Tips on Getting Started

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Joenew61

Active member
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Posts
34
Location
Connecticut
Hi all. Getting close to retirement, and getting the urge to spend some quality time seeing the country up close. I’ve been doing a lot of internet searches on RVs and really enjoying all of the videos available. There are some great bloggers out there, and the more I see, the more I believe this would be a great thing for my wife and me.

I think a logical next step for us would be to get an opportunity to see in person some options for us for a first RV. On paper, I am thinking a decent sized class C would make the most sense- I am a bit of a claustrophobic. I am an avid boater, and I know it’s not exactly the same, but I think I’d be pretty comfortable on the road in a decent sized rig - it’s all about focus and preparation....or so my theory goes for now!

Obviously, an RV show would be the best way to do this, but it seems like most of the shows have either passed or have been cancelled. Hershey in September seems like a good option, but that is a ways away.

Does anyone know of any dealers that are within day trip distance from Southwest Connecticut, that have a decent amount of inventory to look at of Class A, Class C and 5th wheel, so we can see how they compare?

Thanks in advance for any advice, and I’m looking forward to getting this journey started!
 

scottydl

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Jul 1, 2006
Posts
8,684
Location
Land of Lincoln
First, make sure your wife is truly on board. ;) Not saying she can't get there, but sometimes it takes some time.

You've got the right idea by taking a look at RVs in person, to get an idea of what they really "feel" like. Internet photos and videos can only show a certain amount. I don't know anything about RV dealership locations around SW Connecticut, but Google is usually a good resource for those kinds of searches and will plot anything nearby on a map.

If/when you do start visiting dealers, make SURE they know up front that you are just beginning the research process and are NOT interested in buying at this point. The key right now is research research research... keep browsing here and ask anything that comes to mind, that you can't find someplace. :)
 

prnebs

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2015
Posts
309
Location
FOCO CO
First of all Welcome to the Forum! This is great place to get info for your search. It sounds like you have a good plan. While looking for our rv we realize a couple of things. Even while salesmen can be very nice, sometimes you can learn more about RVs than they know. As scottdyl said, make sure they know you are just looking. There was not alot of inventory in our area when we were looking. We decided if something came up we were really interested in we'd go to it.
Best of luck & let us know where you end up!
 

silversport

Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2020
Posts
18
Location
Hayward, ca
My suggestion to folks who never been RVing is to spend the money on a rental and spend a week on the road. To me this gives you & your wife true insight on what your needs will be.
 

viceprice

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Posts
245
Location
Maine
Search for Pete's RV. We had a good experience with their VT location They also have MA & CT locations.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
72,693
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Ho & welcome!

See as many as you can. It's usually worth a trip to a dealer even if he has only one that you haven't seen before.

Since you don't want to be cramped, you are probably looking at 30 ft or more. That's a big Class C and big C's are usually near the max capability for the van chassis they are built on. You should probably be looking at Super-C's (based on a medium truck chassis) or a Class A. An A doesn't have to be giant - they start around 28 ft.
 

donn

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Posts
4,164
Forget new. While they have their attractions cost and depreciation can dampen your enthusiasm a lot. Used RVs are plentiful. Motor homes are the most expensive form of RV. Having to also have a small car to tow can be a negative to lots of folks.
 

Matt_C

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Posts
348
Location
SE - Mich
Joe,
Welcome to the forum. If you can frame a question, someone (probably Gary) can get you a good answer.

You say you were an avid boater. Did you cruise much of the sound?
There are two very common and correct pieces of advice handed out at these forums regularly.
1 - Rent before you buy. If you are not both on board, as expensive as it is, this will stop a big mistake.
2 - When you are sure, camp the first night in you driveway. You will learn things you need to know.

If you were not to claustrophobic on the boat, RVs are bigger. It kind of goes like racing sailboat, fishing/day powerboat, cruising sailboat, cruising powerboat, small RV.

There is almost no difference between recreational boats and RV except vocabulary.
The biggest difference between boats and RVs is that water can leak out of an RV.
(My av avatar at most of the sites is a picture of one of the family boats. )

Matt - a refugee from the east coast megopolis.
 

Joenew61

Active member
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Posts
34
Location
Connecticut
Thanks all for your replies! Getting the wife on board is definitely step 1, and she works better in the here and now than in the abstract, if you know what I mean. :) I think she will definitely like the experience of getting to see the country, but I just need to see if she can see herself living in an RV for a month or so at a time. She will need to kick the tires....or the cooktop and mattress as the case may be!

