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RV/Trailer Astronomy Fact and Fiction

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#176 justfred

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 12:36 AM

Ross, we went the other way... :-)

 

We went from a 27' Whitehawk to a 17' Casita.

 

Important thing is to get out there.

 

Pix are from this year's Winter Star Part in February just before things closed up.

 

Looking forward to seeing everyone again at a star party, hopefully, in the near future.

 

Fred

Attached Thumbnails

  • WSP 2020 Casita.jpg
  • wsp 2020 Casita2.jpg

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#177 jcj380

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 07:06 AM

Times have changed with COVID - I've been working from home for months and having two cars is becoming unnecessary.  Anyway, I've been researching small fiberglass trailers like the Scamp, Casita, etc.  Rather wide price distribution if you buy new, but depending on options (weight), many can be towed with a "regular" car or SUV. 

 

So the plan now is to get an Outback that can be slept in while camping and also used for our main vehicle and eventually get a 13-ft trailer.  An A-liner is another possibility.

 

There's a fiberglass RV forum that has a boatload of info for those interested.


Edited by jcj380, 02 July 2020 - 07:08 AM.


#178 NYJohn S

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 09:48 AM

Times have changed with COVID - I've been working from home for months and having two cars is becoming unnecessary.  Anyway, I've been researching small fiberglass trailers like the Scamp, Casita, etc.  Rather wide price distribution if you buy new, but depending on options (weight), many can be towed with a "regular" car or SUV. 

 

So the plan now is to get an Outback that can be slept in while camping and also used for our main vehicle and eventually get a 13-ft trailer.  An A-liner is another possibility.

 

There's a fiberglass RV forum that has a boatload of info for those interested.

I have come across a lot of the small Scamp's in my travels. The owners seem to love them. There's a surprising amount of space in them considering the small size.


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#179 CCD-Freak

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 10:17 AM

Small fiberglass trailers are amazing for how much room they seem to have in such a small physical size.   This is an inside shot for my 17' Casita ( aka Moonlight Manor ).   Th bathroom closet and refrigerator are behind me.  I am extremely comfortable when out imaging.  I am about to start remotely controlling the scope from inside the Manor which will be great when it gets cold.

 

Moonlight Manor inside-1.JPG

 

 

 

John Love

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#180 Jim4321

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 10:35 AM

A word from a ~20 year experienced RVer / DIYer.. If you are going to own an older RV or trailer, you'd best be a good general handyman, electrical system diagnostician (A/C & D/C), and mechanic.... or have deep, deep pockets & patience. 

 

It's a complex house on wheels. Take most of the things that can go wrong in your house including water and sewer, add mobility (brakes, tires, axles, suspension, maybe propulsion); now put it on imperfect roads (vibration, potholes, maybe impact)..... Stuff is gonna go wrong! Dark matter happens!  Add in the fact that you'll likely want to do some minor customization, and have on-road problems.  Yep, better be prepared....

 

Jim H.


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#181 edwincjones

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 04:55 AM

A word from a ~20 year experienced RVer / DIYer.. If you are going to own an older RV or trailer, you'd best be a good general handyman, electrical system diagnostician (A/C & D/C), and mechanic.... or have deep, deep pockets & patience. 

 

It's a complex house on wheels. Take most of the things that can go wrong in your house including water and sewer, add mobility (brakes, tires, axles, suspension, maybe propulsion); now put it on imperfect roads (vibration, potholes, maybe impact)..... Stuff is gonna go wrong! Dark matter happens!  Add in the fact that you'll likely want to do some minor customization, and have on-road problems.  Yep, better be prepared....

 

Jim H.

maybe the most insightful RV post so far

 

Click and Clack on NPR's Car Talk once said re Mercedes

"if you cannot afford a new one, you certainly cannot afford a used  one"

 

it is rare on/after a trip something does not go wrong

 

edj


Edited by edwincjones, 03 July 2020 - 08:55 AM.

