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Research for New RV Purchase


Stiltner

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For many years I traveled the US for work. The unfortunate thing is that I didn’t see everything that the area (pick your favorite destination here) had to offer. I was there and gone within hours. Example: I drove past Mount Rushmore twice. I was tired and wanted to sleep….telling myself that I would come back when I had time and see it.

 

Fast forward to the present day. I’m ready and retired. My wife still has less than 2 years to go before she retires. Meanwhile the research has begun. I don’t want to rush into this and I want to be as informed as possible. This is a significant investment and I want to make sure I do it right.

 

 

We will not be full timers. My wife only wants to be gone 2-3 weeks at a time. With roots in Northern California, I speculate that I can make it to Portland, Maine or Sparks, Florida within 5 days (give or take). There will have to be a strategic travel plan, as I do not plan to travel the east coast in the winter, the south during tornado season, and the southwest in the summer.

 

 

Given the aforementioned, here is what I have determined what is important to us. Any insight will be greatly appreciated.

 

Class A: Being confined to a truck cab isn’t the ideal situation, and we feel our plan would be short lived if in a 5th wheel. My wife needs to stand up and move around occasionally. She can make a sandwich or use the bathroom, all the while…..moving down the road.

 

I'm currently looking at a Thor Palazzo 33.3

Diesel Cummings preferred

Allison Transmission preferred

Freightliner Chassis

Auto Leveler

Washer Dryer

Towing capacity for a car

Generator

Residential Refrigerator

Satellite TV

Self-contained and fully capable of camping without hookups (3 to 5 days)

Solar power (option)

Loan Terms/Finaancing/Interest Rates?

Insurance?

Storage?

Clubs and campgrounds? – with so many to choose from primarily Good Sam and Thousand Trails

 

 

I'm currently looking at a Thor Palazzo 33.3

 

I can't thank you enough for your insight! The knowledge base on this site is outstanding.....it's remarkable the amount of available information and experience this community has to offer.

 

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I know nothing about this rig or brand so I only looked at the floor plan. I like the idea that the bunk/sofa could be used as a den. And the TV is across from the living room sofa so you can watch without getting a crick your neck. Plus I like that style of pantry that lets you actually see what you have in it. Do be sure you can get to the bathroom with that super slide in but it looks to me like that would work since you obviously can get from the door to the cab seats with that slide in. I would want to check for room for big feet in front of that toilet, too.

 

I agree that walking around while driving is hazardous so don't recommend it. But I also have digestive problems that means sometimes I can't wait for a safe stopping place. But, my emergency walking is an exception rather than a rule so we look for a safe stopping place first. Feeling like you need to make the miles because you are not fulltiming could lead you to think risky behaviors are acceptable. Please, think twice about that.

 

Linda Sand

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I triple the caution about "make a sandwich or use the bathroom, all the while ... moving down the road." Don't even think about it. It may feel very smooth and steady while travelling down the highway sitting in a comfy seat up front in a big class "A", but it's not as smooth as it feels. That machine is moving about a lot. And if the driver needs to make a sudden move - hit the brakes or swerve to miss something - it almost for sure would be a disaster. Use bathroom only in a real emergency and very carefully. To just "stand up and move around occasionally," or "make a sandwich" while moving - NEVER. DON'T use that as criteria for choosing any RV.

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Welcome to the Escapee's forums! Good to have you with us.

 

We too have traveled a lot via a motorhome and while we did very little of it, to move to the toilet when needed can be done with a large helping of caution and when traffic is light. But remember also that not only is it risky, but it will also get you a ticket if the local LEO should happen to notice. At the same time, it takes far less time or effort to pause for any of those purposes in a motorhome than in any type of trailer and the facilities are right there if it happens to be raining or some type of nasty weather. What we did was to simply pull off at the first exit, waiting there for the very short time required to get a cold drink, cup of coffee, or whatever. In addition, the motorized RV is at a comfortable temperature and ready to use at a moment's notice.

