We are/will be looking to upgrade our current MH to a fixed bed vehicle as we intend to spend 4-5 months away every winter when I retire. Retirement will be in 2 years time although the change of vehicle could be before then.
In terms of layout we want space; the fixed rear bed; plus front lounge space. The nearest we have seen in terms of European type MHs is an Autotrail Comanche with 2 front sofa's. We have seen some RV's with a large sofa at the front plus separate armchair/footrest...so that would do. They also have dinettes as well which is a bonus.
Similar money but more 'bang for your buck' from RVs notwithstanding fuel costs...which I understand. If we went RV I would get a petrol/LPG conversion to bring these down.
I have some questions of owners if I may?
- Driveability - generally?
Nice to drive. Takes a bit of getting used to though. They are very wide though.
- Usability: in the UK and Europe. Large roads (MWays, main trunk roads) no issue I would guess but what about B roads? Im not talking narrow country lanes as I wouldn't take my MH down those anyway.
We have no problems and particularly worry about which roads we use. Oddly the worst roads are narrowish two lane roads. It's mainly your wing mirrors that are in danger.
- Access to sites? Are you limited? Is there a network of RV friendly sites that us MH owners wouldn't be aware of?
Most sites are fine but very steep, very narrow or ones with tight turns may pose a problem. We've not had any difficulties. Avoid the same narrow continental villages you ignore in your current motorhome.
- Is there a MHF equivalent for RV owners? Are there clubs? Meets? Magazines? Helpful folk?
- Are there RV specialist repairers/MOT'ers/modifiers out there? I am in Gloucestershire if that helps but would obviously travel if required.
There are several specialists in the UK. Google it.
- When 'black water' tanks are described I assume these are toilet waste. How do these get emptied?
Straight into a manhole via a 3 inch hose or by macerator pump via a 1 inch hose into an ordinary service point. It's easier than cassettes once you get used to it, and it only needs doing every 10 to 14 days if your tank is a reasonable size.
I would really like to hear of any downsides you can think of. Im not a 'negative nelly' but would like to make sure that my eyes are wide open if we do this thing.
Insurance if the engine is very big. They use more fuel but you know that. It's a small price to pay for all the extra space. Getting one with a reasonable payload will be a challenge if you need to stay under 7.5 tons.
Buy one that already converted to gas, don't pay for the installation (unless you buy new) as it takes a very long time and much distance to recoup the cost.