I will certainly be sensitive to salesmen's time and be upfront about where we are in the process, but I am hoping that they will see the benefit of making a connection with an hour or two of upfront investment. Like most big ticket purchases, I assume there is a multi-step process - not every first visit would result in a sale. But I will be transparent, and would hope that at this time of the year they will have time and interest to commit. I assume that used inventory sits on their lots as well as new, and I will definitely opt for used for a first purchase. Looks like Pete's has a nice assortment to look at, though spread across a few locations. I will definitely put that on the list.

Renting first is a great idea! Watching an experienced hand hook up the sewer and leveling the rig, or driving a huge vehicle for hours at a time, is easy from my chair here, but until you've done it for an extended time it's hard to say if one would trade off the "hassle" of that for the benefits of seeing the country.

Interesting point regarding large C vs A - what are the differences between a C and A of similar size, assuming both met my general space requirements? Looks like height in general is one, both interior and exterior. One looks like a bus and the other looks like a truck, but that might be just superficial?

For either, a tow car will be a necessity, and none of our cars are flat-tow capable. I would trade my 2012 SUV in for a Jeep or Honda (CRV?).

I know there are a lot of strong opinions on 5th wheel vs Motorhome, but for the kind of traveling we plan to do for the next few years, I think the latter makes more sense. Seems like they are slightly easier to drive and setup, and have a little more accessibility for some venues.

Regarding boating, we have been cruising LI Sound, up through and around Cape Cod, and Nantucket/Martha's Vineyard for over a decade in a 40' convertible sportfish, usually a week at a time. The RV looks like it offers more interior space and a more open layout for sure. But I would want more space on a 1-2 month RV trip than I would on a weeklong trip in the boat. I was thinking something in the 30-35' range would make sense.

Thanks again for the input!

Joe
 

Ex-Calif

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Joined
May 15, 2020
Posts
1,265
Here is a newbie perspective.

Class C - Overhead berth a plus. Lack of payload an eliminator for me. Great for "traveling" nurses and salespeople who just need a place to sleep and drive like an oversized van. My step-mom's sister is a traveling nurse and has one - and loves it.

Class A - Bigger layout, better payload. Driving station is useless when parked - LOL... Slides make them super large (from my perspective)

Super C - Probably what I would be after if I was rich. Better payload, grunt and towing ability. I have never looked but I am sure they are pricey.

Trailers - Foot per foot the best space option. Bunkhouses etc. Much more complex to work out - Lots of minutiae in how to tow and what to tow with. "Setting up" or "breaking camp" in the rain. No enroute toilet. Your tow vehicle almost has to become your grocery getter. I a not a fan of giant pick up trucks to go get groceries and go sightseeing - personal choice as I am an "SUV" guy.

I am also a boat guy - A 30-32 foot Class A is going to compare well to a 40 foot sport fisher probably a little less because you generally don't have a steering station stuffed in the hull and all the below decks can be for living. OTOH - a sport fisher usually has a largish aft deck that fits only engines and maybe quarter berths below it. You guys at least have the boating perspective to come from so you will figure that out pretty easy.
 

Mark_K5LXP

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 17, 2018
Posts
889
Location
Albuquerque, NM
Since you asked, C vs A. I don't have vast RV experience but I've travelled in both, and own an A. Plus side to the A is the cab area is mostly living space - you can stand up in it. As Ex-Calif mentioned C's would offer a berth or payload over the cab. I prefer having the living space. The "house space" of the C is less vs A due to the "nose"/cab of the C. So a 30' A will seem (and is) bigger inside than a 30' C in length, and often ceiling height. And as mentioned, the payload of C's is generally less. C's can be a bit less tall though which may be an advantage. There are some nice C's out there so it's not all or nothing but I think it's easier to live within the capabilities of a small-ish A than a large-ish C.

If it hasn't been emphasized enough yet, floorplan is everything. Could be the "best" chassis, awesome price and pretty LED ambient lighting inside with all the whizbang geegaws imaginable but if the floorplan doesn't work for you, it's all for naught. Seemingly minor things like where the kitchen counter is, which way doors open, storage in the wrong places, on and on make the experience something that over time you become annoyed with. And if you're trying to convince someone how fun this is going to be, minimizing any issues with livability will be up front and center. Some stuff is user replaceable if you don't like it (theater seating vs couch, dinette vs table, cabinetry, mattress, window coverings, etc) but the layout is pretty much forever.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

Joenew61

Active member
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Posts
34
Location
Connecticut
Here is a newbie perspective.

