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Author Topic: newbie needs advice  (Read 628 times)

Caccurso

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newbie needs advice
« on: January 17, 2020, 12:32:03 PM »
My husband and I are planning a road trip from FL to Ca with our 9 year old daughter  . We want to visit Yellowstone Park and stay for a week or so there .WE have other places that we want to see like Bryce Canyon and Zion .
We need to decide on buying an RV ( I found a great deal on a 25' Winnebago ) or renting a Fifth wheel and buying a truck .
My husband is sure we wont be able to park an RV if we want to drive into town for dinner / shopping ect . I don't think he is right .
We would be much more comfortable in the RV. Can anyone tell us if we are looking at big problems to park and go into a town ?
Also should we stay at a KOA or a site in the park at Yellowstone . We want to hike , mountain bike and camp . We have not booked anything and I don't want to wait because I heard it books up fast in the summer .
Thanks in advance .
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 12:34:55 PM by Caccurso »

SeilerBird

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Re: newbie needs advice
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2020, 12:46:40 PM »
I full timed it for ten years without a toad. It is easy to find Walmart's and shopping malls to park in. If you are going to Yellowstone it is best to stay inside Yellowstone since it is bigger than some states.

cavie

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Re: newbie needs advice
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2020, 01:36:21 PM »
My husband and I are planning a road trip from FL to Ca with our 9 year old daughter  . We want to visit Yellowstone Park and stay for a week or so there .WE have other places that we want to see like Bryce Canyon and Zion .
We need to decide on buying an RV ( I found a great deal on a 25' Winnebago ) or renting a Fifth wheel and buying a truck .
My husband is sure we wont be able to park an RV if we want to drive into town for dinner / shopping ect . I don't think he is right .
We would be much more comfortable in the RV. Can anyone tell us if we are looking at big problems to park and go into a town ?
Also should we stay at a KOA or a site in the park at Yellowstone . We want to hike , mountain bike and camp . We have not booked anything and I don't want to wait because I heard it books up fast in the summer .
Thanks in advance .

Welcome to the forum. First off ALL Motor Homes are RV's. All RV's are not Motor Homes.  RV's include 5th wheels trailers, pop ups. Renting a 5th wheel and buy in a truck is not the way do do it. You need to match the trailer the the truck for weight purposes. I don't think you'll be able to rent a 5th wheel anyway. You may not like it and you will be stuck with a very large truck you don't need. Rent a  Class "C"motor home and go camping a few times and see how it suits you. With a class "C" you'll find lots of parking spots. You won't be able to go downtown and find much parking. Large shopping centers yes.
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Isaac-1

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Re: newbie needs advice
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2020, 01:51:08 PM »
Excluding the topic of if the 25 ft Winnebago is right for you, or not, and if it has any major hidden defects.

I live in Louisiana and have a 28 ft class A motorhome which I bought in 2016, and have since driven about 20,000 miles most of which has been in the western US without a TOAD car, including Yellowstone.  At 28 ft (29'5" bumper to bumper) there are certainly limitations on parking, but most of the time it is not too bad, and of course would be somewhat easier in a 25 ft coach.  A standard full size parking space, like one might find at a big box store is 22 ft long, with a motorhome in this size range, means you need to find a place with 2 spaced end to end, or you need to be able to back in and overhang the curb in a single parking space.  Also due to width unless you can pull straight forward out of the parking space, you are likely to need a 2x2 grid of open parking spaces in order to not hit the neighboring cars due to off tracking and tail swing.  When you make a right turn, all that length sticking out behind the rear axle will swing left, if motorhome drivers fail to account for this thing tend to get hit, usually gas pumps, and curbs when parallel parking.

Now down to what this means in practical terms, rarely have I had to miss anything I really wanted to see, as in most towns I can find a place to park within reasonable walking distance (a couple of blocks).  There are of course exceptions to this, I recall one small town in I think Wyoming where I wanted to stop to see some small museum, but could not find parking anywhere, all the downtown parking was curb front diagonal parking, most of the secondary parallel streets were too narrow for curb front parking, etc.  I did eventually find some parallel parking one block off the main street, but this was nearly 1/3 mile from the museum, and I just did not feel it was worth that long of walk.