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#182 edwincjones

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 08:56 AM

following up on Jim H's post,

 

the real downside of motorized RV's is they wear out, become outdated with time like cars.  

A travel trailer or other towed camper can last a much longer  time with less maintenance,

your tow truck/car wears out but easier to replace and can be used for daily travel.

 

edj


Edited by edwincjones, 03 July 2020 - 08:59 AM.

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#183 CCD-Freak

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 08:58 AM

I must say that my Casita has been the most trouble free RV I have ever owned.  Most issues so far have been minor and easy to fix. 

 

That is part of the adventure. grin.gif

 

Imaging at Fort Griffin-sm.JPG

 

 

 

John

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#184 Jim4321

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 09:16 AM

Here's mine, one Oct morning in 2017 after a club stargaze at our Grassland Mountain Observatory.  My 9.25 Evolution & its accessories pretty much live in it, and my previous cat traveled many miles in it.  The dishes & such belong to a local ISP, who pays tent to us for the use of the site & power.  In the far distance is the Swanannoa Gap, thru which early settlers came into this region.

 

You can see the patio where those with their own 'scopes set up.  The observatory is a nice ROR with a cozy warm room, with a 16" Meade ACF & a 6" refractor.  It's only an hour from town, but I've spent driven far too many miles on dark mtn roads in my life to enjoy the drive home, and the upper bunk is quite cozy.

 

 

 

qot65j.jpg

 

Jim H.


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#185 iam1ru12

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 09:39 AM

A word from a ~20 year experienced RVer / DIYer.. If you are going to own an older RV or trailer, you'd best be a good general handyman, electrical system diagnostician (A/C & D/C), and mechanic.... or have deep, deep pockets & patience. 

 

It's a complex house on wheels. Take most of the things that can go wrong in your house including water and sewer, add mobility (brakes, tires, axles, suspension, maybe propulsion); now put it on imperfect roads (vibration, potholes, maybe impact)..... Stuff is gonna go wrong! Dark matter happens!  Add in the fact that you'll likely want to do some minor customization, and have on-road problems.  Yep, better be prepared....

 

Jim H.

 

I could not have said it better!

 

One other point to make about RVs and how they are hybrid of house and car.  When building a house, you have local standards and codes that are enforced.  With cars you have industry watch dog groups & safety boards as well as a much higher number of well informed customers.  The RV industry only has a standards body to which compliance is optional.  When you look at the warranties for most RVs, their structural warranties are only 2 or 3 years.

 

There’s a saying in the RV community that the last 10% of the assembly line is on the RV lot.  This basically means there’s a fair amount of quality checks and final details that have to be done by the RV dealer.  It has been my very limited experience that RV dealers that have the loIt has been my very limited experience that RV dealers that have the lowest prices often are able to get away with undercutting their competition by not spending the time on the quality checks and final details.

 

My intention is not to bash RVs or sway anyone from purchasing one.  In fact I think an RV/camper is the best accessory you can buy for your telescope.  However, you really have to do your homework and set your expectations accordingly.

 

-Mike


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#186 gwlee

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 10:36 PM

Times have changed with COVID - I've been working from home for months and having two cars is becoming unnecessary.  Anyway, I've been researching small fiberglass trailers like the Scamp, Casita, etc.  Rather wide price distribution if you buy new, but depending on options (weight), many can be towed with a "regular" car or SUV. 

 

So the plan now is to get an Outback that can be slept in while camping and also used for our main vehicle and eventually get a 13-ft trailer.  An A-liner is another possibility.

 

There's a fiberglass RV forum that has a boatload of info for those interested.

I have been driving my Subaru Forester for about 10 years now, and really like it. It’s a great car for a long road trip with two people, a tent, and a small dob, and it’s a very capable soft-roader, but I wouldn’t consider towing anything with it. 

 

The Forester has the about the same power train as the heavier Outback, which a friend owns, and I drive it frequently. Both of these little SUVs are fun to drive and very sure footed, but border on being underpowered when used as passenger cars and don’t have suspension, tires, or brakes suitable for towing despite the availability of an optional hitch, which is best used as a mounting point for a bicycle rack.


