What do YOU want from a toad? I really like my Saturn Vue as a toad, but I find it is to small when I want to take friends along touring. I am now thinking of either making my Toyota Sienna van towable (lube pump), or purchasing a Ford Flex. The new diesel should handle either nicely. I spoke with a fellow at a Rally who tows his Smart Car. He loves it. Also this weekend I saw a diesel pusher towing a large pickup with a flat bed instead of the usual rear, and an off-road vehicle on the back of the pickup. My daughter and family tow their Jeep, and love the off road travel offered by the Rubicon. So really, what would make you happy?
YES. Depending on the park most find nothing available without a reservation. Especially parks in destination areas, the beach, the mountains, rivers. You may find spots in less traveled areas, like the deserts and some of the inland historic parks. There are just too few sites and too many campers. We do not even try to use the State park system, rather we prefer to frequent the many private campgrounds in destination areas. With the new fees the State charges for campsites the private parks have become extremely competitive.
Magazines are a for profit enterprise. Generally speaking they present the point of view of the editors who report to the board members who report to the stockholders. Thus, media bias, in all media, is to be expected. You seem like a well informed individual and as such you probably realize that the information presented in a magazine is one sided and meant to prime your interest in an idea or product. It is then up to you to research and sort the data to reach a conclusion. As for who speaks for the interest of the RV industry: A truly difficult question and the demographics of the industry are a diverse as the population. Even an issue as simple as parking access will develop into a debate on community regulations vs public access. Perhaps a partial answer is to join as many organizations as available. FMCA, GoodSam, iRV2, your brand name club, NRA, and any sports clubs you find appropriate.
Very happy with my ReadyBrake. I had it installed by a auto tech guy because I did not want to drill through the firewall. In the Saturn everything is so close and tight I was sure I would drill into something important. The installer pinched the cable against the brake peddle at a slight angle, the result was after five years of service the cable snapped. I noticed this when I saw the cable hanging free when the car was being used for daily home travel. I pushed a new cable (supplied by ReadyBrake) through the sleeve and straightened the connection myself. All is well. I tow my Saturn over the SoCal mountains all the time and have never had an issue with the ReadyBrake.
Years ago we stayed at ABC RV Park (America's Best Campground). Nice people, good location, many of the sites were far from level, and I saw a number of RVs with wheels way off the ground. If you choose this location, and it was a clean, friendly location, with a tram to town, make sure you reserve a level site.
My 2005 38ft Adventurer was an excellent gas motorhome with an 8.1 Workhorse engine. Again, excellent well built motorhome. Things to watch for: Norcold 1200 frig, was the recall taken care of, and does the frig work properly.
We were exceptionally happy with the West Yellowstone KOA. We had a premium site with patio, large new concrete table and bench, adult swing, shade trees, and really level. The indoor pool, family activities, and location were great also. In Jackson we stayed at the Virginian. It is a nice gravel RV park behind the Virginian Hotel/motel. Guests have access to all hotel amenities (pool, laundry). Very friendly, clean, and a great central location only about a mile from central Jackson. While up there if you need service or rentals I highly recommend Big Sky. We needed RV service during our trip and they were fantastic, making us mobile in the evening so we could return to the campsite, and finishing up when the parts came in the next day. We also rented a 15 passenger van from them so our entire group could tour together.
You said it, they both have ups and downs. That front cab bed is really nice if you have pre-teens and teens. If you have mobility issues it can be really difficult to get up from a C even a super-C. You can have your C serviced without having the greasy technician climb through your motorhome. Many A's have heavier suspensions and larger tires giving a smoother ride. So you must consider the type of floorplan that fits you best. Your budget, what you want to tow, how much gear you intent to take. There are some really beautiful C's and super-C's out there.
I drive my rig at 55 to 60mph max all the time, in every state. It is a comfortable speed for me, and I get to enjoy the scenery. I stay to the right. If I'm on a two lane highway I will take every available turnout and let anyone pass, even if it is only one car behind me. I try to be a conscientious driver. When driving through parts of Utah with a posted speed limit of 80, I often thought I should get out see if my wheels were spinning as people passed me, but in truth, it is my vacation, I want to see the world, and 55 is comfortable in a 33k lb coach. I have never had a truck driver honk/flash/intimidate me, I don't get in their way, I stay in the right lane. Cars pass me like I'm standing still, but when I drive my toad I also fly past the trucks and RVs at posted speeds (maybe plus 5). Enjoy the roads, you paid for them.
