I can't say whether Google photos us as easy use as Photobucket was, because I've not used Photobucket. For uploading, organizing, getting links for sharing individual images, Photos is as easy as Webshots used to be, but doesn't have the same sharing capability, because Webshots was more of a social media type of space, more than just photo services.
However, constant changes in the business model, services offered, and tool details could make Google Photos as frustrating as any other Google service. They keep tinkering with user interfaces, adding new things you can do, new ways to do other things, alternatives for doing essentially the same thing. For example, Photos has separate view modes for photos and albums: there are tasks you can do in photos mode that you can't do when looking at the same image in album mode. One of these used to be "add the photo to an album." But that was recently changed (at least for web access) except that the operation is different for the same task in the two modes.
The changing business model issue can be serious. You are concerned about Photobucket changing how you can use it, Google does this all the time.
Google's photo business started out as Picasa Web Albums, with organizing and editing done locally on your computer using a tool called Picasa. Picasa, before it finished, got linked for automatic uploading to Web Albums, which was kind of like Webshots, with people tagging spilling over into the Google+ social media space.
Then Google created Google Photos with lighter duty editing tools operating on their server, or on apps within Chrome, or their tablet and phone apps. Then Google eliminated online storage of Picasa Web Albums, allowing transfer of images to Google Photos with loss of classification data. Then they unlinked the Picasa application from any sort of storage in Google's cloud. I have at least 40,000 images locally cataloged in Picasa, to get them to Photos means uploading them with Photos tools.
Now there is also photo storage on Google Drive, parallel to Google Photos, with limited interaction (Photos can find and show stuff stored on Drive) and different data sharing models. What does this mean for the future of Google Photos? Will it stand as a photo service, or disappear into the Drive workplace cooperative space?
Thus for your circumstances, I can't really recommend Google Photos. All I can say is that I use it, for a few specific purposes (9000+ photos, 1500 albums). These purposes do not include archival cloud storage, which sounds like it might have been one of your uses of Photobucket. What I send to Google photos is scaled down to HDTV size, sharpened for that size, with levels, contrast and colors adjusted for typical HDTV displays. I keep the originals myself, mirrored to backup drives and cloud data storage, but not too cloud photo services.
Your 900+ photos in Photobucket will not likely transfer to a different service. I don't even know if you can download in the original file you uploaded. Most photo services compress and even re-size for customers using "free" accounts, to minimize storage space and processing for display. Some services provide archival storage of original files only as a premium service (Google Photos included).
You could go to a weight distribution hitch (which puts a different kind of load on the receiver) or you could replace the OEM receiver with a more adequate one. Reese sells a Class IV with 1200 TW and a Class V with 1800 TW. You should find similar offerings from Curt, Draw-Tight, maybe even U-Haul.
I'm not in the "WD is always needed for RV trailers" camp, being familiar with regular hauling of heavy agricultural equipment and stock and utility trailers by this class of truck, without WD. It is just not practical when you might be moving around 3-4 different tows in the course of a single working day, to be hooking up and adjusting WD equipment.
Many shuttle buses are made by the same companies building Class C and Class A RVs, using similar shell construction technology but without as much insulation and no provisions of wiring and plumbing, no reservation of space for tankage and storage areas.
Shuttles may have somewhat stronger floors than the lightest motorhomes, and small transit buses furnished with heavy seats and seat belts will have even stronger floor structures. When equipped with air conditioning, they usually have much larger A/C units that RVs get, because of the higher heat transfers through windows and uninsulated walls, but often use of the A/C requires the engine to be running.
Considering how cheaply used shuttles, small transits, small school buses and small panel vans can be bought, some type of conversion can usually be done for less than the cost of a new RV, or maybe even an equivalent age used RV, if you consider only materials and not the value of the builder's time. I've seen conversions done on all these vehicles, as well as small box trucks (U-Hauls are popular for their low floors). I know someone working on a conversion of an ex-military 2 1/2 ton 6x6 shop truck, so at least he is starting with an insulated box with a ventilation system, but he will be handicapped by a chassis really unsuitable for highway use.
Most of these motorized RV conversion platform options will be high mileage when they come on the market for resale.
I've been on at least five different hosting sites, most in the printing business. I am moving toward Google Pnotos for sharing (because they let me run to my Chromecast device as a screensaver/slideshow). Organization is by album, photos can be in multiple albums, any album can be public or private, and you can share a URL to any image in a public album.
