Newbie from Rhode Island

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Jul 23, 2006
My name is Carol.? I live in RI with my most wonderful on the face of the earth DH and two cocker spaniels, Sidney & Stanley.? ?;D? We're very new at this game and still doing a tremendous amount of research before we plan on purchasing next year with our income tax return.? I like the idea of getting the opinions, tips and whatnot from those who've "been there, done that, got the T-shirt".? Thanks for being here for RV dummies like myself.
Hi Carol.
I am also from RI but we escaped.  We now live in FL and I now work in RV sales.  If there is anything I can help you with I will be glad to.  I can even guide you to a great RV salesman in RI at the best dealer there. 

Where in RI? 

BTW, I was born and brought up there, we raised our kids there.  Lived in Newport, Pawtucket, Lincoln and East Greenwich. 

Bill W
Well Hi Bill:
Thanks for the offer.  I currently live in Coventry but I was born in the Lakewood section of Warwick and moved to the Buttonwoods section of Warwick as I child.  I moved to Coventry 4 years ago after remarrying and building a house.  We are now empty nesters.  My husband has 3 children, I have 2 and we have 2 grandchildren and the 3rd on the way in November.  Can't wait!

In my first marriage, we owned a Coachman pop-up.  I land my son loved camping but my ex and my daughter hated it.  We sold the camper after only one season.  I wasn't too happy about that! Well, my new husband got the travel bug just recently.  Tony originally comes from Rockford, IL.  He was sent here with his company when they closed up the plant in Rockford and sent him to headquarters in Cranston on Plainfield Pike.  My father-in-law (God I miss him) passed away in March and we had to move my mother-in-law (the sweetest lady on the face of the earth) to an assisted living place in Lake Geneva, WI closer to my sister-in-law.  We rented a Penske truck to take some furniture home with us.  As we were traveling, my husband was getting exicted at the places we had seen.  I kept mentioning camping and he said "I did his time in the National Guard and you'll never catch me in a tent every again! When I explained that there were different levels of "camping", I peaked his interest. 

I have been doing a tremendous amount of research on the internet and such.  I think we're leaning towards a 5th wheel to allow us traveling back to WI to visit my mother-in-law and the kids at X-mas time and be able to take our 4-legged kids along with us rather than sending them to the kennel.

I would appreciate any advice you can give me.  I'm a bit rusty at this, it's been a long time since I've camped. 

What part of FL are you in now?  My baby brother has lived in Port St. Lucie for 16 years now.  Maybe we'll even go down to visit him sooner!

Take care, Bill

Hi Carol,

Welcome to the RV Forum, Please join in on any of the ongoing discussions, start new discussions, or ask questions.  Thanks for joining us.  Also if you have a question please ask.  The only dumb question is the ones NOT asked.
Hi Carol
I live in Zephyrhills, FL, not all that far from Port St Lucie.  I work for Lazy Days which is just outside Tampa. 

If you have a good sized truck already a 5th wheel might be agreat option, but otherwise a motorhome might be a betterchoice.  Just depends on how you want to travel and what you like to drive.  Once you get to where you are going the truck is big to go around town, but a toad (towed vehicle), like a Saturn makes a nice affordable efficeint vehicle.

If you have a trip down here to visit, you should stop by to see us. 

Up your way and real close to you, is Arlington RV Supercenter.  See Doug Olney or Brad Barco and tell them Bill Whetstone sent you.  Great guys, and really know therir stuff.

Of course, if you want to come down here, I'll take wonderful care of you.

If you have any questions regarding particular units, call me. 

Good luck with the search, it can be great fun, and the trips after can be wonderful. 

WOW!!!!  Did you make absolute sense with your advice.  My DH and I discussed this over supper.  We would have to buy a 1 ton truck to tow a 5th wheel.  So the money that we would have to sink into a truck would be taking away from what we could afford in a RV.  We would have to short change one or the other.  I have a 1997 Geo Prizm that hasn't hit 100,000 miles yet.  That would be perfect to tow and use for the sight seeing and running around town. 

