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Old 05-24-2017, 04:35 PM   #1
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Hot Springs , Arkansas
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Thinking about switching

Hello all, just wanted to introduce myself. My wife and I (mid-50's, empty nesters, working only 1/2 time now) have owned a motor home for about ten years. We started with a 2003, 41 ft Holiday Rambler Navigator (diesel pusher), then sold it and purchased a 1997, 45' Prevost Liberty Lady 5 years ago. We are thinking about selling the bus conversion and buying a 30-33 ft AS Classic. We've never owned a travel trailer, but are seriously thinking about "downsizing". We are going to go to a dealer to look at several new AS models soon. We have a 2016 Ram 2500HD, 6.4 gasoline truck, that should be fine towing an AS. Our biggest concerns are getting used to a smaller space, and pulling, rather than sitting in and driving our RV. Has anyone gone from a large RV/motor home to an AS and regretted it? We love to travel, but I am getting a little bit tired of maintaining our bus, as well as driving such a huge rig. We approach 22 tons and 70 ft long when pulling our truck. Obviously, small campsites are not an option. For some reason, we have never been drawn to a fifth wheel, just because they seem as big or bigger than what we have now, and seem like they would be even harder to navigate around the country. Looking forward to researching and asking questions here on the forums!
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Old 05-24-2017, 05:13 PM   #2
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us. We can't really help with your question as we have always been trailer people and never had a motorhome.

We can tell you this. We have been Airstreaming for almost twelve years. We have spent over 1,800 nights out camping, and have towed our Airstream over 160,000 miles. Our trips last sixty to ninety days out on the road. We have enjoyed this experience immensely and plan to do it as long as we can.

Brian
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Old 05-24-2017, 05:30 PM   #3
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So, we have gone both directions at this point in our lives. We started with travel trailers and after our second trailer, graduated to a 35' motor home. Now with three of our 4 kids grown and leaving the house, we don't need as big of an RV so we started looking. I, like you, didn't want to continue to maintain the motor home. It's a lot of work each year for not only the RV systems, but the vehicle chassis, driveline, etc. I was just tired of doing that.

My wife always wanted an Airstream so we started looking. We haven't made any major trips yet, just local, but I know from previous experience we just need to pack a little smarter. The motor home wound up collecting a lot of junk for a long camping season that maybe we used 1-2 times per year. It had tons of storage and I never felt like I needed to clean out the inner tubes, floats, etc. from the river/beach for a trip in the mountains. Needless to say, we carried stuff we just didn't need on most trips.

The Airstream is also more intimate and so far we like that. We like to play cards and other games and have just enjoyed having the smaller space. We have watched a bunch of those tiny house shows on the DIY network over the last year so and liked what we saw in the tiny houses, so I think mentally we were prepared to downsize.

Anyways, I think it was a good choice for us. Some people like having all the extra space with the slides and larger floor plans. For us, we just prefer to spend quality time with each other.
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Old 05-24-2017, 05:38 PM   #4
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I think you would miss the space "downsizing" to an Airstream unless you are really serious about a smaller space. Maybe, once you've had slides you can't go back.

Be critical when you look at Airstreams. Less outside storage and the curved walls restrict space in the overhead cabinets.

You may have in your mind what downsizing is but when you get into an Airstream your idea of downsizing may not match the realities of the Airstream space.

Kelvin
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Old 05-24-2017, 05:38 PM   #5
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My personal experience is limited but I will share from others that I follow online like Lee Junk More Journey that there is some adjustment. They went down in size and RV type, like you post about doing. They have a 30' Classic and a family of three full-time. They have shared about the lack of outside storage and bought a van tow vehicle to offset that issue. They have also shared the ease of travel versus the large motorhome. Here is their link:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2I...c6kRtIiAGPRKZA
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:13 PM   #6
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Welcome to the Aluminsanity... =/\
With MH, you need a TOAD.. with an AS you need a TV.. and you can drive your TV around when you get places. The 'downside'... The Airstream does not have 'button parking'... but, you can drive off and explore, come back and don't have to crawl up as high to get inside the AS!!!
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:25 PM   #7
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Welcome and good luck. I don't have personal experience with a motor home (we have a 3/4T truck and 27' AS trailer) but we recently camped next to a couple in a Vegas trailer built on a Ford F-350 platform. It seemed like a nice compromise between a huge motorhome like the one you drove and a 30' travel trailer.

whatever you choose - happy camping!!

https://www.thormotorcoach.com/vegas/floor-plans/
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:34 PM   #8
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Can't really advise you, but you are in luck with one thing. There is a huge Airstream rally June 1-4 in your backyard, so you can go see and speak to MANY Airstreamers at your leasure, even attend their open house to see many old and new models. It is at Catherine's Landing Resort.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:53 PM   #9
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I haven't found my Airstream yet but one thought I had which you may not have thought of, with a shell on the tow vehicle with an 8 foot bed you will have a lot of storage right there. I built a shelf across the cab end of my shell that holds three of those black and yellow totes from Home Depot, 3 more slide underneath it. All the camp gear goes in those. I welded up another shelf over the wheel well that holds two ice chests, they never move, held in by angle iron and bungees if needed. That side has a side window that lifts open for easy access. On the other side I can put several 5 gallon containers of water if we are going somewhere where there is none, like the remote fishing village we visit in Mexico every April.

