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Dreamers

Need help finding our first motorhome

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Hi everyone.  My wife and I both love to travel.  We have rented class C's and really enjoyed traveling with family.  We have been researching motorhomes for the last 2 years and went to the Hershey show last year.  I am less than 2 years from retirement and we are ready to buy.  We can't find a motorhome with the features we want.  Maybe some of you can help us.  Here is what we think we want:

Class A or C, 30 to 35'.  The upper limit is based on park availability and my wife's comfort level.  We want a king size bed for us, and the room for at least 1 other adult couple and 2 teenage girls.  We think bunks and a non claustrophobic cabover bed would work.  Gas or diesel would both work.  We expect to take several cross country trips with just us or with the grand kids (the teenagers).  So storage, a decent sized refrigerator a pantry, and enough seating are all very important.  We would love recliners because we really like to put our feet up, but we see these in so few floor plans, we don't know if they are realistic.  We want a dinette that will seat at least 4.  The TV should be easily viewed by those 4 in comfort.  

So, does this motorhome exist in a reliable brand?  We prefer to buy used but may splurge for perceived perfection.  We have budgeted around $100,000, so we know the used route is more likely.  So far I would just like help with a make, model and year that gets us want we want or very close.  If you think some of our desires are misguided, please feel free to help us there to.

Thank you.

Dreamers of the day we are on the road again.

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If you can,  go to Quartzite this January for the RV event - there are hundreds, maybe thousands of RV's to look at.  Many models both used and new.
We looked for five years before we found one floor plan that we really liked - lots that we didn't.
Also, we learned that the Class A has more "payload" than the C's.  Meaning that you can carry more personal stuff and gear without overloading the vehicle.

The floor plan is everything.  Find one that you really like and can live with.  Our final preference is the Winnebago "Sightseer" for floor plan and size.  (we haven't bought it yet 'cause we're still too off the beaten track with our travels)
Good luck with your search. . .

 

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Just to give you an idea of possibles.... take a look at this site which shows floorplans of all and prices. There are categories for A or C and for diesel and gas.

https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/

Sleeping 6 comfortably is going to be an issue and how often would they travel with you?  Buy the RV for yourselves.  Some parks will have cabins for your extra two adult guests or perhaps they'd enjoy their own space in a tent and the girls can sleep on the floor with an air mattress.

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11 hours ago, Dreamers said:

So, does this motorhome exist in a reliable brand?  We prefer to buy used but may splurge for perceived perfection.  We have budgeted around $100,000, so we know the used route is more likely.  So far I would just like help with a make, model and year that gets us want we want or very close.  If you think some of our desires are misguided, please feel free to help us there to.

Welcome to the Escapee forums! I have no doubts that you are in the best place for a person planning to go into full-time or extended-time RV travels as we have many members who are doing or have done what you have in mind. In addition, Escapees made their mark as the place to get support for either of those lifestyles. I would suggest that you give serious thought to joining the Escapees RV Club.

        Escapees RV Club, independent review

To get back to the best choice of RV, I am a strong believer that the class A is a better fit for most traveling couples, while the class C tends to be more designed for a family. Even so, I strongly advise you to consider both and balance the choices available based upon what you will use most. There is no perfect floor-plan or design that will do everything, so it is important to prioritize the things you want and adapt what fits those best in the areas that the chosen RV does not meet. With a budget of $100k, you will not find much in any motorized RV of 35' which is new, if any at all. You will probably need to increase by $30k to $50k more money to buy a new RV. There are excellent used RVs available but you also need to get qualified help to make sure that what you find is as good as it looks, as a polished appearance can easily hide a disaster that is just waiting to happen. You should have any RV you consider inspected by an independent, professional RV inspector or if none is available then get a mobile RV tech to do it for you. The service isn't cheap but it can prevent a major disaster. 

As to brands to consider, there are 3 companies with very long histories of quality products with solid factory support. I the order that I would rate them, they are Tiffin, Newmar, and Winnebago. While those are not the only solid source of reliable RVs, they do have the leading histories of good reputations for many years and continue to maintain those reputations. Keep in mind that there is no RV manufacturer that is so good that they never have any unhappy customers, nor is there a company so bad that they have no happy customers. Since there is some risk involved in buying a used RV, I would consider the risk lowest when you shop those three manufacturers. 

 

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I believe you will need a longer RV to accommodate the sleeping arrangements you want.

Very few under 35 foot MH's come with a King bed, our 34 foot 5th wheel has a queen short

as do most RV's. 

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This website may be a place to begin looking: https://motorhomes.com/page/king-bed

Once you determine which make, models interest you both, you can narrow search criteria among those makes, models. I just entered Class A or C with king bed, that link was only result from  https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffnt&q=class+a+or+c+motorhome+with+king+bed&atb=v228-1&ia=web

Our diesel pusher (see below) sleeps 4 adults and 2 youths, as designed, One thing you should, IMO, consider is cargo/passenger weight-carrying capacity, 6 people plus their luggage weight, and foodstuffs, will greatly affect what size MH you choose.

