rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Fridge Defend
RV Life Magazine RV Park Reviews RV Trip Wizard

Author Topic: Many newbie questions – input requested!!  (Read 4526 times)

Greg Hartman

  • Posts: 1
Many newbie questions – input requested!!
« on: July 08, 2005, 03:24:23 PM »
Hello!  I’m new to this, and this is my first post, so if I am violating the BB culture in any way, I apologize in advance.  Your input and advice will be much appreciated and carefully considered.

My wife and I have been thinking lately about getting a motorhome. 

My wife is handicapped (MS).  While our country home, land and animals are our primary “hobby”, travel has become virtually impossible for us, including the ability to visit one of our children who lives about 1,000 miles away.  My wife’s daily life is limited and she would very much enjoy getting out more.  My life-long passion is bird dogs and upland bird hunting.  To follow this passion, my dogs and I cover many miles in our truck each year, but in recent times it is very difficult for me to be away overnight unless someone comes to stay with my wife.  A motorhome seems like it might be a potential answer to this dilemma.

Let me give you a bit of background.  We are now in our late 50’s.  I enjoy my work and plan to keep practicing for some years yet (own a commercial law firm).  When our kids were small, we did tons of backpacking and tent camping.  All of our family vacations were spent in a tent – it was all we could afford, plus we both loved (and still love) the outdoors.  As my wife’s heath issues began to catch up with her, we got a cheap little trailer, then a better one, then a nice Airstream.  At one point we had a tiny Class C motorhome.  However, travel in each of these units was still “camping” to a significant degree. 

At this stage in life, my wife is no longer able to “camp”; nor do I care to do that.  She needs to be in a place as comfortable and convenient for her as home.  This is hard for someone who is not familiar with MS to understand, but having the amenities is not just fussiness, it is critical to both health and functionality.  At home she proudly and happily does all of her wifely jobs, but when in an environment that does not allow her to rest very frequently and is not set up to allow her to function (i.e. a rental vacation house, motel, etc), she is truly handicapped – and that is very frustrating to her.  Also, she is not able to sit in the truck for long drives without becoming exhausted and quite ill.  She can walk and such OK, but if she gets even slightly overheated or if she cannot rest very frequently, she has terrible balance and vision problems as well as other weird and unpleasant issues.

It seems to me that a decent Class A motorhome, with a bedroom so she could rest as needed while I drove, nice kitchen, bathroom, good air conditioning and heat, etc, might be the answer to our unique issues.  It could easily be set up to allow my wife to function like a normal person – and it would allow us to travel for bird hunting, visiting kids and just to see the country.  On an annual basis, it would probably get used for two long trips of about two weeks each, plus a number of three and four-day weekends.

I suppose we can afford to buy more or less any unit we want, but I HATE to put money into a depreciating asset (and apparently these things depreciate quickly).  Therefore, I’d like whatever we buy to last for at least 15 years, in order that we get the value out of it in its use.  I am not mechanically inclined and will need to pay for all maintenance and repair, so I thought I’d be better off starting out with a new unit.

We have been seriously considering ordering a new 2006 Winnebago 34’ Journey diesel – my thinking is that this provides everything we need without unnecessary frippery (i.e. we don’t or want to pay for need deluxe cabinetry, granite floors, etc), while at the same time providing the durability and longevity of a solid diesel chassis.  What are your thought about this choice?

What brands would you avoid?  What are good? 

What features would you look for?  What features are must haves?  In addition to the basics, I’m thinking levelers, back-up monitor; good generator, good inverter, sat TV receiver (for my wife), solar panels and all leather furniture (to handle the dogs and heavy wear).

Diesel powered units are considerably more expensive than comparably equipped gas units.  What are the advantages and disadvantges of diesel vs. gas?

Other thoughts?   What else should I be considering?
Regards,

Greg Hartman

Bob Zambenini

  • ---
  • Posts: 270
    • Bob and Joyce's Homepage
Re: Many newbie questions – input requested!!
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2005, 06:58:06 PM »
Greg, Winnabago also makes units modified for handicapped so you should look at their website or call them and get some info. That includes lifts at door and cabinet and bathroom mods to accommodate people with mobility problems.

Staying in bedroom in a large diesel while travelling  is not a good option (or any RV)  although I know some ever here that do take naps back there. Its hot and noisy. So you should look at getting an RV with an 80 inch couch up front.

