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Author Topic: USA Road Trip Planning  (Read 2763 times)

dropbear42

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USA Road Trip Planning
« on: August 16, 2014, 02:20:27 AM »
Hi all,

First of all a quick introduction. My name is Stephen. I currently reside in Australia with my wife and 3 kids. However, we lived many years in the USA (all have citizenship) in various parts of the country.

Next year we are planning to return for 2 months and are hoping to do a 6 week RV trip. Not having "RV'd" before I've started to do my homework and am starting to wonder whether anything but a short rental trip is logistically feasible. I'm wondering if those with more experience would share their opinion on the following:

1. Rent vs Buy? Renting seems to get very expensive very quickly. So at this point I'm leaning toward purchasing. However, organizing a to purchase from a far is fraught with its own challenges, as does selling at the end of our trip. A few dealers seem to offer a guaranteed buy back program. Are they much more cost effective than renting? Are there any reputable dealers/brokers who may be able to help with both the purchase and sale of a 2nd hand RV?

2. Size and Type? I'm currently leaning toward a 30ft Class C (e.g. Winnebago Minnie Winnie or Outlook) with bed over cab. Research suggests Class C's are a little easier to drive and more suited to larger groups.

3. Realistic driving expectations? In such a large vehicle, how much distance should I expect to cover on an average/comfortable day of driving? We want to see as many places as possible but also don't want to be rushed/stressed. If time wasn't an issue, we'd start in Boston and travel clockwise around the country and end up in Seattle (see attached image of ideal route). However, since we only have 6 weeks, I'm wondering if we skip the East Coast and start down South?

There will be lots of other questions, but these are definitely the key ones.

All answers much appreciated.

Regards
Stephen

SeilerBird

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Re: USA Road Trip Planning
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2014, 03:41:04 AM »
1. Rent vs Buy? Renting seems to get very expensive very quickly. So at this point I'm leaning toward purchasing. However, organizing a to purchase from a far is fraught with its own challenges, as does selling at the end of our trip. A few dealers seem to offer a guaranteed buy back program. Are they much more cost effective than renting? Are there any reputable dealers/brokers who may be able to help with both the purchase and sale of a 2nd hand RV?

I think purchasing would be the best option. Buy it in Seattle and drop it off in Houston at PPL.
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2. Size and Type? I'm currently leaning toward a 30ft Class C (e.g. Winnebago Minnie Winnie or Outlook) with bed over cab. Research suggests Class C's are a little easier to drive and more suited to larger groups.
I think a 36 foot class A would be the minimum. 40 foot would be better. I don't think Cs are easier to drive than As, I think As are easier to drive. And I have owned several of each type. Cs are not better suited for large groups because they have such a low Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) meaning they can't handle much weight. Five people and all their stuff weigh quite a bit.
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3. Realistic driving expectations? In such a large vehicle, how much distance should I expect to cover on an average/comfortable day of driving? We want to see as many places as possible but also don't want to be rushed/stressed. If time wasn't an issue, we'd start in Boston and travel clockwise around the country and end up in Seattle (see attached image of ideal route). However, since we only have 6 weeks, I'm wondering if we skip the East Coast and start down South?
Your plans are typical for someone coming to this country but they are not logical. You are trying to put 10 pounds of poop into  5 pound bag. Your trip is crazy for 6 weeks, all you will be doing is driving. I would suggest ending the trip in Houston and then leaving the RV at PPL on consignment.
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blw2

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Re: USA Road Trip Planning
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2014, 06:54:05 AM »
I'm relatively new to motorhoming mself, having had camping trailer before.....
Also with three kids.  mine are young, 3yo to 9yo
Just recently bought a Thor 31L class c. 
We went this direction after strongly considering some class A's and bot A and C bunk house plans.
We are happy with it but then my useage is a bit different than yours.  I'm shooting for shorter weekend trips.

I wanted a bunkhouse because I wanted a bed for each person without haveing to fold out the sofa or dinnette table each night.
But the bunkhouse plans have smaller living spaces and the floor plans that we just didn't like.
This particular model has more counter space in the kitchen, a great TV location, and a longer sofa.  I can fit all three kids in the overhead bunk, or one on the safa not folded out so sleeping is easy.

SeirBird is right though, capacity is limited.  I'm pushing capacity when loaded if my tanks are full.
You might want to tow a car, and there's not a lot of available capacity.
Some class C's now days do have a lot of storage compartments though, but perhaps still not as much as an average A.
Mine has an abundance of counter space, but many C's with smaller kitchens are more chopped up and may not have as much interior storage.

Speaking of tanks, my grey water tank fills up fast, so consider bigger tanks if you don't plan on stopping at full hookups every night or two.

