Sandbox forum: RVs, Campers, and Motorhomes

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Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Nov 29, 2016 8:14 PM CST
We got to talking about RVing and camping on the Farming thread, and decided it might behoove the subject to have a thread here in the Sandbox.

We have never camped or had an RV............so as first-timers we shocked everyone we knew by buying a 44 foot 5th wheel toy hauler. It's a Cyclone, made by Heartland. Of course the old farm truck at 20 years old was a bit long in the tooth to be the tow vehicle, so we went out and got a 2015 Chevy Silverado LTZ crew cab. It's a Duramax Diesel with the Allison transmission. We tell everyone we spent our children's inheritance..........and I should add here it was with their blessing. All 3 of them said "it's your money, you worked your asses off for it, buy the RV and truck and go have some fun". The Spousal Unit said "well, if any of you want to take it and go somewhere, you can, "IF" we're not going someplace". Rolling on the floor laughing 2 of our sons have, but DS#3 never will. He won't even drive the truck without the RV on it. It's not that he "can't".......he just doesn't want something to happen while he would be driving. :>)

Anyway, the "plan" is for us to spend winters someplace warm.........probably Texas or Arizona. Right now it is not possible for us to do that; we have too many responsibilities here to be gone for 5 months.

The toy hauler will allow us to take our Harleys and bicycles. We have beds to sleep 6, plus a loft that our Granddaughter has eternal dibs on, plus 3 parts of the sofa that are "recliners". So, we say we can sleep 10 if 4 aren't real fussy. Green Grin!

I was told to post some pix of the "Mansion on Wheels". We LOVE it, and try to get away a couple of long weekends a month during the summer. I don't think we will ever be "full-timers".

So, post pix of your campers...........let's have a fun time telling of our trips. I'll tell a little more in upcoming posts.
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Nov 29, 2016 9:29 PM CST
Thanks for re-directing this, Anna! On the other end of the spectrum, here's our 8' slide-in truck camper. We've enjoyed this for many years, most often locally, sometimes off-road, a lot of crabbing and family camp-outs. Our longest trip was a 2 month winter trip through the SW desert country. During that trip, we traveled intermittently with my sister and her husband with their 30' motorhome and decided we should upgrade to something a bit roomier for our retirement years. So, the ol' Lance is now on Craigslist looking for a new owner.

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We are conflicted about what we will upgrade to. A small Class C was our initial idea, but then we thought that parking at trailheads could be a bit problematic (the camper does not extend past the back end of the truck and can literally go anywhere our truck can). So, we're now looking at either a 5th wheel or bumper-pull trailer that we can park and leave behind. I'd like to keep whatever we get to around 20-25' which would more than double the space we are used to.

Here's my must-haves: slide-out, propane oven, walk-around bed, cloth upholstery, good kitchen layout, AC. Nice to haves: either a couch or easy chair, quiet generator. Unimportant: size of bathroom, microwave. I'm ambivalent about a TV as I rarely watch it, but my husband likes his sports, so...

We like campgrounds rather than RV parks with both a firepit and some space between us and the neighbors. Dry camping or boondocking is not a problem. We rarely eat out and steer away from tourist attractions and cities. Mostly we opt for quiet, woods, water of some sort, and not-too-difficult hiking trails. Our preferred routes are the black or red roads on a map; we're not in a hurry. We have a medium-large dog who is getting up in years, as are we! Here's Frankie in her tent, which she is very content to stay in unless it is really cold out:

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I'd love to hear what others have, what has worked well for them, what has not worked out so well, and whatever stories you'd like to share. Winter is upon us, and we'd like to take off after the holidays, likely south into northern Mexico.






I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse Sempervivums
Bromeliad Adeniums Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals
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plantmanager
Nov 29, 2016 11:09 PM CST
We have a bumper pull Trail Light 23 ft trailer. The only pic I found has it pulled with an Explorer, but we now pull with a Toyota Tundra Crewcab which works much better.

We like to camp like you do, Deb. Boonies, lakes, forests, or beaches, but we avoid cities and tourist traps.

The trailer has most of what you want, Deb. We don't have a generator or slideouts.
It's perfect for the 2 of us, but when we have kids, they use a tent. We spend most of our time outdoors grilling, relaxing, hiking or swimming. I would love to have a larger shower, and a sofa. For sitting we just have 2 benches at the table. They are soft and upholstered, but a sofa would be better. We like being able to close off the bedroom.


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[Last edited by plantmanager - Nov 29, 2016 11:10 PM (+)]
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Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Nov 30, 2016 7:11 AM CST
Deb, that would be waaaay too small for us. We would NOT be "happy campers" in something like that. We each need our space. LOL Karen, yours looks roomier.

Ours has 2 slideouts..............1 in the bedroom, which allows for our king size bed. 1 in the living room too. I LOVE the flop-down patio off the kitchen and the back door of the "garage" can also be made into a patio. So far we have not done that; the one off the kitchen is enough.

