Thinking about a Bus/RV

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    The new fridge arrived today! It looks good and really does a lot to make the interior look newer. Now I just have to build the mount for it.
     
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  2. tmyers

    tmyers En-Route

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    Rough River is the end of April, I think we are going.

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  3. tmyers

    tmyers En-Route

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    Is Andy coming?

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  4. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    We spent another weekend working on the RV, getting things back together. While we didn't get quite as far as I'd hoped, we did got a lot done.

    The first thing I'll mention is redoing the TV cabinet. The RV was designed for a CRT TV above the driver's head. Of course, this was a giant cabinet that not only blocked some of my view, but that probably caused me multiple concussions when I smacked my head on it. The old CRT TV had been replaced with a flat screen one or two owners ago, so the full size wasn't needed. I decided to shrink the cabinet and then repurpose it as a subwoofer cabinet, as the stock stereo in the RV used two 6.5" speakers (one pair up front and one pair in the bedroom). While they sound good, 6.5s don't do much for the lower ranges. So, I created an enclosed subwoofer cabinet and mounted a 10" Kicker subwoofer in. The wires hid nicely behind some plastic panels I needed to remove anyway, and I found a little nook where the amp could be mounted and hidden well. The audio sounds much better now, although it did take some time of me playing around with the equalizer and settings to have it sound good.

    Even then, I suppose I can't call that project entirely complete as I need to cut and mount a piece of wood for the TV mount that goes up there, and then mount the TV. But that'll get done.

    The bathroom vanity is just about done other than the drain plumbing, which we seem to have misplaced so I'll need to buy some more PVC. The stock vanity had some ugly green one-piece countertop and sink, plus a cheap old faucet. While functional it was unattractive. We'd looked at a bunch of different options and it seemed most of them involved spending a lot of money on some kind of new custom-made countertop, which most places wouldn't even make for an RV. Laurie proposed tiling the countertop, which at first I didn't like the idea of, but she'd found some really cool-looking tile on clearance that I agreed would look good. So, we cut a new countertop out of two sheets of plywood, coated it in RedGuard, mounted it, tiled, and then did some tile around the edge to complete the look. For the sink, we'd found a sink made out of a stone (yes it's heavy) that we used, and found a faucet we liked as well. Laurie painted the vanity a dark grey from the builder basic honey oak color the cabinets had, and we added some new door handles (shaped like turtles). All in all, a cheap remodel that looks much better.

    The bathroom we'd redone before, but that didn't go well and got damaged during the demolition of the fridge cabinet and floor. Laurie had put up beadboard-looking wallpaper, this time I just put up actual beadboard. Some paint and trim later, and now it looks more finished and shouldn't have any issues. We also had some stick-on tile that Laurie put on around the toilet. One more piece of trim remains there, along with making a cover for the water and propane lines that run through the area.

    The fridge area is probably the one that I was most hoping to get done, but was also the most complicated in many ways. I built the mount for the fridge to sit on but need to finish building the surround area that will support it. Conveniently, the fridge has a couple of channels underneath it that are the size of 1x2s. While they'd used these for mounting the mechanical bits, they're open enough that I was able to cut and screw down some 1x2s that will help to keep the fridge from sliding forward (left to right from the driver's seat). The fridge should be well located by the end.

    A whole lot of work, but there's light at the end of the tunnel for this interior remodel. Our next planned trip is April and we shouldn't have a problem meeting that. I do plan on changing the belts before then, though. Maybe I should also change the hoses while I'm in there.
     
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  5. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Somewhat duplicate here, but I started this thread:

    https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/com...rv-air-conditioning-heat-pump-project.131144/

    Which I may then continue over here. I've ordered a home R22 style compressor, 115VAC, which I will mount up front in the RV and use that to drive the driver's area air conditioning. After one of the original AC lines broke in August or September and I started to see what a ridiculous system the whole thing was, this just made sense.

