I can understand Newmar re-rating a 21,000 pound axle to 20,000 pounds, to stay within DOT maximum per axle ratings for the Interstate highway system. That's a licensing matter, more than physical capability.
I'm not sure how Newmar would up-rate a 19,000 axle to 20,000.
Mid-size, it would be 4WD Colorado (but not predecessor S10/S-15, which were compact). Some 4WD Dakota models were towable, those that had dual-range transfer cases with a neutral selection.
Compact, it would be manual transmission Ford Ranger (and Mazda clone), late 1990s to the end of Ranger production. 2WD, 4WD, it didn't matter, the M5OD transmission itself was OK for a couple hundred miles before needing to be spun in neutral to splash lube around. I towed a 2001 Ranger for several years, mileage limitations not an issue because I was towing it 20 to 50 miles at most.
Nissan Frontier manual transmissions were also OK, but I don't know the model year range.
Toyota says "NO" but I know folks who had no problems pulling their old (pre-Tacoma) manual transmission Toyota pickups 20 to 100 miles at a stretch. Here we are talking about 20-30 year old trucks with 100,000 to 200,000 miles on them, nobody worried about whether or not Toyota will warranty this use.
I think Texas has a great state park system, and the fees are what make this possible. I live in a state where most of the parks are free of admission fees, and camping fees are low, but the parks tend to be more primitive and less well managed.
I don't understand comments about non-resident fees. My experience is that the fees in Texas are same for residents and non-residents, unlike some states where only residents can buy annual passes, or there is a huge price difference in fees (as in Michigan where the non-resident daily pass is almost as expensive as the resident annual pass).
etrailer.com for prices on new equipment. Then look for it used at half price or less.
Saturn S-series baseplate or towing brackets will be $300 to $450 new depending on brand and model. This part is a necessity. Used baseplates are hard to find, proper installation is usually meant to be permanent. It is probably easier to find a Saturn S with brackets installed than it is to find the brackets used.
Rigid towbars range from just over $100 to $400 or more. If you get Roadmaster towing brackets instead of a baseplate because the brackets were $100 less, then you will pay about $100 more for a Roadmaster towbar, which includes the crossbar necessary to make the brackets a proper baseplate.
If you want an extensible motorhome-mounted towbar for easy hookup, expect to pay $600 to $1000 for the tow bar (prices new). When I was shopping, I bought an $800 towbar slightly used for $400. Because it happened to be Blue OX, this meant buying a Blue OX baseplate, about $400 new for my Honda Fit.
Towed vehicle braking systems add $400 to $1500 to the parts cost, cable-pull surge brake solutions at the lower end of the scale, permanently-installed active braking at the top prices, pedal-pushing boxes around $800-1200.
Lighting solutions vary as well. I paid about $30 for a set of magnetic lights, high-end products are as much as $250. A lighting kit to hook up and use your existing vehicle lights might be $50 to $150 for the kit, before installation.
Installation is a big part, probably more than half, of the estimated cost you are seeing from RV dealers. Baseplates can require a lot of labor, much of it removal and replacement of body parts on the towed vehicle. I did my own baseplate installation, it took me 10 hours spread over two days to do the job alone in my driveway over a July weekend. The dealer wanted $300 for installation, if I had it to do over again I would pay him. Permanent lighting solutions can be expensive on installation, as can low-cost surge brakes or permanently installed brakes. Solutions you have to install yourself every time you tow will have lower, maybe zero, up front installation costs.
You could probably be ready to tow, without a braking solution, for under $1000 dollars, with the least expensive parts, if you can do the baseplate installation yourself. This might require buying a couple hundred dollars worth of tools for one-time use, particularly drill bits you will wear out.
The dealers are giving you the price of a complete "luxury" solution, the one that provides the most convenience and least work each time you tow.
Firefox is my first choice on Windows and Linux platforms, Safari on OS=X and iOS. I use Chrome on Windows and OS-X when I want to ChromeCast, and for access to a few Google applications where I am using Chrome-specific plug-ins or extensions.
Everytime I open a browser on my Windows 10 machine, Microsoft reminds me I should be using Edge.
Firefox is my first choice from 20+ years experience using browser of common heritage with Mozilla. Inertia keeps me there. But also, this is their only business. I don't want to get hooked on Chrome because Google has a history of discontinuing or replacing products and services (mostly acquired from outside developers) after a short market life.
Chrome is fairly lightweight, with respect to computer resources used, and is not a bad choice if it is supported on all the different platforms you use.
Chevy 454 and Ford 460 are both well proven engine cores, it is not a mistake to go with an engine built on either one.
If the problem is only a blown head gasket (rare in modern engines) the $18,000 estimate means "we don't want to do the job." You are talking about an under $100 part (and at most another few hundred dollars worth of gaskets, hoses and fasteners for everything that needs to be removed and replaced) and a couple of days worth of labor. Labor depends on engine access.
