FWIW, my 92 Ranger XLT shortbed regular cab 3.0 V-6 five-speed was 3300 pounds on the scales, and my 2001 Ranger Edge regular cab 3.0 V-6 five-speed was just under 3500. The most I've carried in either was 600 pounds of roll-up dance floor, and that had the rear springs almost down to the stops.
On a Winnebago this would involve cutting the roof and sidewalls back to behind the cab, both of which are foam sandwich structures with interlocking aluminum perimeter frames.
What you end up with would be like the construction of the Aspect (B+ equivalent of MinnieWinnie) except that the Aspect is 6 1/2 inches narrower, so that cap won't fit. Since most B+ models are manufactured to eight-foot width or less, it might be difficult to find a cap to borrow, might have to mold your own.
haven't looked into it, but apparently Ford now offers the ambulance prep package with the V10.
Off topic, but .... exactly what is contained in Ford's E-series van ambulance package?
I've often wondered if it wouldn't be a good idea to order a new Class C to be built based on an E450 V10 chassis with the ambulance package. Would I be gaining some chassis or systems ruggedness or reliability advantages to help make for a better on-pavement and off-pavement drycamping rig?
With the ambulance prep package you would be better able to use the engine as your power source for electricity and air conditioning. The RV industry leans toward separate gensets to power add-on A/C.
You would likely still need some of the options in the RV prep package, like the frame pucks, but most of what is in that package just serves to make the cab nicer.
In the diesel days, the ambulance package included a second alternator. For the gas engines, Ford offers instead two larger alternators rated for heavier duty cycles, available in any E-series with 5.4 or 6.8 engines.
Passenger vans get the rear air conditioning, cargo vans and cutaways can get the take-off for rear air as an option. It is used not just for ambulances, as builders of smaller transit buses also sometimes use the engine-driven A/C system rather than installing add-on air conditioning and power sources for that.
I visit cities, mostly not in RV because either they are too big to have RV parks nearby, or I want to be in the middle of things and not have to drive, or the cities I visit are on the other side of an ocean.
Some of the places you list either aren't really all that big, or are extensive sprawl without much center, so you will find urban RV parks, but because of land values they may not be particularly cheap. I know where I've found, or friends have found, RV parks in St Louis, Kansas City, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Little Rock, Houston, Las Vegas et al. Many cities that size, however, lack rapid transit, so getting around is on the streets, by bus or private car, and if private car, parking is sometimes expensive.
Others will be more of a problem, but there are usually solutions. There is often something in a neighboring city (like Liberty Harbor in Jersey City for New York) or in a suburb (like Cherry Hill for D.C.) so you become a commuter to the city, rather than being there, which can be OK for a short visit.
You might just have to tackle your destinations one by one, gathering recent information on the next one before you leave the last.
I tend more to do the long-term room thing if staying for more than a few days, though seldom longer than a month at a time. If often found I can get something like a small suite, or a studio-size single room, for $1500 to $4000 a month depending on where, or about the price of 6-10 days worth of hotel room in a prized location.
Problem with a View for getting around the city will be knowing where it is legal to take a privately-operated vehicle that size, and parking. In many cities, you'll find space only in open lots (won't fit in a garage) and you might be paying for two or three spaces instead of one.
The low-middle range motels I most often use have plenty of space for parking big rigs. Much of their clientele are work crews, having big trucks pulling trailers and other equipment. Super8, Budget Inn, Sleep Inn, Econolodge for example. Motel 6, however, tends not to have this extra parking space.
If there is any mention of roomy parking space, it will be listed as truck parking, rather than RV parking.
As I go higher on the price scale, there tends not to be as much truck parking. I suspect per diem for these mobile work crews tends not to be generous enough to cover $90-150 per night motel rooms.
You could go I-55 to Jackson, US-49 to Hattiesburg, US-98 to Mobile, then I-10 to Jacksonville, and up I-96 the short distance to Jekyll Island. This adds about 280 miles to the trip.
But I'm not sure that going through Memphis is any better than going through Nashville, and have no idea how Jax compares to Atlanta, since I turn south just east of Tallahassee to get to my destination. I avoid Memphis by starting south at Little Rock on I-530/US-65, but that doesn't work for starting at St Louis.
