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Old 10-04-2018, 09:51 AM   #1
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Newbie trying to figure it all out

Greetings from MD. Looking to downsize and get into RV living.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:53 AM   #2
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Have fun and keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 10-04-2018, 10:29 AM   #3
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Mapnerd, welcome, so what are you trying to figure out? You mentioned downsizing and getting into RV living. Are you going full time over the road? Park RV living? I'm curious to know, we own a class A, only use it for weekends at the moment until wife retires in six months. Toying with the idea of full time but don't know if I have the courage to take the plunge. I talk to lots of full timers and newbies when I get a chance. This is an excellent forum with tons of quality info.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bounder28T View Post
Mapnerd, welcome, so what are you trying to figure out? You mentioned downsizing and getting into RV living. Are you going full time over the road? Park RV living? I'm curious to know, we own a class A, only use it for weekends at the moment until wife retires in six months. Toying with the idea of full time but don't know if I have the courage to take the plunge. I talk to lots of full timers and newbies when I get a chance. This is an excellent forum with tons of quality info.
haha, Everything? I'll be the first to admit that the only thing I know about RV is how to spell it. They're big, they're long, they can be very dangerous if you don't take the proper precautions and give them the respect and care required.

The wife and I have been running the rat race with a mortgage for about 10 years. In January I got a new job that lets me work from home -- or essentially anywhere. We're tried of maintaining the house and paying through the nose for a worthless HOA - long story short we're looking at putting our house on the market in Spring 2019 and loading up in a Class A and touring the country with the kids for a couple of years.

I'm not sure what counts as "full time on the road" but we figure we'd change our residency to FL (because that seems to be the path of least resistance - and taxes), then go on a 50-state quest over the next 2 years. Probably staying at one location for a week or two depending on how much we like it before setting off for the next location. Once we've been "everywhere" we'll likely have an better idea of what's home for us. It'll also be a great experience for our kids who are home schooled. We'll probably go back and forth between park living and boon docking with some frequency. I imagine it will probably be a 60/40 split with less boon docking because of the kids.

For now, I guess I'm specifically trying to figure out:
1| what kind of RV is right for us.
We're pretty inclined towards a Class A DP but we honestly don't know anything. We're dummies. We feel like a Class A DP is right for us because well, we were not fond of the Ford V10 engines used on Gas Class A's or the doghouse setup. We expect to go through mountain ranges with some frequency and want to be able to keep up with traffic. The RV will be also be our home for the entire time so we want the creature comforts to be there. Lastly there's the point of resale if we decide it ain't for us. A lightly used DP seems to hold value better than gas.

We've looked at 5th wheels but we don't have a car capable of pulling one already, so the idea of spending all that $$ on a 5th wheel, then having to go spend a ton more on like a 1-ton dually diesel, I mean you're not that far from Class A territory there in terms of cost. Though, maintenance on a Class A DP can be steep and its in the back of my mind.
2| how do I get licensed for the darn thing
We'd be looking at something over 26k lbs, so I'd need a Non-Commercial Class B in MD where I plan to get started. Easy enough to pass the written test, but how do I actually get practical on the road experience without owning one myself? Who's gonna show this newbie the ropes and let them drive their RV? Should I rent one, because that's also fine but I still need someone with more experience there to make me more smarter about driving such a big vehicle.
3| what are some ways I can try before I buy
Seems kind of obvious but I'm sure people on this forum know all sorts of ways to do this other than the obvious answer - rent one.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
We've looked at 5th wheels but we don't have a car capable of pulling one already, so the idea of spending all that $$ on a 5th wheel, then having to go spend a ton more on like a 1-ton dually diesel, I mean you're not that far from Class A territory there in terms of cost. Though, maintenance on a Class A DP can be steep and its in the back of my mind.
First a new or slightly used DP will cost much more than a new / used 5er / diesel truck combo. Going the DP route and full-timing, you absolutely need a toad. Can your current vehicle be towed? A full size 5er will offer more options as far as floor-plans for extra space for kids.

Quote:
what are some ways I can try before I buy
Seems kind of obvious but I'm sure people on this forum know all sorts of ways to do this other than the obvious answer - rent one.
You can "rent" a gas motorhome from a number of outfits, but renting a DP I don't think there are many places who would rent a $200k - 300k DP to someone with "zero" experience operating one. I sure wouldn't.

Same goes for renting a 5er, I have not heard of anyone renting one. Class C's are the common type rented.

You say "kids" so I assume more than one. A 5er floorplan with a bunk-house type floorplan for full-time living would be the easiest in accommodating both space, livability and cost effectiveness. As a outside option, toyhauler 5er's.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:40 AM   #6
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First a new or slightly used DP will cost much more than a new / used 5er / diesel truck combo. Going the DP route and full-timing, you absolutely need a toad. Can your current vehicle be towed? A full size 5er will offer more options as far as floor-plans for extra space for kids.
We were definitely going to go used on a DP if that's the route we go. Depreciation on new is bananas. Our current vehicles are a 2007 Ford Edge and a 2016 VW GTI. We'd probably sell both and get a Subaru or Jeep to use as the toad. Jeep has a slight advantage since it can be flat towed but a Subaru is probably more comfortable for the kids.

