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CRHOPE

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I am a 61 retired school teacher. My husband is 62 and retired from the Air Force. We live in San Antonio, TX.About 4 years ago, before I retired, we decided to sell our home which we lived in for 27 years. We bought a garden home in an "active lifestyle" community for adults 55+.

We moved in October 2012. Don't get me wrong; we love our house and community, but we are house poor. Either I substitute teach or my husband does landscaping.

Our house has increased in value to about 25,000 to 30,000 dollars. However we really do not have any savings. This is not what we envisioned our retirement to be. My husband and I have been happily married for almost 44 years. I know that although we have varied interests, it has never been a problem (golf for him; learning about new places for me, among other things.)

 

We have a 40 year old daughter who was married at the age of 38 to a great guy. She is currently living in San Antonio after being in Dallas for 10 years. She has a great job (Topgolf) after all her hard work since graduating from Texas A&M about 18 years ago.

My daughter and her husband were told they would never have kids. Low and behold she is 3 months pregnant and the doctor says her pregnancy is low risk. In addition she just got a great a promotion and is moving to Portland, Oregon. My husband and I want to be a part of our granddaughter's life. However, with my daughter's career, we know she will be moving a lot. My husband and I have friends in our community; in fact, my best friend whom I taught with for 20 years lives here. My friend though has more income than we do. She and her husband just bought a Class A Motorhome and travel a lot. They can afford to keep their house and RV. We have to do one or the other.

This morning my husband and I decided to sell our house and by a Class C Motorhome. We have 3 little dogs. I do have some health issues-chronic, but manageable, the doctors say. We have great insurance through the military so I can go to any hospital civilian or military when we travel.

The only time we have been in an rv was an old yucky travel trailer we rented for the 3 months our house was being built. Those were some fun memories and we were happy.

So this is not the exact same thing. We are not outdoor campers; but we do not want to live here waiting for one of us to die. If one us gets sick, then we would park our Class C and live at a park near a military base.

So that is our beginning rv story. I have read a lot online about living in a Class C and from what I get from it is that you have to downsize. When we moved here we did that and we are starting to do that again. So I am done, for now. Any thoughts, advice will be appreciated. BTW, we will probably get something like a CRV to pull, but not on a trailer. Thanks in advance.

 

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Welcome!

 

Wow...you have a lot of decisions to make for not having RV'd before. First, since you mentioned a Class C I would recommend that you rent a Class C for a week or two. It's expensive to do so but it's more expensive to buy something that you will not like.

 

Go to a RV show in your area or visit various dealers and look at the different types of RVs - Class A motorhomes, Class C and 5th wheel trailers. Check out the storage space, especially the outside bays. You will find that a Class C has very little storage. You'd have to be a minimalist. Remember, you will need a place for everything that's important to you. A Class A would have a lot of storage and you could tow a car. A 5th wheel would also have a lot of storage but you'd be driving a truck. Would that be o.k. for you? You can get a better quality RV cost-wise if you buy one a few years old rather than a new one.

 

You also state that you are not outdoor campers. I'm not sure what you mean but one of the joys of full-timing is visiting places that are scenic like our awesome national parks. I'll bet that once you'd start traveling and seeing new places, you'll love it.

 

To lower some cost of RVing you could do some volunteering in parks - national parks, state parks, wildlife refuges, etc. Not only does it give you a purpose, it will also give you a free campsite. You wouldn't have to do it constantly but it's nice to do occasionally and in an area that really appeals to you. If you enjoy people it can be very rewarding. There are also interpretative-type of volunteers - those that give tours, for instance. We've given lighthouse tours. You can also volunteer in the Visitor Centers or book stores in the parks, not just campground duty. There are also maintenance or landscaping positions if that's what your husband would like to do.

 

...but your first item on the agenda is to try out RVing and travel a little to see if it's really for you. You both have to want to do it or it won't work. Good luck!

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I would strongly suggest you go to some Rv shows and look at both Class C and Class A. Full-timing can be done in a Class C but I think you would be more comfortable in a Class A and have more storage space.

 

There are lots of ways to reduce Rving costs. Boondocking, National Parks(you need to have a pass for free entrance and 1/2 price camping, not sure if you are old enough for pass), volunteering, working at Amazon during their busy season.

 

You will have a year or 2 of learning. If at all possible I would recommend going to RV Boot Camp run by the Escapees, that will give you a running start and some great contacts. Escapade, in VT this year, is another great place to get educated in the RV lifestyle.

