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Author Topic: Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig  (Read 2625 times)

bghouse

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Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig
« on: July 11, 2015, 10:26:06 PM »
I've been away for a bit, trying to determine what I want to do to go fulltime, and I keep going around in circles.  I visit dealers, and they just confuse me even more...

I still haven't been able to figure out 5th wheel vs Class A, and it's driving me insane.  I'll go sit in a 5th wheel and say wow, this is so awesome - but then I'll try to imagine myself towing it down the road, hooking it up, unhooking again, etc. and my inner scaredy cat starts crying.

Then I go to another dealership and they sell me on the benefits of the Class A, and I look out that big beautiful window and imagine myself rolling down the highway, towing my car behind...  Then I look at the smaller space, etc. and just get all confused again.

So, I'm looking for some advice. I know that no one can answer exactly for me, because it needs to suit me and my needs - but at this point I'll take any suggestions I can get...

I'm 48 and still working full time.  I work remotely doing computer programming, so I am planning to be in the same place for at least a couple of weeks, maybe even up to a month.  But I really dont want to just sit in one spot anymore - I have dreams of traveling and exploring.  Sadly, I do not have an unlimited budget to just travel all over constantly :-)  I currently rent, and every month it gets a little harder to keep renting.  I just dont see myself in any one place long term... I've been in my currently home 2 years and getting itchy feet again.

I've been seriously looking at this Keystone Alpine 3900RE 5th wheel.  The dealership has a sale starting next week, and they are chopping prices significantly.  I like the layout a lot, particularly that back toy hauler area.  I currently work on a treadmill desk, and I'd be able to fit that into that back area and make an office - which is pretty amazing.  I dont own a truck yet, but the dealership was saying they could move it and setup for me and I could take my time finding a truck.  This could work for me as I could stay in my local area for a while and search for a good deal on a truck, etc.  They were even saying that if I wanted to move down south in the winter I could just hire them to move it, which I guess is also another idea.  But I worry that I'll let myself get too set in place again and not travel and explore.

On the other hand, I really liked the Winnebago Vista 36Y Class A, and I know my current car can be towed 4 down.  So I could be mobile faster, but the cost and monthly payment would be much higher for sure. But I can see myself using my toad to explore easily, cause I love my car, and it's a lot smaller and quieter than the truck.  I also can envision myself driving and looking out the window at the scenery.

I really like the bigger residential refrigerators, since I do a lot of fresh food.  I really would like a stacked washer / dryer of my own instead of using communal facilities.  But I dont know how to really prioritize whether they are more important than being smaller and more able to move around.

It would be different I guess if I wasn't still working full time, but I am and will be for quite a while yet.  But I dont want to delay the opportunity to travel because I dont know what the future will be like, what other responsibilities I will have, etc.  That 5th wheel with the extra room would basically allow me to transition almost seamlessly into the new living situation - but I wouldn't be able to go anywhere until i sorted out all the additional car issues.  I'm also not really sure how much maintenance, etc. I need to look at between the two options.

I'm not sure what else to say about me, so please feel free to ask me anything...  I am planning to do this as a solo traveling female, so am concerned about issues regarding safety as well.  I'm also looking forward to meeting people as I travel...

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Barbara
current location:  Baja California, Mexico
RV status: Still trying to launch!

Wigpro

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    • Capt Jim Lucas
Re: Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2015, 10:38:01 PM »
Well, I went through the same thing several years ago and here are several of my deciding factors - I chose a 5th wheel.

  • Only one motor to maintain and upkeep. With a MH you have it and the toad. I only have my truck to worry about.
  • Truck was fine for me and I use it to explore and feel quite comfortable in it. But you will need a big truck to comfortably tow a decent sized full time 5th wheel. That is the downside.
  • I wanted a separate bed area removed from the living area - 5th wheel gave me that.
  • If I was going to tow it would be a 5th wheel - I travel alone and hitching is far easier for one person since you can see the hitch and you are not trying to line up a little ball. Plus 5th wheels tow much better without any sway and are easy. Takes some getting use to, to back it up but practice makes perfect.
Here are some suggestions to consider...
  • You will find that space is a premium and I chose an extra freezer for more economical food buying rather than a washer and dryer combo - I find laundry is a once every couple week activity where eating is daily and I don't mind the campground laundry areas...
  • Get plenty of kitchen counter space, I always seem to run out, but do a bunch of cooking outdoors when I can and that helps.
  • The idea of an office in the toy hauler garage is one I have considered...make sure it has heat and air.
Good luck in your decision making...


Jim
Full time traveler, fishing guide and photographer!

Travel Blog: http://captjimtravelblog.blogspot.com

Website: www.captainjimlucas.com

Photo Site: http://captjim.smugmug.com/

bghouse

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Re: Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2015, 10:48:52 PM »
Thank you Jim, much appreciated. 