I've never considered it worth a visit, I think my wife was there as a teen in the 1960s.
There is a lot of fuss about it being in the "wrong spot" because 19th century surveyors didn't put it just where Congress specified, not just tech, they were using a different earth model for measuring coordinates (since changed at least three times). But it is actually in the right spot, because legally, the SW corner of Colorado was defined to be at the monument location, and since then almost all other state borders have been defined to be at surveyed locations rather than satellite-based numerical geographic coordinates, which continually change as the Earth's crust moves around with respect to a space based coordinate system.
Parking will not be a problem. You don't have to buy any more Native American handicrafts than you wish to buy, although the sales pesence seems to be an issue for a lot of people. If gotten used to this around. the world, where empoverished local residents try to eke out a living selling their crafts to fabulously wealthy visitors, and I don't really mind my wife and daughters helping them out a little.
If you can stay within weight limits of the Jeep with your paasengers, cargo and hitch weight, and use a properlly set up weight distributing hitch with sway control, trailer brakes connected to a good controller, and you learn how to drive towing, and don't try to drive too fast, yes probably safe. Power is not a safety issue, but weight of tow vs weight of tow vehicle is, and you are pushung limits for someone new to the experience.
But it is not going to be a lot of fun, towing at maximum combination weights with a relatively small high output V-6 that has to spin to high RPM to get the power needed for acceleration and grade climbing. I've had 4.0-4.2 sixes, 5.0. 5.4, 5.7 and 6.5 V-8 engines with similar HP ratings to Chrysler's do everything V-6, but the bigger the engine, the lower the RPM needed to get this power, and the wider the RPM range over which pulling power is available.
With a late model Grand Cherokee and the 3.7, I'd be trying to stay under 4500 pounds loaded, which is my target weight for towing behind a 6300 pound van with nominal 6700 "towing capacity" because I know how it feels empty, how it feels loaded to 8000 pounds, and the maximum combined rating (13,000 in this case) is really stretching things for a 5.4 V8.
Good for you. As our lives change, what works for us changes. I've been thinking along the same lines, but also staying open to the folding camper idea, because I like the feel of being in a tent while past sleeping on the ground, and trying to get up from the ground.
I'm sure you'll enjoy customizing it to fit your purposes.
Edge is a Fusion SUV. Other options include older Honda CR-V, Equinox and badge clones for most model years from the beginning, Saturn Vue when it was a Suzuki and when it was an Equinox, Traverse and badge clones from GMC, Saturn and Buick, and even 4x4 Tahoe/Yukon and Suburban can be towable. If you want smaller, Vibe/Matrix with manual transmission, HHR some model years of Honda Fit cover subcompact or supermini size classes.
In your situation, I would winterize before leaving and plan on staying in motels or hotels. If I want to use the toilet enroute, I will carry RV antifreeze as a flush.
This is not so much because of uncertainty about the usability of the RV in conditions I will find enroute, rather because I can't see myself going through my winterizing procedures in deep freeze conditions at the destination.
My insurance company (USAA) uses Winnebago's VIN, not Ford's VIN. Look for a Finished Vehicle VIN label from Roadtrek, furnish that VIN instead of Chevrolet's VIN.
You have to this at the title and registration phase as well, because the insurance company must issue policies for the vehicle registered.
That model Xplorer is a RVIA Type A, house built on a bare chassis. Frank Industries or successors also built Type B (van conversion) and Type C (house on cab chassis or cutaway) motorhomes with the same brand name.
Value on Xplorers gets tricky, NADA estimates don't always work. Xplorer motorhomes, the Type A particularly, are historically significant and were well made, factors that somewhat defy depreciation formulae used for book pricing. However, there is not yet the combination of scarcity and cult following that puts them into the investment grade collectible market we now see for RVs like early Airstreams or first generation VW camper vans.
Whether it is worth $8000 or $20,000 is going to depend on condition and your intentions. If you are buying it to use, it probably has less value than an example restored to original that you might be buying to hold for investment in hopes of appreciation in the collectibles market.
Right now, the 1960s models are collectible because of scarcity. I don't know that 1980s models are there yet.
The issue is not so much the battery type, rather something wrong with either the batteries or the phone. Since this time it is not happening during charging, for some reason the batteries in this phone are being unexpectedly rapidly discharged, maybe shorted out. It is up to Samsung this time to figure out what they've done wrong.