 

Good luck in your future adventures.

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Well, Crhope, you have a lot of adventure ahead of you.

 

There is a thread here about class C's it only has 12 topics. Class A's seem to be the preferred choice for full timing, but the choice is yours.

 

You do have the advantage of your husband career, medical insurance and many military bases have RV camping, and base golf courses, also VFW offers some capabilities for camping.

 

You and Hubby are still young enough to climb that mountain, and swing Grand Baby around. There is a lot to see in this great country. Nothing but great memories ahead.

 

Ponder this. Retired with 16 others, only four can still travel, some have gone over the river, and other's partner in bad shape.

 

Here is a link to used motor homes consignment in your area, they come highly recommended by folks on this board. Get more bang for your buck.

 

https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/classc/class-c-motorhomes.php

 

Good Luck, Trucken

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Let me add another welcome to the Escapee forums! We are very pleased that you have come to us and we will do our very best to advise, assist, and support you in this very important decision. We are a group with a wide range in RV experience since we love to have new folks join and some of us have been doing this for years. We also have a wide range in RV use, ranging from those who only vacation and weekend in theirs to some who have used the RV as their only home for many years, as well as some of us who spent years on the road but are part-time once more and those who do long term travel but have continued to keep the home to return to. There is a great probability that most of the things you anticipate dealing with have been experienced by at least a few of our members in the past so do ask as many questions as come to mind or offer comments on any subject discussed here. I'll try and address some of the things which you have brought up.

 

Our house has increased in value to about 25,000 to 30,000 dollars. However we really do not have any savings.

What it costs to buy and live in an RV is an often discussed subject here on these forums. Recently there was a poll on these forums about the amount of income a typical full-time RV couple needed to do this successfully and the information might be helpful to you. On our website there is also a reprinted column about the actual cost of full-time RV living which I believe covers the subject as well as can be done, since spending is a very personal thing. At the same site there is also an article that addresses how to determine what you will need to live happily on the road, since each of us are different. There are many different ways to make a budget go farther and our members have some very creative and successful ways of doing this so help is available on these forums. The price of an RV is one of those things which is a bit more difficult to control but choosing a used RV can greatly reduce that expense, but you must choose very carefully as the wrong one can prove to be disastrous. Buying a used RV is a subject of long discussions so if you choose to go that way, I suggest that you return and start a new thread with your questions in that area.

 

This morning my husband and I decided to sell our house and by a Class C Motorhome.

I would suggest that you take the time to do as others have suggested and visit a few RV shows to see just what is available in the various types of RV and what each one will cost. Each of those types of RV have both advantages and disadvantages. You may be very surprised by how close in price the class C is to a similar quality of class A. Living arrangements in most class C rigs is more intended for family travel than it is for a couple living in it for long periods, which is the design for the majority of class A rigs. Keep in mind that choosing an RV to live in for the rest of your life is very different and more critical than it is to pick one for living a few months in. As we increase in age, our agility and health both tend to decline and things that we can easily "make do" with at 65 become a major problem for many of us when we pass 75. Be sure to give serious thought to just what your choice will mean to you when things are more difficult and weather is bad for long periods. Also remember that one of the major attractions of RV living for must of us is frequent travel to many different locations and this also means long periods of distance from our children and grandchildren. There are ways to stay closely involved with them as we move about, but very few of us spend more than a few months in a single location, continuously. A small RV will become much more confining when you have sat in the same location for many months, than they do when frequently moving to new locations and exploring places that we have never been. No doubt that what you are thinking of can be done, but do this very carefully since a limited budget also means you won't want to find that you should have chosen a different type of size of RV because trading is always an expensive proposition.

 

As mentioned above, having military health care via the TriCare for Life program is a very major benefit and especially so in today's health care marked and changing governmental situation. That is a very difficult issue for many that is pretty simple to deal with for you. There will be a few changes to make, but it should not be a big deal. My wife also had some chronic health issues at the time we went on the road full-time, and I assure you that these can be dealt with very successfully as long as health difficulties remain manageable. Many of us have done and continue to do this.

 

If one us gets sick, then we would park our Class C and live at a park near a military base.

One of the nice features of military retirement is that you can stay in the base family camps and most are pretty nice parks and usually on the base or immediately adjacent to it. There are many who move about the country staying mostly in such parks and that helps to reduce the cost, although they won't be free. This is another area that you may want to make a new subject of and that there are many here who will be able to help with.

