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New member
Jul 13, 2013
Los Angeles (Torrance), CA
I just wrote all of the stuff below and then realized I'd written a book! I hope you guys don't think I'm crazy for writing this much, but please understand that I'm VERY excited and I have no one else to talk to about this because everyone I know thinks I'm nuts for considering living in an RV! Having said that...

Hi all! I'm Chris, a single 40 year old male, and I'm "RVDREAMIN"!! I think I've decided that I want the RV life full time. My thought is that I'm tired of wasting rent money (Los Angeles is expensive) and I don't think my credit is good enough to buy anything decent. Even if it was, I'm not sure I want to be stuck in one place and "house poor" anyway! In addition, I've always been a wanderer, but until recently the thought of doing it in an RV never crossed my mind. I've always done it the more expensive way of selling most of my stuff, paying someone a ridiculous amount to move the rest cross country (or wherever), and then rebuying whatver I sold at my new destination! The last few months my attention (and extreme excitement) has turned to the RV world as a much more appropriate solution. I don't own any property and I work as a consultant from home so I really have nothing tying me down as far as why I couldn't full time RV. My thought is that if I don't like it, it's not like I'm selling my house (cause I don't have one), so I can always find another crappy and overpriced apartment in LA if I dislike the RV that much!

So now I'm starting a plan which basically involves staying put for another 6-12 months while I save money to purchase an older used RV (I'm thinking $5K-$20 range), an older used 4x4 pickup, and possibly an ATV (they are so much fun).  I want to have these "big ticket" items totally paid off before I go so I don't have to worry about monthly payments. Then I'm hittin' the road!

So my first major decision is what RV to look for... I think I've limited it down to either class A coach, 5th wheel, or possibly toyhauler. I will be travelling alone initially so you might say class C is good, but I think I will just want bigger anyway. After all this will be my full time house so I figure why not give myself space to make it a "home". Also, for some reason the used class C's seem to be just as much money or more than a class A (I can't figure that one out). Plus hopefully I will meet a female "copilot" somewhere along the way at some point an she'll probably want more space! ;-)

OK, so my options: 1: class A towing a small 4x4 pickup with my ATV in the bed of the pickup (this will work right?), 2: a larger more expensive pickup towing a 5th wheel (not sure what to do with my ATV then), or 3: towing a toyhauler with space for the ATV inside. Are there other options I'm missing? I don't really like 3 because I haven't really seen any toyhaulers yet that seem to have as much living space as the other options, obviously because you're putting your "toys" inside it. I did see one pic where the ATV went under a section which has the master bed on top of it, that might work. Option 2 might be nice because from what I've seen I could probably get more bang for my RV buck with a 5th wheel rather than class A, but of course the truck to tow it is a lot more so that might wash out. So, I'm leaning towards options 1, thus giving me the most living space inside the class A, but also the ability to have my toys (ATV and smaller, more fun 4x4 truck rather than big towing truck). Any thoughts on this?

So I think my main question at this point (which may already be answered elsewhere) is about brand choice. I know this is a lot about personal preference but there has to be some simple guidelines. For example, I think most people would agree that a Honda Civic is an affordable and reliable car. Is there such "staple brand" in the RV world? I mean the kind of "you can't go wrong with this" type of beginning class A make/model? Keep in mind, I'll most likely be buying '90s models for my price range if the models were different then than they are now.

Speaking of price, that bring me to my 2nd question, I'm actually finding that some class A are WAY less than I thought they'd be. Look at http://losangeles.craigslist.org/ant/rvs/3932055092.html for example. This is a 1995 35' Southwind (that's Fleetwood right?) with 42K miles for only 6K? I don't even think I can buy a 1995 Honda Civic with only 42K miles for 6 grand so why is this so cheap? Is that just because there are lots more people in the market for a Honda Civic than for an RV? Or is there most likely something wrong with this RV? Although I've seen others in a similar price range also so they can't ALL be bad right? If I had known I could get one for 6K I'd have done it a long time ago just for weekend trips even before I thought about living in it!

Anyway... wow so now my 1st book on this forum is complete! I hope you enjoy it and of course any feedback (good or bad) is appreciated!

Best RV dreams,
BTW, with regard to any recommendations on make/model I should say that my primary concern is reliability. Anything other comfort or creature feature related issues come second to me because I won't have l lot of money for repair if my rig is constantly breaking down!

Welcome to the Forum and you're probably no crazier than anyone else here.

Your thought process so far is relatively sound and you would do well to spend some time in the Library section and also mining some of the threads where similar comparison questions have been asked and discussed.

Your decision to get clean financially is important but there is a lot of research and comparison you can do in the meantime. Spend a lot of time on dealer lots and kick tires. It is important to really understand the differences in accommodations and functional differences between Class A's, Class C's, fifth wheels, and toy haulers.

Towing is a matter of preference for most, from older Jeeps to Escalades, and every point in between. Many discussions here on older CRV's, Jeeps, and other easily managed towed vehicles. Many have used trucks to stow their toys in the bed and then wagged the whole thing with a motorhome. Again, lots of choices, personal preferences prevail.

Brand choice is a Ford vs Chevy question but there are some favorites. Some of the higher end coaches in a used state can be tremendous bargains.

Spend a little time in the threads, ask your questions, and I think you will find all your answers in due time.

Welcome to the group that is living the dream!
Hi sky king,

Thanks for the quick reply and please allow me to ask a more specific brand question. I know brand is a lot about personal "feeling" and brand loyality, for example I prefer Chevy over Ford for no other reason than my grandfather always had a Chevy of some sort as I was growing up. However, I think in the auto world there are certain brands (mainly Honda and Toyota) that pretty much anyone other than hardcore "buy American car" people would agree are the most reliable long term. Now the specific question... since my RV will likely be pushing 20 years old (I'm expecting mid 1990s in my price range), do that one or two brands/models exist in the RV world that are just known for being extra reliable say like a Honda Civic in the auto world?
BTW, I know I have lots of reading to do in the library and forums, but I guess I'm just looking for that quick "get yourself a Honda for reliability" answer! Maybe such an answer doesn't exist without me stopping being lazy and doing a lot of homework lol! ;-)
I certainly would not call you lazy, possibly not well read (yet)... 8)

In all seriousness, quality has varied in so many brands across different years, you almost have to find actual owners who will "swear" to it. The RV business is a long progression of buyouts, bailouts, and bankruptcies, and in between there can be some quality control issues within brands.

There will be some folks here who have owned the earlier models with success, and some not. In Class A's, Monaco, Tiffin, and Winnebago folks have a lot of brand loyalty. Since I am a Class A guy, I cannot speak to the other types, but there will be others who will.

It is just a huge smorgasbord at the RV table and this is where persistence, patience, and research pay the biggest dividends. The research is not a simple task, but down the road, you will be glad you did. Even then, emotion will play a part, so sit back and enjoy the ride!

Since you want to full time, peruse the Fulltiming message board for a good cross section of information that will be important to you.

Happy hunting!

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