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Old 09-29-2011, 09:48 PM   #43
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If Mrs Bill can also lift the 35, that'd be 70# in a double hitch. I just got rid of my electric jack for a side-winder. Maybe I should think that over.

My wife's suitcase MUST weigh in at least 80#.
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:01 AM   #44
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I really appreciate all the feedback, from both sides. I am the "Just Do It" person in my relationship. I'm sure being an oncology nurse has contributed to an already semi-reckless history of bad choices My husband on the other hand, would love all the analysis that members have been kind enough to post. I get us out there, and the hub cuts corners so we can actually afford it. Hopefully, this balance will actually land us in the appropriate TT and TV. Thanks for all the input!
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:00 AM   #45
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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?
I assume you find a way to carry in the grocery bags. Same for the trailer. Some things (toolboxes, as an example) can be mounted in TT or TV and then a handymans box used to carry select tools.

It would be more to the point to decide how much frustration you'd feel, or how tired you might be after some job that would cause you to second-guess yourself. Or, in having to wait for another to arrive and perform some service. Stuck in Garden City, KS.

Maybe a minimalist approach: if wishing independence, cut certain chores out altogether (hire them out), and doing things as simple as avoiding ordinary bed clothes and blue jeans as they're heavy as hell moving them from washer to dryer (dead lift). There is bed clothing (bags) and clothing that is never quite "heavy" (designed for travel). Etc.

An analysis of what is necessary as you look around to see what may be wanted. Drill down to make a set of choices that eases the overall goal of moving around the country easily. Ohh, but I live in t-shirts and blue jeans . . . . Not anymore.

And, while it seems simple, the smaller the RV, the easier. I'd avoid any without permanent beds (not having to fold out every time you want a nap) or that extended periods of being cooped up (weather, health, etc) caused the same frustration. Great seating with plenty of natural light and views outside from several directions (not glimpses, views) make quite a difference, IMO.

Motorhomes look easy, but, IMO, are not. Packing and unpacking one is a real chore. As is any service due to $$. The "push-a-button" level of living is best accomplished with a mute servant that packs itself away after chores.

Do you prefer to drive long distances solo in a pickup. Or a nice sedan? Same for shopping. An A/S can be fitted behind either. If it's a matter of conserving energy throughout the day, then approach from this direction too.

Have a look at the high end RV parks. Do they appeal? Would travel to and from these sorts of places as a break from state parks, etc, allow one to re-coup ones energies, and have services performed (as travellers at this end are more likely to hire cleaners, send out laundry, take Fed-Ex deliveries, etc). And after a few days, fresh and re-stocked, ready for a National Park.

It's more about the way one approaches it. Enthusiast forums are full of people who love DIY, no matter their motivations in ownership (which can vary). One may choose to do next to nothing by comparison.

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Old 10-01-2011, 10:07 AM   #46
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Mr. Bill I don't see why you can not enjoy a trailer. I'm sure if you discuss what and where you want to camp with your doctor, he (or she) would be happy to explain limitations with you. Heck, they might even know of some healthy and safe alternatives to lifting...
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:57 PM   #47
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We spent this past weekend at the Missouri Chapter of the Heartland Owners Club rally. It was really interesting to talk to people there. Yes, most of the ones I talked to were Heartland owners (after all, that's why we were there), but I did get to talk to some others. Each owner had their own reasons for picking their rig. I didn't get to talk to the Prevost owners (they pulled out early yesterday morning), but I suspect that they, too, had their reasons for picking their coaches.

Interestingly, not one person said that fuel economy had anything to do with their choice of rig. The most common reason was that they fell in love with the floor plan/the floor plan seemed to fit their style. When it comes down to it, that's really the best reason for picking one rig over another. A SmartCar gets excellent fuel economy, but if you're 7' 1" as a friend of mine is, you aren't going to be very happy with one.

When I talk to people about their RV, I always ask "Why did you pick this rig?" I don't expect that their situation will be exactly like mine, but I'm looking for the thought process that they used. What was important to them? What turned out to be less (or more) important than they first thought? DW and I can then evaluate those points for ourselves, so that we are able to ask more intelligent questions as we go.

