Planning a whole USA tour from the UK

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Simonsays50

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Hi guys.  :)
Just found this forum. I?m due to retire next year and my wife and I have been looking forward to touring the USA for years.
We plan to take 4, 2 month trips, over a two year period. I think the way forward is to buy a second hand RV for about $30K  and store it between trips, finally selling it  when we are finished.
There?s a lot to learn/plan/ organise before we start  in April 2020. Any advice especially on buying/ storing and selling an RV for a Brit would be really helpful. I am looking for a class C 30?  van.
Thanks in advance
Simon
 

SeilerBird

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The big mistake most people from Europe and the UK make when visiting the US is they think they can see it all in a few months. The US is 75 times larger than England. It is gigantic. It takes a full week to drive from the Atlantic to the Pacific driving fast on good roads. For a two month trip you would just about have enough time to see the main sites of California. So plan out your trip and post the itinerary here so we can tell you if it is feasible. You could do another two month trip to Utah and Colorado, another to Florida and another to New York. There is a lot to see here. 
 

donn

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Not sure about the two month comment for California.  Maybe a week.  But I do agree that two months is a short time per trip. Break your visits into sections of the country.  Leave the MH close to your next starting point.  Of course storage between trips is going to be a big challange.  Also plan your trips around the weather.  Summers in the northern tier,  Winters down south.  Several years met some folks from Germany that were traveling for a full year with a truck and trailer.  They had bought in South Dakota in October.  Traveled down the east coast, along the gulf and by July were on Oregon heading north.  Their plan was to cross into Canada, dropping the rig off at the selling dealer to sell for them.  Dealers like PPL motor homes in Arizona usually have a large selection of used motor homes,  so they might be a good place to start.
 

Great Horned Owl

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Trying to do California in a week is nuts. Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and Death Valley National Parks can each take up a week or more. Big Sur, the Redwoods, and numerous other areas will take several days each. It would be tough to just drive to all of those places in a week, even if you didn't plan on actually seeing them.

Joel
 

Hfx_Cdn

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      And if you plan on doing Canada, it is 20% larger again than the US.  You haven't given us any idea of your preferences as to what you might want to see or do.  As an example, we were on our way to a Forum Rally in Moab and pulled into an intended overnight near Mesa Grande, a week later we left.  There are just so many unexpected sights , and locations that you will want to see.  Four 2 month trips will only wet your whistle, we have had two 8,000 mile trips and three 6,000 ones in the US and still haven't seen all that we would have liked to have seen, and as said, then there is Canada Newfoundland or the Maritimes on the east coast each requiring 2 to 3 months to see it all, or Banff & Jasper in the west, requiring a month or more.  Plus 3 to 5 thousand miles in between.

Ed
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Mostly agree - each two months trip is either going to be whirlwind tour that hits a few highlights, or a grueling day & night race from one spot to another.  If the 4-trip plan is firm, I'd be tempted to segregate it into geographic areas (NE, NW, SE, SW) but it's might be better to do them all in the western US.  Moving the RV cross-country will chew up at 7-10 days and probably more by the time you find RV storage and get ready to leave. You will want at least a couple days each time you store/open the RV.
 

SeilerBird

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United States is around the same size as Canada. Canada is approximately 9,984,670 sq km, while United States is approximately 9,833,517 sq km. Meanwhile, the population of Canada is ~35.6 million people (291.0 million more people live in United States).

California has 9 National Parks and all are awesome and worthy of at least a week. Alaska has 8 NPs, Utah has 5, Colorado has 4 and Florida has 3. And two of the most beautiful spots in California are not NPs, Big Sur and Lake Tahoe. It is also a huge state and a lot of time must be allocated for driving, so yeah I think two months is just about right.
 

ArdraF

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We spent a month in Alaska, a month in Newfoundland, and you easily can spend a month in southern Utah!  We lived in California for 39 years and still haven't seen it all!  I agree with the others.  You're probably going to end up spending a lot more time here than just four short trips!

ArdraF
 

Isaac-1

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As mentioned the US is BIG, to put this in perspective the driving distance from Seattle, Washington to Miami Florida is almost identical to the driving distance between London, England, and Baghdad, Iraq.  To put the size comparison another way Europe is about 3.9 million square miles, the US is about 3.8 million.
 

Tom

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From an ex-pat Taff who has lived in California almost 40 years, toured the state and travelled across the US numerous times, in addition to parts of Canada...

