Lots of Questions - Any Answers ?

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UK-RV

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Hello All,

Our US Tour is getting really close now - only 3 months or so to go !!

We would appreciate any help with the following list of questions please.........(thanks for any and all input) :-

Diesel Pusher

1. What would you consider to be the minimum requirement for pulling a small toad........300 hp, 330 hp, etc etc.

2. Would we be better ordering at dealer and collecting at factory......if so, why.

3. BEST Diesel RV dealers in Orlando/Tampa area (we know Lazydays).

4. VERY BEST dealers elsewhere who are worth flying to.

Toad

1. Recommended SMALL car for towing - used budget of $15k.

2. BEST USED dealers in Orlando (and surrounding) area.

3. Any websites that I can use to search for used cars (with prices) in Orlando.

4. Is registering a used vehicle the same as new vehicle - ie 30 days in which to register in home state (in my case SD).

5. What would you expect to discount a displayed price on a used car, if anything.

Fuel Discounts

1. Whats Discount Cards are available with a simple sign-up - given that we will have SD mail address, but we CANNOT get a US Credit Card.

Campground Discounts

1. Excluding Good Sam / Passport America / KOA, what other good value discount schemes are there - we wil be staying approx 350-475 nights over 12/18 months (USA & Canada).

Cell Phones

1. Recommendations for a US wide cell phone service with no roaming charges - ideally pay as you use rather than contract (due to none US Citizens).

2. As above but for Canada.

Silly Questions ? - but not for us newbies

Ok, firstly, excuse me if these seem really petty to you guys, but we were just wondering.......

1. Do you hang washing out to dry at a campsite or rely on dryers (in RV or on-site).

2. During posted "Quiet Times" on campgrounds, does that include sitting outside the RV chatting or just refer to engines/generators/tv etc.

3. Do you get Eastenders and Coronation Street on cable over there (Ann-Marie will kill me for asking that one? ;D).


Thanks for any feedback guys.

Paul and Ann-Marie


 

Tom

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That's a lot of questions Paul, so responses might come in several waves (or dribbles). We might even need to split this topic up so as not to get all confused and to make it easier for others to read at a later date, but let's see how it develops. Hopefully other responders will split their responses into separate messages like I have.

Diesel Pusher

1. No way to determine that without knowing the specs for the coach. What you really should be asking is what are the various weight/towing capacities of the coach and what are the actual weights, so you can calculate how much headroom you have. Click the Library button above, select RV how to's and read the article Weight capacity calculations. You'll need to get the specs for the coach(es) and weight of the car(s) you're considering and plug them into the calculation.

2. Personally, I'd go with factory delivery simply because the coach doesn't leave the factory unless/until you're satisfied that eveything is working the way it should. Typically, they'll assign a technician to you for several days. I don't know about other companies but, in the case of Monaco brands, "factory" means factory service center which is not actually at the factory. They drive the coach 10 miles up the freeway to the service center where they have a large crew of techs and you take delivery there.
 

Tom

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Fuel Discounts:

1. I use Flying J - they have lots of stations along the interstate freeways, although not necessarily in all states. Do a Google on Flying J to find their web site.

 

Tom

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Miscellaneous

1. Many campgrounds don't allow washing (laundry) to be hung outside. Either use their laundry room or the one in your coach.

2. Generators for sure. (Many campgrounds with hookups don't allow the use of generators at any time). I've seen some CG rules specifically say loud noises, TVs, radios, etc. Most folks won't object if chit chat isn't loud and obnoxious. But be conscious that other folks want to sleep.

3. You'll need to receive a PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) station that happens to carry those programs, but don't hold your breath. Typically they'll be older programs, so don't expect to pick up where you left off. Also, BBC America used to carry Eastenders and it was six weeks behind the UK before they started showing the omnibus editions. But they dropped it several years ago in favor of programs like The Office (what a waste of air time!) Get someone to record the shows while you're away.
 

Tom

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Camprground discounts

1. Discounts vary by campground. Many CGs provide a discount if you're a AAA member (our version of the AA and RAC). Some provide a discount for FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) members. Some give an Escapee member discount. Many campgrounds offer several discounts, but they'll only give you one at a time.
 