The technology has been around a long time. The overheating problem with rechargable batteries (and some types of single use batteries) has been around a lot longer. When the laptop manufacturers were still using nickel-metal hydride technology some poorly made batteries and poorly managed charging systems caused a few recalls for overheating, the overload and heating even extending to the power brick when charging got into runaway mode.
My first overheating experience with small batteries was with NiCads, shorted one out in my hand, dropped it real fast. I was so accustomed to carbon-zinc and its high internal resistance, did not think about NiCad needing special handling. Already did know you never want to short out lead-acid batteries, had known them to blow up because somebody dropped a wrench across the posts.
You are not going to get the clearances you need, particularly departure angle, with any conventional rear-engine diesel motorhome, because the drive train is relatively long and mounted very low in the chassis to make room above for the house. Because of the length behind the axle needed for the drivetrain, the shortest you will find might be around 32 feet, long enough to get wheelbase close to half of overall length, and put some weight on the front axle for balance.
Off-road motorhomes tend to be built on Class 5 to Class 7 truck chassis, and mostly built above the chassis without basement storage, so that none of the house reduces ground clearance. Earthroamer XV/LT is about the closest model to the size you've specified, though you'll find much larger (35-45 feet) expedition vehicles built on heavier military truck chassis, from specialty builders like Unicat, Global Expedition Vehicles. The Tiger line from ProVan Industries has some smaller options, although their larger models overlap the Earthroamer XV/LT line.
All of these are in the nature of a permanent, rather than slide-in, camper box on an off-road truck.
Class A motorhomes, diesel pushers particularly, are built for the highway and the RV park.
Sounds to me a lot like a Route 66 road trip. Get a Route 66 guide. Michael Wallis' Route 66 guidebook is good for finding out what is there that you might find interesting, Jerry McClanahan's "EZ66 Guide for Travelers" will fill in the mile by mile details and lead to the obscure things. There are also Route 66 websites with full information.
Jamie Jensen's "Road Trip USA" has travel and sightseeing details for Route 66, and for other corridors you might use, like US-50 across Utah and Colorado, or I-80 to get to the beginning of Route 66. I think "Road Trip USA" now also available as an online resource.
For beyond all expectation of snow (or ice and freezing rain, on the Atlantic side of the Appalachians) that would be somewhere south of Atlanta.
To (almost) guarantee "above freezing" in February (or between October and May) you need to go as far as South Florida, probably the "warmer places" you are talking about. But you don't really need to be in a frost-free zone for storage, dry winterizing is adequate for those places that occasionally or rarely get below freezing.
Once you get south of Atlanta on the I-75 corridor, or south of D.C. on the I-95 corridor, frozen water road conditions are fairly rare, and you will not likely be driving on them, because the roads will be closed until the ice melts. North of Atlanta on the I-75 corridor, and on the Interstate highways crossing through the Appalachians, winter road conditions are more frequent but the are cleared quickly, because the states have the equipment to do the job.
Other issues, a one-month stay February in a South Florida RV resort may be pretty difficult to book, most winter visitors are there 3-5 months and February is at the peak of that season when the early folks and the late folks overlap, keeping parks full. You need to decide on a destination and make your reservations now, if you didn't do so sooner.
If you are thinking about South Texas, rather than South Florida, finding a place is not so critical, and storage anywhere south of Dallas would probably work out fine. Coming from a climate like Ottawa, you probably don't even need a place much warmer. Austin to San Antonio, and Texas Hill Country to the west, often are as warm in February as is July north of the Great Lakes, except for the occasional Arctic air mass pushing in from the Great Plains. The Texas Coastal Plain, from San Antonio east to the Gulf Coast, is more consistently warm through the winter, but more likely to see rain, including thunderstorms.
Depends on where they are coming from, where they are going, what arrangements at each end, and pace of travel.
Once he retired, my brother made his moves from south-central Michigan to North-central Florida right after Labor Day, usually returning before the Memorial Day weekend. He would usually fly back to Michigan for Christmas, and sometimes for Thanksgiving. before retiring, his Florida season was shorter, particularly when he was doing mostly income tax planning work. He was sticks and bricks at both ends, representing the great majority of snowbirds.
