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new to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1455

  • Redleg
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my wife and I are looking into purchasing a RV and traveling the States, on a more or less full time bases.

I was wondering if this great group of folks have a list of do's and don't's to consider for buying a RV, which type, new- used, insurances, and the costs associated with long term camping and being on the road.

I'm a Viet Nam vet ( C-Battery, 4/42nd Arty, 4th Div., 69-70) and would love to get out there and meet all the vets that use military post campgrounds.

Any suggestions would be appreciated by my wife and I.

Thank you VETERANS and families for your service too our GREAT country.

Shot, over

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1456

  • monkey44
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lots of RV's out there to choose from -- you can drive 'em or tow 'em and it depends on what comfort level you need. Myself, I've been using a Truck Camper for years and carry gear and my MC in a small cargo trailer. As I get older, I'd like to get into a TT though -- and am thinking about a TT toy-hauler that carries a living space and then in the rear, a ramped area for my MC and tools. You can also get the TT with just living spaces -- Next up is the middle sized drive-able vehicles, and then the luxury coaches ...

I'd suggest you fine a large size RV dealer and just go there and brouse... figure out what size and configuration you like, or can survive in for months at a time. Once you do that, then start looking at quality and price. Ask others you see in the CG's too -- when you go on base, go to the CG and ask the guys that are doing it every day. We're more than happy to share our experiences.

But the most important thing is to do your homework before you spend your money. Lots of "bad deals" out there, low quality, and over-priced stuff... so do plenty of Q's and A's with the people that are NOT selling RV's ... Salesmen will tell you lots of things that sound good, but remember, they are trying to sell you a unit -- But the people out there camping will generally tell you what you really need to know ... Pay more attention to those NOT selling you something. Once you decide what you want, THEN go to the salesman, and go with information ... don't let him mislead you -- know exactly what you want when you go, and then all you're dickering about is the price ...

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1457

  • larryf
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You've received good advice already. DO YOUR RESEARCH!

But I'll add a couple of my thoughts also. We don't like salesman or RV sales lots. As mentioned, most RV salesman don't know what they're talking about. Many of them don't even own an RV, let alone live in one. Their goal is to sell you. We prefer the large RV shows. Almost all states have an annual large RV show. At these shows, you have MANY types, brands, and models to compare, all within (smoewhat) walking distance of each other. A big bonus is the salesman are too busy to talk to everyone, and all the rigs are unlocked. You're free to browse without being bothered. But have an idea of the type of rig you're looking for. We spent 2 years looking at 5th wheels at RV shows, then changed our minds and looked at Class A motorhomes.

I also highly receommend attending a "Life on Wheels" rally. This is either a 3 day series of seminars, or a week long rally. It's a "school" on learning to live your your RV. Many people stay in nearby hotels and attend classes and discussion groups all day. Seminars are offered on all types of topics on living in your RV. From packing, to insurance, to battery maintenance, to fire safety, to safe driving, to tires, to solar, to campground memberships, to working on the road, to cooking in a small kitchen, to everything!!! Check out the schedule and see if one will be near you. www.rvlifeonwheels.com/

Expenses was (still is) a major concern of ours. I've kept a fairly accurate record of expenses while traveling fulltime in our RV for the past 3 years. Keep in mind, everyone's lifestyle and tastes are different and will have different expenses. But you can get an idea of the costs by looking at ours. There's also a ton of other information available on our personal website. The Happy-Wanderers

My final bit of initial advice - check into the Escapees RV Club. A FANTASTIC organization for supporting fulltime RV'ers. We joined a couple years before we started fulltiming. They also have an excellent discussion forums area. www.escapees.com

Since there's so much to offer advice on, feel free to ask specific questions. I'm sure someone will have an answer.
Larry Farquhar, USAF (Ret)
Owner/Operator of this website.
The Happy-Wanderers
Casino Camper Website

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1460

  • monkey44
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Right on Larry -- general questions get general answers ... the best thing here is to ask a specific question [or fifty specific questions] and get real answers. I, for one, love to share my experiences with the "new guys" because we have all made mistakes and it's better to share that than have it happen to someone else. So ask away, and we'll get you 'informationed-up" so you can make good choices.

And remember what Larry said too -- salesmen often know little about the units they sell ... they'll sell you anything, even a 15,000 lb unit and, with a straight face, tell you that you can haul it with your 6 cyl Tacoma -- I've asked questions and gotten answers from a salesman that actually made me laugh out loud right in front of him -- couldn't control it even though I did not want to be rude !! Sometimes you just can't help yourself -- so good luck with the search and keep us informed as you go along the "RV purchase experience" .... BD

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1461

  • oldchief46
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Best advise I can give is: Get thyself to an RV Show. As has been stated you will find every kind of RV on display that you can look through without a salesman trying to sell on the spot. Of course, big shows can become very overwhelming.

