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Old 07-24-2010, 07:19 AM   #1
LeavingAK
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Hi All :)

I was invited to join you all over here by one of your members, and I'm so thankful we found this site!

My name is Karen and I'm married to my husband Jeff. We have one six year old daughter and we currently live in Alaska (I've been here over 30 years, my hubby almost 15).

Our goal is to have our houses and business sold by next summer and to leave the fall of 11 to fulltime for a couple of years. My daughter is already homeschooled, so we won't have to worry about that.

We are just getting ready to order our "new home". We are ordering the 11 Mountaineer 346LBQ. Does anyone currently have this model? Anything they'd like to share about it? I'm curious about the overall storage, especially in the kitchen. I eat a pretty bizarre diet, so it requires a lot of "stuff" to make my food, so I need to be able to store those away. I know between all the extra bunks, I can always store them there, but in the kitchen would be preferable.

We are ordering it with the onboard propane generator (and a second A/C unit). Our plan is to only stay at RV parks a couple of days a week and do state/nat'l parks the rest of the days, so the generator is a necessity and we liked the idea of just being able to push a button inside the unit to make that happen. We've been told that the propane generators are more efficient than the gas models. Do you all agree? We just didn't really like the idea of having to lug a 5500 unit around (185 pounds) and then also have gas cans for it.

The other thing I'm curious about is the washer/dryer. We are considering adding it, but I'm just not sure. I'd like to hear from other fulltimers if they use them, or if they just use the laundry mats at the RV parks. Our wonderful neighbors fulltimed for 4 years and they said no no no on the washing machine, that the laundry mat is where all the social life happens LOL

At any rate, we are excited to get our unit ordered. Since we live in Alaska and the dealer is in MI (we saved over 35K ordering it there. Here in Alaska... a "deal" is MSRP PLUS 5k delivery charge), they told us they would store it for us till spring, when we can safely take back home (to pack up to leave!!!)

I know there are a number of "discount" camping clubs out there. Does anyone have advice about which ones are the best? Our plan is to hit every state (excluding Hawaii for obvious reasons) and tour much of Canada as well)

Well, I've rambled long enough. My husband and I look forward to getting to know you all
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:36 AM   #2
richfaa
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We have the Splendede W/D aboard our 06 3400 Montana. It takes longer to to a load and the load is smaller but it is very handy. Many of us belong tp Passport America a 50% off discount club. Look it up. You will still find occasion to use the C.G laundry rooms but they can be expensive over time.
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Old 07-24-2010, 09:23 AM   #3
Parrothead
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We full time and have the W/D combo (vented). Especially with a child, I would recommend it. We used RV Park laundermats in the past and many are not clean (machines) and they can add up to a lot of coins over time. However, you will need to use it only when you are in an RV Park. The nice thing about it being on board is you can put a load in before breakfast, after dinner or whenever. And you don't even have to get dressed!!

