I'm 31.5" to the top of the bumper on my AF990. Here is a photo of the 4 step that I got from Step Up Products in Eugene. http://step-upproducts.com/
The hitch clears the second step with stinger and ball attached.
http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j225/nwjetboat/Camping2008/DSC00533.jpg height=640 width=480
Just over 40,000 camping miles with the rig in my signature. Sure I had to add air bags, sway bar, and shocks. Plus I run 126 load index tires (3750 per tire). I can run up the highway at or just above speed limits (curves included) without any undue stress. With the Cummins motor, I do not want for power, and every camp I go to is uphill. ~4000-5000 ft from the house.
My loaded weights run 11500-11,700.
Would I replace my current rig for a dually, no. If I had a dedicated pickup for just the camper it would probably be a dually. But I have to use my truck for other things.
Camped last November for 5 days in 0 at night to 20 above during the day. I had to run the Honda2000 on the fourth day to recharge batteries, and burned just over 1 tank of propane. No issues other than some condensation after cooking.
I did push the slide in while we were away to reduce the heated area.
We had a non-slide camper for 10 years before we purchased our AF990. The space with the slide out is worth every ounce of weight. It is just DW and a 90lb Chesapeake dog, but in the Oregon wet, things can get crowded. Our camper came with the slide awning installed, so we have not experienced any issues with snow/water coming in the camper. Our neighbor had a TT with a slide, no awning and he had several stories of snow/water in the trailer. I have had the awning flap in high winds, so I bought a cheap blow up beach ball, partially inflate it and stuff it under the awning if it is windy. Keeps the noise down.
As for getting in/out with the slide retracted, I do not find it an obstacle at all. We extend and retract as needed.