First you must decide how you want to camp. Fortunately, we had family members who were already into RVing. My parents had owned everything from small travel trailers up to a Class C motorhome. My brother and wife had gone from travel trailer to fifth wheel. From their experience we decided to start off with a Class A (gas). We purchased a good used rig that was a few years old. My theory was I had a lot to learn about the care and maintenance of an RV. With our old unit I figured that if I screwed something up it would not be so bad than on a new on.

This worked for us. After four years we moved up to a new Class A (gas) and five years after that we moved up to a Class A (diesel).

Get as much info as you can. Decide how much money you want to put into this endeavor. Remember, with a trailer or fifth wheel you will still have to have something big enough to pull it. With a motorhome you will most likely need a car that can be towed behind it. (Not all cars can be towed four wheels down without modification.)

One suggestion: If you go to an RV Show look around for a booth that is selling a book by Ron Jones that deals with beginners in RVing. Ron is a retired Army guy that now travels to RV shows and rallies, giving lectures on caring for your RV. He has written a wonderful book the is especially good for beginners. His books are sold as most RV shows.

Another suggestion that has already been made. If you are around a military base go out to the base campground and talk to those of us who may be staying there. Most RVer's relish talking about their chosen lifestyle and their rig. Talk to them about their experiences and why they chose the type rig they are currently using.
Rick Stone, YNC, USN(RET)
2007 Monaco Cayman XL
2006 Chevy HHR
oldchief1.blogspot.com

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1463

  • Redleg
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I would like to thank those that have responded so far and too these that may yet respond.

I think it would help to explain what it is that my wife and I want in regards to getting on the road.

I'm a ex over the road truck driver and I'm leaning towards a 5th wheel RV in as much as that type of hitching system is one I'm familiar with. Also the advantage of being able to disconnect from the prime mover and being able to use my pick-up truck for running around is what we feel would work best for us.

This RV is projected to be our main home, we plan to keep our mobile home, however both my wife and I have some health issues that will cause us to see our doctors from time to time. My meds come from the VA via the mail and my wife's comes in the mail from ChampVA. I've been assured by the local post office that there is no postal regulation against mailing prescription meds by mail, and I was wondering if anyone has had any problems with this idea. We would have our mail forwarded to our son's home and then have him repost them to us via overnight delivery to whichever campground office that we happen to be at at that time. Is this workable?

Our intentions are that it will be just my wife and I with an occasional gusts (grandsons) we are looking a Challenger 29 TRL model 5th wheel. Now as I have some back pain from a auto accident some years ago is this unit one that I could handle myself, with some limited help from my wife?

I'm looking at a 3/4 ton GMC pick-up as I'm told that my 1/2 ton is not enough truck, Now which is the right choice the 6.0 liter gas or should I put up with the stink and noise of the Duramax diesel with the Allison transmission? Should I opt to purchase a duel rear wheels and face the prospect of having to buy an extra set of tires?

One last question, should I purchase the dealer offered extended warranty or are there other, better options available?

Looking forward to meeting all the military veterans RV'ers.

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1464

  • monkey44
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I run a GMC X-Cab SB 6.0L w3:73 ... I like it just fine ... I'm not now, nor will I ever be a diesal driver ... My truck hauls a 2200 lbs Truck Camper and a 3000 lb MC trailer -- I've yet to have any trouble hauling although occasionally on the mountains it slows up some, but always gets me to the top.

Don't know how much your 5er will weigh, but the GMC also comes wtih the 8.1L on some models. That's a lot of truck ... and I like the idea that I can unhook and drive around when I need it. Also, use my MC for sight-seeing and short trips to save gas ...

Personally, I don't buy the extended warrantees -- for one, you can spend that extra money [and the co-pays] after the regular warrantee runs out -- and by that time, you usually know whether you have a sound truck, and if so keep it, if not trade it and get another new warrantee ... just my .02 --- And most of what I've heard about MH or TT extended warrantees is not good ... again, I'd save the $$$ and use the money for repairs if you need them after warrantee.

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1466

  • larryf
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Can't comment on trucks or 5th wheels. But presciption by mail works great! However, many campgrounds (military and commercial) don't allow personal mail to the campground. In this case, we use General Delivery at the nearest Post Office. We have had mail delayed (lost, but found later) twice in 3 years.

