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Anyone have advice on how to gear up for travel across the Americas?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Bangkok, Thailand
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    Question Anyone have advice on how to gear up for travel across the Americas?

    Hi folks, I've been living in Thailand and I wish to split my time between Southeast Asia and America (North and South). To that end, I plan to buy an RV, trailer or camper and a motorbike and park it in Idaho with my brother when I'm not using it. My question is, I'm at the very beginning of researching what exactly I mean by "RV, trailer or camper." I'm a solo traveler but might occasionally want to bunk with someone. ;-) I'm a sporty guy. I'll be staying in cold and hot weather locations. I don't need a behemoth but a shower would be nice. Where do you suppose I should start for research on the topic? I'm sorry I'm so vague but the vagueness reflects my lack of knowledge on the subject honestly. Since I live in Thailand I need to start my research online at first. I will be buying the rig probably over the Winter or early Spring, during a two month stay with my brother in Idaho. Is there a good time of year for shopping for these things? Is there a state where such things are cheaper? For example, I'd imagine buying in Spring in California would be the worst possible plan... and maybe Idaho in Winter might be the best plan.
    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    I think I'm in Florida, but I'm not sure any more......my GPS blew away.
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    Go to the website rvparkreviews.com, join and post questions on the forums. There are a bunch of great people there who just love to give advice.

    As for where to best buy your rig? I suggest Mesa, Arizona in the spring. Mesa is a major destination for "snowbirds" for the winter. Come spring, a lot of them have good reasons for selling their rigs.....death of husband or wife, ill health, or just "I can't do this any more". So the owners (or their kids) turn the rigs over to the RV lots to sell. Huge inventory with a lot of incentive to get them off the lots. Cash in hand gets you a better deal but financing can be obtained.

    RVs come in all varieties. You have the "motor-driven" ones (Class As, Class Bs, Super Bs, Class C's) that you drive off the lot with a car or motorcycle trailer in tow if you desire). They come in all sizes and motors. Then you have the "fifth wheels" that range from about 25' up to 45'. You have to have a pickup truck with a special hookup in the bed of the truck. Depending on the size of the fifth wheel trailer, you might have to go to a "dually" pick up. Then there are the "pull-behinds" which range from downright tiny to 40'. Depending on the size, you can pull them with a SUV or a pickup. Bringing up the rear are pickup-campers, which are small camper bodies that slide into the back of a pickup truck. Some are very simple, some are downright luxurious (relatively....) but don't have a lot of room. Quite often, a platform can be mounted on the back of the rig to hold a motorbike. There are also the "toy haulers" that actually have a "garage" in the back that you can drive your motorcycle into.

    Cost-wise, RVs range from downright cheap to way over a million dollars. New gets you a nice warranty but used is a lot cheaper.

    As for which one to buy and what manufacturer to choose, well...….if you have 100 RVers, they'll have 150 different opinions on that matter. Cost depends wildly on manufacturer, size, engine type (or lack of therein) and whether you're going to have to buy a truck to pull the rig (commonly referred to as the "tow vehicle") or a vehicle to tow behind the Class A or C (commonly referred to as a "towed" or "toad".)

    Then there are accessories: will you be camping off the grid? You'll need a generator and/or solar panels. In national, state and local parks? You might or might not need a generator. There will usually be water, electricity and sometimes sewer, but seldom cable or internet. Commercial RV parks? No generator needed. They'll have water, electricity, sewer and usually cable and internet.

    We have a 39' fifth wheel, pulled by a Ford F250 pickup. Fifth wheels are usually about the roomiest choice and the most stable of the pull-behinds. They are, however, sometimes difficult to hook up or unhook and level. Class A's are the most expensive, followed by Class C's and Class B's.

    As I said, there are a million choices to make. Look for forums and ask, ask, ask questions.
    If we're ever in a situation where I am "the voice of reason", then we are in a very, very bad situation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Bangkok, Thailand
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    Wow, that was an excellent response, thank you so much! I'm glad I asked here. Life saving advice, hard to overstate that.
    LOL about 150 opinions from 100 people.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Connecticut USA
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    12,294
    Hi Chef, let us know how your search goes.

    welcome.jpg

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Houston Y'all
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    Florida is also a good place to find deals on used RVs. If buying up north during the winter, the RVs will typically be "winterized" and you won't be able to easily check for plumbing problems. If buying used, you'll want to have the RV inspected, particularly if you have no experience with RV systems. It's also helpful if you are somewhat handy, because with RVs, "it's always something."

