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Old 08-07-2013, 02:06 PM   #1
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Is 13 rows too long for parking? Towing?

Hi everybody. Me and my old lady are about to "pull the trigger" on a flat-nosed, RE AmTran. However, since I have never driven a bus, I have some concerns about the size of this thing!! I know that bigger is often better when converting a bus, but I am worried about maneuvering this thing around streets, campsites, national parks, etc. Are all sizes pretty much the same (for full-sized buses), or would it be prudent to consider getting something a bit shorter?

Also, are there any concerns for towing (a car) with such a long bus? I feel like it is most likely doable; however, I just can't wrap my head around having that much length hurtling down the highways!!

I did a search but couldn't find any threads on this issue, so thanks for reading. Hopefully we will be here for the long haul!
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Old 08-07-2013, 03:31 PM   #2
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Re: Is 13 rows too long for parking? Towing?

I know my 12 row bus is about 34 ft. Each row is about 2.5 ft. That would make your bus around 36 - 37 ft. An average size Class A RV is from 35 - 40 ft. They tow cars behind them.

My dad has a 26 ft trailer he tows with his truck and his total length is 45 ft. It is all relative.
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Old 08-07-2013, 03:38 PM   #3
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Re: Is 13 rows too long for parking? Towing?

I have a 28' bumper to bumper dog-nose bus and it feels like driving a big U-haul type truck. Remember these were designed to be driven around cities while full of children. I am sure you will be fine, and yes they look huge. I got a "short-bus" because when we looked at the full sized 1's they kind of intimidated me as well. After having driven mine a good bit locally I now think a larger 1 would have been fine.
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Old 08-07-2013, 04:57 PM   #4
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Re: Is 13 rows too long for parking? Towing?

I think all rear engine buses are 40ft, which is the size of those big RVs which someone mentioned already do tow cars, and of course campgrounds are designed to accommodate this size vehicle. I have a 30 foot bus which is cumbersome, but more maneuverable than a 40 footer. At 30 feet, my bus has the advantage of fitting into two parking spots if I pull through. A 40 footer would be a bit more restrictive, but if you need the space, you need the space. If I were living in a bus full time, I would certainly get a 40 footer.
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Old 08-07-2013, 05:09 PM   #5
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Re: Is 13 rows too long for parking? Towing?

in regards to parking spaces, it depends some I hangout on both ends 2 feet (im about 35 I think )

others I fit in two spaces...always make sure to plan your departure before parking, I have taken up 4 spaces to be in a position to pull out easier (I always try to get as far away as I can from the store and not block anything)

It doesn't seem to matter if it's old or new parking (I do think parking lot planners take a pole of local vehicles and plan accordingly

Watch the right handers, also we have the advantage of our noses will go over a curb w/o hitting anything (watch for fire hydrants most RV's can't do that (ask at rv place how many steps get replaced weekly )
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:01 PM   #6
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Re: Is 13 rows too long for parking? Towing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel Dan
I think all rear engine buses are 40ft.
My 34 footer is a rear engine. It acts like a 40 footer but it isn't, it's just an ego thing my bus has.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:04 PM   #7
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Re: Is 13 rows too long for parking? Towing?

Thanks, y'all. My imagination is pretty much nonexistent, so I was having a hard time picturing these things. I think I have a much better idea now.
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:40 PM   #8
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Re: Is 13 rows too long for parking? Towing?

mines 38ft bumper to bumper dognose, 42ft with motorcycle rack hanging off the back, iv been down lots of small city streets (mostly by accidentally) no real problems, just have to keep your eyes opened, I haven't towed yet but will soon with my small flat deck trailer, then when I can ill plan to tow a car 4 down
good luck to you
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:42 AM   #9
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Re: Is 13 rows too long for parking? Towing?

40 ft school buses are driven on city streets many days. Pay attention and learn to drive it. I suggest that you both learn to drive. That way one person doesn't have to do all the driving and if the "driver" gets injured or ill, you aren't stuck anywhere.

We tow 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee behind our 40 ft bus. Don't even know it's there.

As far as getting into the smaller National Forest campgrounds... I read all the time on those RV forums about that. We took a different approach. Since we used to live very close to Nantahala NF, Cherokee NF and Chattahoochee NF, we cruised thru the ones noted for size limits. What we found was the size limit is for the smallest RV pad. Talking to the rangers cleared this up. Seems that folks in the larger RVs would get ticked off because they would pull in to a campground only to find the longer sites taken and they could not fit on a smaller spot. We use www.forestcamping.com to find NF campgrounds. They have very good direction and will note if the interior and entrance roads may be problematic. We also use Don Wrights Free and Cheap Campground Directory but we will drive the towed before we attempt the bus. We discovered we needed to do this when we first got an Eastern edition several years back. It listed a campground that I thought had been shut down. So we decided to go picnic at the campground one day, that is how we check out campgrounds during early spring, summer, fall and winter... just not busy holiday weekends. Many times we can picnic right in the campgrounds, sometimes it's nearby. We quite often KFC picnic. I keep a cooler in the back of the Jeep along with stocked picnic bag. Anyway, we headed out the check out Warwoman Wildlife Management Area (WWA) outside of Clayton GA. My Jeep has all wheel drive. We kept sliding backwards down the steep gravel road. We finally found a spot big enough to turn the Jeep around without flipping it over. We decided that was not a good place for us. It got noted in our directory as a very rough road. But all the NF campgrounds on Persimmon Rd west of Clayton are just fine including the last one, Sandy Bottom, which has a sharp U turn as you get into the campground.

Unicoi State Park at Helen GA used to list a 35ft length limit. I asked them about it as the sites were plenty long. They said the roads were widened and trees trimmed to allow the big RVs in but for some reason the/state website didn't get updated very often. So if it's someplace you aren't sure about, you can always call whomever is in charge of the place. We just like to drive thru when in nearby areas and note down if we would like the place and which sites are best for us. BTW, look up current fees online. I know FL, amon other states, have been raising to prices of state forest camping. NF campgrounds are being turned over to concessionaires which also mean high prices.
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:56 PM   #10
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Re: Is 13 rows too long for parking? Towing?

SWEET. THE BIG RIDE HOME DRAWS NIGH.
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