Edited by gwlee, 04 July 2020 - 12:32 AM.

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#187 Bill Weir

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 12:57 AM

I have been driving my Subaru Forester for about 10 years now, and really like it. It’s a great car for a long road trip with two people, a tent, and a small dob, and it’s a very capable soft-roader, but I wouldn’t consider towing anything with it. 

 

The Forester has the about the same power train as the heavier Outback, which a friend owns, and I drive it frequently. Both of these little SUVs are fun to drive and very sure footed, but border on being underpowered when used as passenger cars and don’t have suspension, tires, or brakes suitable for towing despite the availability of an optional hitch, which is best used as a mounting point for a bicycle rack.

That’s why I went with the motorcycle trailer. http://www.leesurelite.com It only weighs 300lbs loaded.

 

Bill



#188 iam1ru12

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 09:21 AM

I came across this camper made from a VC-10 jet engine housing.  No bathroom (a must for me) and not much exterior storage.  However this would be the hit of any star party!  Check out their Facebook page:  https://www.facebook...08438714152064/

 

D43A242F C883 4BEC 9102 C9F6EB9799EB

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#189 edwincjones

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 11:08 AM

I came across this camper made from a VC-10 jet engine housing.  No bathroom (a must for me) and not much exterior storage.  However this would be the hit of any star party!  Check out their Facebook page:  https://www.facebook...08438714152064/

 

 

looks good but needs bathroom and cooling/heating

but maybe I am just spoiled

 

edj


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#190 edwincjones

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 11:23 AM

back to post #1

 

I have seen some very creative utility trailers and cargo vans-for the single amateur astronomer

 

edj



#191 Stevegeo

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 08:22 AM

Just finished mine ..made from a Cessna Centorion 210 cabin . Has heat lights air cond .tv..40 cu ft storage in nose .bike rack in rear and kayak rack on roof ..twin bed memory foam. And a place for my C11 and C8 with assories.stevegeo

IMG_20200624_214952.jpg IMG_20200626_183252.jpg


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#192 Jim4321

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 10:46 AM

I've seen at least one article recently about the increase in sales and rentals of RV's to first-timers, who are looking for a 'safe' way to escape / isolate / vacation in these virus-dominated times.  The article was pay-walled, but its intent seemed to be to warn others about the possible danger of inexperienced drivers in large vehicles.  Not a totally bad idea, IMO.  

 

About 1972 after Dad retired, my folks bought a second-hand Gigi travel trailer with the intention of towing it behind Dad's V-8 Scout ll.  They made one trip, semi-locally, and it became a spare bedroom at their house.  I'm pretty sure Dad just plain didn't feel safe towing that ~20' trailer behind the short wheelbase Scout, especially in these mountains.  But I suspect a lot of folks may not have that much sense...

 

Jim H.



#193 CCD-Freak

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 12:41 PM

I've seen at least one article recently about the increase in sales and rentals of RV's to first-timers, who are looking for a 'safe' way to escape / isolate / vacation in these virus-dominated times.  The article was pay-walled, but its intent seemed to be to warn others about the possible danger of inexperienced drivers in large vehicles.  Not a totally bad idea, IMO.  

 

About 1972 after Dad retired, my folks bought a second-hand Gigi travel trailer with the intention of towing it behind Dad's V-8 Scout ll.  They made one trip, semi-locally, and it became a spare bedroom at their house.  I'm pretty sure Dad just plain didn't feel safe towing that ~20' trailer behind the short wheelbase Scout, especially in these mountains.  But I suspect a lot of folks may not have that much sense...

 

Jim H.

That is why I choose a large enough vehicle to control the trailer instead of the other way around.  My Ram 1500 has a towing capacity of 10,800 lbs so the 3500 lb loaded weight of the Casita is easy for it to handle.  The back of the larger truck also gives me plenty of room for the all the gear I  typically haul out for a multiple night stay under the stars.  The new technologies that are going into modern vehicles allow the 1500 to get as high as 22 MPG when using it as a daily driver.

