What do you mean when you say you want something for them to go camping in? You'll find that for many on the forums, camping means staying in the RV, in an RV park with full hookups. For others, it means forest service campgrounds, pit toilets, and water may or may not be available in the campground, probably no dump station. Then there are those who call camping boondocking, no campground, parked in a nice spot with only the RV for resources.
As others have mentioned, a tub for the most part isn't generally an option in an RV. You have to deal with space requirement, small hot water heater, and of course if you don't have full hookups, you wouldn't have the fresh or gray water storage available to do much tub wise.
Finally, what sort of tow vehicle do your folks have available to them. This will come in to play in regards to what they can tow.
I might have missed it, but I didn't notice too much in answer to the actual question.
A few years back, I helped compile and put into a report the data on testing of several different solar panels set up in the las vegas area on Motorized tracking pedestals. It varied by manufacture, and also varied a surprising amount on supposedly cloudless mid summer days, but the average output was approximately 80 percent of rated output at peak, and the output hit 50 percent of the peak right around 2.5 hours on either side of the peak output moment. None of the panels was set up on non tracking mounts, so I'm not sure how the output of those varied through the course of the day.
The thing that surprised me the most at the time was just how far off the assorted contractors were in "rating" the anticipated average output of the systems they were trying to sell.
If you choose to metal detect in the western states where much of the land is federal, please take the time to check the rules of not only the state, but the land manager for that parcel of land be it BLM, Forest service, or something else. Don't even ask the national park service as they will fine you for just having a metal detector in your hand. You have to worry about things like violating the antiquities act, which comes with some pretty hefty fines.
Over the years, I've had one dog that would find and catch rattlesnakes. I didn't dare let him off leash because of this tendency. My current dog is a German sheppard mix that likes to chase things that run so I also always keep her on a leash. While hiking in Escalante a few years back a lizard ran across the trail right in front of us and the dog went after it like a flash, right over the edge of the 30 foot or so cliff. Luckily, I'm a big guy and was able to pull her back out of mid air onto the trail without the leash breaking her neck. Had the wife been on the other end of the leash they would have probably both gone over.
Myself, even the well behaved dogs I keep restrained as they're dogs, and sometimes act instinctively no matter how well trained.
Regarding the question of "Rhino Friendly" trails, in the southern part of the state (not national park land) the majority of trails are ok. The Casto canyon trail I mentioned is 50 inches or less, and some of the nicer trails on the Paiute are gated for ATV only which is 50 inch or less in Utah. They're mostly mountain trails though. Most of the stuff on the High plains or desert areas is open to larger rigs to include jeeps.
One thing to watch for is national park boundaries. Even if your ATV is licensed for streets, it's illegal to ride them in the national parks. In places like canyonlands, or capitol reef, you can easily ride a dirt road that will cross national park boundaries if you're not careful. Sometimes there are signs, sometimes they're missing. Either way it's a ticket if there is a ranger around.
If you're going to be trailering to places like Pink Coral, you might also want to look into the Hogs canyon trail system just north of Kanab, right by the turn off toward Pink Coral as I recall. You also have the Peek A Boo trailhead just north of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. From Peek A Boo you can explore a neat slot canyon, and one of the trails/roads swings by a cave with a little lake/pond in it. The Hogs Canyon system has a good mix trails ranging from easy to quite challenging. Pink Coral is pretty much just sand dunes type riding, which I find fun for a day but prefer to have an area where I can mix it up. I prefer Sand Hollow just outside of Hurricane Utah for the dunes in that area as you can ride the sand for awhile, then get into some very challenging technical riding on the slickrock.
As has been mentioned, carry a good map, and watch out for anything that might have been placed to try and discourage ATV use. We spent a week in that are riding in March and saw a lot of illegally placed trail closure and wilderness boundary signs, along with assorted barricades. (We verified they weren't legit signs with at the BLM office) While I've sometimes seen certain groups photographing riders during group rides and jamborees, for the first time this year we saw people photographing boondockers on forest service land where it wasn't marked on the motorized use maps as open to camping. We stopped and talked to them for a bit and they informed us they were documenting this "Abuse" to try and get the roads closed in the area which in their opinion should be designated wilderness. As there are a lot of groups trying to shut down all off pavement travel in this state, please help us out while you're enjoying all it has to offer, and stay on designated trails so as not to give any credence to the abuse complaints.
Hope you have a lot of time to explore. We've been spending several weeks a year exploring Southern Utah and still feel we've hardly dented the possibilities.
I don't pay much attention to hills with the TT as it's only 8k max and I tow with a diesel.
