Your budget makes it unlikely that you will find an RV that you can live in, and can pull your equipment trailer, unless that is less than about 2000 pounds. Most 70s C motorhomes, and small 60s-70s box motorhomes, which is mostly what you will find in that price range, were not designed for towing very much.
But it is possible to get lucky, find a 30-36 foot class A from the 80s in good condition, for sale around that price. I have friends who have done it, buying from an estate where the heirs were in a hurry to liquidate. What they got for $800 (a 80s Brave) was feasible to get road ready for less than another $3000. However, the buyers don't rely on it for road trips, only use it to drive the 30 miles to and from local campgrounds about 6-8 times a year.
Having spent a year shopping used passenger vans, I can tell you your budget will also be a problem there. First users sell them at 1-2 years, currently around $20,000 with 20,000 to 40,000 miles; buyers are usually churches and civic groups, who will run them 5-15 years, however long it takes to get to about 100,000 to 150,000 miles. I was finding those at around $7000-$10,000 for the model years I was willing to accept, e.g. post-2003 for Express/Savana, post-2004 for E-series, ten years old at the most.
You will find price depends mostly on model year, and to get down to your $4000 budget you will find the vans to be about 15-20 years old, mid-90's to 2000. Most of the 15-passenger vans at that age will be high mileage, but some of the rare examples in personal use might be under 100,000. Old enough for low price, and only moderately high mileage, it is more likely to find a conversion (travel) van or a chair lift van, than a straight commercial passenger van.
I would be tempted by the possibilities of converting to your needs a small van-chassis school bus (8-14 passenger) since these have more interior space than a passenger van, and are usually sold at about 10-15 years with about 100,000 miles. Since they are almost always diesel, should be good for 100,000 more, and with a smaller frontal and diesel power, might give much better fuel mileage than a 12,000-18,000 pound gas motorhome with a 90 sq ft frontal area.
So look for used conversion vans (Chevy, Ford, Dodge) as well as passenger vans, and check out prices in your area for used small buses.
FWIW, I just found a 2001 30-passenger transit bus under $5000, gas on a Ford chassis. This is old enough that wheel-chair accessibility was not yet mandatory, but because law now requires this for transit operations, any bus lacking a chair lift should sell cheap.
Owning one of each, I can tell you the difference is not just panels, as the structure was changed to relocate the passenger side airbags and create a locking glove compartment. But a swap of the whole dash structure might be feasible, I see no obvious differences in the windshield frame or firewall.
Depends on the route you choose, and what are you plans for San Antonio. Davis Moutains could be on your way. Fredricksburg and the hill country could be on your way. Both are destinatons, taking up more time than you might want to use as a break in a long drivind day. With oth stops, I would need 3-4 days to get from Carlsbad to SA.
Something I learned from the young, and not so young, women i worked iand lived with in China, where products don't have "sell by" dates: sniff it before eating it.
The other was to know which restaurants where one needed to order a pot of boiling water, to sterlize the dishes before eating from them.
One of my daughters treats the dates as absolute. Before the date, it is OK. Past the date, throw it out. Leftovers of home cooked stuff are good indefinitely because the ingrediants were used before the expiration date.
What worked in China works better for me, if one has the nose for it.
This is a point of reference question, and there is no absolute point of reference. Earth rotates, revolves around the sun. Our sun moves withinour galaxy. Our galaxy moves in a larger framework we call our universe, but it is only our limited knowledge that says this is THE Universe, it could be a small part of something larger we have yet to detect. A good case can be made, in quatum mechanics, for an infinite number of universes. Space, time, energy three views of what may be one thing.
Another point of reference that works almost as well, the earth is stationary and everything around us moves in complicated patterns.
FWIW, the Earth's axis of rotation does move, relative to the motion around the sun, does change. That it is constant is only a matter of recorded human experience, about 1/1,000,000th of Earth history. This is one of the long term drivers for variation in climate, for which we are trying to figure out the last 200 years, or last 50 years, when we are not yet to the end of a 10,000 year ice age cycle..