My RV snowbird cousin who is Summer sticks and bricks in a northern Michigan forest cabin starts his move south in October, taking 2-4 weeks enroute, with some time in the mountains of the mid-south and on the upper Gulf Coast before settling into his South Florida RV resort. South Florida is way too hot for a Michigander if you get there too early. He makes no winter holiday trips back to Michigan because his children and grandchildren are in Florida. His return to northern Michigan usually starts mid to late April, arriving around the beginning of May.
I meet a lot of RV snowbirds who make this leisurely trip, leaving the North before it gets too cold (happens sooner in Alberta than in Arkansas) and following the autumn weather zone as it shifts to the south. I meet them because I go RVing locally in October and November, which is when those guys have stopped here, because it is too cold back home, still too hot in South Texas, and hurricane season is not yet over on the Gulf Coast.
A lot more sticks and bricks snowbirds, however, wait until after the winter holidays to make a rapid trip south, particularly if coming from places that don't get really cold until late December or January.
It varies a lot for me, depending on time demands and whether or not I'm sightseeing. I try to move 200-400 miles per day, with a goal of pulling in and setting up camp before dark, early enough to do a camp supper rather than eating at a restaurant enroute. One consequence of that goal is that I might travel a lot farther per day when I have 14-16 hours of daylight vs 8-10 hours of daylight.
My longest RV day so far has been 600 miles from NE Oklahoma to Nashville, 14 hours travel time including stops, getting in at 10 PM. I won't be doing that again. Nashville has since then always involved at least one overnight stop somewhere so that no day is more then 400 miles.
I frequently go to south central or southeastern Michigan, 900 to 1050 miles. I've done that most often with one overnight stop, usually the first day being the longer day (in each direction), but only in summer time. When the days are shorter than 14 hours, it will be a three day trip, in 300 to 400 mile blocks with sightseeing along the way.
My shortest travel day so far (on road trips, not going camping locally) has been the 65 miles from Gunnison to Black Canyon, which was actually 9 hours from campsite to campsite, with about 5 hours moving the 120 actual miles including the side trips for mountain sightseeing (30 mph roads). That was the shortest mileage day, but longest in driving hours, of a three day, two night move from Canon City to Grand Junction.
So for a long vacation trip with limited time, think about long driving days for covering long distances, and when you get to interesting places, long sightseeing days covering short distances. You are likely to find interesting places on your long distance days, but just make note of those, because they can be destinations for a shorter trip (depending on your interests, there may actually be more interesting places to visit in the Midwest than in the far west bucket list destinations).
Once retired, with a schedule or time limits, you can mosey around the country traveling a few hours a day or even making every stop last a week or two or a couple of months.
If you've been managing it yourself, you need a property management company to take over in your absence. My experience, it is a job, depending on extent it can be a full-time job, and if you are not there to do it, the job doesn't take care of itself. It doesn't take long for tenants to trash your property, and even the best tenants have demands that need immediate attention.
Finding a good property manager? That's another question.
I'm not so sure about selling off. I would almost rather donate and take the tax write offs. But I'm in a really bad market, the bubble burst 30 years ago with an industry collapse, and again 10 years ago when the last big employer left town. I'm holding some properties with actual market value less than 1/5 of what the county assessor puts on them. Some things are just local, I know nothing about your market.
Whoever you choose. Yourself, RV shop, autobody repair shop, car dealer.
Last one I did, it was me. 2012 Honda Fit, BlueOx baseplate. It took me 10 hours work over three days on a concrete driveway in 100+ F weather (4th of July weekend). Took so long because I probably needed 4-6 drill bits to drill the two holes, rather than the one bit I had.
It is problematic. Some cars need a lot more disassembly than others. Body shops are pretty good about this part, but may have no baseplate fitting experience. RV shops may have more baseplate experience, but your car might be new to them. To help, both Roadmaster and BlueOx provide pretty good instructions as to the disassembly of your car, installation, and reassembly.
Service department of your car dealer is probably not a good idea. Some of these installations require doing things prohibited to auto dealerships, like permanently removing mandatory safety equipment (bumper bars, associated air bag triggers).
Preview the installation instructions before deciding. In my case, I looked at BlueOX and Roadmaster, chose BlueOx because it left Honda's bumper in place, although I had to drill two holes in the subframe and enlarge two more, and remount the bumper. The Roadmaster solution simple eliminated the front bumper and mounted towing brackets in its place, something I didn't find satisfactory. In both cases, about an hour's worth of work was removing and replacing cosmetic body parts covering the front end structures.