We didn't realize our charger had a problem until I tested it - it didn't seem to charge much. In three rounds of testing, we figured out that, after 5-7 minutes in bulk mode pushing 60Amps, it would overheat and shut down. When it came back up (always within 30 seconds) it would 'see' the battery amps at 13.4 and go straight into absorb or float mode. Tricking it back into bulk charge always ended up the same - it would shut down and come back up in float. We replaced it under warranty.
As to battery location, we have two 6Vs under the stairs and two more about four feet away in a storage bin. The charger sits between the two.
HERE are the published length limits for California State Parks. By my count (and experience) only 7 out of 80+ campgrounds will hold a 40'+ rig. It was difficult finding space in CA state parks for our 34' as the larger sites were always booked way in advance and there were typically only one or two.
We have a MyPassport (1 TB on sale at Amazon for $59). It survived Alaska Roads including the Dalton highway. It only connects to the 211Z - no power cord. Its just laying there next to the 211Z - it has been bounced around a lot and doesn't seem to care. We have a second one loaded with movies we downloaded that has been dropped a few times; it doesn't seem to care either. They come with a 3 year warranty...
best converter.com Randy will give good advice
I have a 350 watt. trying to figure why would one need 1000 or even 2000
all my lights are 12volt.
Our coffee pot takes 900W and various other appliances need 300 - 750W. So we have a 1200W.All our lights are also 12V.
A great central location for a couple of days of fishing and wildlife viewing is Kenai Princess Lodge. It is in Cooper Landing, near Kenai Lake and the Kenai River. While we were there, we saw combat fishing, moose, and bear. It is also not too far from Skilak Road (tons of bears) and the Kenai Wildlife Refuge. If you watch their website, you will find their specials - we lucked into a buy one night get one free a couple of years ago. The rooms are very large and have a great porch to watch the moose and bear wander by.
Tiffin, Fleetwood, Newmar, and Winnebago are probably your best bets.
When looking, floorplan is king. How things are arranged makes a huge difference. We have a watchable tv and an accessible bed, bath, and kitchen even when the slides are in. This isn't always the case and is probably the #1 complaint about a particular floorplan.
When people say its a ford vs. chevy thing, that is because all RVs use the same suppliers for their components. There are only so many manufacturers of water pumps, slide gear, landing gear, satellite dishes, etc. and all manufacturers use them. The difference between coaches is the house and the quality of the materials. Particle board vs. wood, leather vs. vinyl, etc. That is where the premium comes in. You will pay more if you want more.
The class A people spend as much time messing with the toad hitch as we do the 5er. The DW is not going to unbelt herself & go make a sandwich at 60mph & nobody is going to the bathroom at that speed so that one does not wash.
I can unhook the toad and drive it away in under 3 minutes. I can hook up the toad in under 5 - it takes an extra minute to line it up perfectly and another minute to set the jeep for towing. And I do it in that time alone. With two, both instances are under two minutes.
I don't make a sandwich, but I have made coffee at 60 mph. Typically, we will eat snack food instead of sandwiches - sandwiches require two hands - difficult when driving.
I have also gone to the bathroom while moving. It isn't a big deal, and I won't do it unless on straight, flat, road. DH warns me at sudden braking or curves. Of course, I've spent a lot of time on boats. I still have sea legs so the motion doesn't bother me.
We purchased a travler from Amazon in the beginning of November and had it installed a couple of days later in Mesa, AZ. A local Dish installer came out and put in a hopper and joey (cost, $0).
We are now in southern Virginia, surrounded by pine trees. We can only get 119 of the Western Arc so I tried the travler's manual mode to tune in sat 61.5. I got both 61.5 and 72.7. We have all our locals (Washington, DC) and all HD channels. I wasn't sure what we might be missing without 77 so I checked - we have never watched any of those channels. We are pretty pleased with the ease with which we got the eastern sats.
We fulltime in a 33C (34'). Because we love the floor plan and the space, we see no need to go larger. We've stayed in quite a few campgrounds where a larger rig could be prohibitive - either the size of the sites or the number of larger sites available. As for storage, we still have empty space but are actively trying to shed weight for more batteries. The only thing a larger coach might provide for us is a greater cargo capacity. We don't need a second bathroom or another chair/couch.
I think a lot depends on how you live before you RV. We had a 1500 SF house but only lived in less than a 1/3 of it. We also don't have a need for 'stuff' so the rig doesn't get crowded. If we don't have a space for something, either it goes or something else goes so we do have space.
Hmm. Our first trip with our truck and tt was just as many miles in three weeks. And we took two more of similar lengths after that one. It is doable. It can be a lot of fun, too. A family friend just took a 6 week trip to Alaska and back from New Jersey with his family of 6 in a 31' c and they loved every minute.
I would go for it, either buying a gently used c or with an SUV/tt combo. Either way, it would be worth the time and money.
