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Class A Full Timing, the issue of "does size really matter"?


CleanLivin

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Here is the "Given":

House goes on the market this coming week. We are going Full Timing again.

I'm 68, wife 60 and both retired for years.

 

Back in 1994 I retired, had an Amer. Eagle 40 built, had a new Cherokee hooked up to it and we full timed for nearly 3 years. Toward the end we had a 2nd new Eagle built and kept it to part time for several years. Had all of our service done in Decatur, IN by the great folks at the factory.

 

Both loved the FT lifestyle but returned to a home base in 1997 to watch the Grandkids grow up.

They are now off on their own and I'm bored. Thus, time to drop out again to full time.

Plan is to be FT for 3-5 years as there is no one location we want to live in year round. Maybe we'll find it on the road, but I'm not anxious.

 

This time we will do FT in a more relaxed manner - covering the USA but staying in one site for weeks/months rather than days. Want to just do my landscape photography, relax, fish, fly my R/C sailplanes and get to know the local culture.

 

Rigs in consideration are all in the 2001-2005 Used category:

American Eagle40, 42 or Heritage. Must admit, I'd like to try something different than an Eagle this time.

CC Magna - concern is the 45' restriction

Foretravel

Newell - this has been tops on my "Lust List" since I first saw one. Thus, 45' is the big consideration. Expect coach would be in the 2001-2003 vintagge.

 

Questions:

1. Back in the 90's we rarely had a problem finding a decent camp ground for our 40' Eagle regardless of where in the USA we were at.

 

We are pondering the 40, 42, 45' issue and a key factor is to not have a MAJOR issue finding campsites. So, to the folks out there running the 42'+ beauties, what are the challenges of crossing over the 40' length threshold? (I was totally comfortable running our Eagles and driving is not the concern - it's finding a place to park)

 

2. Top contender in the real world is a 2002 Foretravel U320 40' rig with a Cummins 450. They have been around for many decades and I've never heard anything negative about them. Feedback would be greatly appreciated.

 

3. To any Newell owners - in general, is the cost of ownership/running it down the road actually much greater than an Eagle, Foretravel or Magna? Remember, I'm buying used so the original owner will be taking the huge depreciation hit for me.

 

I've found it of note that several folks I've known, and dealers, describe the 40' Eagles and CC rigs as "Simple" where as they call the Newells/Prevost as "very complex". For me, that translates to expensive to upkeep. But I really don't know anyone who has owned one.

 

For anyone wanting to send me a private email, you can find me at my web site shadowsdancing.com

 

Look forward to your guidance.

Jack

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My wife and I started fulltime in a 99 country coach intrigue 32 foot with no slides because we wanted to have a ton of options for places to stay. We went to the CC factory to get it checked out with their 200 dollar complete check over, and now are leaving in a very nice 01 40 foot magna. They have a couple of great used coaches here including a 03 magna 42 footer and a beautiful 37 foot newer allure.

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I have not had a problem finding sites for my 45 foot CC Magna, and as it happens we are in the position you were in a few years ago and going off the road for a while. We have our 2006 Magna listed. Take a look. We are presently in Memphis, but heading back to our lot in Silver Springs, Fl. within a couple of weeks.

 

I always try to look anywhere we are traveling to find a site that will accommodate us. I find the roads into and out of a park are equally important due to our height of 13 feet. Our Magna has quite a tight turning radius, but we do have to watch for objects alongside the roads, but again, I have never had a problem.

 

Just to give an example, I once inadvertently routed us through downtown Gettysburg, Pa. with our coach while towing our Jeep Liberty. I had to make numerous turns in town during noon day traffic and had no problems. If you know downtown Gettysburg, it is an old town with many less than stellar areas to drive a large coach. The turning radius was a great help during this unexpected adventure.

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...........................This time we will do FT in a more relaxed manner - covering the USA but staying in one site for weeks/months rather than days. Want to just do my landscape photography, relax, fish, fly my R/C sailplanes and get to know the local culture.......................

