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Purchasing Motorhomes

Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,918
The crowd clamored, we responded. If putting gas into your motorhome hasn't eaten all the cash you'd otherwise spend on Internet access, post away!

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  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    We'll never see mark156 post anywhere else!

    I will admit to have given thought to purchasing a motor home down the road as an alternative to a second (vacation) home.

    The appeal is the freedom it offers; you can take your second home anywhere you want.

    But, is there an invoice price on these things? I've been to an RV dealership once and the list of options for these things is mind-boggling!
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 4,227
    Call me spoiled, but when I'm on vacation, I want someone else to keep the room clean and someone else to cook my meals. And in no case do I want to have to attach a hose to empty "grey water" and "black water" into some sort of receptacle. I guess I'm not one of the ones who "gets it."
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Thanks Kirstie....

    You guys should see the owners manual to a Motorhome (my rental unit was a 38 ft. 4 slide diesel unit; 300 hp). Every separate installed component has it's own manual (Leveling jacks, TV, DVD, VCR, satellite system, refrigerator, microwave, etc). The actual chassis manual is not all that large. In the unit I rented, I needed to refresh my memory on how to put the leveling jacks down and release the air in the airbags.

    There is a lever on or near the dash that will release the air in the suspension. Once the air is gone, you can hit the button to start the Atwood leveling system. The levelers come down slowly and once they hit the ground, the unit shakes a little as the computer finds the best position for the stands.

    Once you get the Motorhome positioned, you have your own Marriott suite to enjoy!

    Mark :D
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    My in-laws may hold the record for the long distance purchase of a motorhome.

    One December they drove from Columbus, Ohio, via Los Angeles, to Seattle to trade their dually pickup/Airstream trailer rig for a new (left-over) Airstream motorhome. Going out they made it to Seattle in a very impressive 5 days but then got caught in an ice storn right after they made the deal and it took longer for them to get back (just in time for Christmas).

    They kept that Airstream for about a decade before trading it to a SW Ohio dealer on another new Airstream. Amazingly, the folks who then bought their traded-in Airstream at the out of town store lived on my in-laws' block, right around the corner!
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    I didn't know Airstream made motorhomes. Do they have the same unique appearance that their trailers do?
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    It just so happens that my friends bought the last year model (2006) of the Airstream motorhome. Airstream has decided to get out of the A-class motorhome business and stick to the Travel Trailer business.

    The unit that my friends bought listed for $321,000... has three slides and is 37 ft. long. Very nice unit; also has a dishwasher in the kitchen!

    This unit looks very much like the other A-class units that are around... several tones of tan/brown in the paint job.... no aluminium. :shades:

    Airstream was also using the Sprinter chassis in their class C units and I'm not sure if they will keep making those or not.

    Mark :D
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,428
    I've always kinda liked motor homes. They're sort of the ultimate toy; endless combinations and things to worry about and plan for...

    In the end, though, I gotta ask. If you really have to take it all along, wouldn't it make more sense to stay home and just get the video?

    Who draws the line at a Sportsmobile Class B
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Mathis...In the end... if you are in control or your destiny and not worrying about tomorrow, then you can live the Motorhome life.

    Motorhome life is not a cheaper way to travel, it's just a "different" way to travel! And yes, you want to take everything along because you will never know what you will need! :P

    I look so forward to my next Motorhome trip. I spend at least two months planning the trip and reserving Motorhome parks that I want to stay in. Part of the fun is the adventure.

    Class B units are great but get "long in the tooth" right quick. You have to have room to spread out! Nothing like sitting under your awning having a cocktail watching nature (and other motorhomers). I have found that other Motorhome folks are so nice and friendly.

    On one of my stops near the Sequoia National Forest, I was backing my unit in the parking spot and several of the surrounding campers came over to watch me maneuver my 38 ft. behemoth in a small spot. It made me rather nervous with everyone watching but I made it OK. I barely had enough room to let out my four slides as trees were so close on either side. The Motorhome park knew I had a large unit but there didn't seem to be very many spots that would accomadate a unit such as mine but we managed. The water and electricty connections were easy to reach but the sewer connection was WAY too far way (maybe 20 ft), so I didn't connect to it just relying on my holding tanks.

    The satellite worked perfectly where ever we were and I also had a chance to catch up some DVD's that I've been wanting to see! :blush:

    Obviously, Motorhomeing is not for everyone, but it's good for those who appreciate it.

    Mark :D
  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    The only way I've ever thought about doing something like this would be to rent a conversion van or something like the Dodge Sprinter (is that what it is?) that was mentioned earlier. I could visualize a six weeks, maybe two month trip, and then give the thing back to the dealer or rental place.