Tom

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Toad

5. Go to www.nadaguides.com for price guides, use the values there and be prepared to bargain.
 

UK-RV

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Thanks Tom

I wasnt too sure about posting the long list - but you're doing a pretty good job of answering these things ?;D

I found a website for the car search (http://www.carsdirect.com/home) and quite fancy the Chrysler PT Cruiser. I have seen one or two of these in the UK and I think it was Ian H who reminded me of them somewhere.

Ive found a 2005 model for $14k, with c15k miles.

It is an ex-rental car, which is something we would have steered well clear of a few years back, but I think now things are made to handle the rough handling they get.

Anyone have any thoughts on the Chrysler PT Cruiser as a Toad ??

Thanks

Paul
 

Jim Dick

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Paul,

I have seen several PT Cruisers being towed. I'm guessing you would need a standard shift or it might have to be modified. Perhaps someone here has one.

 

Tom

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Personally, I wouldn't buy a car on the internet and would prefer to touch, feel and drive it. But many folks buy sight unseen (folks on Ebay do it every day).
 

Tom

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Paul

Adding to what Jim said, if a car has automatic transmission, with a few exceptions, it can't be towed with all 4 wheels on the ground without modification. Not an issue with a manual transmission or with most 4 wheel drive vehicles.

Don't consider using a trailer (all 4 wheels off the ground) or tow dolly (the two drive wheels off the ground) because they're too much hassle when you arrive at a campground.
 

UK-RV

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Thanks Guys,

Im glad I asked the questions, as I wasnt aware of the automatic transmission issue.

I had also been thinking of a trailer, but will take your advice onboard Tom.

Paul


 

Tom

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Paul, I hope you realize there's a price to be paid for all the advice you get here. Actually, all we ask is that you come back and share some of your new-found knowledge and experiences with others here.
 

edjunior

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Another good place to search for used cars is Carmax.  You can customize your search very nicely, and even if they have a car you really want, but is at some other location, they can ship it to the location of your choice.
www.carmax.com
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I'll take a stab at most of your list, Paul. A different perspective is always useful.

Diesel Pusher

1. What would you consider to be the minimum requirement for pulling a small toad........300 hp, 330 hp, etc etc.
Any of those are more than adequate.  Any engine that moves the coach in a satisfactory manner (depends on your personal expectations) will also move the toad just fine.  Of course, more is always better when it comes to hill climbing.  ;)  As Tom says, pay attention to the GCWR (max combined weight rating) and make sure coach + toad are well within that range.
2. Would we be better ordering at dealer and collecting at factory......if so, why.
Factory delivery, as Tom describes. However, many some do not offer factory delivery.  Another factor: factory delivery implies a factory ordered coach, usually meaning a 6-8 week wait after placing the order.  You probably don't want to wait that long, unless you are prepared to order before arriving in the USA.

3. BEST Diesel RV dealers in Orlando/Tampa area (we know Lazydays).  [Or anywhere else]
I don't think there is any valid answer to that one. For every person who says such-and-such a dealer is terrible, another says they are wonderful. You can pretty much control the experience by being an informed buyer and by insisting that you will not accept delivery until everything is to your satisfaction. And I mean EVERYTHING! Until you pay for the rig, you have their undivided attention.  And once you drive off the lot, you are at the mercy of the service department, so don't drive off. After purchase, you can get warranty work done in hundreds of places across the USA.

I suggest that you focus on what brands and floor plans interest you (reserach online) and then locate dealers that handle those ranges.

Some other dealer names  are: Dick Gore RV, Independence RV, North Trail Rv (Fort Meyers), Conley Rv (Tampa), Harberson-Swanston, RV World of Nokomis, Bates (Tampa),  Giant Recreation World (Orlando), Leisuretyme RV, Banlston (Tampa), La Mesa (Tampa), Sun Coast (Orlando area)...



Toad

1. Recommended SMALL car for towing - used budget of $15k.
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4 door, 4 wheel drive or Jeep Liberty 4 WD with automatic transmission.


