My husband, son and I plan on traveling this Spring/Summer. We still as yet need to buy the right vehicle, but we have determined it should be a Class C. I am currently researching floor plans and all the myriad details of this new lifestyle. It is exciting, but also a bit mindboggling to read of all the things we need to be aware of in order to make this a successful and fun trip.
The itinerary at this point in time is largely unplanned. We have a list of old friends we'll want to visit along the way in various states, as well as the main national treasures we shouldn't miss. Not only do we want to have fun, but are on the look-out for a place to relocate eventually. We will be traveling with a cat and our Boston Terrier.
So this is an open forum for your suggestions on quaint places to visit, eateries to patronize and friendly cities/towns/areas to consider for relocation along the way.
We can use any and all advice you may have, and thank you for your wisdom in any area you choose to reply with.
I would make sure to verify pet policies, we had one private camp ground that wanted 5.00 per dog per day, we went to another place. also some state parks don't allow dogs. I would also check out the Escapees Club, we belong (not full timers yet) and have got some great info. best of luck on your search!
Read a good tip for pets the other day...be sure to have copy of their latest vet records. If you have an emergency and need to take pet to unfamiliar vet, having records with you will be good. Like Patrick Swayze carrying his medical records around in Road House
Why a C over an A. If you have no experience look at all the options first. If you plan a lot of travel you will want more storage. With an A you get a lot more storage plus bigger tanks. Mileage is not much different with a gas A either.
1975 GMC Eleganza II & 1995 Roadtrek Versatile. Both old enough to vote and drink (gas)
Over 90% of pets running loose are NOT wearing a collar when found. Make sure you chip them.
True story of how well a chip can work: When I was an animal control officer I got a call in my zone of a dog running loose. I arrived at the scene in less than ten minutes. Contained the dog, read the chip with reader on my truck.
Called dispatch and they called the chip company. The dog was missing from an address right around the corner. Drove there and knocked on the door. I asked the owner if she knew where her dog was. “On the back porch.” She replied.
I asked her to check and she returned in a minute with a white face and said:” He’s gone!” I replied: “I know. He is in my truck.”
The total time the dog was lost? About 15 minutes! I did not ticket the owner.
Traveling with pets has been a concern, so I have been researching that quite a bit. Hopefully they won't get lost, just keeping them leashed. I'm going to start putting a harness on the cat so she gets used to it before we leave. Chips are an awesome way to go in case they get off their leash and thought at first that would be the option we'd go with, but I've looked into the Tagg.com device. It involves putting a GPS tracking device on their collars and you use your phone to locate the collars in case they get lost.
I appreciate all the other pet suggestions too.
We have lived in CA, OH, AZ (Flagstaff) and WA State. My husband does not want to return to CA and we are both pretty much done with snow. We love the mountains in the un-snowed seasons... so guess we'll live close to a mountain range in a stick house and use the RV to visit the higher elevations. A treed area would be our preference. We'll stay away from the Great Plains.
For purposes of travel though, anything goes! We want to have fun with our son. We just crossed the 60 mark and our son just crossed the 30 mark. I'm finding I'm too old now to get the kind of job I'm used to, my husband retired last year and my son has come across some hard times, as so many of us have. We want to have a good 3 to 6 months of sight seeing, then settle some friendly place with a low cost of living. We are open to South, East and West.
I was under the impression that a Class A was quite a bit more expensive than a Class C, but will revisit that under your suggestion.
Am I correct about Azdel, the new siding that eliminates the wooden siding starting in 2010 is a big improvement in RV construction?... that it doesn't mold? I was coming to the conclusion because of this that buying a 2010 Coachmen (the older, the better for economy) is the way to go... or is this just a marketing ploy?
We travel extensively with our 2 large dogs in a small Class C (hence my name). Like others have said, it's important to have a copy of their vet records, especially their vaccinations, with you.
Here's some things we've learned: It'll take longer to get where you want to go. We stop much more frequently when we have the dogs with us. If we don't take them for at least a short walk every 3-4 hours they get restless and start to roam around and fuss at each other.
National parks are not dog friendly. Dogs are not allowed anywhere but paved areas. Keep this in mind if you like to do long hikes. The dogs will have to be shut up in the rig. Be mindful of the temperature. When we went to Arches NP in July, we kept the generator on and the air conditioning on high whenever we left the RV.
Some parks with have breed specific rules. Quite a few do not allow pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans and other "dangerous breeds".
Dogs take up a lot of room if you don't have much space. We have 2 75-pound collies. Between the 2 of them we had no floor space left in our 21 ft Class C with a queen bed in the back. We now have a 24ft rig with 2 couches on order in hopes of having some more space.
