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Old 11-15-2016, 08:56 PM   #1
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Smile Disadvantages of Class A Over 40 feet

Never having owned an RV 40 ft or over but looking now. Are there a lot of national and state parks that will not allow RV's of this length? The longest RV owned previous was 37' and never had any problems due to length. Obviously, shorter is more convenient in a lot of cases. Thank you in advance for comments. Looking at coach which is 43 feet.
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Old 11-15-2016, 09:15 PM   #2
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In California we need a special license for a coach longer than 40 feet.
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Old 11-15-2016, 09:25 PM   #3
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In California we need a special license for a coach longer than 40 feet.
There are more states than just CA the require a higher level of drivers license, WA does not.
You are also limited to only certain roads. CA does publish maps of the allowable routes.
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Old 11-16-2016, 12:10 AM   #4
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We've been traveling full time for three years and have been in over 100 campgrounds in that time. There have been maybe 5 or 6 parks that we wanted to go to that precluded our coach (see sig).

There are parks that have limits that will exclude 43' coaches. There are also parks that have 25', 35' and 40' limits. We have encountered many parks that should have had limits because they were much too tight for rigs like ours. We have not found length to be a significant limiting factor on where we go, just occaisionally on where exactly that we stay.

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Old 11-16-2016, 04:58 AM   #5
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To give you a perspective on what you face, look at Yosemite.

In the valley, there are hundreds of campsites. If you have a 35-footer, you will have MANY choices. But if you have a 40+ footer, you have like 12 campsites that will fit you - some just barely due to the trees.

If you're staying at commercial campgrounds, truck stops or WalMarts, you will have no problem. But if you want to venture into, and camp at, state and national parks, you'll have to do your homework to plan ahead.

For us, we solved the problem by having TWO motorhomes!
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Old 11-16-2016, 06:02 AM   #6
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Here's a post from the blog of a full-timing couple Wheeling It – Living the Fulltime RV Dream with 12 Paws, 40 Feet and the Open Road

1/ Bigger is Not Always Better
I always imagined that you should try to buy the biggest RV you could afford. After all, who doesn’t want lots of space? Our travels over the past years, and perhaps more specifically the kind of travel we like to do (camping in public campgrounds, forests, state parks, off-the-beaten-track spots) has taught me that bigger is not always better. Our “beastly” size is super-comfortable but requires me to do quite a bit of detailed planning to make sure we can fit into the kinds of spots we like to visit. In retrospect, I would have wished for a smaller RV. For those camping mostly in private parks this is not a consideration, but for our kinda camping it sure would be nice with a few less feet.

2015 Update – TOTALLY still agree with this. Although we’ve gotten used to our “beastly” size I still wish we were a tad smaller and we (still) dream about downsizing. 95% of our camping is on public land and if we were smaller and more nimble we’d have many more options open to us, especially for boondondking. 35-feet would be nice, 30-feet would be even sweeter, but hey we make do. Maybe one day….

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Never having owned an RV 40 ft or over but looking now. Are there a lot of national and state parks that will not allow RV's of this length? The longest RV owned previous was 37' and never had any problems due to length. Obviously, shorter is more convenient in a lot of cases. Thank you in advance for comments. Looking at coach which is 43 feet.
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Old 11-16-2016, 07:03 AM   #7
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In California we need a special license for a coach longer than 40 feet.
What is the special license for, motorhome or drivers license?
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Old 11-16-2016, 07:17 AM   #8
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... for all of the parks and campgrounds around the country we've seen, it's more of a question of getting IN and OUT of the grounds, rather than the length of the site, which most folks are concerned with when they first start traveling.

... rv parks and campgrounds usually lists the lengths of their sites, but this is not typically the ACTUAL usable length, which might be much greater, especially if you consider the amount of 'overhang' space behind the site. Most RVs, especially ClassA motorhomes, have a lot of their stated length BEHIND the rear tires, so this can overhang the rear of the site if nothing is in the way, such as trees, posts, other sites, etc.
When you make reservations ahead of time on many websites, they may require your length. If you are a longer unit and put in your true length, you may not find many sites. If you put in a length 5' to 10' less, you'll probably find MANY sites to choose from, and you'll probably find that the actual site when you arrive has plenty of space. Most of these length questions are not to prohibit you from staying at a park or campground, but more to make sure that you are aware of the site's usable space.

... Navigating to your site through the park or campground is probably the most problematic part of any of our issues with height or length. Trees limbs overhanging the route certainly impact the height, but road width, tree limbs, other vehicles, and sharp turns pose most hazards.

... a google maps overhead view and street view are your best friends when it comes to parks you've not traveled into before.
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Old 11-16-2016, 07:26 AM   #9
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First off, welcome to the forum! Here you will find lots of answers to questions that you didn't even know that you had!

We currently have a 34' and love it. We can get into most state parks and a number of National parks and use our toad for the rest. As already noted, it really depends upon what type of camping you plan to do. If you are just snow birding and traveling from up north to the south, the bigger the better as you are using it as a home. Otherwise, smaller is much more nimble.
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Old 11-16-2016, 07:08 PM   #10
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We are 42 ft, and have had zero problems anywhere, even in California. Have we been in some tight sights, sure, but no way I would go back to a smaller rig.

One of the things we have learned is that our size is whatever we need it to be. For example when we staying in Grand Canyon, there was a 35ft limit, so we said we were 35ft, and we stayed for a week with zero problems. Stayed in Huntington Beach for 2 days with a super small size limit like 30ft, which I don't recall what it actually was, but we fit just fine there as well.

Buy the rig you want, don't let silly size limitations effect your choice, it will all work out in the end.

Good Luck!
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Old 11-16-2016, 08:55 PM   #11
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What is the special license for, motorhome or drivers license?
Non- commercial class A over 40 ft on drivers license..
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Old 11-16-2016, 09:08 PM   #12
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Welcome.

This is such a personal thing. It is all about determining if the upside of more living and storage space is to your liking or having more options for getting into places. For us the space far out ways any of the downsides. We have been fulltiming for over 2.5 years and put on about 9,000 miles each year. If we can not fit in a national or state park we find a park close that can fit us. We have never yet had a problem.

What is good for one person may not be for another. Do not let someone else's opinion steer you wrong. There are so many folks who buy a smaller rv than realize they want larger and trade in a few years. The same holds true for the reverse.

When shopping for our rv we felt that in order to gain an advantage to "getting into somewhere" we would need to get something in the 36 to 38 foot range. These where too small for us. If we were going to need something larger we though might as well go to the max. The larger motorhomes with a tag are easier to drive than many of the smaller 2 axle models.
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Old 11-17-2016, 05:41 PM   #13
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What is the special license for, motorhome or drivers license?
Here is the info from the CA DMV

45' Motorhomes
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Old 11-17-2016, 05:57 PM   #14
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Non- commercial class A over 40 ft on drivers license..
You only need a class B for greater than 40' motorhome in CA.

The CVC requires a motorhome endorsement on a noncommercial class B driver license issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The pertinent CVC sections are copied below under "Legal History."
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