 

There are seat-belt laws in all states today. Pam would never let me put one into our bathroom! :lol:

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Have you ever been in a plane in the bathroom during turbulence. That is a lot what it's like trying to use the potty while going down the road. You wouldn't think so from the driver/passenger seat, but it is. ( I tried it once)

 

I also would dislike traveling at the pace you plan. For example -- we left central IL on Oct 6 -- arrived at the gulf coast on Oct 20th. We like to travel a couple hundred miles per day , do just an overnight stop a couple of times, then stay somewhere for 2-3 days before moving on. That allows you to see some local attractions, stock up on groceries, do laundry etc. It also allows you to rest and enjoy the trip. I would rethink the travel pace. Who knows. Once you do a few shorter enjoyable trips, maybe Mrs won't object to being gone longer for a trip such as to Maine. Half of the fun is the things you see on the way to the destination.

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People do risky things all the time in the interest of time. I know someone who was injured when her husband had to make an emergency stop and she was hurt badly. But, people do get up, make lunch, go to the bathroom and even change drivers when going down the road. I know a couple from California that chose a Class A because it was "easy to change drivers" while on the highway. They would drive hard, often 24 hours a day, to pack in as much vacation as they could in two weeks. My wife and I would not do it, but we are fulltimers and old enough to know our limitations.

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I might get flamed for this, but I consider Thor an entry level coach. I would be looking at a used well taken care of higher end one for the same money as a new Thor, and a bit larger than 33ft. For a trip from coast to coast, comfort would be a priority for me.

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I have no opinion on the Thor coach, others have given you good advice to ask other actual owners what they think of the coach, they are always going to be your best resource. My 2 cent advice is don't drive yourself crazy finding the "perfect" rv, there is no such thing. There are other things to consider, have you rv'd before, have you rented or owned an rv? It's really hard to know what floorplan is going to be good for you unless you have spent time in it or other rv's. We rented 2 class c's and a class a before we bought a 5th wheel. We bought a 2000 Avion in 2005 and traveled in it for a year. In 2006 we bought a new 5'r and did it again in 2012. Buy a 1 year old rv and travel in it for awhile, since you won't be fulltimers it's easy to buy a new one. It's a significant investment and a depreciating asset.

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First, welcome to the forums Stiltner! And...it sounds like we should welcome you to the RV lifestyle as well! Can I assume you have never owned a RV before?

 

I will go ahead and make that assumption in my comments below.

 

I will X2 on the "making a sandwitch" and agree with Kirk about the LEO ticketing you if they see movement in your coach. Even in an emergency, you will use your bathroom "on the move"....once :P

 

As to your coach choice, it would be helpful to know what your needs are. The comments about the Thor you are eyeing are (IMO) correct: it is a entry level coach. If you are planning on buying new, you may want to look at the Forest River Berkshire. They have three builds that go from mid-range to "Directly compets with a Newmar" - all at a price point that is substantially lower than the competition (Forest River doesn't skimp...they compete on price via economy of scale). That said, there are tons of coaches out there and until you define your specific needs and creature comfort desires and trade offs, it difficult to recommend any given coach.

 

Now, on to traveling. You will make that coast-to-cost trip in 5 days...once! And, hopefully your marriage will survive :rolleyes:

 

Consider: You said you lived in Northern CA. I am assuming Eureka. So, Eureka to Boston, MA (trying to keep you on roughly the same latitude) is a 3,225 MI trip via I-80. at 70MPH constant (ain't gonna happen AND the fastest you should ever go pulling a TOAD is usually 65MPH - depends on the TOAD) is a 46 1/2 hour run. That translates to almost 6 straight days at a constant 65MPH, no food, potty, or refuel breaks (aint gonna happen) and blasting past Mt. Rushmore and all the other sights you missed in your past travels. Is this what you really want to do?

 

You and your wife need to sit down and realistically discuss retirement travel. Here is a personal example. My wife and I retire at the end of 2017 and we are planning the "trip of a lifetime" We will be going to Alaska from Alabama. Alaska nonwithstanding, our itinerary from Alabama to North Dakota spans almost 4 weeks. On the way up, we want to stop and see things - enjoy Americana and all that it has to offer. Consider this when discussing a cross-country trip with your wife.

 

I am a member of a RV Club with a motto that you may want to consider when planning your retirement trips: "The journey IS the destination!"

 

Again, welcome to the Escapees Forum and if either myself or my wife can answer any questions you or you wife have, ask away!

 

Bob & Anne-Marie

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You guys are friggin AWESOME! I can't thank you enough for all of your comments and insight! Again AWESOME! My original statement and thoughts have taken a completely different direction in the past 24 hours. You all have saved me from myself!

