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Old 03-09-2013, 12:59 PM   #1
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Default Post your Favorite Florida areas and Campgrounds

We are spending the winter in the Tampa Florida area and are looking for cool/neat places to take our 2013 Great West Legend SE to for several 2-4 day trips...Suggestions?
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Old 03-09-2013, 01:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Post your Favorite Florida areas and Campgrounds

I have not been to Blue Spring State Park http://www.floridastateparks.org/bluespring/ to see the Manatees but thought that would be nice to do for a day or two. The site says Manatee season is mid-November through March 15.
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Old 03-09-2013, 01:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Post your Favorite Florida areas and Campgrounds

Sounds great, I will head over that way on Wed of this week.
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Old 03-09-2013, 01:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Post your Favorite Florida areas and Campgrounds

From there you could head to the Atlantic coast. I had hoped to get to Anastasia State Park http://www.floridastateparks.org/anastasia/ this year. With the beach and visiting St. Augustine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Augustine,_Florida it would be easy to stay 4 days or even a week in that area.
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Old 03-09-2013, 04:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Post your Favorite Florida areas and Campgrounds

HI Gordon,

A fellow GW Legend SE'er! Have you been on the site for a while, or are you new. Since you have a 2013, you might be new. We are supposed to get ours this afternoon. It arrived in Seattle last night. We haven't seen it yet.

What features about the SE do you like. Any complaints? Anything we should look out for? We're about the farthest from Florida you can get and still remain in the Continental US (unless AK is considered "continental"). So, we don't have any tips on where to go down there. We'll be watching this thread and plan to rectify our lack of knowledge about FL when we start our journeys.

.............Rocky
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Old 03-09-2013, 08:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Post your Favorite Florida areas and Campgrounds

Rocky, I have been on the site for a few years. I had a 2006 Roadtrek RS Adventurous for 2 years and loved it. We put 32,000 miles on it during that time.

We met Davydd at the B rally in Missouri last spring and have become friends. He is a very talented person at looking at design and seeing how it fits into a given lifestyle. He also has many years, miles and nights in B's. We looked at his GW van while in Missouri and liked it. At the Tampa RV show we saw one and bought it on the spot. I sold the Roadtrek a week or so later.

What we like about the new Great West. Keep in mind that a lot of this is simply my opinion.
1. This is not unique to the GWV, but the new Sprinter on the 1 ton chasis is dramaticaly more refined than our 2006 on the 3/4 ton. Smoother, quiter more car like. We also have a much higher margin on the GVWR. In the Roadtrek, we took a 5,800 mile trip last summer out in your direction. We had the van weighed at a place with certified CAT scales. We were fully loaded, watered, fueled, etc. and we were within 150 pounds of the GVWR. If my calculations are correct we have about 3,000 pounds of water, gear etc. that we can add in the new van before, we reach the GVWR....hence..no worries.
2. The layout is vastly superior to the RT. We rarely used the rear captains chairs, other than to prop our feet up on when we swiveled the front seats. Without those we have added storage room. I really like having the galley facing the campground side. Davydd mentions that having the bathroom on the camping (passengers) side creates blind spots. That was not a major issue for me as I used my mirrors extensively and almost exclusively.
3. We now have a near full sized refrige with a real freezer. In the RT, the freezer was so small that its only function was to produce and hold ice for my 6pm martini. In the great west, we now carry several Stoufers or Marie Calendars frozen dinners as well as the ultimiate camping treet...ICE CREAM. We still have the required ice making capacity. The refrigerator is huge and easily holds full size boxes of wine as well as gallon jugs of drinking water. In addition, we do not have to get down on our knees to look in the refrigerator.
3. The Microwave is at face level. On the old RT the microwave was on the floor, so we were once again down on our knees. (sounds kinkd of like the lyrics to a Claption song) In addition, ours is equiped with a 2000 watt inverter so we can run the Microwave without having to turn on the geny.
4. The new GWV is equipped with Diesel hydronic heat. In the short time that we have had the van, we have used it for 2 nights and it operates very quietly.
5. The heat and air are controlled by a thermostat. On the old RT the air was constantly on and the temp was controlled by dial that simply change the frequency of the compressor, but did not turn off the unit and the fan. Much quieter while camping.
6. The screen door. I did not anticipate this, but having a screen door has substantially changed how we live at the campground. We frequently keep the slider door open and the screen door closed. It makes putting little items in the van much easier, and is an aid to communication with the person inside the van.
7. The rear stereo is integrated with the DVD and TV and run off of 12v. first, there is no need to run the inverter when watching TV or listening to music (has an IPOD usb) On the old RT, to listen to music in the rear, we had to turn on the dash stereo and fade the music to the rear speakers. Not a huge deal, but now we have no concerns that listening to music will drain the starting battery. Were we like to go AAA would be hard pressed to find us.
8. The storage space is tremendous compared to the old RT, especially in the rear under the folding couch bed.
9. Our new GWV has the kenwood in dash DVD/CD/MP3/IPOD/bluetooth/backup camera/nav system. It has Garmin software for the NAV so we do not need to have a seperate Garmin GPS which helps reduce dash clutter.
10. Dash and cockpit storage. This is a Mercedes issue and not a GWV issue. The new Sprinter cockpit has tons of storage. Maps, guide books, kindles all get swallowed up and organized with room to spare.

