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Motorhome Life Offers Comfort, Convenience

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May 12, 2014 by   Leave a Comment

Suzi and Edmund Kuehn parked their 41-foot motorhome in Flint, Mich., on a Saturday night four years ago. The New York Times reported that the next morning, Kuehn’s ex-husband called from Dallas and told her their 31-year-old son, Leslie, who had been fighting plasma cell leukemia, had died.

“We left within 45 minutes,” said Ms. Kuehn, now 64. She and Mr. Kuehn, 60, who were retired, picked up her mother in Galesburg, Ill., and her daughter Lisa in Quincy, Ill. They called Suzi’s other daughter, Amy, and two children in Cape Coral, Fla., to fly to Texas. On Tuesday morning, the Kuehns pulled into a campground in Dallas.

They drove the 1,300 miles to Dallas from Flint with comfort and clockwork that would be inconceivable with airplanes and cars. Their motor home has its own plumbing, water, generator for heat and electricity and full-size refrigerator. Everyone can ride in the same cabin.

The big motorhomes like the Kuehns’ start at 35 feet. Called motor coaches, they go up to 45 feet and weigh up to 25 tons — 14 times the weight of the average car. Most have two, three or four slideouts — wall sections that are pushed out once the vehicle is parked, nearly doubling the living space. New, these big rigs sell for $200,000 to $2 million.

Motor coaches are expanding the horizons of how adventurous retirees can travel and live. Built on the chassis of buses, which are intended to last a million miles, they have caught the wave of baby boomers, now 50 to 68, who look forward to a 10- to 20-year stretch of able-bodied retirement.

Driving these vehicles, they head for scores of luxurious new motor coach resorts that mimic the gated “active adult” subdivisions of the South and Southwest. Some retirees have begun buying parking pads like condos where they spend a winter or summer and then ride off to another resort.

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