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Author Topic: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas  (Read 1535 times)

Joffers

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7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« on: December 03, 2019, 10:40:05 AM »
Hi All
I am new to RVs and looking for guidance. My plan is to buy an RV but just wanting to test the concept with the family. Wife has not grown up camping and city kids are 8&9.
We have an RV hired from Dec 28th to Jan 4th and wanting advice on whether it is crazy to try and go Zion, Page and South Rim of Grand Canyon at that time. My back up plan is to go west into Death Valley area.
What would be the "go / no go" weather and conditions for the Zion/Page/Grand Canyon adventure.
If its no snow and clear roads but just freezing cold - what should we do to make life as comfortable as possible? How best to prepare?
If going west is the back up option - does anyone have a suggested itinerary?

SeilerBird

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Re: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2019, 10:58:07 AM »
Zion will be way too cold this time of year. Same for the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Zion has an average daytime high of 48 in December and an average low of 24. GC would be colder. West to Death Valley would be my choice. I would also include a stop for a few days at Joshua Tree National Park. Same desert just a very different place. I have spent a lot of time in both parks and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. Both are really stunning and a much better place to visit in the winter rather than summer.

Utclmjmpr

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Re: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2019, 11:08:34 AM »
 Death Valley is not much better for that time of year,, its below sea level and open desert that gets really cold and windy.>>>Dan    ( South along the Colorado river would be more predictable, and better facilities, for that time of year,, particularly if you have rented a smaller class C.. The last thing you want is to be cramped up in a small space in bad weather.)
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 11:15:57 AM by Utclmjmpr »
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jackiemac

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Re: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2019, 11:19:33 AM »
I do not think being too cold will endear them to the RV life (in my opinion).  You would potentially need full hook ups to stay warm in the evening/ night.

Look now at average temps for where you fancy and forecast when closer to the time to help you decide.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 11:38:46 AM by jackiemac »
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Isaac-1

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Re: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2019, 11:24:56 AM »
We returned home to Louisiana about a month ago from our first trip to Page and the Grand Canyon, and even in mid October temperatures were already getting questionable in parts of Arizona, and I found myself running from an arctic blast on the drive home, with a 17F low one night in eastern AZ.  One thing to remember here is that the Grand Canyon south rim is at 7,000 feet elevation, and while one can expect average highs above freezing there for new years, there is also the chance of temperatures well below freezing.

You don't mention what sort of RV you will be taking, but I will assume it is a Cruise America or El Monte rental unit, which leads to the question of will it be winterized, and can it operate non-winterized at these potential temperatures.  This will depend on its design, are the water / sewer tanks internal or exposed, how about the other plumbing?  Some RV's are better than others on this topic, though I can tell you with exposed dump valves on my coach, the water in the black and gray tank pipes were turning to slush on my 17F night in AZ about a month ago.

As to visiting Page and the Grand Canyon in these potential conditions, it is hard to say, there is not much I would want to do in Page in harsh winter conditions, being out on the lake would likely be miserable, we also did the lower Antelope Canyon which was already cool enough in mid October to need a light jacket while it was 80 F degrees outside.  We also did a half day float trip down the canyon, that was also fairly cool, being in shade most of the day, and floating on 48F degree water.  Neither of which would be all that appealing to me at around freezing.  The Grand Canyon might be a bit nicer, though unless you are going to hike down into the Canyon you can expect even colder temperatures here than in Page, and what it really comes down to is you will not know what sort of conditions to expect until we are within the 7-9 day weather forecast.  It may be unseasonably warm, and therefore doable, or it may be a miserable near survival situation.
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jackiemac

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Re: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2019, 11:50:49 AM »
You could consider Valley of Fire but campgrounds are first come and might be full.

Alternatively you could try somewhere around Lake Havasu/ Parker that you could reserve.

If you live in Vegas you could also pop up to the visitors centre at Boulder City which gives info on the parks.

Also welcome to the forum!!
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 12:21:33 PM by jackiemac »
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muskoka guy

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Re: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2019, 12:01:44 PM »
Two winters we went to the Grand Canyon area at the first of February. Each year is different. The first year, the temps at the south Rim were well below freezing at night. We left our rv near Phoenix and drove up in our tow car. It was about a three hour drive one way. The next day we drove up to Sedona for the day. As stated Flagstaff and the south Rim are at 7000 ft. Phoenix is at about 2000. It makes quite a difference. You could possibly rent a car in Phoenix if the temperatures up at the Grand Canyon are too cold. Its always an option. Rv camping in sub freezing weather requires some experience, and some rvs are better equipped to do it than others. I would avoid the sub freezing weather in a rental unit. Check the weather forecast as the dates get close. They have webcams in Flagstaff that you can see the up to the minute video. The second year the overnight temperatures were above freezing, and we stayed in Page for two days, then two days up at Zion.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 12:18:14 PM by muskoka guy »

SeilerBird

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Re: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2019, 12:31:39 PM »
Death Valley is a lot warmer in the winter than Zion. DV has a daytime average of 65 in December and an average low of 39 at night. I have been there many times in winter and had very little discomfort. We even had a rally there in January and it was quite comfortable. The temp averages are about the same for Joshua Tree. Zion is at 4000 feet of elevation and the Grand Canyon is at 7000. Death Valley is at sea level.

