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Old 04-11-2012, 06:41 AM   #1
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so why...

Motorhomes as opposed to trailers? I mean besides the undenible coolness and rarity of an AS motorhome? I mean Airstream has been trailers since God was a pup, and they are without doubt classics. People see an AS trailer, they know, without doubt, it is an Airstream.

So what to the motorhomes offer beyond this? What are the advantages of a MH with a toad as opposed to a TV pulling a trailer?
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:59 AM   #2
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It's a different market. Some people just don't like towing and prefer to have the engine/transmission as part of their RV.

Pros and cons to both. With the MH, if you want to go anywhere from your campsite, you have to pack things up before you drive. Also, you are maintaining the mechanical components of a MH, even though it might not see much travel.

With a travel trailer, you can upgrade a tow vehicle and still keep the trailer, but you have the hassle of hitching up when you travel to or leave a campground. Some also don't want to spend the $$ for a tow vehicle and just want the MH for holidaying and maybe a Corolla for daily use. Also, some people HATE backing up a trailer!

Pros and cons...

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Old 04-11-2012, 08:14 AM   #3
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We just went through this decision - had a good offer on our 25' CCD and Nissan Titan in exchange for an AOB 24' Motorhome on the Mercedes Sprinter Chassis. It caused us to think long and hard ... and in the end we decided that the Airstream was going to last a lot longer, is just as comfortable, we own it, and having to pack up and unhook everything (water, electric, sewer, CATV) just to go back to the store where you forgot something, would prove to be an incredible hassle in the MH. And the idea of towing a toad makes me almost as long as I am now (45') - and you have to unhook before backing up. So I think for convenience sake, the trailer-tow vehicle combination is JUST as easy - so I don't buy the MH is easier excuse.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:50 AM   #4
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Mack:

A lot of it comes down to how you will be using your RV. People who travel alot and only stay for short periods in one location at a time tend to like having a motorhome. When stopping a rest areas you don't need to get out of the motorhome to use the kitchen or bathroom. Staying overnight at Walmarts or Flying J's you don't have to get out to go into your "home". If it is raining when you pull into a campsite you don't have to get out until the weather improves.

The larger motorhomes will have much more storage space than a trailer and may have a washer / dryer.

If you are talking about the classic Airstream motorhomes made of aluminum, then it just comes down to preference as I don't see much advanatage. But I am a trailer owner.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:15 AM   #5
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People tend to like what they have/know. We have a 30' MH (our 1st) but we looked 1st at a 30' classic. Several factors pushed us toward the MH. The cost of a large truck to tow with was right up there. But the cost of a new toad, the tow equipment installation, etc. made it a wash. Fuel costs also are about the same while towing. Once we're at our destination & the toad is used, the MPG improve. This is what I appreciate about the MH design. The trunk storage. The built in generator & being able to get up & move around while riding down the road. (get a cold beverage, use the bathroom, etc.) That last thought is function, not design...anyway... I like, too, when we stop for the night or due to bad weather that the coach is warm (in the winter) or cold (in the heat of summer) & everything is self contained. It's kind of fun to pull off the road, make lunch & have a picnic in the moho while staying warm or dry.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:18 AM   #6
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Having had both...

Upsides:
1. The motorhome is much easier to "get into the hobby" than a truck and trailer purchase. If you already own a tow vehicle, then it's not as big of a deal.
2. If you're into cars and go to car events and said car won't tow a trailer, towing the car becomes your only option if you want to camp.
3. On-board generator means you can keep the cat/dog/yourself cool on the road even when you stop.

Downsides:
1. As others mentioned you either need to tow a vehicle, rent a vehicle, drive a second vehicle, or pull up camp if you want to go somewhere. "Honey, we're out of milk..." I've done all of these. None are great. People claim a car is easier to tow than a full travel trailer, but my experience was the reverse, at least with a dolly.
2. It's stupid, but...filling propane in the B190 always bugged me. I like taking the bottles off of the trailer and doing it.
3. A pickup is a very handy vehicle to have around sometimes, even if not for towing purposes. Conversely, a motorhome can really only be used for one thing - camping.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:40 AM   #7
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I have had an AS 310 motorhome, an Argosy 24' motorhome, and something like 12 or 14 Airstream and Argosy trailers. Also owned a GMC motorhome for several years.

It took me a while to understand that I much prefer the Trailers to the Motorhomes. Probably the main reasons are these: 1. I want transportation when I have parked, and unless you tow a car, you are stuck with the motorhome. If I am going to tow something, might as well be a trailer.

2. The cost and complexity of a combined living and power unit (the Motorhome) make me unable to do many repairs myself. I don't do brakes, transmissions, engines, fuel lines and so on. I do and can do most all things on the trailers. With a trailer and tow vehicle, I can take the TV to a dealer to do the repairs I can't do, and not have to have the entire camping unit out of service.

