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Author Topic: Renting an RV for the first time, just getting our heads around it  (Read 294 times)

Stephen Johnson

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So, here's the scenario:
My wife and I are going to be Rving for the first time, but hopefully not the last.  We'll be leaving Calgary, Alberta on Hallowe'en for Vancouver BC return, in a 30 ft RV based on a ford 350 chassis.  It seems like a reasonable compromise between driveability and space.  We're semi-old farts at 59 and 56, fwiw.
We've allowed 10 days, so the pace will be very leisurely.  We've driven Transcanada / Coquihalla before, so we're planning (weather permitting) To take The Crosnest route out (Hwy 3) and HIghway 99 / Yellowhead / Ice fields parkway back.
We're expecting overnight temperatures around freezing, so I'm suspecting we'll want to find full service campsites as much as possible.
At present, I'm planning a fairly unplugged mode - kettle & french press for morning coffee, etc.
One of the reasons we're keen to do it is that we have 3 parrots (An Umbrella cokatoo, an amazon, and a black headed caique, and would like to be able to travel with them.

We're currently digesting supplies, places to stop, meal plans, etc. My lead-off question is:  Any special advice you feel the urge to share?  Especially non-obvious stuff.

Thanks in advance,
Stephen & Tina Johnson

SeilerBird

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Re: Renting an RV for the first time, just getting our heads around it
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2017, 07:25:15 PM »
If it starts to snow you will have to hunker down and not move until the roads are clear. You don't want to put chains on an RV and you don't want to drive one in snow.
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Isaac-1

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Re: Renting an RV for the first time, just getting our heads around it
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2017, 11:36:32 PM »
Most motorhomes are not designed for winter operation, and need to have their plumbing drained if they are going to be exposed to freezing conditions.  Some are more or less cold suited than others, some have exposed water tanks under the bodies, and plumbing ran in non-heated areas.  Others have tanks enclosed in the basement area, insulated plumbing and either basement heaters, basement heat ducts from the propane furnace, or electric heating pads for the water tanks.

You don't specify exactly what you are renting, if this is from one of the big rental fleets like cruise america, etc. their coaches tend to be rather utilitarian and may lack features you may need. 
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Arch Hoagland

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Re: Renting an RV for the first time, just getting our heads around it
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2017, 01:18:40 AM »
Carry an electric heater with you. The RV furnace uses LP and it uses a LOT so run the cheap electric heater as much as you can.

We have two $25 electric heaters that do the job.

Call ahead to make sure the RV parks are open. A lot of them close for the winter.

You are going to see a lot of moisture on the inside of all your windows unless you keep a roof exhaust fan going during the night.

Do NOT use the stovetop burners to heat your rig. That will kill you. CO2 gas is produced.

When your fuel tank gets down to a half tank start looking for a gas station.
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VallAndMo

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Re: Renting an RV for the first time, just getting our heads around it
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2017, 04:32:08 AM »
Hi Stephen & Tina,

We've vacationed in rented American motorhomes on freezing weather, just never in Canada, only in much milder Northern Arizona. Alas, they were also based on F-350 chassis.

We rented in the US, and could not find a motorhome with anything like winter preparedness; in fact, the rental agreements specifically stated that the rental company would deliver the motorhome "semi-winterized", ie with no water in the fresh water tank, and with some antifreeze in the black/grey tanks. We kept it that way and basically used campground facilities until we moved out of  the freezing North and into warmer South Arizona and then were able to get water into the fresh water tank and start using the shower, sink etc.

Possibly the RV you're renting in Canada is better prepared for the cold (the one we rented in Germany during our European trip certainly was), but I would double-check that with the rental company as freezing damage can be seriously expensive, and you'd certainly be liable for any that happens during your rental.

+1 to using electric heaters as much as possible; as long as electricity is included in your campsite fee (in the US they usually are, but in Germany they were usually charged extra -- no idea what's the praxis in Canada, so I'd recommend you check).

Hope that helps. Have a great trip and lots of fun!

Cheers,
--
   Vall & Mo.

SeilerBird

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Re: Renting an RV for the first time, just getting our heads around it
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2017, 06:48:27 AM »
If it starts to snow you will have to hunker down and not move until the roads are clear. You don't want to put chains on an RV and you don't want to drive one in snow.
It snowed in Denver yesterday. I hope you get good weather.
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Rene T

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Re: Renting an RV for the first time, just getting our heads around it
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2017, 07:16:07 AM »
Be careful using electric heaters. If the underbelly is closed in, usually it's like that to prevent freezing of the sewage tanks and plumbing. This space will most likely have heater ducts from the RV furnace to heat the area. If you don't use the RV furnace, you're taking a chance on things freezing.
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Stephen Johnson

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Re: Renting an RV for the first time, just getting our heads around it
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2017, 07:48:41 AM »
Thanks to all who commented.  There will be some snow, I expect.   Fortunately, I'm pretty familiar with driving on snow, though I'll miss my AWD Outback with good winter tires - if things get ugly, we will indeed delay  We'll juggle the heating options - given my wife's thermal profile, we'll run both  ;)

Fwiw, the rental is Cruise America (well, Cruise Canada) so pretty basic.

Cheers,

 

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