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Post Info TOPIC: The Ultimate Newbies!


RV-Dreams Community Member

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The Ultimate Newbies!


Ok, so me and my husband have decided to become full-timers! We are hoping to become full-timers a year from now, we have to get a lot in order first. So here we go...

We have NEVER owned an RV of any sort but have been camping in them when we were kids. I do TONS of research before we get into anything so I'm trying but there's not a lot on full-timing for VERY newbies. 

Our concern is getting a good USED class A motorhome to start our ventures. We've looked at certain ones and like the Tiffin, Allegros and Winnebagos. We're wanting an older model, somewhere around 1975-1995 (I know big difference, but it gives us options), I'd pefer an 80's model. We mainly want a very good RELIABLE model/maker, we expect to put some initial work into the RV to get it full-time ready. We want an older one that we can customize the inside (hippie/gypsy it out!), one that fits our personality but will also get us where we need to go and not breakdown every couple hundred miles. Our goals are to go all over the US and Alaska and some of Canada, we have to time limit but are starting with a year and going from there.

My husband is good at construction, plumbing, some electrical and minor mechanical (he changes the oil in his Dodge Dually). He's going to get with his friend (a mechanic) to teach him more over the next year so we'll be prepared if something does happen.

It will be just me & him and our 2 dogs. We are in our late 20's and are nervous about finding the RIGHT OLDER model motorhome for us. Any, and I mean any help/info will be greatly appreciated. Also, we are selling everthing: the house, farm & animals, boat, some vehicles and construction equipment and trailers. We are just going to see how we like full-timing and will go from there, if we find somewhere wonderful to raise kids then wemight settle back down. I'm expecting us to greatly enjoy and never stop! I'm a photographer, artist and blogger and he's in construction and welding, so if we need extra $$ we can work jobs here and there.

So any advice on first-time full-timing, older model class A motorhomes, remodeling interiors, beginning our journey, traveling with dogs, and not knowing anything about RVs and becoming full-timers would be SOOOO extremely helpful!

Thanks in advance!!!!!!!

Siera & Jake



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P.S. We will be traveling A LOT! Moving constantly, we want to see everything every state has to offer. So lots of hiking, kayaking, bicycling and sight-seeing. We probably won't sit anywhere for over a week or 2 but like I said we have no game plan, just take everyday as it comes.

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Welcome, we were full-timers in our 40s and may do it again in our extremely senior years (however many we may have left) in a vintage 5th wheel. There's a ton of info on this site and I would also suggest checking blogs. Technomadia is a good source, they converted an older Class A to suit their work requirements. We always found jobs while we were traveling, it's not so easy in this economy but it's doable, particularly with your husband's skills. We wish you the best.

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Dyana L. Smiley


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Welcome, there is a lot of info here. I will tell you that we decided to go full timing years ago. Just started this year. If you can do,go to one of the dream rallys. They are great & info packed. Good luck on your journey.

Kenny & frances

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Welcome. Your biggest issue will be finding an older Class A in great shape to handle the aggressive travel plans that you have and something from the 80's, well, I would tend to look more into the 90's. If you were looking for a bus rather than a standard Class A, you would have a lot more flexibility. Always keep in mind that with motor homes, lower mileage isn't necessarily good because sitting and not being used is harder on an engine. With an older motor home, you'll want to understand the cost of replacing the appliances and other systems should that be an issue. In older engines, there are a lot of considerations. You'll want a larger sum of cash stashed for repairs. Before you purchase, you'll want an RV tech with experience to go over the unit inch by inch and also the engine. In order to avoid breakdowns, you'll need to bring it up to standards and keep up with your maintenance. It can be done and there is a chance you might find something really great but older units can be quirky and quirky is expensive. Also be aware that there are a few RV parks that have rules on age of coach, usually not enforced but it does allow them to turn RVs away that are older than 10 years at their discretion. When it comes to dogs, depending on size and breed, there could be issues. Will you be setting up to boondock?

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Cathy, Alfred, Andrew & Rinnie/Yellow Dog/Sparky

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A motorhome from the 80s woories me. The 80s were not a great decade for the American automotive industry; powertrain technology was still pretty ancient (carburators for most of the decade, throttle-body injection for the rest) and transmissions were mostly old 3 speeds left over from the 60s.