    It has its appeal, staying in or near national parks and that kind of thing.

    I have generally been of the same school of thought as Corvette - let someone else pamper me while on vacation!

    And yet - some of my best trips when I was in my early 20's were camping trips. I'd kinda like to do that again, but sleeping in a van instead of on the ground.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,963
    We have owned two motorhomes and they were nothing more than a PITA.

    By the time you pay to insure them, store them, winterize them, constantly repair them, they are more trouble than they are worth!

    The short "good times" just aren't worth all of the expense and constant trouble.

    Just my not so humble opinion...
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    Sounds like a good argument for rental rather than ownership. Doesn't detract from the positive aspects of the 'motorhome vacation' experience though.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Isell, out of curiosity, which two units did you own?

    My brother and his wife own a 2005 36 ft. diesel motorhome. This is their second and they don't seem to have "constant" repairs (previous was a 2001 gas unit). They do have a Motorhome garage on the back of his regular garage so there are no storage fees.

    Mark :D
  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    Years ago, a family friend and her husband bought a motor home as their *only* home - sold (or maybe rented out) their land-based home and took off in their motor home. They were in their early 60's at the time. Lived in Arizona mostly during the winter, and drove around throughout the Midwest visiting friends and family during the sumer.

    I couldn't say the size; it wasn't huge but was enough to have all the basics: bed, kitchen space, shower/toilet, and living space.

    They lived like that for 4 or 5 years, as I recall. Kind of an intriguing way to live and got me thinking about "someday - maybe..."
  • jaserbjaserb Posts: 858
    We had two motorhomes as I was growing up, a 1984 27 ft. class C Suncrest bought new, replaced by a 1986 31 ft. Class A Winnebago Chieftain former Cruseamerica rental. After 5 years or so of the "motorhome experience" my main rememberance was that they broke - a lot - but with the A/C units, fridge, bathroom, TV, etc. they were pretty comfortable places to hang out while we waited for the tow truck.

    Unless you get a diesel pusher aren't these things basically built on a 1-ton chassis? So you basically get a vehicle that's constantly hauling around its max GVWR, which is understandably hard on the drivetrain. We spent a solid week of our vacation in Blythe, California having our transmission rebuilt one year. Not a fun time.

    Maybe it's a different experience with high end models (at 300k+ it BETTER be!) but sticking a motor on a single wide trailer and driving it cross country... No thanks. My dad still loves it, though.

  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    As one of the later posters said, Airstream just stopped making motorhomes. Not sure when they started but my in-laws' first one in the above story was a 34 or so foot 1989 model with aluminum skin and looked just like their classic trailers. I believe they were built on both a Chevy and a Ford chassis (and one or the other didn't work out too well). Sometime in the (late?) '90s they went to a more conventional (boxy, painted) design with a rear diesel.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Recently, I stayed at Orangeland RV park in the city of Orange, CA. I parked on the end of a row of motorhomes and next to me was a married couple that had been there for almost a year. This fellow had a Rolls Royce Silver Wraith (his fun car) parked under the awning and had a new Toyota SUV for a daily driver.

    I had a little trouble connecting my sewer hose and the guy came over to help me. Motorhome folks seem so nice and eager to help if needed. I asked the guy how long had he been "Motorhoming" and he said for a couple of years. I asked him where he called home and he told me that he didn't have a home as they were using the Motorhome full time. He said before "full-timing" they lived on a boat in Long Beach for 17 years. Wow, can you believe that? I guess they are used to living in rather small places (assuming he didn't have a yacht as large as Bill Gates business partner ...Paul Allen). :P

    Mark :D
  • biancarbiancar Posts: 913
    ...seems like a nice way to live. It takes a certain type, that's for sure.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    The idea of an Airstream motorhome that looked like the trailer fascinated me, so I went looking for a pic:


    I thought that was pretty cool until I found this:



    "Classic Airstream design, Chevrolet 454 gas engine, Diner style interior with booth seating for 12 and 3 tables, Galley with sink, ice bin and microwave, Inside and outside audio/PA system available, Rooftop LED sign, Onan 7kW genset, Honda 6 kW genset."

    An Airstream Motorhome Diner.......who'd a thunk it?
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    it would have to be a classic air stream like that and I would need a classic truck to pull it. I would probably put a modern drive train in the truck but a late 50's early 60s ford or chevy pick up would do nicely.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,963
    We had a 30 foot Overland class A.

