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Author Topic: East to West coast in 80 days.  (Read 8663 times)

frog

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East to West coast in 80 days.
« on: August 11, 2008, 11:43:32 AM »
Hi great to find this forum.
We're 4 lads from Ireland planning on landing in NYC mid October and renting an RV. We then plan to spend the next 80 days travelling to the west coast. We were looking at hiring an RV from http://www.usarvrentals.com/ we would like to get the 31 footer class c as there are four of us and none of us want to share a bed haha. the price for that is just over 11,800 dollars. which in includes 16,900 miles and then we will pay $12 a night on unlimited generator hours on top of that. We can drop it off in San Francisco afterr also though we are planning to fly to Canada so would like to drop it off somewhere closer if possible.

We also have never driven an rv before or even been in one for that matter though a few of us have driven large vans before.

Do you think this is a good place to get an rv from or is there better companies?

Also any ideas from good routes to take? i have already purchased a few books like the rvers friend for informatiion etc.

Thanks all  ;D

Tom

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2008, 11:48:18 AM »
Check out this list of RV Rental places, although I have no personal experience with any of them.

I'd think you could find a rental company that would allow drop-off in somewhere like Seattle (?)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2008, 11:54:55 AM by Tom »
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Tom and Margi

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2008, 12:09:23 PM »
You might find this blog interesting reading.  It is a travel journal written by a Northern Ireland family of two adults and three children who toured the United States from Florida to California and is very well written with lots of information shared.

http://http://freerangetravels.blogspot.com/

Margi

Carl L

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2008, 12:54:29 PM »
1.  The two biggest RV rental firms in the USA are Cruise America and El Monte Rents -- both seem to have decent reputations and are used to foreign tourists.  They even have agents in the EU.    Moturis also has a decent rep and is represented in NY and SF.  Give their websites a visit.   Take a look at the Moturis 29 foot Class C.

2.   You are used to right hand drive vehicles.   You will rent a left hand drive RV.   Pick it up as far outside of NYC as you can, lest you be like an American tourist learning how to drive on the wrong side of the road in London, UK.   Touring metro areas in a motorhome will be a real pain.  Park the MH at a campsite and rent a sedan locally -- Enterprise Car Rentals is all over the USA even in small towns.

3.    You will start your trip in mid-October and finish in SF in early January.   That pretty well dictates your route.   Our weather will confine you largely to the SE and SW of the USA.  You general path will be south on I-95, west on I-10 to LA and then north to SF on I-5 or better yet US 101.   Further north and you have good chance to run into severe weather -- and residents of the British Isles have no idea how severe American weather can be.   ::)

Even so your trip will take you to a lot of great places, some unique in the world.  

I-95 gives you autumn in New England and the Blue Ridge of VA;  Washington DC; Williamsburg, VA;  Charleston SC.  

I-10 heading west gives you the Gulf Coast beaches of FL, AL and MS;  New Orleans; Houston; San Antonio, TX with its River Walk and The Alamo;  Austin, TX with its music clubs;   El Paso is a git thru -- give Juarez a pass -- but Carlsbad Caverns in NM is a worthwhile side trip; in AZ give a visit to Tombstone and more especially Bisbee old western towns frozen in time;  Tucson, AZ is worth a day or so.  At Phoenix, head north on I-17 and take in the South Rim of The Grand Canyon -- it will be cold as hell and maybe snowy but get there it is one of those see it before you die sights.  Give the Canyon at least two days to see it in all lights.

I suppose you all must do Las Vegas but remember you will be in high season  -- reserve a campsite ahead of time.   The route across Hoover Dam is iffy, check out the rules ahead of time.  Better you should take I-40 to U-95 and 95 to Vegas.   You will leave much money in Vegas --it is what the town does.  

From Vegas take I-15 into San Diego the loveliest town in California.  It is also the home of the Pacific Fleet of the US Navy with warship tours available.  Great beaches too.  Del Mar is possibly the nicest race track in the west, give it a look in if the ponies are running.  