    Since the point was made that a reversing valve (to create a heat pump) would also require some sort of logic to determine when to run the setup in AC mode to defrost the condenser in the winter, I think that's just more complexity than I feel like doing. I'll stick to just air conditioning. The compressor is supposed to arrive on Friday. I'm not going to get started on the project immediately (at least I don't plan to) since the RV is still drivable as-is. This will give me 13k BTUs (roughly) of cooling, which should be enough to help add some coolness/comfort up front, not to mention defrost capability on the windshield.

    Something else I'm trying to figure out is what I want to do about sun visors. The stock ones are completely worthless - just smallish visors that flip down, and are also worn and ugly. They don't cover anything close to the entire windshield, so I end up with the sun in my eyes a lot. There are some options (both manual and power) available, which I will probably be looking to buy and install, but I need to do some measuring and figure out what makes the most sense there.

    All of that is a lower priority vs. finishing up the interior, of course, but something else that needs to get addressed.
     
  6. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Is Rosen still the answer in RVs? :)
     
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  7. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Have you considered tint for the windshield? It's a no-no from a purely legal standpoint in many states, but a very light tint (say 70%) on the windshield isn't noticeable at all, but does wonders for reducing sunlight/headlight glare. You won't hardly be able to tell it's tinted with 70% tint, and it won't really affect night driving.
     
  8. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    im going to ask a question that is potentially very important but that I do not know the answer to. Is the coil and expansion valve in the dash compatible with R-22 (or the modern equivalent )?

    I ask because auto systems were R-12 and now R-182 not R-22.
     
  9. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    That might help some, but it doesn't do much for the direct sun-in-my-eyes, which is what I'm really after trying to achieve.

    Auto systems were R12, then R134a. I've never heard of R182, maybe that's the new one. I will be charging the system with R134a. So, I think this would more change your question to "Is the pump compatible with R134a?" since the coils and expansion valve were already designed for R134a.

    To answer your question, the pump may not be ideally suited for R134a, but it should still work fine. Back when I was a mechanic, I probably converted 50 different cars from R12 to R134a. While we may not have done it the book way of doing it, it always worked fine. I suspect that this compressor should do the job fine. And if I'm wrong, it's not too expensive of an experiment on the whole.

    One thing to note is that with R134a vs. R22 (or R12) the system won't cool quite as well. So that 13k BTU rating may mean 11-12k BTUs in that condition. I still think that should be sufficient. I'm not looking at cooling the whole RV with this (remember I have two rooftop units), the real point is to get some cold air blowing directly on me. It should be sufficient for that.
     
  10. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Being absolutely serious, you might give it a try to see what you think. Sometimes the blinding glare is what is uncomfortable more-so than the staring at the sun itself. Maybe find some of the cling-on tint to see if it works out. There's just not much else you can do outside of a flip-down visor like a school bus driver would use. There were several times where I could drive into the early morning sun and the "eyebrow tint" strip would cancel out most of the intensity. Now, my tint strip was darker than 70%, but it's the glare/UV protection that is more important than the light transmittance itself. Something to think about/experiment with.
     
  11. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Can you reach the windshield from your seat?
     
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  12. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    R134a was what I was thinking of I just mis-remembered. Home systems are rapidly switching to R410. In fact they stopped making parts for R-22 based systems in Jan of 2020. I wound up replacing both of my home systems because of it. I just know they should be compatible for good cooling and lubrication because the refrigerant also carries the oil for the compressor.
     
  13. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    They make larger power shades that you can install and then make go down to block out the sun with the push of a button. That seems like it might be the best solution, although it adds some complexity with the installation of a switch/wiring.

    I cannot. The ergonomics on this are not the best - a lot of switches are far enough away that they require me to get up or otherwise move around.

    Correct. R-22 stuff is rapidly being phased out. That's part of how I got this compressor so cheap. The list price (supposedly) was $590, but with R-22 stuff discontinued and it becoming much harder if not impossible to get R-22, they had it marked down to $170 with free shipping. What I'm doing is, as I stated, not an intended or "correct" use of it. But that's the best part about doing an experiment, you can just kinda put together what's readily available and see how it works. My guess is this will do the job just fine to keep me comfortable up front.
     
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  14. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    Ted:

    Have you considered using difluoroethane (R152a)?

