California has such a list. Speaking from experience, it is typically the roads, not the individual sites, that will limit the size of the rig. Having watched an RV too big for the roads do quite a bit of damage trying to navigate them, I would defer to California's knowledge. Always check with a towed if you are unsure.
I don't subscribe to many people/companies mostly national parks, blm, and the like. However, for up to the minute, on the ground news, you really can't beat twitter.
I have been using it all summer to track wildfire information and updates.
I used it last winter to find out snow closures, major accidents, and the like.
I used it during Hurricane Sandy.
People and news stations tweet updates about tornadoes, storms, riots - any instant news you need you can find on twitter. It is great when you full time and need local information but have no access to a good local news station.
Our Bounder came with (standard) 2 6V house batteries (additional chassis battery), a 1200W inverter/charger, 50A power, 5.5K generator, 2 a/cs, and a power management system. We added 2 6V batteries and 600W solar.
The newer ones with residential refrigerators have an additional inverter and batteries.
We have a roof mounted winegard road trip mission. It is great - just flip it on, wait a couple of minutes, and we have satellite tv. BUT, we have to be very particular how and where we park to use it - it often doesn't work due to trees, mountains, what have you. Also, since it is a small dish, it is much more particular about things in its way and rain. But, for a roof mounted dome and the inherent limitations, it works great.
A friend of ours just did a run from New Jersey to Alaska and back in 40 days with 7 people in a 31' C (no toad). Word of warning - they were maxed+ on the payload of the C with 7 people and their stuff.
We have overnighted at rest stops in Ohio. And rest stops in NY, along with more than 20 other states. We have never been bothered by cops, criminals, transients (aren't we transient in many respects?), or truckers.
Sometimes, Flying J/Pilot and other truck stops will have an RV parking area. We use those too, but will not park in the truck area - we aren't a truck and they need those spaces.
We tend to avoid Walmart unless we are really desperate. In small towns, it often seems to be the only place for teens to gather and hang out.
I second Andy Guest/Shenandoah River State Park in Virginia.
I will also suggest Janes Island State Park in Maryland. While not on a river - it is on the bay - they have some great water trails. One can kayak to a deserted beach in the Chesapeake Bay and enjoy the day.
Point Lookout State Park is another great kayaking/canoeing park in Maryland with a lake, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay available. The campground has full hook up sites in the woods or electric sites on the water. An excellent place in October...
And don't forget Assateague - canoeing/kayaking is great bayside, though not a river.
We have run into wildfire four times in Alaska this summer and twice now in Montana. In Alaska we had to change plans three times; in Montana, twice.
The fires themselves aren't typically the problem - the smoke is. We prefer to boondock and dry camp in public parks and on public land. The smoke really reduces the efficiency of our solar panels and, when it is bad, requires us to run a generator to filter air through our a/c rather than have the wind blow smoke in. If you camp with hook-ups, it is less of a problem. We are now in Bozeman because we were chased out of Missouri Headwaters State Park due to smoke. The sky was gray, the mountains disappeared, and we could taste burn in every breath. (It was like sitting downwind of a very large campfire). Montana Government declared the air "Very Unhealthy."
If I was planning the trip, I would head west with the understanding that I will have to change plans. I would watch local weather and read local news of the next place I was going. Know that downwind of the wildfire areas the smoke is worse (we got a lot of smoke from Washington in NW Montana) and plan accordingly - chances are the Oregon Coast is much clearer than Spokane. Yosemite will be much smokier than the Olympic Peninsula unless the fires are out. Being flexible will make the trip easier, as will being prepared. We missed out on Glacier and Going to the Sun Road (yet again) but, we know we will be able to return another year - it didn't 'ruin our trip.'
Funny, according to some people, we couldn't possibly be fulltiming in our 34' new gas coach. After a year and 18K miles, I couldn't disagree more. Same for the many other short gas coach fulltimers we have met over the last year. Anyway...
Here are the top things we looked for before we bought our coach:
layout: we wanted a comfortable layout that could be used with the slides in and had plenty of storage. We wanted a couch for two to lounge comfortably, a tv not in an awkward viewing position, a king size bed, and a shower a tall person could stand up in.
length: with our camping style, we wanted a shorter class A. We like state and federal parks and boondocking. Many with large coaches will state they have no problem finding spots for a 40'+ coach; they either reserve way in advance or do not go anywhere we do. Many of the campgrounds we frequent don't even have roads that will accommodate a 40' rig. Know in advance how you will be camping and buy accordingly.
weight capacity: we wanted a rig that had plenty of cargo capacity. Before we purchased, we looked at the only diesel in our preferred length and the cargo capacity was significantly less than what we got. We wouldn't go with any less than what we have, around 2500 lbs. And we still have space and weight to store more.
water: we wanted large enough tanks to boondock for a while with the ability to gravity feed the tank.
tow capacity: we wanted a 5K hitch to tow our Jeep which weighs about 4K.