3. I can also upgrade my TV to a new one with the current technology very easily. Upgrading the power system, engine, brakes, tranny etc on an old motorhome is almost impossible. Parts get harder to find, even locating someone who can work on things like carbs these days is not simple. However, I can tow my '70's trailers with a 2012 TV and have all the modern engine, brakes, heating and cooling, and so on in the TV. I can upgrade the trailer with a new refrig, water heater, furnace, lights, and soft goods and have a trailer that is just as comfortable as any new one.

So, no more motorhomes for me. But a lot of people sure buy them, and pay a lot of money for a unit which has a lot of depreciation issues, and repair costs.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:33 AM   #8
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There are certainly lots of arguments for both and I can see both sides. Much of the focus here is on the need for transportation once you are parked. Many posibilities and options are mentioned but there is one missing; bicycles! We carry one for each of us on a swing-away hitch rack on the back of the Interestate. Way better than a toad IMHO! Bikes will get you where you need to go (for that qt. of milk or ....) and are a great way to explore the area you're in. Plus, it gets you the fresh air and exercise you need. I'm 70+ and will do it this way as long as I can.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:43 AM   #9
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You have answered this question well.

I will give you a GRADE "A".

Now do you have an AMERICAN made bike that you would recommend?

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There are certainly lots of arguments for both and I can see both sides. Much of the focus here is on the need for transportation once you are parked. Many posibilities and options are mentioned but there is one missing; bicycles! We carry one for each of us on a swing-away hitch rack on the back of the Interestate. Way better than a toad IMHO! Bikes will get you where you need to go (for that qt. of milk or ....) and are a great way to explore the area you're in. Plus, it gets you the fresh air and exercise you need. I'm 70+ and will do it this way as long as I can.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:53 AM   #10
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I agree with all. Personally i'm not sure if one really is better, to each his own. We had a motorhome and loved it. Do you become land locked during the trip at campsites? Yes, but that is part of the adventure. Did we forget some stuff, yep, but we did without.

Having a trailer is different. It's hard to explain (other than it being an Airstream!). Having a seperate tv allows a lot of flexibility. Maybe a trailer is smaller and offers less creature comforts (really a washer and dryer? in MH's?), but in the end it's up to what the owner wants to do. It's like the A/S vs. SOB discussions.

We love our 25' FC, and sometimes question not getting the 27', but in the end it is more comfortable than tents...

...huh, washers and dryers in MH's, and here I thought we were living large if washers and dryers were close to the camp ground... so much for the 5 gallon bucket with plunger, and clothes line...
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:07 AM   #11
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In our Airstream motorhome, we can : go 1000 miles on one tank of diesel, watch the scenery go by through the huge panoramic windows, have 4-5 guests inside (in addition to the three of us) for drinks and conversation when the weather is not so cooperative, and talk to confused Airstream trailer owners at campgrounds who didn't know that Airstream makes motorhomes .

It just works out better for us. We had a trailer for a while and much prefer the motorhome with toad. To each his/her own.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:14 AM   #12
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"Now do you have an AMERICAN made bike that you would recommend?"

That presents a bit of a challenge Dave. Here's what I think I know but I haven't done thorough research on the matter. Most mass market bikes are built in Asia now. But there are a number of manufacturers that build at least some of their models in North America. Trek and Canondale come to mind but there are several others. Bikes built in the USA tend to be higher end models. Our bikes are pretty low end; my wife's was bought at a resale shop for $125. Mine was found via Craigslist for $100 but I will be replacing it as it turned out to not be a very good fit. A couple of things to consider: 1) bikes riding on the back of a vehicle tend to get pretty covered in dirt and grime; 2) while we keep ours locked to the rack and have never had them stolen, theft is always a possibility. These are the main reasons we will tend to stay with pretty plain bikes. You can get a pretty nice bike these days for $500 and that's what I'll be looking for. But it almost certainly will NOT be made in the USA. Wish it wasn't so! If cost is no concern, you can certainly find lots of bikes built in the USA. Visit a good bike shop or two.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:44 AM   #13
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I'll try this again (it keeps disappearing in the midst of typing a post).

Our reason to choose a trailer was based on several issues:

1. Iconic design (a design appealing to us) and ease of towing.

2. We use a pickup for picking up, so we have a truck anyway. Can't bring home 4x8 sheets of plywood or long lumber in an SUV.

3. I don't like motorhomes—very complex, a 3rd motor vehicle with very expensive tires and added maintenance issues. They look ungainly to me, although some of the Airstream MH's looked better than the square boxes and busses.

4. We tried a truck camper years ago. It was built badly and too small. We are taller than average and it seemed cramped. I think the thing (besides the poor quality) that made us decide to return it was when I tried to tie my shoelaces, I had a hard time crossing my leg to do it when seated at the edge of the dinette; not enough room. That was an attempt to not have to tow anything, but it didn't work.

5. When we are camped, often enough we want a vehicle to drive around in to go places. A MH is too big and ungainly. You can't easily back up with a toad and it seems people are connecting and disconnecting them all the time. Extra equipment is needed for toads (dollies, brake controls, etc.). Trailers need extra equipment also, but it seems simpler.