Yes, we're going to be at Acorn Acres for a couple of hours on the 15th, with lots of questions for you. I sure home there are at least a couple of full-timers there.
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Old 10-04-2011, 02:39 PM   #48
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Mr. Bill:

We spent last week at the National Swiss Festival Rally in Sugar Creek Ohio. There was a solo 92 year old man pulling a Airstream 30, a solo 87 year old pulling a 30, and a 90 + year old pulling a 30 slide-out. The 90+ has been married for four months and it was his wife's first marriage.

Seeing these folks who are over 85 years old pulling trailers is encouraging that we can keep doing this for a long time.
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:28 AM   #49
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......I heard that someone cautioned that 90+ year old that marriage at his age to a younger woman could result in death. His response:
"Well, if she dies, she dies."
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:18 PM   #50
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......I heard that someone cautioned that 90+ year old that marriage at his age to a younger woman could result in death. His response:
"Well, if she dies, she dies."
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Old 10-15-2011, 12:37 PM   #51
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When we come home from a trip, I always feel overwhelmed and slightly uncomfortable with all the "stuff" that goes along with having a house. The AS feels efficient, comfortable, cocoonish, and if, like us, your indoor recreation is mostly reading, writing, watching TV, surfing the internet, you can have everything you need in the trailer. However, we don't spend half as much time inside when we are living in the trailer. Our lifestyle in our Airstream is more active and healthier than our lifestyle at home.

Very sage observation Lawchick, and something I can relate to.

Having returned home from my shakedown cruise, I now think of the Airstream as my "Lifestream." The minute I turned into the driveway, I wanted to turn around and hit the road again. Likewise, my life on the road improved the mood and the motivation to take better care of myself. I ate healthier - stopped at a wonderful roadside stand and loaded up on vegetables - then made a big pot of homemade soup. That soup was the best thing I have tasted in a long time, and lasted for days. I was out walking every day, slept well, and just felt "better" emotionally and physically.


I was camped in a nice RV park which provided all the conveniences of home and then some. I do not have an exercise room, pool or hot tub at home. I was high in the mountains; my AS kept me warm and comfortable. I had lots of hot water. I went to bed clean, warm, and comfortable.

Everything I really needed - the Airstream had more than enough storage space for. Matter of fact, the big plastic totes under the bed and seating area and some of the cupboards are still not full.

Yeah, my going up and down those mountains, my truck (1/2 ton Ford) used a lot of gas and was straining a bit, but one has to really ask themselves this:

How many miles/gallon are you really getting out of life, figuratively speaking?

And secondly, while my truck may have perhaps been pushed to the limit, the driver behind the wheel was not.

If you can relate to that, then I think you have found your answer.
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:03 PM   #52
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I just played with some numbers on a spreadsheet, and the results were interesting. I based everything on 5000 miles in the RV and 10,000 miles more on the "other half" of the rig (tow vehicle or toad). I used $5.00/gallon for all fuel costs, and found that the difference between the low (Airstream and diesel pickup) and the high (fifth-wheel and diesel truck) was only about $100/month.

I was really hoping that running the numbers would give more of a direction to our searches, but it didn't. Oh well, Friday I'm going to talk to the insurance people with some hypothetical combinations, and see where that takes us.
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:51 AM   #53
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I just played with some numbers on a spreadsheet, and the results were interesting. I based everything on 5000 miles in the RV and 10,000 miles more on the "other half" of the rig (tow vehicle or toad). I used $5.00/gallon for all fuel costs, and found that the difference between the low (Airstream and diesel pickup) and the high (fifth-wheel and diesel truck) was only about $100/month.

I was really hoping that running the numbers would give more of a direction to our searches, but it didn't. Oh well, Friday I'm going to talk to the insurance people with some hypothetical combinations, and see where that takes us.

I was really hoping that running the numbers would give more of a direction to our searches, but it didn't.

There may be more to this.

1] Was there a time and total miles plan envisioned (as context from which to derive conclusions)? How many years and how many miles for each vehicle?

2] Do you mean fuel burn only or do you factor in other costs of ownership such as financing, insurance, depreciation, maintenance, repairs, etc? What was the cents-per-mile [cpm] for each combination?