We also belong to Passport America. It pays for itself quickly. You save by purchasing it for three or four years up front.
Happy trails............
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:25 AM   #4
JimF
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We full time and have a stack washer and dryer (Maytag w/220v dryer) have done the laundry thing at campgrounds, no thanks and this is so much cheaper. As for discount rv parks, we don't belong to any club other than escapees and we seldom if ever use their parks. We normally stay on military bases or work out long time payments w/rv parks direct. Welcome aboard, this is a very helpful site.
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Old 07-24-2010, 12:09 PM   #5
NCFischers
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We don't fulltime but the DW loves our combo unit and wouldn't be without it. As previously stated, it doesn't handle as big a load as our one at home but who cares. Put in a load, sit and have cocktails, and before you know it, the laundry is done. Life is good!
Propane generators are the way to go. No hauling gas and they burn cleaner. Besides, you are already carrying 60# of propane.
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Old 07-24-2010, 12:51 PM   #6
footloose
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What??? You mean we can't go to Hawaii??? And here we were planning on pumping up the tires and floating over. Oh well. How disappointing. Welcome to the Forum. You have a lot of exciting adventures ahead for you and your family!
Sharon
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Old 07-24-2010, 04:18 PM   #7
exav8tr
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Welcome to "the Best Darned Forum on the WWW!" We lived in Anchorage for 14 years and left to fulltime in May of '07. Have done alot of traveling. DW prefers using CG washers as she can use several machines at a time and have it done and over with quickly. I think one park we decided to head to a town laundromat to do washing. I have not run into a lot of dirty machines. As fulltimers you will have plenty of time on your hands to do these things. BTW: did you buy your unit from Simmons RV of is he out of business yet? I flew for MarkAir express for five years before they went belly up. Then went to work for a local alternative Medicine Dr as her lead medical tech. We are Thousand trail members and have military priveleges which we try to use as much as possible. Try planing a trip then seeing how many discount parks you will be hitting. This will determine who you should join and not join. I would sign up for Good Sam Emergency Road service. Peace of mind for only about $80 bucks a year. We felt we could better use the weight somewhere other than the washer/dryer. Others have their opinions, these are just mine......
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:35 PM   #8
LeavingAK
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Phil, Simmons is out of business. The only one left for 5th wheels in Anchorage is A&M and then Valley RV in the Valley. We were able to get our model for about half the price by ordering from a dealer in MI... so that is what we are doing. It's worth the almoast 8k mile roundtrip to go pick it up!
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Old 07-25-2010, 05:25 AM   #9
CasaDelSol
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Welcome to the MOC!!! What a wonderful lifestyle you are planning on having. The experience for your little girl will be immeasurable. Re: the washer/dryer question. We have been traveling since mid May and plan on being out for 5 months. I haven't missed anything from home except my washer and dryer!!! I really don't mind the laundromat at the campgrounds because they are rarely crowded and I bring a book. It takes me about 1 1/2 hours to complete. However, we have been sitting on my sister-in-law's commercial property for 2 months and I have to go into town to the laundromat. Having to fight for a washer or dryer and the expense is too much for me! Long timers or full timers would save money in the long run by have an onboard washer/dryer. It costs more on gas to haul more weight, but I feel it is still more efficient. Just MHO. Good luck and happy trails!!!
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Old 07-25-2010, 03:19 PM   #10
Art-n-Marge
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Hi LeavingAK... welcome to the forum. Don't be shy about rambling away and ask ANY question. I been in the forum over a year and I haven't seen any dumb questions. Some of the answers might be a little squirrelly because sometimes there are many answers for a question, but take it all in and you'll be making some good decisions from all the knowledge in here.

btw - NICE floorplan on the rig. Enjoy! It looks like your daughter will have plenty of room for sleepover guests. Trailer or home, you won't regret the squealing & giggling of the youngsters in her own bedroom. You'll probably be asking for advice on how to stop the rig from all the jumping around and there are a lot of great solutions to be offered by the membership....
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:48 PM   #11
stiles watson
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We have been full timing in this unit since August 2007. It has a stackable splendide washer and dryer. Dianna would not be without it. She does her laundry at her convenience. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:54 AM   #12
Bill-N-Donna
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Weíre not full timers. We go on weekend trips and try to make a couple of longer trips each summer.

As Far as the kitchen storage goes; here is a thread where someone made more room with a great idea.

We have the splendide washer/dryer combo and we really like it. The biggest reason we like it is because it frees us up for more time to see things whenever weíre on vacation. Another great thing about having it is that we can put a load of clothes in and then go somewhere and when we return they are finished. We canít even do that in our stick house.

Enjoy your time on the road and maybe weíll get to meet up with you guys sometime. Be sure and check out some of the rallies as well.

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Old 07-26-2010, 04:41 AM   #13
dandt
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Hi
One thing to consider is... you want to boondock or SP, NP alot. If you do not have sewer hook-ups you really can't use the washer. Nowhere to dump water. To help cutcost at laundry mat consider having a old style drying rack to dry clothes on. We used our washer dryer space in our 3400RL for a 5cubft freezer and extra pantry storage area. We find if we hang towels to dry between showers, they last 5-7 days, you wear alot of shorts etc. We rarely wear jeans unless work requires they take up alot of washer space and alot of places you work will give you laundry tokens as part of your perks. Good luck Teresa
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:17 AM   #14
LeavingAK
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the washer model we are considering is the Splendide 2100XC. The dealer told us it will use between 7.5-15 gallons per load. So, if I'm not mistaken, we could do a load or two while not plugged to sewer... right? I believe it said our gray and black tanks were 80-90 each.
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:04 AM   #15
Mrs. CountryGuy
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LeavingAK

I have that machine, I think 7 gallons estimate is low.

Gotta remember, that shower water, washing hands water might be going down there too?? Some of this depends on how that unit is plumbed and THAT CHANGES frequently.

If it is plumbed to drain OUTSIDE of the gray tanks???? or, plumbed INTO the gray tanks, makes a huge difference. There are ways to equalize the TWO gray tanks on my unit, but again you will need to look at that WHEN you get the rig.

