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Old 06-19-2013, 12:56 PM   #1
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Full-time planning

A few months ago I logged into my employer's retirement planning site, and it basically said: "What are you still doing here?" I'd always toyed with the idea of rv'ing when I retired, but then began to give it serious thought. Maybe it sounds silly, but the thing I dreaded most about rv'ing is becoming "one of those people" that back up long lines of traffic behind their behemoth on winding two-lane roads. So I gravitated to small RVs, and from there to Sprinters, and from there to Sportsmobile.

I'm just about exactly a year from my actual retirement date, so I've got lots of time to plan. The idea of going full-time is appealing to me, having a million-dollar ocean view one day and a million-dollar mountain view the next, visiting friends and family across the country along the way. Though a larger class C isn't completely out of the question, I think I'd get along well in a Sprinter EB. The 20 mpg is a big attraction. I'm a widower (much earlier in life than I had any reason to expect) and I just rattle around in my four-bedroom house. I probably spend 90% of my time at home in less than 100 sq.ft. of the available space, which is just about equal to the living space in a Sprinter EB and also the source of my username.

Well, enough of the navel-gazing-by-way-of-introduction. I've come up with a plan that I offer below for your (gentle) critique. I also provide some SketchUp renderings - not the greatest but I was, and still am, learning the program.




Going full-time, I wanted all the amenities and lots of storage. My first plan was like a EB152S, but with a bath. However, I wanted the ability to invite friends and family along on vacation jaunts and needed a place for them to sleep. I got the idea for the gaucho/bath pairing in the back from touring a (much wider) class C. The design you see above obviously will require considerable custom work from Sportsmobile.

That brings me to the last topic of this post. I'm visiting Sportsmobile West in the near future, and we'll see if the laugh me out of the place when they see my design. In any case, I plan to bring back to this forum lots of pictures from the visit, along with answers to a lot of questions that don't seem to be answered on the website. (I want to give a big shout out to Chumley and llamadave for their very helpful posts.) If any of you have questions my visit might answer (within reason), I'm willing to take them along. Please keep them Sprinter-focused and bear in mind I've got a ton of my own and limited time.
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SprinterEB2G.jpeg   RV4top.jpg   RV4rf.jpg  
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:53 PM   #2
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Re: Full-time planning

Hey Mr. 10 x 10,

You have got a very nice layout! Very well thought out. Looks like a shrunken down Class A!

I think that SMB West can do it. Work closely with your "Estimator/Design eventually PM" guy and listen to his advice but stick to your guns where important to you. In the end it may be that you can't get exactly what you want but maybe they can get close. My experience is that they would prefer to undersell you than oversell. If you push you have to be prepared to take some responsibility to make sure it happens properly and be understanding when there is a inconvenience associated with it (example: installing a diesel generator reduced my ground clearance dramatically but I accepted it). They can do a very good job when they are focused.

I envy folks like you. The worst part of any trip for me is the last day when all of the roads are familiar again because you are heading home. Don't get me wrong, I love where I live, but going somewhere new or not often seen is something I can wake up looking forward to for a very long time.

Please keep us posted.


Chumley
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:57 PM   #3
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Re: Full-time planning

Nice looking design. They should be able to do most or all of what you've got laid out. How long are the gauchos? Do you plan to do a lot of dry camping? I'd like to see SMBW do more Lithium battery installs - lighter, longer lasting, and deeper cycling.
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:53 PM   #4
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Re: Full-time planning

Nice thought out layout. if full timing might want to consider a larger table if possible. Something you can spread 'stuff' out on.
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:58 PM   #5
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Re: Full-time planning

Thank you all for the supportive comments.

Chumley- It's inspiring that after all you've been through, you still have a can-do attitude about SMB-W. I guess what comes through to me is that they keep trying to make it right, they don't give up. I can work with people like that.

bratworst- The gauchos are both 72". With the 5" extension board on the back one, it'll be 77". I need that because I'm 6'1" and on the high side of 200lbs, so my dimensions have definitely influenced the dimensions of my design. I'd love to have lithium batteries, but the current plan is going to pretty much max out my budget anyway. Maybe in a few years... Right now, I'm planning on 400Ah of AGM batteries. One of the issues I want to discuss with SMB is how much of that can be slung under the chassis - without affecting ground clearance too adversely.

