Based on BTU equivalence to gasoline, I would estimate 8-10 hours at half-load on a 3.6-4 KW genset, which is typical for running an A/C and normal loads on a 40-55 Amp 12V converter. Most RV gensets are sized to handle peak loads for the 120V hookup (thus 3.6-4 KW for 30 amp service) and normal loads are about half peak.
Peak loads come in when trying to use multiple heating appliances like hair dryers, toasters, electric fry pans and griddles, and heavy motor loads like vacuum cleaners, any of which is a likely overload when the A/C is also running.
I do and I don't.
If I am going someplace to stay 3-5 days or more, and someone else does not have run-around transportation for me, I'll tow something. Used to be a Ford Ranger, now a Honda Fit.
If I am road tripping, stopping no more than 1-2 days at each place, I will not tow. Towing significantly limits the mobility of my RV. If I am not towing, I can often park in spaces using by large pickups and medium duty trucks, often backing in so my long overhang is off the edge of the parking area. Towing means my rig is about 18 feet longer, and can only move forward.
Manufacturers in Spain, France, Italy and Germany have been building at least 30,000 motorhome units a year since 2006 on the 3.5 metric ton version of that front-drive, single rear wheel chassis, branded as Ducato from FIAT or Boxer/Jumper from PSA. I've seen nothing in the press about stability problems.
However, for our market the heaviest versions of the van and the cutaway chassis are being rated a metric ton heavier, putting the platform at the conventional highest weight limit usually used here for only four wheels on the ground. There have been stability complaints about RVs on rear drive SRW platforms at these weights, leading to aftermarket DRW conversions.
With our desire to have RVs as big and fully furnished as possible, there is a tendency to overload. Our passenger vans in this category are required to have electronic stability assist programmed for roll stability. I'm not sure whether this is a feature of the RV cutaway platform sold here.
I know that CruiseAmerica does a limited number of one-ways, with reservations well in advance. There is an extra fee.
Some contracts include 100 miles per day in the base rental rate, others all mileage is extra. Expect mileage charges of $0.30 to $0.40 per mile. If mileage is not included in the base rate, expect to pre-pay for 100 miles per day at the time you pick up the motorhome. I just got a quote for $4200 for 21 days out of Miami, with basic fee $2500 and the rest mileage, tax, and deposits.
Depending on fuel prices, fuel costs will be about $0.30 to $0.50 a mile additional. My fuel costs have averaged $0.33 per mile when prices were between $2.00 and $3.00 per gallon. They are now in that price range again, although southern California was showing $3.30 to $3.50 today in urban areas. A budget of $0.50 per mile for fuel will work for prices approaching $4.00 per gallon.
Use of the generator (for cooling air in the house part of the RV while traveling) is charged at $3 to $4 an hour, so maybe an extra $40 to $50 per day to stay cool when not hooked up to power at a campground or RV park.
Your plan looks good to me. Where you go depends on your interests. My interests, mostly history and geology, would take me through San Antonio and across the southern part of New Mexico to Carlsbad Caverns and the Guadalupe Mountains, because I have been through the middle of New Mexico several times.
Your interests may be better for the route you have chosen. On your route, I would be certain to stop at the Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona. This one is not particularly large, but it is also not small (energy similar to a small modern nuclear weapon) and the impact was recent (50,000 years) so that the results are well preserved.
I do not consider the route to be too ambitious, I often travel 200 to 300 miles a day with about 1/3 of a day sightseeing. I try to plan my travels to arrive at places I want to visit early in the afternoon, to make camp afterward, or so that I am close to the places when I stop for the night, to visit when they open in the morning. This is a good amount to time for the distance, visiting places along the way, staying in no place for more than a day or two.
You are pushing into a size range where you need the chassis of an A or Super-C to carry the weight. 30 foot C's on 14,000 - 14,500 GVWR chassis are fully loaded when empty; I have one, I know.
My wife chose our Winnebago for the big windows, sense of airiness, two slides making it very roomy. It bothered me that it was awful heavy even when empty, but trips with the two of us were OK. Taking kids and grandkids along overloaded it.
The other problem with big windows and slides is that it tends to be hot in hot weather, cold in cold weather. Windows have no resistance to heat flow, tend also to be drafty in proportion to size, slides drafty in proportion to amount of edge.
If I though I needed more space for full timing, I would be thinking about an A gasser. These tend to sit higher above the frame (once you get above entry level) for a lot more exterior storage. Except for 24-28 footers on van bare chassis (E-series and Sprinter) you will have at least 16,000 GVWR, most 30-32 footers get built on even beefier platforms, 18,000 to 22,000 pounds.
You won't find any C's with slideouts built to LazyDaze standards, construction methods are quite different.
MBE 902 is a MBE 900 series engine, all in the series are essentially the same with some differences in ratings (programming) and accessories. Motorhome engine models often have higher HP ratings, for a presumed lighter duty cycle.
