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Old 05-06-2016, 12:06 PM   #29
4 Rivet Member
PSchw's Avatar
2005 39' Skydeck 390 SD
Livingston , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 431
Images: 4
You gone live full time in it. You need to be comfortable with the size.
I full time in a AS XL390 Skydeck would have loved a trailer or a a Classic Motorhome but with over 6' height I did not feel right in either. As I wanted something "special" I decide to hunt down a rare Skydeck got it and work and live in it for now almost a year.
If you "home" more then you travel get a trailer if you travel more then you "home" get a trailer and consider size for your needs.
There are some real nice older XL and XC motorhomes available.
Good luck.

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Old 05-06-2016, 12:45 PM   #30
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1972 25' Tradewind
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 97
It all depends on how big a space you "need." To me it makes more sense to pull, but we went with a 25' model and pull it with a diesel Jeep Liberty. When we get where we're going, we unhook and drive around in a compact vehicle that gets 30+ mpg. Motorhomes (and towing a get-around vehicle) just didn't make sense to me.

25' 1972 Airstream Trade Wind Land Yacht
2006 Jeep Liberty CRD (diesel)
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:55 PM   #31
3 Rivet Member
2015 28' International
Ofallon , Missouri
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 226
The only right opinion is yours....however...

We like the ability to have our AS parked and hooked up, and still be able to drive away in our TV to see all the local sights. We don't just park and stay in the campground.

So maybe the bottom line is how will you use your camper on a day to day basis?
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Old 05-06-2016, 01:29 PM   #32
1 Rivet Member
2010 22' Interstate
, California
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 10
Buy an Airstream Interstate

Years ago we had a large Bounder Motorhome and a TOAD and found vacations to be pretty stressful in terms of all of the hassles with driving, towing, parking, etc. It was great when we got there but a lot of effort to do it. We finally decided we wanted to get away from the crowds and travel again out of hotels so we had to make the decision as to what to do. Tent camping almost won out.

We went through this most recent decision several years ago and purchased an Airstream Interstate. It has been the best choice we ever made. It is a Mercedes chassis, drives like a car, fits in ALL national campground spots, you aren't limited to 55mph and the right lanes in California when towing, and can use the carpool lanes, etc. You don't go cross eyed driving it, it is 22' long and a dually with crosswind control and modern safety features, it's so stable and handles so well and is so well powered it is easier to drive than our cars. It also fits in regular parking spots at the mall, grocery store, wherever. We pull hills on cruise control at the speed limit easily passing most cars.

We had a twin model professionally converted to a full-time queen bed and saved the pieces to turn it back to a twin in case we wanted to (which we don't). On one of our early trips we towed a Wrangler and didn't even know it was there except we didn't ever need it and it made driving more stressful, no car-pool lane, harder to get into a gas station, park at a restaurant, etc... We have never bothered to tow with it again.

At first we thought it would be too small for our needs but we go to the outdoors not to sit inside but to enjoy the outdoors. It has a great little kitchen, solar, generator, incredibly comfortable bed, nice dining table and comfortable chairs. We upgraded the batteries with large lifeline batteries so we never need to plug in, an electric fridge so no leveling required (we have never once had to use the leveling blocks and now don't take them) since there is no propane fridge, has a great indoor and outdoor shower and is the best of all worlds. We always exceed 18mpg and often run in the 20's.

It is a 2010 model and we purchased the Good Sam Club Extended warranty which is good for 15 years and 180,000 miles, including the tires. It has never broken down and we took it on a huge national park tour last year (over 10,000 miles) and fit in 20' spots. The best example I can give is we had an incredible spot on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We pulled into our spot and another couple pulled in next to us with a small but new Airstream 24' trailer. We pressed the button and deployed the awning and took out the lawn chairs and were setup. It took our neighbors over an hour to park in the tight spot, unhitch, level, setup, and then find a place to park their $60,000 truck. We ended up being friends and they were quite jealous as we cooked and ate dinner during their ordeal.

We have also taken it to Baja and there's no way I'd want to drive a large motorhome or tow a trailer on those narrow roads. Same thing taking it to Escalante Staircase and driving the "spine". Just an easy to drive enjoyable ride without a rattle and more stable than our car.