 

I suggest that you visit your local library and get a book or two on the subject of living in an RV or perhaps buy one from Amazon and also that you take advantage of the websites and blogs of our many members. You can usually find a link to those locations in the signature line of those of us who keep them and there is a great deal of valuable information there. There are many on these forums who have taken the same route that you are considering so feel free to use that experience as much as you feel you need or want. Welcome!

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Welcome to the forums. Hope you find answers to all your questions. Do not be afraid to ask any questions the only bad question is the one that is never asked.

You say you lived in an RV for a short while so you at least have an idea of what one is like. From the sound of it that one was not a newer model. Before the DW and I decided to live. In one I had only seen ones from the 50's and was not going to live in that.

You have recieved some very good advice so far and I suggest you pay heed to it. I would suggest that you go to a large RV lot or show and look through all of the RVs you can. Look through all types. Not just class c. Take time to imagine yourself living in each type. Think of your daily chores. Consider the storing of everything you would want. Think about being inside one for a day or two due to inclement weather. Think about having a vehicle as a daily driver. Will it be a toad or will it be the tow vehicle.

Since you have a limited budget you need to be sure that what you buy will be something you will be happy with and will work for you from the start.

Once again welcome

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Welcome! The best advice I can give you at this time is to spend a day at PPL in Houston. You check in at a desk then they direct you to their lot and you can spend as much time as you want looking at all types of RVs. I suggest you spend most of the morning looking at all the types of RVs to help you get a better idea of what would work in reality for you--A, B, C, 5er, trailer. Then spend the afternoon looking at as many of that type of RV as you can. Play house in them--pretend to cook, sleep, shower, watch TV for long enough to know that chair works for you, etc. Spend time mentally storing your items in them--is there enough of the right type of storage for you? When I realized I was filling the same cupboard for the third time I had to reevaluate. Only then will you be ready to decide if this is how you really want to live. If so, come back with your next set of questions and we'll try to help some more.

 

Linda Sand

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One thing you need to be very happy with is floor plan. If you don't like the floor plan you will be very unhappy. Each person have their own thoughts on this. With all slides in access to the bathroom, access to the refrigerator, some place to sit and eat lunch(not necessarily the table). In our current configuration we do not have access to the kitchen, just the refrigerator, I just do some pre-planning for lunch and have everything I need accessible, where is the tv(will you get a stiff neck looking at it), and no bed against a wall, walk around space for the bed. For us this is the first things we look at.

 

You don't have the advantage of rving and knowing what you really want so we will all give you ideas and you will need to decipher what you want

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I would also just add a "welcome aboard" and be sure and read all the incredible information that is available on this site. Just about every topic that you can imagine has been discussed but feel free to ask questions. The folks on this site are incredibly helpful and very knowledgable about full time RV'ing. Take your time and look at all the options available to you when purchasing an RV. You are fortunate to be close enough to the PPL lots to go and look at all the different floor plans that are available. We were regulars at both the Houston and New Braunfels locations and this helped us tremendously! No salesman will attack you, and you can walk about and test every unit on the lot!! Go during or right after a rain and you can make sure there are no visible leaks. Good luck and keep us posted on your adventure!!

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My personal opinion would be to not buy a class C. Its doable but extremely limited in storage for fulltiming. I would look instead at either a fifthwheel trailer and truck or a class A motorhome. Rather than buy the newest that you can afford...think instead about buying an older but clean high end model which will give you more bang for the buck.

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Welcome!! You came to a great place to pose your questions. The fact that you are asking before jumping in demonstrates a good bit of common sense.


I got the impression from your note that there is not going to be a lot of moving about. Travel is expensive. Staying put and volunteering is a great way to see lots and and do it inexpensively.


That leads me to our experience. We assumed we would be rambling all over the place and so bought an older used motor home for our first rig.


We discovered that we like to go places and stay for a few months. (we do a good bit of volunteering and I have a summer job.) After 6 years in the motorhome we realized that sitting was taking a toll on our aged rig. We opted to trade it in on a 5th wheel and are very happy with that decision.


As noted by other responders, PPL is a great place to spend some time. There is a branch in New Braunfels, right up on I-35 at exit 93. Their inventory is a fraction of what is in Houston, but for a short day, you can see a lot of stuff.