3. Any websites that I can use to search for used cars (with prices) in Orlando.
Here is a web page with links to three free car search services - they can locates cars from a variety of dealers anywhere in the USA. To focus on an area such as Orlando, you need its postal code (zip code). For Orlano, use 32801

http://www.pricequotes.com/cars/usedcars.html?source=rb

4. Is registering a used vehicle the same as new vehicle - ie 30 days in which to register in home state (in my case SD).
Yes

5. What would you expect to discount a displayed price on a used car, if anything.
Depends a lot on the dealer and how he sets his advertised price.  Some set them high so they can give a high trade-in value to customers trading their cars.  You won't be trading, so will want the "clean deal" or "no trade" price.  Probably 10-20% off. It's always better to make a low offer and see what happens.  The US car buying market is much like buying a rug in a Turkish bazaar - lots of ritual. Don't be afraid to start to walk out - odds are they will call you back with a better offer.

Fuel Discounts

1. Whats Discount Cards are available with a simple sign-up - given that we will have SD mail address, but we CANNOT get a US Credit Card.
I assume you will have a Mastercard or Visa issued by a UK bank, right?  Good worldwide.
You should be able to get a Flying J discount card, just by asking. Or it comes with a membership in the FMCA, a motorhome owners club.

Campground Discounts

1. Excluding Good Sam / Passport America / KOA, what other good value discount schemes are there - we wil be staying approx 350-475 nights over 12/18 months (USA & Canada).
I don't recommend any others. Few US clubs will be of any value in Canada either.

Cell Phones

1. Recommendations for a US wide cell phone service with no roaming charges - ideally pay as you use rather than contract (due to none US Citizens).

2. As above but for Canada.
I've heard this can be complicated for visitors.  The problem is lack of a US Id number (social security # or taxpayer ID #) which is key to a credit check.  I know there are "prepaid plans" where you buy time as needed, using cash or credit card and presumably you can get those. However, I have heard that the prepay plans don't include internet data access, whereas the standard plans either include it or add it as an option.  I assume that internet access will be important to you and doing it via cell phone is very convenient. However, you can always fall back on modems at the campground office or wi-fi, available in quite a few places now.

The standard US plans usually offer Canadian service as an extra cost option [not too expensive] but I again the prepay ones probably do not.  Some of our Canadian members or another UK visitor can probably help on this topic.

Silly Questions ? - but not for us newbies

1. Do you hang washing out to dry at a campsite or rely on dryers (in RV or on-site).
Generally you will rely on dryers.  Many campgrounds prohibit  laundry lines or simply have no place for them. And most campgrounds have at least a rudimentary laundry room (prices vary, but it is per load or wash or drying). You can usually hang out a damp towel or 1-2 hand-washed items, e.g. on ahanger hooked over the awning arm, but that's about it.  Rural parks with lots of trees to shield one site from another probably won't care if you stretch a line between a couple trees, though.

2. During posted "Quiet Times" on campgrounds, does that include sitting outside the RV chatting or just refer to engines/generators/tv etc.
No LOUD noises, which generally includes music, boisterous talk and gensets, no matter how quiet the genset.  When it gets quiet at night, 4 people "chatting" can  sometimes make a surprising amount of noise with their laughter and raised voices.    Common courtesy applies.
 

Tom

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Oops, I missed  ...

Cell phones

You might try asking your UK mobile provider if they offer North American access and what the charges might be. Used to be that cell phones from the UK (or almost any other country) wouldn't work in the U.S., but the last few years have seen a broad expansion of the GSM networks here. But different GSM providers still use different frequencies, so you need to ask.
 

UK-RV

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WOW - thanks guys !!

All of those website links are great, thanks.

Cell Phone - I have a PDA/cell which has my Sat Nav on it, so I will probably buy a pre=paid sim card when we get there. UK rates for calls abroad are extortionate.

Cell Phone Internet - I was looking to access this way, but have now decided to try and stay at wifi enabled campgrounds (any advice on this?).

RV Dealers - thanks for the list. It will give me a little more bargaining power when I explain to a sales person that Ive already been to X or Y dealer.

Discount Cards - yes, I have already got Flying J on my list for when we get there. I wasnt sure if there were any others. We can pay with our UK C/Card but it wouldnt get us any discount. (by the way, we have just paid $8.17 a gallon to fill our car yesterday !).