The difference in mileage doesn't bother me much because I have stops to make on the Gulf Coast anyway, and no longer have reason to visit Nashville since my daughter moved away from there. When I was going through Nashville, I used I-65 to Montgomery, 231 to I-10, to get to Florida or southern Georgia.
Briley Parkway around the north side is one good way around Nashville, although the parkway is also crowded during rush. Last time I was there, it was freeway only as far as I-40, surface streets continue to I-24. Coming from the west and going south I-440 works OK some times of the day, but during rush hours it is badly overloaded and tends to get clogged around interchanges.
The smaller you are, the more places you can park, particularly public campgrounds. What length is critical will depend on where you are. Width when parked is also important too, because not every place has been designed to accommodate multiple slideout configurations popular today.
Most of my RVing has been in the midwest farm belt and on the Great Plains, a mix of commercial RV parks, COE facilties, and state parks. In the commercial parks, and the "improved" campground in public parks, "big" here does not become an issue until over 32-36 feet, e.g. that size you will fit into almost any site, though you might have to park a tow vehicle elsewhere.
But there are other campgrounds in the same parks where a lot of the sites are sized for tent campers, and if you want to fit into one with a RV, the site selection is limited and something around 16-24 feet might be the limit for those.
I come from Michigan, still visit several times a year, not often RVing, but I do go to the state parks. Some of the state park campgrounds are suited to modern RVs, at least to 36 feet if you don't have too many slideouts to fit between the trees. Others are sized from the the 50s and 60s, when almost everyone was tenting or in Pups and RVs not only rare but generally small, under 22 foot. Larger RVs pack into these campgrounds, but they are packed wall to wall. A space that will handle a 36-45 footer with 3-4 slideouts will be scarce, most likely immediately reserved by someone who knows about it.
I can't tell you about the west coast or eastern part of the country. I've been across southern Colorado and to the red rock country of the Colorado Plateau, and my experience there was a lot like on the plains, up to 30-32 feet generally not a problem at commercial parks, maybe more than half the space in public campgrounds also big enough. Much larger than 36 feet you will be looking for a few specials sites (often roadside pullthroughs) made to handle bigger rigs.
You will be getting up to a pretty large trailer if you want one that leaves enough empty space for a four-foot desk. It also might have a lot of furnishing you don't want or need. RVs are built with all of the space against walls used by some furnishing, and to create open space they use slideouts, putting the space in the middle of the room.
I suggest you look at RV layouts with the idea of what size has the furnishings you want, and another piece you don't want, that you can sacrifice to build a desk into the space. If I finally decide to full-time, my jackknife sofa will be coming out to install a workspace. Sofa is in an 8-foot, 30" deep slideout, so it would be room for a 2x7 desk, at least.
There are floor plans that include desk space, with a shallow built-in desk. My motorhome put a 18x30 inch desk/vanity in the bedrrom, and I've seen a larger desk inthe living room of an Airstream TT in the 26 to 32 foot range. Probably not as long as 4 feet, however.
Depending on budget, there are high-end manufacturers that custom build towable RVs, just as there are custom builders for motorhomes (Sportmobile, Winnebago Specialty Vehicles). A lot of custom builds are to your purpose, creating an office/workplace combined with a living space, or sometimes just the mobile office.
In towables, also look at toy-haulers. These often have a compact living area up front, garage and some convertable living space in the back. That can be as small as what is needed to haul a couple dirt bikes, on up to enough to carry a small car. I've watched a 34 Ford cabriolet roll out of a fifth wheel toy hauler.
Across the U.S. or Tennessee to Wisconsin?
These can be two different problems. While Greyhound runs the most cross-country main line routes, Trailways picks up others, not always overlapping, and much of the country is filled in only by regional carriers. So on some routes there is competition, on others only a single carrier. Except for the choice high traffic routes, if you are lucky enough to have found a bus company, it might be the only one.
So you put it together in pieces. If we want to start a trip here, it will be Jefferson Lines to Kansas City, transfer to a national carrier for travel to another hub, and maybe a local carrier to destination. My sister in laws kids are in Madison and Chicago, to get home to Detroit they try to gett a seat on Megabus, for the best deal on Chicago to Detroit, although the route is also covered by Greyhound and Amtrak.