Arch Hoagland

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Re: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2019, 01:01:47 PM »
Do NOT use the gas stove nor oven to heat the RV. Many people have died doing that....CO2 poisoning.

Use the furnace or a small electric heater,

I mention this because you are new to using an RV.

Bring some board games along to play with the kids in case of bad weather.
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Isaac-1

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Re: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2019, 02:03:47 PM »
p.s. if you go to the Grand Canyon, be aware there is no where to buy propane inside the park, so make sure to fill your propane tank before you get there.  As to Page there are several places to get propane, including many of the gas stations,  I used Antelope Recreation Center Boat RV Storage (which is also a convince store and gas station), on Copermine Rd near the intersection with Hwy 98, and would do so again, though be aware you have to pull nose first into the propane fill station, so not good for someone that is towing.  They were friendly and did not mind that I was just topping off with 6 or 7 gallons before heading off to do off grid camping, which I told them in advance.
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SeilerBird

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Re: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2019, 02:23:51 PM »
You can buy propane at the Grand Canyon Camper Village located about a mile from the south entrance.

http://www.grandcanyoncampervillage.com/sitesratesandservices.html

Lou Schneider

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Re: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2019, 03:11:01 PM »
Death Valley will likely be cool to cold, currently temperatures are colder than normal, in the upper 50s to low 60s during the day and in the upper 40s overnight.

From Las Vegas the most direct route to Death Valley is to go west through Pahrump and take Bell Vista Rd. 4 miles north of town to Death Valley Junction.   Red Rock Canyon and the Calico Basin west of Las Vegas has a nice drive through loop, and there's the Amargosa Opera House at Death Valley Junction.  Marta Becket painted many murals on the property including a complete medieval audience on the walls of the Opera House during the 35 years she performed her one woman show there.

You'll be boondocking in Death Valley, Sunset campground at Furnace Creek never fills up.  There are 18 full hookup spaces in the Furnace Creek campground but they're likely to be taken.  You can get a pass to swim in the Furnace Creek Resort's hot spring fed swimming pool for $5 for half a day (morning or afternoon).  Note that Scotty's Castle at the north end of Death Valley is still closed and recovering from extensive flash flooding damage it suffered in October 2015.

Top off your fuel tank in Pahrump, gas is crazy expensive in Death Valley and costs about half as much outside the park.

Another alternative is to head south from Las Vegas.  Visit Hoover Dam and then spend some time in the winter RV mecca along the lower Colorado River.  Laughlin, NV is very RV friendly and has several hotels and casinos with the accompanying restaurants, etc.  Town founder Don Laughlin has a classic car museum inside his Riverside Hotel, free with a Players card or $2 per person.  Lake Havasu City has the restored London Bridge you can drive over and the English Village at it's base.  The bridge was taken there stone by stone and reassembled in the 1960s.   Quartzsite is an experience in itself, a town that grows from 2000 year-round residents to 50,000 or more RVers parked on the BLM lands surrounding the town enjoying the nice weather while waiting for the rest of the country to thaw out.  Visit the flea markets and eat in the funky (in a good way) restaurants that are only open a couple of months each year.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 03:58:45 PM by Lou Schneider »

JudyJB

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Re: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2019, 03:22:29 PM »
You would do better to rent in Phoenix or Tucson and spend a week in those two cities.  It would be warmer and there are more things to do because of the warmth.  However, you may be stuck with Las Vegas depending on the terms of your rental. 

If you do go to a colder place, you might want to pick up a small electric heater at Walmarts when you get there.  Cost is about $20 and will help the furnaces keep the place somewhat warm. 

One nice place near Las Vegas that does take reservations is Willow Beach Marina, 12 miles south of the dam along the Colorado River.  There is also a commercial campground next to the federal one on Lake Mead.  It has full hookups and takes reservations--Lake Mead RV Village. 

Finally, if it gets below freezing, you will have to fill your water tanks and bring in your hose for the night.  If they are covered, your tanks will take much longer to freeze than your water hose.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 03:25:30 PM by JudyJB »
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Joffers

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Re: 7 Day Winter Road trip roundtrip from Vegas
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2019, 01:34:25 PM »
Thank you everyone for these responses. Appreciate the time and thoughts. Looking to avoid anything where plumbing or people freeze.
FYI - We have hired a 2019 Jayco RedHawk so hoping its modern as far as heating goes..