I have a residential sized fridge and microwave. The fridge has an icemaker too.The oven leaves a lot to be desired, mainly because it's so small, tho I did indicate to you that it will hold a 9x13 pan. The stove is 3 burner. I'm not a fan of gas stoves, so this took a bit of getting used to using that.

We have 2 full bathrooms in ours...........the "main" one just up the steps and before the bedroom, and the other, smaller one is in the garage portion.

I couldn't BELIEVE the amount of storage this beast has. I tell everyone that every cupboard door is functional............there is storage behind every one. I have more storage in the RV than I have in my kitchen. LOL

The living room sofa doesn't fold out into a bed, but with 3 of the 5 sections of it reclining I say that if you sleep in your recliner at home, you could sleep in these.

I have some interior pix, some might not be all that great because they were taken while it was inside at the dealership.
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[Last edited by AnnaZ - Nov 30, 2016 7:11 AM (+)]
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Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Nov 30, 2016 7:20 AM CST
Ok, I couldn't put explanations beside each picture, so I will do it here. Sorry you'll have to scroll up and down. LOL

1. The garage bathroom. You can see that it's small, but it has the potty, shower, and tub.
2. The living room sofa.
3. Our DS#1, his wife, and the 2 grands. DS#2 is their dad, not #1. It was so funny; they came along the day we offically "bought" it. While we were signing papers and all that rigamarole, they were sitting in it and waiting. Melisa had brought snacks for the kids. DS said that some people came and walked through and looked at them askance as they appeared to be hunkered in for the long haul. DS looked at them and said "my parents are BUYING this". LOL
4. The main bathroom.
5. Storage above the stove/counter area.
6. Since it is mostly just the 2 of us, we eat at the bar/counter. When it's nice out, we have table and chairs out on the patio.
7. and 8. More storage
9. Our bedroom. Mom made and gave me the quilt on the bed. It's "Irish Chain". A wonderful keepsake that Mom made.........one I can use, but not "over-use" and wear it out.
10. 2 signs we found that we though appropriate for our new RV life.

I'm almost ashamed to admit that this beast has 4 TVs..........1 in the bedroom, living room, garage, and out on the patio/deck. The SU "needed" his DISH tv, so we have satellite where we go, provided we can find a spot to park that is not in the way of trees. LOL It has happened a couple of times.
[Last edited by AnnaZ - Nov 30, 2016 7:22 AM (+)]
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Name: Jean
Hot Springs Vlg, AR, DeLand, F
Region: Florida Daylilies Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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rocklady
Nov 30, 2016 8:46 AM CST
We have been camping since our youngest was out of diapers. (He's 54). First it was a tent, and we went to State and National Parks. When we went to Alaska, we had a Ford Econoline with a turtle tail, which was a fold out that slept two. The round trip to Alaska was 10,200 miles. We had our five kids, my Dad, DH and me. I might add that the Alaska highway was not paved in 1969. The next step was a pop-up, which we thought was the "ultimate." It had a kitchen (of sorts), and slept 8. Of course, no indoor plumbing. We traveled in this until we decided to take our trips on the water and bought a sailboat. When we retired, the sailboat was sold and we still had itchy feet so we bought our first motor home, a 25 foot (from our RV salesman son, no less). After two years, we upgraded to a 30 footer which we had for a couple of years, and then upgraded to what we have now -- a 36 foot Winnebago with two slideouts. The only problem is we haven't been able to use it as much in the last three years as we would like. For several years we belonged to an RV club which took us to lots of great places, but after some time we decided we liked to do our own thing. We usually spent a month on the road, mostly going west. I'll try to dig up some pictures later of the Winnebago but now I've got to make some breakfast for DH before he starves!
Any day you wake up on the sunny side of the grass is a good day.

"The moving hand writes and having writ moves on. Neither all thy piety nor all thy wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." The Rubiyat by Omar Khayyam
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Nov 30, 2016 9:10 AM CST
At this point, I really don't see us becoming "Class A motorhome" people, but then again the SU said "maybe in 10 years we won't want the 5th wheel anymore". He likes to tell people "I'm 66 years old.........I figure I've got 10 good years left in me. I don't have time to start small and trade up". LOL Our oldest son told us "Go big or go home". Guess we went big. Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Jean
Hot Springs Vlg, AR, DeLand, F
Region: Florida Daylilies Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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rocklady
Nov 30, 2016 9:54 AM CST
@AnnaZ Enjoy your unit now and in the future if you want to, go to a Class A. I love ours because I can use the bathroom any time I want to! Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Any day you wake up on the sunny side of the grass is a good day.

