Confused About Selecting Your RV? Here’s Some Sage Advice.
CLARIFYING SOME CONFUSION OF AN RV
By RM DE SANTI
The retirement party is behind you. After years of fantasizing about living on the road, each day ends with a feeling of excitement as you visualize the adventures that lay ahead. One of the first things to consider is the type and size of an RV you will call home.
This article will help remove some of the confusion associated with your purchase and also addresses other important issues while living on the road.
Since there are several types of Recreation Vehicles and dozens of articles that explain this, we’ll fast-forward beyond pop-up campers and ultra-lite trailers. Most of these are built for warmer climates and short-term use.
According to several surveys, to attain a comfortable lifestyle on the road, many full-timers agree that the minimum length of an RV should be 33 feet. Nevertheless, my wife Annie and I survived quite comfortably in a Toyota panel van for several months while we tiki-toured the New Zealand countryside looking for a property to purchase. Naturally, weather played a critical role during our quest, mainly in our favor. In actual fact, we could both adapt readily in a cardboard refrigerator box if need be. However, I do need to mention the most important component before continuing.
Compatibility, and Compatibility in close quarters! If you’re a person who needs your own space, then this can be a problem at the best of times. If only one partner longs for the adventure of road travel, living in wooded campsites near a lake as the sound of a rushing brook lulls you to sleep, then I, as well as others have advised in the past, don’t buy an RV! The days of trekking to the office with eight to ten-hour breaks away from each other are gone. Inclement weather may also limit a day of travel to spending a quiet day inside or huddled under the awning. Visualize a week of this. Now visualize two more!
Besides the length of your new home to consider, you will have to decide if you will purchase a new unit or a used one, and the type. If your intentions are to do a lot of traveling and not slowing down at one place too long, then consider a motor home. Will you tow a vehicle? If you intend to sit still for long periods and like a large open layout but don’t mind climbing up and down interior steps, then consider a 5th wheel. Your tow vehicle now becomes your daily driver. Any of these units whether motor home or 5th wheel offer slide-outs that offer more interior space. Naturally, you will have to purchase a heavy-duty pick-up to tow the 5th wheel if you don’t already own one. Bearing this in mind, a diesel-powered motor home will cost you a bit more if you are comparing apples to oranges. You may decide to purchase a gasoline-powered unit, which is not as costly.
Something else to consider is the warranty. Although new units come with a factory warranty, you may have to bring it back to the factory to resolve large issues. There are only a few states where RV’s are built. Most are located in the mid-west while one or two are in Washington State. We personally had a structural issue with one of our units. Although the manufacturer in Indiana honored the warranty and invited us to stay on an RV pad outside the factory at no cost, they did not reimburse any fuel costs. We were staying just over 900 miles in Sturbridge, Massachusetts at the time.
There is an active RV forum circulating the web composed of many senior citizens. One topic in particular addresses how many Rver’s are actually full-timing. Do a search for www.Escapees.com for additional information. There’s no charge to join the forum and I have found some great advice there.
Before I close, I’d like to show off our 5th wheel and tow vehicle. We’ve gotten many remarks insinuating our truck is ‘overkill’. However, with a specially designed holder attached to the rear of our truck, the set-up allows us to carry our 1100cc motorcycle in a space under the front of the trailer.
Our last full-sized 195 Horsepower dually diesel pick-up got 10 MPG. “Juggernaut” our current 400 Horsepower tow vehicle, gets 10.5 MPG and is also registered as a motor home. Among other functions, after we unhook at an RV park, “Juggernaut” serves as a home away from home when we’re out seeing the sights.