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Motorhome length considerations when buying

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I am thinking about moving up to a large motorhome, over 40 feet in length. I would like to hear from folks who have these types of motorhomes. Is there really an issue with finding RV parks that will accommodate them? Are there any other issues to consider?

Thanks

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Depending on what you drive now the answers could be different. If what you are driving now is 38' then the extra 2 feet might not be a big issue for you. For us we went from a 30' to a 37' and it was quite an adjustment for us. We usually tow a Jeep Wrangler behind us and just this last year we bought a bass boat. That was a completely different kind of adjustment as it's a long combination. The bigger you get the more you limit your choices. You start to think a little more about your fuel stops and the campgrounds you choose. Ultimately you should be picking a rig that has the floorplan you want. If you are willing to adjust to the RV then length should be of lesser concern to you. If you are moving up from a vastly shorter rig then it will be a shock until you get used to how to maneuver it.

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I am thinking about moving up to a large motorhome, over 40 feet in length. I would like to hear from folks who have these types of motorhomes. Is there really an issue with finding RV parks that will accommodate them? Are there any other issues to consider?

Thanks

Hello There,

You have an option! We have a Safari Trek 29RBD which is 30 feet overall. It has 2 slides and the bed retracts into the ceiling over the living area giving us all the space and convienence of a 45 footer in a very small unit. The bath room is very large with a full sized potty, spacious shower and big wardrobe with 4 drawers. We live in a resort part of the year where our neighbors have a Newell coach. It's a thing of wonder, however if we get together for dinner or to play cards, we always end up in the Trek because there is just more room. There is also a very active owners forum where you can find out just about anything you'd like to know about Treks which come in many different configurations. You can find it @ http://www.nwtfc.com/forum/portal_content.asp

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Hi gbconsta,

There has never been any problem finding a CG that will accept a 40+ coach. As far as driving the coach, we went from 26' to 42' (including tow bar). One just needs to be careful with right hand turns. Other than that, for me, it has been the same as the 26' coach. This should not be on your list of things to worry about.

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We've been on the road almost 9 years in a 38 foot coach to start and now a 40 foot coach. We stay in inexpensive parks and find that most are able to accommodate a 40 foot coach with no problem. You will find more difficulty finding 50 amps for full power for your coach than finding room for it. The sites your coach will fit into will likely cost a few dollars more than the sites for smaller coaches and 50 amp service is always a premium cost. Our coach has two slides and we had no problem finding sites even in Alaska.

If you get a copy of Trailer Life or Woodall's Campground Directory, you can page through it and see for yourself how many parks have accommodations for a 40 foot coach.

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Guest Wayne77590

We typically call ahead, even if only by a few hours before arrival, to find a CG to stay at. In the past year we had one CG that said it could not accommodate or 40' coach. I even asked if they could accommodate with my back extending out over the grass and they replied that they could not as the other sites were to close.

I also understand that there are Federal and State parks that cannot accommodate the longer lengths. It is because many have been built when the typical RV was only 20-30 feet long. Some of them have upgraded, but many have not.

I personally believe that I should call ahead to make sure that the CG can handle what we have. If they don't ask questions, I ask questions, especially on length, and pets, and discounts. If I were to just drive in to a CG and they could not accommodate me - my bad.

If you know where you are going, you can check on the Internet for CG's in the area. Most CG web sites will list the size that can be accommodated.

Happy trails.

p.s., Find someone to drive around with for a few hours to get a feel for the new length. Right hand turns are not the only trouble spot. Making left turns and not encroaching on the oncoming traffic lane is to be considered. Tail swing, and many other aspects of traveling safely are involved. A few hours will not make you an expert, but it will give you some basic understanding of driving a longer vehicle. If you have a TOAD, make tow "driver training" trips, one without, one with. Remember that in most long RV's you are sitting over the front wheels, or darn close to it. Make sure you have the clearance in front of you, and when you "butt" is where you want to go, make your turn, always making sure you have the front and rear tail clearance. If you cannot find a salesman, or a friend, that can assist you, find an empty parking lot and practice, practice, practice, and when you are finished with the friend, practice alone.

