Send a photo of your RV and a 150- to 200-word description of it, how and where you use it, and what you like or don’t like about it, to Diane (at) RVtravel.com . Be sure to include your name(s) and hometown, or if you’re a full-timer. (These are posted in the order received.)
The RVs of RVtravel.com readers and how they use them
Issue 80; Posted June 10, 2017
Ross and Kirsten Brand, Canada
Here is our current garden ornament, a 2007 Forest River Lexington 255. We’ve only spent a couple of nights in it, so it is too new to really compare. The shock to me was that we paid twice as much for this RV as we paid for our house 44 years ago.
What we have traveled in: In 1966 we bought a Dodge truck and camper; in 1974, a 1968 Econoline camperized van; in 1978, a sailboat; in 2005 , a 1998 Slumber Queen “C”; in 2014, a 2004 GMC and 29-foot Jayco 5er; and now our Forest River Lexington. Next: ??
In 1966 we honeymooned down the coast in a camper. In the ’70s I was staff archeologist at the Provincial Museum of B.C. and covered the province in an old Econoline van doing the Petroglyph project. The van would overheat at the sight of a hill.
From 1978 – 1984, we enjoyed our sailboat. When our son turned 14 he didn’t want to spend a month with his parents on a boat, unless he could bring his girlfriend along and share the “V” berth. We were not prepared for that. We sold the boat and built my wife’s studio.
From 2005 – 2015, we explored the southwestern states in a Class “C” and then in a 5th wheel.
Now we have a Forest River Lexington and plan to head north into northern B.C. and the Yukon.
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Gary and Mary (and Abby) Syme, Full-timers
This is our 2015 Tiffin Allegro and our 2007 Mini Cooper. We are new to the full-time RV lifestyle, and are currently taking the final step of selling the house, having an estate sale, and taking off!! Our yellow Lab, Abby, travels with us.
As far as the Tiffin Allegro, we were lucky to find one that was 2 years old at a great price. We absolutely love it. So far just a few minor bugs. Being able to talk to a person at Tiffin when you have an issue or question is beyond pricing. Great customer service.
We are currently workamping in Washington while the house and estate sales close. It is giving us time to get to know the RV, and we have a great group of folks here that are helping us learn the ropes. After this, it’s off to the south before the rains set in here in the Pacific Northwest. We are looking forward to many new adventures.
[Editor: This is (much) longer than usual in this feature, but John makes a lot of good points for those shopping for an RV.]
In May of 2014, I bought a new 2015 Dynamax DX3-37RB. It’s a Super-C class motorhome built on a Freightliner cab-chassis and has a GVWR of 33,000 pounds. Since the diesel engine is up front, FrED (Front End Diesel) seemed appropriate for its name.
FrED is my second RV. I started with a new, 2010 Casita Spirit Deluxe Travel Trailer that I could easily tow with the minivan I then owned. The Casita was a great way to get started RVing without spending a ton of money. I quickly realized that I like the RV lifestyle and spent the next three years researching what I wanted to “graduate” to. After much searching, I narrowed it down to three possibles: a Class-A diesel pusher (specifically the Winnebago Tour/Itasca Ellipse), a Super-C Class, or a Class-8 HDT (Heavy Duty Truck) pulling a fifth wheel trailer. After further research and eliminating the Class-A diesel pusher and the Class-8 HDT for various reasons, I decided on the Dynamax Super-C Class diesel puller with the new 37RB floor plan. I finally located one and put a deposit down on it over the phone.
The actual length of FrED is 39’3″ (go figure). I love the fact that it’s based on Class-7, Freightliner HDT (Heavy Duty Truck) cab/chassis and not a pickup/contractor van. The HDT provides a huge safety margin that MDTs (Medium Duty Trucks like the Ford F-450/E-450) can’t even come close to. HDTs are engineered and designed to have a long duty cycle (you can safely run them 24/7); not so with MDTs. (I know RVers aren’t going to drive that much but the durability is there).
FrED drives like a dream. I sit about six feet above the pavement (in a very comfortable seat) and have excellent visibility. It features a 350HP Cummins 9 liter diesel engine. I’ve seen 10.7 mpg with the cruise control set at 63 mph (turning ~1600 rpm). Plenty of power in the mountains (even when towing) and equally important, super braking power. I have a true tow capacity of 20,000 pounds! Many (most?) RV builders play fast and loose with tow capacities. You’re limited to the lowest rated part. Many builders go cheap on the hitch, shortchanging potential tow capacity.
Why I picked the Dynamax DX3-37RB was because nothing important moves with the two slides. Propane, water and drain lines all stay put. So do all the appliances. Each slide has some 12VDC lights and a single 120VAC outlet. Wires are much better at being flexed than water and propane lines. The extra 1/2 bath is a joy. It happens to be much more comfortable than the main toilet. Lots of storage, both inside and out. Residential appliances: 23-cubic-foot, three-door fridge, microwave, stack washer/dryer, and three flat panel HDTVs. OEM gear includes an In-Motion satellite dish and an OTA antenna. FrED has true, 22.5-inch truck tires. That means I’ll pay about $100 less per tire (versus RV tires) when it finally comes time to replace them.
Downsides: Drivers may need a special license to drive an HDT (each state sets its own rules for RVers driving HDT-based RVs). My rig was one of the first of the 37RB floor plans, so they were still learning. There were several issues that the factory attended to shortly after I took delivery. Dynamax went cheap by putting only two 12VDC batteries in to power said large residential fridge (I upgraded to six, 6VDC batteries). I’ve also had repairs done at two FROG Rallies (Forest River Owner’s Group). The OEM furniture was pure eye candy, and not at all comfortable. I’ve since replaced almost all of it (at ProCustomInc.com, Elkhart, IN. They do great work).
Yes, an HDT-base RV is more expensive that a “regular” RV. But for that extra money the buyer gets a safer, roomier RV that will last far longer than an RV that is always operating near (and possibly beyond) its maximum ratings — common with many standard C-Class RVs, especially when fully loaded.
It takes many RVers 3 to 5 RVs before they get their “perfect” RV. My ideal rig would be a Class-8 HDT pulling a custom fifth wheel toy hauler. The drawback to such a big rig is that there are places where such a rig would not fit. But being a “toy hauler,” I could wheel out my Prius and get into all the small spaces a big rig could not. I’d have the best of both worlds.
I took delivery of FrED in May 2014 (yes, it’s a 2015 model). Since taking delivery, I’ve driven it just over 30,000 miles. I’ve been as far west as NM (Balloon Fiesta) and AZ , up to SD, south to TN, east to VT and MA. I’ve attended three Escapade Rallies, several HDT Rallies (highly recommended for anybody interested in something more powerful that “standard” RVs/tow vehicles). ALL are welcome at HDT Rallies.
I’m back in NY now, emptying 35 years of “stuff” from my house. I expect to get my “stick and brick” house sold soon and become a Full-timer this year (something I can easily do in FrED). Until I get my house sold (which I hope will be soon), I’m an extended-time RVer, but FrED has the space for me to comfortably full-time in. There’s just SOOOO much to see across America and — I’ve barely got my toes wet!
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