It is up to you how much space you think you need. I know people full timing in 18-foot van conversions and the 17-foot model of the Casita. For both cases, their full time lifestyle is mobile.
I've met a man full-timing and work camping in a pop-up, 12-foot box. His lifestyle was not so mobile, rather seasonal moves between work locations.
Personally I would be more comfortable at 24-28 feet, for separation of living or working areas from sleeping areas. But that's old habit, I have friends of my generation (WW2 children) getting into the small house movement or moving into tiny urban apartments.
However, most of the full timers, and even the snowbirders, I know are living with 300 to 400 sq ft of space, e.g. 38-45 feet of motorcoach or 38+ in a fiver. Some of the snowbirders make their moves with an additional vehicle hauling a 24-30 foot utility trailer full of toys, or a substantial boat.
The space has to be adequate to your chosen lifestyle, or your lifestyle adjusted to the space.
New Horizons custom builds fifth wheel RVs in a range of sizes. They could probably build whatever you would like to design. I don't think anything in your requirements really requires a garage and loading ramp, which is what makes a toy hauler a toy hauler, except you did specify a ramp. But I suspect New Horizons price list is way over your cost expectations.
I understand the toy hauler recommendations because they come in a range of prices and have an empty space in addition to the house facilities (usually up front).
You might also consider motorized if constantly moving. Winnebago and Forest River both have divisions that do custom builds for non-RV applications (mobile offices, command posts, bookmobiles, mobile stores, medical facilities, etc). Any mix of storage, office and living space is feasible, provided the coach is sized to fit the need. Again, this is not cheap.
$10,000 today in the new RV market will not buy a small travel trailer. I suspect for a toy hauler large enough for your list of what you want, you'll be closer to $20K before going to somebody for customization.
I consider the Honda Fit I've set up for towing to be a car worth owning. Not loaded with expensive electronic toys, initial price is low, making it a goot value. With manual transmission it as much fun to drive as my little BMW 1600-2 was half a century ago, with same weight and power, and none of the mechanical flaws that made the Beemer such a pain to own.
It is essentially a SUV, micro-size. If you want a taller version, there is the HRV, if they offer it with manual transmission.
You will find parks like that, mostly ownership or membership, in the upper part of the lower peninsula of Michigan. Spaces are sometimes open for rental when a site owner decides not to return to Michigan during the summer.
Here too, as in the mountain West, summer is peak season and demandi is high, traffic coming from midwest industrial cities. Upper LP is summer destination for the wealthy of Detroit and Chicago, tradition going back to late 19th century when they got up there by train and boat.
Mine has a 1/2" drain on the fresh water tank, with a ball valve. I've seen others with 3/8 or 1/4 inch drains, sometimes ball valves, sometimes a valve like I usually see on a coffee urn. Some brands have a fresh water "command center" with 3 or 4 valves, there will be a valve configuration to drain.
Lacking any tank drain valves, you might pump out through a low point drain.
After getting a tank filled with bleach solution, I always run water out through each tap to get bleach solution into each line, because if the tank needs to be sanitized the water lines likely also need it.
I do all this with the water heater bypassed, as I drain and flush that after every trip, in any case.
If the literature doesn't say vacuum bonded, then it is likely that one or more production facilities is using presses and faster setting adhesives. High volume plants tend to use presses because volume is enough to cover the greater capital investment. Using vacuum bags requires less investment but more labor, and longer production cycles because of need to use slower setting adhesives and the additional time to bag and unbag each panel.
AFAIK, my travels since Katrina, US-90 was not wiped out, what was there is there, and most of the areas have continued to develop, at least the parts I visit in Mississippi.
What is interesting depends on what interests you. IDK Louisiana because I like to come down through Mississippi and go east to Florida, avoiding LA entirely. I-10 to US-41 or I-75 when in a hurry, US-90 and US-98 when I am not.
Are you breeding? All the fuss with Zika is because this virus is associated with birth defects. For the rest of us, in these warmer areas, the mosquitos carry other things more directly hazardous like West Nile, equine encephalitis, bird flu and malaria. Biting flies carry even more interesting diseases in warm and temperate climates.
Media is all over Zika because for young people the scariest thing they can think of is deformed babies. They aren't ready to think about what can kill them (like influenza, 30,000 to 50,000 a year, without biting insects).
I lived 2 years in Myrtle Beach about 50 years ago. It didn't but could get below freezing. Most of November-February it was too cold for the heat pump and we had to run resistance heating as emergency heat. Weather was mostly gray, and when wet, just cold rain but sometimes freezing rain. If the roads iced up, everything stopped until the weather warmed up.
Most of my work took me inland 50-100 miles, where it was often below freezing. Overcoat or lined trenchcoat over coat and tie was adequate for trips from car to a building. More time outdoors, I wore my Michigan winter gear.
My duties took me into three counties in N.C. They weren't much different from the six I worked in NE S.C., coastal and coastal plain.