I'm sorry. I got a little verbose on this one.

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We have been full timing for 8 years. Our first motorhome was 33 ft. and our second was 38 ft. with two slides. Never had a problem with finding a campground for either of them. Two years ago we purchased a Tiffin Allegro Bus that is 43 ft. with 4 slides. While we love the spacious feel additional benefits of the longer coach (residential refrigerator, extra roominess in the bath area) we have encountered many more campgrounds that cannot accommodate our length, including many state parks.

So you have to consider the trade-offs and determine how you use your motorhome and how important space is to you. When we made the change we knew we wanted extra room for when our grandchildren wanted to stay in "their" motorhome. So, in spite of the need to plan ahead more for campground stays, we are loving having the extra space.

repldorsey

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I am thinking about moving up to a large motorhome, over 40 feet in length. I would like to hear from folks who have these types of motorhomes. Is there really an issue with finding RV parks that will accommodate them? Are there any other issues to consider?

Thanks

We have a 41-foot coach with four slides, plus we tow a 24-foot trailer (65 feet total). We have a car and a motorcycle inside the trailer. We never travel to a campground without making a reservation and asking several questions regarding our rig fitting into a site. The best books I've found thus far for traveling in a big rig are: Big Rig Campgrounds gives a listing of campgrounds which take Big Rigs. The Next Exit gives specifics on what you will find at each exit along interstates. We can't fit into any gas station, so this book is invaluable. The Truckers Road Altas tells us about low clearances and road suggestions for large rigs.

So, there are tools (of course, the Internet too) that help a big rig traveler, but I find I must do my homework before we travel ... just to avoid hassles. We haven't been able to fit in at a state park yet, but we love our setup and wouldn't be without the space.

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We have a 45 foot RV, the first thing I do when I contact a campground is to ask if they take big rigs. You will have better luck if you find campgrounds that have big rig sites. Some campgrounds we have been to say they take big rigs but when you get there the sites are small and your front end of the RV is right at the street. Always check the camping books for RV length. Good luck with your serach.

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There is no "ideal" motorhome.

Will the length of the coach you choose affect where you are able to camp-- of course.

Even with our 36' motorhome that's true, though clearly less an issue than with a 40'+ coach.

The trade-offs of size/accommodations vs accessibility to smaller CG's is one only you can weigh out for yourself.

No different than in boats!

Brett Wolfe

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One thing that hasn't been mentioned here is that depending upon state moving up beyond 40 foot may require a different license. In CA for sure anything over 40 foot requires a class B non-commercial license, which requires doctor physical every two years.

Although I know a lot of owners who drive without the proper license, I would personally hate to be on the receiving end of the lawyers questions as to why I was driving a 40' something foot vehicle and wasn't licensed to do so. Could be nasty.

Note, that other states have different requirements. Some states require a different license if over 26,000 pounds, or has air brakes etc. Please check your local state regulations and make sure you are legal. The RV dealers will generally not mention this detail to you.

Ray

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I agree with other posts that it's really a personal decision depending on your needs for accommodations, floorplan, etc. My personal decision is that I would never drive anything more than 35'. My parents had a 35' unit we lived in full time for 8 months and 3 months every summer through the 1970's. Room was never an issue, even with a family of 4.

When I purchased a motor home for my family, our first one was a 1991 34' Tiffin Allegro Bay, which we enjoyed quite a bit. We now have a 33' Southwind, which fits our needs fine, again with a family of 4.

As mentioned before, you will need to check ahead with campgrounds to see if they can accommodate a larger coach, and also some scenic areas may have length restrictions. I know that Independence Pass in Colorado will not allow anything over 35'.

Chris Guenther

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We moved from a 38 foot Monaco Windsor to a 45 foot Monaco Signature. The turning radius is much greater so more care must be exercised when making a turn. Getting into and out of fueling stops other then truck stops can be a bit tricky and you have to really pay attention to your entrance and exit routes before you enter. Some campgrounds cannot accommodate a 45 footer so we always call ahead to confirm availability of longer sites. Some states have restrictions for coaches over 40 feet which can alter your travel plans.