That said, I love to play on the RZR, and the Bryce canyon area is a great place to explore. They generally have a good assortment of maps available at the store there at Rubys, some of which are pretty good for ATV trails. You can ride right out of the Rubys Inn/Campground area and have a lot of great country to explore, limited mostly by how many miles you want to ride. I highly recommend looking in to riding the Casto canyon trail if you've got machines under 50 inches. It's got areas that are very similar to riding through Bryce canyon itself. Google Casto canyon, Bryce canyon country and similar searches and you'll find lots of good info on trails to ride. The area west of Tropic Reservoir can be very scenic as well and there are numerous dirt roads to explore there as well.
Make sure you get a map, take a GPS, and carry extra fuel as we generally ride well over 100 miles a day exploring down there, and Cell phones don't work in most of the more scenic areas.
Back to the OP, I normally fill up with 87 octane in my gasser engines the last tank prior to descending to lower elevations for any significant period of driving time. It really isn't that important with modern engines though as they will detune themselves in order to prevent engine damage. You'll just loose a little power. On Engines with simpler electronics though, such as my Polaris RZR, it will sometimes knock when I push it hard with to low an octane fuel so I'm much more careful with it when I am heading down hill so to speak.
Regarding the side discussion this post has drifted too, it's been a lot of years since I went through school on aircraft power plants, but the simplified basics as best I recall were that detonation at with any given octane rating of fuel occurred at an absolute pressure point, with some variations you had to account for in the temperature area. As a result, the engine having a fixed amount of compression, if the air charge based on air density at sea level brought you to a point just under detonation with a given octane of fuel, the Lower density air at elevation would result in lower absolute pressure values at full compression, and thus your being even farther below the detonation pressure. As a result, you don't need as high an octane rating of fuel to keep the engine from knocking. Of course this only applies to naturally aspirated engines so the eco boost folks need not pay any attention. The turbos on those engines inject a fixed air charge into the engine by adjusting the amount of boost to compensated for altitude air density changes amongst other things.
First, head out the Roy gate. Opps, too much detail. On your way to Craters of the moon, you might be interested in checking out the city of rocks area. It's a little bit different, and can be fun if you like hiking exploring and climbing. I personally like Craters of the moon and think you'll enjoy it. If you take the time to hike and explore the park, it's a lot of fun.
As others have mentioned, it's just figuring out what you really need. As a younger man, I would backpack for two weeks at a time several times during the summer, and even though I had to carry everything in a pack I didn't lack for any necessities. I would even go in the winter on snowshoes. With RV's, I take a lot more toys, but in the end use very little of the stuff most of the time. Shelter, comfortable appropriate for the season clothing, food and the means to prepare it, and a comfy bed are all you really need. Everything else is just for fun.
The brake controller on the 2010 and 2011 Dodges isn't the same as the one in the 2012 models. In my opinion you'd have to be crazy to install a factory unit in one of those year trucks as it's beyond bad, it's horrible. The only control you have for it is gain, and the gain control is all but useless. If you have a factory installed controller you're going to cry if you ever have to drive on snowy, or even gravel roads as the adjustment range is all but worthless. On my old trailer my 2011 couldn't be adjusted high enough to lock the brakes even on gravel roads. With my Timber ridge, it will lock on pavement at two or three, and locks on gravel even when set to zero, which obviously isn't really zero.
If you complain to the dealer they will just off the record mention they "Have issues"
We took that road from West to East last fall when we were exploring that area towing a 28 ft 8k TT and I don't recall anything negative other than the price of diesel.
Should you be going between 101 and hwy 1 Manchester state park area do not even think about the mountain view rd. That one made for a white knuckle, way to big of rig and not nearly enough truck sort of day. 17 plus percent grade, with hitting the steering stops sort of switchbacks result in your having traction issues on dry pavement. On the downhill slopes zero to redline in first gear, even with the engine brake happened in about a tenth of a mile. It was very hard on the brakes.
As I recall, in many, if not all areas of the US the "trickle" is a code requirement which came about around the same time that the pressure balancing shower heads became required. It's to help keep the temperature consistent. If the item is designed to work in a building, it will almost certainly not shut all the way off.
When you were denied the loans, you should have been provided with information on your credit score, any other factors they used to evaluate the loan, and the reasons for denying the loan. What were the reasons given? As others have mentioned, a credit union is a great place to start if you really want to finance. Not only will they help you look into pre-qualifying and other loan related options, they often offer general financial management and advice services either free, or for a low fee. For your situation, something doesn't add up here but I'd need a lot more information to do more than wild speculation. Being a Dave Ramsey sort of guy, I'd lean towards advising not to finance anyway.
Finally, it really sounds like you could use some good financial counseling from a pro looking out for you, not the so called experts that are just going to try and sell products which is what most of them are. Get advise on how to fix your credit history if it needs fixed. It also sounds like you may need advice on how to keep your mothers and your financial obligations separate.
