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Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 605

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:01 am    Post subject: Retirement plans..... Reply with quote

This may seem a bit nuts, but I'd like a little feedback on this. I am less than 10 years from retirement, and would like to mostly windsurf, plus do some skiing, once I retire.

So, I don't really want, or need, a permanent residence, at least until I get too old to travel around.

So, just wondering about opinions on which vehicle/residence option to go with:

1. motorhome towing trailer with sports equipment (windsurf, bicycles, ski)
2. van (sprinter or similar) with sports equipment inside towing living trailer.

The idea would be to pull up somewhere (Gorge, Ski Schweitzer, Hatteras,etc.) and stay for a while sailing or skiing my brains out.

thanks. please don't go nuts on this. thanks.
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Joined: 04 May 2004
Posts: 2640

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

10 years out has too many variables....Don't spin your wheels about it now except to daydream.

If it was me single, I would Mo-home Trapper John Style with everything on the roof, no trailer.
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Joined: 06 Jul 2001
Posts: 4495
Location: Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania. Colorado

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you traveled a lot a motorhome or Sprinter would make sense.

I don't like to tow a trailer, so I would opt for a small diesel self contained

either of those options leave you to travel locally in the same over the road vehicle. Tent camping at my age no longer appeals to me, esp those locations that have wind. A small trailer would be nice, but IMO no so if towing long distance. It seems a nice concept to drive in your living quarters, but it has quite a few drawbacks.

I might have a Sprinter type, with a bunk, of course room for all toys. And stay in a roofed dwelling.

Cost for lodging would have to be weighted over the van/truck motor home whatever.

K4 fins
4Boards....May the fours be with you
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Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 668
Location: Corpus Christi

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wiithin the past two months, my wife and I have gotten completely out of RV'ing because we had been so many places and the allure was no longer there. When we were first getting into RV'ng, we chose to go with a travel trailer and a tow vehicle. Over the years, this choice proved over and over to be the best choice for us. In the beginning, we purchased a used Airstream 25' travel trailer and towed it with a Tundra pickup. It was an ideal setup to find a place to park the trailer, then use the pickup to go into town, or see the sights. Getting around town, hitting the restaurants, shopping for food, and being tourists was much easier with a tow vehicle than a motor home would have been.

Motor homes are much more expensive to maintain than our Tundra proved to be. We towed the Airstream about 135,000 miles with the first Tundra. then replaced it with one of the new model Tundras and towed it an additional 35,000 miles. We travelled so much I created lists of places to camp. See "Cheap or Free Camping lists by state" in boondocking section of Airstream Forums like this one for Florida:

There are similar lists in the same section for many other states like, Cheap or Free in California, Cheap or Free in Nevada, Cheap or Free in Texas, etc. Also, I created a map, see:,-99.404297&spn=9.755861,11.052246&z=6&dg=feature

By carefully planning our trips and stops along the way to take advantage of Cheap or Free spots, we were able to travel for just a bit more cost for a month than it cost to stay home and run the A/c or Furnace.

When we sold our rigs and downsized, we sold the Airstream for about$1500 more than we paid for it 10 years earlier, and we only lost $550 on the Tundra. I purchased the Tundra used for $19,500 drove it for 2.5 years and sold it for $18,950.

In your case, I wouldn't recommend the Tundra or the Airstream. Airstreams are nice, but they just aren't built to the quality you would expect. The first trip (Corpus Christi to Seattle) produced a list of 53 items that needed immediate attention and correction. I carefully fixed everything on the list, then the trailer was reliable, but it wasn't a true 4 season trailer. It was hard to A/C in the summer and hard to heat in the winter. It's most pronounced advantage over other trailers was it's ease of being towed. I averaged somewhere around 12.5 mpg pulling it down the highway. The best I ever got was 16.5 mpg and the worst 9.1 mpg.

There are many travel trailers on the market. Some are true "4 season" trailers. Using a sizable van to carry you gear is a good idea. For me, since the other 10 months of the year I live in Corpus Christi, I chose not to carry gear with me, but rather take a break from it.

I hope this helps.
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Joined: 12 Dec 1999
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I gave that topic years of concentrated thought and a year of intense preparation before and after retiring early many years ago.

A trailer, especially behind a motor home, is a significant and risky hassle, especially in tightly packed venues like the Gorge, where one has to move often -- almost daily much of the season -- if his objective is lots of sailing. IMO, trailers are best suited to people who live in a home, don't want a dedicated WSing vehicle, and want to rush home, hook up the loaded trailer, and be on the road in just minutes. I considered buying a Frito Lay semi: lightweight, short, vertical walls just waiting to be converted, and the drivers I spoke to say they drive very well.

I inquired about gear on the roof of an RV. Many people reinforced the obvious, with frightening anecdotal evidence: people handling big objects 11 feet off the ground are asphalt headplants waiting to happen. Building a vertical gear locker for EVERYTHING on the rear bumper seems much safer and easier to use.

My initial solution was a custom built (by me, and never again; too much work) motor home based on a Ford airport shuttle bus Econoline van, with everything carried inside. I had a home, but spent months on the road solo in the rig each year for over a decade. It worked great; jump in and go on a moment's notice, or pack heavier and leave for months. Fine for one person, but two people became a crowd after a couple of weeks.

12 years ago I upgraded to a 24 foot motor home and lightly modified it to carry four boards and 7 complete rigs inside, 90% out of view, and out of the way. I could easily live in it for many months if I wanted to, but living near the Gorge makes that unnecessary. Two spartan people are easily accommodated long term, but a 28 or 30 footer would much better suit permanent occupancy. I've known many "Gorge rats" who lived just fine, by their standards, in a pickup truck with a shell for most of the year, and two people with spartan possessions can live in a converted big Sprinter.