Edited by Ray,IN

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2 hours ago, Phil Saran said:

I believe you will need a longer RV to accommodate the sleeping arrangements you want.

Very few under 35 foot MH's come with a King bed, our 34 foot 5th wheel has a queen short

as do most RV's. 

Our 2010 Winnebago 34Y came with a king bed but we had it cut down to a queen because we wanted more walking space beside it. It also had a queen sofa bed on which our daughter slept when she visited. So if the friends and kids don't come at the same time, it could work IF you are willing to sleep the same hours as the kids. :)

Linda Sand

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Thank you all so much.  I really appreciate so many responses so quickly. 

Rich & Silvia, we would love to go to the Quartzite show if the virus has calmed down by then.  Your Sightseer wouldn't work for us though.

Gypsies, thanks for the site.  I've done a couple of searches and bookmarked it.  It will probably be infrequent that we would have the adult couple and the teenagers at the same time.  We have 3 kids, all married.  The couple most likely to join us has a 1 year old today.  They went with us to Alaska when we rented a motorhome up there before they had their child.  The main thing is that at least one of the other beds should be adult couple friendly.  They were fine in the overhead bunk in Alaska, but it had a good depth to it.  Our daughter with the teens now has a 1 year old too.  If they ever join us, there will be a tent along.

Kirk, thanks for the invitation and advice.  I may join.  I plan to join a few groups once we get going.  Your top 3 are also my top 3 from my research.  The others that seem good are Entegra and Fleetwood.  What do you think of them?

Phil, thank you.  We get so close, I hope you are wrong.  I want to hear honest opinions though, even if it's not what we wish to be true.  Ray,In's site had a Fleetwood that was perfect until it turned out to be 36'.  The site first claimed it was 33' and got my hopes up.  We aren't tall or even very big people, but my wife doesn't sleep well if she thinks she's close to the edge of the bed.  We want our cake and eat it too, dang it.  We'll keep trying for a little while. 

Ray,In, thank you, I love the site.  I am leaning to the class A solution.  I believe they have generally better load capacity.   I'll make sure to do the math before we buy.

Sandsys, I do like the looks of the Journey Express.  A diesel pusher that is 34.9' would definitely maximize some things for us.  I don't see any on the market right now to really look at. 

 

Thank you all again, very much.

 

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Decided this next question should be separate and I haven't studied the forums here for an answer yet.  One reason we want to stay under 35' is sate and national park site availability.  Is this still a valid breakpoint?  The drive-ability difference between a 35' and a 36' can't be much, I wouldn't think, but we need to draw the line somewhere.  I have read that campsites are strict on where they draw their lines.  35' doesn't mean 35-6.  I imagine their are lots of debates on this.  Any comments for us based on what we have shared?

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When we had a class C it had an overhang behind the rear wheels so we could back into a site that was technically too short but fit us just fine as long as there wasn't a tree or such right behind the site. We used that trick in museum parking lots, too, since we didn't travel with a toad behind the 24' rig.

Linda

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5 hours ago, Dreamers said:

Decided this next question should be separate and I haven't studied the forums here for an answer yet.  One reason we want to stay under 35' is sate and national park site availability.  Is this still a valid breakpoint?  The drive-ability difference between a 35' and a 36' can't be much, I wouldn't think, but we need to draw the line somewhere.  I have read that campsites are strict on where they draw their lines.  35' doesn't mean 35-6.  I imagine their are lots of debates on this.  Any comments for us based on what we have shared?

Public parks were always our first choice and honestly, we never had an issue getting into the parks we wanted with our 40' motorhome. No, you won't fit in every one but neither will a 30'.   Campgrounds are not strict as to parking.  If you can fit on a site you can park there.  They don't measure you.  However, that's one of the reasons why we didn't make reservations.  We wanted to see the site in person.  We've stayed in national and state parks, Corp of Engineers, national forest campgrounds, county and city parks.  We've had multiple stays in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, Rocky Mtn., Bryce, Zion, Big Bend to name a few and many, many other types of public parks.  We spent the summer in Alaska and used public parks or boondocked exclusively.  That's our experience.  I know there are many out there that say no, you can't with a big rig.  I doubt they have every tried or else they have small RVs & think big rigs can't fit.  We've often pulled so the rear end goes beyond the barrier but tires still on the parking site.  Towing a small car you can be creative on the angle you park it so it fits.  I will say that we only had two slides and we picked a floorplan with the slides on the same side.  Now with 3 and 4 slides on both sides out there one would have a hard time dealing with trees lining the parking space.  This could also be an issue with a small RV.  Also think about having hookups when teens or others are with you.  Public parks don't always have hookups and you'll soon run out of water and full tanks.

