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Old 08-02-2020, 12:29 AM   #1
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Question Recommendations for Purchase

My husband and I are in our 60's and live in New Jersey. We have one son in Maryland and another in San Jose California and, in these Covid-19 times, would like to purchase an RV to use to visit them. While we are visiting we probably will not live in the RV. It's primary use will be living in while we are driving, allowing us to avoid hotels and public baths. We also plan to do other fun trips in it. We are inveterate travelers whose wings have been clipped by Covid!

Husband doesn't have much RV experience. His parents did have a tent trailer for awhile when he was young. My family had the equivalent of a Class A when I was in my pre-teens. I loved what we didn't know to call boondocking. Had no use for crowded campgrounds even with nice facilities. Again - I'm thinking a B for Stealth is nice.

Anyway - husband drives a Tesla model S and must have Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist and other similar features. I'm thinking that means a Sprinter chassis may be best to look at (unless the others have caught up)?

Son who lives in San Jose is expecting (twins!!!) in January and we are anticipating having to make trips out there in the winter. So we need something that can handle freezing temperatures.

We are not keen on cartridge or composting toilets (in the US) and would prefer a black tank.

We are concerned about OCCC, having seen some models where there seemed to be negative OCCC?

Ideally we'd like to be able to carry 2 passengers with 3 point seat belts but that's not a necessity.

And I think we're likely a bit time constrained. I'm not sure how long it takes to get a custom build - but I'm guessing it may be too long?

Anyway - any advice folks can give on models/brands to look at would be great. Also remember we're in New Jersey and constrained on where we can look. We can obviously get to surrounding states but not too much further - again the whole quarantine thing I know some dealers do deliver but I'd be worried about service? Again any advice more than welcome.

Thank you in advance - I've loved what I've seen on the forum so far,
Kim
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:14 AM   #2
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Questions;

When you talk about Freezing weather are also talking about traveling, in any vehicle, during that kind of weather (I think you are whereas most owners avoid such)

What is OCCC?

Have you considered the negatives of using Black Tanks in such weather versus Cassette Toilets, Composting or the crude but effective, Porta Potti's?

I think perhaps you might want to rent a couple of options first, its amazing how we can turn 180% on something when using it in the real world of RVing & the same for how we come to embrace what we thought was not negotiable before.
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:45 AM   #3
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theMD makes a good point. You might consider renting a RV for your trip out and back. You could look at various models and floorplans. Perhaps even rent one to get out to CA and a different one for the trip back.

The weather. You want to avoid bad weather in the winter I would guess. I drove our RV for the first time from Wisconsin to Phoenix in late Feb/early March. We went straight south so we could get into non-freezing weather ASAP. Actually went through St. Louis, Memphis and down to New Orleans. Then straight across the south to Phoenix. You could go south and then take a diagonal instead to save time. We wanted to spend a few days in NewO.
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:05 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum knitafghans!

Good that you've given thoughts to your needs. I'd recommend you contact Patrick Botticelli at Colonial Airstream (New Jersey) and discuss options with him.

Be prepared for a limited supply and a Seller's market. There are many thousands who are reaching the same decision as you, and all at the same time.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:07 AM   #5
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Rowiebowie,

Suddenly us Class B owners are the smartest futurists on the planet!

Why Colonial Airstream & not others?

I cannot emphasize enough that while it might be very cool to have a unit fully winterized, its not only counter productive to be in such weather, its downright dangerous to drive in such conditions.

God forbid there is a bad accident, when it's in an RV, as a couple its more than a double whammy & then there is the fact your home, is out of rotation, for weeks, sometimes months. While you are out of state & even worse, one or both of you are in hospital.

I have a suspicion you don't really want to purposely drive into such weather, like Tornado Chasers.

In that case, here are some options, think Earthroamer, Unicat & others.

https://www.roverpass.com/blog/off-r...oor-adventure/
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:49 AM   #6
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Rowiebowie,

Suddenly us Class B owners are the smartest futurists on the planet!

Why Colonial Airstream & not others?

I cannot emphasize enough that while it might be very cool to have a unit fully winterized, its not only counter productive to be in such weather, its downright dangerous to drive in such conditions.

