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Thanks for the warning on costs. I wouldn't consider anything but a used motorhome for this adventure. I don't doubt that there would be some depreciation over a year or two of ownership - but it would be nice to minimize that if possible. I was planning to deal with private parties for both the purchase and later disposal, but am open to suggestions.

You also mention modifications to the car for towing. Any reason to avoid tow dollies? I used them for a couple of moves many years ago, and was quite satisfied. The car required no modifications for towing that way.

we used to do car trips and loading and unloading suitcases is a total drag.

Tell me about it. On car trips, aside from being the chauffeur, I'm also the porter. Having done it many times, I can load/unload our standard kit of overnight stuff pretty efficiently. But it gets tiring quickly. We usually carry an electric cooler in the car, so have some refrigerated storage available. Well, except for when the car is parked. I drained the car battery once leaving it plugged in to the "always on" outlet in the van. It certainly would be nice to have a small bit more, and have it in a way that's designed to work all the time.

Any thoughts on diesel vs. gasoline for the motor? Rear vs. front engine?

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