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14 hours ago, Dreamers said:

The drive-ability difference between a 35' and a 36' can't be much, I wouldn't think, but we need to draw the line somewhere.  I have read that campsites are strict on where they draw their lines.  35' doesn't mean 35-6.

In all of my years of RV travels, I have never had anyone measure the length of my RV at any park, commercial or public. That simply does not happen. There are parks with published length limits and where they come into play is that you will probably be required to get both the RV and the other vehicle into the site and possibly clear of the roadway. But in the vast majority of cases, what they publish is not the length of RV that can fit into a site, but the length of the site, which usually can be overhung at the back if you wish. There are exceptions but in all cases in my experience, as long as I am able to get the RV clear of the road and usually park the other vehicle in the site, nobody cares how long my RV is. Rarely I have seen situations where if the extra vehicle(tow or towed) will not fit into the site with the RV you will be required to park it in a parking lot somewhere away from your site.

Sometimes the length limits in a park are due to the difficulty of getting an RV through the roads due to tight turns and obstructions near the roads. The fact is that where one can put an RV or the roads he can pass through is very much dependent upon the skills of the driver. In one national park there used to be a campground that had a length limit of 26' due to the road into that campground. We once saw a fifth wheel that was hard up against a very large tree, with two wreckers attempting to move it, on such a road. In this case, the damage to the RV was up to the owner to pay for as well as paying for damage to the park facilities getting him our. He had the road to/from the campground blocked for several hours and was not a popular person in the park. 

Edited by Kirk W

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Dreamers,  if you want a Class C get a Super Class C at maybe 36-38 ft.  You really don’t want a regular Class C Over 32 ft, too much overhang.   Class As and Super Class Cs will likely have enclosed basement, storage appropriate to fulltiming, etc.   and quit listening to people regarding what can and
 

what you can ‘make do’ for a 2 week trip is different from fulltiming!

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Barb beat me to it!  I was going to bring up Super Cs.  They have as much or more carrying capacity as a class A.  Can sleep 6 (not ours).  My budget was similar to yours, which will place you in the used market.  Look at Renegade and pre 2010 Dynamax.

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8 hours ago, fly2low said:

I was going to bring up Super Cs. 

If my budget would cover it, that is exactly what I would choose as well, but the fact is that what type of RV is best is a very personal thing. I have often pointed out that we and our closest friends share the fact that we each have our very best choice in RV, yet no two of us have the same type! The best choice for me could prove to be a nightmare for you because we may have different priorities, different lifestyles, and all sorts of other differences. 

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6 hours ago, Kirk W said:

If my budget would cover it, that is exactly what I would choose as well, but the fact is that what type of RV is best is a very personal thing. I have often pointed out that we and our closest friends share the fact that we each have our very best choice in RV, yet no two of us have the same type! The best choice for me could prove to be a nightmare for you because we may have different priorities, different lifestyles, and all sorts of other differences. 

Six friends attending a hobby convention went to a buffet dinner. When we sat down to eat we had six different entrees, six different drinks, and six different deserts. You would think we had nothing in common yet we were all at the same convention by choice. Why would anyone think any one RV is the best for everyone?

Linda Sand

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OK, so Super C or class A.  The Renegade Veracruz looks promising, looking at the current model, which of course is way too expensive.  We'll keep our eyes open for used Renegades.  The Dynamax used to be rated well, and the construction still is, but I read that their customer service has fallen off.  Even if I buy a used model, I may have to deal with their customer service at some point. 

You all have convinced me that a 36 or longer' model would not be as limiting as I expected.  I have seen some very good class A's that meet our needs at 36'.  We were really treating the 35' limit as absolute, though.  It will now depend on whether my wife could become comfortable driving something that long.  I expect to do the vast majority of the driving, but we think it would be good if she could drive it when necessary/convenient.  We were offered a deal on a 36' Entegra class A last year for under $100,000 that had everything and didn't buy it because it was too long. 

We really like the looks of the Newmar's but they seldom, if ever put in a king size bed.  We have seen some Winnebago's that are close, so we may look at their options on some of the new sites that you folks have recommended.  I wish there were more options for renting in our area (the sticks of Virginia), but there aren't.  It seems that we should figure out how important the length is to our ability to both drive it.  When we considered 35' a hard line maximum, it didn't matter because she thought that it was at least possible for her to drive something that big.  She would be happier with 32' or less but we both realize that there aren't any Harry Potter enchantments on RV's that make them bigger on the inside than the outside.  Too bad, where is magic when you need it?  At least with the advent of so many slides, we kind of approximate that magic. 

