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Old 05-17-2018, 05:27 PM   #1
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Just exploring

HI.

My wife and I are starting to think about retirement (10-15 years unless we win the lotto). Our kids are scattered around the country. We love to travel. Family road trips have been the best vacations of our lives. I also love tent camping. My wife tolerates it as long as we bring a gas stove, coolers, lanterns, air mattresses. . . . To me camping means you bring a knife a rope and a match. Using a tent is glamping.

Notwithstanding this difference, we have been thinking a good retirement plan might be to sell the big house on the water, buy a very small house inland in a place where one of our broke kids settles, buy a giant 5th wheel or RV and pretty much live on the road. The little house could be occupied by said broke kid for a tiny bit of rent and could serve as a place to recuperate from illness or surgery. Also storage for seasonal clothing and gear.

The more we investigate, the more we get excited by this plan. Better 5th wheels like Luxe and DRV make my wife happy. The idea of spending time living near each of our kids in turn and also traveling a lot makes me happy.

We are nearly convinced a 5th wheel is a better option than a MH, but we want to make sure. We are also convinced we need to spend a lot of time in a 400' home before committing to this. So in the next 3-5 years, we will buy an old cheap MH and try it out. At times, we will just live in it in our driveway, just to test the lifestyle. When we can, we will drive it around to visit kids and cool places, and then when it wears out, junk it or sell it. This will allow us to figure out whether tiny space life will work for us and also help determine whether a MH or 5th wheel is preferable. (plus while there are a lot of cheap older MHs around, finding a decent older 5th wheel and truck for under $10k is unlikely.)

At present we live in a largish 182 year old home on an acre of land on a large island near Detroit. We moved the house 12 years ago to keep it from being torn down and have been restoring it since. Living in an RV will be a big change for us, but at least we are used to living with lots of broken stuff.

We will ask a million questions, and then a million follow up. Eventually you will get tired of us and stop answering. Thank you for sharing your information until then.

So that is us.
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Old 05-17-2018, 05:33 PM   #2
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We did something fairly similar. In 1995 we purchased a ten year old Airstream Diesel MH and started traveling on weekends and vacations.

We liked it a lot but decided we didn't want to make it our full time home so we kept the big house on the lake and travel several times a year to visit family and friends, as well as just travel.

A few years back we upgraded to a used DP MH and fixed it up the way we liked. We spend time in the Winter someplace south and in the Summer we go to music venues, ect.

Go for it, you'll love it.
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Old 05-17-2018, 05:48 PM   #3
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Welcome. Lots of good folks here to bounce ideas off of. It sounds like you have plan to work off of. Good luck.
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:59 PM   #4
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If you are unsure if you would like a MH you could rent for a few trips before putting down cash for one.

We've had both, and like everything else in life, you can't have it all in any particular type. In the end, for us, the motorhome was the way to go. Traveling with two or three big dogs in the back seat of the pickup was less than desirable. But beyond that, the motorhome was a lot more convenient while actually on the road. Anyone but the driver can use the facilities while on the road. Stop for a quick lunch and you're already inside an air conditioned or heated RV vs climbing into a hot or freezing towable.

In camp, not much difference.

Clearly, a lot less cost with a 5er. For us in license fees, maintenance, and initial purchase price/taxes.

Only you know your situation and what you need. You have a good plan...enjoy the journey!
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:26 PM   #5
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Glad to have you here in the forum with us. You're gonna like it here.

No one will get tired of answering your questions if you need to know something. Just let us know how we can help you.

Renting an RV will give you a feel for a MH. However renting one 40' will be very rare. Having your own will allow you to put and store your "stuff" on board.

Happy Trails!!!
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Old 05-18-2018, 07:54 AM   #6
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Thank you

Thank you for the nice welcomes and suggestions.

I hope to rent an RV in Denver where one of my daughters lives possibly as soon as this summer, but it is uber expensive. $1000 for a week in a class C. Yes it is cheaper than a motel, but we could also just stay with her. The idea of renting an RV was to test it out and we could take her and her S.O. up into the mountains or someplace. I am not sure if that is going to work. If we had $1000, it might be better to bank it towards buying a MH. I am surprised how cheap some of them are at about 12 years old and often with only 40 - 60 K miles on them. There are a number of them at or under $10K. I think the ones that do not have slides are not very popular. Obviously they will need some mechanical work. I can do that.

When you work on a MH or 5th wheel, how do you jack it up. I have a 3 ton floor jack, but I am to sure that would lift one of these. I do not know the ratings of my jackstands either, but I would be surprised if they anc handle 30 - 50 K loards.

I read yesterday that North Carolina does not allow any trailers over 35 feet long. Is that correct? Will they allow motorhomes over 35 feet?

For now we are continuing to look at the nice brands of trailers. I really liked DRV until I started reading about them in forums. They apparently have terrible QC and worse customer service. Augusta Luxe looks to be decent quality and Artic Fox. I also liked the Forest River Sandpiper somewhat. I do not like the look (finish/furnishings and layout) of them as much as DRV at least so far, but quality is more important. What other brands should we consider?

I like the idea of buying a used trailer or MH directly from an owner in part for a better price, in part because they sometimes include all the stuff you want to have along (tables, chairs, tools, etc.) saves you the hassle of running around buying all that stuff. We have some camping chairs and a table, but they are pretty beat up and over 20 years old. However maybe dealers offer some kind of warranty when you buy a used 5th wheel form them?

I would like to be able to live in a boondocking location for at least a week. Two weeks would be better. How much tank space to you need for that? I am thinking minimum 100/80/50. Is that fairly accurate?