You'll have to be creative to figure out a place for the cat box that will be dog proof and secure. Let me know when you figure that one out, please. We have one cat that might be a good traveler, but the placement of the box might be an issue.
Above all, have fun! We love taking our dogs along with us. They seem to like it as well.
I just went back to your original post and see that you have a Boston terrier. Well, that negates a lot of what I said about big dogs and breed specific rules... but the rest applies about stopping and national parks.
(1) Seriously consider this harness for your cat. Cats can too-easily slip out of (or just plain hate) other ones. So I'd start with that one.
(2) After lots of serious consideration, we bought a class C rather than an A, as well. One of our biggies was STAIRS. We too easily trip over them. My DH actually fell out of a 5th wheel we were looking at a year ago--it was raining and the stairs were wet, and he still slipped and fell off of them in spite of holding onto the hand rail. Took months for all the injuries to heal.
The steps in a class A are usually much more substantial than a 5er, but there's still too many. We bought a C with NO exterior steps at all and it feels much safer to both of us.
While it's nice to have all the basement storage of an A (and you may want to give that a lot of thought, with 3 adults onboard), it's like driving a bus. Class A folks will tell you that "you get used to it" and that may be true, but why, if you don't have to? And there's no way around the ants-under-the-magnifying-glass effect, with the sun inescapably beating down on you through that huge windshield while you drive. There's a reason most class As have fans mounted in the cockpit.
I'm a firm believer that every adult who lives in an RV should be able to drive the rig, because you never know what could happen out there. One day it may be time to move, you have no choice in the matter (for whatever reason), but your husband and son are both sick as dogs, and you aren't.
I'm not the first woman to sit in the captain's chair of a class A and say, No, I'm not doing this. I don't even wanna learn. My DH, who's normally comfortable with driving all sorts of things, just sat there and thought, What was I thinking of?
I'm feeling obligated to point out a few of the negatives of class As, because after this, and on so many other threads, you'll mostly hear all the class A folks telling you all the positives about them. But in the end, everyone will tell you the same thing, which we repeat like a mantra: The Floorplan Is Everything. So if you fall in love with the floorplan of a certain class A, you'll somehow magically learn to live with whatever you thought you didn't like about the vehicle type before you found your One True Love.
P.S. I found this article to be helpful. It's aimed at people who intend to FT on a limited budget, but I loved the unique way he made his readers consider the details of their intended lifestyle. There are plenty of other which-RV-is-right-for-me? articles out there, and they pretty much give all the same info. This one was different.
* This post was
edited 02/15/14 02:55am by Free Range Human *
Don't buy a rig that is too long or too short. We like the room, sleeping comfort and versatility of our 27 foot Class C rig.It has a rear bedroom with "RV queen" sized bed. It is reasonably easy to park in shopping malls, near restaurants, and often on the street at antique shops, etc. as well as in public parks, theme parks, tourist attractions,and most important of all, in our driveway. Most Fed and State camps allow 27 footers if there is any length restriction. Your 30 year old son will probably be OK sleeping in the overhead, not for folks with bad knees, etc. The cat box can probably go in the shower. Dogs will sleep on the dinette seats or floor. It ain't like living at home with two dogs, a cat and three adults. We have collapsible steel pens for our two dogs, with tops, and set them up outside under the awning when camped for a day or two. They fit into our large cargo bay in our Tioga 26Q Class C. Fleetwood quit making Tioga and Jamboree 26Q models in 2009, other brands still make similar length/floor plan Class C's. If buying new, insist on spare wheel and tire in a secure mount. Buy a name brand rig. Almost all class C's are based on a Ford E-450 chassis with Ford V-10 engine. Almost all brands use the same brands of air conditioners, appliances, furnaces, etc. Don't let them sell you an extended warranty unless you can study the policy/contract and understand the loopholes and exclusions and requirements for records keeping. Most RV'ers save money in a bank account for eventual repairs, upgrades, maintenance, DMV registration and insurance.
PS: You/your husband will need to learn about monitoring and maintaining the 12 volt DC electrical system including the converter/charger, the "house" batteries and the engine starting battery.You will need to understand the starting and shut down procedures for your roof top air conditioner, furnace, water heater and RV generator, how to dump the "black" and "gray" waste water tanks, periodic sanitizing of fresh water system, how to deploy and stow the awning, and basic troubleshooting when things don't work properly. You will need to learn about short-lived RV tires (they need to be changed every 4-6 years for safety reasons regardless of mileage or appearance) Best to learn these things before you take off on your first long trip by practice camping in the driveway or near home. Buying, owning and caring for a motor home is more like owning a cabin cruiser, it's a hobby in itself and can be a lot of fun and enjoyment if you do it right. Drive some Class A's and C's and spend some time in them pretending you are camping, get to know the features available in different brands, lengths and floor plans.