    It’s very inexpensive, and is not a greenhouse gas. Plus, you’d not have to purge the old oil from the system, as you’d need to do with a 134a conversion.

    I’ve been using it in my Oldsmobile for several years, with excellent result.
     
  15. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I should take a look at that, Spike. I've not even heard of R152a (which doesn't mean much) but if it might be a more "ideal" refrigerant for this application, it could be worth buying some for it. I have a big bottle of R134a, but no reason I "have" to use it.

    Doing a quick google doesn't seem to show R152a being readily available in a bottle for AC purposes, so I may be searching poorly. Where are you buying it or is there some brand name you're buying it under?
     
  16. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I did see the power shades. Without being able to reach the glass: maybe a Rosen-style/Ram mount attached to the A pillar (provided you can reach it). I don’t know if you already have visors that you can reach, but there are fold down extensions.

    Or limit your driving to north routes.
     
  17. GaryM

    GaryM Line Up and Wait

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    You're a pilot. Shouldn't you already have a pair of Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses?
     
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  18. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member

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    I thought MU-2 pilots wore Geordi LaForge-style visors instead.
     
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  19. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ted is really the Stig.
     
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  20. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    That's the answer. Make Ted wear a helmet with tinted visor. Bonus points for having the air conditioning/heating piped into the helmet like a NASCAR driver, lol.
     
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  21. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pattern Altitude

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    Has anyone ever done a cost comparison between rving and flying?
     
  22. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Residential fridge: installed :)

    The stock Norcold 1200 was 12 cubic feet, this Frigidaire is 18. It’s big for an RV but fits quite nicely. I need to do a little more work to secure it to the top (or at least prevent it from tipping) which I will. End result: cheaper than a rebuild of the Norcold would’ve been for an improved end result. We also think the side by side layout makes more sense in an RV, since the food then doesn’t have as far to move forward and backward during acceleration and braking.

    A8BF9773-90F4-4A63-8781-2E480A0E6B26.jpeg
     
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  23. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Well, I don’t even think about how much RV trips cost me or RV repairs. The plane every shop visit was concerning. This RV was worth maybe 15% of the value of the MU2.

    If you compared this to a 150, it might be different. But our RV is not the equivalent of a 150, it’s closer to the equivalent of the MU2 (or at least some go places twin).
     
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  24. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pattern Altitude

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    I understand that... But I wasn't thinking 150... Or twin. Rather somewhere in the middle. A used class A, say around $80K. V a comparable plane... Say an early Deb, or a Cardinal RG....

    Take an 800 mile (one way) trip in either... taking into account storage facilities for each, insurance, gas mileage, parking/camp fees, hotel rooms, car rental. One week stay...

    It's an apples/oranges comparison... But travel is the end result.
     
  25. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sometimes it’s the journey. A plane is something of a transporter beam, getting you from A to B. They each have a purpose.
     
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  26. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I think the biggest issue I have with the comparison as you have it is that an $80k Class A is a way more luxurious travel experience to an $80k Deb, Cardinal RG, etc. A Class A is closer to a cabin class twin, at lowest a Malibu. You've got a lot more space, you can carry more people, make a sandwich while you're flying, etc. A 4-seat piston single would be more equivalent to a Class B, maybe a small Class C. But really, I'd figure that the 4-seat piston single like you mentioned would be closer to a Class B, a 5/6-seat twin (310, Aztec, Baron) would be more like a Class C, and then a Class A would be like a cabin class twin.

    But, a few specs on mine.

    Storage: $0, since we store it on our property. You could argue that we're building the shop to store it, but we were building the shop because I needed a shop. A hangar around here would run around $400/month. Almost no plane will be something you could keep on your property. However, many people can (and do) keep their RVs on their property. If you're paying for indoor RV storage, though, it may not be too far off from hangar.

    Insurance: $1k/year with an agreed upon value of $45k on our Class A. $1k/year for a piston single isn't out of line (although in today's insurance market it's probably low). We'll call this a wash.

    Gas mileage: We get roughly 8 MPG, but our mileage varies wildly depending on the roads we're on and how fast I feel like going. Worst we got was 5.5. Diesel is cheaper than 100LL or Jet A.