We enjoy our long coach but it does have a few drawbacks. Unless you are full timers, I would suggest a coach not longer then 40 feet.

Jake

Titusville, FL

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We have been full timing for 8 years. Our first motorhome was 33 ft. and our second was 38 ft. with two slides. Never had a problem with finding a campground for either of them. Two years ago we purchased a Tiffin Allegro Bus that is 43 ft. with 4 slides. While we love the spacious feel additional benefits of the longer coach (residential refrigerator, extra roominess in the bath area) we have encountered many more campgrounds that cannot accommodate our length, including many state parks.

So you have to consider the trade-offs and determine how you use your motorhome and how important space is to you. When we made the change we knew we wanted extra room for when our grandchildren wanted to stay in "their" motorhome. So, in spite of the need to plan ahead more for campground stays, we are loving having the extra space.

repldorsey

I have a 40 foot Motorhome and pull a 27 foot (towng to end). I also carry my bike and car plus tools in it. Have you ever had problems with length limits in pulling thru a State with lower legal limits?

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We have a 36' coach with no slideouts. In the past, KOA campgrounds were not built for coaches with slideouts and I have experienced kneeling under a slideout to hook my coach up. They are getting better. While traveling we dry camp in Walmart parking lots for a night or two. Cracker Barrel caters to RV'ers also. We have also noted that when requesting 50 amp hookups we are sent to the rear with the double-wides and long term folks. Most older campgrounds were built when 30 amp was state of the art. We usually take a 30 amp full hookup because these sites are in a better location. We spent the night at a decertified KOA in the boonies once and had to talk to the owners who were clueless about how to run one. They advertised "Big Rig Friendly" but the branches on the trees were right at 11', the electrical box was a disaster and the water line was PVC sticking up out of the dirt. They appreciated all the input we could give them but I wouldn't stay there again. There is a pattern devloping where the Mom and Pop parks are being sold off to folks from other countries. When we make suggestions for improvement they are surprised and on more than one occasion defended the quality of the park by saying that in the old country there park would have been a 5 star.

See you on the road!

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I would like to thank all that have responded to my question. After driving a 45 footer, I have decided that a 40 footer will be more in my comfort zone. As to the response about full timing, yes we do plan to full time. We are in the initial stages of making that happen.

Cheers to all

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We have a 41-foot coach with four slides, plus we tow a 24-foot trailer (65 feet total). We have a car and a motorcycle inside the trailer. We never travel to a campground without making a reservation and asking several questions regarding our rig fitting into a site. The best books I've found thus far for traveling in a big rig are: Big Rig Campgrounds gives a listing of campgrounds which take Big Rigs. The Next Exit gives specifics on what you will find at each exit along interstates. We can't fit into any gas station, so this book is invaluable. The Truckers Road Altas tells us about low clearances and road suggestions for large rigs.

So, there are tools (of course, the Internet too) that help a big rig traveler, but I find I must do my homework before we travel ... just to avoid hassles. We haven't been able to fit in at a state park yet, but we love our setup and wouldn't be without the space.

I am thinking about buying a 24 ft. trailer to tow with my 40 ft. coach. What name brand trailer would you recommend?

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Their are many things to consider, are you towing a car or truck and what is the overall length, weight.

Road use laws apply to all vehicles not just commercial carriers. Every state and the Federal Government are looking for revenue and the current trend is to look at road use and fees for over size, weight vehicles.

It already is in effect in several states and falls to the discretion of the road officer (except CA where the rules are very specific).

I do not mean to be discouraging, I own a large MH and tow a truck, but from my desk I see the rules changing with out much public knowledge.

We will be offering a course on this topic at our June 'RV Lifestyle, Education & Safety Conference', please visit www.rvsafety.com for more info.

Walter Cannon (Executive Director) RV Safety & Education Foundation

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I would like to close out this thread. We bought a 2005 Country Coach Magna.

Thanks for all the replies, they have helped in making our decision.

:rolleyes: Gary & Brenda

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I would like to close out this thread. We bought a 2005 Country Coach Magna.

Thanks for all the replies, they have helped in making our decision.

:rolleyes: Gary & Brenda

CONGRATULATIONS!

Brett

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