"The moving hand writes and having writ moves on. Neither all thy piety nor all thy wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." The Rubiyat by Omar Khayyam
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse Sempervivums
Bromeliad Adeniums Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals
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plantmanager
Nov 30, 2016 10:00 AM CST
Having a bathroom along on trips is very handy! Rest stops are few and far between these days. In AZ and NM some of them are closed.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Nov 30, 2016 10:31 AM CST
Jean, I envy your trip to Alaska. We had intended to do that this past spring (drive up, sell the camper, take the ferry home), but Gary got a new hip in May and we decided an extended road trip was likely not the best idea for his recuperation. Perhaps we'll do that this spring if we don't sell before then. Still on my bucket list...

Anna, way to take the bull by the horns - sounds like just the rig for you! Everyone has their own comfort level. Beautiful quilt, by the way, what a lovely piece of home to carry with you. And love your signs.

Karen, yours is about the size we are looking for, although we do want a slide. My sister has just an 18" slide in her motorhome and I'm amazed at how much roomier it is when open. I think we're leaning toward a 5th wheel, although that can change on a daily basis. My Dad had a 24' 5th wheel that I wish we would have kept. But alas - when he aged out of using it, we were not in RV mode and it was sold. We did take it on a road trip up through Canada and found it quite easy to maneuver and very comfortable.

We also rather eased into RVing. When we first married (a hundred years ago) we bought an older forest service panel van and transformed it into a very functional travel rig - insulated, carpeted and paneled, built in lots of storage including a fold-out couch/bed, set up the ice chest with a direct drain outside, reupholstered the seats. We took a lot of cross-country road trips in that and it served us well until the kids came long, at which point we tented/boated for years. Once the kids were gone, we moved to campers - the PNW can be a bit damp and we wanted a roof over our head and a toilet. Our first camper was much larger, heavier, and older than our current camper. But, after several joint surgeries, my husband is about done with crawling up to bed, so on we go to the next phase.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Betty
MN zone 4
Frogs and Toads Birds Roses Region: United States of America Peonies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Hostas Garden Art Echinacea
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daylilydreams
Nov 30, 2016 10:54 AM CST
Jean, I so agree with you on the bathroom use.

I don't have pictures of our current Class A on this computer will look for some on the other computer when I get some time. We are on our 5th Class A having traveled for many years in our working days we would pack as much into our vacation time as possible. We have been to many states all across the country and visited many national parks, also up into Canada. Our sons also got the travel bug from us and both have fifth wheels.

Our current Class A has what we call lots of bells and whistles making it very comfortable for three, four or more months of travel. A few of the things I like (actually love everything) are the floor to ceiling pull out pantry in the kitchen and the skylight over the bathtub/shower, all the storage is great. Our generator is not noisy you almost forget it is running when we use it. This one is a Winnebago Itasca, all but one of our motor homes have been a Winnebago. We always tow a vehicle which is very handy for driving around. We had not been able to use it when my husband had a stem cell transplant due to cancer, he is in remission. This summer was the first time in almost three years he was feeling up to going. We will be going to nearby states shorter trips in 2017 until we can get all the logistics of his ongoing treatment figured out, it is one step at a time. Any of you that have whatever type of a travel vehicle or trailer, get out there and use it while you can you never know what the future holds.
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
Faith is the postage stamp on our prayers!
Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: Jean
Hot Springs Vlg, AR, DeLand, F
Region: Florida Daylilies Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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rocklady
Nov 30, 2016 11:34 AM CST
@AnnaZ If you want to go smaller in 10 years you have this option (with or without air conditioning) It can be towed by a motorcycle Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing

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Thumb of 2016-11-30/rocklady/70a201 Our second Flair

Thumb of 2016-11-30/rocklady/eec629 The Black Hills
Thumb of 2016-11-30/rocklady/334408 California
Thumb of 2016-11-30/rocklady/c36f64 The Pacific Northwest

One of our favorite places was a campground in the shadow of Mesa Verde. From there we could take day trips to many wonderful places, such as Chaco Canyon. One year, we even took a several day trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The brothers who ran the campground were very accommodating and watched the unit while we were at the Grand Canyon, even parking a car by it while we were away.

The day will be coming in the future when we will have to give it up but we have many memories from our travels across this country as well as Canada.


Any day you wake up on the sunny side of the grass is a good day.

"The moving hand writes and having writ moves on. Neither all thy piety nor all thy wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." The Rubiyat by Omar Khayyam
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Dec 1, 2016 7:48 AM CST
Using the bathroom while "on the road".............well, with a rig our size it is sometimes hard to find a place to pull in, so the SU hit upon the idea of taking 2 or 3 gallon jugs of water along and we can just pull off on the side of the road to use the "facilities" if needed. Just dump some water in the toilet and we're ok.