The reason that really motivated me was that my wife wanted a easier way of traveling than eating in motels, bringing our own food, coolers, looking for decent restaurants, sleeping in uncomfortable beds, some motels are noisy, inconvenient, and crummy. The truck camper didn't work, but after 5 years, she decided on Airstream and I followed orders. The design is cool and was practical enough so function more or less dictated form.

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Old 04-11-2012, 11:54 AM   #14
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Wow, Wayneskid! While reading your first post, I'm thinking some youngster is writing. Then I read the last line & you're 70+. Way to go. I don't think I'd like traveling without a toad. But, I applaud you
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:08 PM   #15
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"Wow, Wayneskid! While reading your first post, I'm thinking some youngster is writing. Then I read the last line & you're 70+. Way to go. I don't think I'd like traveling without a toad. But, I applaud you "

Thanks dowpells, Left to my own natural laziness I would no doubt do things differently but I'm lucky enough to have a wife/CFO that pushes me in a better direction.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:42 PM   #16
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We, too, had a small motor home...so small, in fact, that towing a toad seemed silly...so we didn't. So when we were set up we were "trapped" unless we hitched a ride or broke camp... Now with the AS (still small), we have the flexibility we need and enjoy. We are able to tow with our everyday vehicle, too.. We also did not enjoy maintaining the engine, etc...with a trailer there's only one vehicle that needs engine maintenance. We have not looked back since getting the AS...
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I agree with all. Personally i'm not sure if one really is better, to each his own. We had a motorhome and loved it. Do you become land locked during the trip at campsites? Yes, but that is part of the adventure. Did we forget some stuff, yep, but we did without.

Having a trailer is different. It's hard to explain (other than it being an Airstream!). Having a seperate tv allows a lot of flexibility. Maybe a trailer is smaller and offers less creature comforts (really a washer and dryer? in MH's?), but in the end it's up to what the owner wants to do.
Yeah, I think that summarizes it well - if you're planning to just go and sit at the campsite for the weekend, a motorhome is excellent. I did this a couple times in the B190 and it was great.

That's a rarity for us - we usually use the camper as "home base" for exploring cities or nearby attractions or what have you.

A guy at a campground we were at once said he loves camping in a fifth wheel but traveling in a motorhome. I thought that was a pretty good summary too.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:38 PM   #18
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"if you're planning to just go and sit at the campsite for the weekend, a motorhome is excellent"

Well, we're not doing much of that when we camp. The bikes get us where we want to go and we usually hold off on longer forays until we're ready to move on anyway. Washer and dryer? Not a chance! There wouldn't be a place to put them even if we wanted them which we defnintely DO NOT! I've never be able to get my head around the idea that getting away needs to involve bringing everything with you. Doing things small and compact give you a real break from everything going at at home and puts you closer to nature. If you're traveling in a small moho, you need to think of your camper like you might a small sail boat. Everything is pretty minimalist which suits us just fine. Besides, it's a fun challenge to find ways to conserve space. We look at any possible addition to the limited space and try to come up with something that can serve two or more purposes. It's surprising how often you can do that.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:32 PM   #19
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What are the advantages of a MH with a toad as opposed to a TV pulling a trailer?
I like trailers but will try to make the case for motorhomes.

The case for smaller motorhomes is based on the idea that it isn't necessary to pull a toad for many kinds of trips. A toad isn't necessary if you're only staying in each campsite a day or two at a time, or if you travel to places where some sort of transportation is available, or if you have willing drivers who can just drive the car, or if you travel to places where side transportation isn't relevant anyway because they're so remote you won't be leaving the site until ready to move on.

Without a toad, the main advantage of motorhomes is that it isn't necessary to hitch, unhitch, or back up a trailer. There are some people who are physically unable to hitch a trailer due to limited mobility. There are some people who don't believe they can learn how to back a trailer.

With a motorhome there is the possibility of towing a boat, a horse trailer, etc.

With a motorhome the coach is accessible without leaving the vehicle, which some people find convenient for access to soft drinks or the bathroom.

In general there are more seating positions for passengers in a motorhome than in most tow vehicles (especially pickups), and the seating positions are more spacious.

Motorhome advocates like to point out that a motorhome is no more expensive than the total combined purchase price of a trailer and tow vehicle.

In situations where there are no hookups or where hookups aren't necessary it is possible to arrive in or depart from a campsite without exiting the coach, which is a benefit in inclement weather or when safety risks are present.

A motorhome will have a shorter overall length than the combined length of a trailer and tow vehicle of equivalent useful interior size. This makes storage easier, and makes it easier to park in noncampground areas, either when getting groceries or spending a night at a friend's house.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:42 PM   #20
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Good points Jammer.

"In situations where there are no hookups or where hookups aren't necessary it is possible to arrive in or depart from a campsite without exiting the coach, which is a benefit in inclement weather or when safety risks are present."

Also, if you like to really get away from it, there are lots and lots of places to camp "unofficially". We find beautiful spots on some of the Forest Service roads in the lower 48. In AK this kind of opportunity is everywhere. Being small and self-contained, you can just pull off and in a matter of minutes you are enjoying some high quality peace and quiet. Plus, you've saved the cost of a camping fee.

Wayne
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