A couple things to consider when looking at used rigs. Try to look past the dirt. Also, look past the wall colors and even the floor. Just as in a S&B (stick & bricks, or conventional house), you can paint walls and put in new flooring. On first look, we should have run screaming from our MH on the lot. We got a crazy good deal, remodeled the whole interior and loved it for 6 years.


I am repeating what some others have said, but I do it for emphasis - New rigs, just like cars, take a huge financial hit the minute you drive them off the lot. It's very easy to get upside down. Also, just because they are new does not mean they are problem free. Read some of the horror stories that are taking place right now on the forum with new rigs. Used rigs can be a blessing as they may have already had issues addressed, but, don't be blind - you could be buying someone else's problems. That is why coming to this forum in advance of your purchase could be one of, if not the best thing you can do. Read, read, read and ask any question you have. Nothing is too trivial.


Don't get sucked into the "the payments are only $499/month" crap that is being promoted by Camping World and other retailers right now. Look at the fine, fine, fine print - that payment is for 240 MONTHS - THAT IS 20 YEARS!!! I shiver even writing 20 years...


Do give the floor plan serious thought. Picture your selves indoors for two days due to bad weather. Any rig will get small in that situation. With a floor plan that allows both of you to move about without bumping into or making the other move out of the way is a good thing to have.


One interesting thing we discovered: we need a separate toilet room (water closet) from the rest of the bathroom. It happens a lot where one is 'taking care of business' and the other needs access to the area on the other side of the bathroom. No problem with a split bath. That is not any sort of an issue for some, for us it is.


As you may have realized, I can go on and on, so I'll close for now. But, again, do not be shy about any questions. Sharing is what makes this the best RV forum going!!
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  • 4 weeks later...

"I wonder if she has read them?"

----

Maybe not, but others might have gleaned some valuable insight from reading the replies. In my experience, posting queries, often the same questions on multiple forums, then disappearing without acknowledgement or feedback, is pretty common. I suspect that part of the reason for posting questions/requesting input, then vanishing, is that some or all of the replies may not be what the person wanted to hear! <_<

 

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I am here! LOL! I am what you call an "impulse" buyer! It's lucky I have a great husband and best friend to slow me down!!!? Anyway for the last month I have been doing a lot of research. First we are going to slow down. We have tentatively decided that we will probably go with a travel trailer and truck. It is the most economic way to go. I have watching YouTube and if we get opposing slides that will be enough room for the two of us. Now we are considering an ultra lite weight so we can get probably ford 250. What do u guys think??? It will be at least a year before this happens?

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. Now we are considering an ultra lite weight so we can get probably ford 250. What do u guys think??? It will be at least a year before this happens

 

We were fulltime for nearly 12 years but have now downsized as health issues forced us back to part time. We now travel in an ultra light RV an while they work well in fair weather and are easily towed, they are not well insulated enough for any sort of temperature extremes. I would never consider one for living in all of the time. In the effort to keep the weight low, aluminum is used for all framework and that conducts heat both into and out of the RV. For the same reasons, there is very little solid wood in one and other materials do not hold up well to constant use. I know of none which would qualify for year around use.

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I agree the truck/trailer is the most economical. I would suggest a 5th wheel over a trailer and a F350 as the truck. You need to have a safety factor and almost anything will push the F250 the limit. The 5th wheel will drive and back easier, have better storage. If you are thinking of this as your initial purchase to test the waters an ultra-lite is fine but they are not meant for full-time living or a lot of towing. More a weekend tow to a close campground. The roads in he US can be in very poor condition and you want something that won't fall apart in a few months as you hit the bumps and pot holes.

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If you are considering going with a travel trailer (or a fifth wheel), you might want to look at the lines offered by Northwood Mfg. (http://www.northwoodmfg.com) and their sister company (owned by the same person), Outdoors RV Mfg. (http://outdoorsrvmfg.com).

 

Both manufacturers make 4-season travel trailers and fifth wheels, although they are not in the ultra-light category (any 4-season rig is unlikely to be ultra-light).