    Parking/camp fees vs. hotel rooms/car rentals: Well, you (likely) won't be renting a car with an RV as most more serious RVers tow a car behind. However, parking and camping fees with an RV also vary wildly. There are a lots of places you can park/camp overnight for free. I think the highest we've paid was around $100/night to park our RV with full hook-ups, cable, etc.

    If you were to talk about a more equivalent (to your airplane choice) Class B, you could probably park it in your driveway, have even cheaper insurance, better gas mileage, lower parking fees... you get the idea. The RV is going to be cheaper than an equivalent airplane.

    The big difference is that in most planes you can make an 800 mile trip in one day. 800 miles in a day in a big Class A RV is a lot, even for me. I think the most we've done in a day in the RV (granted with the kids which slows things down) is around 450. For an 800 mile one way trip I'd plan on two days each way, so you have more travel time and that adds a night of parking each direction.

    Therein lies the real difference - the experience. With the planes, we were able to make long weekend trips to places that in the RV take two days each direction to go. Then again, in the RV you can pretty much guarantee the weather won't be enough to stop you, whereas in a small plane that is certainly not a guarantee (although usually it isn't an issue if you have an instrument rating). But with the RV, if there's something along the way on that 800 mile trip (even somewhat out of the way) you just go and look at it. With the plane if you're going someplace, you tend to just go someplace. Sure, a lot of this has to do with attitude, but every stop you make with a plane requires a lot of extra planning. In the RV you can just go take off in a direction and not even know where you're going to stay the night - worst case you can stay in most WalMart parking lots, a rest area, or a truck stop. You theoretically could take off in a plane and not have your intended point of landing planned, but that's frowned upon.

    Really, both are great modes of travel. It just depends on your phase of life, needs, and what you want. I'm finding a lot of RVers have a lot in common with pilots. Not to mention a lot of pilots are also RVers, or thinking about it.
     
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  27. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    Here you go:

    This: https://www.amazon.com/Falcon-Dust-Off-Professional-Electronics-Compressed/dp/B003X242PQ/

    plus this:

    https://www.amazon.com/Robinair-10102-Side-R134A-Respective/dp/B0009XT7NY/

    You're welcome.
     
  28. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks Ted... You're explanation matches my thinking. I am just trying to put numbers on everything.

    Many folks live in HOAs or similar, can't "build a plane" in their garage or park their RV on their property. You and I don't... But many do. So storage is an issue.

    I'd heard Class A insurance was higher ~$2K. But you're agreed on valuation might lower that.

    MPG is an issue... And diesel is cheaper than AVGAS but a Bo, or a Deb will do MOGAS (the Cardinal wouldn't), so a lot closer to a wash.

    If not boondocking in a Walmart lot or rest area... Hookups can be as pricey as a hotel, and this thread mentions difficulty in some areas finding a place that can accept a Class A.

    Now, I admit I'm trying to justify a plane over a RV. --One of the reasons I used the 800 mile trip.--

    And, judging from what I see with many local RV owners is driving less than 50 miles and staying local for a weekend, then drive it back home. (Though round here in the Smokys, I see many out of staters)

    BUT...

    Not much difference between that, and the guy who goes out ~once a month for a $100 hamburger... And barely makes 50 hours a year doing touch and gos.

    All in all, probably pretty close to a wash $ wise for those who really LIVE either lifestyle. Either of which consume AMUs or RMUs beyond the sustainability of most folks.



    Thanks for your conversational input.
     
  29. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    A side-by-side won't hold a large pizza box, however.
     
  30. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I imagine RV insurance is largely like airplane insurance in that hull value matters a lot with that.

    My favorite thing with the RV vs the airplane so far? I can maintain it myself. :)
     
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  31. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    That’s an easily surmountable problem - just put the leftover pizza slices in zip lock bags (which will fit better in any fridge anyway).

    In a house we would never want a side by side. In an RV, it really makes more sense - especially having the narrower doors that don’t stick out as far when open.
     
