My wife and I are both 52 and work full-time and expect to be doing so for at least 5 years. We currently have a 2007 Winnebago Class C 31 foot with the Ford V10. We probably take it for 10 long weekends / year and one longer trip for 1-2 weeks, I estimate a total of 5-6K miles per year. It's a very comfortable unit for us though gas mileage seems to be 8mpg no matter what I do. We've had it 2 years and now I'm itching for a class A. I'd like to do a DP but after reading this forum, for far more hours than I should, it seems I'm buying into more costly maintenance which may not be justified given our usage. However, I still like the class A because of the higher riding height, increased storage, and the fact that you can swivel the front seats and use them in the living space. So now I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile to upgrade to class A gasser, such as a Newmar Mountain Aire, for the next 5-6 years and then re-evaluate our needs of if I should just stay with what I have. If the handling will be the same as our current unit, and the gas mileage will be the same, I'm not so sure the increase storage and use of front seats justifies the switch for now. I'd love to hear your thoughts before we make any move.
Funny you should ask about a Newmar Gasser. We've been full-timing for just under 7 years in our 38' Newmar Mountain Aire Gasser and love it. Our's is a 2 slide and works very well for us. We get that same 8mph, butdrop to 6.5 when in the mountains.
We take it everywhere and have been satified with it's performance.
I cannot speak about the move from a class C to an A, but in 05 when we purchased our first RV we started with class A gasser (97 Winne Vectra). We used it pretty much as you described, one long trip and several long weekends each year. In 09 the diesel fever overwhelmed me and we upgraded to our current rig. I retired this year at 57, but my wife still has 5-1/2 more years before she is eligible and wants to continue working until then. Therefore, we will continue to RV on a part time basis for at least that time frame.
The point of all this is that against the common wisdom that you need to drive xxx miles/year and spend xxx days/yr on the RV to justify the cost of a DP is just not true for all. It's a personal decision based on what you want and can afford. I believe the most revealing thing about your question is your comments that you are "....itching for a class A" and "....still like the class A because of the higher riding height, increased storage, and the fact that you can swivel the front seats and use them in the living space" says it all. That's exactly how we felt and do not regret our path to the DP for one second. I believe the answer lies in how strongly do you and your wife feel you want/need the class A and/or the DP at this time? I know for us it was well worth it.
Good luck in whatever path you take,
05 Travel Supreme Envoy
* This post was
edited 04/23/12 07:04am by sailor_lou *
Moved from a C to an A, but not exactly the same situation. Our C was 24 feet, and our A is 29'7". To us, it feels MUCH bigger because we gained the usable space from the front seats, don't have the wasted length of the front engine of the C, and we have a larger slideout. We did opt for the THOR ACE 29.1 because it had a dropdown bed over the front seats similar to a C if we need it for the grandkids, but it is out of the way when we are just the two of us. It has a LOT of outdoor storage for the size. It rides much nicer, and the view is better from that high perch. We love the upgrades of levelers and rearview camera. But, depending on the floorplan and options you currently have there may not be such a big difference in space/comfort as what we experienced. I would say that you may want to explore floor plans and see what you think will work for you. Good luck
Class A's are the nicest and most expensive way to RV when compared to the same size and age of other types of RVs. If you cannot use an expensive RV 100+ days/year, then your daily costs will rival staying at expensive resorts. If you are going to pay cash to upgrade, then do it but you might want to save a step and go for the used DP. If not paying cash, then keep what you have and save the money so in 5 years you can buy a nice 5 year old DP for 1/2 or less.
This post is my opinion (free advice). It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
You are going to want to go diesel pusher! They are quiet! No heat from the motor to deal with, they ride better as the front suspension doesn't need to deal with the engine weight, better brakes, longer service life, etc, etc. Just don't ever test drive one unless you're ready to do the deal or you'll be dissatisfied with anything else!
Class A's are really a great way to travel, lots of room, storage, nice ride, etc. Whether to go DP or gasser is a personal choice. We started out with a 34' Journey DP and loved the MH. I love the quiet traveling of a DP, the power over high country and the safety of the engine break going down steep grades. DP's are build stronger and last longer if maintained properly. Yes their are a bit more expensive to maintain but I feel well worth the cost. My FIL has a Adventurer, gas rig, and loves it and travels from MA to TX every winter and back and really loves his MH and he is on his 3rd MH. We just traded our 05 Journey 34' for an 06 Itasca Horizon 40' for some more space as it has 3 slides which makes it really roomy. We really like the Winnebago/Itasca motor homes and really think they build excellent rigs. We are full-timers so having the extra room is really nice. Good Luck with your search and happy RVing!
Jack & Peg
USN Ret AGC
Sioux Falls, SD
06 Itasca Horizon 40KD
Moved up from a TT 2 years ago to a 40' diesel. Have 3 more years to retirement and put maybe 3000 miles a year on the MH till then. Bought what I wanted to retire in and will have it paid off by the time I retire. Get the RV you want first....rather than 3 or 4 RVs later is my moto!
Most of the negative comments about DPs come from RVers who have never owned one and use strict economic issues for justification. But with 9-year-old Foretravels selling for around 70k right now (check out Motor Homes of Texas) it's hard to not justify a DP. With side radiators DIY maintenance is pretty easy, too. Ride is great sitting in plush leather arm chairs, you can talk without yelling and the view is amazing. You'll have more storage than you need for the next few years. And better mileage and longevity too. Plus 100+ gallon fuel tanks and huge water and waste tanks.
Well, we went straight to a diesel A to get the space/floorplan DW wanted and towing capacity needed to drag my Jeep/trailer.
If you like sitting in an easy chair enjoying the air suspension ride with a panoramic view of the scenery going by while talking to your DW in a normal speaking voice as you climb 6% grades a DP is in your future ;-)
I honestly don't think anyone can pencil out the cost benefit to justify a DP without fudging except for a fulltimer who travels extensively. Bottom line is they do what they do very well and if that's what you want only you can decide if it's worth it to you.
BTW it helps a LOT if you have the room and skills to do basic maintenance and repairs yourself.
'99 Alpine 36SDS/8.3 ISC 330 Cummins
'05 Lance 845
'06 Super duty SC/SB 6.0
Upgrades include: StabilLoads, Air Bags & Timbrens,Swaybars
Usually towing an '01 Wrangler, lifted/locked on 35"s or a mildly built '98 Cherokee on 33"s (only one locker)