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Old 10-03-2020, 11:32 AM   #1
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What's is like to drive a motorhome--and other newbie questions

I'm not new to camping. For a few years we owned a Trailmanor hard sided pop up type camper. We now have a Kodiak Canvas Flex Bow tent that is wonderful. I love the tent, but the rest of my family doesn't.

We sold the camper while we had 3 kids in college at once and needed the money more than the camper--along with cost to maintain, insure, store, etc. Another reason we sold is I hated the towing experience. We were towing with a Tacoma. As much as I love Tacomas, they are kinda underpowered for towing. Trailmanors are supposed to be easy to tow, but I always found it to be stressful.

I'm back to considering our options for a more comfortable camping experience 1) because we'd like to start seeing more of the country--we would like to make a cross country trip in May with 2 of our kids. (Our other 2 kids have launched) and 2) due to pandemic camping is safer than hotels and 3)We want to always have our dogs with us.

I really don't want another travel trailer--unless it's ultra lightweight and low profile. But teardrop is not an option because I need it to sleep 4 comfortably. The Aliner Family is on my list because it is all hard sides and it sleeps 4, but I know there are some drawbacks on comfort with those.

I am more interested in a motorhome. The Winnebago View, Navion, Porto, etc. I'm also kind of intrigued by the short class As.

How hard is it to drive these? I've driven a 10 foot box truck before, and that was a piece of cake. I know there's a difference, which is why I'd love to hear from some of you that have experience driving multiple types of RVs. I've been lurking on the forums and see complaints about handling, being a giant sail, etc. I'm just trying to find out if the stress level is going to be any better than towing a camper. Thank you in advance!
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Old 10-03-2020, 11:50 AM   #2
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JMHO: Go out and test drive a class A.
Coming from 80,000 miles of towing four different 5th wheels , transition to the 38' pusher took about a half hour on the road , and when it comes to parking and set up , it's way easier .
As for parking the coach , it's a BIG station wagon , I can put the RV in a back in spot , three times quicker than backing in a trailer ; to my DW's EXACTING requirements.
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Old 10-03-2020, 11:55 AM   #3
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We own a 29' Class A

Quote:
Originally Posted by momto4girls View Post
I'm not new to camping. For a few years we owned a Trailmanor hard sided pop up type camper. We now have a Kodiak Canvas Flex Bow tent that is wonderful. I love the tent, but the rest of my family doesn't.

We sold the camper while we had 3 kids in college at once and needed the money more than the camper--along with cost to maintain, insure, store, etc. Another reason we sold is I hated the towing experience. We were towing with a Tacoma. As much as I love Tacomas, they are kinda underpowered for towing. Trailmanors are supposed to be easy to tow, but I always found it to be stressful.

I'm back to considering our options for a more comfortable camping experience 1) because we'd like to start seeing more of the country--we would like to make a cross country trip in May with 2 of our kids. (Our other 2 kids have launched) and 2) due to pandemic camping is safer than hotels and 3)We want to always have our dogs with us.

I really don't want another travel trailer--unless it's ultra lightweight and low profile. But teardrop is not an option because I need it to sleep 4 comfortably. The Aliner Family is on my list because it is all hard sides and it sleeps 4, but I know there are some drawbacks on comfort with those.

I am more interested in a motorhome. The Winnebago View, Navion, Porto, etc. I'm also kind of intrigued by the short class As.

How hard is it to drive these? I've driven a 10 foot box truck before, and that was a piece of cake. I know there's a difference, which is why I'd love to hear from some of you that have experience driving multiple types of RVs. I've been lurking on the forums and see complaints about handling, being a giant sail, etc. I'm just trying to find out if the stress level is going to be any better than towing a camper. Thank you in advance!