Although my wife can't RV anymore, we have for over 14 years in two different RVs. The current one is a 38 ft. Diesel. With large couch up front you are able to 'monitor' her. I even put in a mirror on right side where I had a view of the couch while I was driving and she was there resting.

Also Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is a must for you. They have a very large chapter called the Achievers.  At all the rallies this chapter looks after the handicapped people like for parking, seating at events, access to all seminars, etc. There you will meet people who are out RVing with very challenging situations and doing quite well.

Go for it.

Bob


rhmahoney

  • ---
  • Posts: 1405
Re: Many newbie questions – input requested!!
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2005, 10:01:23 PM »
diesel is the only way to go imnsho.
Quietness in the front as you drive is reason enough.
Unobstructed access to front passenger seat.
A 4 slide out model will make wheelchair access easier (when that becomes necessary).
I have a Country Coach and can recommend that brand.
In a brochure, I saw a yellow painted chair seat mounted on a pole just inside the entry door. It was an electric lift capable of transferring an adult from the ground outside the coach up to the front passenger seat. I suspect it could be mounted in most any brand of coach.
Green Flash seeker
Country Coach Magna
Datastorm internet satellite dish.D3.Direcway 7000 modem

caltex

  • ---
  • Posts: 731
Re: Many newbie questions – input requested!!
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2005, 10:06:24 PM »
Greg, I have a 2004 Journey.  I am satisfied with it but want to point out a couple of issues you might want to consider.  With only one slide in the bedroom,  getting around the curb side of the bed is a little tight,  I would like a second slide there.  Also in the kitchen-living area the single slide there is relatively shallow,  It’s OK but again I would like to have a second slide to give a larger living area.  Bottom line is that if I were buying today I would move to the 36 foot Vectra which has 4 slides.  Alternatively, Beaver has a 34 footer with four slides.  You must be the one to decide how much room you need, just thought I would point out the tight areas so you can make a judgment as you are looking at them.

Robert
Robert

sorrends52

  • ---
  • Posts: 8
Re: Many newbie questions – input requested!!
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2005, 04:08:32 PM »
I just wanted to respond to your post since I have MS and can relate to the heat related fatigue and the speciial needs that MS imposes.  I have been camping for about 10 years and we just went to a motorhome so I could rest while intransit as well as have the bathroom available as needed!  We bought a Georgie Boy gasser and are planning our first trip this weekend.  We had been looking and there are some coaches that are made handicap accessiable from the factory.  I know Winnebago makes one and we came close to buying a Four Winds Windsport, but it was in CA and we are in NC.  The web address for the Windsport is http://www.fourwinds-rv.com/windsport/ 

Good luck with what ever you get.  I know I am hooked on camping!

Deb

BernerGran

  • ---
  • Posts: 108
Re: Many newbie questions – input requested!!
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2005, 12:43:40 PM »
Dear Greg,

Well, you sound like MDH (my dear husband) Walt. He has worked so deliberately to see that our motorhome is workable for me. I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) for over 30 years - actually nearly 35. We have been Rving since the year we got married -1971.

Early on we had a 21 ft. Coachmen Travel Trailer. It served us well for several years, and then we uphgraded to a Mini Motorhome, also a coachman in 1974. We did so for the same reasons you are concerned with. Sitting in the cab made me exhausted and overheated. Our air conditioning wasn't used often because half the time it didn't work. That motorhome served us until March of 2004 when we bought a used 2001 National Class A Sea Breeze, diesel, on a bus chassis. However, the catch was we bought it for it's features inside such as a raised toilet, so I didn't have to drag my own seat with me; a wonderfully comfortable bed, the dinette seating is bench style and also raised, and a couple other features. But....I could not  get in and out. We're probably the only ones in the country who would spend that kind of money for a unit that I couldn't get into or out of.

I had been researching this situation for a number of years, and we found a company in Indiana that we liked for the purchase of a lift seat to do the job. While it was expensive, it was custom made for our vehicle, so it works like a gem!

Not knowing what specifically your wife's needs/limitations are, it is hard to explain. However, I would be very pleased to brainstorm ideas with you, or her so that "we" can get you set up in such a way as to allow you the freedom to travel as you will.

Now, this is a subject that perhaps we should move to General Discussion - or is that where you are? I will begin a thread on Disability issues, and we can go from there. Sound good?

I'm so glad you are working to be able to travel this way. It is probably the best way, and certainly feels better than constantly inloading and loading a car for motelling it.

See you in General Discussion!

Best, Libby Smith