 

 

Look forward to your guidance.

Jack

Since you will be staying in one place for weeks/months at a time, have you considered the large 5th wheels, like New Horizon?

 

Having owned both a 5'er and MH's we found the 5'er more home like and more space and storage than MH's. We still travel in a MH since we move a lot, usually move once a week or more. But if we were to be spending weeks/months in one spot we would think seriously about a 5'er.

 

You would probably want to have a HDT to tow with and a second vehicle to drive around in when you are parked.

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The main size issue is one of cost since bigger means more expensive. The other factor is where it is that you wish to go in the RV. We went far off the paved road system and back into some national forest campgrounds when we owned a pop-up which you could not get most larger RVs into under any situation and there are state and federal parks which have no places for the larger RVs as well. Since most state parks were built before RVs were even close to the size that they are today, there will be parks which you can't get into but most of them are not in the high RV traffic areas because those have been modernized. With larger RVs you also need to plan to arrive earlier in the day because of the fact that the larger sites tend to go first. Even the family traveling in a small pop-up want the most roomy site in the campground and since they pay the same as those of us living in the biggest of RVs, they have every right to take those spots.

 

People who own the larger RVs usually tend to stay to the more traveled routes and for that reason they seldom have a serious problem in finding a place to stay but there are many places that they can't go. Since very few of them ever wish to go into those locations, it is only a problem for that occasional person and they quickly learn about arriving early and other means of planning. But do not mistake the lack of concern to mean that you can go anywhere. Over the years we have seen more than one larger RV that was damaged by trees, rocks or other obstacles when attempting to get into or out of one of the more challenging campgrounds. If you damage your RV it will be up to you to deal with it and if you damage the park they will probably bill you for repairs.

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I've owned 2 Newells, a 1993 39' and recently sold our 1998 45' 2 slide to buy a S&B. Yes there is a big difference between the 2 sizes in finding sites and maneuvering. With a 45' you just need to spend a bit more time researching campgrounds. The biggest problem is more in driving through some campgrounds rather than finding a site long enough. There are lots of places that can handle 45' coaches. I think in 2005 they incorporate the steering tax axle which has an incredibly short turning radius.

Regarding the complexity of Newells I've found owning both that Newells are far easier to access the systems than most other brands, including Prevost. The factory still supports their coaches back to those built in the late 70's and are available 24/7/365 for help on phone calls. As Newell added features throughout the years they became more complex of course but a 01-03 would be before they incorporated the Spyder systems so still would be conventional wiring and easily serviceable. I have a good friend who is an Aquahot service guy and says Newells are by far the easiest coaches to work on. Regarding yearly maintenance costs assuming you find one that is in good condition and has service records they probably are no more expensive to repair than other coaches depending on if you do some of the work yourself. And they are built to a much higher standard than other coaches using high quality home and commercial grade systems.

If you're near northeast Oklahoma it's well worth the time to visit the factory in Miami and see how they are built and maintained.

A great source of information can be found on www.newellgurus.com

There are also a few Newells that are 42-43 foot but they are rare since most are 45'.

Good luck and have fun searching.

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As to which brand or model coach is best for you, well that is a personal choice that can only be answered by you. As far as size, I can offer my experiences. I have a 42 foot tag and tow a car. I, I should say we because DW does all the reservations, have not had a problem finding CGs at or near any destination. Many CGs advertise 40 foot max or show 40 foot on the web sites but we have never been turned away when we called and said we were in a 42 foot MH. Some of the site we stayed at were advertised as 40 foot max you could have parked a 50 foot RV if they made one. A few sites took some effort to get in to but once in we had plenty of room.

Parks that advertise 35 foot max can rarely accommodate our 42 and probably could not handle a 40 foot. It seems parks can be devided into two categories, those 35 foot and under and those 40 foot and over.

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