In your selections you are looking at entry level for diesel pushers, and the $15K difference is likely premium trim level. Whether or not the extra trim, at the same chassis capacity, is worth it is a personal matter. I tend to buy vehicles at "base level" or the minimum trim level that includes the features I want.
First steps up in RVs tends to be more slideouts and upgrades in chassis capacity, and to get there you have to take the upgrades in trim. If that extra size is what you need, then it is worth it. But don't expect a Presidio or Tuscany to be significantly different in construction or basic quality than a Palazzo. To get to mid-level (which would have been $300,000 to $600,000 new) you need to look at other manufacturers, like Newmar.
$60,000 to $90,000 in a diesel pusher means you are buying used. Age and condition of the RV today will be more of a price determinant that market position when it was new. However, you can find 38-40 foot mid-range diesel pushers in that price range, 10-15 years old. Mandalays, Dutch Stars and Kountry Stars, Allegro Buses, the occasional lower-end Country Coach, American Eagles.
Tag axles have little to do with quality or luxury, they are about size. The tag becomes a necessity as the gross vehicle weight rating approaches or exceeds 40,000 pounds, as DOT has a 20,000 pound per axle maximum on Federal highways.
For "small" I've always thought in terms of 8-foot or 10-foot box, and even alone I find the 8-footer kind of small.
I think we might be down to two manufacturers.
Thor's Jayco, for 2017 offering the Jaysport (essentially the same as base level JaySeries Sport of previous years). There used to be equivalent models from Jayco-owned Starcraft brand, but not this year.
Forest River's twinned Rockwood/Flagstaff lines, and the Clipper/Viking twins from Forest River's Coachmen brand, which now look a lot like the Rockwood/Flagstaff lineup.
Every time I've shopped I've been partial to the JaySeries Sport because the dealer selling them was one of the best in the area. I liked the 10SD in the JaySeries Sport, looks like the same model number in the JaySport is an upgrade in standard and optional features at about 1/3 higher price.
Equivalent floorplan at F-R is Rockwood Freedom 1940LTD or Flagstaff MAC 206LTD. Last time I was comparing them (2013) the Flagstaff/Rockwood appeared to be built on a much lighter frame than the JaySeries Sport.
Forest River currently has the largest selection, you need to figure out what layout meets your needs, may not be the same as those of an old guy alone.
That transmission has "Park."
It works the same on the Travato as it does on all other front drive FCA cars using that drivetrain: Town and Country, Grand Caravan, new Pacifica, last year of the original Pacifica line, Dodge Journey among others. Once put in "Park" it is supposed to stay in "Park." I think the "jumping out of gear" problems at Chrysler were related to the "sport shift" controller being confusing, not because that was how it is supposed to function.
The diesel Ram Promaster has an automatically shifted manual transmission called "Dual Active Drive." This may not have a "Park" so that you generally rely on the parking brake. If it were fully manual, I would leave it in first or reverse but still set the brake, a long habit driving manual transmissions. The way it is automated, yes I can see them parking it in neutral so the engine can be started.
A motorhome is a motorized vehicle. In most states, you need liability insurance. My liability insurance for my 2004 motorhome is about the same as it is for my 2012 subcompact towed vehicle and my 2012 12-passenger van.
Liability premiums in this state they are regulated by the state on specified risk factors: driving record, location, and number of miles driven on each vehicle. About $90-110 per six months each vehicle in my case, lowest for the subcompact, highest for the van. No moving violations since 1970, no claims for the past 15 years, small city in a rural area.
In my state, all other coverages are optional; we are protecting ourselves against financial loss, have the option to self-insure. I carry comprehensive and collision the car, van and motorhome, but not on my motorcycle which is worth no more than $100. Premiums are again regulated, based on driving record and claims history, "garaged" location, and are scaled to the financial risk, i.e. maximum payout. Semiannually about $70 for the subcompact, $130 each for the van and motorhome (which is down to under $20,000 in value).
A third coverage I carry is "uninsured motorists" to cover medical claims for self and passengers in the event of injury by someone else at fault who cannot pay. That's about $100 semiannually for the small car, a bit less for the two larger vehicles. This coverage was really expensive when I had it for the motorcycle, but dropped it because I have other medical coverage and don't carry passengers.
Are you insuring a $20,000 motorhome, a $50,000 motorhome, a $200,000 mothorhome, or a $2,000,000 motorhome. There will be huge differences in annual premiums for covering values that different.
For my $20,000 motorhome, I am paying about $600 a year for 100/300 liability, comprehensive and collision with high deductibles, and uninsured motorists. If it was the only thing I was insuring with that company, the premiums would be much higher, particularly the liability.
If you are in a "no-fault" state, coverage options and costs may be different, because you are basically required to insure for collision, can't self-insure.