God forbid there is a bad accident, when it's in an RV, as a couple its more than a double whammy & then there is the fact your home, is out of rotation, for weeks, sometimes months. While you are out of state & even worse, one or both of you are in hospital.

I have a suspicion you don't really want to purposely drive into such weather, like Tornado Chasers.

In that case, here are some options, think Earthroamer, Unicat & others.

https://www.roverpass.com/blog/off-r...oor-adventure/
Yep. Sometime I'm so smart I don't even know it.

Kim is in New Jersey and that is where Colonial is. Patrick is their class b guy and from all reports is a straight shooter.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:54 AM   #7
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Gotcha, good advice, stellar company, leader in their field!
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:21 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies so far:
- in terms of weather - we certainly aren't seeking out and don't plan to drive in winter storm conditions, but with baby due in January the need to get from NJ to San Jose (near San Francisco) CA likely puts us in for some sub-freezing temperatures at least and likely some of the white stuff. Even if we make a huge detour south we will still have cold conditions for awhile. And there are mountains to climb ... So what I'm looking for is something that we can use despite sub-freezing temperatures. [not for driving in blizzards - no worries there!]
- i am aware of the black tank vs. cartridge or composting issue. I was hoping that some companies had insulated or heated the black tank? I understand that I'm likely to have to be hooked up electrically for this to work well. Not demanding boondocking in winter (I guess except in an emergency situation?).
- OCCC is the weight of people/cargo one can carry. It's supposed to be on every vehicle's sticker. But surprisingly few vendors advertise the number (I know it'd be approximate but still!).
- I've looked into renting a little bit and at least near me the per mile charge above 100 is steep. Also I haven't seen anywhere where a one way is permitted and most explicitly prohibit things like coast to coast trips. Long distance is frowned on. It's also very tough to find current models or ones like the ones I'm considering for rent? This may be a NJ area thing. Honestly don't think we have as many RV's for sale as some other areas?
I think Colonial (about 45 minutes away) and Fretz (across the border in PA about 1.5 hrs) may be my closest dealers.
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:27 AM   #9
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OCCC we call it names like GVWR Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, etc.

My suggestion is to start kicking tires & see if what is available meets your needs. Get all these questions answered by Professionals.

Unfortunately that means talking to Salespeople but there are some real people out there that can help you.

Owning is a hundred times more difficult than buying & you need real specific items. Sometimes its a compromise.

Or ordering one & going that route.

Once you have got the fluff out of your questions, we can be more specific
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:28 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by knitsafghans View Post
Thanks for all the replies so far:
- in terms of weather - we certainly aren't seeking out and don't plan to drive in winter storm conditions, but with baby due in January the need to get from NJ to San Jose (near San Francisco) CA likely puts us in for some sub-freezing temperatures at least and likely some of the white stuff. Even if we make a huge detour south we will still have cold conditions for awhile. And there are mountains to climb ... So what I'm looking for is something that we can use despite sub-freezing temperatures. [not for driving in blizzards - no worries there!]
- i am aware of the black tank vs. cartridge or composting issue. I was hoping that some companies had insulated or heated the black tank? I understand that I'm likely to have to be hooked up electrically for this to work well. Not demanding boondocking in winter (I guess except in an emergency situation?).
- OCCC is the weight of people/cargo one can carry. It's supposed to be on every vehicle's sticker. But surprisingly few vendors advertise the number (I know it'd be approximate but still!).
- I've looked into renting a little bit and at least near me the per mile charge above 100 is steep. Also I haven't seen anywhere where a one way is permitted and most explicitly prohibit things like coast to coast trips. Long distance is frowned on. It's also very tough to find current models or ones like the ones I'm considering for rent? This may be a NJ area thing. Honestly don't think we have as many RV's for sale as some other areas?
I think Colonial (about 45 minutes away) and Fretz (across the border in PA about 1.5 hrs) may be my closest dealers.
You might want to look at any new class b fabricated on new Ford Chassis(2020 or newer) with ecoboost. They have the safety features and extra carry features you want. I believe Coachmen Beyond may have the tank warmers for freezing weather travel. Beyond also has the li3 which may work for you. I do not know if they have heaters for their lithium? The best fit would probably be Embassy RV but hey are a custom build. Insulation is great, no black tank and all water marine bladders are inside. But again, you said not enough time to wait for a custom build? Best of luck in your search
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:30 AM   #11
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I meant the fluff comment as a positive, a week of kicking tires & your needs might be totally different in a week.

