We went from tent, to popup to motorhome. We always have a fire... so I guess I'm one of those folks that blows campfire smoke into other people's RVs. :-) I also hate the training wheels, skateboards and scooters that go round and round, but I don't complain about it since it all just part of the package of being in a campground. Okay... when it starts at 6 a.m. I get a bit cranky, but I don't say anything to the little kids since they don't mean any harm.
Our Memorial Day trip this year we had a family set up a tent next to our MH in an electric/water site. This was a state campground and a reservable site, so I assume there weren't any tent sites left for them to reserve. They spent all day at someone else's site far away from us, but every night they would show up about 8 p.m., use the electric to blow up air mattresses and put their 4 kids to sleep.
I felt bad, since their tent was literally 15 feet from our picnic table and campfire ring. We would have dinner late, and then sit around the fire and try to talk quietly. It was just my husband, myself and our 30 year old daughter, so we kept our voices down, but even so- I bet it sounded really loud to them.
We have a 2006 Outlook 31C. No mechanical problems at all. No structural issues and the rig is holding up very well all the way around. Nicely made, good fit and finish and we're happy with the quality of everything except the (** cheap drawer slides that my husband has replaced as they've broken.
I have a different take on your search. I agree walking away from that rig was the smart thing. However, I disagree with everyone that thinks it is too small for a family of 8. Sure it will be tight quarters with everyone inside, but with 6 kids, everything is tight quarters. :-)
If you're used to tenting, squeezing and a bit of inconvenience is part of your routine anyway.
From a budget and upkeep point of view, you might want to rethink the travel trailer idea, though. Sure, the mileage is a wash with a C vs. your Expedition towing a trailer. But since you already have a decent tow vehicle, you can get a lot more bang for your buck buying a used trailer in decent shape than you will a class C.
You'll also have less maintenance and upkeep costs with just a trailer than with an older C that needs care for engine, drive train etc. You'll also have the ability to drop your trailer at a campsite and run the kids down to the lake, or off to site see or pick up supplies, without having to break camp. I love our 31C and we do just fine hanging around our campsite but if I had more than 3 kids (mine are grown now) I think I would like to have the flexibility of a tow vehicle instead of the C. When our kids were still young we tented and then got a pop up. We didn't go to the C until our eldest was out of the house and the youngest was 14.
Here is a link from a local dealer just to compare what you can get for the same amount of money, or less.
When we got the motorhome we graduated to a brand new shiny percolator. With the tent and popup I used the old speckled metal camp percolator. Even with the popup the coffee pot went on the fire in the morning and I would sit in front of it comatose until it was done. I really liked getting up early and kicking the coals up and having that quiet time.
It SUCKED in the rain. If it rained I made it inside the popup. After tent camping all my life the popup was a thrill to stay out of the rain. I would still cook food in the rain, but coffee... I could drink it while I was still dry. lol.
If you do the coffee right it doesn't scorch or get grounds in it, but you need a decent pot and patience.
The camping experience in Yellowstone is really different than what you might imagine for an idyllic camping trip to the mountains. Sitting around the campfire and listening to nature... not too common since fire is so frequently banned.
We liked staying at Fishing Bridge instead of outside the park, because it made a great base for exploring a good portion of the park. The northern border was a bit of long drive, but doable.
Fishing Bridge is definitely not a beautiful wooded campground. It is kind of like a big parking lot with rigs slotted in next to each other. However, we left our camper very early each morning, and when we got back we ate dinner, showered and fell into bed exhausted. TV and nice amenities outside of the camper weren't a priority for us.
There is a camp store and gas station there which we used frequently. Laundry facilites were also key since we travel light on clothes and found we went through a lot due to changeable temperatures and getting filthy periodically!
If we go back, I would stay there again because in the morning it was only a 15 minute drive to see bears, wolves and the ever present bison.
Well ok then. OP here, really intended the post to be kind of lighthearted and funny. Especially after my last one when neighbors seemed to really like having our kids nearby. I don't think it is all anout us, our kids are not disrespectful, encouraged to be disrespectful, or left unattended at the campground (really?). We are just a big family out to enjoy our time together camping. No offense intended to anyone who has kids, doesn't have kids, likes kids, doesn't like kids, or ever was once a kid - however long ago that may have been.
I got the humour. Not sure where people got the idea you were delighting or encouraging your kids to scare off camping neighbors or leaving them alone in the campground. Kind of leap from your original post. Don't sweat it. Some people hear the word "kids" and immediately assume bad things.
I really enjoy not having kids to worry about anymore, but enjoy them having fun and playing around us. If I want to NOT be around kids, I don't camp, I go to Vegas.
My kids are grown now, but were really quiet (for kids) when they camped with us. We never ran into a grumpy adult. I am SO glad I don't have young kids anymore, but I do get a kick out of kids when we are camping. Have had some do stupid things like run through our campsite at night and jump over our BIG sleeping dog. Except for that incident haven't run into anything I couldn't live with. Memorial Day weekend there was a young couple camping in a pop up one site over with us. For 2 night there was no one between us, and we watched the parents ignore the barely walking toddler as she played in the road and wandered into the tree line without them getting out of their chairs. I finally just quit looking that direction so I would quit worrying about the kid.
Every night she would start howling a couple of times in the middle of the night or early in the morning. That didn't bother me, but did make me thankful mine are grown.
I wouldn't mind camping next to a family with 5 rambunctious kids, although I might have moved over a site if there was extra room :-) However, camping next to a cub scout or girl scout campout? No way. That would just be torture.
When camping in campgrounds kids are everywhere and they are frequently really excited to be out and about. It does amuse me. Memorial Day there was a family with 4 young boys and a brand new 5th wheel and pontoon boat. It was 90 degrees and every day the boys would put their swim trunks on and build a fort in the pontoon boat and WAIT for dad to drag them down to the lake. Sometimes they sat in the boat for 2 hours before the parents were ready. I didn't blame them and it was really funny.
Yes to Joe B. and Umpqua's suggestions. As a former Alaskan, born and raised there, I would do pretty much exactly that if I were taking friends on a 2 week tour.
Personally, I would skip Valdez. Growing up there we called it the armpit of Alaska, although others clearly disagree. :-) I would spend the extra couple of days around the kenai river or copper river. If you go between mid June and mid July you are likely to hit a salmon run.
If you like to fish you should salmon fish the kenai and/or copper and take a halibut charter in homer. If you don't like to fish, you should at least take the halibut charter.
No matter when you go, take plenty of warm extra pairs of socks and rain gear. You can hope for dry weather during a couple of weeks in the summer but never count on it.
You should stop to see the portage glacier, although there isn't as much glacier to see as there used to be, the lake and view is still impressive. Easy to get to and great stop down the highway.
Magik, do you want to come work on my MH for a couple of days? It isn't old but needs a good thorough going over! lol.
wow. You really got a lot done in a short period of time. I have friends who have been working on their 80'ish motorhome for a few years and they haven't gotten as far as you did in a couple of weeks.
My folks had a short class A that had plenty of head room and a rear bed. That type of set up might suit you better since C's tend to be built for families and try to cram an awful lot into a short space.