N.C. has a lot more variation, actual coast, coastal plain, piedmont, Appalachian mountains have quite different climates. The mountains can get serious winter weather, though the worst of that is on the Tennessee side.
I'm from Michigan, would consider snowbirding there sticks and bricks (because I still like at least a little winter weather) but not in a RV which might be marginally insulated for the cold spells. If I didn't want to deal with winter weather, I'd be somewhere south of Savannah, and to stay above freezing most of the time, Fort Myers or beyond.
My daughter lived a couple years at Fayetteville, on the N.C. coastal plain, and it could get really cold. But she could drive to Wilmington, where temperatures were moderated by an ocean too big to freeze.
This is the tough part, because it depends on personal preferences.
I can do 2-3 days at Mackinac Island before I run out of things I want to do. I can go back a few years later and do it all again. Other people have seen all they want to see in a day, yet others go to the island for a week, two weeks, or the whole summer. If I'm going someplace for the whole summer, I want a little more to do, so maybe Chicago, NYC, Beijing, the whole of England, but not a little resort island.
The Door Peninsula has more to work with, if what you want to do is explore nature's wonders or what cultural features have been created for summer visitors. I have no direct experience with the Door Peninsula, only comparable environments like the Traverse City area of the NW Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Baraboo area of Wisconsin, Driftless area of SW Wisconsin, and the Marquette area of the Michigan Upper Peninsula. Any of these I can keep myself busy exploring. I'm a geologist, I explore the rocks and history of economic uses. I have botanist friends who study the plants, biologists looking for bugs and reptiles.
With what interests me, I could likely survive the whole summer in the NW corner of the Lower Peninsula (tens of thousands of families have been doing it for more than a century) but I'd be lost after a week on Mackinac Island unless I connected with some really interesting people.
But not eveyone has such interests. I have a sister who is happy sitting quietly for a week on a beach, before ready to go back home. Another sister needs amusement parks and theme parks, or someplace whete she can zipline a couple miles of treetops, or jump out of a perfectly running airplane for the thrill of falling a mile before opening her parachute.
So what turns you on. History? Exploring? Studying nature? Roller coasters? Theme parks? Chilling on the beach with a not very good but easy to read best seller? Or jumping out of airplanes?
I've not been in cabins at Natioal Parks except for the shelters on hiking trails, where you carry in everything you need.
Oklahima State Parks have varied cabin facilities at different prices. 50 parks have some type of cabin offering, at least rustic. For those, a sleeping platform where you roll out your bedding, a cold water sink and counter, a lighting and a couple of utility outlets. Maybe climate control, maybe not, except for windows that open. They work up from there, depending on park, a varous prices, but none that I know of provide kitchen and food service utensils. I've had that sort cabin of facility at commercial family resorts, but not at public parks.
I've had more experience with group camping facilities, which usually have two or more bunkrooms with military type cots, equpped kitchens, restrooms for one or two genders, but not always showers.
If planning to travel using park cabins or shelters, without knowing what is at each stop, I would be equipped for independent tent camping, just not carrying the tent.
Almost half the original value depreciates in the first five to eight years, so the older you buy the closer you get to value depends on condition only.
Pathfinders were base level models for rental markets. Mirada is an entry level coach for the consumer market. Choices of materials, fixtures, finishes are all in the direction of minimizing construction cost for low price point. While there were Beavers at different price points, mostly tied to chassis capacity, there never was a Beaver built down to entry level represented by the particular gassers you are looking at.
If I wanted something as big and powerful as the Beaver, I would pick the older Beaver over any entry level gasser on a chassis with 1/2 to 2/3 the capacity. Whether Beaver was building them, or it was Monoco Corp after they acquired the Beaver brand, all are heads and tails above Coachmen entry level gassers.
But of course, it also depends on condition. If the Beaver is now a wreck, differences in initial quality don't matter until you figure out the additional cost of repairing the wreck.
Which way are you coming from and what do you prefer? From the south, it is best to stay at one of the parks around Mackinaw City, from the west around St Ignace. Looking at 30 miles out from the ferry docks, you will find state park and RV park options on both sides of the bridge, and State Forest and National Forest campgrounds on the north side.
If you don't want to drive to the docks, on both sides you will find at least one commercial RV park within bicycling distance of the ferry, and as AFAIK the ferries still carry the bikes no charge. You'll use them to get around the island, save yourself the rental fee and have a bike you know fits your body. Tiki RV Park is close to the St Ignace docks, Mackinaw City KOA to the Mackinaw City docks.
I can't recommend any RV park specifically, as I visit one of two other ways.
For a day trip when RVing, I'll do it passing through the area, usually coming from the west. I'll stay at one of the public campgrounds along the Lake Michigan shore, sometimes as far west as Manistique (Indian Lake SP), closest is a state forest campground (not RV park) on Little Brevort Lake, other state forest campgrounds further out.
