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Old 11-16-2015, 03:28 PM   #1
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To Buy or Not to Buy

I've been researching Class B motorhomes for months, attended the Hershey show, and reading Class B forums for weeks in an attempt to decide which RV to purchase and more recently should I purchase an RV at all. The forums, while being extremely helpful, have also raised concern about both the reliability and the amount of maintenance needed. I'm 72 and not particularly handy. I would love to hear especially from senior citizens who have been RVing. I just want to be sure that I'm not getting in over my head. For the most part, I would be traveling alone. Thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 11-16-2015, 03:39 PM   #2
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I would suggest you plan a trip, with some moving around involved, and rent one for a few weeks. That will get up up to speed as far as operation and making and braking camp.

It is not just campfires and marshmallows.
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Old 11-16-2015, 03:42 PM   #3
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Yep ... rent a motorhome and see what you think.
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Old 11-16-2015, 04:12 PM   #4
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I've been researching Class B motorhomes for months, attended the Hershey show, and reading Class B forums for weeks in an attempt to decide which RV to purchase and more recently should I purchase an RV at all. The forums, while being extremely helpful, have also raised concern about both the reliability and the amount of maintenance needed. I'm 72 and not particularly handy. I would love to hear especially from senior citizens who have been RVing. I just want to be sure that I'm not getting in over my head. For the most part, I would be traveling alone. Thanks in advance for your input.
I'm not a senior citizen, although I do have more-than-occasional senior moments. I own an Airstream Interstate Class B, I travel alone, and I'm not the least bit handy. You've heard of people who are all thumbs? Well, I'm all toes! I'm also partially handicapped.

Don't read too much into the complaints here on the AirForums. We represent a very small but very vocal minority of the total number of Airstream Interstate owners in the US. The vast majority of AI owners have never posted here on the Forums, and we have no idea if they have problems with their vans or not. I'm well acquainted with one Airstream dealer, Rick Foley of Foley RV, AKA Airstream of Mississippi. Their service manager tells me that of all the Interstates they've sold, very few have ever been brought back for anything other than routine service and winterizing by people who don't do their own.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't just assume from what you read on the Forums that B vans, and Interstates in particular, are unreliable high-maintenance vehicles. No RV is perfect; every RV— including Class Bs— has its share of quirks. Shop around, test-drive as many as you can, rent an RV for a few days (even if it's just a small Class C).

I hesitate to say it here on the Airstream Forums, but if you're concerned about reliability, you might consider a Class C motorhome built on a Sprinter cab/chassis. They're not really any more or any less mechanically reliable than any other Sprinter-based motorhome, but the price tag is lower by a hefty margin, which would leave you more money in the bank to hire repairs done if you need them.
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Old 11-16-2015, 04:12 PM   #5
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Presuming you like to drive & travel a class B is an excellent choice for solo traveler but if you plan to just find a destination & stay maybe not so. I'm in my 70's also with reasonably good health baring all the aches associated with age & I'm not very handy when it comes being a Mr Fixit so to answer your question, if it's what you want, do it & be happy.
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Old 11-16-2015, 04:24 PM   #6
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your dilemma, I would highly suggest going for it. SuEllyn and I are both 67, so we are not that far behind you. We have been traveling extensively in an Airstream trailer and our truck camper for almost ten years now. We have towed the Airstream about 140,000 miles and have spent almost 1,800 nights out in the RVs. We have enjoyed our travels immensely, and would not trade the experience for anything in the world. We intend to keep this up as long as the Good Lord permits.

You have indicated by doing the research, that you really want to do this. Don't lose another minute.

Brian
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Old 11-16-2015, 04:34 PM   #7
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Thanks so much for your responses. You're giving me a broader perspective. Class B would be for me because I'm interested in going to towns as well as boondocking. I explored in depth the Roadtrek CS Adventurous(ETrek option) and The Airstream Interstate. But the posts, particularly for the Roadtrek cause me to pause, take a step back, and start this thread. I'm also trying to get over my concern about propane. How have you non Etrek people dealt with that?
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Old 11-16-2015, 04:46 PM   #8
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Thanks so much for your responses. You're giving me a broader perspective. Class B would be for me because I'm interested in going to towns as well as boondocking. I explored in depth the Roadtrek CS Adventurous(ETrek option) and The Airstream Interstate. But the posts, particularly for the Roadtrek cause me to pause, take a step back, and start this thread. I'm also trying to get over my concern about propane. How have you non Etrek people dealt with that?
I don't know exactly what your propane concerns are but if it's carrying a tank under your Coach builtins are very common. Before I purchased my current Airstream I too considered a Class B. My research kept pulling me back to the Winnebago ERA, a lot of bang for the buck & the Winnebago history behind it.
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Old 11-16-2015, 06:21 PM   #9
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My concern is one of safety. I'm wondering how you deal with it. Thank you
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Old 11-16-2015, 07:33 PM   #10
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Agree with both of the inital 2 posters. Just hold your heart when they quote you the weekly rate. Sticker shock to the max.

BUT if you decide it's simply NOT for you it's a LOT less expensive than buying a coach and deciding three months later you hate it. The depreciation will give you chest pains.