LA is my town and is an endless fascination.   Its nearest comparison in Europe is London, huge, spread out, and alive with bistros, clubs, venues, joints and hotels.  Freeways interlace the town and bind it together -- it is about 60 mi. NS and 40 mi. EW.   The west side of LA is the place to be for action.  Hollywood is a Soho without the charm.  Any action it might claim is on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.     RV camps are scattered around the edges, this might be a town to park the RV, rent a car, and hotel/motel in Santa Monica or Culver City.  

From LA, get on US 101 and head thru Ventura, Santa Barbara, Solvang and the adjacent wine country (rent the movie Sideways)  Then head north thru San Luis Obispo giving a thought to side trip to San Simeon and Hearst Castle.   Give CA-1 along the Big Sur a pass, you are in the wrong season, you are in the storm season.   Take 101 to Monterey and give the Aquarium a day.  Santa Cruz and Felton offer coast and redwoods that you can camp among .  Then into SF.  All the campsites are north and south of the town.  

Enjoy.
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

derbyflan

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2008, 05:12:23 PM »
Great post Carl 8)

Full of useful info.

Thanks :)

Tom

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2008, 05:25:47 PM »
Don't throw compliments at him; Next thing you know he'll be asking for a pay raise. Now let me see if I could afford it:

$0 + x% =  ???
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2008, 05:49:21 PM »
I agree with what the others have said, so will not repeat.

One question, though, is about the "$12 a night on unlimited generator hours". I'm not clear on what that means, but it sounds like you will pay an extra $12 every night for 80 nights to avoid any generator hour surcharges? That's 80 x $12 = $960 and sounds like a lot of $.  What is their per hour charge for generator usage?  If you stay in typical US campgrounds, you won't need the generator at all and can save some money. If you stay in primitive parks (low cost) or store parking lots (usually free) then you will probably use the generator 4-6 hours per night in those places.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Wendy

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2008, 05:54:47 PM »
Hoover Dam is ok in an RV. The inspection station isn't much...probably depends on what you look like....but we've never spent more than 5 minutes having the guys look in an outside compartment, sometimes in the fridge, once under the bed. But the traffic is almost always HORRIBLE, especially with the bridge construction. Give it a wide berth. You might even spend a night in Laughlin.

Ditto Carl's recommendation of Grand Canyon. In winter you could get any kind of weather from pleasant to freezing cold. But it is worth however much time you can spend there. Try to exceed the "average" visit of 2 hours. Maybe get there late one evening, spend the night in one of the campgrounds, spend one whole day visiting the canyon, spend another night, and depart early the next morning. And if the weather in Flagstaff cooperates, there's Walnut Canyon, Sunset Volcano, and Wutpaki National Monuments.

Anza Borrego State Park in southern California is a great place, especially at that time of year. San Diego is wonderful anytime. If you get to San Diego, the Midway Museum is awesome and the zoo is unarguably the best in the country. It's probably not on the route you'll be traveling, but if you can fit it in, Death Valley is an amazing, beautiful place and very peaceful in the winter.

You might want to skip the $12/night for the generator. You won't need air conditioning at the time of year you'll be traveling. If you plan on staying at campgrounds with electric hookkups, you won't need the generator. If you're going to stay places without electric hookups (many national parks), you can probably get by without the generator, too. unless you have to use the microwave or can't live without TV. Maybe you could find a rental that charges a "per hour" rate for the generator.

Check nps.gov for national park information. Be sure to buy the America the Beautiful pass - it'll only take visiting a couple of national parks to save the $80 cost.

And enjoy the travels !!
Wendy
Cortez Colorado
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

Tom

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2008, 06:50:08 PM »
Good suggestion on the America the Beautiful pass Wendy.
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Barb

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2008, 07:40:24 AM »
I'll put in a word for the Wright Brothers Museum in Kitty Hawk, NC. The Air Museum in Dayton, OH.  The Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY.  Hitsville Motown Museum in Detroit, MI, along with the Henry Ford (Greenfield Village) in Dearborn, MI.  The Naval Air Museum on Pensacola,FL. And Kartchner Caverns in AZ just to name a few.