  32. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Today’s posted video on the RV:



    I’m trying to keep my channel having a video a week, so the videos tend to air a couple weeks after I did the work.
     
  33. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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  34. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Great comparison, Ted!

    I must admit, what I really want to do is both... Someday, when the Tesla Cybertruck is out, and the FSD is truly self-driving with no human required, and enough of their Supercharger/Megacharger stations have pull-through automated charging, I'd love to hook a travel trailer to the Cybertruck, send it away a couple days ahead, and meet it at my destination!

    I've had enough long hours on the highway for one lifetime. If I ever do go RVing after retirement, it's going to be strictly non-Interstate travel, and it'll be weeks or months at a time so I don't spend much time trying to get somewhere.

    I do enjoy reading your adventures, though - Both in restoring and traveling! What a great experience for your kids. :)
     
  35. GaryM

    GaryM Line Up and Wait

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    Just an aside, here is a story about a fun little RV trip that went awry yesterday, not that far from where I grew up in Idaho. The pickup went over the bridge guardrail, the camper trailer did not.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/rescuers-save-2-pickup-dangling-025622455.html

    I consider that one hell of an endorsement for whatever brand of trailer safety chains they were using.

    [​IMG]

    What that photo above doesn't show is a view of the Malad River Gorge, and the Devil's Washbasin and Falls, directly under the bridge.

    [​IMG]

    Imagine staring straight down at that for a few hours while awaiting rescue! The highway bridge is in the background, a pedestrian bridge in the foreground.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2021
  36. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    Precisely.
     
  37. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Yeah that photo popped up yesterday on the 6.0L Powerstroke groups. Lucky SOB right there, and definitely and endorsement for the safety chains AND the hitch they were connected to. I'm surprised the safety chain ears on the hitch held the weight of 7.5K+lbs of truck.
     
  38. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    The idea is intriguing. First I’m going to finish up getting the system set up, which may or may not happen before the first trip. Not having to change oil is appealing.
     
  39. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    iFlyNothing
    I consider your desired future with the Tesla Cybertruck hauling an RV to be a dystopian world personally, but hey. :)

    I understand your desire to not spend more miles on an interstate after your previous life as a semi truck driver, and wanting to keep up with your passion of flying. Sort of the reverse of my situation, where I'm fairly burned out on flying after 13 years of a schedule, the weather seemingly always being bad, etc. etc.

    With that said, I'd also submit to you that RVing (and I will say that I think this is especially the case for a proper motorhome as opposed to towing a travel trailer) makes the journey itself quite enjoyable with the family. The family is able to get up and walk around while we're driving, we can change places, make and eat lunch, do things besides sit strapped into a seat pretty much unable to move. Granted, I can't as the driver, but the fact that everyone else can makes it really enjoyable for all of us. I would not enjoy this half as much if we had a travel trailer. I know how the kids are when everyone is strapped in going down the road in the car, and that wouldn't be much different. My kids can take turns sitting up front with me and we get to have good, meaningful conversations that I hope will be the sorts of things they remember. I certainly will. The kids keep on asking when our next RV trip is, and they want to hit the road. That didn't happen so much with the plane, and never with car trips.

    Aviation never worked that way for me. As much as I wanted to enjoy flying with my family, frankly it always was a pain as far as the actual flight was concerned. We got where we were going faster, but the en route part was never pleasant. And that's flying in some pretty nice airplanes - as much as the MU-2. Maybe we were doing it wrong, but we did it for roughly 8 years and it was really never much fun for me or for Laurie in any of the 4 aircraft we operated during that time. When I did some one-on-one flights with the kids it was more fun, and we also had some great memories from doing the dog trips as a family, going to Cabo, etc.

    Again, I think the Class A (or a Class C could probably do similarly) makes all the difference in the world there, and a pickup of any sort towing a travel trailer for too long will get into the same sorts of issues. The key is the mobile home - as in, the home you're in while you're driving down the road, not the home that you tow behind you.
     
    Bill likes this.
  40. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

    Joined:
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    Greg Kainz
    What? Your RV doesn't have cruise control? :)
     
    Ted likes this.