So all told with a full size bed and a cab level shell that's over 100 cubic feet of storage space you didn't have with the motor home. Buy a high top shell and there's even more. Build shelves and keep it organized and it's easy to get to everything. I keep two layers of thick carpet on the floor which makes crawling in and out a non issue. A word to the wise, the top shelf should only be used for light things and be secured or have a blocker screen to prevent it's contents from flying thru the back window in a wreck. We have put bikes and lawn chairs back there too. Not sure I like bikes hanging off the front or back on the road but it will probably come to that eventually.
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Old 05-25-2017, 04:19 AM   #10
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There are companies you can rent an Airstream. Take one outdoor ten days. Your instincts will be your guide as you already know what your needs needs are. Downsizing can be a serious mistake as well as going larger. We started with a 2014 30' FC, now selling it to move to an 2018 30' International Serenity--wife simply likes 30'. Its all in what you figure you like and need, no perfect solution.
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Old 05-25-2017, 04:31 AM   #11
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We had three Airstreams and our lifelong dream was to own a MoHo. So, we sold our last AS, a 30' FC and the tow vehicle an F250 Diesel and bought a 38' Newmar. Great product and terrific dealer, Ansley RV in Holidaysburg, PA, now this year also an Airstream Dealer.

After 10,000 miles and a trip from PA to MT and SD we traded the MoHo back in and secured another Airstream - now a 2017 30' Classic Twin. This is our last RV, and we enjoy it much more than any previous travel trailer or than our Moho, which we had no issues with.

We opted for the Classic due to the new and innovative products on board and the twin for storage and ease of moving around. For us it was a good decision.


We travel about 5-6 months a year, 3-4 in the winter and the remaining time either one long trip or split up and we also take our two Labraodors with us every time. It's tighter than the MoHo, but not an issue for us.

Best of Luck

Bud
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Old 05-25-2017, 04:41 AM   #12
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Tilly-

I feel you on maintaining a big coach, especially a Prevost. We had a Newmar DutchStar DP, and longed (at least I did) for a bus conversion, because we had several friends with them. Boy, I'm glad my wife was the voice of reason. Our production coach was $2-3k per year in maintenance and repairs, and I can't imagine what a real bus chassis costs.

I would venture to say that a '97 Prevost (even a Liberty) may not have a slide? If so, perhaps only one? Pretty rare in those days. If not, you're "gonna be fine" in an Airstream. They're 102" wide just like your coach, and you're used to that interior space width. As has been said above (great input all by the way), the storage will be what you'll miss. We took 2500 lbs of junk out of our basement when we switched to our 27fb twin Flying Cloud in late 2013, and haven't missed it in the smaller coach.

My advice based on what you're used to is to look at 30' Classics. High end interior fitments and systems, and they've even recently gone to hydronic heating........Pretty sweet. Your truck will do fine, but don't be surprised if you start getting Cummins envy. Based on the torque your Series 60 has (I'm assuming), you're gonna miss the grunt with the gas truck.

Hope this helps! And welcome to our version of Aluminitis!
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Old 05-25-2017, 05:14 AM   #13
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We recently switched from a 30' Class A to a Flying Cloud 27FB.
There's a lot to be said for keeping it simple. No slides, no powered steps, no powered awning, all of which can (and did) malfunction.
Whistling windows, rattling pots and pans, and squeaky door seals... all ancient history. I ride in the comfort of my daily driver.
No regrets.
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Old 05-25-2017, 06:39 AM   #14
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Hi

A lot of the decision depends on what you plan to do and how you used your MH. We never were into the "fix a 7 course meal while in motion" stuff. It always seemed a bit suicidal to us . Others seem to consider it perfectly normal. If "pack then go" is how you did it with the MH, the AS will be similar. If "pack on the go" was your approach, the AS will take a bit more time.

Size wise, spend some quality time talking through just what you would keep and how you would operate. Is this or that something that will be dearly missed? Go over to a dealer and spend time in the AS. Not just a few minutes, spend a few hours or maybe a few hours on a couple of days. How does the space feel to you? Small things may matter a lot. Is the shower big enough / can you deal with it? Can you see cooking in the kitchen the way it's laid out? What you want / need / like may or may not be present in this or that layout.

All that said, no, I don't miss the constant "here's another thing to fix" on the big MH. That even though it was't ours. It just happened to belong to some very good friends who would let us borrow it from time to time. Being friends, we spent a lot of time fixing this and that ...

Bob
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