I'm sure you have your reasons for wanting an older motorhome, but I'm going to ask the question anyway. You state your husband has a Dodge dually. If the truck is worthy, why not use it, something you already have and know, to pull a travel trailer or fith wheel?

Best of luck on your journeys. Hope to see you on the road next year.

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Adam and Karen Lawler Author: "Barely Retired"...a risque mystery novel. 2004 Dutchmen 30RL Travel Trailer 2011 Chevy 2500HD 6.0 liter gas


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Thanks for all the info! We are open to 5th wheels or travel trailers but prefer a class a motorhome. His truck is very large and goes through diesel fuel very quickly and has lots of miles on it, plus his doesn't want to just haul for his very long vacation. Our 2 dogs will definitely be going everywhere with us, one is a pitbull/rottweiler mix (90lbs) & the other a pug/Boston terrier mix (20 lbs). Both are friendly & mind very will but the pit/rott is protective, they are also both over 8 yrs old. We don't have kids yet so this is our 'lets see everything before the kids come' adventure and may continue even with kids. We do plan on boondocking a lot. We will also have a mechanic to go with us once we are ready to purchase. We don't anyone who knows anything about RVs unfortunately but if we find someone they will be going as well. I was really wanting a vintage class a for looks and since I'm a hippie at heart it fits my personality but my husband was concerned about the engine & repairs. So I've been looking more at 90s models. I just don't want anything too new because we are going to make the inside our own. I wish RV parks weren't so finicky about who wants to stay, hope we won't be judged but our RV. We are good people and just want something to fit our peaceful & earth-loving personalities. We don't want to throw too much money at this, I would like to find a class A for under $12k and put around $2-3k into it (mechanical & interior). Once we sell everything else we will be living off of that money.

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People have discouraged us on every thing we have chosen to do as a couple for over 30 years so I won't try to discourage you and I think you can put something together. Your budget is low and while you may see units for $12,000, you are probably looking at some serious work inside and out, much more than your budget for fixing/improving. If you could spend a little more and dedicate more to the purchase of a tow vehicle, a TT or 5th wheel would not run that high especially vintage and there is a wealth of info on vintage online as it is "in" right now, find a website and you'll love the photos! The dogs? Rott/Pit at 90 lbs and protective means you need to do some work and training with the dog especially if "protective" looks like "aggressive". In the last county we lived in, pitt bull and pitt bull mixes were not allowed - understand Breed Specific Legislation. Our dogs are both 9+, chow mix which will run us into the most trouble is gentle but those termed "aggressive" breeds and mixes can be a problem. I just think the ability to boondock is essential. Avoiding private campgrounds/RV parks will go a long way in you being able to do this. You may need to work more than you want to but at least you'll be able to do it in beautiful places! I just always tell myself that nothing worth doing is going to be easy.

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Cathy, Alfred, Andrew & Rinnie/Yellow Dog/Sparky

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Class A for 12k? and traveling everywhere.. with 2 dogs ?

I'm the direct.. ( some say rude guy)

I think you need to do much more research.

I have a new truck.. pulling a newer cargo, and just broke down.. if not for a warranty I have, repairs and expenses would be in the 7k range..

That said..We found a 94 holiday rambler with 20k on it ..in our first adventure 8 years ago.. It did get around the us.. not without issue though. we paid 14k for it.. and sold it for 16k .. We did have a little money to fall back on if needed.. If we didn't I would not have risked it.


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More resources online are http://www.hitchitch.com/, with lots of RV travel journals and youtube, with lots of videos of people RVing with older RVs.  Unfortunately many of the best video makers on youtube have been plagued with trolls that complicate their life and have disabled comments or taken other action to keep their sanity.  That makes it harder to ask them questions.  (If you don't know what a "troll" is, do a websearch on "internet troll".)

You will find that these RVers are having to deal with repairs more often than you are thinking happen, plus spending more money to do repairs.  Be educated and prepared to handle these problems and you should be OK.  



