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Old 11-06-2010, 10:19 AM   #1
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Scared to death!

We have jumped into the RV world with both feet and don't have a clue as to what we are geting into. We run a non-profit organization that trains emergency personnel all across the country, and have decided to purchase a Motorhome rather than stay in hotels.

Starting in January we will be traveling to 140 locations in 33 States over 11 months. We feel that the Motorhome will give us more comfort and ease than the constant checking in and out of hotels. It will also give me an office area to work in between training sessions.

The Motorhome we purchased is a 43' Newmar Dutch Star with a tag axle. Our biggest queston is about the length laws for pulling a trailer. I have read the individual State maximum limits, which would greatly restrict the length of the trailer, but I constantly see rigs that are over 80' long traveling up and down the road. Are there special permits I can buy from State to State? Are the laws strickly enforced? My current trailer is 30' long.

Any advice for beginners getting ready to hit the road would be greatly appreciated. We are so new to this, that we're still trying to find where to fill it up.
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Old 11-06-2010, 11:26 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new rig! I can see why you put the title you did on your post.

A 43' tag with a 30' trailer certainly isn't the easiest way to learn but it's not as bad as you might fear either. Four years ago we jumped in with both feet and bought a 40 footer. Now I've got 32000 miles and 34 states under my belt and my knuckles hardly ever get white anymore.

You'll find a lot of help available here so feel free to browse or post specific questions in the appropriate forum. As for you question about towing laws, you might want to post a specific quesion in this forum Toads and Motorhome Related Towing - iRV2 Forums .

Best of luck...

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Old 11-06-2010, 02:15 PM   #3
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Wow!!! When you jump you jump. I don't know about the legal aspects of pulling a 30 ft trailer behind a 43 ft MH but you are certainly going to have to plan for campgrounds. A 43 ft MH is tough enough but there just aren't many places to park a 73 ft rig. Will you also have a toad?

I would suggest you get out as much as possible before you hit the road to learn how things work or if they work.
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Old 11-06-2010, 03:07 PM   #4
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Sota, welcome to the forum. My wife travels for her job. Although she stays in one place for 3-6 months at a time. We bought our MH 2 years ago because we were tired of renting apartments & moving furniture every couple of months. It is the best thing we have done for her job. There was & still is a learning curve, but nothing no one without any sense can't deal with. If you have dealt with living out of hotel rooms you will be happy to be in your own bed each night. Not knowing where you do your teaching at, you may be able to park the Rig at the facitity and therefore wave the campground fees & only need to find some place to dump your waste tanks. We in the RV world call this boondocking.

You have come to the right forum for most answers to anything about the RV lifestyle. Most likely if you have a question, someone has an answer & has already been there done that.

Good Luck
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:33 PM   #5
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Regarding length laws, this site might be helpful http://www.towingworld.com/articles/TowingLaws.htm
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Old 11-06-2010, 08:47 PM   #6
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Howdy SOTA,
After looking at the towing length chart I don't see how some freight trucks are
legal nowadays.. I know one thing, you need to get hold of Dennis Hill, who runs the RV Driving School and take some lessons.. HE'S THE BEST!!!! I used to drive freight trucks when the length was 65'.. Now there are trailers longer than that!!
I'd hate to have your rig and drive in ANY CITY TRAFFIC!!! The people with the
45'rs will tell you that IT AIN'T EASY!!!
GOOD LUCK AND HAVE LOTZ OF INSURANCE!!!!!!
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:47 PM   #7
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Howdy SOTA,
I went to Dennis in your behalf and he said"NO!!".. You will be 'sickbird'
(ILLEGAL) just about EVERYWHERE and probably not find a 'campsite' that you would fit; unless you went with Bob Difley and 'boondocked' all of the time, IN THE NATIONAL FOREST or BLM lands.. BLM would be the best!!!
Somehow you're gonna have to get something else to pull the trailer with..
I know you don't even want to think of giving up that BEAUTIFUL Dutch Star.
I know I wouldn't.. Can you say CATCH 22????
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:04 AM   #8
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THANKS!

Thanks to everyone for the great advice. I have decided to cut down on the size of the trailer to keep under 60'. I am also fortunate that I will not need to find any campgrounds, because my class sites all have places for me to park and plug-in. I can see that this year will be a great adventure, and a tremendous learning experience for me, and I know I will be counting on all of you to help me out of any trouble I get myself into. I look forward to meeting some of you on the road - I'll be the one that looks lost and confused!
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:51 PM   #9
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We are Gospel Musicians and use our coach for our traveling to our engagements. Our situation on the road in many ways is the same as yours.

