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Old 11-05-2014, 09:32 AM   #1
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Newbie, solo, Seeking advise on 1st Purchase

Me: Male, 60, retiring, prior limited experience tent camper. X mechanical eng., private pilot, biker, have driven larger trucks and pulled trailers, like exploring.

Mission: I expect to spend 3 months +/- per year traveling mainly in the western USA. My budget is 30K each year. I would guess 10k miles per year. Initial investment is not part of the 30k annual budget, but depreciation would be.

Thought?
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:01 AM   #2
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Get,
It sounds like a plan to me. I am not sure what your question is.....
If it is what to buy, that depends on how you see your 10K/3Mons.
From my/our experience, your posted schedule sounds more like travel than camp. This means moving every second day - more or less. That would tend to favor a motorhome.

Setup at the end of the day is little more than shutting down the engine and plugging into shore power if it happens to be available. A trailer or 5er might require more, and the facilities are not that close to the cab.

I suggest that you plan to travel with a laptop. Not so much to find wire and communicate, but if you also buy a copy of Street Atlas and learn to use it to plan, you can save a lot of grief. It can be used as an on-road GPS, but it cannot be in front of you and that is a big problem. Get a stand alone GPS and put the day's travel plan into it. Lastly, you want to have a smart phone with GasBuddy. This app alone can save you the price of the data plan.

We are a retired couple that does about 10~12K a year and love it. We Walmart more than buy campgrounds because we don't need anything that a campground will provide. Cabela's has dumps and potable. Campgrounds are often far off our planned route.

What ever you do, plan to enjoy yourself and make friends.

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Old 11-05-2014, 10:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by getgo View Post
Me: Male, 60, retiring, prior limited experience tent camper. X mechanical eng., private pilot, biker, have driven larger trucks and pulled trailers, like exploring.

Mission: I expect to spend 3 months +/- per year traveling mainly in the western USA. My budget is 30K each year. I would guess 10k miles per year. Initial investment is not part of the 30k annual budget, but depreciation would be.

Thought?

Your plan works out to driving 220 miles every 2nd day....this is a tough regime to keep up for long....and may start to feel like work instead of pleasure.

I agree with the other poster that this is a use case for a motorhome, not a trailer or 5th wheel.

Will you be looking to stay "off the grid" mostly? Or seeking to find full hookup campgrounds every night?

If your plan is to mostly stay in the ample BLM lands for free, then plan on outfitting your Motorhome with 500 watts minimum of solar power. You didn't say what season...I'm assuming any season but winter..... If winter then keeping warm will be a challenge.

What's your budget for the initial investment?
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getgo View Post
Me: Male, 60, retiring, prior limited experience tent camper. X mechanical eng., private pilot, biker, have driven larger trucks and pulled trailers, like exploring.

Mission: I expect to spend 3 months +/- per year traveling mainly in the western USA. My budget is 30K each year. I would guess 10k miles per year. Initial investment is not part of the 30k annual budget, but depreciation would be.

Thought?

More details.

Main question = what to buy
Travel time = summer
Initial investment = up to say 100k
Max time at one place = 5 days
Where to stay = unknown
Travel miles per year: High as I live on the east coast, and back and forth to the west coast is 6K alone. Milage could be 15k / year.
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:19 AM   #5
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The fuel cost for 10-15,000 miles in a 3 month or so travel session could be quite high. What are you driving now? Would it be a suitable tow vehicle? Do you want to tow something, carry something, drive in an RV? Where you want to stay and fuel cost could put a big dent in your budget, in a 3 month period.
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:58 AM   #6
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The fuel cost for 10-15,000 miles in a 3 month or so travel session could be quite high. What are you driving now? Would it be a suitable tow vehicle? Do you want to tow something, carry something, drive in an RV? Where you want to stay and fuel cost could put a big dent in your budget, in a 3 month period.

I have a f-150 4x4 which could be used for towing, but as I will not be staying in one place I was leaning towards a motor home vs TT or 5er
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:14 PM   #7
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I'd still go with a motorhome and towed. Long C/short A will be easier to deal with in the east and will do in the west. You can find decent used 28-30 ft Class C motorhomes for around $50,000 that have not aged out or been beat to death. They will easily accommodate 1 or 2 people without being too cramped. Mileage in the 8-10 range depending. That setup will work well for a just run type drive with Walmart type camping every other or 2 out of 3 nights. Once you get out to where you want to poke the towed lets you base camp in the MH and enjoy poking around. It will dry camp or campground camp with relative ease. The same rig will work better than something bigger in most of the NE.

If you have it you may find shoulder season travel at home is also fun. In fact you may decide to drive the shoulders and part of the summer as the preferred travel time. Depends what weather you are looking for or escaping.

