I have found your experience with the cost of hotels to be correct. We recently went to Asheville, NC and towed the Lund to do some fishing in the area. Spent two nights in one of the more reasonable hotels in the area and the cost by time you put in all of the taxes was over $90/night. Campground by the hotel was $30.
First, no to the idea of just wanting a change in gear - I sincerely like the Airstream trailer - great construction and so comfortable! Unfortunately the cost of moving it has put me in a mindset that I've skipped a few long trips that I should have taken.
FYI - my 2006 F-250 diesel, 4x4 crew cab, short bed got at best
16.8MPG on flat highway. 9.4MPG to 11MPG towing either my 2006 22' Airstream Safari or my Lund Sport Angler 18.5' boat on alum. trailer. Every day driving around the Atlanta area gave 12.6MPG.
Took it to Ford and they said the truck was in spec on MPG. Doubt that I had a lemon. I previously had a 2005 Chevy 2500 4x4 diesel and it was worse.
That started the process of pondering the best method of dealing with my passion to be "out there".
Last Saturday morning I sold my F-250 and put the Airstream up for sale. Immediately on selling the truck I purchased a new Toyota FJ Cruiser 4x4. Took it into the GA mountains and worked it hard this past Sunday. Miles of Forestry Service "roads" and up and down two lane mountain paved road. Did 70-80 MPH getting to Blue Ridge, GA. Filled up the first tank full on my return and averaged 20.02MPG on Mid-Grade - I had topped off the tank myself before we left to remove any element of error.
I've run the truck down the same roads (Swinging Bridge hiking trail near Blue Ridge, GA) and averaged in the area of 12MPG diesel. Diesel in my part of the world is currently selling for at least 30 cents a gallon more than midgrade gas.
I'm now pondering the following:
Given - the FJ can take me anywhere I want to go and safely - top rating in crash test and side airbags.
Fuel usage/cost is substantially less than the F-250 diesel!
Due to past health issues, I am very prone to lung/sinus infections - thus the idea of sleeping in a cold damp tent is out of the question.
Solutions currently in the running:
ALiner or Chalet trailer -
Pros: Very light weight for towing, about 1200# empty; 30 second setup; Cost is "reasonable" compared to an Airstream. Has A/C, heater, range, portable toilet.
Cons: It's cheap in it's construction compared to an Airstream!
Fleetwood Evolution E-2 -
Pros: Very roomy compared to the ALiner. Has a deck on the front to carry a 4 wheeler or better yet a small trail motorcycle with camera container on rear. Full A/C, heater, etc.
Cons: Dry weight is about 2545# - double that of the ALiner. This should have a measurable impact on the MPG from the FJ Cruiser (tow rating limit on the FJ is 5,000#)[email protected]
Pros: really cool looking, but that won't help the quality of my negatives!
Cons: Seems to have a very negative impact on the fuel economy of the tow vehicle. I've been reading the posts on the Yahoo [email protected]
site and they take a big hit.
Also, I'm just short of 6' 5" and the [email protected]
interior height is 5' 10" - so for Cool you stoop!
Going over today to inspect a Fleetwood Evolution E-2. This will help me decide what direction I'm going.
Frankly, the ideal in my mind is the FJ Cruiser with a tent, camp stove, etc. in the back of the FJ. That is what I used to do when I was younger and had a Jeep CJ Golden Eagle.
However, I've not been able to find an insulated tent that offers any room and could keep me from having to deal with the serious infections I get if I sleep in a cold damp environment. I had hoped to put a cat heater in an insulated tent and go that route.
(Fact of note: Would have a hard time getting my wife to find pleasure in the tent idea at this point in our life. She'd do it BUT.........)