Inconveniences of a motorhome? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 12-10-2009, 09:26 AM   #1
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We've discovered a few inconveniences with owning two travel trailers over the last year and a half. While we were able to foresee many of the problems beforehand some only surfaced while in use. We are now considering purchasing a motorhome and wonder what surprises are before us. Does anyone here have motorhome experience that can share their discoveries?

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Old 12-10-2009, 10:31 AM   #2
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Trailer: 1984 U-Haul
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It all depends on your financial outlook.

I don't think I could justify the expense of a motor home -- taxes,storage,maintenance,fuel and initial cost. Just to have it sit for months at a time.

At least with a trailer you can utilise the TV for other uses such as daily transportation.

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Old 12-10-2009, 10:55 AM   #3
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We've discovered a few inconveniences with owning two travel trailers over the last year and a half. While we were able to foresee many of the problems beforehand [b]some only surfaced while in use.
I'm curious to know what inconveniences you've discovered.

I can only relate what my sister claims with her Motorhome, a 35' class "A" without slides. At 7 mpg, she has not been able to afford using it. She is able to store it at home, so it has been "the Guest House" for the past 3 years that has not moved.
Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:13 AM   #4
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*This one is obvious, but unless you tow a second vehicle, you never get that nice free feeling that you have after parking the trailer and then just being able to use the tow vehicle for a "normal" car to go exploring.

*Somewhat related to the above, I guess if I were going to be on the road a lot (vs. long stays), and the motorhome were going to be of a smallish size, I would rather have a motorhome for the "not towing a trailer" feel. On the other hand, if I were going to be parked more, I would rather have a trailer that I can "ditch" and not have to drive it around all the time (and take it out of my campsite every time I wanted milk and bread). This assumes no towed car behind your motorhome.

*Also, as mentioned above, you are now purchasing and maintaining two engines (motorhome and regular vehicle that you either leave at home or tow along).

*This one is probably infrequent, but if you have vehicle problems out on the road, your whole "house" has to go to the shop, vs. parking the trailer somewhere and just letting the tow vehicle go into the shop.

*When the time comes to change "campers," you now have to buy a new (different) engine and drivetrain, as opposed to just getting a new trailer (this one would depend on how often you like to change rigs, of course).



*On the upside, you can now tow a boat or other trailer without having to tow doubles (which isn't even legal in many places).

*If you keep it small (Sprinter or Coachhouse type), then I think they feel more nimble and less "always on your mind" when driving than a TW/trailer combo.

*This is another one that depends on your travel style, but I often pull into a rest area all "ready for bed." With my car (I can sleep in the back) I can just subtly slip into the back and head off into dreamland, whereas with the trailer I feel more like I am "announcing" my intentions and that I'm solo. So I often still sleep in the back of the car when I'm in transit. But in any case, there is the ability to just slip into the back without going outside.

*In a smaller rig, it's nice that you gain the space and comfort of the driver and passenger seats -- they often swivel and become living room furniture. A good captain-type car seat is way more comfortable and better-made than your typical bench in a trailer.

*The RV can be a shorter rig (depending on how long your TV/trailer combo was), so could be handier for parking (of course with a car and a 13-er, one can already fit into a normal nose-to-tail parking spot, but I don't suppose than continues to work with longer trailers and longer TVs).

Well, those are a few that come to mind immediately. To my mind there is a vast difference between a "small" motorhome (Sprinter, Coachhouse) and a huge behemoth. Having driven an 8'6"wide Class A motorhome for work, often on narrower secondary roads, I know that at the end of the day I was exhausted, even when I was used to driving it all the time. Getting into my car at the end of the day was like a present!

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Old 12-10-2009, 11:17 AM   #5
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Steve, for us, when things were "normal", there really weren't any inconveniences. We had acreage so storage wasn't an issue. At the time Dh was able to do maintenance projects, sure filling it up with gas was shocking, but you just get use to it. More room than our lil glass, but honestly just cause there is more room you tend to fill it with crap you don't need so it really comes down to how you like to camp. I loved having every Motor Home I have ever owned but I love having our lil Casita as well. For us "now" the Casita works.