We did purchase an extended warranty (service contract) on our new MH 5 years ago. I guess I let them talk me into it. It cost me $5000 for 7 years coverage. Since then, we've used it once and had $3000 of work done, costing me only $50. So I figure I still need to have $2000 of work done to break even on the purchase price. We have some work to be done and will probably get $2000 worth of work done. The biggest pain has been it takes 3 times longer to have work done when using the service contract. we had to wait for an adjuster to come out and approve the work. Luckily, we're usually in no hurry to be anywhere.
Larry Farquhar, USAF (Ret)
Owner/Operator of this website.
The Happy-Wanderers
Casino Camper Website

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1468

  • jgrgg
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don't know where you are located, but if you are interested in class A, Tiffin Motorhomes in Redbay, Al. will give you a tour of their factory. You can see the start, from bare chassis to the finnish product. You can, or used to, take your time and can ask the workers anything you want to know. A very informative tour and I believe you can order and make changes to your order.

Love my Allegro Bus.

Everything all the others told you are right on, all the salesmen are out to make a dollar anyway they can.

Joe

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1469

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Oh yeah -- the prescriptions ... I do get mine throught the VA mail system and it works... sometimes a little slow, but it does get there. I always have mine sent to the same place, and then get it forwarded to me either at the base CG if they allow it, or to general delivery if not. It has never been a problem.

Also, as someone mentioned, Escapees has a mail-forwarding system the is designed exactly for RVrs on the road, including prescriptions. Although I don't use it and can't comment on it's effectiveness, many others say it works very well. And it looks pretty efficient whenyou check it out on their website ... and they are in that business -- RV'rs on the road ... check them out. M44

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1472

  • bblhed
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Sounds like you have your mind made up on the 5th wheel, just my $.02 here on some things you might want to think about when you buy your rig that I learned from my training rig.

Waste water tanks: My rig has 1 tank for all waste! This is not the way to go trust me. This really limits the amount of time you can stay some place without dump outs.

Basement storage: I wish I had enough room to store everything I use outdoors, if it won't fit in the basement, it will be taking up space in the RV.

Toys: There are a lot of toys you can add to an RV, be sure you will get good use out of whatever additions you may choose.

I would like to recommend along with going to the RV shows, hit a local campground and talk to some of the people there about their rigs and find out what they do and don't like and why, this will be valuable information in your quest.

One other thing I would like to say, I know you like the 5th wheel idea, but I'm in a class A and I will tell you why. I thought about the trailer thing and decided against it for this reason, if I got a trailer I would have to drive the tow vehicle every day. With a class A or C you can tow a much smaller run around car that gets better mileage, has fewer tires, and is easier to park.

What ever you choose it has to be right for you. Good luck in your search.

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1477

  • oldchief46
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Have to agree with "bubblehead" on the Class A motorhome. We have traveled/camped with my family many times. We have only had Class A's from the old, used Georgia Boy (gas) to a new Monaco (gas) to our current Monaco (diesel).

When we started this my dad had a tag along trailer and my brother had a 36 ft 5th wheel. When we got to the RV park I was set up and kicked back in about half the time they were. The 5th wheel took the longest time to get set up and leveled. Plus the 5th wheel was so heavy he had to have a one-ton duelly to tow it and even then the truck was almost underpowered to pull the thing. After going with us for awhile both my parents and brother moved up to motorhomes.

Our first coach did not have jacks so we had to level with boards under the tires. The gas Monaco had manual jacks and was pretty quick to level. The new diesel has automatic jacks. Just hit a button and it levels itself.

If you are planning to spend most of your time in your rig be sure you get one with plenty of room. We have gone from 34 ft with no slides, to 34 ft with two slides and now 36 ft with four slides. Even with our current rig it gets kind of small with two adults and two dogs living together 24/7. (At home in the stick house we can at least get away from each other once in awhile.) Our current rig has a real door that closes off the bedroom so she has a place to go to get away from what ever TV show I may be watching.

One last thing on 5th wheel vs motorhome. We tow a Chevy HHR. With the diesel we can hardly tell it is back there but when we are our sightseeing we get 30 MPG with it. When my brother was pulling the 5th wheel his one-ton P/U got about 9 MPG without the trailer. When they went to Colorado to spend the summer they wound up with his wife driving their car behind them so they would not have to rely on just the truck all summer.