Its a big investment & you want to do it right. Sometimes that means driving, eating, pooping, cooking, sleeping in harmony & style & so much more.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:50 PM   #12
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Buy what you think you will like after reviewing them as much as possible in person. You could rent one for a short overnight or two trip but that is for deciding if a Class B is really what you want. There is not enough differences in them to decide otherwise. Then after 200,000 miles of travel and three Class Bs maybe you will know what you want----or not.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by knitsafghans View Post
Thanks for all the replies so far:

- in terms of weather - we certainly aren't seeking out and don't plan to drive in winter storm conditions, but with baby due in January the need to get from NJ to San Jose (near San Francisco) CA likely puts us in for some sub-freezing temperatures at least and likely some of the white stuff. Even if we make a huge detour south we will still have cold conditions for awhile. And there are mountains to climb ... So what I'm looking for is something that we can use despite sub-freezing temperatures. [not for driving in blizzards - no worries there!]

- i am aware of the black tank vs. cartridge or composting issue. I was hoping that some companies had insulated or heated the black tank? I understand that I'm likely to have to be hooked up electrically for this to work well. Not demanding boondocking in winter (I guess except in an emergency situation?).

- OCCC is the weight of people/cargo one can carry. It's supposed to be on every vehicle's sticker. But surprisingly few vendors advertise the number (I know it'd be approximate but still!).

- I've looked into renting a little bit and at least near me the per mile charge above 100 is steep. Also I haven't seen anywhere where a one way is permitted and most explicitly prohibit things like coast to coast trips. Long distance is frowned on. It's also very tough to find current models or ones like the ones I'm considering for rent? This may be a NJ area thing. Honestly don't think we have as many RV's for sale as some other areas?

I think Colonial (about 45 minutes away) and Fretz (across the border in PA about 1.5 hrs) may be my closest dealers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by knitsafghans View Post
Thanks for all the replies so far:

- in terms of weather - we certainly aren't seeking out and don't plan to drive in winter storm conditions, but with baby due in January the need to get from NJ to San Jose (near San Francisco) CA likely puts us in for some sub-freezing temperatures at least and likely some of the white stuff. Even if we make a huge detour south we will still have cold conditions for awhile. And there are mountains to climb ... So what I'm looking for is something that we can use despite sub-freezing temperatures. [not for driving in blizzards - no worries there!]

- i am aware of the black tank vs. cartridge or composting issue. I was hoping that some companies had insulated or heated the black tank? I understand that I'm likely to have to be hooked up electrically for this to work well. Not demanding boondocking in winter (I guess except in an emergency situation?).

- OCCC is the weight of people/cargo one can carry. It's supposed to be on every vehicle's sticker. But surprisingly few vendors advertise the number (I know it'd be approximate but still!).

- I've looked into renting a little bit and at least near me the per mile charge above 100 is steep. Also I haven't seen anywhere where a one way is permitted and most explicitly prohibit things like coast to coast trips. Long distance is frowned on. It's also very tough to find current models or ones like the ones I'm considering for rent? This may be a NJ area thing. Honestly don't think we have as many RV's for sale as some other areas?

I think Colonial (about 45 minutes away) and Fretz (across the border in PA about 1.5 hrs) may be my closest dealers.
We checked both Fretz and Colonial. Went with Pat at Colonial. Great deal. Any warranty work performed there clearly resulted in van being in much better condition. Last time I looked for nearby RT dealers, Fritz was listed. Colonial has a new facility that is nice, a pleasant change from the usual depressing setting at most trailer and rv dealers.
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:48 PM   #14
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You might want to look at any new class b fabricated on new Ford Chassis(2020 or newer) with ecoboost. They have the safety features and extra carry features you want. I believe Coachmen Beyond may have the tank warmers for freezing weather travel. Beyond also has the li3 which may work for you. I do not know if they have heaters for their lithium? The best fit would probably be Embassy RV but hey are a custom build. Insulation is great, no black tank and all water marine bladders are inside. But again, you said not enough time to wait for a custom build? Best of luck in your search

What is the "all water marine bladders are inside" concept? Rather than me looking in the wrong places do you have a link?
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:50 PM   #15
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Got it!

