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Subject:  Re: Considering an RV Date:  5/12/2012  1:16 AM
Author:  warrl Number:  2256 of 2467

My wife and I are considering getting an RV in the next 3 to 5 years for an extended vacation (maybe a couple if we really like it). Growing up, her family used their trailer for many trips, so she'd like to get back into that. I've never done much RVing, but I'm willing to give it a try.

Our plan is to take an extended vacation - 6 to 10 weeks - and travel around the country, with an emphasis on things east of the Mississippi, as that is farther from us and has lots of places we haven't seen. We'd probably set up in one spot for a couple of days, visit the local sites, then move on to the next place.

We've done many driving vacations - that's our preferred way to vacation - but have always stayed in hotels or with friends/family. But for a long vacation like this, that can get expensive in a hurry.

So can driving an RV. We rarely drive as much as 200 miles in a day, but I figure that every day we move the RV costs $100 (vehicle costs & space rental) whereas a day we don't move the RV is almost always under $30 and frequently under $20.

(If you were talking about renting an RV then I would say to fly, or take your van and drive every day, to somewhere interesting east of the Mississippi; and then pick up an RV there. You would of course reserve that RV somewhat earlier.)

If you can arrange things so that you stay in one campground for a week at a time, that usually will help lower the (average) overnight rate; a month is even better. But details vary.

Oh, and stay away from KOA campgrounds and parks with "Resort" or "Motorcoach" in the name. They tend to be priced like hotels. And not cheap hotels.

Memberships: Passport America and Good Sam's strongly recommended; Camping World may be a good idea too. All three can be bought at Camping World. All others are optional, most of them in the same sense that sauerkraut is optional on chocolate ice cream. (For fulltimers I also recommend Escapees, particularly if using a Texas mail-forwarding service as your mailing address is viable for you... but I am not convinced it's a good deal for vacationers.)

My thought is to tow our minivan and carry his wheelchair there.

Since you need a small (compared to a motorhome big enough for three) vehicle that can carry the wheelchair, and your minivan is probably already equipped with a lift or ramp for it, this is a good possibility to consider.

First check if your minivan is four-wheel towable. Otherwise you'll need at least a tow dolly (lifts two wheels off the ground) and possibly a flatbed trailer (your minivan would be parked on the trailer).

If your minivan is still under warranty and you want to keep it that way, the manufacturer is the definitive answer on whether it's towable - and if they don't say, the default answer is no.

Otherwise, check as there are quite a few vehicles that require no modification but the manufacturer hasn't signed on. Unfortunately, there are also some vehicles that require several modification$ to make towable.

Then there is the question of weight.

Go look at the door jambs on the van. On one of them, probably the driver's door, you'll find a plate that lists - among quite a few other things - the van's Gross Vehicle Weight