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Picking up my

"new 2 me" RV tomorrow. 

I have never been more excited about throwing money away..


Class A Thor hurricane 34j


I know there is good Sams RV and other clubs...

Are they woth it?

I see some sell insurance and other junk.

Not sure what it is all about...

I want to make sure I have some kind of road side type help before taking any big trips... I plan on camping close to home a few times to get the hang of something other than a tent...


Any tips, suggestions on what i need..

I have read needing a toolbox... (that is rather broad.. what kind of tools?)

Air compressor..

I am handy, so is there any Haynes manual type thing for the engine?

I have read about GPS phone apps to help avoid problems with height and gas...



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This is my opinion based on our experience.

Escapees is worth joining to support the company that supports full timers even if they didn't also offer other great benefits. Passport America allowed us to stay cheaply at some pretty amazing parks as we traveled. We eventually joined a membership campground where we spent a lot of time in the winter. It came with the ability to stay at other membership campgrounds but they never seemed to be where we wanted to go. We did stay a fair amount at Escapee parks and co-ops when traveling, though.

CoachNet provided us with excellent roadside service. We never used any other service so can't say anything about them.

Camping close to home to start is excellent. If you can do some before moving out of your house it is even better because that's lets you trade what you discovered you didn't need for what you did before you leave everything else behind.

What type of tools you need depends one what you feel qualified to do. I'm not at all handy so I think all I used was a measuring tape, my ratcheting screwdriver, and my credit card. :)

My Garmin dezl 560 is one that lets you enter height and weight of your vehicle so it can route you appropriately. Which still didn't always work since nothing told it that one road had a decorative archway over it that we would not fit under. Or that another road we took should have been labeled for ATVs. That's an experience we will never forget.

The floor plan for your rig looks very livable to me. You don't say how many people are in your family but you probably have room for guests as well if you decide to go that route. I did not look at things like tank capacities, though, just the floor plan.

I hope you enjoy your travels.

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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6 kids in total. 

Plus a friend or so...

I didn't know about coachnet..

What happens if you have some engine issues and need help right away?

That is something I am waiting to be ready for. 


And thank you for the advice. 

Edited by nocool
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1 hour ago, nocool said:

What happens if you have some engine issues and need help right away?

That's exactly what a roadside assistance plan is for, along with flat tires, etc.  If you have a breakdown you call them and they'll send an appropriately sized tow truck to transport your RV to the nearest qualified repair shop free of charge.

Escapees, Good Sam, FMCA and of course CoachNet all offer plans with unlimited mileage towing.  They can also recommend a shop for non-emergency repairs and routine service if you need help while you're in an unfamiliar area.

The roadside service to stay away from is AAA.  While they may be OK for the family car, their policies offer lesser benefits and they just don't seem to understand what RVers need. 

Edited by Lou Schneider
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Welcome to the Escapee forums! We are here to help and to share information, so don't hesitate to ask pretty much anything that you need to learn. 

While you didn't say what year the Hurricane is, I will guess that it is one of the "bunkhouse" versions, since you said that you have 6 children? It has a gasoline engine and is powered by Ford. That also means the entire chassis and drive system are from Ford so mechanical things are much like the Ford trucks of the applicable year. That would also mean that you have a gross weight capacity of 22k so be sure to have the RV weighed as soon as possible after you get it loaded so that you can be sure to travel at a safe weight. You should have everyone aboard and be loaded as you will to travel. 

When it comes to RV clubs, there are many groups who market as clubs but you need to realize that not all of them are really active clubs and all of them also sell things. FMCA is the most club run but they do still sell products in order to generate funds for the group. Escapees is a combination club and business, as it is owned by the Carr family and is the business that supplies their means of living but it is also unique in that the company also has an advisory council of volunteer members which play a major role in company decisions. They began as a small club with a newsletter operated by the founding couple and slowly became a fulltime job and investment for the founders and so had to also be a for profit business. There are local chapters and special interest groups. The Escapees are now managed by the third generation from the founding couple and remain a very strong club/business combination depending heavily on member volunteers.  Good Sam began as a club and over the years has become more and more a marketing organization and the club activities have slowly played a smaller and smaller role. I have not been a member of that group for a long time so am not current on the present organization, but their reputation has faded over the years. 

Passport America is not actually a club but a discount group for RV parks & campgrounds who give members a 50% in return for a listing in the group's directory. It is a very good bargain for anyone who uses it since it only takes 3 to 4 nights discounts to pay for the $44 of annual dues. I suggest that you go very slow on joining groups for now and take plenty of time before joining more so that you can learn which ones are of benefit to you.  I belong to only Escapees and Passport America at this time due to the cost versus the benefit received but no two of us are exactly the same so move slowly. 