I was trying to look through the Library to see if I could find an article on choosing a towing truck, any tips on that?
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Barbara
current location:  Baja California, Mexico
RV status: Still trying to launch!

Wigpro

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    • Capt Jim Lucas
Re: Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2015, 11:38:17 PM »
Thank you Jim, much appreciated. 

I was trying to look through the Library to see if I could find an article on choosing a towing truck, any tips on that?

There are a ton of threads on truck size and how to figure what you need - start a thread with what you are considering with the length and published weights and you will get tone of advice - "What do I need to tow this 5th wheel" - all the experts will chime in for sure.

Bigger is better for sure...

Good Luck,

Jim
Full time traveler, fishing guide and photographer!

Travel Blog: http://captjimtravelblog.blogspot.com

Website: www.captainjimlucas.com

Photo Site: http://captjim.smugmug.com/

SeilerBird

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Re: Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2015, 07:42:52 AM »
IMHO the choice between an MH and a 5er is a choice of the right tool for the right job. If you are going to be sitting for a month at a time or more then a 5er works better. If you want to move constantly then a MH is a better choice. Are you all alone? If so the extra room in a 5er just means more to keep clean. I had one MH with a built in washer and dryer and it was a joke. Never again would I have one. One pair of jeans or two towels was a load. It really didn't do a good job of cleaning. There are lots of people here who love them and I can't figure out why. Being only one person it means using a laundromat once every two weeks. Almost every RV park has a laundromat so it isn't that big an issue to use them. I would suggest renting a MH for a weekend to give you a better idea of what they are like. I ended up in a MH and never looked back.
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donn

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Re: Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2015, 08:29:15 AM »
Instead of just sitting in one go play house for half an hour or so. Imagine yourself making a meal, doing the dishes, using the shower and toilet.  Where to put your dirty clothes?  Well you get the idea.  We did that, and after 10 years there are only a couple of things I would change.
As to which to choose?  This can be debatednto death.  I have been in parks where people have MHs that have not moved in over a year.  Big mistake IMHO!  Drive trains do not like to sit still. Think hard about your future lifestyle.  Moving every week or so?  Then a MH might work.  Sitting for a month or more, then a trailer is a better choice. Also consider cost.  A MH is by far the most expensive RV form there is to purchase and to maintain. 
Now, something else to consider before you spend tens of thousands, how are you going to conduct business?  Most private park wi-fis are so pathetic they are next to useless.  If your thinking of wireless wifi, that can be faster, but far more costly. For example, Verizon is $80.00 a month for 10Gb. And there is no unlimited plans.  BTW Verizon is probably the only game in town for nationwide reliable service, especially in rural areas.

bghouse

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Re: Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2015, 09:12:59 AM »
@SeilerBird - I thought it was only the DP Class A that you had to worry about sitting for too long, but that a Gas Class A didn't have that problem?

@Donn - yes, internet was hands down the first thing I had to research due to my job.  There are still ways to get an unlimited data plan by leasing from other people, and it's very expensive.  But that would have to be something I figured into this lifestyle no matter what.

I have been trying to play house in both the motorhome and the fifth, but I guess the issue is I can see both.  The fifth feels a lot like my current life, and the motorhome feels like a new life - and I cant figure out which way to go.
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Barbara
current location:  Baja California, Mexico
RV status: Still trying to launch!

donn

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Re: Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2015, 09:44:56 AM »
One last thing to think about.  A 35 foot MH will have an effective maybe 30 feet of living space, whereas a 35 foot towable will have 35 feet of living space.  In simple language consider the cost per SQFT of actual living space.  Since ALL RVs are a depreciating asset, cost per foot of living space should be a huge consideration.

DearMissMermaid

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    • DearMissMermaid.Com
Re: Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2015, 10:11:12 AM »
You may want to consider going used and cheap on your first go round. That way you can test drive the comforts of living fulltime in a rig without the extreme worry of "did I pick the right one?"

It seems everyone wanted me to use my cash as a down payment rather than just pay cash for a rig and drive away with zero payments. I decided to test the waters first by paying cash and forgetting the hassle of monthly payments. I didn't even spend all my cash, I kept a goodly chunk set aside for repairs since at the time, I was pretty clueless and hadn't discovered this forum yet.

There is that rare chance (and it has happened to some!) that you finance a big fancy rig then a few months later discovered you hate the lifestyle or hate the rig or hate both and then it's expensive to get out from under the rig and or payments.

In my case I bought a used 1994, 28 foot Class C in December 2009. I loved the layout and it looked  to me like I wouldn't be stir crazy 6 months later if I was still living in it fulltime.

I thought by going old and cheap, I wouldn't take a huge beating on trade-in or resale when I finally figured out what I wanted and needed for fulltime living and traveling.

Well... 5.5 years later, and I am still in the same old rig! Been here 24/7 with everything I own, rolling down the highway with me. I don't even tow a car, just have a bicycle for a fun and a doggy for company.