I agree with much of what's been said. All too often we see Brits plan to "tour the US" in a relatively short space of time. As I've told other Brits, slow down and smell the roses. Like Ardra, we have yet to see many places in our state (CA) in 40 years of living here, and owning RVs here for over 30 years of that. In addition to our own trips and those with fellow RVers, we've played tour guides for family and friends from the olde country countless times; They've gone home after several weeks and even months having seen only a small part of the state. 

If you follow the suggestion to plan your visits regionally, and are able to extend at least one of them to, say, 4-6 months, we have an article in our forum library with suggestions to Tour the Western states. In our library you'll also find suggestions for other areas of the US, and trip reports by a number of our members.

Another perspective on the various references to distance ... whenever I tell a Cockney friend of mine how far we travel 1-way over several days on a given trip, he replies "If we tried to drive that distance in the UK, we'd fall off the end (into the sea)".

We haven't yet talked about the potential issues of buying and maintaining a used (second-hand) RV. Things will inevitably break, and you might find yourself looking for a motel & rental car while it gets fixed. Sometimes, things break when you're in the middle of nowhere, many miles (and even days) from civilization. This needs to be planned for, both in terms of impact on your schedule and you finances.

We don't mean to put you off your trip(s), but do want to bring some sense of reality.
 

Simonsays50

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Thanks for all the helpful posts. We can certainly plan some extra trips... maybe 6 over 3 years and possibly extend each trip to 10 weeks.
I should have mentioned that we have already toured the SW , New Mexico, Arizona  and parts of Colorado all ready. We have also spent a few weeks in Boston , Rhode Island and Connecticut.
I am particularly interested in any advice on non USA residents buying owning and insuring an R V

Thanks ?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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You want to talk with UK member Dougie Brown (http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?action=profile;u=12664), who just sold his coach after several years of touring the US off & on, storing the coach here in between.
 

Hfx_Cdn

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    Or Jackie who hails from Scotland:  http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?action=profile;u=94848

Ed
 

Tom

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jackiemac

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Hfx_Cdn said:
    Or Jackie who hails from Scotland:  http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?action=profile;u=94848

Ed
Simon, I am happy to chat about your plans. We are in the UK till mid May so if you fancy a blether on the phone drop me an email with time you are free andxa number...

Jackie
 

Isaac-1

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Thinking logistically, if I were to attempt to plan such a trip, I would likely plan to start in a region where there were plenty of good used coaches available, as well as reputable hopefully reasonably priced repair shops, and in a region that required the least number of miles of driving the RV to allow for initial maintenance and repair concerns, as finding a perfectly maintained older RV is nearly impossible.  Use my current coach for example, while the previous owner had done a lot to update the coach, and did a fairly good job on maintenance there were gaps in his attention, probably due to his own concerns as a owner and his type of technical background (industrial electrician).  An example of a gap in this maintenance was that since he did not drive at night a number of the running lights did not work, and the headlights were stuck on low beam only, which delayed my drive home as I bought it 1,100 miles from home in November, so well under 12 hours of daylight per day.

In addition to the initial purchase location, I would probably try to pick the logistics of the end points of the trips to be in areas where off season RV storage is reasonably priced, and in a temperate climate, with little chance of major storms, or other potential for damage.  RV storage costs can vary considerably depending on the part of the country ranging from around $50 per month for outdoor storage in a storage area at a rural commercial campground, up to $400 per month (maybe more) for similar outdoor storage, at a self storage facility in a major city.  There are also places with that provide underground stable climate storage in old mines in some parts of the US, there is one of these in an old limestone mine in Kansas city that charges $200-$250 per month for typical motorhomes where the year round temperature is in the shirt sleeve range.
 

RVMommaTo6

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I agree with Tom, I have a 10 months cross country trip planned, spending 8 weeks in California alone. And I'm not going to be seeing everything. I would go longer if I could. But if you focus on one area for each of the 4 trips, you'll get to see quite a bit. Certainly not the whole country, but they'll be 4 great vacations! Keep us updated, I would love to see the trip plans. Welcome to the forum.
 

wackymac

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I lived in Santa Cruz, California for 39 years but I did get to meet and work next to Miss America 1971, Phyllis George, at the 1972 Miss California pageant.
 

SeilerBird

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wackymac said:
I lived in Santa Cruz, California for 39 years but I did get to meet and work next to Miss America 1971, Phyllis George, at the 1972 Miss California pageant.
I too lived in Santa Cruz for 9 years but I only got to meet Jesse Jackson.
 
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