However, if the blown head gasket means more serious engine damage, a remove, rebuild and replace for a big-block V8 in a Class A gas motorhome should still be a lot less than $18,000. But it could still be a lot more than your motorhome is worth.
In Win 10 I found the setting with right click on the screen, personalization, lock screen, screen timeout settings.
I am sure there are other paths to get there. I expected to find in with right click on the screen, display. That's a dead end.
You are getting into the power management dialogue, which no longer leads to screen timeouts.
Gas motorhomes in the 1980s will usually have Ford/John Deere or Chevy (P-30 series) chassis with 460 V8 and C6 automatic on the Ford, 454 V8 and TH475 automatic on the Chevy. These are three-speeds.
In the era before electronic controls, these drivetrains can be matched up with a Gear Vendors over/under drive, for about $3200 - $3600 plus installation. Best use of the combination might involve re-gearing the final drive to optimize 3+overdrive for your load and cruise speed (for some loads, particularly towing, overdrive can be too tall).
For something that cost $7000-8000 to start with, I think the additional cost of the overdrive would best be used to get something new enough to have the more modern fuel injected versions of these big V8s, combined with 4-speed overdrive automatics.
The added cost of the overdrive might even put the budget into the late 90s, early 2000 era, when GM offered the more powerful and economical Vortec engines with electronically controlled automatics, and Ford had made the transition to the Triton V-10.
27 feet usually gets you a bedroom and either dinette or sofa. 30-32 feet gets you a bedroom and dinette and sofa and maybe an easy chair or bigger kitchen or bathroom. You will not find much difference in getting around, finding parking, 27 vs 30 feet.
For concerns about gas mileage, weigh whatever additional cost for overdrive against how far you intend to drive and MPG improvements. I used about $10,000 worth of gas to move my 29-foot motorhome 30,000 miles. That was 8.2 MPG average, most of it in the $3 - $4 per gallon era. A 2 MPG improvement would have saved me about $2000 over that time, not quite halfway to paying for a Gear Vendors installation. Payout would need something like 60,000 to 100,000 miles of driving. I can get the 2 MPG improvement by slowing down 10-15 MPH.
Now that I'm using the motorhome mostly for short trips to the lake, I don't worry about MPG for those trips. I do my travel camping in a full-size van, 15-16 MPG, essentially what you can expect from a 1990s or later B (older ones might be more like 12-13).
I'm not sure about 2002, but when I was shopping in 2004-2006 Fleetwood was touting TPO on their Tioga/Jamboree roofs as a superior fabric.
I don't think EPDM roofing was bonded to other materials in RV applications. TPO was sometimes fabric backed.
You haven't really talked about what you do. If it involves moving around continuously, staying on highways, a B (van conversion) can work, and since it need not be any larger than a full size SUV (sizes range from under 19 to 25 feet) it might be parked in places that have large vehicle restrictions, though it might be trickier if you have to deal with commercial vehicle restrictions.
Truck camper works better, on an appropriate truck, if you want to go off road or use wilderness roads. A small camper on a tall 4x4 pickup retains most of its ground clearance, while a B typically has less ground clearance than the original commercial van, because of the RV stuff that gets hung off the frame under the floor. Not all designs, but typical.
If you spend a lot of time living in it, a small A or C motorhome might be more comfortable than a camper van or truck camper. This depends on how many people and how much space each needs, and how you feel about daily conversion of multiple-use spaces.
You might check all your rules (HOA as well as city codes) on RV parking, because there might be more to the restrictions than length. My city has length and height limits defining what can be parked in a driveway and what needs to be hidden behind the house.
For long-term camping I have a 29 foot C that I keep in storage. For traveling, and as a base for tent camping, I have a 12 passenger van from which I've pulled seats and done some minor conversion. As a passenger van of that size, the city code treats it the same as a large SUV, though it is about a half foot taller than a 4WD Suburban.
Pittsburgh is a pretty good starting point. From there your two-day travel time and 600-700 mile Myrtle Beach distance could take you to:
Almost anywhere in New England or Upstate New York, but particularly the Adirondacks or White Mountains.
Anywhere in Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula, which has hundreds of destinations that fit description of what you say you like.
Nashville, with nice public campgrounds outside the city, decent RV parks on Music City Row, and a town full of historic and musical attractions. Or stretching the distance, Memphis, which might not be quite as gentile, but Elvis was there.
Atlanta, Chicago, or St Louis, if you are inclined to visit cities. NYC, DC and Boston are also within reach, but are not so easy as RV destinations.
The southern Appalachians, either the natural beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or the commercial attractions at Gatlinburg or Dollywood, depending on your inclinations. You might not be up to the climb to Clingman's Dome.
