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Old 01-08-2015, 05:02 PM   #1
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First time potential owner

We are considering a 36 ft motorhome. This will be our first coach. Is this too big to start out in? We have never driven a Motorhome

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Old 01-08-2015, 05:16 PM   #2
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Wow. So many things flood my head.

Have you considered renting a similar sized unit and getting a feel for it?

As far as the size vis-a-vis campground sites, 36 is about the right size for a couple with a couple of kids or dogs. We went from a 28 to a 35 and even without slide-outs the difference in available space is enormous.

More important than length is the interior layout. A rear bath works for a no kids family, but you need the extra 1/2 bath is there are others in the family. The room for that 1/2 bath comes out of available storage. The usual advise is rather than focus on make, model, power source or color, pick a layout that works and sort out the rest.

Jerry & Jeanne
1996 Safari Sahara 35' - White Tiger
Cape Cod
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Focus View Post
We are considering a 36 ft motorhome. This will be our first coach. Is this too big to start out in? We have never driven a Motorhome

How much will you be using your coach? Full time ? Weekends only ? 2 weeks at a time - couple of times a year?

The longer you expect to live in the coach -from months at a time to full time.... Usually bigger is better. How many slides? This also has a big impact on liveable space...maybe more than length.

Lazy days has a free driving course to help get you up to speed....you can also practice in an empty parking lot......it's not that hard to get the basics down.
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Old 01-08-2015, 07:06 PM   #4
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My wife and I started looking for our first motorhome back in the mid-90's. My wife was scared of the size and we limited our search for small 20-24' class C's. I wanted bigger. Long story short, while my wife was out of town I bought a new 31' Class C at auction in 1997. She was the first one to take it on a trip solo. She shows dogs and the 31' was barely big enough once we loaded every thing in it but it serves us well.

We traded up in 2008, bought a Monaco Windsor 38' PKD (actual length is 39'8"). My wife still shows dogs and has taken it solo without a problem. We both think it drives easier and handles better then the Class C.

If you have doubts on the size you should consider renting one for a short trip, just to test your nerves and/or resolve.

The 36' should be the right size and depending on what brand/model you are looking at should fit your needs.
Jim J
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2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee w/5.7 Hemi
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Old 01-08-2015, 07:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Focus View Post
We are considering a 36 ft motorhome. This will be our first coach. Is this too big to start out in? We have never driven a Motorhome

You'll be surprised how quickly you'll get used to 36" length. Our first DP was a nominal 38' Sportscoach. Keep in mind that there are a few precautions - turning, maneuvering around gas pumps, etc.

You may wish to put your salesman on the spot and demand an hour's worth of driving instruction as part of your deal. Also, Lazy Days has an online driver course - available on YouTube, that will help you with much of this.

Good luck with your choice, and happy camping!
Ed [N4RWU] Taylor (Becky), Mistie (4 legger)
2014 Thor Tuscany XTE 40GQ
Former Thor Palazzo 33.2
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:17 PM   #6
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I had never driven a motorhome until we bought a 36 footer
2002 Country Coach Intrigue
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:23 PM   #7
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Our first one is a 33 ft.
The ole butt puckered up for a few miles, but soon felt relaxed and enjoy the rides now.
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:30 PM   #8
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When my wife and I go shopping for shoes, she always asks " how do you like these?' I always respond " if they feel good they are perfect. Only you know for sure"

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Old 01-08-2015, 09:41 PM   #9
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We had not owned a MH until we bought our current 37.5 ft. Driving get better each time we take a trip. I look forward to driving, the wife is still getting used to being a passenger. 36 ft. should be ok if you are a good driver, and enjoy driving.
Larry and Prissy Sharp
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:45 PM   #10
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When we were picking up our present 41' DSDP they were also delivering a new 41' DSDP to a new, first time owner. They had also set up his full size Cadillac to tow (he was a Caddy dealership owner). First rig, had never driven one before either. Always wondered how he made out!
2009 45' Magna 630 w/Cummins ISX 650 HP/1950 Lbs Ft
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Old 01-08-2015, 10:15 PM   #11
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My first motor home was a 36' and had no problems. I had driven bobtail trucks 30+ years ago, but this was entirely different. The main things to watch are height clearance, tail swing and learning lane position. Use your mirrors a lot and practice turns, parking and maneuvering in a large parking lot.
Dan & Ro with two Rescued Boston "Terrorists"
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Previously '06 Itasca Sunrise 35A on a W22 Workhorse
'12 Jeep Wrangler Sport and/or '08 Honda Goldwing
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Old 01-09-2015, 05:17 PM   #12
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Thanks to all for the advice and encouragement.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:37 AM   #13
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Our first and only is 38 footer. Purchased 13 years ago.
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:15 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Gerryl View Post
We bought our first motorhome August 2013 and are very happy with our choice. Originally we thought we would start with a smaller and cheaper one since I had no experience driving anything that big. We looked at smaller ones (Cs and As that were 30’ and under. Our friends who had motorhomes for years convinced us that this was a mistake because we wouldn’t be satisfied and would soon be looking to upgrade. (Which would cost a lot more $$$ in the long run) Also I thought that a smaller one would be easier for me to learn to drive and park. My friends argued that whether you are driving a shorter one, or one much longer, you don’t notice the difference in length.
On this thread you are getting good advice e.g.: Look for a layout that will suit YOUR needs and budget first. Learn what you need to know as far as quality in furniture and cabinets. The main thing to look for in a used coach is ‘how was it used, stored and kept’. Mileage isn’t as important as it is on a car. Last year (8 months after I bought mine) my friend sold his 1993, 34’ Newmar Kountry Star. It had always been garaged and was like new. If I hadn’t already bought, I would have bought it and saved $$,$$$. He sold it for $17,000.
I found one that had always been garaged kept since new. It is a 2000 34’ National Seabreeze. The size is perfect for what we use it for and I am very impressed with the quality of the National brand even though they are now out of business. Although I was somewhat intimidated at first, my friends told me that after about 3 trips, I would feel totally at ease driving it. They were spot on and I am glad they convinced me not to start out with one too small like I originally planned.
Hope this helps in your search.
I posted this on another thread and it may help answer your questions.

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