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Old 08-22-2011, 02:56 PM   #29
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What a great thread!

We are seriously planning our AS purchase now, and appreciate this thread immensely!

Lawchicks post regarding her feelings of freedom from clutter & "stuff" is how I've been feeling for quite some time. We rent our place in Southern Cal, and the cost is ridiculous. Job opportunity make up for this somewhat.

Our plan now (open to change):

1) Research research research possibility of a used 23-25 ft

2) Hope there is a powerful enough hybrid vehicle to tow it by the time we are ready to buy. Then travel locally, day camp at Bolsa Chica in summer, short trips to see family in Nevada & AZ.

3) Go FT the last few years of employment, at a park close to both jobs, while we save rent money for land in low tax state

4) Plop the trailer on the land while building very small eco friendly factory manufactured home. Use the trailer as guest house in summer, and take it on the road to see family in winter.

The thought is, if we are frugal, we can have a small retirement pad , but enjoy the trailer earlier than later. I'm an oncology, nurse.....not secure in counting on living long enough to wait until retirement for funzies!

Please throw ideas this way? Open to being told that I'm wacko
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:54 PM   #30
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Old 08-22-2011, 04:42 PM   #31
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My truck averages over 20-mpg for all miles the past 30k. 13-16 pulling a 34'. 24-27 highway solo. I'm hardly restrained from going where I want. The cost of fuel is relevant, but other costs can be more important (pay cash for used TT/TV for starters) to keep fixed expenses low.
I can second this as well -- depending on what the terrain is like, we're getting 12 in the mountains towing and 17-19 on the the freeways where it's flat (we're in an F150, however, so no diesel for us). We are also "full timing" for a grace period right now in an Airstream and find it adequate for us, but we're also of the mindset that we shouldn't be where the heater or A/C doesn't work -- as the old RV saying goes "How do you keep your trailer from freezing up in the winter? YOU MOVE IT! "
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:00 PM   #32
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As we study and calculate, the cost of fuel for a MH put us off of them at first. Five mpg at $5.00/gallon sounded like a good way to run out of money quickly! Then we started playing with the numbers. If we drove the MH (pulling a fuel-efficient car) 5000 miles per year, we would burn $5000 worth of diesel. The small car would do most of the running around, so we figured 25 mpg for 10,000 miles at $4.50 per gallon. That's another $1800 per year. Total then is $6800 for fuel for a year.

Using the numbers in the previous post for fuel economy, and using the same figures I used in the previous paragraph, nets these numbers: 15 mpg @ $4.50/gal for 5000 miles is $1500, and the same 25 mpg for 10,000 miles @ $4.50 is still $1800, for a total of $3300 for fuel per year.

If the MH got 9 mpg, as many of the newer ones do, then that cost would drop to about $2800, and if we went with an even smaller toad, getting 30 mpg, that cost would drop to $1500, for a total of $4300/year for fuel.

All in all, if cost is of fuel is the major concern, an Airstream seems to be the best way to go. For most people, though, fuel costs are only one part of the overall equation.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:58 AM   #33
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More thinking needs to be done; more homework, above, if long and short term costs are going to be realistic:

The highest mpg/lowest cost/longest life RV will be a used turbodiesel TV and a used aero aluminum TT (probably not an A/S). Due to tightening emissions standards, the TV would likely have to 2006 or earlier (subject to brand/model & origin); the TT would be 1990 or earlier.

To bring it to date as a more contemporary pair -- with an A/S -- make that maybe five years or a bit older on each. Depreciation is nil, op expenses are low, and a long life can be assumed.

Fuel cost is irrelevant compared to depreciation/finance/insurance cost. Today. On a moho AND a car it is foolishness thinking there is some form of economy even with rising fuel costs. A motorhome is the original money pit. Even if someone gave me a motorhome and a towed -- brand-new -- the cost of ownership & operation exceeds that of a TT/TV combination of nearly any aluminum TT brand or configuration of any age/miles for any proposed use (short of having a contractor move the trailer from one location to another: expect $1.50/mile or higher).

