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Author Topic: Desert Restrictions in Rental RV  (Read 6299 times)

Morphaniel

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Desert Restrictions in Rental RV
« on: September 18, 2009, 07:46:01 AM »
Hi,

I am planning a circular trip through Arizona and New Mexico, possibly Utah, in July and August 2010, renting an RV out of Las Vegas. I have previously driven a rental RV in this area in May a few years ago.

I note on RV rental sites that there are restrictions on driving RVs 'in Death Valley and other desert areas during summer months'.

We are not planning to do Death Valley but would be interested in Monument Valley, standing on the edge of the Mojave Desert (at Needles), the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. I appreciate the real dangers of summer temperatures in desert locations but I was wondering whether a rental company would include 'tourist friendly' locations like these in their restrictions. Presumably an outfit with a Las Vegas location would not prevent you using I-40 or I-15 with overnight stops at KOA style grounds?

Ned

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Re: Desert Restrictions in Rental RV
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2009, 07:55:17 AM »
There won't be any restrictions on the locations, but unless you stay to the mountains, it will be very hot.  Painted Desert and Petrified Forest are on I-40 at higher altitudes and won't be too bad.  Those areas are best visited in spring and fall.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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Morphaniel

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Re: Desert Restrictions in Rental RV
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2009, 09:03:54 AM »
Thanks - that will give me confidence to discuss my route with the RV rental people. The temperatures were great in May (only Needles and Amboy were seriously hot, around what Southern Europe might expect and the RV coped fine). Unfortunately my girlfriend is a teacher and a trip of this length has to take place in the summer. We will mostly be in the higher altitudes but as we are from the UK's Lake District we won't be able to resist a look at a real desert if we can  8)

Tom

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Re: Desert Restrictions in Rental RV
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2009, 09:08:03 AM »
Aye lad, Arizona and NM will be quite a contrast from the Lake District. Haven't been up there since I was a kid, camping with my parents xx years ago.
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LindaH

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Re: Desert Restrictions in Rental RV
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2009, 10:56:29 AM »
Even though the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest are higher in elevation and will be somwhat cooler than, say, Phoenix, it will still be HOT!  If you plan on doing ANY hiking, be sure to take LOTS of water with you...at least one gallon per person.  Wear a hat and put on sun screen.  The Southwest during the summer, even at higher elevations, isn't anything to take lightly.  You'd be surprised at how many people have to be rescued from the trails in the Grand Canyon each year, mainly because people didn't have enough water with them.
LindaH
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Wendy

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Re: Desert Restrictions in Rental RV
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2009, 11:13:32 AM »
The desert is hot. Our godchildren's parents were rangers in Petrified Forest. Trust me, it gets HOT there in the summer, with high temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade ("and there is no shade" - old desert ranger joke). Most people just do Petrified as an hour or two drive-thru and then spend the night in Flagstaff where it is much cooler.

Monument Valley is very, very hot in summer....beautiful but hot.

Contact the RV rental company and ask if there are any specific areas other than Death Valley that you can't visit. Not sure why they restrict DV since it's only a few degrees hotter than Las Vegas where you're picking up the RV. Maybe they've had too many people whimp out there or damage the RV by not knowing what to do in such extreme temperatures?

As Linda said, be sure to take plenty of water and a hat with you if you go for a hike. And remember that distances in the desert are deceiving....that "nearby" sand dune you want to go stand on may actually be miles away.

Wendy
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Carl L

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Re: Desert Restrictions in Rental RV
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2009, 02:15:02 PM »
I can sympathize with the RV rental companies.   DV is no place for a tyro in the summer.  Moreover, almost anyway out requires climbing out a long grade from below sea level to several thousand feet.   Nevertheless, according to rangers I have talked with, the summer brings batches of crazy Europeans lusting to experience temps over 50C (122F).   With zip humidity, those temps are downright deadly.   