FWIW I said 28-30 ft because the 24 ft units are cute but tight. The over 30 ft can run out of total weight capacity. Various floor plans in the middle let you get a walk around bed, decent storage, a couch and dinette, reasonable kitchen and a shower you can fit in. You should be able to handle a 5000 lb towed so you have a lot of choices even if you put stuff in/on the towed. B+ is nice but you lose the over head storage. May or may not be an issue. Think about being in it for 4 days of rain. ;-)
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:33 PM   #8
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I'd still go with a motorhome and towed. Long C/short A will be easier to deal with in the east and will do in the west. You can find decent used 28-30 ft Class C motorhomes for around $50,000 that have not aged out or been beat to death. They will easily accommodate 1 or 2 people without being too cramped. Mileage in the 8-10 range depending. That setup will work well for a just run type drive with Walmart type camping every other or 2 out of 3 nights. Once you get out to where you want to poke the towed lets you base camp in the MH and enjoy poking around. It will dry camp or campground camp with relative ease. The same rig will work better than something bigger in most of the NE.

If you have it you may find shoulder season travel at home is also fun. In fact you may decide to drive the shoulders and part of the summer as the preferred travel time. Depends what weather you are looking for or escaping.

FWIW I said 28-30 ft because the 24 ft units are cute but tight. The over 30 ft can run out of total weight capacity. Various floor plans in the middle let you get a walk around bed, decent storage, a couch and dinette, reasonable kitchen and a shower you can fit in. You should be able to handle a 5000 lb towed so you have a lot of choices even if you put stuff in/on the towed. B+ is nice but you lose the over head storage. May or may not be an issue. Think about being in it for 4 days of rain. ;-)

Thanks for the guidance.
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:33 PM   #9
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Since you prefer not towing an RV, and are traveling alone, I'd suggest a C or B+ (also called a C by many) in the 24' range or so. You can get one with a rear corner bed (I had a 22'er like that) which I think takes up too much of the limited floor space, or a rear kitchen model (my 24' Coachmen has that floor plan) which I think gives a lot more open space than the corner bed models. You could also buy one that size with a slide out, which would provide more than enough room for a single traveler. Those units (without the slides) can be bought for $50,000 or a little under that, brand new.
I also think with something in the 24' range you don't need the extra hassle and expense of a toad, although many with that size MH, still feel the need of a toad. For offroading sure, but for regular highway driving, I've never seen the need of towing anything.
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Old 11-05-2014, 01:06 PM   #10
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I would think a small A with a lift for a motorcycle or a C with an enclosed trailer for the motorcycle.

I would prefer a trailer option for the bike. An A would pull that as well.

Main thing for the MH is the Floor Plan.

Are you going to cook or eat out? How much entertaining? Any guests? Any pets? How much storage will you need?

Get the best floor plan for your use. Other issues you can overcome but if it is not comfortable your 3 months will seem like a long time.
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Old 11-06-2014, 04:09 AM   #11
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Do you plan on spending most of your time out side or most inside the RV?

Do you take any pets?

I'd consider a class B if you don't plan on spending a lot of time hanging out in the RV.

If you plan on more time indoors then a 24' - 28' C with slide out will give you a ton of options.
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Old 11-06-2014, 08:57 AM   #12
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Do you plan on spending most of your time out side or most inside the RV?

Do you take any pets?

I'd consider a class B if you don't plan on spending a lot of time hanging out in the RV.

If you plan on more time indoors then a 24' - 28' C with slide out will give you a ton of options.

Thanks for your questions;

Most of the time outside of the RV
No pets
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:26 PM   #13
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Fwiw I did the TT all over the place at your age. I travel with a dog.

Then I went the 36 class A route for a few years. Loved the floor plan but one exit door and five steep steps did not set well with me.

My current 28 class C is a floor plan trade off. It has all the junk (tools, chairs, grill, etc.) from my class A stored in it. Being smaller I can drive and park it just about anywhere, it takes up two parking spots. Also I can still tow the Ford Escape for seeing what is in the area I have landed.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:48 PM   #14
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The choice of rig is really a personal preference. I enjoy the Class A MH due to ease of travel and set up. The floor plans generally make you feel like you have plenty of room, which is nice if you are stuck inside due to weather. And most have plenty of storage and can carry the extra weight. With the Class A you can pull something behind, so that you can go explore each area you are at and not have to break down and close up your MH. Coming back to your own rig will be better than coming back to a hotel room after a day of exploring.

As for your budget, $30,000 per year for 3+/- months per year of traveling is way more than enough. As far as gas goes you can plan on spending about .50 cents per mile for gas as a ballpark figure and will go up/down a little with the current price of gas. So if each year you drive 10,000 miles(which in 3 months would be alot) you will spend about $5,000 on gas. Lets say you plan on staying at campsites that are around $50 per night(you can find much better deals than that) and you are out for 90 days, that will be around $4500. So far you are only into this trip about $9500 and still have about $20,000 left for food, entertainment, maintenace ect. So your plan and budget is doable for just about any RV you want. Good luck and look at as many as you can before you make your decision, you just may change your mind,we did several times and eneded up with what suit our needs the best.
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