Maybe renting a Motor home, and seeing if you like traveling that way would help you make a decision. You will just have to out weigh the cost of a Motor Home over the inconveniences of owning a lil glass and if the benefit of more room is worth it to you. Maybe posting what the inconveniences are for you, might help us tell you if a motor home would be less of an inconvenience.
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:19 PM   #6
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 16 ft
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Hi Steve,
Our first RV was a small motorhome, and while it was nice to have the convenience of everything in one space, I would not want another one. It was so bulky to drive (and this was a really small one, maybe 23'), kind of like driving around in a bread box. Top- heavy, too. It was an older one, a '93, so maybe the newer ones are better. I never felt comfortable driving it.
With our Scamp, I feel a lot more freedom. We can pull into a site, unhitch, and drive off to do whatever.
I feel much more at ease towing the Scamp than I ever did driving that motorhome. So, even though the motorhome had more room inside, for us the egg is perfect...easy to tow, plenty of room for us and our needs.
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:39 PM   #7
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I too have had just about every kind of rig. I have been glad to have a small motor home when I was solo and working as a flagger. I had my home with me and could pull off anywhere and sleep but the flaggers with trailers had them in trailer parks. I also enjoy the ability of leaving my home, my trailer in a safe park connected to heat or air while we went to a resturant or out to a trail head for a hike. I feel very uncomfortable leaving my "home" at someplace like a trailhead where it says to everyone, I won't be back for a while so my home is vulnerable. It truely depends on how you use your RV and what you need. I would suggest making a list and see the pros and cons. Do you like shopping in town, geocaching, taking friends out to lunch or having more space? Do you like having people come in and play games inside out of the rain, being able to grab a drink or snack out of the back while dh drives? Do you like to sleep in while dh gets going early, do you like moving from the front to the back without going outside or do you like staying in the trailer reading while dh goes into town to get take-out and a movie? I like the idea that if I have mechanical problems I have such options as renting a tow vehicle to get home, or staying in a nice park while repairs happen.
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:56 AM   #8
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We've discovered a few inconveniences with owning two travel trailers over the last year and a half. While we were able to foresee many of the problems beforehand some only surfaced while in use. We are now considering purchasing a motorhome and wonder what surprises are before us. Does anyone here have motorhome experience that can share their discoveries?
Just to reinforce what others have said, "It all depends." When we were pulling a boat and going up to Lake Erie on weekends, we first used a class B MH and then a 23' class C and they worked great. After I retired we took the MH to Texas for two winters. What a pain. Had to unhook and rehook up every time we went for groceries, went to church, etc. etc. Trying to find a parking place at most malls and groceries involved a long walk. After 2 winters we switched to a 25' Airstream trailer which we used for almost 10 years. Pulled with a Chevy van. Was so much more convenient for the long haul. Now at age 70 we downsized to a U-Haul 13ct. Winters we will rent a cottage in Alabama. Traveling the van doesnt even know the trailer is there, but it still gives us a snug safe place to sleep (I don't do motels) and still gives us the freedom of the van. The only way a MH is practical is to tow a dinghy and then you have two motors to depreciate and maintain.
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:42 AM   #9
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This reminds me of the old saying, “The Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

I thought everyone knew, there is NO perfect RV. From my side of the keyboard, it boils down to several questions that you gave NO information on.

1) How do you use an RV? (RV parks, boon-docking, off-roading, camping, traveling)

2) What do your friends use?

3) Are you looking for Prestige?

4) Do you have good backing skills?

5) How deep are your pockets (money)?

6) Do you want to pull toys (boat, dune buggy, snow mobile) with you?

7) Can you parallel park a Motor home if needed?

8) Gas guzzler vs Diesel?

9) Insurance?

10) Do you have stock in a windshield company? Motorhomes have frequent replacements.