In the last 10 days we drove 2400 miles from arizona to virginia with two day stops in three places. 6000 miles in 35 days? Piece of cake... It's a lot easier when you are younger. Yes, spending weeks reveling in the beauty of Yellowstone or the grand tetons is great but not everyone has the time or the inclination.
Honestly, we didnt have all the 'required' gizmos and gadgets on our first trip. We didn't buy a top of the line anything, or a pop up, or a big fancy truck. We didn't have experience towing, setting up, or anything else rv related. We just had a desire to see the country, an open mind, and a craving for adventure. It eventually led us to chucking it all and going full time so we must have had a pretty good time.
We have done 3 x country trips in a tt/truck and two in a class a. The a wins easily.
The biggest advantage to an A with a toad is the ability to separate the two and still move them. It is difficult to drop a trailer without a campsite; you can drive the A to any visitor center or parking lot and tour for the day in the toad.
In tight spaces, we can unhook our toad to maneuver. If one gets in a tight spot with a tt, there isn't much to be done except keep trying. Our tt/truck combination was 53' long. While our A/toad combination is 51' long, we can drop the toad and the length down to 34'. There are roads and campgrounds we couldn't do with the tt/truck that we can with our class a.
After fulltiming in a trailer for 6 months we switched to our bus and will not even consider another pull behind unless we permanently park.
We did the chf after a day with 40 mph crosswinds in Texas. Since then, we have done 20,000 miles without a problem, including Alaska. We check it every few days of travel and see no signs of excessive wear and tear.
We did the haul road in Alaska and, while slowing down is often an option, I wouldn't do it in some of the deeper mud you may encounter.
We full-time on less than 7K per month, including insurance and taxes.
We have a fixed budget, about $2500/month, which includes taxes, health and rig insurance, phone, satellite, rig mortgage, etc.
We have a fluid budget, about $3500/month: food, campgrounds, fuel, maintenance, and entertainment.
We have a savings budget, about $500 per month. This goes towards major expenses if they should arise: major medical, major repair, etc.
The fluid budget changes but we have a general outline for spending. When one category gets high for the month, we cut back on another. For example, gas was very expensive through Canada on our way to and from Alaska, but we made up for it with boondocking and cooking at home. In Florida this winter, our campground costs will be high but we will use less fuel.
So far, it has worked for us, even after our first year victory lap (seems everyone has one) and our second year trip to Alaska. Starting into our third year, we are finally slowing down which will cut down a lot on our fuel; the current gas prices don't hurt either. Since we prefer state and federal parks, our campground fees won't go down. We have months where we go over budget (Alaska) but we also have months we are under budget; over the course of a year, it all balances out.
Before we went full time, we fully expected spending a lot less than we do. Campground prices have gone up consistently but gas prices have gone down. Food varies by region as does dining out but both have been rising. Since we have some measure of control on our expenses in all these categories, it is pretty easy to control the budget. We eat lunch out instead of dinner. We get movies from redbox instead of going to the theatre. We spend time in smaller towns rather than big cities and take day trips into high priced cities.
We expect to finally 'settle in' now that the newness is wearing off and we no longer feel compelled to 'see everything.' That is the hardest part of the first year and why I think many people fail; it is so new and novel, it is treated like an endless vacation. From experience I can say that a never ending vacation is exhausting, both mentally and physically (and exhausting on the budget, too). But, allow yourself the victory lap - save up extra for it. It will allow you to learn your likes and dislikes on the road and to prepare for the next few years of full timing.
We have two years under our belt and it is has gone entirely too fast. Occasionally we discuss when we will stop but the idea always depresses us, so we stop discussing it. We are 49 now and currently expect to full time until we are bored. We don't anticipate getting bored for the next few years.
Advice: Enjoy and don't over plan. Be flexible, open, and positive. Know how to use duct tape to repair anything. Carry lots of duct tape.
I did this at the s&b. We made 'panels' out of a street side window - looked real from outside.
For a more decorative look, you can add lead lines: stick on lead lines
Rustoleum makes a spray for that.
An advantage is that you can scrape off the paint with a razor blade in one or more areas or panels so you can still see out the window.
We left the Georgia welcome center at 9:15. We made it to exist 49 before 10am where there was a slight back up due to a stalled semi in the road. At exit 55 a serious accident was just clearing the two right lanes. Got on exit 57 and, while the ramp was slow, people were courteous. We made it onto 85n proper by 10:20am. It is now 10:30 and we are passing the exit for 285.
It really wasn't bad at all and not anywhere near my expectations.
We use a dedicated GPS and use WAZE or Google Maps for back up and up to the minute traffic and hazard information.
It is easier to have a smart phone not dedicated to mapping while driving if one needs to search for gas (Gas Buddy), food (trip Advisor) or campgrounds (Passport America or Good Sam).