We enjoy & prefer our MH and my husband does most of the driving. PROS: A big picture window in your front. Passenger can use the facilities while driver drives. Not a lot to set up/take down camp.
I don't think driving a MH is any different than a box truck. I believe side to side distance is close to 8' wide so need to be cautious & attentive driving down the road.
It helps also in making turns to get as close to the far side of your lane, that the direction you want to turn, so as to make a wide turn but still properly in your lane.
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Old 10-03-2020, 12:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
JMHO: Go out and test drive a class A.
Coming from 80,000 miles of towing four different 5th wheels , transition to the 38' pusher took about a half hour on the road , and when it comes to parking and set up , it's way easier .
As for parking the coach , it's a BIG station wagon , I can put the RV in a back in spot , three times quicker than backing in a trailer ; to my DW's EXACTING requirements.
LOL Thank you for sharing your experience! So anyone can test drive a Class A? I hate camping world, but there are some local outfits I could check.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Segrieve View Post
We enjoy & prefer our MH and my husband does most of the driving. PROS: A big picture window in your front. Passenger can use the facilities while driver drives. Not a lot to set up/take down camp.
I don't think driving a MH is any different than a box truck. I believe side to side distance is close to 8' wide so need to be cautious & attentive driving down the road.
It helps also in making turns to get as close to the far side of your lane, that the direction you want to turn, so as to make a wide turn but still properly in your lane.
Is your motorhome a class A? It's probably in your signature--lemme check.
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Old 10-03-2020, 12:38 PM   #5
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I'm a fan of Cl A. I don't knock other RVs as they suit others needs and I'm ok with that.
I would think with 4 people traveling a Cl C is going to be more separated - front & rear than with a ClA.
I do think set up is the easiest of all types.
If you've driven a truck I think the learning curve would be small and short. You need to rely on mirrors and consider your rear over hang on both. Only difference is driver seatingvs front wheel location so you need to learn / practice when to initiate your turns but that is EZ.
I place 2 colored dots / page flags on my windshield as a target for L & R lane marks. I feel its a good guide for checking lane position w/o looking in mirrors or camera. Be able to judge lane limits while looking forward is especially helpful in construction zones with narrow lane shifts.
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Old 10-03-2020, 12:49 PM   #6
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Ummm - Not to be a Debbie Downer but a little bit of a realist......

Driving a motor home, be it Class, A, B, or C, is not quite like a 10' box truck or a station wagon.

With that said - they are also not difficult if you understand what you are driving.

May I suggest you watch some You Tube videos about learning to drive a motor home.

Then as suggested, go "Test Drive" a rig type and size of your choosing.

There is more then just parking a motor home. There is traffic to consider, going up and down hills, stopping - sometimes short, weight, and others on the road. If you drive your car and think people are........well crazy and driving like a fool - wait till you are behnd the wheel of a motor home. One of my favorite experiences is driving the speed limit, 65 to 70 mph in the right lane of an Interstate, as you should. Come up on an exit ramp that you will not be getting off and continue your speed. Someone sling shots you, comes over in your lane, then is going to exit but needs to slam on the brakes in order to slow down because they speeded up to get in front of you.... This happens more than you want to think, which is what many motor homes drive in the middle lane of a 3 lane Interstate.

So - little things like this comes with experience - I would just hate for you to get behind of the wheel and think it was your Dad's Crown Vic. Yes - there is wind and trucks, rough roads, etc. Always remember to drive defensively.....and you'll be fine!

You seem to have the want and desire......good luck.

Happy camping,

g
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Old 10-03-2020, 01:08 PM   #7
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I bought a 31' Class C in 1997 and we put +68K miles on over the next 12 years. My wife actually put more on it flying solo then we did together.

We then upgraded to ~40' Class A and it drive and handles better then the Class C. It is more comfortable and you sit up higher so visibility is much better. Probably the only thing you have to get use to is driving in the center of your lanes but I found if you check in the rear view mirrors you figure out how to maintain center lane. We put ~50K miles on this the first 7 years including a trip to Alaska. My wife put a majority of these on also. We've had it but since starting (and essentially done) building a new house we haven't had the time to use it. Covid didn't help this year either. Hopefully next year.