Let us know what you decide and why.
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:18 PM   #10
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I had a big Chevy Van for many many years that I fixed up as a camper. I loved the fact that I could pull off anywhere and just go to the back without going outside. However, when it came to actually purchasing an RV I leaned towards a trailer. I was tired of packing up all my campsite stuff and disconnecting to simply go into town to the grocery store.

Having my Scamp has been a joy. I disconnect and then have the Jeep to travel around, explore or go to town.

In 2008 I finally had car trouble while on my way home traveling through Nebraska. My trailer was in a full hookup site. The tow truck towed my Jeep along with Lily and I to the nearest repair shop. After checking in I had a loaner to use so we were very comfortable for nearly a week without our vehicle. The only thing I had to do prior to towing the Jeep in for service was remove the few things in it that I did want to lose. Had I had a motorhome, everything would have been in it and I guess Lily and I would have had to move to a motel.

I like the idea of a motorhome but then I'd have to have a vehicle in tow behind it. More tires, more engine service, etc. I'm staying with a trailer.
Joy A. & Lily
and "Puff", too
No. Ca. Sierra Foothills
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:22 PM   #11
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There is also the added insurance cost. The ride is much better in most tow vehicles than in a motor home. The noise of things clanging around and squeaking can really wear on you after a while.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:30 PM   #12
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Trailer: 13 ft Scamp Deluxe 2007 and 40' Allegro Bus
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We've owned 3 diesel motorhomes and currently own a 40' Allegro Bus with 3 slides. We've also owned smaller trailers at the same time, a teardrop and since 2007, a 13' Scamp deluxe. We consider our motorhome our RV and live in it for 4-5 months as we go south for the winter (snowbirds)! We used our teardrop, and now our Scamp for summer camping in Nat. Parks and forrests, local weekends, as well as visiting friends and kids in the NW part of the US. We pull a Honda CR-V with our motorhome and wouldn't think of hitting the road without a toad. We have everything we need in the motorhome for extended RV'ing, color HD ttv's, washer/dryer, etc. So we luv the comfort and convenience of our motorhome. We DO, however, also luv taking off in the Scamp and spending more time outside, sitting by the campfire, hiking, etc. So, the bottom line is- both types of RV'ing/camping are great, in the end, it's what you enjoy and what you make of the experience. We'd do both over again and have no regreats what so ever!
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Old 12-12-2009, 05:16 AM   #13
Trailer: Bigfoot Rear Queen 25 ft
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Hi Steve, enjoy yourself as you see fit and don't rely on us to give you guidance on a $150 to $800,000.00 ++ purchase. I don't believe anyone here would turn down the oppotunity to move up if it was presented in an affordable way (read:if one has the money or it's close to free). The only inconveniences I can imagine would be where to store it off season, large carbon footprint insurance, campground lot size limitations, and unless you purchase fairly new or you don't buy just the right manufacturer and model you may get shunned from some RV parks which would defeat #3 on Mike's list.
As stated already you'll need a toad (or small bike) of some sort though once you arrive at camp. All the other things required you can do if you're inclined to.

We may have to create an FGRV alumni area at the rallies for the FGRV grads.
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:42 AM   #14
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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Well, having driven a motorhome on a regular basis in the past, I would have to say that I wouldn't want one even if it got 30 mpg and cost $10k. That's because while they are out of my budget range now, that's not the only reason they don't appeal to me.

I like the freedom of being able to go down more roads, poking around small places and fitting into humbler spots. I also enjoy driving a car vs. a huge rig. And I also don't really go for the typical look inside the big rigs. Yes, I could customize the inside, but I still just wouldn't want that experience vs. a smaller one.

Now a Sprinter.... that I think I would enjoy.

I think this is an interesting thread, and I'm glad the Steve did ask for input. Sure, he's going to make his own decision, but why not do a bit of research, and see what other people might have for reasons that could resonate, although he might not have thought of them.


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