Discussion in 'General RVing' started by Dafydd, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. Dafydd

    Dafydd New Member

    Hi Folks,

    My is David George. My wife and I are travel nurses living in the SF Bay area of California. We have talked to several nurses who live full time in their rv's while on the road so we decided to start gathering information with the idea of doing the same.

    Some background information:

    I am an E.R. Nurse. Margaret is a cardiac nurse. Prior to nursing school I used to drive over the road as a driver trainer for Transport America. I maintain my cdl and endorsements. We are both fairly self-sufficient. (At one time we were welders building railroad cars).

    We are used to living in close quarters. (Margaret grew up living on a sailboat).

    We work for 13-26 weeks at a time in California and spend part of the year at our house in PA.

    We have a 14 month old son.

    Our questions are:

    What makes of 5th wheels with bunkhouse floorplans have had good feedback on the forums.

    Where is a good place to start looking for used 5th wheel trailers.

    What brand of diesel tow vehicle gets good reviews.

    Is it necessary to tow with a "dually"?

    What are the rv parks like in northern California?

    Any particular peculiarities to camping in CA?


    David & Margaret (and Bobby)
  2. utmtman

    utmtman Senior Member

    Re: Introductions

    Welcome to the forum, being as I have never had a 5th wheel I will not comment here but many of our good 5ver people will give ya a hand. Good luck to ya.
  3. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Re: Introductions

    The best way of learning which RV manufacturers build a quality product is to join the RV Consumer Group.

    When you join this organization they will supply you with a great deal of information about how to inspect and rate an RV as well as the quality & safety ratings of many makes and models of RV from all manufacturers. It costs to join because this group accepts no money from the RV industry and sells no advertising. Their only support if from memberships and from selling their publications. They are not perfect, but they are by far the best help that a new buyer will find.

    At the top of most ratings for fifth wheels would be the Mobile Suites and the Teton (a company which just closed recently). Very close or perhaps matching them would be New Horizons. Not very far behind would be companies like Nuwa (also temporarily not in production). You will find that there are many opinions about what is a good quality trailer and what is not. Most owners are very biased, based upon their own experience. Many owners have great difficulty in admitting when they make a bad choice of RV and will often defend the company, probably because they do not want to admit to a poor choice. Others are people who are never happy with any product and they will give negative reports on even the best of products. As a result, few of us who own RVs are really very objective.

    The best place to shop for any RV is to compare everywhere that you have access to. There is no one place that is better than any other, but some dealers do give better pricing than others and all dealers have to cover costs so a larger dealer can generally sell for less than a small one and a dealer who's location is where real estate prices, taxes and overhead is low can sell for less than one who is located in very high cost areas. RV dealers are much more widely separated than car dealers so you have to be willing to travel in order to make them compete on price for the same RV.

    Tow vehicles are the same as cars. Some people will only buy a Ford, while others will never buy one. If you are planning to get a very large fifth wheel, then you need to be looking at the larger trucks and not just a pick-up truck. The high quality fifth wheels also weight much more than a cheap one and thus require more truck to tow it. For safety and reliability you need to choose the RV first and then look for a truck with the ability to tow it. And never believe any sales person about what truck can tow a trailer or how much any truck can tow. You need to learn about the tow ratings of the different trucks and the weights of the trailers. This is not a simple matter and if you match too heavy a trailer to too small a truck, you will have problems of reliability and /or safety. A low rated truck just can't control a large, heavy trailer.

    RV parks in northern Calif. are just like anywhere you might go. Some are very nice and others are very poor. The nicer they are the more that they will cost. If you are in California now, why don't you go visit the different RV parks, ask about their rates and learn for yourself? Since most of us who spend a great deal of time in the RV parks are probably much older than you, it is likely that you will find that most parks have a much older population, but there are some who cater to families and will have young people with families. Parks which have monthly rates are going to be populated for the most part with older people.

    Any particular peculiarities to camping in CA? I have no idea what you might have in mind there, but living there will be the same as living anywhere in California. I would, however caution you that what you are considering is not camping. As one who has lived full-time in an RV for nearly nine years, this is quite different than a typical RV trip. I strongly suggest that in your research before you make this choice, you need to get a book or two on full-time RV living and read them to understand just what you are considering and what you will need to do.
  4. Dafydd

    Dafydd New Member

    Re: Introductions

    Thanks Kirk,

    Do you recommend any good books on fulltiming?

    Dave G. :)
  5. utmtman

    utmtman Senior Member

Share This Page