My other way of visiting is a 2-3 night stay on the island, and for that I don't RV, rather I'll drive from Lansing or the Detroit area where I've been staying with family, and park at St Ignace.
What I won't do is stay 2-3 days off the island and commute by ferry every day. The relaxed experience of living on the island is just too much to give up.
For future reference, that vibration is a tread separating. I've had tread separations (three on one vehicle, one hot weather trip) and they usually start getting out of round enough to feel when the height of the bubble is as little as 1/4 inch. This is often long before a big chunk of tread lets go.
My experience also is that these are not blowouts. First the tread separates and flies off, and if you keep going long enough (as truckers might do on a trailer tire) the tire body then collapses from running without a tread.
Blowouts on modern radial tires are usually zipper failures in a sidewall, and those give no warning at all.
There are high pressure (up to 80 PSI) rubber valve stems adequate for normal loads on this class of truck chassis, and the factory usually installs them OEM. That's not the same stem used for a car or a truck with passenger car tires. The tire store should know the difference.
The high pressure rubber stems should not be used with any type of extension, or accessories like screw-on pressure measuring equipment. These are actually metal stems surrounded by a rubber body, and if allowed to flex, you will have fatigue failures on the metal part (which was not a problem with passenger car rubber stems).
If you are going to use extensions, install short stainless steel stems. If you want the best solution and do not change tire positions, get long metal stems fitted to the application. Even these, at least the inner dually stems, should be supported at the outer ends, a good kit includes that supporting hardware or grommet. If long metal stems flex, they'll eventually fail from fatigue.
The normal size of 33 gallons for G-series chassis of that era means stopping at least every four hours. At highway speeds of 55-70 mph you'll be using 7 to 8.5 gallons per hour.
Larger fuel tanks did not show up in G cutaway until it was totally redesigned as the Express/Savannah with separate body and frame. Tank location changed to meet evolving Federal safety standards, so it is probably not something to retrofit.
There was a larger tank offered for the G-series bare rail chassis, built for panel vans and smaller type-A motorhomes. I don't know if the tank location is the same, or if your chassis might have room to fit the larger tank.
Used to put a 200 pound 14 foot aluminum boat onto the top of a Suburban by leaning the bow of it on the rear rack and pushing. I'm only 5'5" so I needed to climb on a milk crate to deal with tie downs. Spacing of roof racks, location of rear rack are critical if you want to do one man loading.
Kind of how campnfamily describes it, though I had to do it all from rear and sides of vehicle, no bed to climb into.
But that was almost 50 years ago, don't do that stuff today, though I'm pretty sure I could still get your canoe onto racks on the top of my van.
Somebody used to make a swinging arm device for a trailer ball to load boats to the racks atop a vehicle. I bet somebody still does.
Yes. And boats, golf carts, fishing gear, service bays in the auto shop, tools in wood shop, campsites at recreational facilities and so on. Army, Navy and Marines too. All part of recreational services programs supported by non-appropriated funds, i.e. Exchange Service profits. No tax dollars involved.
Since you asked, they probably won't rent to you. If you were eligible, you would have known, not needed to ask.
Some part of every cross-country Interstate needs repair, some part is currently being repaired or completely rebuilt, some part has been recently rebuilt and is real nice. Some places are a pain no matter what the conditions. There is a federal information site that is kept up to date with respect to construction projects and emergency closures on the National Highway System, but it doesn't tell you where the road might be rougher than you'd like.
The Federal site links to state information sites, since the states are responsible for projects. It will not usually have really short term closures, like cleaning up after a wreck, closing a road as a crime scene, or when a tornadic storm closes a section of highway for a few hours.
I know Amarillo to Nashville. Most of the areas I knew about being repaired have been finished since I was last through a couple years ago. Eastern Arkansas had a 20 mile rough spot that was rebuilt from a new base (the road was being undermined in a flood plain); that took more than two years of detouring, but now it is done.
From western I-55 junction and on into Memphis is still a mess with construction. The junctions where I-40 and I-55 run together are a mess because of traffic volume even when there is no construction. It is a merge of two Interstates that are already bumper to bumper.
Coming from southern California I would consider I-10 to I-20 to I-30 working a shallow diagonal route to Little Rock, then I-40 to Memphis. That is a lower altitude, lower pass route across the Rockies. Another option is to stay on I-20 into Mississippi and take the Natchez Trace Parkway from where it crossed I-20 on up into Nashville. Depends on time, because the Parkway is a slow trip.
A whole lot depends on what you might like to see along the way. I-40 is the more "scenic" route, being the traditional tourist route from Midwest to SoCal.
To avoid Dallas/Fort Worth hang a right at Shreveport, take US-71 to Texarkana, US-82 to Paris, then US-271 to the Indian Nation Turnpike which ends at I-40. I-40 to Amarillo.
Alternatively, I-20 to US-271, then US-271 to Paris and the turnpike.
Unless you have some reason for going to Dallas.