Same for hybrid vehicles as TV's, today. The costs are simply offset to the future, and savings never realized. They're a wash at best. The long-term outlay is never offset by fuel cost reduction due to higher vehicle price and eventual battery replacement (were there an adequate TV of such configuration, as noted above).

If someone can show at what fuel price the above combinations (moho + towed; and hybrid TV + TT) make economic sense, today, I'm all ears. Bring on the spreadsheet. (Same for truck-lets or SUV's of the near-future; speculate and show us).

All monetary/financial transactions have a fossil fuel penalty attached. No exceptions.

As the price of fuel rises, so will every other cost, tomorrow. This should be recognized as a given, a basic assumption.

Shuffling around the day of reckoning is not economical for individuals (only for politically-connected entities). Especially if the price of fuel rises high enough there will be no particular recreational market any longer existing for RVs', only a market for those having chosen a life on the road with few or many annual stops needing economy in all it's forms: possible higher initial cost, but nicely offset by long-lived, reliable vehicles with low energy inputs needed for living/working/commuting. Or re-creating.

What's most attractive about an aero aluminum trailer is that size & weight do not extract the penalties associated with square white box TT's and badly-matched gasser TV's. Given the appropriate TV one has a range of choices in TT size. If both are economical to own/operate -- singly and in combination -- then both have a higher re-sale value offsetting all other costs.

Low fuel cost: liquid, gaseous or electron is just icing on the cake.

How far? (distance), or how long? (time), are the better questions when expressed against a calendar showing both years and miles proposed for the purchase and operation of an RV (in any of it's manifestations) if energy inputs are to be considered. The rising cost of money (inflation or finance charges or devaluation) is not different in any reasonable respect from that of the necessary fuel. They are locked together.

Be a little more serious: plan for the worst, hope for the best.

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Old 08-23-2011, 05:38 PM   #34
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Over the last 3 years my company Chevrolet Equinox has averaged 18 MPG, and that's without towing anything (of course, because of my job the car spends about 1 - 2 hours a day parked and idling, to run the A/C so I can work inside it without getting heat stroke). Seriously, how do you drive in order to get such great mileage?
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:18 PM   #35
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Seriously, how do you drive in order to get such great mileage?

If you are asking me, then it was some years of homework to choose a vehicle that could do a great deal of work per gallon. And a trailer that matched the goal of long-life & lowest overall cost.

My numbers for a 15k combination -- 13/15 hwy -- are the same as at least one-half dozen others on this forum (and more elsewhere) with the same specification truck & trailer (28-34') in the South Central US (comparison also based on solo mileage; some of these were commercial operators). Truck does 18-20 in town, and 24-27 highway. I'd have broken 16-mpg towing on the flats if I'd slowed to my present hwy speed of 58-mph. This was a requirement.

A little number crunching on time versus distance makes clear the long term savings (drivetrain, tires, etc) that higher mpg brings to any trip plan made.

Fuel price is not what will keep me from travel . . . but I sure don't make short unnecessary single trips that could have been combined.

I have an interest in highest mpg -- best FE -- for the family vehicles. Pursuit of such tends to keep them in tip-top shape, the driver alert, and the vehicle operated in the safest manner. An all-around win for being willing to change habits (mind & body).

because of my job the car spends about 1 - 2 hours a day parked and idling

Idling is murderous. Luckily, my use is personal at present. I idle the truck for A/C use this time of year, but not otherwise. Otherwise, the rule for driving is: Never idle, and never stop.

If I maintain at least a 27-mph average speed, then my overall economy is good. I'm presently above 4,500-hrs/177,000-miles at 39-mph. 22.48 mpg average the past 27k miles.

Mine looks good, but I'm a piker compared to a Ph.D. engineer in the Midwest who's lately averaging just above 30-mpg in his stock 2006 Dodge diesel.

The point with the numbers is that plenty of others are doing it. There's no A/S ever built that needs more than the 305HP/555TQ of my year/spec Dodge. And if one does not want a truck for full-timing, there are other TV's capable of the same or better.