Make sure all of you know how the systems work in the RV before you leave the lot.  Take notes and make cheat sheets.

Enjoy your trip. Welcome to America

Tom, you should give Carl a raise.  He's a hard working guy.  And does a great job.

Barb

Barb
2003 NRV Tradewinds LTC
2011 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited

frog

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2008, 10:03:45 AM »
hi all.

thanks so much for all the great info. the weather is something we will have to think about.

some great places you have listed there.

the generator would cost $3 an hour if used by itself instead of the $12 a day. we would be running a few electronics such as laptops etc so we think having the generator paid for in advance might be a good idea and we will be cooking alot in the rv too.

also what is the easiest way to get internet access  while on the road? i know you have mobile broadband with t-mobile etc but they all come with contracts. in ireland we can get pay as you go mobile broadband for 20 for a months usage or 5 a day.

i see alot of rv campsites have wifi but is that just in the centres or actually in the sites so we can pick up the signal in the rv?

thanks all

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2008, 10:13:29 AM »
A company named Millenicom offers a data card (aka air card) broadband cellular data service for $59.99/month and no contract. I've been using their service since last April and it is excellent (it uses the Sprint cellular network).

Cooking in the RV requires a generator only if you need the microwave.

Wifi in parks varies widely. Some sites may be able to get the signal while others do not - wifi does not broadcast well or far, so other RVs, hills and trees all tend to block the signal. And some parks have it only in an office or club house that may not be all that close to the sites anyway.Make sure you can cancel the daily generator use charge, in case you find that you are not using it much. Few of us here ever do 4 hours/day of generator time, even when camping without shore power, but the big Class A RVs have more batteries than the Class C's.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Tom

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2008, 10:17:07 AM »
Gary,

For $59/95/month do you provide your own hardware?
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Wendy

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2008, 10:37:09 AM »
If you plan on staying in campgrounds with electric hookups, you won't need the generator. When we had our Class C, even when boondocking, we rarely used the generator for more than an hour or 2 a day and even then we didn't use it every day. And that was watching a lot of TV and running 2 laptops every evening. As for the microwave for cooking, most things only take a few minutes to cook in the MW. Maybe the rental company would let you start out with the $3/hour rate and you could add the flat $12/night if you find you need it? Not trying to talk you out of it but thinking you could save some money.

There are places besides the campground to get online. Many truck stops have internet access on an hourly or daily cost basis.

Enjoy
Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

Carl L

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2008, 02:47:18 PM »
hi all.

thanks so much for all the great info. the weather is something we will have to think about.

One of the things that might be worthwhile to get in the USA is a weather (WX) radio.  The government (NOAA) has a regular short wave weather service that covers the USA from coast to coast.  WX radios can be picked up in Radio Shack stores all over the country for $20 or less.

Quote
  the generator would cost $3 an hour if used by itself instead of the $12 a day. we would be running a few electronics such as laptops etc so we think having the generator paid for in advance might be a good idea and we will be cooking alot in the rv too.

Look, I and many other folks who RV in trailers (caravans) do not have generators.   All commercial campgrounds and many publicly owned CGs have 120VAC service at many if not all, sites.   You simply plug in.  RVs have deep cycle batteries on board to tide over between hookups.   In any case, most laptops have a 12VDC cord set available to run the unit off car or RV batteries.  If I were you all, I would rent the genset on an hourly basis and crank it up when you need it.   And yes, your stove and refrigerator run on propane.

Quote
i see alot of rv campsites have wifi but is that just in the centres or actually in the sites so we can pick up the signal in the rv?

Depends on where they have sited the antennae.  You may find yourself sitting outside the RV to pick up the signal, but usually not.

Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

rhmahoney

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2008, 05:56:16 PM »
There is a list of over 600 free wifi CGs somewhere on the forum.

Many coffee shops have free wifi, as does the bread and sandwich shop Panera.
Green Flash seeker
Country Coach Magna
Datastorm internet satellite dish.D3.Direcway 7000 modem

Tom

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Re: East to West coast in 80 days.
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2008, 05:58:03 PM »
Russ is correct. The file is here.
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