    I'm trying to remember the other one...A class C 24 footer I think it was a Winnebago.

    I would much rather stay in a resort somewhere or take a cruise. When you add everything up, it just isn't worth it, at least for me!
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,548
    More than once in the past, I've toyed with the idea of a motorhome.

    I put this in the category with boats. Had one of them once. It only makes sense if you're a motorhome/boat type of person.

    You can't make a financial case for them.

    I'm with isell. While the allure of "go anywhere and stop anywhere" has its appeal, I'd much rather stay at a resort or go on a cruise. In either case, you get to go to luxurious/exotic locales and not be encumbered with driving/maintaining/equipping the motorhome. Just plop yourself down at the place of your choosing.

    Matter of fact, last cruise I took last year ended up costing about $150/person/day.....that included all the food (in abundance). About a month ago, I was in Vancouver (absolutely gorgeous city, BTW) for work. Extended it to include some personal time. Including hotel and food, it came in at about the same $150/day.

    I doubt I could even get the gas for the motorhome out of my driveway for $150/day.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Guys, don't confuse a motorhome home trip to replace other fun trips... you should do a little of everything. If I purchased a motorhome, I would use it to drive back and forth to my home in TN to my home in CA as I'm getting very frustrated with flying these days. It would allow me to take more interesting driving trips.

    I'm booked on two cruises next year and will also do another motorhome trip. I don't want to live every vacation in this thing, just have fun with it for about 6 two week excursions a year.

    If a person is just wanting to use a motorhome for the "yearly" vacation..... I wouldn't do it. It's too expensive for that.

    Mark :D
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Agree. A motorhome is like any other "toy" that can be purchased. Boat, snowmobile, motorcycle, second home or, in our case, a hot tub in the back yard.

    If purchased, it's something that's gotta get used. A lot.

    We had some friends who bought a fifth-wheel for camping. During the summer, they were out pretty much every weekend in it, cuz they felt that they 'had' to use it to get their money out of it.

    Which is why, even though the wife and I have talked about acquiring one down the road, we will think long and hard about the opportunity cost of purchase.

    Oh, and Mark? What exactly is it that you do that allows you to take 6 two week vacations each year? I'm hoping that you are retired, because otherwise, I want to get into your industry if 12 weeks of vacation is available.

  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 4,227
    Do you keep one daily driver at each home?

    Life seems to get quite complicated the more homes, cars, boats, RVs, and ex-spouses one accumulates! :D
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,963
    A cruise is, beyond a doubt, the biggest value out there!

    First class accomodations, wonderful food, entertainment and a constantly changing view.

    I guess I'm glad we had our motorhomes. We bought them both used and sold them without losing much.

    When I think of the storage costs, fuel costs, insurance, paying for hookups, messing with holding tanks, etc. I'm glad they are both long gone!

    Yeah, a lot like owning a boat. Been there too!
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Do you keep one daily driver at each home?

    I suppose it would depend on how far apart the homes are.

    For example, my wife and I have talked about acquiring a little cabin up in the mountains to go to on the weekends. As this would be within driving distance of our primary residence, there would be no reason to have a car up there.

    Now, if we decided to buy a vacation home in Arizona or Florida, then it becomes a matter of how often you are there. If it's just for weekends and you get there via plane, then I suppose a rental car would work.

    But, if you were in a position to live 6 months in one homea nd 6 months in the other and you fly between the two, then perhaps having a car at each home makes sense.

    When I was a kid, my dad owned a bass boat. Since he worked for the Fire Dept, he was off frequently during the week and so was up at the lake quite a bit, so I suppose he got his money's worth out of it.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,045
    BOAT stands for right?

    Break Out Another Thousand.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Michaell, yes, my job is very flexible, I'm an Accountant and dabble in a lot of different type of investments. I DO keep a car at each home, just makes more sense. As long as I can get a computer connection, I can do what I need to do whether I'm in my office or sitting in a 40' diesel pusher with 4 slides. :P

    Happy motorhoming to all!

    PS. And of course, they say the TWO happiest moments of owning a motorhome/boat/cabin is the day you buy it and the day you sell it! :cry:

    Mark :D
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,548
    I was lucky enough to find a buyer for my boat last year. This year, according to my "boat friends", the boat market is real soft.

    I had dual 454s in my boat. A fillup was $400. Good only for a weekend of boating on the OH river.

    This summer, without the boat, I'm amazed at all the free time I've got. In previous summers, I spent as much time maintaning and cleaning the boat as I did using it.

    I would imagine motorhomes being about the same.
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