Branson area of Missouri-Arkansas might be another day of driving. The attractions are sort of a hillbilly Disneyworld or family-friendly Las Vegas. From Pittsburgh, however, Dollywood is a start on the same theme, closer to home.
A motorhome on the F-53 chassis might have a towing capacity as high as 10,000 pounds or as little as 4,000 pounds. It depends on the size of the motorhome, as smaller ones leave more of a basic 26,000 GCWR available for towing.
Ford and Chevrolet truck dealers are easier to find than Mercedes-Benz truck dealers, though some Freightliner dealers help fill in the gap. With the realignment of franchises under FCA, I'm no longer sure what is the status of dealer support for medium truck chassis under the RAM brands, although in rural areas I'm finding most dealers sell and service Chrysler, Dodge and RAM passenger vehicles and light trucks.
Mercedes-Benz parts, even service parts and special lubricants, tend to be more expensive than domestic models.
Both parks are huge. You need a vehicle to get around. A shuttle to the gate would not be of much use.
Parking at the most popular stops, in Arches particularly, can be problematic at the busiest times of day at the busier times of the year. In October 2007, I found a few stops where there was no parking for anything larger than a motorcycle at mid-day, but there was plenty of space early morning and approaching sunset.
You have to work out adjustments for inflation.
In the early 1960s I could buy a new Rambler American for $1500 but what I actually bought was a slightly used Renault 8 for $650. A good working wage was $100 a week, my military salary was $330 a month, gas was 20 cents a gallon and cigarettes 35 cents a pack (17 cents if I bought them in North Carolina).
My second car was a $2400 BMW (same salary, I had to finance) and the third a $3200 Audi. By 1980 my new Chevy Citation was $7000 but I was making $3000 a month. $3000 a month today is "poverty level" although there are still places where $5 is considered a good wage, but those people don't buy cars.
It's not that bad today if you are modest about what you buy. My 2012 Honda Fit was $12,000 new (and functionally comparable to the 1968 BMW) and not to long ago I got a slightly used one-ton van (19,000 miles) for just over $20,000. The price of a E-150 with all the trimmings was $42,000, almost half the price being electronic tech and upgraded trim.
Folks paying high prices for trucks and SUVs are mostly buying electronic tech that was not available at any price 50 years ago.
I have always done it alone and I have a rigid (no adjustment) tow bar. I use 2 magnetic, extendable, rods with a ball on top. Just drive forward until the balls touch and hook it up. Pretty easy and simple. They are available from RV dealers.
But how do you hold the tow bar out in front the toad so you can line up? That part was the one I struggled with for a fixed tow bar.
I started with a fixed length tow bar, used chains hooked into eye-bolts I put in the bumper to hold it slightly above level. I eventually got an extensible tow bar to replace it.
Tow bar brand doesn't matter, type or which model within a brand does matter. You want an extensible towbar, rather than a rigid one, so that you get within range of extensibility rather than trying to move the towed vehicle to match up a connection within an inch or so.
You also need to work out your own procedures, which might be different for grades vs level ground. This mostly has to do with when to set a parking brake, when to release it, and takes some running back and forth if doing it all single. Basically, your towed vehicle needs to be free to tow it, sometimes to extend and lock the bar, but you don't want it free to move when you are standing between the RV and the toad. One thing I've found sometimes unhooking, I need the toad free to move in order to unlock the towbar arms, but want the parking brake on before I pull the pins.
Solo with a tow dolly is also doable, because you deal with hooking up the dolly when it is empty and presumably light enough to manhandle, and toad goes on and off the dolly only when it is hooked up and stabilized by the motorhome.
I'm using a Blue Ox Aladdin, the aluminum construction helps keep weight down for handling the equipment off the RV, 7500 pound capacity is adequate for my 2600 pound toad. Ready-Brute is in the same class with integrated braking available, Roadmaster's Sterling All-Terrain is equivalent, because while not aluminum, it has the equivalent capacity and is still lightweight. Roadmaster offers lighter capacities (Falcon) and heavier (Blackhawk) in their all-terrain lines (lever operated rather than push button).
Main reason for the Aladdin was a local RV dealer had one used, almost new, for about half price. If it had been a Falcon with the same deal, I probably would have bought that. My first tow was under 4000 pounds, and they've gotten smaller since.
It depends on the local market and the dealer. Something between 20 and 30% below MSRP is often negotiable, for brands sold through dealers.
For direct sales from a factory, the price is sometimes negotiable for what might be in stock, but not always negotiable for built to order, but when there are no dealers MSRP doesn't really have a meaning.
Look at prices offered by discount outlets like RV Direct, use that as a bargaining goal with working with dealers selling the same thing.