If it were still available it would be my preference in the 7 liter turbo-diesel class, only one at that size built like larger diesels. Freightliner or Detroit Diesel shops for service and parts. Most Freightliner shops are Detroit shops anyway, same parent company for many years.
I'm not sure you can still get the Trailer Life directory. Last time I bought one the publisher of both (Good Sams, used to be Affinity) had combined into one.
I would buy Woodalls and Trailer Life in alternate years because the listings did not totally overlap, but preferred Trailer Life as it was a bit more RV focused.
New Mexico is at least four different states. Divide it into quarters, using I-40 and I-25.
In March, I would be going to the SW quarter, out toward Deming, or touring US-60 into southeastern Arizona. It might start looking like Spring, in March, that far south. Spring in the desert can be beautiful.
Unless I wanted to join the Spring breakers for skiing, snowmobiling or snowboarding, then I'd be going to the NE quarter, which is still a winter sports hotspot in March.
Can't recommend campgrounds in the SW part, that is still on my to do list. My last trip was to the SE quarter of the state, staying in Ft Sumner and Roswell, too long ago to verify the parks are still open or under the same management.
There are several different rPods with alternative arrangements of the living area, but AFAIK all have the same wet bath module.
I suspect that your wife might find any of the molded fiberglass trailers even more cramped, and most small enough for your Tacoma will also have a wet bath (usually across the front, but in some cases an alternative to a closet) if they have the bath option at all.
I've been looking at these egg trailers, in addition to the rPod, and by comparison the rPod (slideout models particularly) is quite roomy for the weight. As it should be, at 18 to 20 feet, relatively large for a TT in the 3000 - 4000 pound weight class.
Camplite makes aluminum-framed (not laminated panel like rPod) TTs from 14 to 29 feet in length. They are relatively light for their size.
Model 21RBS has a rear bath that is relatively large for a TT of this size, a sofa slideout opens up floorspace (dinette an optional alternative) but it is still a one-room cabin. 24 feet long, 5000 pounds GVWR.
In the 16-foot box, bathroom is smaller but still a separate shower (no sink). 16DBS gets you queen bed and sofa in a slideout, but a much smaller kitchen. 19 1/2 feet in length, 5000 pounds GVWR. 16DB without the slide is about 200 pounds lighter empty but more cramped. 14-foot box retains the same small but dry bath, gives up some living space.
When Camplite gets down to the 13-foot box (16 1/2 foot length, single axle, 3000 GVWR) the bath comes a tiny box, shower over toilet, actually smaller than the bath module in the rPod.
I don't full time (which means giving up your house), but on long part-time journeys I've met many people living full time in TTs (and even pop-up campers).
These have ranged from singles and couples in 13 foot and 16-18 foot egg trailers, couples in 24-32 footers, families with 4-6 children in 28 foot TTs. Some were retired and doing this as a lifestyle choice, most I've met were doing it because they were moving around from job to job in businesses where projects are finite, jobs are temporary and hundreds of miles apart. Which probably says something about the kinds of places I choose to stay when moving around in my RV.
Different people need different amounts of space. When it comes to full timing, you may be carrying your whole life's baggage with you. You need room for that too, however much it is. I've had people working for me who could put their life (one including his Triumph Bonneville) into their VW Type 2, know others that needed three forty-foot containers to move two peoples indispensable stuff between jobs in the U.S. and overseas.
A 24 to 30 foot TT and a tow vehicle with some extra cargo capacity fits someplace between those two extremes. A 45-foot motorcoach pulling a 20 foot cargo trailer fits in another place in between. You either adjust your lifestyle to the space, or adjust your space to the lifestyle.
As for me, I am encumbered by the goods left behind by the women in my life, not mine to throw away, taking up space I would not otherwise need.
From the website, it is not yet a product, and does not yet have a price.
Happier Camper has a business renovating and renting out old MFG TTs. This at least gives them some experience with the market, what people want who use trailers this small, expectations that might be different from mainstream RVing.
It also suggests some level of capitalization to get into production, and an existing income stream. This is way ahead of many new age ventures that have an interesting idea with a business plan based on collecting enough deposits to raise the money needed to begin production, and maybe wrangling some money from a publicly funded industrial development program.
Very few of the COE recreational access facilities have a big entrance along a major highway.
Around here most are accessed by county roads going from the highway to the shore of a reservoir. The sign at the intersection of the first road with the highway is usually brown, says "Access" with an arrow pointing to the road. There may or may not be a project name. There may be a symbol, or multiple symbols: boat on a slope for a ramp, a teepee like tent for campground. If you must drive several miles on different roads, there will usually be a similar sign at each turn. But it is a better idea to have a map and a plan for where you are going.
recreation.gov is useful for finding Class A or Class B campground facilities that have reservations, and for making reservations, but not always helpful with how to get there. Of course, recreation.gov tells you nothing about the recreational access facilities (ramps, beaches, day parks, WMAs and lower class campgrounds) that do not take reservations and often have no fees. It also doesn't help with finding campgrounds on COE projects run by someone else, i.e. city, county or tribal governments, and state parks.