It's been fun learning on an old used rig rather than worrying about keeping a new rig pristine. When I backed into a tree (oops!) it wasn't that devastating. When a storm blew my old awning apart, I was able to repair it and keep rolling.

In my case, I began updating and repairing things more to my liking and lifestyle, like adding better faucets and shower heads (I have outdoor shower too). I could go on and on about the big and little things I have done to my rig to suit my lifestyle (and cure your insomnia too!)

One of these days, I probably will get around to buying something newer and fancier, but I've had so much fun in this old rig, I just keep rolling along and saving up money hither and yonder for the inevitable.

I even installed a compact washing machine that quick-connects to the bathroom sink faucet
http://amzn.to/1LZzBef
and I just hang dry my clothes and towels in an overhead rack in the shower or set up a line outside if the campground allows that. I don't have a dryer. This enables me to own fewer clothes yet keep my laundry, towels and sheets clean.

Read the fine print on the campground rules. Once in awhile I see in the rules that a trailer or 5th wheel must be accompanied by the tow vehicle. This is rare, but I have seen it in print in some long term campgrounds. I am guessing if there is flood potential they want you to be able to get up and go.

So, with so much uncertainty up in the air... you might consider going old and used to "test" out the lifestyle and learn all about what trips your trigger and ultimately makes you happy with your choices.

Many folks said it was impossible to be happy in such a tiny unit as mine, but 5.5 years later, I am smiling and laughing, having a blast.
http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
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Ernie n Tara

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Re: Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2015, 10:20:55 AM »
There is at least one other current thread here on this subject. You might take a look. As to the choice, we started looking at fivers and I quickly figured out that I didn't want to drive a 3500 truck every day and that is where you will be as well. You might take a look at the front diesel toy haulers like the Senaca. It is popular for full timers with large families because they can set the back up as a bunk house. Should also work well as a office; best of both worlds!

As far as the choice, I'd say that if you currently own a truck, you might be comfortable with a larger one. Otherwise I think the MH is the way to go. The fact is that, aside from snowbirds, 90% plus of full timers seem to wind up with a motor home. There has to be a reason!

Ernie

Ernie 'n Tara

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Becks

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Re: Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2015, 10:21:24 AM »
I agree with poster above, buy a clean used unit of your choice and see where and how things go.
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vmyoung61

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Re: Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2015, 11:11:31 AM »
I have to disagree with the statement that 90% of full-timers have motorhomes.  We full-time in a fiver and most of the full-timers we meet also have fivers. There probably isn't a way to find out the percentage. We have a 1-ton dually and drive it all the time. No problem. You get used to it. I drove them for years before becoming a full-time RVer. I'm a 5'4" female. I can hook-up and unhook by myself, if I need to. It's not that hard to learn to back one up. No biggie. Everything else is the same as a motorhome as far as hooking up electricity, sewer, satellite/cable. We have auto-level on our fifth-wheel.

There are things I would like about a motorhome: Ability to use the facilities while traveling (our slides have to be out to use the kitchen), we can only access the refrigerator and bathroom with everything closed in. Not having to get out in bad weather in order to get to the facilities. If you arrive at your destination and it's raining, you can always wait until later to hook up everything and just run off the generator temporarily.

We were able to get a lot bigger living area in the fiver and truck vs. motorhome, for the money.

Some day we may go to a motorhome. We like both, but have been told the maintenance is much more costly.

On the washer/dryer. We have the stackable units and they work just fine. I do all our laundry in them. They would certainly be good for one person. We had a combo unit on our last fiver and it was fine, but clothes came out more wrinkled.  I prefer the separate units. If you end up with a combo unit, be sure to get the vented one and NOT the unvented.
Steve and Gina
2017 Thor Palazzo 33.2

JerryHooper

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Re: Desperately need advice on Fulltiming Rig
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2015, 12:51:17 AM »
Hello!

My wife and I have been full timing for a bit over 5 years and have done all of that in 5ers.  I'd echo what someone else said that if you're not moving frequently, the 5er is the way to go.  There is a bit of work to setting up and breaking down; it's not difficult but can be a bit time consuming and frustating.  We actually have a 44' Dutchmen Voltage toyhauler in order to make the "garage" into an office for my wife, who continues to work, and me (retired).  We're very happy with the way the garage has evolved into the office/music room.  It makes the 5er feel a bit more comfortable and,I think, also more homier.  We pull the 5er with a 1 ton 4X4 Chevy dually and are quite pleased with the way both are working.  One thing to remember is that with a Class A, you lose the front 3-5 feet of the coach to the drivers area.  Makes a 40' Class A essentially a 35' coach and that's a large difference.  Another is that with a 5er when you're broken down, you've got your towing vehicle and are still result.

Hope this helps.  Let me know if you'd like additional info.


Jerry Hooper

 

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