But what I pay is probably meaningless for your situation, because you are in a major metro area with higher risks, and you may be buying something a lot more expensive than what I have. Best way to find it is to go to your insurance agent with a specific vehicle and situation, get a quote.
I think I'll scratch the idea I had of moving to South Carolina to be with my daughter more often.
Oklahoma stopped collecting personal property tax (at state level) on motor vehicles registered for highway use about 15 years ago. While personal property tax is an county option for other types, my county decided to stop collecting it when the appraiser demonstrated that collection costs were exceeding revenue.
You need may to consult with a local lawyer. It is quite possible that personal property tax in your state includes all taxable personal property owned, regardless of storage location.
It is unusual for slideout not moving when plugged in, although most demand the maximum from a converter-charger and really need the power available from well-charged house batteries. For my older Winnebago, if I have any doubts about power to move the slides, I will start the engine, because the alternator is a better source of 12V power. It will usually move the slides even if the house batteries are fully discharged.
The seat adjusts to heights ranging 26 to 38 inches above ground (a measurement relative to low pedal position would be more useful). At the highest this is still somewhat below the lowest position for the handlebars (41 inches), how that works for you depends on how you like your bicycle adjusted. This folding bike is pretty heavy, in the 40 pound range.
If I wanted a folding bicycle, I would not buy the ones being sold at Camping World, nor anything from a discount store. At these price points, components are the cheapest possible, and difficult to keep in adjustment. Dimensions are "one size fits all." If the one size is not exactly your size, even occasional short rides may be so uncomfortable that you quickly give up on using the bicycle.
This comes from experience. I regularly used a bicycle as transportation from my teens well into my forties, but never got into bicycling as a sport, stayed 20 years with a single welded steel frame bike that I kept improving and replacing parts, because it fit, as a road bike (long wheelbase, stable at speed, bent over riding position). When I finally got a new bike at age 45, I had a dealer build me a "city bike" (shorter frame and quicker steering, more upright position for traffic awareness) and because the frame was ordered to fit, I can still ride it 25 years later.
But when traveling I've tried "one size fits all" rental bicycles, that would wear me out in a hour or two.
When I lived in Beijing I bought a $20 bike for local transportation (equivalent to $100-150 discount store bike today) but ended up not using it much because it did not fit me like my city bike, and shifters and brakes were constantly going out of adjustment.
So if you ride a lot, or intend to ride a lot, go to a specialist bicycle dealer and talk about what you want to do, and get fitted for a bicycle you can use. I suspect it will cost you upwards of $400 for a good lightweight folder.
Consider the Camping World offerings, or discount store folding bikes, only if you like the idea of owning one, might use it for short trips around the campground, but don't really plan to use it as transportation or for long recreational rides. The 40 pound weight is enough to keep me from choosing these folders.
Rear axle at the spring mount. This works for pretty much any medium duty or heavy duty truck. If you want to lift the weight off the springs, you would lift the chassis frame rail, preferably close to a spring mount.
Front swing arms, on my 2003 chassis there is a round boss on arm near the wheel, but there is a specific jack (we don't get with a motorhome) that cradles the boss. For a bottle jack with a flat top I would lift the bottom surface of the arm close to the location of the boss. Yours is the previous generation, but I think the front suspension was essentially unchanged.
That is not too many miles on the 7.3 diesel, oilfield service fleets around here operating the type usually traded at around 200,000 to 300,000 miles (which might be 3-5 years).
It depends really on how many more miles you plan to put on it. At 5000 miles a year you could be looking at another 10 years of service. 50,000 miles a year, maybe a couple more years. Even then, what is going to be wearing out will be drivetrain parts behind the engine, not the engine itself.
As others have noted, for a C motorhome with that many miles, you need to be looking at the condition of the house. But even there, a lot of time on the road is not necessarily an issue, some RV rental operations used to order C motorhomes constructed such that they could lift the house off a worn-out chassis (200,000 + miles for gassers) and drop it on a new one.
My choice would be an extended cab short box. Ford offers the combination, it is only a bit more than six inches longer than a regular cab SD. I would want the rear seat space for luggage and other gear. A door opens into the rear space on the SD Supercab.
Crew cab is a foot longer for either bed size, most of that is added wheelbase.
The rear seats fold up, but I would be tempted to remove them if expecting to never carry more than one passenger. Just as I removed the rear seat in my 12 passenger E-350, planning to never carry more than eight people.
Lower GVWR options are to work within tax and licensing laws in various jurisdictions. There are as many as 15 GVWR ratings for the F-350 SRW, which ones are available depend on model, chassis options, wheel and tire sizes.
If always towing, I would choose the 3.55 axle ratio for the diesel, to let the transmission spend more time in higher gears, although there is not really that much difference between 3.31 and 3.55.
Up to 10,000 GVWR you can get nearly the same rating in the F-250. In both models, the 4x4 gets the heavier GAWRs, and since you are buying the diesel, which adds about 800 pounds to base empty weight, you might want to go for the higher ratings to make up for capacity you lose.