 

I call them the Vista Cruiser and the Moonlight Manor smile.gif

 

Moonlight Manor at Clayton Lake SP-sm.JPG

 

John Love

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#194 Jim4321

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 05:44 AM

Yeah, but Pop didn't have the internet to feed him information back then.  I suspect that If we'd have lived in the flatlands, the combo would have worked pretty well. 

 

Jim H,


Edited by Jim4321, 09 July 2020 - 05:49 AM.


#195 jcj380

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 08:11 AM

Local news just had a blurb that RV sales are up and RV-involved accidents are also up.


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#196 edwincjones

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 01:10 PM

I think the best, or most impressive, astro rig I have seen was one driven

by Tom Clark of AA magazine fame.

It was a class A pulling an SUV with a 20-22" dob inside.

 

edj



#197 stubeeef

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 06:46 PM

 Great thread. I'm about 5 yrs from retirement, but wanting to get my camper in the next 12-18mo.

Been focused on a Teardrop-lots to consider-but the Camp Inn Raindrop's are nice

 

http://tinycamper.co...rop560ultra.htm

Screen Shot 2020-08-24 at 7.42.57 PM.png

 

 

 

But also liking the "Toy Hauler" Airstream Basecamp- the older ones have a huge back door.

Screen Shot 2020-08-24 at 7.47.38 PM.png

I'm not an experienced camper. Would love to hear opinions. The basecamp is all inside but bigger. I'm not afraid of towing-done plenty, but smaller has attributes too.

 

 


Edited by stubeeef, 24 August 2020 - 06:48 PM.

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#198 vsteblina

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 07:25 PM

I have been driving my Subaru Forester for about 10 years now, and really like it. It’s a great car for a long road trip with two people, a tent, and a small dob, and it’s a very capable soft-roader, but I wouldn’t consider towing anything with it...........................

 

 

The joke in the RV community is that you can TOW anything with a "Subaru Forester"......you just cannot stop.  Which if you think about it is much more of a problem than towing!!

 

I decided not to take ANY chances and tow my Casita with a 1-ton Dodge Ram diesel with a exhaust brake.  That makes sure that in combination with the trailer brakes in the Casita....I can stop.
 


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#199 Napp

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 07:34 PM

That is why I choose a large enough vehicle to control the trailer instead of the other way around. 

Yep, a smaller vehicle may be able to pull a trailer but controlling and stopping it is a whole other issue.  I’m with you, John.  I drive a vehicle big and heavy enough to handle the trailer.  Any vehicle can be thrown out of control by a trailer in the wrong circumstances.  The bigger and heavier the tow vehicle the better the odds that won’t happen.


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#200 iam1ru12

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 11:02 PM

Times have changed with COVID - I've been working from home for months and having two cars is becoming unnecessary.  Anyway, I've been researching small fiberglass trailers like the Scamp, Casita, etc.  Rather wide price distribution if you buy new, but depending on options (weight), many can be towed with a "regular" car or SUV. 

 

So the plan now is to get an Outback that can be slept in while camping and also used for our main vehicle and eventually get a 13-ft trailer.  An A-liner is another possibility.

 

There's a fiberglass RV forum that has a boatload of info for those interested.

jcj380,

I've had an Aliner now for 4 years; great camper.  However, just about any camper is going to be a series of compromises.  Personally, my requirement is to keep my rig in my garage in order to keep in out of the of the elements when not on use - greatly reduces ware on seals, caulking, etc.  Also, I did not want to pay storage fees.  I live in a neighborhood with an HOA so I cannot leave it parked outside.

 

Don't get me wrong, I really like my Aliner, it meets my needs.  However, if you don't need to worry about storage or limited garage height, I would stay away from the folding campers (just more points of entry for water and not as insulated is as non-folding campers.  The fiberglass molded campers look like a great option!


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