2gypsies, thanks for the added advice on the slides.  I hadn't thought about the limitations that would exist with slides on both sides.  It seems that some flexibility will be more important than usual if we go with a longer motorhome and try to fit into smaller spaces.

Thank you all again for your advice and your time.  I didn't even have time to reply for the last 2 days, but people kept weighing in for us.  My wife and I both grew up in camping families, at opposite sides of the country.  Camping families always seem more friendly and outgoing.  It's nice that the trend has survived.

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20 minutes ago, Dreamers said:

We were really treating the 35' limit as absolute, though.  It will now depend on whether my wife could become comfortable driving something that long. 

The class A that we bought which was sold as a 35' motorhome, when measured from bumper to bumper was actually 36' 10". It drove the same after I discovered that as it had for the year before I measured it! 🤪

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17 minutes ago, Dreamers said:

We were really treating the 35' limit as absolute, though.  It will now depend on whether my wife could become comfortable driving something that long

The RV driving school helps anyone become comfortable driving any length rig. You could check them out at https://www.rvschool.com. They helped me learn to drive our 34Y which made it possible for me to drive out of a campsite to a place where Dave could hook up our toad even though he did most of our driving on the road.

Linda Sand

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For what it's worth on the length thing - definately have your wife test drive a 34/35 ft class A as well as the super C. Super C may feel less intimidating at 40 ft than class A at 34 because of where the driver sits in relation to the front wheels. It also takes some getting used to being comfortable in the passenger seat of a Class A, vs a super C.

We have a 37 ft class A and after taking the 2 day RV driving school I am ok driving it. I find it a bit exhausting and can't say I love to drive it as much as my husband does. Whatever you buy, consider RV driving school. Good luck !

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Ours is 37’1” front to back, and if I could do over I would have held out for 40’.   We also went shorter because of hearing about state,  federal park limitation.  Maybe true at one time, not any more.  Plus we found we didn’t do many state parks because of the extra charges for toads if you don’t have a state annual pass.  And federal parks fill up in January.   So we went with membership parks and really have saved money using them.  That plus COE parks in Midwest and PPA when doing one night stops. 

Learned to drive it in big parking lots at the  university on Sundays.  Figure eights, used striping for parking, backing up, etc.   I’m doing 60% or better of driving now.  Love air bag ride and exhaust brake for coming down mountain passes.

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Older Class  A Diesel from upper end builders are available, say around 2000 to about 2006 model years.  Many of those builders are no longer around, but all the parts makers that they used are, so service and parts are available.  The market value tends to hold steady to a slow decline, so you could buy one and resell without much pain if you did not like it.

Some thoughts.  Air suspension and air leveling are really good, I prefer it to the jacks.  A 110 volt kitchen refrigerator is much better than a propane/12volt one.  The HydroHot (there are other names) uses engine heat on the road to heat the interior, it heats your hot water with either electric of Diesel, and provides heat while you are parked.  A rear engine with side radiator is relatively easy to work on.  The net load capacity (how much you can put in) is usually very high, as in 5,000 lbs or so. A tag axle adds a lot of stability.  I think 42' is sort of ideal, as there is room for a king bed with walk around space, a washer/dryer, a large pantry, . table dining for 4, rocker/recliners, a couch , a desk, and an ample (by MH standards) kitchen.  As you get shorter, things need to go or shrink.   

Best wishes on your search.  Specify your location and there may be suggestions for local brokers with inventory.

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We attended a S,M.A.R.T. RV rally about 8 years ago. One of the "seminars" was held every day. It was an abbreviated driving school for beginners. Participants were taught how the basics in a 1 hr. class each day, then they got behind the wheel of a 38' Holiday Rambler for one hour. The instructor was the sales manager for that MH dealer, the classes were free from the dealership. I think the instructor could handle 6 people a day, that was 35 people that week.

(might be something to consider for a future Escapade) They did sell 2 MH's that week.

By the end of the day, DW could park between the lines in the Georgia State Fairgrounds, back into them,  turn between cones into a parking space, etc. She was comfortable driving our MH after that instruction, and drove some of the way home..

re: length. The simplistic view is, drive the front -everything else will follow; HOWEVER, that is only true on reasonably straight roads; street intersections, sharp curves on narrow roads, backing, etc. require the driver know how much the rear wheels track inside the front wheels to avoid damaging your RV and or something else. For instance, our MH has a 55° wheel cut, when turned to the max to one side, the rear wheels cut 8' inside the front wheel track.

Sorry for the reply length, but hopefully your wife (and you) will take a driving course as a result.

 

P.S. The wheelbase of a MH compared to overall length can make a considerable difference how it handles. There is a maximum ratio for what is called safe handling, I do not know that ratio, because it normally applies to a gas engine chassis.

 

 

Edited by Ray,IN

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