    Jujube has covered the basics pretty well. We have a class A RV and tow a Jeep Wrangler, but if I were solo I'd probably choose a small C class (motorized RV). If you go the towables route, make sure you consider the weight limitations of your tow vehicle.

    Check out various RVing forums for tons of good (and bad) information.

    "People say that money is not the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.."
    -- Joan Rivers

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by C'est Moi View Post
    Florida is also a good place to find deals on used RVs. If buying up north during the winter, the RVs will typically be "winterized" and you won't be able to easily check for plumbing problems. If buying used, you'll want to have the RV inspected, particularly if you have no experience with RV systems. It's also helpful if you are somewhat handy, because with RVs, "it's always something."

    Jujube has covered the basics pretty well. We have a class A RV and tow a Jeep Wrangler, but if I were solo I'd probably choose a small C class (motorized RV). If you go the towables route, make sure you consider the weight limitations of your tow vehicle.

    Check out various RVing forums for tons of good (and bad) information.
    Thanks, do you have the name of one or two of your favorite RVing forums? I found a plethora of forums when I looked for a place to put this post and cross posted in three places before I found this great group! :-D

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Bangkok, Thailand
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    Quote Originally Posted by RadishRose View Post
    Hi Chef, let us know how your search goes.
    I'll make a note to do so... thanks! It's going to be a long process though, so don't hold yer breath!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Bangkok, Thailand
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    5
    My thoughts now are the following:
    I will consider purchasing a Class C unit in Spring in Arizona, which is near enough to Idaho and avoids the winterization problems mentioned. I assume I can drive a class C unit with a normal driver license.
    Hopefully I can attach a motorbike to it.
    I'm handy but I'm not a mechanic. My brother is a mechanic and can advise me from afar but I do hope to avoid major breakdowns. If I get one, well, hell, I got nowhere important to be at any particular time.
    I will certainly buy used, hoping to recover my investment after 2-3 years if I'm done playing around with this part of my life.
    Thanks so much for helping me rough this out.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    I think I'm in Florida, but I'm not sure any more......my GPS blew away.
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    Sign up for a GoodSam road assistance policy, which will cover tire changes, towing, etc. while you're on the road. You'll frequently get 10% off sites in RV parks with your card, too. There are also other assistance plans; we've just stuck with GoodSam.

    You won't need a special license to drive the RV. C's are pretty easy to drive. The dealership will give you some lessons.

    A Class C should be a very good choice for you. Depending on the weight of the bike, you can either put it on a trailer and tow it or have a platform made for it on the back of the C (depending on the C).

    If you are 62 or over, I recommend getting the national park Senior Pass. It's $80 and good for life or you can get a year's pass for $20. It gets you admission into any national park (and since some of them charge $20 to get in, you've paid for it right there) and sometimes a good discount on national park campsites. I've even had it honored at places that are not national parks. It doesn't hurt to ask. It's also good for 50% off campsites at COE (Corp of Engineers) parks, some of which are very nice.
    If we're ever in a situation where I am "the voice of reason", then we are in a very, very bad situation.

  10. #10
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    Dec 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by wealthychef View Post
    Thanks, do you have the name of one or two of your favorite RVing forums? I found a plethora of forums when I looked for a place to put this post and cross posted in three places before I found this great group! :-D
    Not sure I'm allowed to post other forums here, but iRV2 is a friendly place. There are dozens of brand-specific forums (like WinnieOwners.com for Winnebago) as well as RV.net.

    "People say that money is not the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.."
    -- Joan Rivers

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Los Angeles
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    Lots of good advice and information here already. Hubby and I have a 32' fifth wheel (bought used). We decided on a fiver because it's roomy, stable to tow, and when we arrive at our destination we unhook our tow vehicle, giving us local transportation. When we're just stopping for an overnight we don't bother to unhook.
    Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. - Abraham Lincoln

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