My youngest daughter likes to travel on Amtrak, they will drive a couple hours to make a connection. But Amtrak isn't necessarily all by train, a lot of the places they serve are reached by motorcoach. Amtrak brand, third party carrier.
So you have to do it trip by trip, and I find it best to try to put it together myself. Just as with airlines, some carriers do interline using their partners, another will use other partners, and some will make no interline connections at all. If you call a major carrier, you will get the answer that works for them, another carrier will have a different answer.
Make sure to look for budget carriers like Megabus, they may have by far the best rates for the long legs, but just won't make the connections. Sometimes the savings is enough to make it worthwhile to do the 5-6 hour round trip to get the kids at the transportation hub. We did that to get them back home after thanksgiving, when there were no seats on more local connections.
If I ever move out of the sticks, it is going to be to a transportation hub, where I can get to airport and rail station on rapid transit or a reasonably short cab ride. Getting tired of starting my trips with a 4-6 hour drive to a hub or an hour drive to a feeder terminal where the "local" flight to a hub costs more than the international leg of the trip.
Are you going to want dual air conditioning?
The Ford wagon window vans have built in rear A/C and that is very helpful to the passengers in your humid area of the country! There are hundreds of E-350 vans out there, for sale. Manny are the cargo type, and will never come with rear A/C. It might be possible to install it, but expensive. Also the window vans come with good insulation too - both noise and heat insulation.
GM made a 8.1L gas engine for their 3500 vans for a few years. Not anymore. Depends on what you are towing, the 5.4L in the E-350 is a great engine, so is the 6.8L V10 - that is also used in the class C motorhomes with a 22,000 GCVWR.
The larger motorhome engines have much larger radiators, and a higher 362 HP engine, with a 26,000 (+/-) GCVWR. The E-350 vans only have a 2 valve per cylinder engine, smaller radiator, and only about a 300 HP engine rating.
Have fun camping!
Also note that the 5.4 V8 is down rated to 250-255 HP in the van, vs 300 in the pickup and maybe more in some SUVs, but the rating in the van is for 100% duty cycle. Similarly in the Chevy, you will find the 6.0 in the van rated lower than for the Escalade (Corvette 6.0 is a totally different engine). But again, rating in the van is for long term use of continous power, it is not a drag racing power peak power rating as for lighter duty applications.
My one-ton passenger van has a 3000 pound payload and a 6000 pound towing capacity with the mid-size V8. The limiting factor is GCWR rather than tongue weight, which is the problem with SUVs and 1/2 ton pickups with high tow ratings.
If you buy with the right engine (6.8 V10 on Ford, Duramax on Chevy) a one ton van might go to 10,000 pounds on the towing capacity, but as tongue weight might go up to 1500-2000 pounds, you then have to start thinking about balancing what you carry and tongue weight, to stay within that 3000 pounds. Just as you do for a one-ton pickup.
What do you mean 'upgrade?' Modifying something that didn't have a walk around bed?
A 7.5 wide can be built with a walk around, the room at the sides is a little less than with 8 foot wide. What more often determines whether or not there is a walkaround is whether the TT is long enough, with everything else in the floorplan, for a dedicated bedroom. I've seen this in TTs as small as 21-foot, when the only other space is a dinette across the aisle from a small kitcthen. Gulstream did this on an Amerilite, I think the model was something like 21MB; a couple in our RV club has one, they tow with a V6 Highlander.
Larger sizes, bedroom can be front or rear, there are other spaces. I've seen 7.5 wide lines go to about 26 foot long, some with small slideouts, like one for a sofa. Much larger, or models with large slideouts or multiple slideouts, you will more often find built 8 foot width, whatever the bedroom arrangements.
For 7.5 width you'll be looking at entry level lines, ultralights, or a few specialty lines like molded fiberglass trailers. Otherwise, 8' wide is the norm in towables and wider yet in motorized RVs. Some TT lines that used to be built consistently to 84" or 90" width are now including models built to the full 8 feet, so you have to be particular checking specifications, if full width is a problem for you.