I find it most useful to go the website of the USACE District Office, where facilities are listed by project, and where I can download a PDF of a map showing the entire project in its setting of roads, with locations of all of the access facilities. The District Office is the primary site for information about what is open when, what are the fees, and lake levels, which are sometimes critical for usability. For example, a campground might be open with a third of the campsites under water, or it might be closed when water level is too high, sometimes when too low. The recreation.gov might just show all the reservable sites as "not available" which tells little about the usability of the facility.
Buy plenty of fuel in Indiana before leaving. We need gas tax funds to fix roads
FWIW, fuel taxes in Indiana are lower than those in Illinois. I try to get across Illinois without buying gas, can't always make it work.
If topping off before leaving Indiana, don't wait until you get close to the state line. State line gas stations raise their prices to cover part of the tax difference, because they get a lot of traffic from Illinois residents. Same thing for state line stations in Missouri (for both Illinois and Kansas) and stations on the Oklahoma-Kansas line. Prices get back to normal about 15-20 miles into the low-tax state.
Pine sap, and some other conifer saps, will tend to stain the gelcoat on fiberglass, and will raise welts in clearcoat. I got my car under my brother's spruce tree for a few days, within four months after I bought it new. Three years of washing, polishing and waxing have not yet rubbed out the little welts left behind.
Used to be worse before clearcoat, sap left on long enough would lift the paint. These saps contain small amounts of some organic chemicals used in paint thinners. Turpentine used to be distilled from pine tars.
Repairing the paint will likely cost more than trying to clean the fiberglass.
Once you get to the middle of the country, and certainly west of the Minnesota-Iowa-Missouri-Arkansas-Louisiana tier of states, you will find yourself using a lot of two lane road. We are not blessed with the closely gridded network of freeways and superhighways you have in the east.
In the western parts, most of the two-lane US-numbered highways are in better condition than the Interstates, and are often lightly traveled. However, they do go through towns, and you have to slow down.
The few Interstate highways we have carry very heavy truck traffic (both density and weight of the trucks), most of it at higher speeds than you are accustomed to seeing, and the roads bypass almost everything interesting, going from major city to major city (and there may be only one major city per state).
East of the Mississippi, if you want to make good time it is best to stay on the Interstate, no matter how crowded and beat up they are. This is because the towns here are closer together, the speed limits are lower than they are further west, the roads are older and often narrower, and for much of the year you may encounter slow-moving farm equipment on the highways.
I regularly travel between central Kansas or NE Oklahoma to northern Indiana and south central and southeast Michigan. I routinely use the "two lanes" (which are often four lane divided but not controlled access) until I cross the Mississippi, and then take advantage of the uninterrupted travel on the Interstates, unless I have some stops that are not on the Interstate system, and I allow an extra day for that section of the trip.
If you are concerned that Interstate 70 is only two lanes each direction, once you are outside urban areas they are all two lanes each direction.
A strict schedule is going to drive you nuts, turn something that should be enjoyable into a high-stress job. But it sounds like not having a schedule is going to be a problem for your wife, at first.
My wife was the same way about this, so for her needs I planned our long trips hour by hour, travel time, and times and locations for eating, camping, gas station and rest stops and for sightseeing. It would not take long, often the first day, when something came up as a tourist stop that would break the schedule. Within three days, we could be four days off, and it was all stuff she wanted to do "we have to see this on this trip, we won't be coming this way again."
Humor her to start with, I think you'll find the real experience self correcting.
Once you get a few years of travel under your belt, you'll learn that all travel has to be flexible. Even on escorted travel, the most prized ability in a tour manager, program director, cruise director (whatever they call the guy) is the ability to be flexible, adjust the schedule to deal with the problems that arise, roll with the punches. Travel halted by erupting volcano. Destination closed by bad weather. Highway closed by civil disturbance. They are shooting a movie at one of the places you were supposed to visit. As the flexible part of your travel team, you will be the one to handle these.
If we buy a used RV from a private party, out of state, and never bring it home to our state, how do we get tags? Are tags based on the residency state, irrespective of where he vehicle 'lives'?
Tags can be where the vehicle stays, and is used, but you have to be able satisfy whatever residency requirements are imposed for tagging. These vary quite a bit, state to state.
My brother maintained residences in Michigan and Florida, kept his domicile in Michigan, registered his Michigan cars there. He registered his Florida car in Florida, which they let him do with a Michigan ID/Drivers License. But Florida is one of the easier states on this, they are used to accommodating a population of snowbirds. In other states you might be jumping through hoops, forming local legal entities for purposes of ownership and registration.
Even so, he didn't get it all right, because in handling his estate I've got Florida property caught up in differences between Michigan and Florida probate law. That would be another factor people usually don't want to think about.
What it says in the manual. The Suzuki SUV models, and their Geo and Chevrolet counterparts, become towable by virtue of a neutral gear in the transfer case of the 4x4 models. The transmission gets put into a gear that keeps it from trying to spin.