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Old 08-23-2009, 06:09 AM
 
Location: Maryland
1,534 posts, read 3,781,464 times
Reputation: 2307

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I'm about to order a 2010 Class C after an exhaustive analysis of the whole bag regarding travel options. A significant factor was the ease of traveling with our two dogs. I did comparative cost analysis of: 1) Drive/motel; 2) Drive/cottage rental for month long stays; and a huge analysis regarding Class A, B, C, 5th wheel and travel trailer RV units (popups & truck campers were eliminated early on due to utility factors and tent camping was not an option, I spent enough time sleeping on the ground in Viet Nam). We are a relatively new retired couple (2.5 years) and have been doing the group tour gig in the US and abroad, with some independent trips as well. Overall, the determining factors were: dogs, flexibility, utility and cost. Traveling with pets is feasible aka motels/cottages but severely limits your options and you frequently get gigged extra for the pets. The flexibility issue was very significant - with an RV, you can take off anytime you want and/or don't like the weather in a particular area without worrying about reservation planning. There are more than enough RV parks around so that availability doesn't seem to be an issue. The utility component was also very important, an RV provides an alternate place to live in any kind of disaster, power outage, etc. A full house generator set for my place would run me about $15K installed and would rarely be used, but when you need it, you need it. In effect, I look at an RV as a form of insurance/hassle avoidance in that regard. The cost factor is highly variable and dependent on your assumptions regarding motel/cottage price levels and what RV price you select. Personally, I don't want to spend any time in flea bag motels so that element required decent Holiday Inn level accommodations or higher. (As an aside, hotel/motels in "vacation/high interest" areas generally are above the norm price-wise. Its not cheap to visit many areas and stay in rented units). Overall, the costs are generally a wash for us. You do need to go with a high quality RV that meets your needs and minimizes the depreciation hit. It helps a lot if you avoid loan costs and pay cash. The cost of money in today's environment is minimal given the pitiful interest rate return on secure investment options available. For a retired, travel inclined couple, the RV option presents a very attractive and cost effective choice. JMO.
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Old 08-23-2009, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,416 posts, read 17,391,848 times
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Congratulations, Pilgrim, and welcome to the RV world. I've rented a few Class Cs, but never owned one. I've almost always had a pickup anyway, so it made more sense for me to pull something with it or load something onto it. I will say I've always enjoyed the rentals I had.
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Old 08-23-2009, 02:05 PM
 
5,822 posts, read 13,315,622 times
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I agree with PILGRIM on all points. We bought a used Class A which was a bargain and immaculate. We're retired and want to do some traveling before old age catches up to us. It was important that we could bring our dog with us and spend long periods on the road.
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Old 08-23-2009, 03:50 PM
 
47,573 posts, read 60,631,888 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtbeck View Post
Plus, you've got a place to go when your mother-in-law comes over to your house.
Good point! It is nice to have that extra guest room - and some people visiting might really like their separate quarters.
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Old 02-26-2011, 11:31 PM
 
1 posts, read 5,651 times
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That is so funny that I came across this. I am looking into purchasing just a pop-up camper and thought about so much my brain was hurting I am a newby, with a little boy and want to experience this camping stuff. Don't think I would make a big purchase though, I agree on limitations and the whole not being able to go everywhere once a destination is reached. My simple questions were just that and more. Iam in MD, a city townhome with questions on where to store the thing, fees are too expensive for storage, whether I need a permit or not to store in my yard, (whether someone will steal it or city rodents) how often will I use it, and my thoughts were can you go anywhere and park to enjoy your investment or does it have to be at a campsite? If I got one, I would still need to upgrade my Rav4 4cyl because it won't tow the thing (a small coleman camper) I was looking at. Just by thinking of those things was too much for me! Rvers I need some answers because it seems to be more questions than any. My initial thought was not having to pay for hotels, enjoying wknds outdoors, and taking it whenever I want. (Can you store these things at campsites? Or are those fees just as expensive as a public storage? Any Thoughts....
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Old 02-27-2011, 03:36 AM
 
4,285 posts, read 14,424,523 times
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Lack of storage room can certainly be an issue if you live in an urban environment.

So what I get is that you're an inexperienced camper who would really just like to take his son out on a few outings and do the roasted marshmallows thing. Sounds like a fine idea.

Here are a couple of options.

1. Rent a fairly small RV for a weekend and see if mosquito bites agree with and the young lad. RVs really don't give a sense of camping, though -- they're more like motel rooms with wheels.

2. How about a tent, a couple of sleeping mats, sleeping bags, cooler, lawn chairs, a lantern, and small cook stove? It will easily fit in the RAV and home storage shouldn't be an issue. I figure you'd be on the hook for about $300 --- which is likely less than an RV rental would cost.

The tent set-up would give you the means to find a nice camp site fairly close to home and go "rough it" with your son.

If camping grows on the 2 of you, you always have the option of upgrading to a pop-up at a later date.
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Old 02-27-2011, 04:36 AM
 
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
4,585 posts, read 10,844,381 times
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I think it all depends on what and how much you'll be using it. I'm still in research mode and since I'm 60 and single with dog. I want something small as I'll only be using it on weekends, long weekends and vacations. I'm a bit of a nester and like having a small homebase to go to.