First thing. If you're used to driving by car to your destination, you may be like I was. If the speed limit was 70 mph, I'd drive 75mph, didn't matter if there was a 30mph wind, and raining, or snowing, we'd get there in a few hours.

You're driving a motorcoach now. The speed limit may be 70mph, but you're driving 65mph. Oh, the wind is 30mph, gusting to 50mph, you're driving 50mph. Snow flurries with some freezing rain puts you off onto the side of the road. Hmmmm. Might get there tomorrow. Maybe.

You can't pull into automotive centers for refueling and eating. You've got to find the truck stops that offer what you need. It will take an hour to sometimes two hours to pull off the road, fill the diesel fuel tank, and get rolling again. We try to buy our fuel at the end of our travel day, but we've learned not to do it after dark. We stepped in some tar at the pumps one night, and ruined all the flooring inside our coach.

Some states (U.S.A.), and provinces (Canada), have decent rest areas that we can pull into at the end of a long drive to catch a few hours sleep. Some states and provinces don't. Many rest areas in the northern states and in Canada are closed during the winter months. Many Wal-Marts let us pull in at night and use their empty yard to get some sleep. Many truck stops do the same. At the end of the day, we usually try to buy our fuel from the people that will let us park in their yard for the night. At truck stops, sometimes the noise and smell from the big trucks coming and going is just too much, and we move away and find a quieter spot to park.

For people like us, most campgrounds are not a good choice. Most times they are not on the side of the freeway. Most times they aren't open when we're trying to get off the freeway and shutdown for a few hours. Many times, their gates won't even let us out in the early hours of the morning when we're ready to roll.

I'm not trying to discourage you. I'm trying to make you aware that it's a lifestyle change. It's a change that we have embraced, and it's part of who we are.

www.thesandersonsgospelmusic.com
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Old 11-10-2010, 04:40 AM   #10
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My schedule this year takes me to 140 different locations, and most of them are within 200 miles of each other. I have also planned my trip to travel up North in the Summer and down South in the winter, and avoid coastal States during Hurricane season. All of my training sessions are at locations where I can park and plug in, so I won't need campgrounds to stay at.

I currently pull a 30' trailer behind a 1-ton pick-up, so I am familiar with the limitations of pulling off the road where ever you like. The biggest change for me will be the freedom to unhook the trailer and drive arund town to get all of my shopping, laundry, etc done. I am aso planning on doing a lot of shopping at Wal-Mart, but still haven't figured out the laundry issue. I have a washer/drier combo in the MH, but it is only big enough for 1 pair of jeans at a time, plus there's the issue of water.

The good news is this will be an adventure - the bad news is there is no turning back now.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:03 AM   #11
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Hey, SOTA:

Your forum handle, "SOTA", wouldn't refer to MinneSOTA by any chance, would it? If so, we're outta Duluth originally. If not,.....nevermind . Just curious.

Steve & Lynette
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
but still haven't figured out the laundry issue. I have a washer/drier combo in the MH, but it is only big enough for 1 pair of jeans at a time, plus there's the issue of water.
What about during your moves from one location to the next you stay at a full service campground, to dump tanks, fill your fresh water and do all your laundry...Or are your classes day after day......with no "off" days.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOTA View Post

The biggest change for me will be the freedom to unhook the trailer and drive
arund
town to get all of my shopping, laundry, etc done. I am
aso
planning on doing a lot of shopping at
Wal-Mart
, but still haven't figured out the laundry issue. I have a washer/drier combo in the MH, but it is only big enough for 1 pair of jeans at a time, plus there's the issue of water.
You will need to pick and choose your Wally Worlds as many of them will not
accommodate
a rig as large as yours. Number one thing to always keep in mind when entering parking lots-how am I going to get out?

Here is a link to the
Splendide
website regarding load sizes. That little machine will hold a lot more than you think. Splendide Laundry Centers Consumer Tips

Now fresh water and holding tank capabilities is a complete different story. Unless you can find some other place to shower, you'll need to "Navy" shower or you'll need to dump your gray tank frequently. My wife and I can go about 5 days by being very very conservative with the water and its always the gray tank that fills first. One tip, we wash dishes in a pan and dump this in the black tank. Every gallon counts.
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:17 PM   #14
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Howdy SOTA,
You might give Dennis Hill a call, since you'll be 'downsizing' your trailer..
I know that he can help you!!! Where are you at this time?? I think Dennis is in CA, this time of the year...

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