https://www.google.com/search?q=all+...obile&ie=UTF-8
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Old 08-02-2020, 05:24 PM   #16
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We travel extensively in the winter in a Sprinter. We use the toilet by flushing with antifreeze and carry water inside for drinking and washing. Our heat (Roadtrek with infloor heating) is plenty robust, though we've only tested it to -10F. Even with 4x4 we keep an eye on weather and will take alternate routes or delay travel when needed. That said, having a complex Class B RV is an involved hobby - some even make it a lifestyle - not just a mode of transportation. There is a steep learning curve, unexpected expenses, occasional hassles etc. It is not as simple as just turning the key and heading west. Renting is a good option to really find out if this is right for you.
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:08 PM   #17
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Question Thank you and a few more questions!

-I am pretty much convinced that it would be good to try a rental for a short time. Do folks have advice about where is best to try to find a rental?
-Maybe it's a good idea to try one Black Tank and one non-Black Tank solution?My husband's view is if we go non-Black Tank it's all on me to deal with it ....

I understand that this is far more than turning a key. What's a little funny is that we're already part of a kind of lifestyle community with the Tesla? And I get that that doesn't require nearly as much handiness as it sounds like the B maybe does. I honestly don't know whether we're that handy.

But I remember how much fun it was to part in the middle of nowhere in the old A-like vehicle [my dad built it on an old Flower delivery truck. It actually had a bathtub!!!]. I think the idea of that kind of freedom to have home with me would be fun.

And we are kind of flexible in terms of travel? We've stayed all kinds of places. Last 3 trips were an Antarctic cruise, getting an apartment in Paris, and a Galapagos cruise. The two cruises were on very small boats and very active - not your Caribbean cruise sort of thing? Paris metro was down so we were walking 10 miles a day. Trip before that was road trip down to Atlanta in the Tesla stopping wherever - not fancy.

Husband keeps poking at me to just get a trailer. He says it fills the same Covid needs and is much less expensive than a B. But for me it's not the same? Is a B really so hard? Should I give up?
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:07 PM   #18
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Your above comments still lead me to think that it might be good for you to rent one for a long weekend and go to a campground that's close but still requires some highway driving to get to. I don't even think that you need your perfect one to do it; just one to give you the experience of driving it, using the toilet, the fridge, the stove, washing the dishes, setting up the bed and sleeping the night........or two. The rental place will give you instruction and I read somewhere that someone had video taped the instructions so they could refer to them later.

Honestly, when I got our RV I knew nothing. After one camping trip I had learned how to run everything and at the end, how to dump the tanks. From that I think that a single rental experience will teach you a lot and give you confidence.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:18 PM   #19
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Default my experience, for what its worth...

Just my experience, to speak to winter driving and rentingÖ

I have an í09 Navion, Sprinter chassisís (non-4x4), and have made three round tirps to Anchorage, AK from Florida, and two runs, one in and one out, were made in the dead of winter where temps dipped to -35 F at night; day time barely made it above 0. I had no issues driving in the deeeeep snow and hard packed ice; the Navie did fine. I boondocked every night I was on the road. I either parked in hotel or vacant parking areas, or Wally world in Whitehead.

There is a learning curve, a process, for winter boondocking, but itís doable, adventurous, and can be fun if you like this sort of thing, which I do. I find the roads to be somewhat less crowded along the way, making for a slightly more peaceful ride. Of course this is all depending on the roadways one travels on.

Winterize the rig properly, carry jugs of antifreeze (pink stuff), and use it to flush with, as was mentioned. Use the cabin heater along the way, and don't be afraid to fire up the genny to supplement your heating if need be. Things stay more workable when things are used regularly, like the genny, frig, heater, water sources.

What about taking showers? Well, you can stop at truck stops and rent shower stalls, find an open camp ground and hook up and use your rigís shower, or use the camp grounds bathrooms. We made it a point to stay at Laird Hot springs each way, so this helped, and felt so good. Once, we stopped at a small motel, explained to the owner that we were just looing for a shower and bathroom use, a place to park for the night, a good hot local meal, and regroup. We were provided a nice room with shower and bathroom, were provided a safe, quiet place to park and plug-in the RV, albeit 110vlt only, and had a great local meal in their dinner, all for a fraction of the normal price of a room; it made life so much easier. Again, we have never had a problem winter Rvíing, driving in the snow, or even camping in the freezing Yukon territory at -35 F; it can be done safely. It requires planning, good maintenance and a good attitude about the journey.