For those with motor homes, do you normally tow your car on a dolly, or on a full trailer? I have a little Jensen Healey I could tow, but I woudl have to remove the driveshaft I think. It is RWD. I do not know a lot about towing a car but i am pretty sure with RWD you either need a trailer or remove the drive shaft. Is that correct?

On the plus side of motor-homes, What Like about many of them is you can spin the front seats around and add them to your living room. I think everything else was mentioned above. 5th wheels it seems like you get more space and a nicer unit for less money. Of course you have to factor in $50,000 for a truck vs maybe $30,000 for a tow vehicle. The 5th wheels we like are heavy. One of them said it was up to 29,000 # loaded. I think that woudl require an F-450. I am not familiar with trucks of that size. Are there Chevy and RAM trucks at that level?

Does anyone know of a 5th wheel with a toy hauler garage that converts to living space when you remove the toys, connect to the main trailer, and also has two bathrooms? My wife is adamant about having two bathrooms. She wants a toilet available all the time if one of us is sick.

I am not sure whether we want a toy hauler/garage on a 5th wheel. I would want to bring two bicycles and two kayaks. I think we could just strap those on top or outside. Is a golf cart or atv really all that useful to carry with you? With a MH maybe towing a GEM on a trailer would be a good compromise - sort of a golf cart and car in one.

People with big trailers or motor homes, do you find yourself restricted a lot in places you can go? Search around I have found a number of campgrounds or parks that accept no bigger than 35 or even 26 foot units. Is that common?
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:56 AM   #7
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You ask a lot of good questions. Don't know about your car but it doesn't sound towable. I used to tow a 95 Explorer by removing the drive shaft, but it was a big PIA.

MH or 5th Wheel is a question only you can answer. We've owned two travel trailers and now two MHs. We prefer the MH because we can stop in a driving rain storm, eat lunch, relax, and never have to go outside. In fact the DW will often, on a stretch of road without curves or traffic, go back and make sandwiches on the go.

We can pull into a pull through site, drop the jacks, start the genset, and spend the night without even getting out.

We do tow a car. I used to tow with a pickup and I find the car is a lot easier to find parking for when sightseeing.

There are pros and cons to both. Choose what's best for you.
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Old 05-18-2018, 10:12 AM   #8
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Hope you find the perfect rig for your needs.

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 05-18-2018, 11:08 AM   #9
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So maybe we should be learning about good quality motorhomes as well as good quality 5th wheels. Whoa re the better makers? Is there an equivalent of Augusta Luxe? Which companies are not owned by Thor or one of the other big companies that keep cheapening components to eke out a tiny bit of additional profits? Or conversely are there MH companies that focus on quality?
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Old 05-18-2018, 03:55 PM   #10
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The largest RV manufacturer in the world is Winnebago. They make several brands of MHs, TTs, and 5th wheels. They have low cost ones right up to luxury units. The good thing is they are usually customer friendly. And BTW, they sponsor a Grand National Rally at the factory every July for a solid week and it's a blast.

There are also many other good manufacturers. Newmar, ect.

You'll read pros and cons on all of them so just find one you like and buy it. I myself prefer diesel and rear engine on a heavy chassis. Frieghtliner, Spartan.

Most appliances are standard from one maker to another.

Go look around and get a feel for what you want.
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:50 AM   #11
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I am starting to realize there is a price point after which further increases seem to be kind of a waste. Not sure where that is, but once you get to 3.5" walls heavy frame, wood cabinets, awesome furniture and layout, you start paying a fortune for things like a 56" tv instead of 44" or fancier materials for counter tops, or 58 LEDs rather than 47. A some point down the line, cheapness appears. Many cheaper units are clearly designed for occasional use only. However you do not have to go to a $million MH to get good quality. At some point the quality levels off and the improvements are just bling.

Is that a correct perception? If so, anyone know where that price point lies?
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Old 05-20-2018, 10:45 AM   #12
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In a very short period of time, you will find who builds the best for you. Motor Homes like Tiffen are prime, but cost more and depreciate less.

I have a fifth wheel, but use is only a week a month or so. My 12k pounds is pretty easy to tow, and 34ft overall makes most Parks available for us. The West Coast is where length becomes a real issue.

Enjoy the forum. You will find a wealth of information, sometimes conflicting.
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Old 05-22-2018, 10:31 AM   #13
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Not to be wishy washy, but people on IRV2 and some thinking and looking, have me leaning more towards MH now. Two primary reasons:

I can tow an enclosed trailer and have a really cool car to drive instead of a pick up[ truck (I am a car buff), plus, if I get the right trailer, we can use it as an enclosed garage (although we may have to pay extra for a spot for it), and

I am told the ride on a diesel MH is amazing. This is important to my wife. We have done some longish road trips in our van (10 days - 14 states) and she gets uncomfortable on twisty or bouncy roads. A better ride is a good thing.

The other thing I am discovering is you an get a lot more with a MH that I do not seem to find in a 5th wheel (Aquahot, radiated floor heat, big generators, huge battery banks for storing solar power). They also apparently have sturdier chasis and frames because weight is not an issue. Many of the ones I am looking at now are new because that is what we will be looking at in 10 or so years. A $386,000 MH should be down around $150,000 by then. A $386,000 MH is much nicer than anything I see on the market for 5th wheels right now at any price.

It seems for living full time, a MH has a big advantage because you can take a lot more stuff with you.

A lot of comments I see say anything over 36' seriously limits where you can go/stay. Are places adjusting to larger MHs as time goes by? I guess we will see.

Unfortunately we cannot rent a diesel pusher motor-home. They cost $5,000 a day to rent.
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:46 PM   #14
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There is an RV show near us in August.. It is in Elkhart Indiana. Is this a big/worthwhile show to go to to get a feel for different types/

Thank ou
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