3] Were the numbers -- as crunched -- taken from published sources? (Am always looking for such).

Not trying to dispute your findings, am simply always interested in keeping my head clear about costs for this realm. You may have come across a source[s] I'd not considered. Also, there may be those of us who can add to your calculations with information we've acquired.


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Old 11-25-2011, 09:05 PM   #54
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One thing that seems true of Airstreams is that if you take your time and shop well, you could pick up a nice, older Airstream about now, use it for several months and resell it for the same amount you paid (or more). That would take a good bit of the risk out of trying one out. Perhaps that would allow you to take the ultimate "test drive" with very little financial risk.
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Old 11-25-2011, 09:55 PM   #55
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REDNAX, sorry I'm slow in responding. The calculation I referred to earlier was only fuel costs. Yes, there are other costs to be considered, but I was hoping that the fuel cost would give a better indication than it did.

I've been trying to get some good, real-world costs for maintenance, but haven't had much success yet. One person says a MH is the original money pit, while another says a MH doesn't cost any more than having a S&B. One person says that Airstreams leak and the floors are very susceptible to water damage, while another says he has lived in his Airstream fulltime for several years now and has never had a leak. My guess is that people who look at why something is broken, and fix the cause of the problem, generally spend less on maintenance than those who just replace broken parts.

At this point we're looking at either a pickup/Airstream or DP/SmartCar. DW just had surgery on her foot this week, and if the surgery solves the problems she's been having both types of RV's are still under consideration. If not, the Airstream is probably the only option. If that's the case, we'll be making some of the choices much sooner than we had planned.
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:05 PM   #56
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A few years ago we visited a huge RV show with the intent of looking at 5th wheels. We spent the entire 12 hours of the show sitting in and talking to people about 5th wheels. Entering and leaving we had to go by the Airstream display and, on the way out, we sat in one, closed the door, realized the quiet quality and spacious feel and never once looked back.

We bought a 31' 1984 Excella with the thought of renovating it for fulltime but we didn't have a vehicle big enough to pull it and it is currently still in storage. We bought a 25' 1996 Excella in April 2007 and spent 35 nights in it over the course of that year. 2008 we increased that to 65 nights; 2009 to 89 nights and 2010 to 101. November of 2010 we put our property of 35 years on the market and settled on it August 1 this year. We are now fulltiming in our 25'.

Over the past couple of years we removed the carpet and happily replaced it with a floating vinyl wood-grained tile from home improvement store. We removed the couch and replaced it with a counter and two comfortable office chairs from Staples. The table now folds out from the middle of the counter lengthwise and we can now seat 4 people. The odd shaped cabinet was removed and replaced with a wall cabinet placed on the floor with a white melamine shelf for a top so I can now easily get to my dishes. We removed the two single beds, cantilevered a queen size bed from one side and built a counter and shelf (like the one we put in the front) along the one side. On the shelves we used black plastic storage bins from HD which work very well, along with storage bins under the bed. All relatively inexpensive changes.

We spend our days kayaking, bike riding, hiking, exploring. Rain is no longer the problem it was when we were tenting. Hot shower, hot meal, food not floating in melted ice chest, comfortable reading chairs and internet. Believe it or not, playing is fun but we also look for some mental stimulation. We spent some time last winter volunteering as interpretive canoe guides for a south Florida state park and had a blast.

Our year will vary greatly as we have children and grandchildren on both coasts and we like to winter in Florida. Four months this winter we are volunteering in two state parks in southern Florida. So we had the cost of diesel fuel to get here but we rarely travel far now. In return for our services, we receive a free full-hookup camping space and are having the time of our lives! This summer we had traveled out west and averaged camping fees of $21 a night (could actually do better if we tried) but, these next four months will be zero for camping fees; only expense will be groceries.

We could buy another house and live as we have all our lives or we can have an adventure. We opted for the adventure, we can always get a house later if we decide we want all that responsibility again. We are continuing to downsize as we find what is really important and useful in our lives, the feeling of freedom is wonderful. Anyone want a 31' Excella? We've decided that the 25' does everything we want.

I say "go for it". Our grandchildren say we "live the most exciting life" and love to hear of our adventures.
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