Cross Country Commuting

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MichaelMartin

New member
Joined
Jun 21, 2022
Posts
3
Location
Reno, NV
Hi all, very new here, sorta in a life-changing situation.

My kids live in Nashville, and my mom (newly diag stage 4 cancer) lives in Reno. That means i'll be driving back/forth at least once a month.

I have a service dog, and I don't like how hotels are hit-and-miss regarding their treatment of service animals. Sure they're allowed, but often with a frown and condescending look on the faces of the staff.

So I've been researching RVs.

I would not be "camping" really- once in a while sure, but primarily I would use the vehicle to meander across country as i spend time with both families. I'd stay anywhere that worked- even rest stops if I'm tired enough. I'd stop frequently with my dog to see our beautiful country.

The floorplan of the Tiburon/Delano 24TT would suit my needs perfectly. Were I to buy an RV, it would likely be the 24TT (unless someone has a similar alternative?) I love flying drones across the country, and that little shelf over the cab would be a perfect deck for my drone fleet.

I have cars in both cities, so the RV would be parked unless it was on the road. Not worried about maneuverability in the towns.

Question for the community-

What should be be wary of? careful of? What are some of the things I may not be considering, switching from an SUV to an RV?

Are these models any good? Do they break down more often? What's their general quality level? They look nice- is it all smoke and mirrors?

What are your thoughts? "He's Crazy"? wtf?

Thanks all- clearly i'm acknowledging I may be jumping in too quick, thus my request for advice.
 

donn

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Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Posts
5,370
Other than fuel economy any small RV could work. Heck if I were in that situation I would be looking for a 3/4 ton van and convert it.
 

DonTom

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Joined
Apr 21, 2005
Posts
7,096
Location
Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
My kids live in Nashville, and my mom (newly diag stage 4 cancer) lives in Reno. That means i'll be driving back/forth at least once a month.

I have a service dog, and I don't like how hotels are hit-and-miss regarding their treatment of service animals.
Welcome!

I would say RVing is the best way to travel with a dog. I have done it with a couple of dogs for many years. And a service dog should even be less hassle-as you may go more place with the dog.

BTW, I am on the top of University Ridge in Reno.

-Don- Reno, NV
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
Posts
5,858
Location
SW Louisiana
There are a number of brands of similar layout sprinter based coaches, the one I am the most fond of is the Leisure Travel Vans Unity 24MB, Winnebago also makes some similar models, so does Tiffin with their Wayfarer models, though until recently the Tiffins tended to build with too heavy of materials, putting many of their units at very close to their weight carrying capacity even when empty, ie what good is a motorhome that can't even carry 500 pounds worth of stuff (passengers, lugguge, pots, pans, food, BBQ grill, etc.).

Having said that given what you have told us about its prime purpose being to make road trips between TN and NV a distance of roughly 2,100 miles, perhaps doing some sight seeing along the way, with just you and maybe a dog along, possibly dry camping in rest areas, etc. The tool for the job that I would strongly consider would be a Winnebago Travato with either the 59GL or 59KL floorplan. These are built on the smaller Ram Promaster platform, and have a Lithium ion battery bank which is charged by a special high output engine mounted alternator, so they have no separate generator, best of all the Lithium battery bank has a large enough capacity to run the roof top air conditioner for several hours (8-9 hours), which can be especially nice feature when camping for the night in rest areas in the summer months,without the need to run a noisy generator or burn more fuel just to stay cool at night. There are other similar products that have started popping up on the market in the last year, but I have not kept track of them.

p.s. the Travato with its gas Promaster chassis even with the Lithium battery version will be a lot cheaper than any late model MB Sprinter coach, a quick look online shows 2022 Travato 59GL listed for under $140,000 and 1-2 year old used models for under $120,00 asking price, which is about $25,000 less than the current Thor 24TT
 
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Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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5,858
Location
SW Louisiana
Do keep in mind that the right choice for you is what matters, and without experience actually using it you may not really know what is right for you. Therefore you might want to try to rent a couple of the contenders or something close for at least a long weekend to try out. I see B&B RV rentals out of Denver rents the Thor Quantum KM24 which is a nearly identical layout to the 24TT you initially asked about.

In the boating world there is a term "2 footitis" meaning everyone wishes they had a boat that was 2 feet longer than what they have, camper vans, class B's, even small class A's are much like this. If you go out and look at these in person you will quickly see just how much difference a couple of feet can make, and that is before adding in things like slides. When my wife and I go to the local RV show we are often attracted to looking at the smaller class B and B+ coaches like the ones you are considering, but then we walk into them and feel just how cramped they are compared to our 28 ft class A Safari Trek, and usually my wife turns around and leaves instantly as she does not want to give up our 6x6 ft dry bathroom for a wetbath, which is a shower stall with a toilet in it, or our nearly 7 feet of kitchen counter for something without even enough countertop to put an air fryer on. I on the other hand see the limited weight carrying capacity, the small 10-15 gallon black and gray water tanks, vs the 40 gallon ones on our Trek, and just say no. However if I were to be traveling solo, never spending more than one night in the same town in the coach, and trying to commute back and forth thousands of miles, I would really be tempted by the small 20 ft Ram Promaster chassis, and might even start thinking a 24 ft Sprinter is on the large side. Either way it comes down to you, how much of a minimalist you are, and what is right for the way you plan to travel.
 

