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Author: NewPenny Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 1498  
Subject: Re: Cost of Living Comparison Date: 3/26/2007 1:07 PM
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<< I've thought of getting one of the smallest RVs in the future - in a couple of years after I retire. I guess it would be a good idea to rent one first to "try it on for size". >>


This is exactly what I did. I rented a 25ft then a 27 ft Class C. They weren't far beyond my comfort level as I'd expected/feared they would. I rented because I suddenly needed a mobile abode when I visited my sister to help her move. Her DH was terminally ill, the lease was up in a few days, and the moving team she'd put together had backed out. I couldn't stay with her as the move would take a number of days, and her dog was a threat to my ferret, and my ferret frightened her dog.

The RV was a great refuge from the chaos for she and I, while her DH was sheltered at his parent's home to keep his stress level low. We had a comfortable place to sleep and eat and were able to pack with no regard to our current needs. Sure beat sleeping on the floor for two nights!

When you choose to rent/buy an RV, it's best to think of how you plan on using it. I chose a large one because it is my primary residence. Class B's are geared toward short trips (a few days/weeks) and can be parked easily as they take up only one parking space. They're easy to sightsee in, and grocery runs are super easy. They're great to retreat into the wilderness areas, park next to a stream, and fish, hike or relax. They're not idea for more than one or two people, and the facilities (toilet/sink/fridge/stove) tend to be miniaturized. (think airline bathrooms) Some even have showers, but again, very small. I've visited folks in these, and they make a nice cocoon when traveling, but not so pleasant as a long-term living space.

Class C's tend to be fitted to load up the family and head out to explore the country. Length of the trip isn't restrictive, but space is a premium. The kids can sleep in the loft that overhangs the cab, the sofa folds out to a full-size bed, the dinette folds into a twin bed, and there's usually a full or short queen bed (with a privacy curtain) as well. The sofa & dinette have seatbelts for more people to safely travel. Stove/fridge/sinks and bathrooms are larger than a Class B, but aren't often full size. Parking isn't too bad, but they tend to take up a number of parking spaces. Parking to the back of a store's lot is easiest, so taking up more than one space isn't so much of a bother to others.

An RV with a "basement" gives the greatest storage space. Propane tanks, furnace, water & waste tanks, pumps, etc are dropped below the floor, so more cabinet space is available. Some Class C's have this feature, and all the Class A's I've seen do also. Naturally, the bigger the RV, the more storage inside and out.

Class A's are COWs -- Condos on Wheels. They generally fit 6 for cocktails and conversation, 4 for dinner, and 2 for living space. They have a queen bed in a separate bedroom, a larger bathroom, and the sofa folds out to a full-size bed. Mine has sleeping and seatbelts for 4. I have a washer that also dries, an enclosed shower, a full size bathroom sink, double kitchen sink, 3 burner stove top, microwave/convection oven, fresh, grey, black water holding tanks with about 60 gallon capacity each. My fridge is not the size of a standard household model, but has a separate freezer door, and is larger than the dorm-size often used in smaller RVs.

When I park, I turn sideways and take up about 4 parking spaces. I more enjoy parking at truck stops on the truck side, where I only take up one space, even if I'm towing my car.
There are longer, high-end RVs of 40 or more feet that have even more features, like dishwashers, bath tubs with jacuzzi jets, two bathrooms, full size fridges, etc. They also require a CDL (truck-driver's license) to operate in most (all?) states.

It's also possible to have an RV outfitted for wheelchairs. I know a woman who travels alone, full time, in a Class A. She has a van-style lift on the sidewalk side of her RV. There is a track system in the ceiling that allows her to transfer into a harness system that is electrically controlled. It carries her all through the RV allowing her to transfer again into the driver's seat, the dining chair, the toilet, shower, and bed. She can also "stand" and do dishes, cook, and retrieve things from her fridge. She parks mostly in upscale RV Resorts as they're more likely to have wheelchair accessible RV spaces and facilities. She requests help hooking up, although she can manage most of that process herself. She takes the phrase, "Life on Wheels" to heart.

There are also smaller lifts that fit onto brackets by the door. A person with difficulty climbing stairs can sit down in a chair, which lifts them up and turns them thru the doorway, letting them step out at floor height inside.

So you see, RVs are truly for everyone.


Also, as you probably suspect, TMF has a board for RVers! "RVing Fools". The traffic is kind of sparce, and we tend to check the boards less frequently due to the higher likelihood that we're driving and don't have ready access to computers. Wifi is making this easier, but the technology isn't everywhere yet. Also, when we go somewhere in the RV, we like to spend more time seeing what's there than surfing the net. Some folks even leave the computer home, and check in again when they return. When you post there, don't be dismayed if it's a few days before you get a response. We're not ignoring you, we're just out having fun.


Penny
The opinions expressed within are solely my opinion and based on my own experience. Others are invited to offer other insights.
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