We have had three issues with the coach, all covered by warranty. These were spread out over a 2 year period. The "factory" stereo/GPS went out and Good Sam directed us to a major automotive stereo shop and replaced it with an incredibly upgraded GPS system under warranty the same day since that was what they had in stock. We had a check engine indication and it was some sensor in the Turbo System and Good Sam directed us to the nearest Mercedes dealer, they provided us a loaner car, replaced the sensor, and we were on our way after lunch. Those two were over two years ago. Recently upon returning from a trip, the macerator pump and electric dump valves went inoperative and we took it to the local Airstream dealer. This repair took longer since they had to order new parts from Airstream and since the failure happened when we got home the delay was inconsequential. Once again Good Sam covered it under warranty. None of these were a big deal for us, cost nothing but the $200 deductible and at 57,000 miles the coach runs, looks and drives like new and mileage actually increased at about 45,000 miles. The Mercedes diesel is silent when driving and hardly noticeable from the outside and doesn't stink or smoke.

If you are going to live in it for extended periods by all means get a behemoth motorhome or go through the hairy driving experience of towing a big trailer. If you want something that can be a second car or a unbelievable vacation machine I would buy an Airstream Interstate. If we are going to visit relatives and not even camp we take it because we have our own bathroom and it drives so well and gets such good mileage.

We have used it the most for stargazing since we are amateur astronomers but find our interests have changed and we may sell it. We can't decide at this point though because it allows a level of freedom we have never before had, it is just ready to go anytime. By the way it is legal to keep on the street in front of our home (22' limit and parking enforcement has been called and they have told us it is just fine), and we have gotten spots in the National Parks (even Yosemite and Yellowstone) with no reservations by fitting into the small spots that come up on last minute cancellations. We have never stayed in a pay per night campground as we can park on any forest or BLM road and are self contained.

There are cheaper coaches out there to be sure but for us to keep it just in case as being an option speaks volumes about it. While we will likely sell it as our hobbies are changing, I know if we do we'll likely regret it. On the other hand we were happy to sell the Bounder and TOAD!
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:25 PM   #33
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2014 25' FB Flying Cloud
2008 25' Safari FB SE
2006 25' Safari SS SE
Austin in winter & Lincoln in summer , Texas & Montana
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 455
We have had a class c, class a, van conversion, a popup, 3- 25' AS's, and a 17' Casita in-between. We have towed with full size Ford van, 2 new Tahoe's (2012 last one), and now have the F150 Platinum EB super crew cab w/ 4x4. It is nice to get into a MH and just go, for sure; also nice to be able to unhitch a trailer and drive to town. There are some limitations from my perspective, to both; larger MH can be a handful to drive (think CA freeways) and also to park in some areas. The smaller class "B" MH mentioned above are nice, but are also small/tight inside for some folks (me) so inclement weather, cooking inside, and showers are a pain, compared to most TT's. Also, if you have engine issues with a MH, it goes into the shop; typically, any issues you may have with a TT typically don't preclude continuing to use it for living. We have found the 1/2 ton TV and TT to work best for our needs/interests. We hook up/unhook in 15 min max. We can go to the store or sightsee easily in our TV without disrupting our "home". We carry our outside camping gear in 2 storage bins, a Q-500 grill, and large folding lounge chairs which we easily load in rear of F150. (see below) Our 2014, 25' FC front twin has plenty inside and outside storage (3 bays)for additional chairs, portable screened in room, portable sun awning, fishing gear, hiking sticks, tools, chocks, hoses, etc. We even have portable solar we fold up and store inside. In the end, there are advantages to all these. Important thing is you can always change if your not happy; we still talk about 27' vs 25' and Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge for next TV; oh, and diesel vs gas...1/2 T vs 3/4 T! LoL.
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Old 05-06-2016, 04:44 PM   #34
3 Rivet Member
1968 24' Tradewind
1967 17' Caravel
Northborough , Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 136
I have owned both... they each have their plusses and minuses.

I had 2 motor homes I bought new; 95 AS 30' gas... drove it 75k in 3 years and traded it in for a new 98 diesel AS, drove it about 100k in 15 years until it plain wore out.

Motor home traveling is easier. A toad is pretty much required, especially for bigger rigs. The convenience of a bathroom, bed, and kitchen immediately at hand while traveling can't be understated. With a party of 3 to drive we could cover 1300 miles in 24 hrs (Daytona to Boston)... Try that in a truck with a trailer in tow.

Motor homes are more restricting. You have a harder time finding a space you can fit into and it is typically more expensive unless you are in a parking lot overnight on the road.

Motor Homes are more difficult and more expensive to properly maintain.
The labor rates are about 1.5X more. There have more systems to break down. They are more likely to break down.

We do not refer to our travels any other way than "Adventures" because there are always situations you will have to deal with on the road with respect to your camper (Whichever style you choose).

I own 2 older trailers (67AS and 68AS) and will probably own another that is sitting in my yard shortly (95AS). They all need work... the 68 needs the least since I have almost completed the full Monty on it. We are using it at this stage while we complete the last few details. The Tow vehicle is older and has its issues, but we can change that rather quickly. Either by fixing it or replacing it.