There are also destinations where it just is not worth the hassle of finding parking, or moving the RV every day, at some of these places we have rented a car (Branson, MO, and Fredericksburg, TX), used public transportation (Eureka Springs, AR, and Grand Canyon NP, shuttle bus route that picked up at campground both places) or called an Uber (Sante Fe, NM).

I will try to attach a couple of photos of my coach backed into single parking spaces overhanging a curb at roadside attractions on travel days.  (Ok, that did not work, but I did get 1 picture, at the Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory visitor center in Brenham, TX, note it looks like there are a lot of parking spaces to choose from, but in reality there were only a couple I could back into here due to overhanging limbs)

p.s. you mention driving into town to eat and shop, while on the road on travel days we will sometimes stop and eat at a restaurant, in the course of our travels we have stopped and ate at several casual dining places located next to big box store parking lots that we have parked in, as well as several Cracker Barrel's as they tend to have RV parking, I have even stopped at an Arby's which had its own stand alone parking lot, though this was not a typical Arby's as it had a fairly larger parking area in the rear, and its parking lot connected to a budget motel so I knew I could get out once I pulled in.   Once we are at an RV park and set up, we will rarely disconnect until it is time to move to the next destination, this excludes places like inside Yellowstone.  Often we will fix our own dinner, or sometimes there is a cafe at the RV park, or within easy walking distance where we will eat.  (scouting out parking ahead of time using google satellite and street view can be a big help)
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 02:10:40 PM by Isaac-1 »
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SLOweather

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Re: newbie needs advice
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2020, 02:38:06 PM »
That's a pretty ambitious trip for newbies.

How many days or weeks are you figuring on? You say Florida to California via Yellowstone and the NPs in SE Utah, (and back, I presume...).

Just that triangle on Google maps (using Miam as a start/end) comes out to almost 6,700 miles, not allowing for a foray into California, or 22 days/3 weeks of just 300 mile days of driving.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 02:41:31 PM by SLOweather »
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donn

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Re: newbie needs advice
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2020, 03:49:12 PM »
So is this a months long trip?  Biying any RV for a single trip is plane foolish.  RVs are a huge depreciating asset.  Buying one for one or maybe two trips is just not smart.   You might consider buying or renting a tent trailer, take your trip and decide then what you like.  Used tent trailers can he had pretty easily, can be towed by most mid sized SUV or pickup, and will allow you to get your feet wet on the cheap.

Domo

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Re: newbie needs advice
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2020, 03:59:37 PM »
Make reservations before you do anything else - make sure you understand any cancellation deadlines.

Then - if you will have GREAT use of a truck in the future (for instance if you are a delivery service or provide contracting services) then you can justify a big truck to pull a rented 5th wheel.

If you rent a MH (self-powered) you can always rent a car locally (Enterprise will bring it to you in most places - or stop as you drive by the local office).

If you buy a MH, you can still rent a car or use Uber (many do when they are very close to town). Bear in mind that several of the spots you mentioned are far away from an actual city/town regarding Uber.

And, you can also pack bicycles or electric bikes into a motorhome and tool around that way...

Lastly - comparing the pricing for flying to the left cost and then renting a car/SUV as you drive from Cabin to cabin and/or  tent site to tent site.

Make sure you determine length restrictions and power/water/septic availability to match whatever "home" you decide on. (A two week stay in Yellowstone with a 5-day black tank will have you running to the pit toilets/showers.)

No matter what - plan on fun. Even sitting in a warm rain in a tent will be memories you want to share - IF YOU KEEP YOUR HEAD ON STRAIGHT.

