Most motorhomes have 12 volt DC, a generator, a inverter to convert DC to AC. Even my 1975 motorhome had all three of these. What you can run depends on the size of the batteries, inverter, and generator. My 1975 had one large deep cycle battery an old simple inverter and a 6 kw (6000 watt) gas generator. The refrigerator was a three way so I ran it off of propane when not plugged in. And she had enough inverter power to run a TV or radio or computer. That was about it. Anything more and the genny had to be turned on.
Our current rig is 14 years old and is all electric. We have 6 8D (big big) batteries, 2 inverters of 3,000 watts each) and a 12,500 watt diesel genny. You can run pretty much anything except the air conditioners with the inverters. Although if the volts are lower the generator will sometimes kick on if you run the microwave.
The watts needed to power the device you want to run will determine how you have to power it.
Sonny54 - In general you can break down motorhomes into three categories, vacation, snowbird, full time. Full time means you are going to use things a lot and they need to be built to take that level of use. Prices of new motorhomes go up when you go from vacationing to full time, a lot. So do used ones but the climb in price is not so steep.
So if you are going to live in it full time make sure you get a rig built to take that use.
In general diesel motorhomes either pushers or front motor are built heavier than gas rigs. But these days gas motors go a very long time.
You also should consider your use when full time. Are you going to go around the country mostly or are you going to stay in one place for months at a time and then move on. If you are going to move a lot you want something you really like to drive. Many standard truck chassis ride like UPS trucks or worse. Many diesel pushers are quite luxurious when driving.
We do not full time, but the motorhome in my signature line would be considered a full time capable rig.
When I got about half way through your post I started laughing and these words came into my mind, "what could possibly go wrong"? Plus the old Robin Williams movie where he has the "Old Faithful" moment when dumping.
So keep doing it, but please have your wife take pictures you are willing to share.
bobkatmsu - For $1,000 you can get a Nikon D5500 with the 18-55 kit lense + 55-200mm medium telephoto. You can stop there or if you want a really nice low light lens you can get the 35mm f1.8. I have this exact same set up. Plus I have 4 other older SLR high quality cameras. And I have the latest iPhone.
You said you will be heading to Alaska. For that you should have a good landscape camera and the ability to take shots from wide angle to get all the mountains in, to telephoto to catch a shot of Eagles or bears. You need to be able to do that with optics and not an iPhone or similar smart phone. I have an iPhone. It is great for people shots, video, and some landscape shots. But to get great pictures you need an interchangeable lens DSLR. Nikon and Canon are the most common ones. I know Nikon but do not know Canon. I personally think the Nikon D5500 is a stelar light DSLR. Maybe Canon has one as good. I don't know.
Pocket cameras have similar limitations to iPhones. Tiny sensor.
I have looked at all the latest cameras and could afford to spend 3 times what I spent on the D5500. I am not trading it in until Nikon comes up with a successor that is a lot better.
How are you going to use it? Full time, vacation, weekender, snow/sun bird? You also did not say if you wanted gas or diesel. I will assume diesel pusher if you are going from a fifth wheel to a motorhome.
The more time you spend in a motorhome the more CCCs you need and the heavier duty the systems should be.
For $80,000 you could get a Foretravel or Country Coach which are good to full time in. They have very heavy duty systems. Monaco and American Coach (owned by Fleetwood) are in the same approx category as Foretravel and Country Coach (now owned by Winnebago). I also really like some of the Bluebirds. And Beavers are a good brand that was bought by Monaco.
Medium grade motorhomes are Winnebago/Itasca, Newmar, Tiffen, and Fleetwood in the years you are looking. Many of the coaches from these makers will have back radiators instead of side ones like the better brands. (Not all models, but many.) Personally I would not want a motorhome with a back radiator, too hard to work on. Most of the first category will have aqua hot, really good insulation, bigger motors, more CCCs, basement storage roll out trays, really good cabinetry, solid countertops, and some of the first category will even come with a chassis made for the motorhome instead of a fire truck or delivery truck. And a few of the first category will have semi-monocoque chassis, which are far superior to just rail chassis and the house built on them.
But if you are going to vacation or snow/sun bird you can live with the not so heavy motorhomes which means the second category. Newmar, Tiffen, & Fleetwood, + Winny do make a few higher end coaches like the Dutch Star which are OK for full time. Tiffen has the Zephyr. And Fleetwood has the Revolution. Those are going to be OK to live in for a good part of the year.
If it were me spending the $80,000 I would look for an 03-04 Country Coach Intrigue, Magna, or Affinity. Likely you could only get the Intrigue for that amount, but those are just beautiful coaches. The absolute best materials were used in them and go down the road smoothly. If you can find a Foretravel in that price range that is just as good and made in TX where you are from.
You need a second opinion. 21,000 for a replacement motor sounds way way too high. First you have to find out what is damaged. Usually overheating does not tank a motor right off. Usually it will drive a while and then the main bearings will go out or the head gaskets are blown.
If you can find a used motor that would be the best deal. Just have it sent to VT and get someone to put it in. If I was guessing I would say 5-6 grand including motor and install.
Age and miles are more significant in cars than RVs. For example a 2 year old rental RV my be shot and only two years old. Or a 3 year old RV has been lived in full time by hardly driven. Both may be too worn out to buy. RV's change little over the years. I owned a 1975 GMC motorhome a few years back and it had all of the modern stuff except flat screen TV's.
The best deal buying used is a well taken care of motorhome in the 5-7 year old vintage. Be very careful of rentals and rigs that have been lived in full time. I would also be very careful with rigs that have hardly any miles on them. That can mean they drive poorly and the previous owners were scared to drive them. It also can mean that the rig was not used for very long periods and it could have "lot rot". RV's that sit deteriorate. One of my friends bought a brand new RV that had sat for 18 months and it took him forever to get it right.
Google maps has evolved slowly to let you plan your trips and save the results. In the past I have used DeLorme, Streets & Trips, and the Trailer Life planning software. All three of the above are gone and you can only get old copies. We are in the middle of a long trip and I used Google Maps for the first time as my main planner. It has worked well so far. Of course you have to have a fairly reliable internet source to use it during your trip. And nice if it works on your smart phone.
Surprised to hear of your Windows 10 problem. Before we left on this trip I added Windows 10 to two older laptops and so far it has worked very well. Much better than I expected.
Three weeks ago I used the FMCA Michelin tire purchase plan. I could have bought the same tires not using the plan for less in this area. This is the second time I used the FMCA program. The first time the price was OK, but this last time I over payed.
If you have any large truck tire shops in your area go see them and get a quote before you go through the hassle of buying on line.
If I was to buy another coach I would call a couple of places that repair the motors in question and ask them for their opinions. We have a CAT motor that has been very good. But CAT makes some motors not as good. Same thing for Cummins and MaxxForce.
Navistar lost a huge huge amount of money trying to get the Maxxforce motor to work without DEF. There have been significant issues with some of their motors. We talked to some people who had one and listened to their tale of woe.
LOL, our "new" coach is a 2002. Before that we had a 1975 GMC Glenbrook. Our 2002 has a 128,000 miles on it and is not even close to being "old". I was just doing stuff on it today to get ready for an 8,000 mile trip.