I do not care how much research you have done/will do, in the end the only way to get the "right" coach is to get into the RV lifestyle. If you buy one of the coaches you mention I will bet that you will trade coaches at least three times in the first five years. I stated on another thread that either arrogance or ignorance has someone start RVing in a 40-ft diesel coach. Are you prepared for a "house" of 500 sq ft? Are you ready to fork over $200 for a fresh load of diesel? How about $4000+ for a new set of tires? Also, the list of owners that have owned their coach for 20 years is so small they would be considered the true one percenters. If everything goes as planned for you, after three to five years you will see a coach that has better "stuff" in it. Also, just as with any vehicle, there is a point in ownership where maintenance costs will rise to an unacceptable level. By the way, get a good set of tools before you head to Juneau and check a map so you know how to spell it.
I fully agree with jmtandem. Either arrogance or ignorance has someone start RVing in a 40-ft diesel. I do not blame you for being highly concerned. What was the largest vehicle you drove before buying a 40 footer? As opposed to the latest autos you cannot just drive and add fuel and oil. These things need to be maintained and not just by a mechanic. If you are not handy stand by to be writing many checks, some small, some not so small. I would venture to say that most of the folks on these forums have a set of tools and know how to use them. Do you?
The rules for your PenFed card usually depend on what they are/were when you got your card. Also, those rules stay in place (grandfathered) when PenFed puts new rules in place. However, just like USAA, I think that PenFed places card holders in categories depending on your status when you join. If that is true, your category could determine whether or not you are grandfathered when the rules change. For example, as a retired civil servant, I have had a PenFed card for at least 8 years and the rules for my card have never changed. I have a $5 regular account and a Rewards credit card for which I get 5% pay at the pump fuel/3% groceries/1% everything else and when I have enough points I get a $50 debit card. If you join under some other category they may change.
It does not hold the transmission in a higher gear. It delays the shift point which is why it is recommended for use in rolling terrain. Other than rolling terrain it is of marginal value. In other than rolling terrain, i.e., the mountains the recommendation is to turn it off. For the best explanation of this topic contact Brett Wolfe.
Realistically, Atlanta is no worse than most metropolitan areas. Try LA at any time, or St Louis, etc. If you want to avoid winding two lanes and major metropolitan areas and stay warm you have very few options. My advise is to pick a route and go. Hundreds, if not thousands, of snowbird RVs transit Atlanta each fall and spring with no, or little, problems. Having been through Atlanta twice a year for 11 years the only problems that we have seen are caused by accident-caused backups and those are a possibility everywhere. Every years there is more traffic and very few additional roads.
For anyone who has property in FL it makes good sense. However, in our park there are virtually no florida licensed RVs. There are, however, quite a number of park model owners that now have FL plates.