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thank you for all the advice. I have learned so much from this post. First, if you are going to full time then get a "four season" rv. Second, if it is your home, and plan to travel, do not get a lightweight rv. My husband and i have decided to get a 5th wheel. We have learned from your posts about storage is much more and a 5th wheel is more like a house. Right now we basically live in our living room, kitchen and bedroom we watch tv at night or get on the computer. Now don't get me wrong our "senior lifestyle community is nice-single family homes with an amenities center. However my husband does not drink and almost all the clubs revolve around drinking. We have a nice pool but the cliques are always there. Sometimes I feel like I am back in high school. We live in the garden homes, and some people have called our house is in the ghetto. Being retired military we are used to traveling. We have only one daughter and she is pregnant at 41!!!! She is doing very well and she just got a promotion with Topgolf. She will be moving around a lot so we want to be able to see our only child, granddaughter and our wonderful son in law often. They will be moving to Portland, Oregon in a month and will probably be there a couple of years then she will move again. We want to be able to travel with our 3 little dogs, see her and see places like the Vietnam memorial Jamestown and other places. My husband and I grew up in Miami and we both love the beach. He loves to golf. So I don't think we will get homesick for our house or community. Money might be tight at the beginning but my husband does landscaping and mows 14 lawns now to make extra money. He will do work camping if we need money. He is healthy. As for me, I some chronic but manageable health problems and our insurance through military retirement is great. If we are near a base I can go there or go civilian and pay a small co-pay. So we are saving our money, researching and paying off bills. We should make a profit of at least 25k when we sell our house. If something happens there are so many nice parks near military bases that we could live in one of them. Right now I am just existing not living. So we are looking forward to this next chapter of our lives. Someone said f350 instead of f250. Does anyone pull a 5th wheel with an f250. If so what is giver of the rv. I read that f250 is a half ton truck but maybe we should spend the extra money on f350. Thanks for reading my posts an I will continue to look forward to more advice and insights. Have a blessed day????

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Well, yes. There are people who pull a 5th wheel with an F250. But those will be lightweight short 5th wheels, not what I think you are leaning towards.

 

Safe and comfortable towing requires that you look at all the specs on the combination of truck and trailer you are considering. For starters I suggest you read this basic primer on matching a truck to a trailer:

 

http://www.trailerli...ht-tow-vehicle/

 

Then work with the following to fully understand the various trucks' capabilities. Read the footnotes carefully as well. The way to match truck to trailer is to start with the specs for each.

 

http://webcontent.goodsam.com/trailerlife.com/digital_editions/TrailerLifeTowGuide2016.pdf

 

For the kind of trailer I think you are considering and living fulltime, I suspect you will more likely be looking at an F350 or F450 dually or a Ram 3500 dually. But pick the trailer first if possible, calculate your weights, give yourself a good margin for safety (for us, we use 20%) and then start thinking about the truck. The truck selection can limit the trailer options and an F250 will certainly limit your choices.

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thank you for all the advice. I have learned so much from this post. First, if you are going to full time then get a "four season" rv. Second, if it is your home, and plan to travel, do not get a lightweight rv. My husband and i have decided to get a 5th wheel. We have learned from your posts about storage is much more and a 5th wheel is more like a house. Right now we basically live in our living room, kitchen and bedroom we watch tv at night or get on the computer. Now don't get me wrong our "senior lifestyle community is nice-single family homes with an amenities center. However my husband does not drink and almost all the clubs revolve around drinking. We have a nice pool but the cliques are always there. Sometimes I feel like I am back in high school. We live in the garden homes, and some people have called our house is in the ghetto. Being retired military we are used to traveling. We have only one daughter and she is pregnant at 41!!!! She is doing very well and she just got a promotion with Topgolf. She will be moving around a lot so we want to be able to see our only child, granddaughter and our wonderful son in law often. They will be moving to Portland, Oregon in a month and will probably be there a couple of years then she will move again. We want to be able to travel with our 3 little dogs, see her and see places like the Vietnam memorial Jamestown and other places. My husband and I grew up in Miami and we both love the beach. He loves to golf. So I don't think we will get homesick for our house or community. Money might be tight at the beginning but my husband does landscaping and mows 14 lawns now to make extra money. He will do work camping if we need money. He is healthy. As for me, I some chronic but manageable health problems and our insurance through military retirement is great. If we are near a base I can go there or go civilian and pay a small co-pay. So we are saving our money, researching and paying off bills. We should make a profit of at least 25k when we sell our house. If something happens there are so many nice parks near military bases that we could live in one of them. Right now I am just existing not living. So we are looking forward to this next chapter of our lives. Someone said f350 instead of f250. Does anyone pull a 5th wheel with an f250. If so what is giver of the rv. I read that f250 is a half ton truck but maybe we should spend the extra money on f350. Thanks for reading my posts an I will continue to look forward to more advice and insights. Have a blessed day????

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