Road service for a motorhome is strongly recommended by most owners. What it does is to provide you with service to change a flat tire (an very difficult job on a motorhome), bring you fuel, help to start an engine, winch service if stuck, or towing of the RV if it should breakdown. The Escapees, FMCA, and Good Sam all have it available as well as Coach Net and a few others. If you choose to join Escapees or FMCA either one of these would be your least costly way to get pretty much the same coverage but both require membership in the club. I used Coach Net for many years but due to the current high prices have changed to the service from Escapees. 

As far as tools to carry, that depends mostly on what you are capable of doing and willing to do. I did most of my own repairs over many years and carried a pretty basic tool box when traveling part-time but had far more when we went on the road full-time. I suggest that you start with just a small tool box of basic hand tools. You should also get a modest priced volt/ohm meter and make sure that you understand how to use it. 

This has become very long so let me just say that you should not hesitate to as any questions you may have and come here as often as you wish. Welcome to the group!


Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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I have said in the past that I didn't think there was much difference between the ERS (Emergency Road Service) companies. But some recent investigation makes me think the you should avoid AAA, and also Good Sams. For GS there are a number of people saying that GS could not get a tow truck to them that day. WE had that exact same thing happen to us in Arkansas years ago so this is not new. While I saw zero complaints about that on other issues.

Just a guess but I think GS contracts with fewer tow truck operators across the country. So when you break down in West Nowhere, Nebraska GS has no contracted operators within 100 miles. That would be cheaper and they offer cheaper rates. In our case because of a quirk we had both GS and Coachnet and after GS gave us the brush off I called Coachnet and they had a truck there in less than 30 minutes.

AAA seems to have hidden clauses in their contracts with their ERS customers that they reveal when they are called on for service. Of the "we don't cover that!!" type.

Also make sure your ERS covers all your vehicles and either unlimited tow miles or at least 200 miles. The ones I have see no complaints about are Coachnet, which is one of the most expensive. And Escapees, and you have to be an Escapee member to get that. But with a Class A this is absolutely something you do not want to cheap out on. FMCA offers ERS and I have seen no complaints about them either.

FMCA is maybe a club you may want to join. Never having owned a coach I never paid any attention to them but a lot of people belong. They recently voted to 'allow' towable owners to join but I sustect it would be as the poor relation...heh

Edited by agesilaus
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While I love the floor plan you have picked I am concerned about a couple of things.

One is seatbelts. There are only six belts in this RV. Are you able to have more installed? They do offer a child seat tether but do not say on their website whether or not that replaces a current seat belt. I would think it would be fairly easy to add one belt at the dinette facing backwards but have no idea where you'd put another one.

The other thing is water. With 50 gallons of fresh for a family with six kids you are going to have less than 10 gallons per person. That means you are going to have to fill your freshwater tank fairly frequently. This can be done but you need to take that into consideration and teach all family members how to conserve water unless you always plan to be at a park with full hookups.

Still I think this is going to be a wonderful experience and would love to talk more about techniques (such as packing for kids) to make this doable when you are ready for that.

It would also help to know the ages of the kids--tiny requires different things than teenage.

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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You might want a small plastic tool box that has several screwdrivers and crescent wrenches,  vice grip and channel lock pliers, Utility knife, duct tape, electrical tape, a magnet on an extendable rod, measuring tape, small flashlight, needle nose pliers, allen wrenches, a small hammer, a can of WD40 and a can of PB blaster (or similar).

I also carry a cordless drill and a small plastic tray of bits.

Over time you'll add more to the collection.


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Excellent suggestion for the tool box!  All we ever needed was a small canvas tool bag and the drill.

Here are some good lists. Of course, you don't need everything on them but it will give you a start.....


Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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15 minutes ago, Big Rick said:

Also keep a kit of bulbs, o rings for hoses(always seem to leak the further you are from a replacements), heavy duty extension cord (always comes in handy)

In that category extra fuses can be lifesavers.

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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  • 1 month later...

Road side service companies?  I've had AAA for about 50 years now.  

It runs about $160.00 a year to cover my truck, 5th wheel and my wife's car.

from what I've read in some area's other service providers contract with AAA.

When I had a MH (2015 Thor Hurricane 34E gas Class A) we were on a 5 week 

trip to Canada and back and on I-90 east of Missoula MT I had a Rt front tire blow out

good thing I thought to buy a good used spare tire (unmounted) because when I got 

towed into the tire shop in Missoula they did not have a tire of the correct  size in stock.

It was a good $80 investment.  I called ahead to the Goodyear Truck Tire dealer in Spokane

WA to order a new tire.  After installing they sent my blown up tire back to Goodyear for 

re-imbursement of  $525.00 to me.  The tire was about 2 years old (9000 miles). 


Phil & Alberta Saran

2019 Keystone Cougar 30RLS

2012 Dodge Ram 3500 4x4 diesel


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