Check with the Michigan Secretary of State office.
I know there is a way to do a Michigan registration without the car being physically present, because this past summer my daughter totaled her car enroute from Detroit to Wichita for a temporary job (internship). She bought a replacement (used) vehicle in Kansas and had her Michigan title and plates before the Kansas temporary license expired. However, she knew she was going to do this, so that the dealer in Kansas could get the paperwork and tax payments right.
It helps if you have a contact in Michigan to go to a Secretary of State office. There are Michigan firms (and dealers) who will serve as agent, particularly as vehicles bought in Michigan are usually titled and tagged before leaving the lot. In the fall she had to buy a second car, and the independent agent selling the car handled of all the paperwork in about 30 minutes online.
Not as ugly as the earliest Winnebago motorhomes. It has more of a 1940s look than a 1960s look.
Power was less an issue in early postwar Europe, particularly Scandinavia than it is now in a world of 60-80 mph superhighways. That was a world of speeds under 50 mph on the better open highways, more typically 30 mph on less developed rural roads.
Not much different from the U.S. in the 1920s and 30s when a Model T was adequate and a Model A was a speed demon, and "large" trucks trundled down the road with 40-80 HP.
Motor caravans were built in post-War Europe on other small chassis of similar or less power (like the 2CV, VW Type 2, and commercial small vans like the Thames, Morris and Commer in Britain, the Citroen H in France (although that was a relative powerhouse with a 1.9 liter four). The Citroen H was truly ugly no matter what you built on it:
It works fine if you can or will use the membership parks and the stay lengths and blackouts work for you (these vary from park to park). East Texas has a lot of PA membership RV parks, so it would probably work well for you, might get the membership fee back in two or three nights.
I haven't joined because most of my RVing is local, at COE facilities and state parks, and the few PA membership parks in NE Oklahoma are less amenable, harder to get too, and more expensive even at half price, and I usually stay 4-12 days.
RE the mis-wired hydraulic pressure switch, the recall changes only the wiring, so that the switch does not stay hot if it fails and shorts out. If the switch has failed, it needs to be replaced, and that will be the same Texas Instrument part that was used OEM.
Recall issue with the switch, specifically, was that any pressure switch can eventually fail as a short, and switch on hot side was different than switch on groung. Fix was a fuse in wiring harness to blow if the switch with high amps. TI never admitted to abnormal switch defects, it failed safely in 10x as many vehicles wired safely.
There are a lot of other elements in ECM managed cruise control, speed sensors and connection failures. You need to find a competent dealer. But replacing the pressure switch would not be a bad idea, whether it fixes cruise control or not.
Over the past 12 years I've not noticed a significant difference in cost between KOA and other RV parks with the same level of service and amenities. The franchise fee does not seem to add that much, and sets a floor for the services to be provided.
I have stayed at RV parks with lower levels of service, at lower prices, and have been happy with those for overnights. I've spent many days on parking sites in public campgrounds that have offered little or nothing more than a place to park and a power hookup. You don't have to pay RV resort prices if that is all you want.
I am almost always on a gravel pad or hardpacked turf. A concrete pad means nothing to me, it forces me to use blocks to level, when I might not have to if I can move around on a gravel pad.
I've been to Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Greece, Turkey, and the Baltic states) several times in the past 13 years, not RVing, but observing the RV lifestyle. What you want to do is feasible, but maybe not on the timescale you are considering.
I would rent. There is a whole lot more paperwork (visitor status issues) in buying, licensing and selling and customs issues (depending on where you are going) associated with ownership. I would most likely rent a campervan (still being made on vans in the VW Transporter size class), but if my wife still lived, it would be a under 7-meter "profile" which is a miniature version of what we call a B-plus. Even the 7-meter Euro-style RV is not going to get into most of the old cities and hill towns, you'll be hiring cabs, using public transportation where available, riding bicycles and hiking if you still can.
The amount of time you want to spend can be an issue. The length of visit depends on where you are going. If you enter, visa exempt, one of the countries that are part of the Schengen agreement, as a U.S. citizen you can stay in, and move freely among, the Schengen countries for 90 days. This is not the same thing as the E.U., because there are Schengen members outside the E.U., and E.E. countries not in Schengen. With some manipulation of you movements, and visas outside of Schengen, it is possible to extend your stay, but generally at 6-8 months you are pushing beyond the visa-free travel granted in Europe to U.S. citizens. People working around this usually arrange visas outside Schengen, popping in and out for longer stays in Europe, but the limit for Schengen (most of western and central Europe) is still 90 days.
You have a good idea (except for the extended length of time) but you need to do a lot of research on the details before you have a plan. Brother-in-law put six months of detailed planning into a three week European motor trip. Don't think you can just get there and wander, planning no more than a day or two in advance.