As another alternative - there's a 79 year old woman who I've met at two or three different campgrounds around the state in the last 4 years. She has a nice older Lexus RX300 which she uses as her daily driver AND to tow her teensy 700 lb. teardrop trailer around. She ordinarily doesn't back the teardrop into a space... she unhitches it and ROLLS it in by pulling it. It may weigh nearly 700 lbs, but on level ground she can pull it 10 to 20 feet without undue strain. Of course younger people leap to assist her too.

The teardrop has no plumbing but a porta pot and a curtain / canopy that she can use for privacy. Normally of course she uses a shower house but at 2 am... it is what it is. The back end of the trailer opens up to reveal a camp kitchen. A cooler (Yeti), a 2 burner coleman stove, and a small pantry for dishes, cereal, soup, etc. Setting up something with no water or sewer means putting it where you want it and unhitching. If she wants electricity she runs a regular extension cord from a post, and a tiny space heater keeps the inside cosy. If it gets really cold... well she stays home.

I've seen new ones sell for $9,000 - they ask more, but it gets negotiable really fast. About the only major maintenance is changing a flat if you get one, but I think the wheels might be only 12 to 14 inches - not a big deal.

I've had TWO flats this fall, one on the trailer and one on the truck... but the truck was a slow leak, so it went to the tire store to be repaired and replaced. With something as simple as a teardrop - that's about the limit of "terrible problems" it can give you. Sometimes I envy Marie because she can park in virtually any store's lot, get in and out of virtually every gas station with her RV and go down any goat trail that the Lex can handle.

Paula
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Old 11-16-2015, 07:52 PM   #11
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My concern is one of safety. I'm wondering how you deal with it. Thank you
Personal safety is always a concern for most of us when on the road. Health issues are usually resolved by a visit to a Walk in Health Care Facility. A couple years ago my wife developed painful boils on her thigh that was addressed by the "walk in", and then their is the ER for more serious issues.
Regarding being safe while traveling vigilance is your best tool, if that gut feeling says something is wrong it usually is, so move on. I personally believe that I'm responsible for the safety of my wife & I, not law enforcement although I'd be the first to call 911 in a situation. Having said that, I ALWAYS carry a legal weapon while traveling, actually I usually have it close by most of the time.
Traveling is really not much different than doing other things in regards to personal safety, if you're careless you could find yourself in jeopardy.
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Old 11-16-2015, 08:21 PM   #12
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My concern is one of safety. I'm wondering how you deal with it. Thank you

I'm guessing that you are worried about the safety of propane here.

The e trek from Roadtrek does look kind of nifty. If you plan to be staying where you can plug in, or will be travelling often enough to keep the batteries charged, it would be a good option. We like to stay in state and national park campgrounds that, as often as not, do not have electrical hookups. Propane lets us stay much longer than we could on batteries alone. Our coach is over 30 years old with original propane tank and lines, and everything works as it should. If I was worried bout a propane leak, shutting off the propane at the tank is easy.
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Old 11-16-2015, 08:42 PM   #13
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My concern is one of safety. I'm wondering how you deal with it. Thank you
The propane system in any B-van complies with NFPA 58 "Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code" and NFPA 1192 "Standard on Recreational Vehicles." In addition to having an LPG detector that sounds an alarm at 10% of the Lower Explosive Limit, long before vapors can ignite, there is a shut-off right next to the fill port on the outside of the van. A simple flip of the switch shuts off the power to a spring-loaded electromagnetic solenoid and shuts off the flow of propane right at the tank. Newer models also route the solenoid's power through the main house battery disconnect, so turning off the power inside does the same thing.

On an Interstate, there is only one appliance that even lets propane into the van, and that's the two-burner stove. All other appliances that use propane are located at floor level, and all of the propane tubing is run under the van's floor, where vapors can easily disperse in the event of a leak. Plus the other propane appliances— water heater, furnace, and in the case of an older T1N Interstate the fridge— all have their burners vented to the outside of the van.

The propane tank under the van is located where it is protected from impacts in the event of a collision, much the same way the diesel fuel tank is protected. The permanently-installed tank is constructed to ASME standards, which cover everything right down to the color the tank is painted, and it's a more stringent standard than the Department of Transportation's requirements for portable propane cylinders.

So in answer to your question about how we deal with propane safety, we exercise basic common sense, read and follow the manuals for our appliances, and don't worry overmuch about it. Unless you do something insanely stupid or careless, propane in an RV is no more dangerous than a CNG gas stove in your home.
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Old 11-16-2015, 09:53 PM   #14
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Unfortunately, 25 years ago someone did something "insanely stupid" while filling a propane tank in an RV that I had rented. The RV burned to the ground. I really like the Interstate, but I'm still trying to cope with the above experience. A battery supplied coach would appear to be ideal for me. Unfortunately there are battery charging/management issues which have yet to be resolved in this cutting edge technology. Years ago I did extensive traveling on a motorcycle(Blue Ridge Mountains, Canada) as well as in a four wheel drive Land Cruiser (Baja, Canyonlands,etc.) during which time I tented. While I'm beyond tenting(my body sends me messages!) I would love to travel again overland while I can still remember where I put my car keys! Thanks for your comments.
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