Well, back to the drawing board.  I'll start investigating motor homes instead.  And thanks so much for the referrals.  Arlington isn't far from us at all and I would actually prefer to deal with a local dealer.  You have no idea how much I appreciate your insight.  I can't possibly thank you enough. 

My kid brother has been living in FL for 16 years now, and I haven't been down to visit him yet.  We plan on by our RV with the income tax return next year.  I think it's about time I visit my baby brother (all 6'5", 230#s of baby brother).  He's a correctional officer in the St. Martin County. 

Again, Bill, thank you so very much for your help. 
I have been doing a tremendous amount of research on the internet and such.  I think we're leaning towards a 5th wheel to allow us traveling back to WI to visit my mother-in-law and the kids at X-mas time and be able to take our 4-legged kids along with us rather than sending them to the kennel.

Wisconsin at Xmas!!  I have been in Wisconsin at Xmas. ::)  Let me say right now, a winter capable trailer should be your first priority.  Insulation, heated tanks, double pane glass, etc..  In the normal vacations-in-the-deep-south trailer, you are going to freeze and use propane like it is going out of style.  Look at the Arctic Fox line for one.  A Canadian company if I remember correctly.

Be sure your truck can haul your rig.  Read some of the threads on trailer weights and tow ratings.
Carl has a great point, and I missed that WI section.  Yes, be sure to make note to the guys at Arlington of plans like that.

Better to visit son at Christmas, Mom-in-law for Mothers day.

Lots of things to think about when driving an RV of any type in winter reezing condtions.

Best way to winterize an RV is drive it south.
We're still researching this whole thing out.  We plan on buying next year and perhaps we're now beginning to lean towards a MH.  Are there any makes/models that you would recommend that would be winter worthy?  It'll only be a few years of winter traveling.  Once my mother-in-law in is gone, the kids can come to us!!!! (if they can find us)
Hi Carol,

Welcome to the forum. You should find all your answers here. Currently you are not too far from us. We used to live in CT but went full time and bought a lot in FL. We've visited Pancake Bill a couple of times in RI and CT. We are parked at our Daughter's house which is very near Coventry, CT. I'd say we're about an hour from you.

There is a lot to think about when you start RVing. I see you have already gotten some good info. I agree camping in WI in the winter will be tricky at best and the Canadian rigs are the only ones I know that are really equipped for it though some U.S. companies have started putting in arctic packages. Basically these are heaters on the tanks and full belly pans. Dual pane windows are a must in cold weather. If you don't have them you will have an awful lot of condensation.

Keep asking your questions and we'll try to answer all of them before you make the big plunge. I think your DH will find RVing is way different than being in the Army and there is so much to see and do out there you just might not come back!!! :)
Hi Jim:
Thanks for the advice.  It sure helps talking to someone who's in the know!  We really like the idea of spending X-mas with my mother-in-law in WI.  We use to spend a week at x-mas time with my inlaws and the whole family gathered at the house.  Well, my father-in-law passed away in March, we moved Mom into an assisted living place and the "gathering" house is going on the market.  We hate the idea of having to fly into O'Hare, rent a car, drive to WI, and stay in a hotel all day long.  We also don't like the idea of having to board our "kids" (2 cocker spaniels) every time we go to the mid-west.  We also don't like imposing on either the kids or my sister-in-law for room & board.

When the time comes to make a final decision on which type of RV to go with (Class A, B or 5th wheel) we will definitely investigate how winter sporting worthy it is.  I'm sure others have RVd in cold weather.  What suggestions do you have?  I'd love to hear.  Perhaps I'll start another thread on cold weather RVing.

Thanks again for all the advice and have a great day.  I suppose I have to get back to work now!  :-\
A lot will depend on how much you plan on investing into this project.  How much room will you require?  Lots to think about.  Jim is right on when he talks about the dual pane.  Nice thing about Fleetwood is that they use dual pane standard on all their motorhomes. 

Let me know if you visit Arlington, and try to ask for Brad or Doug.  All the guys are good, but these guys were tops in my book.

Thier lot is not open, IOW, you need to go with a salesman, just to unlock the units.  When you visit your son down here, check us out, our lot is open, rigs are open, and you don't have to ave a salesman with you.

Of course, when you do, just remember to ask for me.