Having my own bed and potty is a biggie for me. I prefer to cook my own food vs dining out as I have many food restrictions. Being able to take my dog is also huge...I hope to eventually go to dog companion competition events, besides "camping out" I can camp at the facility grounds as many competitors do. My hobbies lend it's self to having a small tag along, I'm into competing my dog and outdoor photography.

In my youth (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) I used to tent camp in the remote NW and I look back now and think...how did I survive the bears and snakes. I also lived out of a backpack for over a year traveling around the world. I'm right now trying to divest myself of stuff and also hope to move towards the "tiny living" cottage mode. I just need a small kitchen, living room/office, bathroom, closet and bed 300-400 sqft should do me just fine.

Right now I've got it narrowed down to either the 16' Airstream International, the Oliver (who shut down due to the economy but word is they'll reopen soon) or a Casita. There are some other RV's not available in the US right now but might be before I make the plunge. All of these can be pulled with a smaller vehicle and right now I'm leaning towards a Nissan Frontier V6 - good towing capacity that exceeds the trailer requirements by several 1000 pounds. I have a 16 year old F150 right now that I bought new and big bertha needs to retire soon...LOL.

I've towed stuff for years...first sail boats from 15 to 35 feet and then horses in tag alongs and goosenecks...sooo I've got plenty of towing experience and a small trailer will be a no brainer after towing live animals.

I love visiting this sub-forum as it gives me lots of ideas.
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:12 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,558 posts, read 39,944,045 times
Reputation: 23693
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReturningWest View Post
I think it all depends on what and how much you'll be using it. I'm still in research mode and since I'm 60 and single with dog. I want something small as I'll only be using it on weekends, long weekends and vacations. I'm a bit of a nester and like having a small homebase to go to.

Having my own bed and potty .. prefer to cook my own food vs dining out .. food restrictions. ... take my dog ... camp at the facility grounds ... hobbies ... I'm into competing my dog and outdoor photography.

... I'm right now trying to divest myself of stuff ... move towards the "tiny living" cottage mode. I just need a small kitchen, living room/office, bathroom, closet and bed 300-400 sqft should do me just fine.

...narrowed down to . 16' Airstream International, the Oliver ...or a Casita. ...can be pulled with a smaller vehicle and right now I'm leaning towards a Nissan Frontier V6 - good towing capacity that exceeds the trailer requirements by several 1000 pounds. [b]I have a 16 year old F150......I've got plenty of towing experience ...
Sounds like you are making well thought out plans; I would just caution to have a nice long wheelbase and plenty of MASS for the tow vehicle, + tandem axles with good brakes on the trailer + HD hitches and tires for all. (As I'm sure you know). I see lots of 'small trucks and SUV's in trouble with trailers since I have done CDL driving for 30+ yrs. I really appreciate the stability of 'dually's for towing, but that may be overkill for your application. I am often around 30,000# GCVW with my older 4x4 dually Dodge Cummins. It is not too safe and avoid driving at higher speeds with this combo. If the Ford has the 300 CI 6 cyl I would keep it. I have driven several to over 500k in my previous employ. I like the torque-y in-line 6's for towing. hus the early 12v cummins is great. The '96 - 1997.5 'quad cabs' seem to be the best (most reliable / EZ to fix and tune). They run ~ $10k used and will take you to a million miles while getting 18 - 20 mpg. (But they are ALOT of truck if you prefer something smaller.)

Having the F-150 or Frontier probably makes more sense than a MH, since it is one more engine to service and maintain. I like having a small econo vehicle when I arrive at a destination, thus small 20mpg Motorhome (Rialta) and a 'toad' (StealthRabbit) work for me. A friend hauls a 'Smart-car' on his RV Toter. I usually use a motorcycle, but not too practical with a dog (unless you have a dog that rides on the gas tank ).


BTW:

(Keep in touch 'cuz I'm looking into the 'cottage-community' concept too w/ community Auto / machine and woodshops + greenhouse, and community building with guest lodging. I was at a 60yr old single guy's joint just last week helping him plan his cottage community, he has quite a nice 'shop' with really great renovations 'behind the walls and out of view of the assessor'. He hosts all kinds of events similar to Dog Agility' on his acreage. I'm afraid I will have to build one of these villages myself, but there seems to CURRENTLY be EXCESS inventory of living structures.)

These are similar in size and concept, but don't include the 'community-space' I desire Aggie Village Cottages - Davis Wiki
UC Davis: Capital Resource Management : Aggie Village

I think making duplexes or 4 plexes all 'ground level' will be able to keep the costs down. W/ passive annualized solar and 'rammed earth' / or similar will be cheap and low cost to maintain.
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Old 02-27-2011, 02:07 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,558 posts, read 39,944,045 times
Reputation: 23693
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pigtown#1 View Post
... I am looking into purchasing just a pop-up camper and thought about so much my brain was hurting I am a newby, with a little boy and want to experience this camping stuff. ... Rav4 .. Any Thoughts....
Your comments / desires are very common and there are many opportunities to explore.