If we had to do it all over again, after fulltiming for a year and going 18K miles, including Alaska, we would still buy the coach we have. It fits us perfectly. There is only one thing we would change with this coach - get rid of the carpet.
We are very happy with the Ford engine. It has pulled us up and down grades up to 12% (some of them mud and/or gravel). While it may get loud sometimes, we spend more time with the engine off than we do with it on and on highways, it is no louder than an F250 diesel (our previous vehicle).
When we purchased, in August of last year, the new model year was coming out. Dealers were making deals to get older inventory off the lots. Fleetwood was offering a rebate. We emailed a dozen dealers and took the second lowest offer - 35% off of MSRP. The first lowest offer was from a dealer with a very bad reputation for warranty work. The offers we received varied as much as $28K ($95K - $123K) for the same rig with the exact same options.
Good luck in your search. We went from an F250 diesel and a tt, to a class A. We didn't think we would love the class A as much as we do. Now we would never go back.
We have the 22K F53 chassis. We have tow-haul mode and use it a lot. It is very helpful going down grades (and up for that matter). Of course, we have spent the last five months mostly in the mountains. On really steep grades (8-12%) we still have to brake but not nearly as much as if we didn't have it. It does a decent job of keeping speed under control.
We have the ready brute elite which includes the ready brake integrated into the tow bars. It was installed a year ago and we have driven 18000 miles with the jeep attached since then. We have had no problems whatsoever. We have traveled up and down mountains (up to 12% grades) on gravel and dirt roads, camped on the beach in sand, been through rain storms...just about any condition you can think of.
The brakes on our jeep are fine - no unusual wear at all. There isn't constant braking - it should be the same as using any other braking system. And no, going downhill with a ready brake system does not engage the brake. We don't have to worry about plugging the brake system into the jeep - the ready brake requires no electrical connection.
I'm not sure of what salt corrosion your dealer is referring to but we have had ours caked with pounds of Dalton Highway mud and... nothing happened. We washed it off and the brake works fine. There is some wear on the external cable from rubbing but we figure another few thousand miles and we will replace the external cable just as a matter of course. It will take all of three minutes and cost maybe $15 for the cable and hooks. All the parts on the brake are mechanical - mechanical parts are pretty easily replaced.
We are extremely happy with ours and would buy one again.
In most cases the engine alternator maintains/charges the house batteries. The refrigerator should operate normally when traveling.
If you have a inverter. Batteries are 12V, modern residential refrigerators are 120V.
We crossed the border half a dozen times on our recent trip to Alaska and back. Not once were we asked for it. Which was good, because we didn't have one. Our insurance company said it wasn't necessary but would generate one if we wanted.
While we have a limited voice plan, we have unlimited text and unlimited data. Considering that, between the two of us, we regularly go over 30G per month of data but only use about 1/2 our voice minutes, we will stick to our old plan. The new plans would cost us a couple of hundred $$ per month and we would still have to pay for our phones.
If you use solar you will be charging a set of batteries with the panels. You can use the batteries to run whatever you want tho how long they last will depend on the load.
And you have an inverter large enough to handle the watts needed. (My 1200W PS inverter will not run my microwave but it will run many toasters.)
If we are at a site with 50AMP electric, we leave it on electric; 30AMP electric, we turn it(electric) on when needed. If we have no electric and are running on propane, we turn it on propane as needed.
We have a jeep wrangler. Some aspects of towing may be a little different but for the most part, it is the same...
When we stop for a break or gas, we check our jeep. Takes a minute to walk back and look. Over 18K miles, we have had a safety chain come unhooked and the 7 pin come unplugged. Had we not checked, we wouldn't have known of the problem.
We both do the pre-check separately, double checking each other's work; sometimes in haste, one can overlook something. We are both capable of hooking and unhooking alone; you just never know when it may be necessary.
If we are overnighting in transit, we just leave it alone. There is a greater chance we would forget to redo/undo something than for something to happen while parked.
Hope that helps!
rgatijnet1 hit the nail on the head.
RVs have a much higher center of gravity, huge walls that are greatly affected by wind, and a softer suspension to keep the stuff inside safe/rattle free.
The only change we have made was the CHF to stop the excess sway from passing trucks. Slowing down also lessens the sway, but most are unwilling to do that.
As far as we are concerned, our bus drives extremely well considering its size, weight, and function. I mean, it is a house going down the road, not a two seater sports car. We have adjusted our driving accordingly.
Your $30K truck isn't a house on wheels. If it was, it probably wouldn't drive as well as it does. People just need to change their expectations.