For those asking about the differences between the red and yellow champion units, the Red one has an outlet for 12vdc while the yellow one doesn't. I believe the red was advertised as 1700 watt while the yellow 1600, but they both seem virtually identical as to when they will overload, and neither likes surges above 1600 watts for more than a fraction of a second.
As for reliability, quietness etc. I seem to be the one stuck helping out and fixing the assorted generators in my group of camping buddies, mostly because I made a living fixing them on a larger scale for many years. Despite what you may hear, all three makes tend to need maintenance now and then, mostly carburetor related. With the inverter units, the Yamaha, Honda, and champions are pretty much identical noise wise, although each has a somewhat different sound, or tone to them which may or may not affect your opinion of how loud they are. Myself, I like the design and quality of the Yamahas the best, but my own experience would tell me they are all pretty much equal reliability wise. If you're running right at the edge of the generators capacity, from what I've seen the Yamaha or Honda will handle overloads a little better.
Myself, a couple years ago when I switched to the TT instead of a motor home with onboard generator, I bought the little champions, and have been quite pleased with the reliability, and value.
I have the 2:42's in my 2011 cummins Dodge and find it about perfect for towing around my 8k TT. It pulls passes like Donner in fifth at 60mph without a complaint, pulled Teton Pass without thinking about it, and gets quite good gas mileage towing, generally 11 to 13 mpg at 65 to 70 which is where I generally set the cruise control. When running empty, 80 mph is right at 2000 rpm, which given Utah interstates now have an 80mph speed limit for large stretchs makes it about right.
Again, I've towed the million dollar hwy, teton pass, up to Cedar breaks national monument via hwy 143, into yosemite coming in from the east, Into Flaming Gorge from the north and south, and even foolishly towed the mountain view road into Manchester CA. That road gets over 17 percent in many areas and has switchbacks you have to crawl around. Again, the transmission stayed within normal temps, and the engine didn't struggle at all, although I did have some dificulty with the rear end slipping and locking up the limited slip a couple times on the tight switchbacks. Again, most of the time my TT is around 8K, and I'm carrying 1k or so in the vehicle counting dogs, people, generators, firewood tools etc. To me 3:42 seems about right with the 6 speed.
Interestingly, I did get the transmission fairly hot pulling a twisty mountain road when I first got the truck when I didn't use tow haul mode.
My kid did a research paper on this subject a few years back, and couldn't find a single example of an insurance company not paying because of overweight, overload or anything similar. Interestingly, in looking into the likelyhood of a lawsuit, what she found was that the only clear correlation was how much money the individual being sued had. If your net worth is over a million or so you're virtually certain to have a suit filed against you rather than just having the insurance companies handle it.
I can run the basics to include the AC with my 2000's in combination even at 10,000 feet, although I only did it long enough to see that it worked. It wasn't hot enough to really need it. To run the AC I have to have both units in the Non ECO mode or they trip when the AC compressor cycles. I can't run the AC and microwave at the same time. I can't run the AC on a single unit, and can only run the microwave on a single unit if the battery charger has been going for a little while to where the draw there isn't too high, and it doesn't have the umph to power the microwave on a single unit if I'm above 6000 foot or so of elevation.
My 2011 Dodge Diesel is the first tow vehicle I've been satisfied with in regards to towing power, and engine braking.
About the only service I've found to run significantly higher is fuel filter costs. Diesel fuel runs a little more, but I get better gas mileage both towing and unloaded with the diesel than I did with a 2000 Dodge Dakota with a 4.7, used primarily just to tow a 4k boat. The Diesel tows an 8k TT amoungst the other toys.
Pas gasser vehicles are numerous, with the first truck I owned being a 49 international PU. Later trucks have had anything from hopped up 2.8L engines to 460's, all of which were somewhat underpowered for towing and got terrible gas mileage while doing so. They would do fine on the flats, but I do a lot of mountain passes, and even the fuel injected naturally asperated engines struggle, especially at altitude. The high RPM's you need to run to pull hard also tend to lead to overheating if you don't watch it even with highly modified cooling systems.
This series of posts was quite interesting to read through. In a way, I guess it makes a point for the weight police. Myself, having crossed that pass dozens of times over the years, I tended to avoid it when towing while knowingly overloaded for the reasons people have been describing. Had I not known better however or needed to cross for other reasons I wouldn't have been concerned other than because I knew what kind of the beating I'd be giving the drivetrain.
When over over trucked, like with my current 2011 Ram 6.7 cummins towing a smaller 7.5 - 8k TT I have crossed it a couple times and didn't have to worry about holding up traffic going up or down, and as I recall didn't have to hit the brakes much on the downhills being as how the engine brake had plenty of ability to not only hold my speed but to also decelerate when required.
As to whether or not to choose to cross the pass while towing, it's simply a matter of what your setup is. It's an area well within the "handle comfortably" area of many RV's, while at the same time being steep and long enough to overtax others. Your Mileage may vary.