'm driving. DW however is different, the drive will take a toll, hence the switch of vehicle. Her preference is road trip and I'm not opposed. Getting two more days on the road with the MH would be a definite benefit with the flying idea though.
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Old 09-14-2012, 01:03 PM   #11
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Hi RoadHogg, welcome to the forum. Congratulations on your Itasca.
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:45 AM   #12
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Well, we left with the MH on Tuesday morning. We made a couple stops to gather some consumables that we needed for the trip home then we drove about two hours to a friend's place, visited there for the evening.

Wednesday morning he and I made a couple small repairs we needed for the trip home. We headed out and made a few miles but had to stop short of our desired destination. We spent the night in a truck stop at Nairn Center, Ontario. We slept ok considering the location. Thankfully the furnace worked. The coach batteries were not enough to run the furnace all night however. I had to get up twice to start the engine to get some furnace life back. I loved having that options vs. the lack of options in my 5'er.

Thursday we headed out from Nairn Center and got only to Sault Ste Marie, Ontario when the weather turned poor. The temperature wasn't below freezing but it was snowing pretty hard...slush everywhere. We camped at a KOA on the North side of town that night.

Friday we woke up and headed out from the KOA. Temperature was 2C when we left so I was pretty sure the roads would be ok, and I was right.

Friday departure videos:
KOA - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario - October 12, 2012 - Departure - Part 1 - YouTube
KOA - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario - October 12, 2012 - Departure - Part 2 - YouTube

About an hour up the road we ran into a freak ice storm that lasted only about a minute...coming off Lake Superior. There was a convenient pull out so I stopped for about 5 minutes to wait it out. The road had melted off again so we continued.
Freak ice storm North of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario - October 12, 2012 - Part 1 - YouTube
Freak ice storm North of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario - October 12, 2012 - Part 2 - YouTube
That's as bad as it got all day. We camped at KOA Thunder Bay, Ontario that night.

It's Saturday morning now, just getting ready for breakfast. The weather looks nice. We plan to stop at the Terry Fox memorial rest area and at Kakabeka Falls on the way out. It's about 8 hours home from here, we might press on and make it in late today.
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:11 PM   #13
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Tired but home safely, no thanks to far too many very unprofessional transport drivers in Northwestern Ontario. We were run off the road once and nearly a second time, among other terribly dangerous encounters. They and their kind should all be ashamed of themselves.
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:04 PM   #14
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Just joined the irv2.com community. Saw your post about your Sunrise. We just traded in our 32' 1999 Itasca Suncruiser for a 34TGA Tiffin Allegro. We bought our Itasca new and had it for almost 14 years - we put 135,000+ miles on the Ford V-10 engine. Hope you enjoy your Itasca as much as we did ours and for as many miles.
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