The biggest detriment to the MH was the money I kissed goodbye over the years... more so than I would have with a trailer. 13-15 useful years is about all you can expect for a brand new model. Refurbishing a MH is a daunting task... and if I were to go that route I would want to start with a real Bus chassis rather than a MH chassis... it will give better service for the money spent. That rules out an AS since they don't use a bus chassis.

My 98 MH was worn out... my 68 trailer was worn out as well but took a bunch more years to get there.

All in all with the experiences I have I would choose the trailer over the motor home simply because of the longevity. It is not that much more difficult to pull over and use the trailers restroom, bed and kitchen in a pinch... you just can't continue to travel while doing so. You need to stop every so often and stretch your legs anyways... especially with kids in the party. You can use whatever tow vehicle you like...gas, diesel, bio-diesel, and even hybrid. I've known other members to have a major breakdown along the way and simply trade the broke-down in for a new with a minimum of hassle and delay to their travel/vacation plans. THAT is not so easy in a MH.

Try to make your trailer or MH as self contained and self reliant as possible for the most rewarding experiences on the road.
Being sidelined for few days is not so bad as long as you are not completely stuck while in that imposition. Visit some local sites, enjoy the local cuisine, make some new friends and memories. It is only as bad as you let it be.

Remember... Adventures!!!

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Old 05-07-2016, 11:05 AM   #35
1 Rivet Member
1985 34.5' Airstream 345
Oakland , California
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 6
complete renovation on my 1985 Motor home

Yep, complete from interior/ exterior, all AC and DC along with taking out the used 454 Chev. engine with the 3 speed transmission, drive train. Put in a 2014 corvette E-Rod, LS3 - followed with a GM required 6 speed trnmssion with overdrive. Overhauled the 6.5 Onan generator. Replaced floor carpet to a teak-like vinyl flooring. All LED stainless overhead lighting. All new appliance to modern digital readout controls. Two TVs, flat screen smart type. The list goes on and on. Very happy with all the money spent and the excellent results. No more mechanic bills, or towing cost. And I still have the traditional AS body style - getting two thumbs up, everywhere we go. The MPG went from 5 to 12 while towing. No problems going up hills and higher elevation, the onboard computer makes all the adjustments.

Love it, love it

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Old 05-08-2016, 09:42 AM   #36
2 Rivet Member
1992 35' Airstream 350
Frisco, CO/Scottsdale, AZ , Denver, CO
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 47
We purchased our 1992 Classic 350 LE in 2004 from a consignment lot in Loveland, Colorado with 50,000 miles logged on it. We were prepared to put a boatload of money into mechanical repairs if needed to keep it on the road, and to be honest, we have. We have no regrets and have traveled 65,000 miles all over the country before and after retirement. We had the original paint and clear coat stripped and then the coach was brilliantly polished. It's a beauty and draws lots of attention when we're on the road. I've been dragging the interior out of '90s with some creative decorating (start by getting rid of the gold hardware and plumbing fixtures). New upholstery and window treatments are a must if you don't want to feel like you're traveling in a time warp (I did that work myself.) Just take a look at the current Classic trailer if you want some ideas. One thing I wish I could do is replace the oak cabinets with cherry ones. Oh well.

Don't accept it when you're told that your experiences will be limited without a car in tow. Being the adventurous sort, we have driven and parked in every major city in the US and in Canada. When we want to spend a week or two in one place we rent a comfortable car. (Enterprise will come pick you up.) We think that's a more cost-effective and easier approach than dragging a car around.

Traveling in the mountains is also no problem. As former Colorado tent campers, we love the mountains and never hesitate to take our Zephyr into the areas that we love without having to "rough it".

I would suggest that you find a way to rent a trailer and then a motorhome and see which mode of travel you prefer.
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Old 07-21-2016, 11:04 AM   #37
2 Rivet Member
1973 Argosy 24
hartselle , Alabama
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 66
You gone live full time in it. You need to be comfortable with the size.
I full time in a AS XL390 Skydeck would have loved a trailer or a a Classic Motorhome but with over 6' height I did not feel right in either. As I wanted something "special" I decide to hunt down a rare Skydeck got it and work and live in it for now almost a year.
If you "home" more then you travel get a trailer if you travel more then you "home" get a trailer and consider size for your needs.
There are some real nice older XL and XC motorhomes available.
Good luck.

I'm 6' 4" and the only spots I have height issues in my 1973 argosy 24 are the entrance door and shower. I've hit my head a time or two ducking to get out of the trailer (slow learner), and I would imagine people would laugh if my shower time was made public. That being stated, one drive train is the only way to go in my mind. Pick a trailer and camp happy.

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