Seeking advice - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-30-2012, 11:42 AM   #1
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Name: Elizabeth
Trailer: Contemplating a purchase
California
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Red face Seeking advice

Hello, I have been perusing this website off and on for awhile. I am contemplating buying a fiberglass travel trailer and am looking for a little advice, so here is my story...

41 yo married, no children, 1 - 75 lb Goldern Retriever and a tabby cat who is taken care of by the neighbor when we are traveling. We have rented a 24 ft motorhome twice, and I have traveled a few times with my parents that have had a 5th wheel, Class B+ motorhome, and now have a Class A motorhome. We have never dried camp in an RV before, only stayed within state parks and RV parks.
My husband is a bit hesitant to get an RV, because he thinks it is too much of a luxury item (he is a very frugal man) and he thinks we are too young (something that mostly retirees do)to own one. We have a 2002 Toyota Tacoma pre-runner (4 cyc) with an extended cab and shell. We have a long driveway that is about 7' 8" wide.
My husband grew up camping out of tent in the eastern foothills of Northern California with digging a hole in ground to serve as the latrine - So, in his mind "camping" is doing this and nothing else can truly come close. I understand his desire to get completely "away from it all", but I am trying to convince him that we can very easily dry camp away from others in a nice little travel trailer pulled by his truck. We can take the dog with us and keep the trailer in the driveway.
So my questions is - is this realistic?

I work as an RN on the night shift 32 hrs per wk and I see using the trailer for a couple nights away maybe every 4-6 wks, with 1-2 longer trips (1-2 weeks) per year. Is this usage worth buying a trailer?

I have done some research over the last 2-3 yrs on RVs, gone to about 3 RV shows and have come to the conclusion that I think a small fiberglass trailer (must have a toilet) would best suit our needs. But we can not afford a new one and I am a bit intimidated by needing to fix up an older model. In addition, I have never actually stepped foot into a small fiberglass travel trailer.
I know this is a lot of information, but I certainly would appreciate any feedback -Thanks!!!
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Old 03-30-2012, 11:59 AM   #2
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Yep, I too used to turn my nose up at what others dared to call "Camping". We would stuff everything we needed into a Volvo P1800 and head off for a month of tenting in Canada.... But later on when my (late) wife and I took a years vacation in a 25' Airstream (At age 35, not 65) we became converts.
For a starters, your "Outdoorsman" might be more amenable to a Teardrop trailer, much more macho, easier to tow, less expensive and more like a "Tent with a kitchen on Wheels" to many. I doubt if many retirees "retire" in them and you would be in good company. There are lots of Teardrop gatherings to take a look-see at them. Earlier this month there was one scheduled for Lake Perris in SoCal that expected about 250 attendees. Sorry, none with a Loo that I know of, but there are some alternatives like a porta-potty and a Privy-tent.
You could sorta call a Teardrop a "Gateway Drug" to RV'ing
Good Luck
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:20 PM   #3
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My husband and I are not retirees. We bought a trailer and now take it on vacation every year. We have visited places we never would have seen had we not purchased our FB camper. We would not have been able to afford seeing these places. Instead of asking each other every year if we can afford a vacation, now we ask where we will go. It has taken us all over. We take it short distances too. Every year, we go to the VW show in Effingham, IL, 3 hours away. We take it every year when we volunteer on Pine Ridge.
So appeal to his frugal nature and tell him how much he would save on hotel rooms. And refuse to camp in a tent. I have never tent-camped and never will. We call our trailer Howie, standing for Hotel on Wheels.

Good luck! Happily, I inherited money from my grandmother that bought our first fiberglass trailer. I found them after researching and showing the research to the hubby. So we watched ebay, found a Burro near us, and won the bid. And later, I wanted a bathroom, so we replaced the Burro with a camper with a bathroom. So, I guess you could say we use a hole too; our porta-potty just sits a few feet off the ground.

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Old 03-30-2012, 12:33 PM   #4
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For me, the best info I gathered was by stepping foot inside. You can only learn so much with photos. Both of you and Hubby step in there together. See if you will be happy with layout and size. You may get rained out and be in there for a while.

If i remember right we had another RN here that used one to sleep for their shift.
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:46 PM   #5
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A few thoughts:

1) You'll want to check your local ordinances regarding placing a trailer in your driveway if it will be visible from the street. Not all towns/cities allow it. It's something I thought we could do, even from reading the city code, but was told that there are still restrictions. In the end we chose something that can't fit under the porte-cochère to make it to the rear of the driveway (and there was no way it would fit into our 1920s garage). So storage is part of our trailer expenses.