Maybe if enough people read and reply here, we will get an answer to a question we have.............we would LOVE to be able to find county parks with campgrounds like we have found at Scott County park in Eldridge, Iowa (close to Davenport). The Bald Eagle campground is beautiful and only $23/night for full hookup. The Spousal Unit said he wished we could find parks/campgrounds like this in other states. We love Bald Eagle and it's only 100 miles from home, so just a nice distance to go for a few days. We're not spending a day to get there and a day to get back home again. It's very safe, I have no problem letting the grandkids go bike around the park.

Here is some information on it............not real detailed, but you can get an idea.

http://www.scottcountyiowa.com...
Name: Jean
Hot Springs Vlg, AR, DeLand, F
Region: Florida Daylilies Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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rocklady
Dec 1, 2016 9:32 AM CST
@AnnaZ We have a campground book that lists campgrounds by area. It is very large and heavy, but in most instances, when you have a choice of places you can go on line and check them out in depth. The books are available at Camping World.
DH has to pull over if he has to use the facilities, but that is an advantage I have being the passenger. I am free to move around as long as we are on the open road and not in heavy traffic.
Any day you wake up on the sunny side of the grass is a good day.

"The moving hand writes and having writ moves on. Neither all thy piety nor all thy wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." The Rubiyat by Omar Khayyam
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Dec 1, 2016 9:36 AM CST
Yes, the Good Sam book. We have it. But, we never would have known by pix, etc. how nice Bald Eagle is. Need the "word of mouth" thing.

We also have the "Big Rigs Best Bets". That is really a good guide for RVers of our size, since it is compiled especially for the "Big Boys". We tend to use that one more than the Good Sam directory.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse Sempervivums
Bromeliad Adeniums Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals
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plantmanager
Dec 1, 2016 9:45 AM CST
We had the Good Sam book, but it wasn't especially helpful. For us it's been hit and miss. Some have been great, but most aren't great. Some have been more expensive than a cheap motel!

Have any of you camped near Ft Bragg, CA?
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Dec 1, 2016 10:36 AM CST
Anyone have any campgrounds they would recommend around the Brownsville area that would accommodate our 44 footer?
Name: Jean
Hot Springs Vlg, AR, DeLand, F
Region: Florida Daylilies Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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rocklady
Dec 1, 2016 12:59 PM CST
@plantmanager That is why I like to check on line various campgrounds, especially the comments. I'm also suspicious if everyone says this is the greatest campground on earth. In our travels with the Roadrunners we found that some of the campgrounds the wagonmasters chose were fine, but others not so fine. I'm sure they did the best they could sight unseen but input from people that had visited there would have been better.
Any day you wake up on the sunny side of the grass is a good day.

"The moving hand writes and having writ moves on. Neither all thy piety nor all thy wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." The Rubiyat by Omar Khayyam
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Dec 1, 2016 4:28 PM CST
From the west coast, here's some we've enjoyed. Trying to remember ones that would be appropriate for larger units and with full hookups (we have historically not used full hookups, which may well change):

WA - Deception Pass State Park - gorgeous setting on Puget Sound, older campground with fairly good screening between sites. Beautiful sunsets, plus a fresh water lake for swimming and fishing. Great in late summer/fall when the humpies (dog salmon) are running. Best to get reservations. http://parks.state.wa.us/497/D... You can also look at other state parks from this site. This is our favorite, and about an hour from home so it's our go-to park.

WA - Rasar State Park - newer campground on the Skagit River, really good eagle watching in January/February. http://parks.state.wa.us/571/R...

AZ - Lost Dutchman State Park - outside of Phoenix at the foot of the Superstition Mountains. What a beautiful rock feature, with good hiking and a nice view down the valley. Very clean park. http://azstateparks.com/Parks/...

I'll have to look through my camper journal for others. Hole in the Wall was another favorite in the Mojave, but I don't think it had any hookups and was a bit off-route. I loved it for the serenity and the 'singing dunes,' very cool.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Bonehead
Dec 2, 2016 10:46 PM CST
Back to cogitating regarding which RV to go for. Just spoke with my cousin who lives full-time in a 22' Lance trailer. Here's her advice:

(2) 6-volt batteries in sequence are better than (2) 12 volt batteries. I have no idea what this means, but am passing it on.

Check for high clearance, easier to dump and way better traveling, especially in the southwest where they have those drainage cuts across highways. (I think she doesn't have high clearance)

A flush slide is better than a step slide for stability. Theirs is a step, and they have had to jerry-rig something to support their slide when they are parked for extended periods. She also notes that trailers are not really designed for fulltime living (like bigger units) and every time they move (about every 2 weeks) it is like they hit an earthquake. I think their trailer is about 3 years old and she is definitely seeing stress damage.

Suggests two swivel-rockers over a sofa, for personal comfort.

When looking at a 4-season rig, be sure to check underneath.

Not making any judgments on the above, just passing along information. I'd be way happy to hear what others think and other things to look for. I'm all ears...
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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