JMHO and Happy Trails.
It's called negotiation. Your 16 year old MH really has little or no value to the dealer. I know, it is spotless, well cared for, excellently maintained, but in reality it does not have much trade in value. I put our lovely 12 year old 70k mile Holiday Rambler on consignment and settled for $20K after all costs. The negotiation part comes from how badly the dealer wants to sell the new MH. Increasing the trade in price and decreasing the selling price might have tax advantages for you, depending on the State. We just purchased a new motorhome, trading in our 10 year old Adventurer 50K miles. It was beautiful and well worth over the $60K noted in NADA. We took $40k which the dealer offered sight unseen. I too don't want the hassle of selling a motorhome.
Good Luck, and enjoy your new purchase.
Even with roadside assistance, flat tire service usually means putting on your spare. Since many large motorhomes do not have a spare, roadside assistance will find you a company to sell you a new tire and mount it. They don't repair tires on the road. Some extended warranty plans have optional tire coverage, which will help with the cost of a new tire, but again, you will probably have to put out cash first and apply for reimbursement.
Personally I don't like the Cajon Pass (I-15) and I prefer the Grapevine (I-5)
I would come up from San Diego on the 5 and then connect up with the 210 to bypass the heaviest of LA traffic (This is still a major byway and if you hit it at rush hour you could find yourself speeding along at 5mph) If your traveling on Sunday, or mid-day (before 3:30) on a weekday you might do just as well just traveling all the way north on the I-5. The Grapevine has a steep initial climb, which I could easily handle in my Adventurer towing a Saturn and now in my Allegro RED. After the first 6 mile climb the road becomes less of a challenge until the downhill grade. This is a steep constant drop, but if you maintain your speed you should not have a problem. The Allegro diesel went down the grade at 45mph using only the engine brake, I never hit the brakes. My Adventurer (gas), I would hold my speed to about 50mph and tap the brakes every time it accelerated past that, bringing my speed back to 40 and letting it creep up. I sounds scary, but really, keep your speed down, and it is not a bad drive. The reason for trying to bypass LA traffic is the total number of cars and truck on the road. Drivers are in a rush to get home, they don't let you change lanes, they pull in front of you, like you can stop on a dime. Just stupid drivers. Avoid rush hour. If you get caught up in heavy traffic, pull of the freeway, stop and have lunch or dinner, and try again in a couple of hours.
Enjoy your trip.
It happens. Plans change, health changes, whatever; and sometimes it just seems prudent to forfeit the deposit. That said, most of the time, when the change was unforeseen or tragic my deposit was returned. Regarding the handling fee, many hotels use outside booking services for their reservations and that outside agency wants payment for their services.
Two blowouts, over 24 years ago, on the Holiday Rambler, Goodyear 19.5 tires. The first blowout, actually a complete tread separation, was on an outside duel, I was able to limp about 20 miles into town. The tires were 8 years old at the time but they had good tread and I was young and inexperienced. The second blowout was on the way home from the same vacation, just outside of Las Vegas, when the inside duel on the same side blew, taking out some skirting and a few electrical connections. The cause was probably associated with excessive strain from the earlier 20 mile drive. I now replace my tires, even in excellent condition, every 6 years. Yes, very expensive, but I consider it the cost of maintenance.
Sorry to read about your misfortune, but as they say, S**t happens. Some time ago I borrowed my son's new F150 to get some hay. The forklift guy missed and put the fork through the tailgate. The company chose to pay for the repairs at the shop of my choice rather than make an insurance claim. Last month while at "the club" their utility truck punched a hole in my Saturn toad. S**t happens, and I sort of feel sorry for the kid who lost his job, but like they said, it could have been a member and not a members car. Again, not worth it for them to put it against their liability insurance, so they wrote a check to the local body shop of my choice, who did a wonderful job. I'm not in any way standing up for Camping World, not even a little bit. They should have called in immediately when the accident happened. They should have asked that you inspect the damage and given you a copy of the indent report. You should have insisted on have the body work completed at a body shop. Really, Camping World does not advertise it's ability at paint and body work. Since the work is not satisfactory you should now insist that the work be completed at a competent facility or file with your insurance company for the collision and have the insurance companies fight it out. JMHO