2) Being in CA you may have dry camped without realizing it. I don't think I've been to a CA state park yet that has hookups, although some are exploring putting them in.

3) If the toilet is of utmost importance but you don't need a shower then you might look at a 13' egg with a port potty. I'd be far more comfortable with an older trailer that didn't have bathroom plumbing to worry about. If your DH prefers the amenities of tent camping you can leave your dinette set up as a bed and eat in the great outdoors.

4) The smaller the trailer, the easier it is to get into those out-of-the-way places. With just two adults and a dog I'd go 13' for the amount of use you expect to get from the trailer. I'd buy a well-maintained older used trailer with no bathroom.
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:53 PM   #6
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yes indeed,,,my 23 year old brain keeps telling me go camping in a tent,,,,,and my 61 year old back say....shut the heck up!

so heres what you do. now is the perfect time to travel and see just what you will want to do when you do retire.

if he is frugal,,,here is frugal. say you want to go to washington d.c. for the cherry blossums in the spring. hotel/motel? $100 a night.
green belt national park? 12 miles from dowtown d.c.? $88 for 5 days.
and next year when i turn 62, national parks go to half price so $44 for 5 days...hows that for frugal?
ok so not sure you want to spend a bunch on a camper?
price scamps that are under 5 years old and in good shape.
if you buy a new one , 5 years down the road thats what you can get for yours,,, your not going to lose much at all. they hold their value.
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:57 PM   #7
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oh,,, and think about using state and national campground facilities. you don't have to haul the extra weight or deal with the toilet that way. after all,,,if your retired,,,,why should you have to do maid service?
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:59 PM   #8
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DC hotels are 250.00 a night. We stay there every fall.

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Old 03-30-2012, 02:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CindyL View Post
DC hotels are 250.00 a night. We stay there every fall.

CindyL
lol, clearly i stay in some flea bitten hotels.
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Old 03-30-2012, 02:25 PM   #10
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Best ever

Just a few points.

Outside of choosing my wife buying an RV was the best thing we ever did. Both our mental and physical health are better, there's a rejuvenating quality to RV travel.

If you follow this site you know we tow with a small 4 cylinder Honda CRV. I'm sure you can find an RV to tow that will meet your needs.

RVing is really low cost if you get a small RV and can tow it with a vehicle you own.

We bought a 20 year old fiberglass trailer. Fiberglass trailers really stand up. Making it even better than it was (it was ready to travel when we bought it) has been a fun project. Most importantly this web site is full of helpful people.

Lastly I sugest you consider attending one of the fiberglass gatherings. We're attending one in Oregon in July. At these places you can see what would meet your needs. Virtually every fiberglass trailer owner is happy to show you their rig any time. We're driving thru N. CA in a few weeks. If you're on our route we'd be happy to show you ours.

Please feel free to send me a PM with any questions any time.

Hoping it works out for you.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:41 PM   #11
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Don't even think about a Teardrop unless you just want to lay in bed all day because you really can't stand up in a Teardrop. Look for a good used egg at a price you can live with and go camping. Your Toyota will do just fine, I pull my 13'er with a '93 Toyota with the 22re engine and a 5 speed manual trans.
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:39 PM   #12
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Name: Elizabeth
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Wow! Thank you for all the responses. I have to laugh a little at the first one from Bob. When I first mentioned buying an RV to my husband, and after his response of "no way", it grew into "ya know, what about one of those little teardrop style trailers". Although I agree that would be a good first purchase, I need a little more room and without a doubt I want a toilet - preferably behind a door. No need for a shower, but a little privacy for the morning necessities would be best. I bought a small toddler porta-potty for our camping trips, but it is kind of difficult to go in it at night. I can't do it in the tent because there is no extra space with our Golden Retriever on the floor. If I were a man I would not be giving it much thought, but as you ladies know our business involves at least a squat.

I do agree also that checking out some trailers first would be best. I already checked with our city ordinance and they do allow for an RV in the driveway, just not on the street for longer than 2 weeks.
Norm and Ginny, that would be awesone to see your unit if you pass through our neck of the woods. We are in the SF Bay area. I will send you a PM.
Thanks so much!!
PS: California state parks are fairly pricey - most are $27 a night, for RV or tent camping.
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:28 PM   #13
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Hi Elizabeth, sorry I seem to be late coming to the party, but wanted to welcome you to FiberglassRV. As you found, this forum has a large group of kind and helpful people who hang out here.

I hope you find exactly what you're looking for and will start making memories that will last a lifetime.

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Old 03-30-2012, 07:04 PM   #14
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Name: Elizabeth
Trailer: Contemplating a purchase
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Hi Donna,

Thanks for the welcome! So far, so good - great information!
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