Ruby Jewel the Harley Hauler is our newly acquired Tiffin Phaeton 40 ih. She is new to us but not a new model, she’s a 2017.
All of our previous RV’s have been fifth wheels. The last one “The Beast” was a 2018 Momentum 397 Th toy hauler by Grand Design. She is nearly 44 feet long and stood at 13.6 feet tall, hence her name “The Beast”. We have had RV’s off and on from 1998 but there was quite a bit of time between the last RV and the toy hauler. The shopping was intense as we had a lot of catching up to do.
We started looking for an RV about four years before we bought toy hauler to preparation to go full time. I was infatuated with the patio set up and the extra space the garage offered but wanted a diesel pusher too. I was torn and in the end the infatuation of the patio won out. However, much like in a relationship when based on infatuation, once the infatuation wears off there isn’t much in common.
We use our RV year round and the patio was pretty much useless in the winter. The garage on the other hand made a great place for entertaining guests and space for my son when he came along with us. Unfortunately, our son has only come along with us maybe four times and we have entertained in the garage maybe the same amount of time.
There are many factors of why we traded our toy hauler in for the motorhome. None of which were financial reasons other than taking the leap while I was still working. We only had the toy hauler for a couple years, which isn’t much time to pay down the loan. We kind of took a hit on the value of the toy hauler.
The biggest factor of trading the toy hauler in was the construction of the toy hauler. Although it was one of the best makes on the market it was still basically slapped together so quickly and haphazardly we weren’t even sure it would stay together for a full season of full time RVing.
Another big factor was convenience. Being able to use the bathroom without exiting the rig and out into the elements. Seems kind of silly but when you have a bladder the size of a walnut there’s a lot of stopping on travel day.
With the motorhome I can simply walk to the half bath at mid body and take care of business. With the toy hauler at 57 feet long including the tow rig finding a place big enough was the first challenge. Then flipping down the giant stairs was a choir all in itself. Don’t get me wrong the Lippert Solid Steps is exactly that, they are extremely solid but the model we had didn’t come with the assist system and they were pretty heavy.
Then at lunch time, repeat the steps above all over again but add leveling the rig to put the slides out in order to get to the kitchen. With the motor home, I simply walk to the accessible fridge (either under way or stopped) and grab a snack.
The motor home is 40 feet long plus the trailer to haul the motorcycles comes in at 61 feet, it’s relatively the same in length as the toy hauler. The difference is the tow rig for the toy hauler is a Ford F-350 and we love it and probably will keep it but the turning radius is nowhere as good as the motorhome, along with the hitch point the motor home is so much more maneuverable.
Then there is comfort, the Ford is very comfortable with all the bells and whistles, leather, power everything, butt warmer, butt coolers, panoramic sun roof, blah, blah, blah but it is a rugged work horse of a dually truck. The ride is a tad stiff, great for hauling heavy loads but not very comfortable for long travel days.
Finally, the fit and finish of the motor home is hands down so much better. Granted it is still an RV and it still undergoes an earthquake each time it runs down the highway but the DOT standards of which a motorized recreational vehicle is a lot higher.
Regardless of the quality level of the RV a person chooses what suits their lifestyle and preferences. With that being said, one should be prepared to be able to do repairs. Or to have it in their budget to pay someone to do the repairs for them. There will always be something in need of maintenance or repair.
Then there is the legality aspect of The Beast versus Ruby Jewel.
California requires a Non-Commercial Class A for non-motorized recreational vehicles weighing 15000 lbs or more. The Beast weighed in about 15500 lbs dry. We thought no big deal, my husband used to have his Commercial Class A and I still have my Commercial Class A. This is where it gets sticky, my husband is a type 2 diabetic and the state of California wanted him to report his medical records every three months. Something my husband just didn’t want to have to deal with every three months. I could have been the primary driver as I’m a commercial long haul driver with over a couple million miles under my belt, but I just didn’t want to drive while on vacation or when we go full time.
Then there was the cargo capacity, The Beast had a GVW of 15500 lbs and had a GVWR of 19500. Which left us with 4000 lbs of Cargo.
Our two Harley’s weigh in at around 2000 lbs. After filling the 154 gallons (Standard fresh water tanks is 104 gallons, we had a 50 gallon auxiliary tank) of fresh water at approximately 1200 lbs. Plus 36 gallons of gas for the toys at about 300 lbs. leaving us with about 500 lbs for all of our motorcycle gear, food, clothes and camping gear before we were over loaded. Over loading your rig is not only hard on the rig but can be dangerous. Should you have an accident and found to be over weight you could be held liable.
In California with a typical Class C drivers license you can operate any “Housecar” (Motorized RV) up to 40 feet and haul a trailer behind it up to 10000 lbs GVW.
There are other laws we had to consider when we took the plunge from the toy hauler to the motorhome.
With the toy hauler obviously our motorcycles where contained within that 57 foot length. With the Phaeton 40 ih we had to add a toad to haul the motorcycles. California’s over all length limit is 65 feet long. At 61 feet long we squeak under California’s length limit. We didn’t want any added hassle or restrictions when we set out on our full time RVing journey.
Here are a couple video tours of both rigs in case you are considering RVing either full time or for weekend adventures.
Thank you for visiting and as always,
Enjoy the Ride