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Old 01-27-2008, 10:22 AM   #1
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2006 30' Safari
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Need loads of advice!

Hello.
I have lots of questions, so if you can bear with me.

1. We are contemplating a 2006 30' Safari bunkhouse. It looks beautiful and the dealer assures us it is, but we're in Colorado and it is in CA. So, we can't kick the tires and all that good stuff. I'm having trouble putting up the 39k for something I can't see in person. So, are we crazy to buy this sight unseen?

2. We haven't purchased a tow vehicle yet. I'm partial to the new Tundra 5.7L V8 Crewmax. Is anyone using this to tow their AS? What about the Dodge Ram 1/2 ton? Do we get a diesel? When we're not towing, I don't really want some gigantic truck to drive around. But a diesel would allow us to use biodiesel where available.

3. It sounds like the 30' is too big to take into some of the national parks, but I'm pretty sure we can't reasonably full -time in something smaller. We have an almost three year old and a co-dependent 90 lb. sheperd mix.
What options exist beyond that? Or does it just mean less desirable spots to camp?

4. How reasonable is it to consider taking the dog?
Has anyone taken their 3 year old on the road for several months?
We are really ready to change our lives- selling the house 2 cars- everything. So, this is big stuff for us

Okay, looking forward to your suggestions and insight! I know more questions will come up!

Thank you!
Krista
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:36 AM   #2
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Quote:
So, we can't kick the tires and all that good stuff. I'm having trouble putting up the 39k for something I can't see in person.
Try to get someone in the SD area to go look at/inspect it for you. This will give you some idea of condition, problems, etc. Ask for an inspectoer here on the forums. There are folks who have volunteered to do this.
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How reasonable is it to consider taking the dog?
Has anyone taken their 3 year old on the road for several months?
IMO, these are both reasons why a 30' model is a good choice for fulltiming. Lots of folks take their dogs, it just adds a layer of things to do and consider.

A 30' model will restrict you from some campgrounds, but evaluate what your greatest need is. For me the room would be important, especially downsizing from a house.

Welcome to the forums, good luck in your search.

Dave
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:42 AM   #3
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One thought--if you do agree to buy it from a distance, make it conditional upon your physical inspection of the unit when you arrive to take possession, and make any deposits refundable in case of misrepresentation on the seller's part. This probably will not be feasible (seller probably won't allow it) if you have the unit transported to your location without your seeing it.

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Old 01-27-2008, 10:46 AM   #4
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Hello Krista -- Welcome to the Forums. Yes on the dog in my opinion!

On the bunkhouse subject: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f292...lub-29241.html

Is the trailer a used unit? If it's never been owned before the full 2 year warranty would still apply. If no warranty, would the dealer guarantee for any period of time? When picking it up I'd definitely camp for several nights within return distance to the dealer while you check things out.

Older more traditional California state parks are definitely known for not accommodating longer trailers.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:46 AM   #5
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Our son and family have a 30' bunkhouse, which works great with two growing youngsters. When it came time to replace his TV the Toyota Dealer let him hitch a Tundra to his bunkhouse and try it out. It pulled the trailer up Telephone Canyon east of Laramie on I-80 easily. But in the end he opted for more power and space and got a new Ford diesel crewcab. The trailer's been to Yellowstone, GT and Rocky with no size problems. But size has been an issue at some of the Forest Service campgrounds.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:56 AM   #6
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1) Yes

2) The Tundra is a half ton truck at best, regardless of what you see on TV. If you said 20-23 feet, sure, after 25 feet, you need a 3/4 ton and at 30', 3/4 ton is IMHO manditory. Diesel wouldn't be a bad idea, though I do know one person does tow a bunkhouse as you are talking about with a Nissan or equiv.

3) It all depends. There are even some places you can't get a 28' or 25' unit. This would be one of the last concerns in my book, unless of course you plan to go to very remote, in the mountain type places regularly, then my suggestion would be to investigate these geographic areas first before buying an RV based on size limitations.