Winter RVing will definitely require the right rig and a lot of planning. If you really want to do that be sure to investigate all options. We do have winter Rvers here and, hopefully, they will jump in with their expertise. If you would like to get together sometime before October, let me know. Coventry isn't far away.

Over the years we have used our Pace Arrow MH for trips to Northern INDIANA, Detroit Area, for years and enjoyed it imensely.  for several years we spent New Years Eve and couple days beforfe and after in Hobart IN at the BMX bike races and never had any problems.  Burned a lot of fuel cause there were no hook up.  Aslo Son lived in Highland IN, 5 mile marker on I-80 and never hard problems in the winter.  Just make sure your ducts underneath aren't blocked and storage doors are shut. Of we probably take other precuations, that I can't recall right now, but we've done this so often that we just do them automatically without realizing it.. Good Luck 
Hi Shayne:
Thanks for the reply.  I was beginning to think that I was on drugs thinking we could use an RV rather than a hotel in WI in December until you replied!!!  How old and what size Pace do you have?  Did you buy it new or used?  What special winterizing options did you need to have installed?  Keep in mind that we're not purchasing until next year and who knows how long Mom will be with us.  Once Mom passes on, I doubt we'll be going back to WI in December.  We will definitely go in the warmer weather.  I have 3 step-kids and 2 grandchildren out there. 

My husband likes the idea of a MH rather than a TT.  But the designs we're liking the most are in the 33'-36' range.  Are they as intimidating to drive as they look?  When you travel and need to refuel, do you have to avoid stations with canopies or are you better off stopping at truck stops.  My son is trucker and told me about the "Bible".  That a book he carries to show where the nearest truck stops are and what they offer (gas, diesel, showers, WiFi, etc.)

Hate to be such a pest with questions, but this is going to be a huge investment.  I would rather buy as much as we can possibly afford now and keep the MH as long as we can (now my Yankee is showing).  How long do people on average keep their MHs before upgrading?

Have a great day!

WE have owned many Motorhomes as well as campers going back into the 60's.  1st MH in the late 60's and never anything else since.  We have a 98 Ford 460 with Banks Pak 37' Pace Arrow with slide and pull a 24' enclosed car trailer. We always buy used, too many nice units out  there the people trade or sell for one reason or another.  Besides we buy our cars that way also.  Hate to take that big depreciation.  Was once a sales manager for an auto dealer and RV sales for many years. When traveling I makes my fuel stops at the Flying J's.  They are usually close to the cheaper stations and cell tons of fuel so you always get fresh fuel, besides you get their travel card and receive 1 cent off of fuel. There is plenty of room to maneuver in a FJ whereas few other stations are suited for us to manipulate a 65' unit for fuel. My Mother traveled with us until 2 years ago when she suddenly passed at age 90, and we miss her dearly.  However we must continue our lives while we are still able. Good luck on your ventures and should you need further assistance please don't hesitate to ask.  There are many members here that have vast knowledge of the RVing World and will be very generous in the answers. This is just my opinion and others can vouch for themselves and may well differ in opinions, but that's what makes this forum so great.  Everyone can express their views.  On some items, what is great for one individual is wrong for others, cause we all have different ways and thoughts of doing things.  Hope this helps and experience is by for the best teacher in the world.
Hi Carol,

Driving a Class A motor home is not hard at all. I would rather drive our 40' American Dream than our car. Your visibility is improved because of the height of the driving area so it's easier to see down the road. Once you learn where the rear wheels are located and get used to using the mirrors and backup monitor it's very easy to drive. Once you have driven a motor home the length will become a non factor. A 40' coach is just as easy to drive as a 32'.

There are a couple of guides out there that will show services at exits on major highways. As Shayne mentioned, Flying J is one of the better fuel stops as they do cater to RVers. I don't like their RV island area much in the older stations but we are diesel and use the truck side to fuel. Much more convenient when you have a toad attached to the coach. Their newer stations are planned much better and they even have pull through spots for overnighting.
Heck  I'd love to be driving an American Dream myself, but unforturately my lovely wife controls the purse strings and she's afraid I'd leave her at the Flying J      AGAIN  LOL

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