DutchmenSport

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Oct 30, 2021
Posts
236
Location
Anderson, Indiana
Before signing the dotted line, on which ever model you decide to purchase, make sure everything in the camper is accessible with slides pulled in. If the bathroom door is blocked, the refrigerator can't be opened, or the master bed is not accessible and you find yourself in a position where you absolutely cannot open slides, you are in for a very uncomfortable, hungry, and miserable night of sleep if you can't us the bathroom, access the refrigerator, or crawl into the bed.
 

DonTom

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Apr 21, 2005
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7,096
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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
f the bathroom door is blocked, the refrigerator can't be opened, or the master bed is not accessible and you find yourself in a position where you absolutely cannot open slides, you are in for a very uncomfortable, hungry, and miserable night of sleep if you can't us the bathroom, access the refrigerator, or crawl into the bed.
Do they really design some RV's that dumb?

-Don- Reno, NV
 

Oldgator73

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Dec 28, 2017
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4,357
Location
Dover, DE & Mouth of Wilson, VA
Do they really design some RV's that dumb?

-Don- Reno, NV
Yes! When we purchased our 5th wheel back in 1998 my wife insisted all (3) slides be in so she could determine if the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living area could be used. We stayed in rest stops, truck stops and most anywhere else we could park for a few hours on our way to a destination. Wanted make sure we could poop, shower, sleep and eat while slides were in. Very important.
 

Skookum

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Dec 19, 2018
Posts
808
So sorry about the OP's mom. The situation sounds like hell...that's not a fun reason to be on the road. Any chance you could have your mom live with you while she gets treatment?

I'd be looking for anything that got great fuel mileage!!
 

DonTom

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Apr 21, 2005
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7,096
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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
Yes! When we purchased our 5th wheel back in 1998 my wife insisted all (3) slides be in so she could determine if the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living area could be used. We stayed in rest stops, truck stops and most anywhere else we could park for a few hours on our way to a destination. Wanted make sure we could poop, shower, sleep and eat while slides were in. Very important.
In my new RV, I can do everything needed with the slides in. There are some cabinets I cannot get to, behind the folded king bed, but that it the only issue. But it's nice I have the extra bed option above the cab seats as that is the only bed available out of four beds when the slides are in, such as overnight at rest stops.

My Y2K RV has no slides, so no such issues there either.

-Don- Reno, NV
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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5,858
Location
SW Louisiana
I agree with this thought about fuel mileage, though in the overall scheme of things it is not going to be a big difference between a 20 ft Promaster with a claimed fuel economy of 21mpg on gasoline and a 24 ft Sprinter B+ with a claimed fuel economy of 17 mpg on diesel.
Assuming a 2200 mile trip with price of gas set at $5 per gallon and diesel set at $6 per gallon (which is close to the national average if you add in cost of DEF in addition diesel). We get a fuel cost per trip estimate of $776 one way for the Sprinter B+ coach, and $523 for the Promaster gas coach like the Travato, a difference of roughly $250 per trip or 1/3 cheaper for the Promaster. The downside here is of course the lower amount of living space in the Promaster, smaller waste water tanks, etc. So really not that big of deal when you are talking $100,000+ RV's.

Just for fun fuel cost doing this trip in my 21 year old 28 ft class A would be about $1250 for the trip, which lets round off to double the average between the Promaster and Sprinter, or an extra $625 per trip in fuel, assuming 8 trips per year (4 round trips) that would but the cost of doing this trip $5,0000 per year higher in my 28 ft coach, than in either of the ones above, which at first might seem awful, until you remember that you can buy a used coach like mine for around $25,000 in the current market, vs even a 15 year old Sprinter B+ with similar mileage to my 21 year old gas class A will sell for $60,000+, making the break even point on fuel being 7 years and 123,000 miles down the road.
 

MichaelMartin

New member
Joined
Jun 21, 2022
Posts
3
Location
Reno, NV
Thanks all for the great info- I definitely didn't think they'd design 'em so dumb.

I had already found a couple possible rentals on some site that seemed to tap in nation-wide. I don't mind driving somewhere to try a rental- definitely will do that.

Fuel costs are definitely an issue, but sorta third or fourth place right now honestly.

Mom's in no condition to move- her whole support system is in Reno, while my kids are anchoring me in TN. This one's on me, and I'm cool with it.

Again, thanks all!
 

Arch Hoagland

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Jul 11, 2014
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4,028
Location
Clovis California
After you've done the trip a couple times you'll know the places to stop overnight, get fuel, etc.

We've traveled between several cities a lot and know exactly how long it takes which makes for a nice trip not having to worry about where we will stay, etc.

You will sure get to see a lot of the country on this coming adventure...Good Luck!
 
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