Class C - Overhead berth a plus. Lack of payload an eliminator for me. Great for "traveling" nurses and salespeople who just need a place to sleep and drive like an oversized van. My step-mom's sister is a traveling nurse and has one - and loves it.

Class A - Bigger layout, better payload. Driving station is useless when parked - LOL... Slides make them super large (from my perspective)

Super C - Probably what I would be after if I was rich. Better payload, grunt and towing ability. I have never looked but I am sure they are pricey.

Trailers - Foot per foot the best space option. Bunkhouses etc. Much more complex to work out - Lots of minutiae in how to tow and what to tow with. "Setting up" or "breaking camp" in the rain. No enroute toilet. Your tow vehicle almost has to become your grocery getter. I a not a fan of giant pick up trucks to go get groceries and go sightseeing - personal choice as I am an "SUV" guy.

I am also a boat guy - A 30-32 foot Class A is going to compare well to a 40 foot sport fisher probably a little less because you generally don't have a steering station stuffed in the hull and all the below decks can be for living. OTOH - a sport fisher usually has a largish aft deck that fits only engines and maybe quarter berths below it. You guys at least have the boating perspective to come from so you will figure that out pretty easy.
Thanks Marvin. Payload = storage space? Those "cabinets" accessible from the outside?

I definitely want something with a slide or 2 - huge difference between 8' width and 12+ even if only on half the rig.

Is a Super C just a matter of size as compared to a regular C?
Here is a newbie perspective.

Class C - Overhead berth a plus. Lack of payload an eliminator for me. Great for "traveling" nurses and salespeople who just need a place to sleep and drive like an oversized van. My step-mom's sister is a traveling nurse and has one - and loves it.

Class A - Bigger layout, better payload. Driving station is useless when parked - LOL... Slides make them super large (from my perspective)

Super C - Probably what I would be after if I was rich. Better payload, grunt and towing ability. I have never looked but I am sure they are pricey.

Trailers - Foot per foot the best space option. Bunkhouses etc. Much more complex to work out - Lots of minutiae in how to tow and what to tow with. "Setting up" or "breaking camp" in the rain. No enroute toilet. Your tow vehicle almost has to become your grocery getter. I a not a fan of giant pick up trucks to go get groceries and go sightseeing - personal choice as I am an "SUV" guy.

I am also a boat guy - A 30-32 foot Class A is going to compare well to a 40 foot sport fisher probably a little less because you generally don't have a steering station stuffed in the hull and all the below decks can be for living. OTOH - a sport fisher usually has a largish aft deck that fits only engines and maybe quarter berths below it. You guys at least have the boating perspective to come from so you will figure that out pretty easy.
Thanks Marvin. Payload = storage space? Those "cabinets" accessible from the outside?

I definitely want something with a slide or 2 - huge difference between 8' width and 12-13' even if only on half the rig. The beam on the boat is 14'5"

Is a Super C just a matter of size as compared to a regular C? Is there a specific length that makes a C a Super C?

Our boat is 3/4 cabin and 1/4 open cockpit in the back, and being a convertible, the helm is on the bridge, so while underway, I get open air and 360 degree views. Not going to get that in an RV, but with a decent length of slide out, I think the interior cabin will feel bigger...just have to see in person.
 

Joenew61

Active member
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Posts
34
Location
Connecticut
Since you asked, C vs A. I don't have vast RV experience but I've travelled in both, and own an A. Plus side to the A is the cab area is mostly living space - you can stand up in it. As Ex-Calif mentioned C's would offer a berth or payload over the cab. I prefer having the living space. The "house space" of the C is less vs A due to the "nose"/cab of the C. So a 30' A will seem (and is) bigger inside than a 30' C in length, and often ceiling height. And as mentioned, the payload of C's is generally less. C's can be a bit less tall though which may be an advantage. There are some nice C's out there so it's not all or nothing but I think it's easier to live within the capabilities of a small-ish A than a large-ish C.

If it hasn't been emphasized enough yet, floorplan is everything. Could be the "best" chassis, awesome price and pretty LED ambient lighting inside with all the whizbang geegaws imaginable but if the floorplan doesn't work for you, it's all for naught. Seemingly minor things like where the kitchen counter is, which way doors open, storage in the wrong places, on and on make the experience something that over time you become annoyed with. And if you're trying to convince someone how fun this is going to be, minimizing any issues with livability will be up front and center. Some stuff is user replaceable if you don't like it (theater seating vs couch, dinette vs table, cabinetry, mattress, window coverings, etc) but the layout is pretty much forever.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
That makes total sense regarding the footprint of the 2 classes of similar sizes, especially if they measure the length of the rig from the nose of the berth. In an A it looks like the drivers and passengers seats offer full height - just another part of the living space, so that front few feet is a much more efficient and inviting use of space, especially if we don't need a 3rd or 4th berth.