-- Edited by bjoyce on Wednesday 27th of August 2014 10:52:19 AM

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You're giving us mixed messages - do you want to work as you travel or just "vacation" until you find a place to settle? If you live off the money from the sale of your possessions, will you be able to afford your desired homestead when you decide to stop? Have you taken into account how much you'll spend on insurance (health and vehicles), repairs and maintenance, campgrounds, etc? Your big dog may not be accepted in many places and if you're off the grid you would need generator, solar panels, propane and other items to be comfortable. Since you said you are planning for next year, take time to read full-timer blogs to see what you can expect. My DH and I did it with no income and no savings, it can be done, but it's not all a bed of roses. Learn everything you can before you take to the road. Us old geezers have been there and done that, we have a lot to share and are always willing to give advice... LOL

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Dyana L. Smiley


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Thanks again! All info and warnings are greatly appreciated! As you can see we are very new to the RVing world. I was afraid our budget was a little low. I've been looking at 5ths & tractor trailers, they are still a consideration. I was also checking out the 90s Tiffin Allegro Bays, I've seen some good ones for around $12k-$16k. As far as 5ths wheels & tractor trailers, are there any certain makes/models that you suggest? Sorry about the mixed messages, we just don't have a set plan & don't plan on setting one. We want to start out full-timing (seeing the sights & adventuring) and work here and there (only if needed). After a year of that we might settle back down or we might continue full-timing for many years. We have a large house (more than we need) on 11 acres and little debt so we will just bank what we sell it for & live off of that. If we do decide to settle down again it will be small, we don't like living large (too much work!). The dog thing does consern me. We love our girls dearly! It's unfair that a certain breed has so much stigma because of what bad owners have done to them. My pit/rott is protective but not aggressive, she's constantly meeting new people on our farm & does just fine. By protective I mean will bark & growl if someone knocks & startles her or tries to harm us. We'll be sure to avoid places where certain breeds aren't allowed. So if we need to be looking at newer Class As what makes/models do you suggest? We don't expect to have many bills once full-timing, at least not nearly as much as we do now. We are paying off ALL our debts once the house sells (jeep, boat & credit cards). So hopefully just the essentials, insurance & phone, and of couse the variables every month-fuel, food & fees. We also want to go solar on our RV. Thanks again!!

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On older RVs, I think that the make doesn't make as much difference as the condition. The poorer quality RVs won't be around for 20 years or it will be very evident that you wouldn't want it. I suggest that you look at the full-time RVing budgets or worksheets on line to see what others are spending and possible expenses that you might have forgotten in your computation. Just google "worksheets for expenses for full-time RVing" if you haven't already. Fuel is very expensive and you are looking at probably getting 6 to 8 miles per gallon. Our old Class C loved motor oil! My last thought is to not over glamorize the lifestyle and make sure you look at the negatives rather than come face-to-face with them once you have sold everything else. Bottom line is that you must consider the worst case scenario and decide if you can deal with that.



-- Edited by SnowGypsy on Wednesday 27th of August 2014 10:25:40 AM

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Cathy, Alfred, Andrew & Rinnie/Yellow Dog/Sparky

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Thanks again and you all have given us some good things to think about and consider.
After doing more research we are looking more into vintage bus conversions. They seem to be the ideal way for us to go. We can make it our own and seems to be a more reliable way for as much traveling as we expect to do. We will be expanding our budget for this project of course. Still have lots of research to do!
We are hoping to find an older bus (50s-70s) that has a good solid engine and transmission and has already started to be converted and licensed/registered as a motorhome/rv for around $15-$20k and do additional interior work to make it our own. They seem to be more solidly built and made for long periods of travel.
Any suggestions about legality, finding good sources, warnings, or certain models/engines/transmissions to look into?
Thanks again! This forum has been extremely helpful to us since we know no one that knows ANYTHING about RVs.

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As someone mentioned, Technomadia is a good resource and here is their intro thread: rv-dreams.activeboard.com/t46663058/greetings-from-technomadia/, there is a group called "Bus Nuts" and Escapees has a section for those that RV with bus conversions. Blue Bird has a "Vintage Birds" website that is pretty good. I know when fuel went up, the prices really dropped on them and they are solid. You'll need to know what you are doing when you purchase one and once you get it, it won't be easy to resell. We got invited into a vintage Blue Bird to take a look and just loved it! Too big for us though. Technomadia is probably going to be an excellent resource for you.

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Cathy, Alfred, Andrew & Rinnie/Yellow Dog/Sparky

Theme Song:  "Born To Be Alive"

 

 

 

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