(as above)
1. Rent an RV
2. Borrow camping gear
3. buy used (like new) stuff
4. buy a $50 tent and some entry level stuff (That quality lasted me for over 25 yrs @ ~ 40 uses / yr)

5. Diverge to RV / Higher level camping gear.

With a young kid, I would definately start VERY small and cheap and fairly close-by. Hiking and Backpacking will likely be the desire of his heart till he's gone from home (The complexity of an RV will probably not be high on his priority, BUT lots of variety and challenge is worth pursuing for his experience). There are lots of options for poorer weather camping and traveling. I often rent 'forest cabins / shelters / yurts'. There is very little 'camping pressure' in winter. I also use 'private guest homes', many in New England are on farms or in the forest, some have 'rustic' guest qtrs as in a small cabin in forest. (The homes I use are $10 / night (cheaper than traditional camping), through a private directory that includes a very complete profile of hosts (and the ages of their kids)). It is a very safe way to travel, I sent a single mom and her 2 teenage daughters around the USA with my directory.

Here is ONE way to find bargain camping spots
Free Campgrounds for RVs
I often use ''free'' spots at Forests, farms, fairgrounds and many city parks in rural America.

Good luck, have fun. (Personally, I would save the RV money (expense / mint / storage / insurance / headache) to pay for many international 'adventure' (backpacking) trips with your son).

You can get to Europe for under $300 and it is really fun hiking there with kids (Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria... are superb & $10 - $20 guest homes & 'trail cabins' in all the above). For US trips, I use SWA and fly for $80 to a CHEAP airport near National Parks, and get a 'priceline car for $12-16/day. (Las Vegas for Utah, AZ, SO CA parks).

You get free bags on SWA, so I have a BIG camping duffel bag. It holds my tent, sleeping bags, thermal clothes, coat and gloves. ... First spot out of LV that I love to camp is Nevada Division of State Parks - Valley of Fire State Park. Be sure to see Bryce Canyon and Arches. Sacramento avails many more National parks / camping destinations. ($39 flight for me). Nashville is a great (cheap) spot closer to you. TN has lots of camping areas, as does NC, and VA.
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
4,585 posts, read 10,844,381 times
Reputation: 6616
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
Sounds like you are making well thought out plans; I would just caution to have a nice long wheelbase and plenty of MASS for the tow vehicle, + tandem axles with good brakes on the trailer + HD hitches and tires for all. (As I'm sure you know). I see lots of 'small trucks and SUV's in trouble with trailers since I have done CDL driving for 30+ yrs. I really appreciate the stability of 'dually's for towing, but that may be overkill for your application. I am often around 30,000# GCVW with my older 4x4 dually Dodge Cummins. It is not too safe and avoid driving at higher speeds with this combo. If the Ford has the 300 CI 6 cyl I would keep it. I have driven several to over 500k in my previous employ. I like the torque-y in-line 6's for towing. hus the early 12v cummins is great. The '96 - 1997.5 'quad cabs' seem to be the best (most reliable / EZ to fix and tune). They run ~ $10k used and will take you to a million miles while getting 18 - 20 mpg. (But they are ALOT of truck if you prefer something smaller.)

Having the F-150 or Frontier probably makes more sense than a MH, since it is one more engine to service and maintain. I like having a small econo vehicle when I arrive at a destination, thus small 20mpg Motorhome (Rialta) and a 'toad' (StealthRabbit) work for me. A friend hauls a 'Smart-car' on his RV Toter. I usually use a motorcycle, but not too practical with a dog (unless you have a dog that rides on the gas tank ).

LOL...I've been towing all sorts stuff for over 20 years and I'm real familiar with towing ratios, Tongue wts, etc. The little campers I'm looking at have a GVWR of around 4000lbs or less and thats well below the towing capacity for the truck I'm looking at...it has a towing capacity of 6300lbs! I'll also add sway bars and beef up the rear end just like I did with my current F150. My goal is to downsize.
BTW:

(Keep in touch 'cuz I'm looking into the 'cottage-community' concept too w/ community Auto / machine and woodshops + greenhouse, and community building with guest lodging. I was at a 60yr old single guy's joint just last week helping him plan his cottage community, he has quite a nice 'shop' with really great renovations 'behind the walls and out of view of the assessor'. He hosts all kinds of events similar to Dog Agility' on his acreage. I'm afraid I will have to build one of these villages myself, but there seems to CURRENTLY be EXCESS inventory of living structures.)

These are similar in size and concept, but don't include the 'community-space' I desire Aggie Village Cottages - Davis Wiki
UC Davis: Capital Resource Management : Aggie Village

I think making duplexes or 4 plexes all 'ground level' will be able to keep the costs down. W/ passive annualized solar and 'rammed earth' / or similar will be cheap and low cost to maintain.
I'm afraid I'm not into the community thing too many rules and regs for my tastes, I like my privacy, right now I live on 10 acres and will go down to about 2-5 acres with a little home...google "tiny living" there's all sorts of stuff on the 'net about it.
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