Regarding floorplan, I have been trying to visualize from the drawings and photos online, but it's hard to do in 2 dimensions. I definitely want to stay away from narrow passageways, and prefer U-shaped dinettes to the two seater tables.

Like houses, boats and cars, it's all a matter of tradeoffs - I'm looking forward to seeing what is out there. Just to revisit a point from my original post, are there any shows in the northeast that anyone knows about. All the ones I found so far have either passed, or are cancelled/TBD.
 

scottydl

Site Team
Joined
Jul 1, 2006
Posts
8,684
Location
Land of Lincoln
^^ As Uncledave mentioned, RV salesman get paid based on sales. Not based on spending a bunch of time helping someone learn about RVing. Many of them are not RV owners themselves, so IMO their expertise would be limited and not overly credible. There are many stories of an RV salesperson promising a prospective new trailer owner, "Sure your truck can tow that!".... :rolleyes:

It's much better to research as much as you can on your own, so you are an informed customer when time comes to buy. Also don't be stuck to dealer options. I bought both of my RVs from private sellers, and I'm probably at least $10,000 richer as a result. You don't have to be an expert (whatever that means) to buy "smart" from a private party, but I would recommend you feel comfortable with the rigs, systems, and potential problems and high-dollar items to check for.
 

Joenew61

Active member
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Posts
34
Location
Connecticut
^^ As Uncledave mentioned, RV salesman get paid based on sales. Not based on spending a bunch of time helping someone learn about RVing. Many of them are not RV owners themselves, so IMO their expertise would be limited and not overly credible. There are many stories of an RV salesperson promising a prospective new trailer owner, "Sure your truck can tow that!".... :rolleyes:

It's much better to research as much as you can on your own, so you are an informed customer when time comes to buy. Also don't be stuck to dealer options. I bought both of my RVs from private sellers, and I'm probably at least $10,000 richer as a result. You don't have to be an expert (whatever that means) to buy "smart" from a private party, but I would recommend you feel comfortable with the rigs, systems, and potential problems and high-dollar items to check for.
I am definitely doing all the online research that is possible, but at some point an in person look is necessary to begin to narrow a search. I guess I thought on a big ticket item the opportunity to have a likely future paying customer might be worth an investment of an hour or so of time on spec. Hard to believe that during the week there are customers lined up to fill a salesman’s calendar. I guess I need to find someone that is a little hungry. A show would be a much better option, but they are very few and far between these days.

I did see there are a number of private sellers on RVtrader, but I would think getting a private seller to accommodate an early stage buyer would be an even harder stretch. I am too honest a guy to represent myself as anything but that.
 

Rob&Deryl

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Posts
1,089
Location
Eastern Massachusetts
Flagg RV in south MA near RI/CT border. Campers Inn has huge inventory.

floorplan floorplan floorplan

budget? Buy used. If you like it, you will upgrade and will recover more of what you paid. If you hate it, you will lose much less selling.
 

Joenew61

Active member
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Posts
34
Location
Connecticut
Flagg RV in south MA near RI/CT border. Campers Inn has huge inventory.

floorplan floorplan floorplan

budget? Buy used. If you like it, you will upgrade and will recover more of what you paid. If you hate it, you will lose much less selling.
Thanks! Looks like a great option. I will definitely give them a call and see if they would be willing to show me some options.

Used is the way to go for sure for a first purchase. I assume like with boats, a contracted inspection service would be possible to arrange once a purchase is negotiated?
 

TonyL

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 10, 2017
Posts
302
Location
UK
Hi and welcome to the forum.
We appreciate exactly what your predicament is, imagine trying to do what you intend when you are the other side of the pond!
We have a slight advantage in that we have owned caravans (travel trailers) in the UK for years and are well use to holidays with them.
We retired at the end of 2018 and wanted to tour the US, we also had an advantage of hired RV's in Canada 7 times.
First, decide on what type you want
Second, research as much as possible on line for layout
Third, hire your chosen type for a couple of weeks to find your likes and dislikes
Fourth, keep asking questions, this forum is invaluable
We managed to narrow our choice to one particular model and source a potential buy before flying to the US, and having bought and since looked at others at shows honestly can say we chose correctly first time
Lucky us.
Good luck
TonyL
 
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