With either of these it is handy being able to drive and pull off somewhere and take a break/eat/sleep etc without having to set up, disconnect.
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Old 10-03-2020, 01:16 PM   #8
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We full-timed for 8 years each in both a 5th wheel trailer and a motor home. The motor home would always be our first choice as to handling, parking and driving experience. We both drove it, taking alternate turns so our driving skills were kept up.
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Old 10-03-2020, 01:26 PM   #9
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I also prefer the class A. More comfortable to ride in and quick setup @ the campground. There are people that are equally in the 5th wheel, TT & slide in camp. Try them out & decide what suits you best. Not a huge learning curve to driving a class A though.
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Old 10-03-2020, 02:00 PM   #10
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We had a class C for many years and just recently moved to a class A. Both were under 30'. We like the class A for the view going down the road and the flat floor plan. The best tool for lane centering for me was use of the rear view mirrors. You can tell exactly where you are by using them. It won't take long and you will begin using front visual reference points to judge your position. I just takes some time on the road. Since you will be traveling with four people, I would suggest looking into bunkbeds. Our 28' class A is very short on sleeping space and is really set up for only 2 adults. Our class C had bunks and it was a much better use of space even though it did not have slides like our class A does.
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Old 10-03-2020, 02:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indy Glenn View Post
Ummm - Not to be a Debbie Downer but a little bit of a realist......

Driving a motor home, be it Class, A, B, or C, is not quite like a 10' box truck or a station wagon.

With that said - they are also not difficult if you understand what you are driving.

May I suggest you watch some You Tube videos about learning to drive a motor home.

Then as suggested, go "Test Drive" a rig type and size of your choosing.

There is more then just parking a motor home. There is traffic to consider, going up and down hills, stopping - sometimes short, weight, and others on the road. If you drive your car and think people are........well crazy and driving like a fool - wait till you are behnd the wheel of a motor home. One of my favorite experiences is driving the speed limit, 65 to 70 mph in the right lane of an Interstate, as you should. Come up on an exit ramp that you will not be getting off and continue your speed. Someone sling shots you, comes over in your lane, then is going to exit but needs to slam on the brakes in order to slow down because they speeded up to get in front of you.... This happens more than you want to think, which is what many motor homes drive in the middle lane of a 3 lane Interstate.

So - little things like this comes with experience - I would just hate for you to get behind of the wheel and think it was your Dad's Crown Vic. Yes - there is wind and trucks, rough roads, etc. Always remember to drive defensively.....and you'll be fine!

You seem to have the want and desire......good luck.

Happy camping,

g
no worries about being a downer! I need realists! As I said in my OP, I know there's a big difference between a class c or a and a box truck. That's exactly why I asked. I think the wind may be my biggest concern.
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Old 10-03-2020, 02:23 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the input! Keep it coming.
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Old 10-03-2020, 03:04 PM   #13
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When I got my class A I had delusions of floating down the highway in a rolling living room with a panoramic view through that big windshield, soft music playing, maybe enjoying a light snack underway before arriving at our destination where we'd put out the awning and relax as the wine chilled.

The the reality check occurred. This isn't true of all class A's and everyone's perception is different, but you asked. By and large if you've ever driven a large delivery truck like a penske or uhaul the driving experience isn't much different, in my case it includes the harsh ride, noise and poor handling of a delivery truck

Going down the highway is more like a 3D video game, battling unseen forces of wind and grade. The roar of a V8 at near full throttle a few feet away is only periodically overcome by the untold chassis and house components that bang, rattle, creak and thump. If the road surface is anything but near perfect, road noise is conducted inside along with every crack, expansion joint and the omnipresent road scars and blacktop patches. The best part of most longer trips for me is when it's finally over. My buddy's class C was even worse and he didn't seem phased by it at all - just the way it is. Now, surely there are some RV's better than others but there's plenty a reason many graduate from gas to diesel pushers to improve the experience. Most of my trips are less than half a day followed by days of enjoyable camping or other recreating, so the trip itself isn't too big a downer. But if I was faced with logging thousands of miles in a short period I would make sure whatever rig I ended up with was better suited to over the road travel than the one I ended up with.

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Old 10-03-2020, 05:42 PM   #14
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The coaches you mentioned, e.g. Navion, are Class B or C and drive like a van because they are built on top of a standard van chassis and cab. Almost car-like. Bigger of course, but they drive the same. A Class A, on the other hand, has the driver positioned over the front wheels rather than behind them, resulting in a rather different perspective that requires your driver "muscle memory" to get retrained. Some people adapt quickly, while others struggle for thousand of miles. A few even give up - too much stress.


I'm a big fan of the Class A, but given your earlier comment, I'm thinking a van-based motorhome is maybe the better choice for you.
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