As far as I know most electric awnings have an "Off" switch so you can keep them open, even when it gets windy or rain. I almost always stake our awning down when it's open. With the arms in the down position (not attached to the RV) and staked down it's never been a problem. I also have those awning clamps that hold the fabric tight to the arms when it does blow a bit harder.
Good point about the kitchen being at the bouncy end! Today we went looking, mostly fifths though... None with upstairs living room, but some with door mid way, and some with a back door. I think we liked mid door best...
The bedroom location is strictly a matter of choice or design type. It wouldn't really matter to me but most 5th wheels have an upper front bedroom and some add bedrooms to the rear as well, usually bunks. We love our rear kitchen arrangement since it makes it so much more spacious in the living/dining and kitchen areas. I'll agree that the pots and pans get bounced around when traveling but they stack back up pretty easily and we've never had anything break. Again, preference.
Concerning the door location, unless you're getting a rear livingroom floorpan most are going to have the door centered in the rig. For me this is the ideal location and here's why. If you're parking on a space that is unlevel there are times when the rear door may end up several feet off the ground where a central door will be at a given height above the tires. Unless of course you've got a pile of lumber under your tires trying to level that side. I'm not sure if this makes sense, but it's been my experiance with rear entry RV's.
We're heading to Lake Tahoe in a few weeks and are looking at routes in and out. This time we're coming in from the west off 99 and will be leaving to the east to Hwy 395. Since the last time I drove the portion of the 50 between 99 and the lake was several years ago (and I wasn't towing then) I can't recall what that road is like going in.
The last trip there when we were towing we came in from the other direction and ended up on the 207 going up the Kingsbury Grade with our 33' 5th wheel - not fun at all. Leaving I'm pretty sure we took the 50 out towards 395 so I'm not too concerned about that segment.
While there in Tahoe we'll be staying at the KOA just south of the lake so if anybody can comment on that I'd like to hear that as well.