You will find low carrying capacities particularly on "ultralight" towables. The designers shave parts sizes everywhere to keep weight down, frame and suspension is part of that. Also in that market, there is a tendency for the buyer to look at GVWR as the towing weight, thus GVWR has to be kept down to sell a trailer as lightweight.
Motorized RVs end up with low CCC simply because the manufacturer is building too big of an RV for the chassis. C's are kind of stuck with their 14,000-14,500 chassis, but even going up to 16,000-19,500 in a Super C, they would again build too big a house, sometimes to within 1000 pounds or less of chassis capacity. It happens again when they try to put 38 feet of house on a 26,000 diesel pusher chassis, rather than going up to the 33,000 chassis.
It is not unusual for RV manufacturers to sell parts to each other, when one has a manufacturing capabilities the others lack. Or they could be using the same third party supplier.
Practice follows that of the auto industry. In the late 50s and early 60s Chrysler was making seats and interior trim for AMC, and parts like steering gear, air conditioning and transmissions were bought from the same third parties or sold across corporate lines. Sometimes even engines were sold, Studebaker and AMC (and later Chrysler) buying engines from Chevrolet and Pontiac divisions of GM.
To bad they are not putting the Ecoboost in the T-350 for now. I think that most motorhome makers will be waiting on the more powerful V6.
If you look up the Ford Towing Guide, and look on page 21, you can find the Transit GCVWR - it is limited to only 12,000 with the 3.7L gas V6 or 13,500 with the inline 5 Diesel. They do not list the Ecoboost with a Transit cab and chassis. Why I have no idea why they will not put the best engine in the cab and chassis.
Ford so far has not used EcoBoost technology in any application where the engine ratings are expected to serve 100% duty cycle. Instead, medium duty trucks use different engine series, and where they overlap with 3/4 ton and 1-ton applications, the shared engines are down-rated from the pickup truck numbers, e.g. when the B-series Cummins is put in Class 6 and Class 7 cab-chassis.
Medium duty trucks use engines differently, sometimes running at full output all day, rather than only for acceleration and short grade climbs. Even in lighter duty applications, some turbocharged engines are computer managed to provide full output for short durations, then cutting back to sustainable outputs for engine preservation.
You are OK if those numbers are the actual temperatures. Just now for this part of the country, that is the "average" or "normal" temperature range for this time of year, i.e. the fat middle part of a statistical distribution.
But that "normal" doesn't mean the same thing in the middle of the country as it does near the coasts, where your temperatures are moderated by ocean heat sinks. Arctic air masses move down quickly, pushing temperatures on the plains and in the midwest well below "normal" and frosts well into central Texas and within 100 miles of the coast in the Gulf Coast states. At other times, we get masses of warm moist air that give use balmy winter days in the middle of the air mass, severe winter storms at the contact with the Arctic air (which in December is often as far south as Dallas).
The past few days, temperatures have been 15-30 F above "normal" which means we won't see freezing overnight. But we've already had temperatures 30 F below normal for a week at a time, which at this time of year means you might see lows close to 0 F and no highs above freezing.
So plan for the possibility, whether that means re-winterizing enroute, providing extra heating, or modifying your route or trip plan to stay in warmer areas.
With the last of the cable companies that once provided analog channels now going all-digital, providing or renting boxes is the easiest way for a CG to provide a cable TV connection. Most modern digital TVs have digital cable tuners (except maybe the cheapest ones) but not necessarily all the different digital technologies a cable company might use. Then, the cable provider might be scrambling, so that a box with the proper codes is needed, although sometimes a cable card will work for TVs that accept the cable card. But a box is easier for the park to keep track of, and gets around the extra work of installing the cable card in someone's TV and getting the cable company's server to recognize and activate the card/TV combination. All the boxes will have already been IDed.
Plumbers here will sometimes replace troublesome sections of galvanized with copper, if the sections are easy to get to. But the problem here is not corrosion and leaks, it is clogging with scale.
For a whole building solution today, I would replace with PEX, each line from a manifold. Most of the cost is likely going to be getting to the plumbing no matter what solution is chosen.