LenS- I hear what you're saying about the larger table. However, looking at how I work at home now, I just put my feet up and have a notebook computer in my lap. If I need extra papers, I spread them out beside me on the couch. One reason I've specified a solid wall between the shower and rear gaucho rather than just a shower curtain is that I may one day mount a fold-down desktop to that wall if I decide I need it. Here's another question I intend to ask SMB: Can the stowable table be made from the same material as the solid-surface countertop rather than cheapo laminate?
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Old 06-19-2013, 05:32 PM   #6
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Re: Full-time planning

I think your sketchup skills are awesome. I can't seem to get it to do anything at all.

If you have never RV'd I would suggest either buying a cheap RV or at least renting one for several trips. It will give you some idea of what's involved with the plumbing and electrical systems operation.
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:02 PM   #7
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Re: Full-time planning

dhally- Thanks for the props on Sketchup. I don't mean to state the obvious when I say that what took me from frustrated to having a useful tool was watching the four tutorial videos Google originally did. They're on YouTube, and I think on the Trimble website as well.

Years ago I rented an RV for a week, and enjoyed the experience. The last few years, I've gone tent camping alongside friends with a variety of motorhomes and learned a lot from them. Before committing to a new lifestyle, I'll definitely rent again, time and budget permitting. I've diligently read the technical posts on this forum and others. I'm an engineer (electrical), so it all makes a kind of sense to me.

I'd like to ask you a few questions that Sportsmobile won't be able to answer. From your sig, I see you own a motorcycle. I really want an alternate form of transport along on my Sprinter, for exploring and in case of remote breakdowns. (To answer an earlier question, I do plan to do a lot of remote dry camping.) I'm debating between a motorcycle and an electric bicycle. I realize they're hardly in the same class, but I like the bicycle idea for its silence and ability to recharge from the van. I like the motorcycle for being able to go almost anywhere and its range. Do you carry your motorcycle on your RV? If so, is the carrier front or rear mounted. Are there pros and cons for those alternatives? I'd like a really lightweight dirt bike, but am leaning toward a dual-sport for off-road and street-legal operation, which is an issue in California, and perhaps elsewhere. Any opinions would be appreciated.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:37 PM   #8
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Full-time planning

When I read your post a few thoughts came to mind

Grandchildren - if you want to take more than one of them with you on a trip you may want a third front facing seat.

Solar - if you are boondocking for any length of time you will need it. My suggestion would be two panels. The other option is a generator.

Heater - if you are getting one do not let them put it under either gaucho. Have them put it in a cabinet base. That way it is not right under your head when you sleep. They generate quite a bit of noise from the fan.

Your layout looks good. Nice and compact with lots of options for seating and eating.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:15 PM   #9
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Re: Full-time planning

Thanks, Larrie- No grandchildren - yet. Daughter #1 gets married in six weeks. I recognize sitting sideways, even with seatbelts, isn't nearly as safe as facing forward. Obviously, the first grandchild rides shotgun. While the second is small, we can probably set up a car seat in the proper orientation. After that... maybe parents and kids follow in a car.

I've dithered on solar panels, but now will definitely get prewiring, and probably spring for two panels, also. The only reason I hesitate is from wondering how quickly the engine on high idle can recharge the batteries.

Yeah, I've read elsewhere what you say about the heater. Right now, under the front gaucho is my only good option. This is mitigated by a) I don't anticipate doing any cold weather camping with guests, and b) I plan to rely on auxiliary catalytic heater(s) as much as possible.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:27 PM   #10
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Full-time planning

Grandchildren - great fun. My daughter and her husband told us that they revoked Flints only child card. The new addition is due in January.

Solar - solar energy is cheap compared to diesel. It is also quiet. Even here in the NW my two panels are able to provide more power that I use for the fridge and a few lights. Do not have an inverter. And only have a group 24 battery.

Heater - there are some posts on the forum about using catalytic heaters that you should read.
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