Some of the class A's do have fold down overhead bunks, but I didn't care for the idea of one more mechanism, and it would still require set-up.  Generally, I would say that C's are better suited for large groups especially for kids in terms of sleeping arrangements, but not so in terms of weight capacity and sometimes storage.

Be careful about length.  I don't necessarily disagree with SeilerBird, bigger for more room and capacity, but 40ft is big and will limit you depending on where you want to go.  Many state parks, which typically will be a tiny bit more nature loving in their layout, may have limited room for such a big rig.  Also, if you are not towing a car, dealing with it when trying to play ourist in a larger city will be a bit more problematic...... although I guess in that regard there's not a lot of difference between 32Ft and 40ft......

And I do agree that your map is a lot for 6 weeks. 

I might reccomend buying a second hand unit rather than new.  You'll save some on the depreciation hit, and hopedfully many of the new unit bugs would be worked out so that you're not troubled on your trip.  I have steadily been working on my unit since I've had it.... loose screws, etc..... & it seems to be common in the industry here in the US.
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: USA Road Trip Planning
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2014, 10:52:32 AM »
You are far to optimistic about travel time. It takes near 6 weeks simply to drive around the perimeter of the USA, and that leaves little time to actually see anything except highways. Austrailia is a little smaller in size than the USA, but I think the USA has more places/regions to visit. Can a visitor tour all of Australia in 6 weeks?

I would suggest sticking to either the eastern or western half of the USA for a 6 week journey. Even that is probably stretching it, but I understand that you have limited time available, so will have to rush somewhat. Most of us think that 250-300 miles is enough travel for one day, and few of us travel every day. If you figure on spending a day or two each at major destinations, your 6 weeks evaporates quickly, even if you drive 400+ miles on driving days.

I would start with a list of the things you want to see and do, e.g. Disneyworld or other them parks, national parks, museums, whatever. Or maybe just time at the beach or hiking trails.  Then see how many can be fit in.
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
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56safari

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Re: USA Road Trip Planning
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2014, 10:55:23 AM »
Too often, we have tried to cover too much with the time available.  If you limit yourself to 1,000 miles per week, you'll have more than half your time to spend at the places you have picked out to see.  The scenery in the western states is great, but after a few hours, the kids will have "seen it already!"

Sounds like a great opportunity to build life time memories with the kids!
Jim & Lin
1999 Rexhall Aerbus

robertusa123

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Re: USA Road Trip Planning
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2015, 08:28:21 PM »
You should end try to cover the hole country in 6 weeks.  All you will see is the interstate highway system.     Stick to the east cost or west cost.   
1996  26ft. 3 kids 2 dog and the wife too

rctour

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Re: USA Road Trip Planning
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2015, 11:19:18 AM »
This is a really interesting set of questions you have posed.

When I travel I usually do about 3-4 hours of drive time a day, when I drive which is not every day.  Your map looks like about 4,600 miles.  At 42 days that's about 109 miles a day, you can do that easy.  A family of 2 + 3 in a motor home for 42 days traveling 4,600 miles in a 30' MH is doable.  To purchase a motor home is something you should spend 2 - 3 plus months considering, are you going to do that within the 6 weeks?

If you ask me I say to cut your trip in half, maybe start in Houston and go west or east.  Rent a MH, pick it up and drop it off and be done with it.  The difference in a 30' or 45' is a bunch of money that would be better spent between your stops.

Just my thoughts.
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Elly Dalmaijer

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Re: USA Road Trip Planning
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2015, 02:46:13 PM »
I don't recall reading during which month you plan to start your 6 week trip. That would be very important in deciding where you would start and in which direction you would want to travel.
Let us know and then we could thinking about more details.

Also a comment about storage in a MH: you all are arriving by plane so your luggage allowance is basically what you need storage for. That would be very different from us who leave from home.  We have rented several times a camper in Europe, arriving by plane of course, with one suitcase per person, and we were amazed at how many things we could do without, but we would not dream of leaving them at home on this side of the ocean!

If you'd start in Edmonton AB, my son-in-law has a great 31 ft class A with 3 slides for sale at about $22,000Canadian  ;-)

Elly


Either at home in St Albert AB or working in Africa or in our 1993 Itasca Sunrise.

PopPop51

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Re: USA Road Trip Planning
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2015, 07:14:38 AM »
Keep in mind that if you buy an RV, you'll probably also have to furnish it with tableware, cookware, kitchenware and small appliances (a toaster oven at the very least), water and sewer hoses, and linens. All of these are unrecoverable expenses as they will not add to the resale price. Most of these typically come with a rental.
Paul--
2004 Ford Excursion V-10 ("Moose")
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