It depends on where you are and what you are trying to "camp" in.
Resort areas, and places popular with the urban "homeless" are difficult no matter what your skills.
Something that looks like a RV or mobile home makes stealth camping difficult. An unmarked commercial van is a lot easier. Signage that makes it look like a local business helps, but not if you move around; HVAC company from Pennsylvania will raise questions in small town Nebraska, so better to be a blank van.
If you want to fake it in a passenger van, you need to be blank, or a church. Best cover the windows in either case, when you are sleeping in it.
Old conversion vans work pretty well too, a lot of them are used as daily drivers and are parked on the street. Having local plates helps.
If something hard to find, maybe 1500 miles, which covers most of the U.S. from my central location. In practice, usually less than 100 miles because I have relationships with dealers who will go find what I tell them I want. Farthest from home I've bought has been 900-1100 miles because that's where I was when I got back into the country and needed to buy the vehicle that would take me home.
For a B motorhome, the market puts me in St Louis (500 miles) or central Texas (not much closer). Most likely, I would go to Sportmobile and have the build me just what I want. That's Austin, about 600 miles.
If you are asking about how far I would travel to get a better price, I wouldn't. I don't price bicker. I tell my dealer what I want, what I expect to pay, and if I am realistic he can find it for me. That's his job, he's better at it than I am.
I like 15W40 because I like to exercise the generator on warm winter days. If I used it only in summer (80-110 F "cold" temperatures) I would put in a 30 weight, as I do for my other air-cooled engines.
Manual suugests both, for different operating regimes.
1/2 inch or 12mm fasteners suggest to me anchors for safety equipment like seat belts or seats designed to be seat belt anchors. Only two, probably not a seat The rear passenger seat in my van was anchored with ten bolts that size, into a 1/4 inch backing plate.
You are out of your depth. Winnebago motorhomes since late 60s have been laminated wall construction, and if thoroughly delaminated, laminated wall are not structurally sound. Structural strength comes fromthe bond of skin, inside and out, to the core. Early Winnebago models with steel framing and metal skins had more framing inside the wall, but for your vintage the laminated wall is it.
Some consolation, a delaminated panel wall is probably still stronger than a built up framed wall, a technology that stay with some mass market manufacturers well into the 90s and is still used by premium RV builders. But then, strength, or torsional rigidity, of a single wall panel tells you little about the strength of the box as a whole.
What yiu have is likely usable, but you are not going restore it to original condition without spending as much as it takes to buy a new one.
I would go to the nearest RV park or campground with RV sites. Then I would hook it up and stsrt learning what it is like to live in the thing.
Short term secure storage is rare. Dropping off a ne RV in a public lot is asking for someone to hook it up and drive it away.
They do that a lot in Missouri and Arkansas. I don't have that much Tennessee driving experience, but Memphis is right there where thre three states meet.
I like going home to Michigan, it is one of the states where drivers have learned howbto merge. Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas aren't too bad, but states between Oklahoma and Michigan have some different driving customs. As a traveller, I learn to adapt.
#1 about licensing a driver for a RV, and #2 about what vehicle/trailer/load combinations are treated as commercial in each state, are two different questions.
Driver's license reciprocity usually holds for RVs and other private vehicles, but for vehicle licensing there is a big gap between what each state considers private/noncommercial, and what the DOT mandates as commercial, and some states apply very low weight limits, while oters give private use exemptions for some vehicles well over the 26,000 GVWR the DOT wants to see uniformly licensed.
For state by state details, you may not need a lawyer, but you need to see the law books, and not rely on opinions of those of us who don't know the details.
I like the Michelin atlas of North America. It is tiled, with all pages at the same scale, rather than organized state by state, with scale changing willy nilly depending on how each state fits on a page or two. But that just may be my prejudice as a GIS and computer mapping system developer, in one of my careers.