Complaints.
We have had a few dealer hassles. That is not a Great West issue but a dealer issue. Fortunately we have only had one warranty related issue and that was very minor. I bent strike plate that holds the inner doors tight in the bathroom. It amazes me that with the complexity of all of these systems that it all worked out the door.

Things I miss from the old RT.
1. We kept the bed down and had a thick gel foam mattress. The GWV has a nice folding sofa/bed but it is not a plush as our old setup. If we add a gel top mattress it would create a storage/setup issue.
2. The RT had a valve that while you were connected to city water, you could flip the valve and fill the fresh water tank. On the GWV that is not in place. To fill the fresh water you need to disconnect the hose and put it in the fill spout.
3. I have not drained the water tank for winterizing, but the RT had a very convenient drain valve behind the front passenger tire. With the GWV it appears that I will have to crawl under the van and remove a screw in plug.
4. 22mpg. I averaged over 12,000 miles that I kept track 22 MPG. It is beginning to look like I will be getting around 18 or a little better with the new unit.

And the price....the GWV was a lot more money than an 2006 Roadtrek, but of course you are well aware of that
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: Post your Favorite Florida areas and Campgrounds

Thanks for that fine report, Gordon. A lot of those things we took into consideration when choosing the GW. I knew of the 2500 Chassis vs. 3500 Chassis issue and it seemed like it was a great move for the manufacturers to change to the 1 Ton chassis. The only units we looked at that had the 2500 Chassis were an Airstream Interstate and the Roadtrek Agile. The Agile is a much smaller rig, so there is more capacity left, but without the dualies, we felt the ride wouldn't feel as stable. When I talked to a local MB dealership about the load limits he said that one should use the 75% rule. Load and tow only to 75% of the capacity. With the 3500 we'll be much closer to that mark. As someone said here, load limits aren't a cut and dried number but a guestimate by the manufacturers engineers as to what would be good. Being significantly under is better than pushing (or exceeding) the limit. The rig will last longer and be safer.

We also liked the layout vs the Roadtrek. We don't know why ALL the RT models have the bathroom on the passenger side--you would think that with the number of models they have they could build one the other way around just for variety. We wondered if it was a balance issue or something, but we haven't heard of anyone having issues with the bathroom on the driver's side. We much preferred the PW & GW layouts to the RT.

The refrigerator was a big selling point with my wife in that she plans to prepare healthy foods along the way. Some of the models we looked at had the Microwave next to the floor! I just couldn't see that working.

I didn't know about the diesel hydronic heating and water heater. But, if it will provide as much continuous hot water as we want when we are attached to shore water, that really sounds like a bonus. It sounds like a great feature to have. I didn't catch the thermostat issue.

We loved the idea of the screen door. At the proper outside temperature, I'm sure it will be a blessing.

I kinda wondered about having two stereo units in the rig, but your explanation sounds like it is a feature and not just that they couldn't get the front stereo to work in the back.

Storage was an issue to us. And the GW seemed to have more than most--except perhaps the Pleasure Way Plateau (and, of course the Leisure Way unit with the pull-out and narrow bed).

We got a nav system and rear view (not just backup) camera in our unit specially installed. We also got side cameras as an add-on (for changing lanes safely).

I like the cockpit layout, too. Some brands steal some headroom getting into the cockpit from the back to have some overhead storage. I'm kinda tall (6' 0"), so I'm glad we don't have that.

We also were able to get some special hardware on the cabinets installed. They say that add on was choice.

From your report, It sounds like it is allmost all positive and almost no negatives. We're kinda wondering why anyone in our situation would buy some of the other brands.

Thanks again for taking your time to do the write-up, Gordon. We just got the call that the unit is here and we need to go get our new SE.

Oh, ours will be metallic black, by the way.

...................Rocky
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: Post your Favorite Florida areas and Campgrounds

Manatee Springs State Park is a nice park near Chiefland. Nice campground. They have a clear warm spring you can swim in. St. George Island State Park up in the Panhandle has a super nice long beach. The park is on a long spit of land. Long Key State Park in the Keys have campsites right on the beach.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:03 PM   #9
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We just returned from that area and were slightly disappointed the the camping facilities at Manatee SP. Seemed dirty and over crowded, but there again we came in on a Saturday afternoon and were lucky to get a site. On the other side of the state Tomoka SP was wonderful, the nearby town/city of Daytona Beach pretty much let us down. Far too commercial, crowded, and congested as well as over priced. BUT between the two is Juniper Springs Campground. No Electric, but THE most gorgeous campground we have seen in our 40+ years of camping. Clean facilities, friendly staff and just a nice place. Would return there for a stay in a heart beat.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: Post your Favorite Florida areas and Campgrounds

Garmp, thanks for the update.
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