As for renting. Hereís my one time experience, which was just okay. DW and I rented a class C, Ford chassis (a basic model one seeís from a lot of manufacturers) with a V-10 (gas GUZZLER!), two slide outs, fully equipped kitchen, linens and towels provided at extra cost; we used our own. I believe when all said and done, our rental costs came to near $6k with tax, insurance and some feeís, fuel of course was not included, for the 30 day rental.

So weíre off for a month. I was fairly comfortable driving this, to me, big rig. I really didn't care for the sloppy handling; itís was a two year old rig with less than 15k miles on it, so pretty new. We drove from Pensacola Florida through many points across to California, up to Seattle, Bellingham, into Canada, back down through Glacier NP, Bad lands, weaved back down to Grand Canyon, several of the other NPís, back up central US and across the upper US, over towards Niagra Falls, NY, and down the eastern seaboard, back to Mrytle beach area and then shot across to Atlanta and back down to PíCola. We covered a lot of ground. Dropped the rig off, and we were done. Then we got the bug, wanted our own rig, a better, nicer rig, and the search began.

It took a few years before we eventually bought our 2009 Navion as many life events took place, but the one thing I never wanted to do again, rent. I never had the desire to have to rent an RV again. DW and I knew we wanted our own personal rig, one we felt suited for us and we could make personal. We knew we would RV from here on. We were avid campers anyway. We tented, had the pop-up, the TT and even an older Dodge Class B, and two VW vangons, which were fun but small.

There are so many RVís out there. I suggest the internet searching to find a good style, then some personal visits to different RV sales places, to actually see the rigs upfront and personal. Pictures show a lot, but thereís nothing better than seeing for yourself. Case in point.

Airstream, a name brand that has been around for a long time. One hears Airstream and usually thinks quality, high price and good looks. DW and I checked out the Airstream class Bís and found them to be no better than many other brands. In fact, we found many other brands to be more appealing and better priced, like say, Leisure Travel Vans, Coachhouse, and we found our Navion to be so mcuh nicer than any Airstream we looked at. So, take your time and do the research and find a rig you will love to own. Theyíre not cheap, so you want to make sure your get it right the first time out, as best you can.

Good luck, and enjoy the RV life. BTW, we use our rig as a daily driver a lot. In fact, I would rather drive it than any of my other vehicles. So much nicer just taking our time and driving to dinner in the Navie, running the genny with the AC keeping our dog nice and cool while we go eat, shop, whatever, and having a nice cooled down place to just sit, not be rushed, and actually see life and live it as we go.

Take you time!
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:09 AM   #20
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Great post by Synergy* & Davvyd is on point,

*a Driver after my own Heart

You might need to bite the bullet with your seat of the pants feelings & then have to upgrade or downgrade once or twice more.

The Rental costs are obscene right now, not such a good idea unless you can get an exact model.

You cannot go wrong with a Black Tank or a Porta Potti & anything in between.

The other reason I suggest a Porta Potti is its a $135 investment that works & doesn't involve a large & expensive build out for somethings you may not need.

And you must not be sitting in a raised position when you evacuate your bowel as in the pedestals many rv toilets are attached to- the Porta Potti, just pull it out& use it & if you are on the road, there are plenty of places with normal toilets in which to dump.

It's a temporary solution.

But buying a rig for $100-+200k & discovering its great but just not ideal, then there is a big cost to your present position, even in today's sellers market which could evaporate tomorrow.

Beware, there is such a thing as RV Envy, and one can never be satisfied - I am still working on ideas 9 years later.

A Class B in itself is a compromise.

But ownership is a learning experience that makes you a better person & a better couple.

A Class A for the person who needs the kitchen sink.

Before talking to Colonial, etc I would suggest you buy* an hour of an Engineer's time at a RV custom builder & talk to him - lots of standard coaches are generic answers, a custom builder can give you ideas outside the box, you havent considered.

*the person's time is valuable

You are asking many questions none of us from where we sit but your backside will inform you of a few thousand miles down the road.
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