4) We took both dogs up until I had to put down my Shep mix last August. Having a Suburban is just too great in my case with a 25' Airstream in tow, with 2 adult passengers, 2 chidren and a terrier mix and a Sheperd mix. In a Tundra, not sure how reasonable that may be. With a kid, pooch and others, the difference between a bad trip and a good trip is real estate. The kids and the dogs play in the way back, plus, the Suburban has a video screen (WITH REMOTE/CORDLESS HEADPHONES), videos, video games, etc, all help avoid the are we there yet syndrome. Granted at 3, it's not as big of an issue, but wait until 5 or 6. Heck, even when I go on a week long trip with my brothers, that built in DVD player is GOLD! I would not trade this kind of truck unless I were single! So yes, depending on tow vehicle you choose, bringing the pooch is a good idea. With a 30 foot unit, lots of real estate for the pooch too!
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Old 01-27-2008, 11:27 AM   #7
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Okay! Fantastic advice. I really appreciate it.
The 30' it is- if we can get reliable input from friends close by, we will.
If not, we get it here and make sure we can return it if it is not up to our standards (whatever those are).
It was used, but does have a warranty available till about mid-summer.
The extended warranty is available. So, maybe that is something to consider?
We deal with restrictions in campsites, because it is more important to have this size trailer.
Probably not a Tundra
But it does have to be a pickup- my husband needs to be able to put stuff for work in the bed.
Although, the suburban sounds pretty nice! And DVD player for sure!
Does anyone let their animals ride in the trailer- or do you always have them in the vehicle?
Does anyone have solar? And do you know what that adds to the weight?
I will check out the bunkhouse forum too.
Thank you so much.
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Old 01-27-2008, 12:37 PM   #8
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Two words then:

Crew Cab

Some come with DVD players too.

Solar is not going to really add all that much in terms of weight. If it has it, great, if not, since your getting a pickup, consider using a generator the likes of a Honda or Yamaha inverter type, preferably that runs on propane since you have plenty of it with you already.

Though animals are a different story, most states frown on people riding in the trailer. IMHO, for good reason too. A passenger car/truck is designed to withstand the forces of accidents. Trailer RVs OTOH, are made for creature comforts, etc. Though your pooch could ride in the trailer, it's not a comfortable ride and, God forbid you get into an accident, the pooch might not be in great shape depending on how bad the accident happened to be. Airstrems can crush like beer (er soda) cans. Heck even a good hail storm with golf ball size hail can make it look like some took a bat at full force to it. Imagine rolling one or getting rear ended by a truck??

I was towing my Safari home from a Midwest Forms Rally on I-75. This person I caught up with on the highway had an S-10 Blazer towing about a 25 foot SOB. No weight bars, and no sway control from what I could see. It appeard he made a manuver and lost control. The trailer broke loose, the small SUV eventually rolled onto it's side and the RV was in the grassy median of the highway lookin' like it rolled a few times. The RV was all tore up, stuff littered around it and down its path, and their family dog, was running down the expressway.

Two life lessons I learned that day were having the right tow vehicle and why I don't let any living creatures ride in the trailer. The first lesson was enough to convince me to upgrade my tow vehicle, which I did the next week after I got home.

The couple that learned this lesson as well, paid a much higher price than I did, but to each their own....the decisions we make are our own.
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Old 01-27-2008, 01:37 PM   #9
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2006 30' Safari
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" God forbid you get into an accident, the pooch might not be in great shape depending on how bad the accident happened to be."

Point taken. His preference would be to ride in our laps anyway

I'm getting that it's a better idea to go bigger with the tow vehicle, rather than just trying to squeak by? Now, we've got some homework to do.

Thank you Silvertwinkie, you have given us food for thought.
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Old 01-27-2008, 01:53 PM   #10
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Random responses:

Absolutely take the pooch. Just let him ride in the truck. Trailers in motion make a lot of odd noises and things do move around.

Please get a 3/4 ton truck of some sort.

I have solar and it's great. Remember solar only charges the coach batteries so if you want A/C get a gennie. Since you'll be fulltiming I suspect you'll be Wallydocking or boondocking and a gennie adds comfort.

Don't worry overmuch about the 25 foot limit. Most gatekeepers will let you in anyway and with the child and the pup the extra five feet and floorplan will keep you sane.

For $39,000.00 I'd make a trip to see it instead of gambling on a representation from the person who wants to sell it.

Since you'll be fulltiming I'd get the extended warrnty. You'll be putting a lot of usage on the unit. Cheap peace of mind.

Good luck.
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Old 01-27-2008, 02:03 PM   #11
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You might want to check out this link to a fulltimer's blog Tour of America The editor of Airstream Life magazine, Rich Luhr has full-timed in a 30' bunkhouse with his family for two years and tows with a 1/2 ton truck.
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:40 AM   #12
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Thank you for the links and the info!
We appreciate the advice so much, this is a pretty big deal right?
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Old 01-28-2008, 12:32 PM   #13
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You are not stating your RV experience?
Jumping full-time into expensive trailer and new TV is pretty risky without personal checking how it is going to work for you.
It become standard on this forum that you get lot of advice about Toyota from Chevy owners. It always is "Buy Chevy".
Don't take them serious and listen what actual Toyota owners say.
I am diesel fan for economy and long lasting reasons, but the diesel pickups available in US have lot to desire. My Ford Powerstroke is reliable engine, but in my flatbed I have hard time to get 10 mpg while empty and don't think I would like to live with the engine noise full-time. I heard lot of good things about Mercedes/Dodge Sprinters making 25 mpg, but those are expensive and not widely available.
Good luck on your search.
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