For the RV, I also use the Rand McNally MCRA so that I know which highways are designated for large/commercial vehicles, and where the clearance exceptions on those designated roads.
I also use the tourist maps put out annually by each state's highway department, as these usually include highways left off commercial maps and atlases, and often include a lot of POI and legal information.
I bought too much motorhome at 30 feet, carries as many as nine, sleeps 6-9 depending on how many are how big. We seldom had that many, kids and grandkids too busy, a lot of space for two, big and lonely for one. You neec to figure out just how you wil really use it, how many people most of the time.
Just depending on use, space preferences, because most of those 45-foot motorhomes are occupied by no more than two persons.
First, check out what your entitlements might be with COBRA.
My experience with pre-medicare insurance at age 60+ was that it was very expensive to pay the whole premium myself, and very difficult to find the coverage I wanted, i.e. no network or geographic restrictions, including emergency care outside the U.S. The best deal I could get was using COBRA to continue on my employer's "Traditional" plan, which had 80% coverage with very high deductibles and out of pockets, for about $3000 a month to cover two of us. We still had to buy trip insurance when we traveled outside the U.S. Even that had a network, going to 50-50 for out of network services.
You can lower the cost, or get more of the medical costs covered, going to PPO or HMO plans, but you may find your coverage geographically limited. There are states where you can find carriers with U.S. wide PPO networks, others where it is hard to get any coverage out of state.
Where you are, trying to pick a domicile, and 5-7 years from Medicare, I would consider the cost, availability, network coverage, and geographic coverage, of medical insurance as my top priorty for establishing a domicile. It is a lot more important than saving a few hundred, or even a few thousand dollars a year on income or sales taxes and vehicle registtration.
At this stage of your life, medical insurance may be the biggest expense in your budget (for us, 6X the mortgage, so you need to do a lot of shopping. We can't begun to suggest carriers without knowing where, yet the where is probably the biggest issue with what you will find available today,
FWIW, while I was paying $3000 a month premiums, when. DW got cancer we were $15k to $30k out of pocket each year for what the insurance didn't pay, and what they did pay was about $800k during the last three years of her life.If you are lucky, nobody gets sick and all you pay will be premiums. If somebody needs medical care, it is going to be a lot more tham insurance.
BLM land that you can use for camping is not "all over the place." Most of this category of public lands is in five southwestern states, and you are in the one that is crowded with people whi have diverse interests in the use of the lands.
Rules for use are different for different BLM properties. You need to do your homework before you go.
If you don't do the home work, and find yourself where you are not supposed to be, you might be asked to move. If you are not in a condition to make the move, the people doing enforcement may be inclined to move you to an internment facility, and your rig to an impoundment facility. Much depends on the attitude you display during the encounter.
If you do your homework, know the place you stay is a place you are permitted to stay, there will be no encounter. I use "permitted" in both general and specific sense. There are some places on BLM land where you need to buy a permit. Do your homework, make no general assumptions. It is all about specific places, specific times, specific uses; most users of public lands do it by permit or lease. "Camping" is one of the easiest uses, but don't assume you can do it just anywhere.
Not sure how Newmar was mounting windshields in 2000, but I know in 2005 they were going into an opening cut into the moulded front cap. Your jacking incident could have distorted the cap, yet I would would expect the cap to spring back into original shape once the load was off, unless something else is permanently distorted.
Cap fastens to the side walls and roof. Walls are mounted atop the floor, and roof structure sits on the top of the walls, so everything about the floor could be tilted slightly to the right, even if the frame and floor are back to level. The body structure could be distorted in the front and still square in the back.
This sounds a lot like the problems we would deal with trying to repair bodies after slow roll-over accidents. Rather than pulling on the side walls, I would consider pushing from the opposite side. But first, I would want to be sure that the distortion is not in the frame/floor structure, since twisting the frame is what originally distorted the body.