The conversation has gone for a few weeks now.  The dedication to the full-time lifestyle is ramping up.  Questions look like this in our house/RV….

  • What will be our sources of income?
  • How much will our monthly budget look like?
  • Will our kids spend time with us when we are on the road?
  • How often will we get to come “Home”?
  • What stuff do we need for full-timing?
  • and, And, AND…
  • and, what is our full-timing RV going to be?

So, we decided to focus on this for a few moments.  We love our travel trailer.  Its done wonders for us.  The space is ample in the model that we bought.  We love the outdoor kitchen space.  The layout serves us very well.  The “below” storage is weak, typical of a travel trailer.  In the end, the biggest things we want to change are below deck storage and the fridge.

Our current Open Range Roamer cost ~$40,000.  It’s great.  The new RV’s that we are considering are $80,000.   So, that boiled down to about a $40,000 upgrade for a larger fridge.  This was a serious joke for a day…then the reality of construction, stability, storage and so many more things, we decided that this $40,000 upgrade actually provided good value to us.

Yesterday, we woke up at the lake house, our RV, and thought about the days activities.  Low key, easy going, beautiful weather.  Next week is Bike Week at the lake.  Excited to get the Harley out, but until then, its just us.  It’s the first weekend after Labor Day, the lake is SUPPOSED to have quieted down from the monster speed boats on the water, but we can still hear them, so, we skipped the fishing trip.

What do we do?  A quick browse of Facebook and a search of the nearby RV dealership that we have heard about, we learn of an RV show a couple of hours away in St Louis.  We jumped in the truck and headed for STL to check out some models.

We arrived, saw our current favorite model, the Grand Design Solitude with the raised living room and giant storage box below.  We browsed and decided to look at some Class A Motorhomes.  Very nice rigs, diesel pushers, with all the amenities.

Obviously, these rigs cost more than the fifth wheels under consideration.  But, then we see the sales flyer.  $1700 a month.  Hmmm.  The nice one ton truck is $980 a month.  The new fifth wheel is about $600-$700 a month.  Same basic cost….per month….or is it.  Fuel economy?  Pulling the Fiver gets about 11mpg .  The Class A gets about 9mpg.  Not a huge difference.

So, what’s the consideration.  With nearly no research, I can realize that the Class A likely has far more upkeep costs in motor maintenance than the truck.  Next, the depreciation is far more substantial on the A.  With a truck that will lose half its value in 4 years with typical mileage, this will cost about $30,000.  The fifth wheel will lose half of its value in 4 years as well, at a loss of $40,000.  The Class A, could lose half its value in 4 years, but has a purchase price of $350,000, so a loss of $175,000.  This far outweighs the $70,000 hit from the fifth wheel option.

Other considerations.  The Motorhome had more storage underneath.  The motorhome allows us to be mobile far eaiser while traveling down the road.  The Motorhome doesnt require as much setup on arrival to sites.  Our wealthier predecessors of Class A dwellers are typically a bit older, while we still maintain greater agility and mobility.  Let’s save the cash.

Look ahead for more posts on our Fifth Wheel shopping experiences, as well as other posts.

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