About that retirement ... be careful. MANY very smart economists expect a decade or more of a very volatile, sideways, unproductive economy over the next decade. Have a Plan B if counting on Wall Street for funding your retirement.

Mike \m/
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Joined: 22 May 1999
Posts: 295

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:35 pm    Post subject: retirment rig Reply with quote

well i,m retired now young at 59 after 40 years of work.quit to sail as much as possible got 2002 3500 raised roof van with all gear in it ready to go MOBILE and a 17 ft. cassitia travel trailer to park when i go to hatteras for a month Exclamation works great hot shower,toilet,kitchen.the van has a bed on top sparten inteior,sink,refrig.cook on grill gorge proven like mike says gotta be mobile there and would not want to tow across u.s.a. Question van has made 8 trips cross country.trailer 3 times to obx so not a expert just a old man trying to get as much TOW AS POSSIBLE Exclamation Twisted Evil Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having owned everything from a VW Westfalia to a class A motorhome, I can tell you that the Hyatt Regency is less expensive. Not to say a Sprinter Van or large van wouldn't be nice for a few nights on the road, but the RV lifestyle in general is pretty sedentary and very expensive.

IMO, don't put a lot of money into your van unless it's your primary vehicle. Spend 1 or 2 nights in it if you want, but use your money in hotels in between to stretch the trip out, and believe it or not, save money. My last RV cost me $20k in 3 years in depreciation. That's a boat load of hotel rooms after you add additional gas, insurance, repairs, and such, it's a no brainer for me. HYATT HERE I COME!
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Joined: 12 Dec 1999
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "RV lifestyle" is a self-inflicted disease, almost independent of the camping vehicle one drives. After I bought my Winnebago, they besieged me with literature about "RVing". I'm sorry, Winnebago, but as Steve implies, "RVing" is not "recreational". It's what one does after stepping out of his wheels that determines whether the word "recreational" applies. It sounds like whitevan01 has that figured out, as long as he understands that a big rig pulling a big rig (or crap piled on top of a big rig) may be fine when squatting at Hatteras but counterproductive to chasing wind in the Gorge, where many sailors move twice each day to double their shred time.

I agree a car + the Hyatt (or airfare) is a cheaper way to transport one's self from A to B, but since I got into WSing, I don't fly any more within the mainland. It's too much fun being free to keep one eye on the road and one on the trees, slamming on the brakes and rigging when bent trees meet water between A and B. We've also found that getting into and out of a motel eats up many hours better spent, for us, on the road. IMO, the flexibility of a modest-sized vehicle outweighs the carrying capacity of a big one and/or a trailer. But then I don't have to keep "all my $#!+" in my vehicle, 'cause I also have a house.

Along those lines, I've scoured the U.S. on paper and on the road for many years for a place where I could do most of my sailing from my doorstep without sacrificing the conveniences of a small city or big town. I finally found such a home, and snapped it up. It's on wheels and parked in my shop, plugged in, loaded for bear, and ready to roll 24/7 when my cellphone says the trees at the water are bent over. I haven't yet discovered one of them "house" things that meets as many of my objectives. You'll love the concept, and when it or you get too old for it, you can always sell or enshrine it. Until then, few things in my world beat sailing 'til dark, going to sleep and waking up beside rigged gear and heavy whitecaps, bolting down some fuel, picking up a rig, and hitting the water again. That's easier living on wheels than on a concrete foundation, at least in places I want to live.

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Joined: 10 Sep 2000
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iím also approaching the 10 year to retirement age & have been mulling over the same thing as you, mobility/residence. Iíve considered your options and others as well.
The main problem with your 1st option is once you get to your destination your only mode of transportation is the motorhome or bike. If you have a medical emergency or need something from the store you have to pack up the entire motorhome to get there. Also, most windsurfing locations are not going to have room for parking a motorhome with trailer. The only way I can see around that dilemma is to tow a small car-Pryus-and put all your gear up top and hanging off the back. And Iso already addressed the hassle of loading equipment up top of a motorhome and many windsurfing locations require mobility to get to good wind.
I think your 2nd option is the better of the two. You can centralize yourself with your trailer & have mobility with your towing vehicle.
There is a third option for you to consider. Get a Sprinter/Van and have a motorhome conversion done. Tow a small, light trailer for your gear. Stay at hotels when you can, sleep in your Sprinter when you canít & use when you arrive for a place to stay.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I have a 2010 25 ft airstream that i tow with my truck on a weekly basis and have to say I couldn't be happier. I've driven about 70,000 miles with the trailer in the last two years and have only spent $1000 for maintenance. The trailer still looks like new. Trailers and motorhomes each have their advantages and disadvantages. I think for windsurfing the trailer is the best solution because you can park your setup at the rv grounds and drive yourself and gear to the sailing spot. In a motorhome, unless your towing a separate vehicle you're kind of stuck. Some motorhomes may be more spacious and luxurious, but they also tend to break more quickly and require more mechanical maintenance. Like others have said, it's not ideal to load and unload gear from your motorhome since interior moisture is a trailer/motorhome's worst enemy (let alone salt). The trick to driving them is just going slow and taking your time, I'm only 26 so I don't have years of driving experience, but just go slow, and I've never had an issue.
The reason I'm partial to airstream is a) they last forever and b) retain their retail value you, so if you find you hate it or can't drive it anymore you won't lose your entire investment and c) you don't feel like you're towing anything and they're incredibly stable. I also park the trailer by my house and thought the neighbors may complain if I had this big white trailer around but no one complains about the aluminum piece of Americana.
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