Drying - it is a pity about the clothes line, as you cant beat the smell of fresh air on your clothes, much better than the stuffy heat of dryers.

Toad - I understand that we must put a separate breaking system on the toad when we enter Canada ? - where would you suggest the best place to buy?

Many Thanks Again Guys.

Paul

PS Tom, I am thinking of setting-up a website with our travel experiences. (it's a good way to keep in touch with the folks in the UK - much cheaper than having to telephone them every week? ;D)
 

Ron

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Cell Phone Internet - I was looking to access this way, but have now decided to try and stay at wifi enabled campgrounds (any advice on this?).

A lot of the campgrounds have wireless available some at a small cost others are free.  Flying J/s usually have wireless available at a cost.  Several of us have 2 way satellite internet and we share with the framily at RV Forum rallies. 9 or 10 Sattelite dishes at the last Moab rally.

RV Dealers - thanks for the list. It will give me a little more bargaining power when I explain to a sales person that Ive already been to X or Y dealer.
 

Also calling several dealers using the 800 nbr can give you an idea what the going price might be.

Discount Cards - yes, I have already got Flying J on my list for when we get there. I wasnt sure if there were any others. We can pay with our UK C/Card but it wouldnt get us any discount. (by the way, we have just paid $8.17 a gallon to fill our car yesterday !). 

I believe information on the RV club and rewards discount cards can be found on the flying J website at
http://www.flyingj.com

Toad - I understand that we must put a separate breaking system on the toad when we enter Canada ? - where would you suggest the best place to buy?

We have used the Brake Buddy for several years and over 150k miles with satisfactory results.  The brake Buddy does not require permanent installation but takes about 5 minutes to install in the toad and get ready to tow.  There are other bransd that are similar.


 

Tom

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I guess the ability to split into separate topics has been blown.

UK-RV said:
Cell Phone Internet - I was looking to access this way, but have now decided to try and stay at wifi enabled campgrounds (any advice on this?).

Search this forum for WiFi and you should find a number of discussions. Don't expect every campground to have WiFi and don't expect to be able to use it at all CGs that have it. Unfortunately, some companies sell/install WiFi at CGs without educating the CG owners and with inadequate antenae. You'll also find WiFi at a number of other locations such as Starbucks coffee shops, Kinkos copy centers, hotels and airports, but I don't normally drive my RV to any of those. Some RVers do use them though by driving their toad there.

RV Dealers - thanks for the list. It will give me a little more bargaining power when I explain to a sales person that Ive already been to X or Y dealer.

As Gary suggests, your best bargaining tool is to walk out of the dealership. If your offer was fair, they'll come running after you. If they don't, you know the offer was probably below what they could make a profit at.

we have just paid $8.17 a gallon to fill our car yesterday !

I assume that's an imperial gallon? U.S. gallons are 20% smaller. So fuel here is 20% cheaper than you thought  ;D

Just in case someone takes me literally, the price/gallon you see here at the pump would be 25% more for an imperial gallon, although UK pumps currently sell in liters.

Toad - I understand that we must put a separate breaking system on the toad when we enter Canada ? - where would you suggest the best place to buy?

There's a legal requirement for supplemental braking in most states also. The easiest to buy/install is the Brake Buddy, a box that sits on the floor of the car and has an arm that attaches to the brake pedal. It senses when you're slowing down and applies pressure to the brake pedal. Do a Google search on Brake Buddy and you'll come up with a number of suppliers. Your RV dealer may also have them in stock and I'd push to have them throw it in with the deal for free.

Be wary of buying the BrakePro sold at Camping World - we had lots of problems with ours and I finally returned it and got my money back.

I am thinking of setting-up a website with our travel experiences. (it's a good way to keep in touch with the folks in the UK - much cheaper than having to telephone them every week

Why not post an ongoing journal right here on our Trip reports, journals and logs message board and give your UK friends the URL? That would be one way of keeping in touch with folks here on the forum and letting them know how much you're enjoying your travels, partly as a result of the their time and effort responding to your questions. It's also a way that others following you in the future will have the benefit of your experience.
 

UK-RV

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Tom,

Yes, I will post to a website and copy to the forum too.

I can't promise things will be too exciting though.

Paul
 

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