My advice to such folks is that, if you want to experience 50C, drive to Palm Springs, CA, take a room at the Hilton and experience your 122F in a patio bar next to the swimming pool with a nice gin and tonic or tequila daisey underneath the bar's misters.   Much more ciivilized. 8)


Carl
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Wendy

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Re: Desert Restrictions in Rental RV
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2009, 07:38:13 PM »
My advice to such folks is that, if you want to experience 50C, drive to Palm Springs, CA, take a room at the Hilton and experience your 122F in a patio bar next to the swimming pool with a nice gin and tonic or tequila daisey underneath the bar's misters.   Much more ciivilized. 8)

Or stay in Vegas at a nice RV park or hotel by the swimming pool with the same gin and tonic or frozen daquiri and maybe take a day trip to DV just so you can say you were there and experienced that 50+ degrees (it really is the experience of a lifetime).

Wendy
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1joester2

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Re: Desert Restrictions in Rental RV
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2009, 07:03:13 AM »
In July '04, I took my Coachmen C through Death Valley. I knew of the heat, and waited at Hells Gate for the sun to pass overhead before descending into the valley. Just the same, the heat was incredible. We stopped "in the bottom" and the kids jumped out to get a few photos "playing in the sand" as the sun was slipping behind the mountains. Then the real work of getting out began. As noted by Carl, the climb to Townes pass was borderline brutal on the engine. We had the rooftop A/C running full bore and I had to cycle the chassis A/C to keep the engine temp below 245F (about 120C). It was still very uncomfortable inside the RV.

I can easily see how someone who is used to "just turning the key and go" who rents an RV would end up in trouble in Death Valley.

FWIW theer are (were?) tanks of radiator water about every 400 meters. If you are knowlegeable on adding water to an overheated engine (EXTREMELY DANGEROUS) then you could probably manage. Perhpas entering and exiting from the south would provide the experience but not be as hard on the vehicle.
Common sense to many of us is, unfortunately, the higher education some strive to attain.

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Carl L

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Re: Desert Restrictions in Rental RV
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2009, 02:16:42 PM »

FWIW theer are (were?) tanks of radiator water about every 400 meters. If you are knowlegeable on adding water to an overheated engine (EXTREMELY DANGEROUS) then you could probably manage. Perhpas entering and exiting from the south would provide the experience but not be as hard on the vehicle.

I would not recommend the southern, CA-178 route into DV.  It is 73 miles with no habitations or facilities much less services.   Moreover, it routes you thru the hottest place in North America.   A less hazardous route is thru DV Junction on CA 190 from Furnace Creek -- 54 miles.
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

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1joester2

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Re: Desert Restrictions in Rental RV
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2009, 02:31:43 PM »
I didn't know, since we did not travel that way.
Common sense to many of us is, unfortunately, the higher education some strive to attain.

Joe and Carol
2001 Coachmen 220RK W/GM 7.4 Vortec

Wendy

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Re: Desert Restrictions in Rental RV
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2009, 03:40:19 PM »
Of course, the OP said he didn't plan on going into Death Valley.

Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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1joester2

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Re: Desert Restrictions in Rental RV
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2009, 04:39:03 PM »
My point was that any desert driving can be dangerous in ways some do not anticipate. The OP did mention Monument valley and, being summertime, anything can happen heat wise. Hopefully any reader who encounters similar conditions will reflect on my experience (which thankfully went very well compared to what it could have been) and have the fore thought to go easy and monitor gauges. Another point to be made is tire temperatures in such conditions. Improper inflation will almost certainly spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Our Drive to and through the Painted Desert in the same July was full sun and temperatures in the 105-110 F. range. I would bet that an egg would have fried on the pavement, but we didn't think of that until a few days later when we were in Carlsbad.
Common sense to many of us is, unfortunately, the higher education some strive to attain.

Joe and Carol
2001 Coachmen 220RK W/GM 7.4 Vortec

 

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