With a child, I would seriously consider a stackable unit, not this 2100XC, and I LOVE my Spendide.

But, with the parameters you are laying out, national parks, a child, only a few days in parks with full hookups, I would want to be getting my laundry done FAST. I can barely do 3 or 4 loads in a day if I am really trying with the XC. Remember, that is my way, my laundry, etc, you may have different results.

I might seriously consider NOT having a W/D with child and boondocking, go to the laundry mat, get it done in a speedy manner, use the space for her books and toys.

Just some more food for thought

Good luck, what an experience for you all.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:13 AM   #16
LeavingAK
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Carol, I don't know which tank the washer would vent to. I imagine all those fine details won't be hashed out till spring when we drive down to pick it up.

We are SO SO fortunate that my daughters bedroom has a TON of storage, so we won't have to worry about storing any of her items up front, although that storage might come in handy for us. I'm still on the fence about it, because it would be nice to have on hand if we get in a pinch and say get a ton of dirty clothes from a days outing... it would be nice to be able to wash that load, but I would imagine even with it we'd still have to hit the laundry mat when it came time to wash towels, linens, bedding, etc.
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:33 PM   #17
Art-n-Marge
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How about doing without for a while, then get one when you feel the need or you find the laundromats too inconvenient? You might decide the laundromats are sufficient and if you have enough clothing for a week or two, then you might be able to do it all at once like members are suggesting.

I recall you had a Dodge megacab and you might also check the numbers especially for the pin weight to ensure you are okay to carry the extra weight (W/D).

btw - you probably do NOT have 80-90 gallon tanks. There are probably two 45-46 gallon tanks and depending on how hard the installer wants to work or how it's preplumbed determines if the unit drains into the tank or not. I have read some units are plumbed to dump to the sewer outlet and not a tank, so it's another thing to look into on how this will work.

If you carry any water of any kind this all adds to the weight of the rig, too. However, if there is a dump station nearby, then you should be able to make it that far, but carrying all that water on a long haul is something to consider.
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:55 PM   #18
LeavingAK
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Art, I read all the pin weight info to hubby, at which point he was left scratching his head LOL He looked the door like you said, but it didn't have any of the info you told him to look for.

So he talked to the dealer of the truck and the dealer of the trailer and a couple of dozen fulltimers at the RV park this weekend. They all said we should have zero problems pulling, that we can't get anymore than what we have in terms of strength and power(the 1 ton w/the cummins) Many of them said we'd be fine with a 3/4 ton... which I found so odd after reading all the info you had forwarded to me.

They all agreed that we'd be best off to get the powersomethingorother slider hitch (it evidently slides automatically, versus having to get out and unpin to move, etc.)
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:45 AM   #19
stiles watson
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My washer does not empty into any of the tanks. It empties directly into the discharge line. Our prior unit emptied into the gray water tank. Of the two, I much prefer this arrangement. To wash, we have to have sewer service, but do not use up gray tank capacity. By-the-way, there is nothing quite so disconcerting as having a wash water geyser in your shower because you forgot to open the valve. The clean up from a wash water over flow is extensive.

If we boondock, we don't use our on broad W/D, but rather use a laundry. If, for whatever reason, we have an extraordinary amount of wash, we can take it to an outside laundry. But having an on board laundry gives us all the options. The majority of our laundry is done in our unit.

That is particularly important just now since we are in a nice, quiet campground that doesn't have a laundry. The nearest on is about 10 miles away. We have been here about 3 months and expect to remain an additional 3 to 6 months. We pay $375 a month ($12.50 per night) including all utilities. We could move and pay $20-35 per night and find one with a laundry, but....you do the math.

We chose a stackable because you can wash and dry at the same time which allows you to wash a second load while the first is drying. The Splendide washer is a little larger than the washer we had while in we were in Hong Kong, but not as large as American stick house models.

Contrary to others opinions, with a child, we would definitely have an on board washer and dryer. More accidents, spills and dirty clothing to manage.
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:35 AM   #20
bob n pam
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We fulltimed for 10 years without a washer/dryer and over time it became a real pain. We now have the Splendide stackable units and LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM! As far as boondocking or state parks are concerned, if you carry a "blue boy" portable sewer tank, along with your big generator, you can still do your laundry. We have done this many times and found it works quite well. A nice thing about having your own washer and dryer is that while the wash is going you can take a nice nature walk with your little girl instead of sitting in a laundry.
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