 

I've owned travel trailers in the past, so it seemed feasible to walk around the coach while driving, but that's not the case. My time table needs so work too! Personally, I don't care how long we are away from home, The wife....not so much. Given your comments coupled with some rough math, I was in fantasy land in thinking I could make it to the east coast in 5 days. In my head I could, but I think I'd need a couple of more drivers and some fuel from NASA.

 

I am truly appreciatitve of you all and I am so jazzed about being in this forum, learning and one day helping others out in the RV community......but most of all experiencing what you have!

 

Thanks again!

 

Best Regards!

 

Patrick

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Patrick, if I might make a suggestion, I really think that you could learn a great deal about what it is like to travel by RV if you take advantage of some of those who post here having websites and blogs that share a great deal of information about how they live, how they travel, and all sorts of information and experiences. It might give you many ideas of just what you may want to do. We are not saying not to buy a motorhome as many of us love them, only to rethink how you would use it. Let me invite you to start by visiting my personal website, then look at the signature line of many who post here and take advantage of the links you will find there. RV travels can be just about anything that the people inside wish for it to be. :P

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Thank you Kirk!

 

I've been reading so much that I lose track of time and when my wife comes home, I have nothing accomplished for the day. I am learning so much valuable information from this group! I have visited you website, which is equally valuable. Moreover, Things are becoming more and more into focus, and I'm confident that with research and asking questions, I'll make a more informed decision. I'm quite sure I'll have more questions. Thanks to everyone in this group, My confidence gets better and better.

 

In addition to the Palazzo I'm also considering a Forrest River Legacy or Berkshire.

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A two week trip from No. CA to Maine or FLA and back sounds like pure hell to me. I'd suggest flying rather than RVing with that time schedule. JMHO.

Back in our early 20's we used to drive a car 18 hours each way from Texas to Minnesota and back for a long weekend. Back when we were still working we made a 3-week trip in a Class C from Minnesota to the west coast and back. After retirement we drove from Chicago to Santa Monica in a Class C and it took us more than a month. How far you can go seems to get shorter with age. Since most of us are retired now so we no longer have to travel at vacation speeds, it's hard for us to give realistic advice to those who don't have all the time in the world to travel.

 

Linda Sand

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Thank you Linda! I (we) certainly have a lot to think about. I talked to my wife about what was said in this discussion, and she's in! I am a hero in her eyes because I'm not afraid to ask questions and I'm researching everything I can think of. Now I'm wondering about financing, loan options, insurance and campground clubs. So far, I like Kirk's suggestion of the Escapees Club.

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Now I'm wondering about financing, loan options, insurance and campground clubs.

On financing, I'd shop that just as you would the RV. If you do join Escapees, Alliant Credit Union is affiliated with the club and do give their best rate to members, pending credit ratings, of course. Essex Credit is also well known for RV loans but don't forget to discuss this loan with one of the loan officers at each financial institution that you currently have a relationship with. When we bought our motorhome, a small rural bank beat all other offers by 1/4% so don't write any possibility off. It costs very little in effort to check one more bank. :)

 

As to RV clubs, there are many different types of club out there. Family Motor Coach Association is exclusive to motorhome owners and mostly the more upscale ones but they don't keep any motorized RV out. Good Sam is owned and operated by the same people who own Camping World and several other RV related businesses. It is, or at least used to be much larger than Escapee's and both are not only clubs but also a business. Escapees has a much better magazine than GS and theirs is mostly advertising.

 

There are at least two campground discount "clubs" where you buy an annual membership and in return get a discount of 50% at the member RV parks, usually for a limited time and often only seasonally. These are a bargain for most people as they cost less than $50 per year. Best known here is Passport America and the other that I'm familiar with is Happy Camper Club. Escapees also has some of the campground discounts but they are not as extensive as either of these two groups.

 

Another type of RV association is the campground marketing groups or park chains such as Coast to Coast, Thousand Trails, Resort Parks International, and several others. Those can save a fulltimer a lot of money if they happen to be the kind of park the buyer enjoys and have parks located where the person wishes to spend time. I doubt that many part-time RV'ers actually save much and most probably pay more than they would ever save. I'd suggest you take your time on these and be sure you know what kind of camping you plan to do first. There are satisfied members on these forums so you can probably get some good information on them should you choose to buy in.

 

There are also some brand name clubs for owners of a specific manufacturer's RVs and those can be enjoyable, although we have never belonged to any of them.

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