These were just some thoughts on trailer vs motorhome. As far as cost, if you have to buy both the 5th wheel AND a truck to tow it you may be spending about as much as you would on a self propelled motorhome.
Rick Stone, YNC, USN(RET)
2007 Monaco Cayman XL
2006 Chevy HHR
oldchief1.blogspot.com

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1483

  • Redleg
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Cheese and crackers, I just kind of felt that if I were to post some questions that some would be inclined to offer their thoughts. Man ole daze but you kind folks saved me about a ton in a education and given me a bunch of thought provoking tips and hints from your vast store of RV'ing experiences. Thank you.

I had thought that a RV show would afford us the most varied assortment of RV's to view. However in as much as I have issues with blockages in my blood vessels behind both knees I'm limited to just short walking distances and walking around a huge arena is just too painful, hence my asking questions here.

Funny that I've considered the space issue as my wife brought it up, however as I explained it to her is that we own a 80X14, 3 bedroom, two bath mobile home . We use just about half of the structure now in that two bedrooms and one bath are seldom used now except for our junk we can't seem to be able to part with, so I don't see space as a high priority factor. After all, I could always put my wife on a flight home.....just kidding, thanks for that suggestion and we will keep that though foremost in our minds as we ponder this lifestyle, along with all of your great suggestions to consider before we purchase a RV unit.

By the by, it is my wife's druthers of a motor home over a 5th wheel or travel trailer.

Decisions....decisions......

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1490

  • bill6750
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Hello All comrads in arms,
My wife and I have been RV'ing for about 35 yrs. and have had just about every camper except the toy hauler in those years. We now have a 40' MH with four slides and love it. If you are planning to be living in it about all of the time, you are going to find that the 29' may not be big enough. I know I did. The thing you said about having the truck to run around in is great but if you have a MH you will tow a car or truck to run around in. Actually you would get better gas milage to tow the car for traveling in around the campground. You are going to find out that the more room you have in the living space the better off you are.
As far as the truck to pull with, you should get at least a 3/4 ton, and I would definately go with the Diesel because of the power. I would also go with the duely because if you decide a little later that the 29' 5th isn't big enough you can trade up and not have to trade trucks. The duramax and allison is an awsome combination. I have used it and it is pretty quite and don't get bad milage when not pulling. The new one's have a 6 speed trany now I believe.
I do what you said about the mail. My daughter does mine and it works just fine. She even sends some meds for me in the overnighter. She puts them in an envelope so the bottle don't stand out in the package.
As far as handling the 5th wheel. A bigger one handles sometimes better than the smaller one. It hooks up the same and any help from your wife would be the same. When looking I also suggest you get the heat pumps on your air conditioners. It helps when the whether is just cool and not cold. You use the campground electric and not your propane. Also a 2,000 wt. inverter-charger is also handy.
I hope you make the right decision.
Friends and comrads in arms,
Bill
Bill & Jean
Bill Retired US Army,
Viet Nam Vet, 24th Evac. Hosp.
Jean Retired from DOA
2014 Tiffin Phaeton, 40'
2018 GMC Sierra 4x4 in Toe

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1492

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Once you've gone to the shows and visited a few campgrounds and gotten some ideas, I would recommend renting a few weekends before you buy. You may find that you don't even enjoy this lifestyle.

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Re: New to all this RV'ing and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1507

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matt's suggestion to try before you buy is an EXCELLENT idea, if possible. But I would take it a little farther and suggest staying in this RV for as long as possible. Living in an RV is MUCH different than a weekend outing.

We look at RV's completely different now. The size of the kitchen sink, stove covers, seats, location of the trash can, and especially storage all look differently when you live in it.
Larry Farquhar, USAF (Ret)
Owner/Operator of this website.
The Happy-Wanderers
Casino Camper Website

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Re: New to all this Ring and using Post campgrounds 13 years 11 months ago #1510

  • karylkoch
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We have traveled for 5 years full time. We bought a used 37 foot motorhome, with a slide, and I am happy we did. We had talked about taking our 30 foot travel trailer, with no slides. I can't imagine how we would of did it. Having the large basement storage has really been great. I also insisted on a washer and dryer, again, I could not live without it. I Spent our early years of marriage using a laundry mat, did not want to go back to that, after 40 years of marriage.

I had toyed around with the idea of getting a 5th wheel. My husband has since come down with degenerate disc disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. He said, not having out electric jacks in our motorhome might mean giving up traveling. He said, he also could not handle a fifth wheel, because of set up, and that they are harder handling, while driving, especially backing up.

I would like to ad with a women's point of view, do your wife a favor, and get a slide out. If you really want to make her happy, consider her request about a motorhome. I know my husband says, it is easier on him, having a motorhome, with having medical problem. Oh, and the washer and dryer might be a real treat for DW.

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