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Old 08-29-2011, 06:41 PM   #36
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Nike had a slogan of "Just do it". "Seems to me that there is a lot of over analyzing going on with regards to full timing, selling the house keeping the house buying an AS etc.

I wonder if we always did this much analysis would we ever have gotten married, had children, bought our first home or even get out of bed in the morning. Don't get me wrong some analysis is good but to much may mean you miss out in a lot great things. Having a motorhome, travel trailer or even a tent is about adventure and for staying young.

There is an old saying "You can have anything in life you want but you can't have everything." If it is a TT you want get one, If it is full timing do it. If need be make adjustments and if the adjustments don't work make some more but don't procrastinate or else you could wake up saying I wish I coulda shoulda.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:15 PM   #37
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Urnmor, I think you have it nailed! Yes, we need to do our "due diligence" whenever we are making a major change, but eventually all of the analysis needs to be put to use. Now, if the analysis says that you can't afford to do what you want, then you need to either refine (downward) what you want or refine (upward) the money available. Sometimes, you need to do both.

I'd like to be able to ignore fuel costs as we consider an RV for full-time use, but that's not realistic. Fuel costs aren't the only costs to consider, though. Insurance and upkeep are right up there, too. For approximately the same money, I can buy a used Airstream and pickup OR a used DP and toad. Depending on exactly what I get and what fuel prices are, one combination will cost less than the other if fuel costs are the only consideration. When I add in insurance and maintenance, though, things may change.

Even then, that isn't all that needs to be considered. A 38' DP will have more room than a 34' Airstream. It will also be 10-15 years older. Fortunately for us, we have a couple of years yet, and there are still many questions to be answered. We may not get the perfect RV for us the first time, but I'm firmly convinced that, when the time comes to actually get the checkbook out, we'll have a very good idea of what will suit both our lifestyle and our checkbook.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:45 PM   #38
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David

My wife and I just bought our first TT. After about a month of research we bought the 25' Flying Cloud and yes there were many compromises before we reached our decision. I would have been happy with a bambi( I tent a lot with my sons; however to have my come with me I needed a condo on wheels, the 25 came closes as it easy to trailer, does not exceed what most federal and state parks will allow and is livable for weeks at a time with most of the conveniences of home.

We looked at use but bought new. Why? Partly because of our age and I did not want to hazel with repairs etc although new does not guarantee that.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:46 PM   #39
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Congratulations! I wonder if we saw your new home when we visited the factory this summer.

As I said, we've still got a couple of years yet before we get serious about a purchase, and we still have a LOT to learn! I'd love to be able to order a new 30' Classic, then go up to Jackson Center to watch it being built, but I suspect that we won't get that pleasure, since our dealer says that such a trailer by itself would cost nearly twice what we expect to spend for the trailer and truck or DP and toad.

Actually, our dealer has told me that the only Airstream we should consider is a 34' Classic, and he has also strongly suggested that we not drop the idea of a DP. I think his reasoning is a bit selfish, though. He has not had any used Airstreams on his lot, and he does sometimes get a DP that would suit us. I think he's hoping that we'll see a DP there and fall in love with it.

Have fun with your new home! If you're ever out this way be sure to look us up.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:24 PM   #40
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How Physically Fit Do You Have To Be To Airstream

The other day I was on top of a fifth wheel trailer, looking for roof damage (work-related - I'm a claims adjuster). The thought occurred to me - "this is nuts - I could get hurt up here." I should probably explain that I'm a bit clumsy. This is a topic I don't remember being covered - how physically fit do you have to be to operate a trailer? In my case, because of heart disease my doctor says that I shouldn't lift over 35 lbs. Given that, would it be practical for someone like me to own a trailer?
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:35 PM   #41
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What's a tire and wheel weigh?
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:10 PM   #42
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What's a tire and wheel weigh?
Less than 35 pounds. Worst thing I can think of is the tongue jack and that can be replaced with an electric jack.

Should be fine!

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