A lot of thought and analysis went into the selection of my Motor Home. Over the last few years as I considered the change in lifestyle, I read blogs, reviewed RV manufactures Web sites and attended the bigger RV shows. All of these activities went into clarifying my desires and narrowing the selection process.
First, I knew I wanted a motorhome. To me, it came down to tow a big 5th wheel trailer then have to drive a big dually truck around town, or tow a little vehicle with a big motorhome then have a good around town vehicle. As a solo traveler, many of the advantages of a 5th wheel are negated.
The next question many people try to answer is diesel pusher or gas motorhome. I didn’t see that as the primary driver. My ordered primary criteria were:
- Enough carrying capacity for all my “stuff”.
- Small enough to get into more rustic state and federal parks.
- Quality construction that will support full timing.
- Floor plan that will support my lifestyle.
It turns out the diesel issue is influenced by the carrying capacity and length criteria. Most of the shorter diesels do not have the carrying capacity I need. This is because of the size of the engine and drive train. The distance behind the rear wheels can only be made so short. Therefore, it’s necessary to shrink the wheel base to get a short overall diesel pusher. This eliminates a lot of the storage space. While the quietness of a rear engine, the smoothness of air ride and the increased stopping power of air brakes would be nice, I’ll only be driving it 1 day out of 15 given my travel plans. So paying 30% to 50% more to improve the experience for 6.5% of the time it will be used doesn’t add up for me.
With my focus set on 32 to 35 foot gas motorhomes, I narrowed the brand selection down to Winnebago, Newmar or Tiffin. These manufacturers are very different in approach, but all produce a product in my quality vs. cost value point. The decision was down to floor plan.
In a floor plan, I wanted:
- basement and indoor storage space
- a desk/computer workstation area
- good TV viewing
- usable with the slides in
- no full wall slides or an excessive number of slides
- residential style refrigerator
After looking at many units over the course of 2 to 3 years, I selected the Tiffin Open Road Model 32SA which is actually about 35 feet long.
It has more basement storage than comparable sized diesel pushers and has everything I want and need plus a few things I don’t need. For instance, it has 3 large pillows in the bedroom that have no purpose other than decoration. When it comes time to use the bed, they end up on the floor. I doubt they will last long.