Quote:
You can "rent" a gas motorhome from a number of outfits, but renting a DP I don't think there are many places who would rent a $200k - 300k DP to someone with "zero" experience operating one. I sure wouldn't.

Same goes for renting a 5er, I have not heard of anyone renting one. Class C's are the common type rented.
Wouldn't blame em. I wouldn't rent to myself either.

Quote:
You say "kids" so I assume more than one. A 5er floorplan with a bunk-house type floorplan for full-time living would be the easiest in accommodating both space, livability and cost effectiveness.
2 kids, 6yo girl and 8yo boy. We do like some of the 5th wheel floorplans which is why we've not completely ruled them out either.
I guess another thing we've seen in the 5th wheels that we've walked through is that compared to a mid-range DP, the finishes are not as nice. For example, we absolutely despise carpet. Vinyl is better but we'd really prefer tile throughout. I've not seen a 5th wheel with tile floors yet (probably because of weight) though I've seen many with vinyl flooring. We are looking for something with higher end finishes and I know that probably comes off as shallow - maybe we're shallow Į\_(ツ)_/Į. That's just how we feel about it right now and why I'm on the forums talking to people who know more than I do.

I think the only thing we know for sure at this point is that if we go Class A, it will be a DP and not a Gas.
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Old 10-04-2018, 03:15 PM   #7
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Welcome to IRV2. Check out RV.org. They rate RVs and have the most complete information on the selection and buying process. Good RV hunting.
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Old 10-04-2018, 06:45 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum!

Good luck with your new adventure.
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:18 PM   #9
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Aboard a great wealth of knowledge out here.
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:30 PM   #10
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A number of differences between DP and 5ers, and I'll list a couple that were important to us (older, wife isn't as spry as she used to be)

A DP allows the whole family to make use of the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom while still travelling. A 5er, not so much.

A DP can remain air conditioned while driving, which eliminates the waiting time for a 5er to cool down after setting up camp...important if it's 105 outside.

Everybody in a truck while towing a 5er can be like being in prison. A DP allows personal space for the kids; whether to study or pout it off, or whatever. A truck is like a dog crate; you can't get away from the cranky one.
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:35 PM   #11
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Welcome. Sounds like quite the plan and maybe a very good one as well.

Consider establishing your residency in FL now as you will need a mail service anyway and you only need a regular driver's license for a class A. or any motor home for that manner.

Lots to read here to help you along.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:10 PM   #12
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RVing and selection of an RV is a series of comprises. Many rigs are not rated for FT use and may not even stand up to it. Beware. Many people consider whatever you buy first is only a learning platform and it may take two or more RVs to get it right.

Whereas floor plan is important particularly with kids, donít overlook the frame and suspension, esp. on 5ths. If the frame is not strong the rest may fail in sort order. Most Class As Iíve seen do not really sleep four without converting something, maybe be a pain on a daily basis. Also consider the kids growth over a few years. Any pets involved?

We spent a full year researching online and going to shows and dealers before buying. We bought a used 32 ft Excel 5th and love it for the the two of us and two small dogs. While spending four months in Alaska this summer we learned for some trips we needed a much shorter rig as a second RV. Just bought a Minnie Winnie and getting it modified and outfitted as desired.

My strong advice is not to get too caught up with gloss stuff over a quality build, esp for FT use.

I think your overall plans are great, just have fun and be safe.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:36 PM   #13
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If you are working from home and mobile it assumes you are on the internet. Figure out how to do that via cell phone or whatever. Most parks cannot support much in uploads or big downloads.

Depreciation on gas is closer to the same as diesel, they just start lower in price to begin with.

The lifestyle you are looking at will probably cost you more than living in the house. At least with the house the asset is growing in value. Your RV starts to lose value when you sign the check or purchase paperwork. It costs more to live in and maintain. Check into some of the threads about cost of full time living. Things happen, make sure you have a bail out plan and cash to back it up. If nothing happens it's your down payment on the next house.
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Old 10-05-2018, 06:40 AM   #14
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A number of differences between DP and 5ers, and I'll list a couple that were important to us (older, wife isn't as spry as she used to be)

A DP allows the whole family to make use of the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom while still travelling. A 5er, not so much.

A DP can remain air conditioned while driving, which eliminates the waiting time for a 5er to cool down after setting up camp...important if it's 105 outside.

Everybody in a truck while towing a 5er can be like being in prison. A DP allows personal space for the kids; whether to study or pout it off, or whatever. A truck is like a dog crate; you can't get away from the cranky one.
These are certainly other items that we considered and make us inclined towards a DP v 5er.
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