Let us know what you decide and how the trip goes along!
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SpencerPJ

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Re: newbie needs advice
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2020, 05:25:28 PM »
A very ambitious trip for a new to the RV life first trip.  Is your husband handy at fixing things?
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Patnsuzanne

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Re: newbie needs advice
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2020, 05:55:18 PM »
We made a somewhat similar trip from Fla this spring. We went west out along the gulf, up through Arizona, to all the national parks in Utah, then back home again along I 40. We were out 9 1/2 weeks and put over 8000 miles on our truck. (We were pulling our travel trailer).  While out west I was amazed at the number of rental RV’s on the road and in the campgrounds. Since you are new to this, and fuel costs are a big factor in a trip that long, I would suggest you look at flying out and then renting a medium sized class c for your adventures. You’ll save days of travel coming and going and that means more time to explore. You’ll have a rental unit and any mechanical issues you may encounter will be on the rental company and not your pocketbook. And at the end of your trip you will have a much better idea of the “real world” rv experience. If it’s for you, then you know what’s important to you when looking for your own unit. If not, you won’t be saddled with an rv you don’t want or need. Good luck with whatever you decide!
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Mark_K5LXP

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Re: newbie needs advice
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2020, 06:17:08 PM »
Parking the thing for dinner is the least of your worries.  There are logistics of the operation of RV's that add a lot of complication and cost over just traveling by car, to include being more challenging and tiring to drive than a car.  So what's an easy day trip isn't quite that easy in an RV.  The pace usually isn't a problem until you put a schedule to it, when any issue can put you behind and cause you to push even harder.  As other posts here are indicating you just don't hop in and go, and expect everything work as you'd expect.  RV's are crappy houses built on overloaded delivery trucks and have all the issues associated with both.

You really need to rent or borrow one and make some weekend trips ahead of time to get an idea of all the moving parts that is involved with traveling in one.  I really like the idea of renting one closer to your stays out west, there's not much value in burning vacation time just getting the first and last 1500 miles out of the way.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM

Isaac-1

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Re: newbie needs advice
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2020, 07:51:37 PM »
To follow up on these last couple of posts, making the assumption you have decided to buy for multiple future trips, and not just one trip.

I would strongly advise a few advance shake down weekend trips before hitting the road in any type of RV, not just a motorhome, whether it be new or used.  This needs to be done for multiple reasons:

1, For you to learn how to operate the RV, and its systems (filling fresh water tanks, dumping waste tanks, learning to drive /tow, manage battery power, ...)

2, Provisioning, sure you can do this as you go to a degree, but some things are a lot easier to buy online vs at the small Wal-Mart in Rawlins, Wyoming.  Some of this you can plan out, other things are more learn as you go, seeing other people at camp grounds with things, and thinking, hey we need one of those, ...  This can include anything from water hoses, to can openers, to bbq grills.

3, Fixing mechanical problems, either major or minor, as even some minor problems can turn an otherwise pleasant trip into a miserable one.  Take for example my last trip, some time a couple of days after we left home on a 3,200 mile, 25 day trip to the Grand Canyon and surrounding area the power seat stopped working, thankfully it was the passenger side power seat and not the driver's side, and it was stuck at the rear most position, otherwise this was something that could have made for a very unpleasant drive.  Speaking of which I really need to get around to fixing it again (a mechanic broke the switch off the same passenger side power seat removing the engine cover last year).
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Arch Hoagland

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Re: newbie needs advice
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2020, 10:18:46 PM »
Caccurso said:
" ( I found a great deal on a 25' Winnebago )"

Is it new or used? 
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jackiemac

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Re: newbie needs advice
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2020, 05:24:14 AM »
You could fly to Vegas or LA and rent an RV then drive up to Yellowstone, if you decide against buying one. There are a lot of people renting RVs out west and I think there is usually somewhere to park although you might not get parked right outside your venue.
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LarsMac

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Re: newbie needs advice
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2020, 10:37:26 AM »
A 25' RV is not going to be THAT hard to find parking for, as long as you don't mind walking a bit.
We have a 30 ' rig, and I get around pretty well.
Of course when you are camped for a few days, you have to get creative about local transportation.

I would recommend NOT trying the Pick-up and 5th wheel right out of the gate. That comes with its own whole set of adventures.

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